The Sanction

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I still had over an hour before Aidan would be here to pick me up, but even with all that time to get ready, I was still sitting on my couch looking over the texts I'd received earlier. The messages were vague and not personable in the slightest, so of course, there were no clues as to who could've written them. And, obviously, the unknown number was no help what-so-ever.

And I know what you must be thinking, but the reason I'm so obsessed with these messages is mainly because of when they came and who they concern. I know that I haven't known Aidan that long, and I shouldn't be this concerned about someone spreading things about him, but he is my boss. The last thing I would want, as an employee, is for one of my bosses to get in trouble and then later found out I knew about it all along.

And, yes, I'm also worried about what problems this would cause our personal lives since they're now connected. If someone has been able to dig up things about Aidan, that means they can dig up information about me as well.

I didn't realize how much time had passed until I received a message from Aidan saying he was about to head my way. I made the quick decision to tell him I was feeling well and that I wanted to reschedule. I wanted a couple of minutes for a text back, instead, the next thing I know, my phone is practically buzzing off the table.

I did my best to make my voice sound raspy, to show I was unwell, "Hello." "I didn't want to mention this on the way to your apartment, but you did look pale and unwell." I mentally sighed with relief, "Does this mean you forgive me for canceling on you last minute?" "Of course Jessica, get some rest and we can talk about rescheduling later in the week, we can begin discussing the case tomorrow at the office." "Thank you Aidan, I'll see you tomorrow." I hung up and let out the breath I didn't know I'd been holding.

A part of me felt terrible for lying to him, but I knew I had to try to get my head cleared with the thoughts from these messages before seeing him again.

I decided to try my luck with this mystery person, so I grabbed my phone and texted the unknown number, 'Who is this?'

Don't judge me okay, we've all been there.

I sat staring at my phone for what felt like hours, but a short five minutes later I finally got a response, 'You don't need to worry about who I am, but you need to worry about who you associate yourself with and who you choose to give your time to.' Just like before, the message is solely about who I'm around and what this person feels I need to do.

I thought about texting back and again asking who they were and how they got my number, but I knew I'd either receive the same message or one just as unhelpful. Instead, I grabbed my laptop and read back over the email Aidan sent me about the case, it still held very little information, but looking back at it I noticed a couple of details that could possibly be helpful in the long run.

And I don't just mean for the case, but for these mysterious messages I've received and a way to bring them up to Aidan. In due time that is.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me was the list of prosecutors for a case of this same magnitude several years ago. I'd heard of quite a few of them before just because of their reputations in a courtroom. But there were a few that were new to me. I googled two of the three and learned they had gone on to pursue careers as judges in other states. The last name though brought up little to no information, Adam Strouse seemed to drop off the earth at some point after his one and only case lost several years ago.

I plugged the name into the image search bar, and what I saw shocked the hell out of me.

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