“Addison, why don’t you sit down or something, you are looking a little pale.” Brogan had come back inside after stepping out to make a phone call.
His hand rested on Addison’s shoulder and raked through her hair a bit. A shiver travelled down her spine and ducked out from under his grasp, “no need, I’m fine.”
He went on to say something else and Addison was aware of his mouth moving, but a faint buzzing prevented her from hearing exactly what he was saying. She was standing in the bedroom of the most recent victim, but this was different. This was her building. The layout of this apartment was the exact same as hers. The king sized bed was in her line of sight and brought her back to just a few hours ago, waking up in Rossum’s bed.
A strange, but pleasant smell gently roused Addison from her sleep. She pulled the quilt up around her shoulders and wiggled lower into the bed, willing herself back to sleep, until she felt something move beside her. This made her shoot out of bed, and she had to hold in a scream.
“Oh god, oh my god.” She whispered to herself. The cool air hit her naked body and she wrapped her arms around herself, “Oh my god! What is wrong with me?”
Addison continued to berate herself while she ran into the bathroom and silently closed the door behind her. The reflection in the mirror gazed accusingly back at her, “what?” she angrily whispered to it, “I wasn’t even the one that kissed him. He kissed me!”
She pulled a towel off the hook and wrapped it around her body. She collapsed onto the toilet seat and dropped her face into her hands, “what is wrong with me? Why must I insist on always doing the wrong thing?” She sat there for a while and tried to calm her breathing. After a while she stood up and made her way over to the door, opened it a bit and peeked out. Rossum was lying on his side and his breathing was stirring the hair that was resting on his forehead. She pushed it open more and collected all the clothing that was strewn all over the room, folded Rossum’s and slipped hers on, “where the hell is my bra?” she whipped around a couple of times, but decided that getting out of that room was the most important thing. She took an extra moment to look at Rossum again, sound asleep and placed a light kiss on his lips then tip-toed out of the room.
As soon as the coffee maker spit out enough liquid to fill her cup Addison took off out the front door with her bag slung over her shoulder. Luckily, she had called a clean-up crew to work on her apartment and just hoped that today she would have the courage to walk through the front door, because she didn’t really have anywhere else to go at this point. She was so busy thinking about this that she ran right into someone who was pacing up and down the front lawn, “Ow, Jesus!”
“Oh, I am so sorry!” They both yelled at the moment of impact.
When they stepped apart Addison was staring at a beautiful older woman. She was wearing worn-in jeans with a simple white V-neck t-shirt and a cardigan, but managed to look like a model. She was tall and had strawberry blonde hair that was pulled back into a low ponytail. From what Addison could see, she wore no make-up except a small amount of mascara on her top eyelashes which made her brown eyes pop. Addison smiled warmly at her and re-adjusted the strap on her shoulder, “hi, can I help you with something?”
The stranger pulled a thumbnail between her teeth and started chewing, “Um…no, you know what, I think I have the wrong house. Sorry about running right into you.”
“That’s fine, I’m sure it was my fault anyway.” Addison squinted against the rising morning sun, “you’re here pretty early, seems important, can I help you with something? I would hate for you to have woken up this early for nothing.”
“I’m looking for the past I guess… I’m sorry, I’m being cryptic,” she held her hand out to Addison; “I’m Lena, Lena Rossum.”
Addison’s breathing hitched and she involuntarily let out a small scream. Lena jumped back in surprise. “Oh god, I’m so sorry, that was an inappropriate response. You… you’re Phil’s ex-wife. Of course you are, I’m the one that called you… I’m Addison Grace.”
“Oh, Addison! It’s nice to meet you, thank you for the call. So, I am in the right place.”
“Yes, this is Phil’s house; I was just bunking with him for a while. Sorry for being so surprised, it’s just that I left you that message more than a month ago and never heard anything back from you so I just assumed that you didn’t have any interest in coming around.” Addison crossed her arms over her chest and stiffened her posture.
Lena mirrored this stance and lowered her eyebrows, “when I got your message I was sure that I didn’t want to come around, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I owed it to myself to come here and at least talk.”
