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Chapter 16

“Hi there, I’m sorry I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave me a message I will try to get back to you shortly. Thank you so much and have a great day.” It was the sixth time that day that he had heard her voicemail greeting.

“Addison, hello, it’s Rossum again. I’m trying not to blow this whole thing out of proportion, but I don’t know what else think unless you’re back to ignoring me. Please, please, please call me back when you get this.” He placed his phone back onto his belt clip after making sure the ringer was turned all the way up. After that he tried to relax on the couch with a cup of coffee, but the dark liquid went cold as Rossum tried to clear his head. When he finally decided it was a lost cause he found his car keys and rushed through the familiar route to Addison’s apartment building.

As he walked into the building he was greeted by her friendly doorman, “Well, hello Mr. Rossum. It sure is nice to see you looking so good after everything. How are you feeling, and how is Miss Grace holding up?”

“Hey Tom, I’m doing just fine, thanks for asking. Addison is good too.”

“Are you here to pick something up for her and bring it to the hospital?”

Rossum squinted his eyes at the man and unconsciously placed a hand on his hip next to his gun, “No, I’m here to see Addison. She got out of the hospital yesterday, same as me. You haven’t seen her yet?”

“No, sir, Miss Grace has not been back to the apartment since that night.”

“Are you sure you didn’t just miss her? I dropped her off yesterday afternoon right out front.”

“No, Mr. Rossum, I know I didn’t because I’ve been told I need her to sign some papers as soon as possible so I’ve been looking specifically for her and I’ve been working all night, but you are free to go on up and check for yourself, sir.”

Rossum bit his cheek, “No, Tom, that’s alright, but can you do me a favour? When you see her can you just tell her I stopped by?”

“Of course, Mr. Rossum, and don’t worry I’m sure she is alright.”

He curtly nodded but it didn’t stop him from letting out his frustration on his steering wheel before he headed home. Where the hell is she he thought I’ve had just about enough of this secrecy bullshit! There was nothing left to do at that point though. He had to go home and wait for her to get back to him and explain what was going on.

Before he settled in he took a quick look around his house, something he had started after the attack at Addison’s, but everything looked normal so he took a glass of scotch to the couch and promptly fell asleep.

He woke up to the sound of something being dropped on the floor and almost rolled right off the couch trying to reach for his gun. Before he did the intruder spoke and it calmed him to the core.

“Rossum chill, it’s just me.” Addison spoke quietly, “don’t you think six voicemails and a message with my doorman might have been overkill? I did tell you I was going to be out of town today. You also knew where I was and you know as well as I that I couldn’t take my phone in with me.”

“Why did you lie to me?”

“You’re going to have to be a little more specific there, Ross.”

“I dropped you off at your apartment yesterday. I watched you walk towards the door, but you didn’t go in, did you?” Addison looked down at her combat boots and kicked the toe into the carpet a bit.

“I’m sorry…” she said it in almost a whisper, but Rossum wasn’t going to let her off the hook so easily.

“You’re sorry? I don’t need another apology from you, Addison, I need to understand why you didn’t go back. I want an explanation!”

Instead of saying anything, Addison kicked off her boots, walked over to Rossum and threw her arms around his neck. “I’m sorry,” she repeated into his shoulder, but he just rubbed his hand up and down her back.

“It’s okay, Addy. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have yelled.” She stayed silent, but there were no tears. She felt stiff in his arms, but he could still feel her warm breath seeping into his shoulder. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Letting go of his neck she flopped down on the couch and tucked her long legs under her. “I just couldn’t do it, Ross. I knew what was waiting for me in the apartment and I just kept thinking: one more day, all I need is one more day. So, I went to Virginia, stayed in a B and B, did what I had to do and then that day was over and it was time to get back to real life. So, I ignored the 18 messages you left me and the papers that Tom was trying to shove in my face and stood in front of my apartment door. When I finally opened it and saw the blood the cleaning crew had left behind, the broken chair, the scarf used to blindfold me sitting on the counter… I realized that day did nothing, and I still wasn’t ready to face what had happened, everything just came flooding back. I know I’m around that stuff all the time, but it’s different when it’s you, when it happened to you.”

He sat down next to her and placed his arm on the couch above where she sat, “I get it, Addy. Are you alright, is there anything I can do?”

“Remember what you said about me staying here?” He finally looked to the door and finally saw the thing she had dropped when she first came in, an overnight bag. “Just for a night, I need to get someone to clean that up better before I go back. Or I need to find a new place.”

Rossum pressed a hand on her cheek before he tucked her loose hair behind her ear, “You know you can stay here as long as you need to. In fact, you are doing me a favour.” She gave him a ‘are you kidding me?’ look, “seriously, this way I can make sure that you are taking it easy. Plus, with this guy still being out there… I’d just like to keep you safe, and what’s safer than being under the same roof as an armed FBI agent.”

“Does anyone have any leads on that front?”

Rossum felt his stomach turn at that question. He had received something when he got home that had made him absolutely certain of who the man was, it was the reason he had been so eager to get a hold of Addison, but he didn’t want to scare her off. He knew that if she heard the truth there was no telling how she would react. So, he rolled his shoulder and shook his head sadly, “unfortunately they have no leads yet, but I promise no one is going to stop working on this until they find him.”

“You know he did say that he wasn’t going to kill me. I don’t think you have to be so worried.”

“Well, the bullet I took kind of said to me that maybe he was lying, so, if you don’t mind, I’m going to sleep close to my gun while he’s out there… in fact,” Rossum bent over and pulled out the small .22 calibre he kept strapped to his ankle and held it out to her, “I want you to feel safe.”

Addison tilted her head and gave him her best condescending smile, “that’s cute,” she said and reached into her purse. When her hand came out it was gripping a sleek, black glock that she looked all too comfortable with.

“Are you sure you can use that?”

“Yeah, just point and shoot, right?” she asked in an over girly voice. Rossum shot her a warning glance, “I’m kidding! Yes I know how to handle myself.”

“Either way I think it’s best if I take you to the shooting range. Maybe the gym to teach you a few self defense moves.” Rossum knew that Addison most likely didn’t need his help, but he couldn’t help himself anyway. To her credit, instead of arguing with him she just nodded her head then laid it on the back of the couch.

“How do you get a couch like this?” she finally asked.

He smiled in a way that only she could make him, “Like what?”

“It’s so comfy,” she wriggled down into it and closed her eyes, “like it’s been lived in, you know? This is a cozy couch, when you sit on it you feel like you could just fall asleep, or read a book or something. It’s nice, but you can’t buy couches like this, at least not that I’ve found. This couch… it feels like family.”

“Can family have a feeling?” Rossum could see Addison fading to sleep, but kept the conversation anyway.

“I’m the wrong person to ask.”

With that Rossum stayed silent. Eventually he saw Addison go very still as she slipped into a deep sleep, then he scooped her into his arms and settled her into his bed instead.

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