A N D Y
I was in a nightmare. A living nightmare.
The ride to the police station was horrendous. The glares the officers gave me, the handcuffs that held my arms uncomfortably behind my back; the whole sorry affair.
“Sick bastard,” muttered the officer beside me as he tugs me out of the car. “Kidnapping women. What’s wrong with you?”
“I didn’t-” I begin, as he twists the handcuffs, causing shooting pains to cripple my wrists. “Fuck,” I hiss.
“Save it for the judge.”
I’m marched into the police station and dumped at the custody desk. The cuffs are removed and I rub my aching wrists. I’m asked a variety of questions, confirming that I am neither a vulnerable adult nor suffering with mental health issues.
“Do you understand the charges, Mr Hallson?”
“Yes, but I’m innocent,” I repeat flatly.
The custody sergeant lifts his eyebrows at the police officer beside me, and they both chuckle.
“I thought you said no to having any disillusions?” The officer smirks.
“Any belongings? Empty your pockets, please,” The custody sergeant taps away at his computer without so much as looking in my direction.
I drag my mobile phone out under the watchful eyes of the officer, before realising I still had Max’s keys. I drop both items into a clear plastic bag, and I add my wallet after searching my back pockets.
“No, I’m not on anything,” I sigh, wondering when I will get to speak to my legal advisor. The custody sergeant takes my photograph, before finally asking if I wanted legal representation.
“Yes, please,” I exhale with relief. I’m then frogmarched to a cell in cuffs again, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see I am alone in the small white room.
“I’ll bring you some food and water later,” the officer says with contempt. “Unlike you, we look after our prisoners.”
He slammed the door then, and I sink to the bed in numb disbelief. My wrists are in agony, and I rub them repeatedly to increase the blood flow. My mind is wired, buzzing with the events of the day that led to my arrest. When do I get my one phone call like they do in all the cop shows?
I realise now I’d been set up, and I had no one who believed me. I thought Cain did, but even he had left me to be carted off to the station. Hours passed, and I sat staring at the same spot in the ceiling, my brain fried with scenarios. I could only hope they found Max, and she could set this all right.
I sat up immediately at the sound of my name.
The door swings open and I’m escorted down to a windowless room, where the door opens to reveal no other than Cain, his shirt wrinkled and tie loose. He rubs his chin, nodding to the officer to leave us together.
“You alright?” he asks, his eyes boring into mine.
“No, I am not alright,” I snap, slumping into my chair. “I have done nothing wrong!”
Cain nods grimly, his lips set in a firm line. He slurps coffee from a styrofoam cup, before smacking his lips together.
“Here’s the thing Andy,” he sighs, massaging his temples. “I know that. But no one else believes you.”
Hearing that Cain believed me made me feel a spark of hope, and I lean forward eagerly.
“You do? Well, what evidence do they have?”
I spread my palms out on the table, waiting for Cain to unload information that had the power to change the course of my life.
“We found max,” he intoned, as I nod. “In your loft.”
My stomach fell through the floor, my jaw following suit. Cain rubs his stubble, shaking his head.
“I know, mate, I do. You might not be my favourite person in the world, but you aren’t capable of this.”
“How- How did she get there?” I’m aware of my heavy breathing, my heart rate alarmingly high. It’s taking everything I have not to pass out there and then on the floor.
“Fuck knows,” Cain shrugs, spinning a pencil on the desk with a rhythm that made sense only to him. “I need you to think of any reason anyone would do this to you.”
My mind helpfully goes blank, and I stare at the pencil, the blur of black and orange captivating my attention.
“I don’t have enemies,” I say, as Cain snorts. “Well, other than you, but you appear to be helping me.”
Cain lifts his eyes to mine, and I know then that he is the man you want on your side. He shakes his head, pushing a manila folder over to me, his fingers drumming on it.
“Tell me if you recognise any of these people.”
I slide the folder over to me, flipping it open with interest. The man that stared back at me looked utterly terrifying, and I shook my head immediately. I flip to the next photo, which was another burly man with deep set dark eyes.
“I don’t know any of these people, Cain,” I groan, as Cain watches me intently.
I keep going, feeling hope fade within me. If these were the people who were setting me up, then there was no logical explanation for it. Were they just cruel? Just as I’m losing hope, I stop, my fingers hovering over the glossy print before me. My breath hitches, and I feel a wave of disbelief sweep over me.
The hair was different, but I’d recognise her anywhere.
“Her,” I whisper, lifting my eyes to see Cain narrow his eyes. “She is my ex girlfriend.”
A wicked smile appears on Cain’s lips as he nods.
“Do you know her name?”
“Hayley. Hayley Dupont,” I say numbly.
My stomach twists as I recall the way she had hounded me after our breakup. Cain is watching me, but he is on his phone. The officer appears at the door, and Cain waves him away with irritation. The officer glares at me before stomping away.
“Harry, meet me in the custody cells. There’s something you need to see.”