“You owe it to yourself? What about Rossum what do you owe him? Maybe you owe him a call before showing up on his doorstep wanting to “talk”. You’re going to give him a heart attack.”
“Excuse me, but who exactly are you? You are the one who called me and wanted me to think about Phillip. You’re the one who stirred up all these old emotions and now you are trying to make me feel bad about coming to see my own husband. Excuse me, but I think if I am going to fight with anyone today it’s going to be him and not you.”
“Look, I’m sorry for being so confrontational; it’s been a weird couple of days. I just left and I can tell you that Rossum is sleeping which is actually pretty rare for him. I can’t stop you from going up to that door and waking him up, but I am asking you to turn around, go get a cup of coffee or something and call him, please. I think he deserves to be as prepared for this as you are, and maybe I’m just trying to save my own ass because I don’t want him to kill me for poking my nose into his business.” Addison dropped her arms and attempted to soften her gaze.
Apparently it worked because Lena sighed and dropped her chin until it rested on her chest, “Alright, maybe you’re right. I will at least give him some time to sleep. And I’m sorry too that this escalated so quickly, I think I’m just a bit nervous. I do really want to thank you, Addison, for reaching out to me.”
A smile flickered on Addison’s face and she nodded and watched Lena walk to her car. Only when she drove away was Addison able to let out a breath she was holding and try to process everything that was racing through her brain. Instead, she threw her bag into the trunk and drove the whole way to her apartment building in complete silence.
“Hi Tom!” She smiled as she whipped open the front doors to her building, “could you tell me if the cleaners have been to my apartment yet? They were supposed to come yesterday, but I’m not entirely sure they did.”
“I believe they did Miss Grace. I think they also left you a message here.” Tom pulled a drawer open and grabbed a small piece of folded paper, “there you are Miss Grace. I hope they did a nice job. Please call if there is anything else I can help you with.”
“Thank you Tom, you have done more than enough.” Addison said as she walked into the elevator and opened up the note.
Your apartment has been thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom and, as per your instructions we have removed anything that was even slightly damaged. I do hope you are pleased with the results. We were going to leave your key at the front desk but a neighbour insisted that you usually left it with her. Her apartment number is 4A.
Addison furrowed her brow and thought it was a little strange that a cleaning crew would leave her key with a random neighbour, but some tenants in the building could be paranoid and very persuasive, so she punched the 4th floor and tucked the note into her back pocket. The doors dinged open and Addison hopped off. She knocked lightly on the door that had 4A displayed and it swung open a bit. Her stomach did a little flip and she rested her hand on the glock in her purse, “hello?” She pushed the door open slowly, as soon as she did she saw drops of blood on the carpet, “Oh shit, hello?!”
The smell of blood was heavy in the air and Addison threw her bag on the ground in the hallway and ran into the building. She didn’t stop to look at anything until she found the bathroom. Same as her apartment, it was attached to the master bedroom. There, spread eagle on the bathroom floor was a bloody and battered young woman. Addison gasped and dropped to her side, “sweetie, please wake up, please!” she shook her shoulders bit. When that didn’t work she took two shaky fingers and placed them on her neck praying to feel even just a hint of a pulse, but there was nothing and her body felt cold to the touch.
Addison collapsed against the cabinet and pulled her knees to her chest and dialled 9-1-1 with her eyes closed. “This is 9-1-1 what is your emergency?”
“Hi, my name is Addison Grace and I need to report a crime, a murder actually.”
“Ma’am, I need you to tell me where you are and if anyone is injured.”
“I’m at 1802 Emma Street apartment 4A. Yes, someone is very injured, she is dead. She has no pulse and she is cold.”
“Okay, emergency services and police are on the way. Please stay where you are. Is there anyone else in the apartment with you?”
“No, I don’t know, I haven’t checked.”
“I need to ask you to lock yourself in a room and wait for the police to get there. Do not open the door for anyone that is not the police, is that clear?” The operators tone was stern and Addison almost rolled her eyes at this.
“I actually work for the FBI so I’m going to look around, please tell the officers not to shoot me.”
“Ma’am I really would advise against leaving the room. Police will be there in two minutes.”
Ignoring the woman on the phone Addison stood and crept out of the small bathroom with her gun drawn. She took an initial look around the living room and saw nothing. The bed was untouched suggesting that the unsub didn’t spend the same amount of time with this one as the others. While she was inspecting the blood drops on the carpet she heard the some scuffling and her heart nearly jumped out of her throat. She straightened her posture and spun around quickly with her gun pointed straight in front of her. One foot slowly crept in front of the other as she slowly made her way to the bedroom door. She turned to the right, she could see the gun in front of her was shaking, she wanted to call out, but she couldn’t find her voice. She felt eyes digging into the back of her skull and was about to turn around when a hand curled around her shoulder.
“AH!” Addison let out a blood curdling scream and pointed the gun at the face of the person who had approached her, but he had his hands in the air and was trying to calm her down.
“Addison, Addison, it’s me, it’s Alex. I need you to put the gun down, okay?” He was lowering his hands slightly trying to encourage her to put the gun down, but Addison needed to get her breathing under control before she could think about doing anything.
“What the fuck were you thinking sneaking up on me like that?! I could have shot you, you idiot! What are you even doing here?” She finally lowered the glock, put the safety back on and slipped it into the waistline of her pants.
“I’m sorry, I know, I should have said something I wasn’t thinking! I was driving near here and I heard the call over the scanner. The dispatcher said FBI agent was on site and I knew this was your building, so I just assumed that Rossum was here with you.”
“Well he’s not and you nearly gave me a heart attack! But I am glad that you are here. Did you clear the rest of the apartment? I have only checked out the bedroom. Body’s in the en suite bathroom if you want to check it out.”
“I’ll get to it, right now I’m more worried about you.”
“You’re more worried about me than the dead girl in the bathroom? You need to get your priorities straight.” Addison ran her fingers through her hair, but Alex was still staring her down, “listen, I’m fine, alright? You go check out the body and I’m going to look around the apartment before the police get here and start asking me a million questions.”
Alex just nodded and walked towards the bathroom. Addison went straight for the kitchen, but this crime scene was not like the others. If you avoided the bathroom you would never even know a crime was committed in this apartment. She made a cursory glance around the marble counters, but found no blood, no murder weapon, no anything. She covered her finger with the bottom of her shirt and wiped it along the surface right in front of her. The shirt was just as stark white as it had been before. Suddenly, the door sprang open and four officers entered with their guns drawn, “Please stop what you’re doing and keep your hands where we can see them. Are you Addison Grace, the person who called 9-1-1?”
Addison held her hands in front of her before she answered, “I am. The victim is in the bathroom with another agent. His name is Alex Brogan. He will show you his badge if you need it.”
Before she had even stopped speaking paramedics with a stretcher squeezed by the police and ran in the direction of the bathroom. One of the officers stepped forward and the other three fanned out to search the apartment. He holstered his weapon and slowly approached Addison, “Are you okay ma’am?”
“If you didn’t call me ma’am again I would be.” She lowered her hands.
He pulled out a notepad and flipped it open, “I’m officer Landsberg. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
“My name is Addison Grace, two Ds everything else is spelled how it sounds. I got to the building around seven o’clock that’s when my doorman told me that the people who were cleaning my room had left me a note. I read it on the elevator and it said that they had left my keys with the woman who lived in this apartment so I came right here to pick them up. When I knocked on the door it opened up a bit. I saw some blood on the floor so I entered the apartment just in case someone was hurt and needed my help. I called out a few times, but no one answered so I went to the bathroom. When I got there I saw the victim lying on the floor. I called out to her again and shook her shoulders a few times to try and rouse her, when that didn’t work I tried to take her pulse on her neck, but I couldn’t get anything. Once I realized she was dead I called 9-1-1. I then walked around the apartment to make sure the assailant wasn’t still in the building and that about brings us to now.”
Officer Landsberg was furiously writing everything down and continued to try and catch up after Addison stopped speaking. “Alright, we’re going to have to take your fingerprints to rule you out.”
Addison scrunched up her nose and shook her head, “I really don’t think that’s going to be necessary, I’m fairly certain Agent Brogan has figured everything out and has already called in the troops.”
“I’m sorry… the troops?”
He shoved the notepad into his pocket and gave Addison a cold glare, “And why would the FBI need to be involved?”
“This is related to a string of serial murders that have been going on for years.”
“Well, if you don’t mind, I’m going to continue doing my job until I am told otherwise and I would appreciate you staying out of my way.”
She threw her hands up again and smirked a little, “whatever you say officer.”
“What on earth is going on here?” Agent Mortimer stormed into the apartment. His eyes were filled with fury and Addison smirked at his acting. “Who is in charge of this circus?”
Officer Landsberg tentatively stepped forward, “that would be me, sir.”
“And just what in the hell do you think you’re doing? This is an FBI crime scene and your flying monkeys are contaminating it. Didn’t anyone tell you this was one of ours?”
“Well, yes, but… I just thought –”
“Clearly that, officer, is the problem. I expect you and your people to hand over everything and get out of this crime scene as soon as possible.” Officer Mortimer’s voice was booming and imposing. Addison smiled behind her hand and shot a glance at him who raised an eyebrow in response.
Once the police had cleared out Addison walked over to him and encircled his shoulders with her arms, “I love it when you get all “big bad boss man”. Thanks for doing that; he was being a bit rude to me.”
“Well, we can’t have anyone being mean to you, can we?” He stepped back and tentatively glanced at his watch, “now that daddy has come and scared away all the bad men, do you think you kiddies can handle it from here.”
Addison laughed and swatted at his chest, “Thanks papa bear, yeah, I think we can handle it from here.”
As Agent Mortimer opened the door a frantic Rossum pushed past him. Addison’s breath hitched in her throat and her stomach turned. She knew that this was Rossum’s case and that he was most likely the one that Brogan was on the phone with and she thought that she was prepared for this moment, but being there actually seeing him in front of her, she wanted to run right out of the building and not come back. But that wasn’t an option so she stiffened her spine and put a fake smile on her face.
Rossum ran up to her and placed a hand on either shoulder, “are you okay? What happened?! I thought it was you, I was so scared!”
“Rossum, calm down, I’m fine. I found the body, it’s in the bathroom.”
“It’s in your building!”
Addison lowered her voice to try and bring Rossum down, “I realize that, but it’s not like we didn’t know that he knew where I lived. Yes, he’s escalating which is concerning, but he’s playing with us, if he really wanted me he knows how to find me.” She tried to look away from Rossum, “that girl in there might not be me but she is someone’s daughter, she is special to someone. So let’s just do our job for her and for every other girl we found spread eagle on her bathroom floor.”
The pounding in her chest was almost overwhelming, but she managed to walk away from the deep chocolate eyes in front of her, but, apparently it wasn’t final for Rossum. “I can’t just forget –”
She stopped short and only turned her head over her shoulder, “well, you’re going to have to.”
He caught her arm before she had the chance to walk away and lowered his voice, “Addison, I really think we should talk.”
“I really think that this isn’t the time or the place.” She wriggled out from his loose grip, “if you’ll excuse me I need to drop my bag off at my apartment and change my clothes.”
The hurt look in his eyes as she walked away made her clench her fists, but she made it out of the room and into the elevator with her bad in tow. Her heart was beating erratically and she was holding the tears in her eyes at bay. This person wasn’t who she was; she barely recognized who she had become. She felt weak, like the little girl that she never really got to be and that wasn’t something that she was comfortable with. The elevator dinged open and Addison squared her shoulders, tightened her jaw.
A chill travelled down her spine as she walked into her apartment and she froze. Everything looked normal. The cleaning crew had done a great job, the apartment looked pristine, but something about it just wasn’t right. She dropped her bag onto the floor and slowly walked into her bedroom taking extra precaution and using every sense she had to determine whether or not she was alone. When she toed the door open she let out a breath of relief, no one was in her apartment other than her. She pulled jeans out of her bottom drawer and replaced her bloody shirt with a fresh black one. She grabbed a bag and put both her shirt and pants into it to bring back down to the forensics team. The last thing she wanted to do was brush her teeth and splash some water on her face.
There was a feeling of déjà vu when she took a step into her bathroom and flicked the light on, but she brushed it off until she looked up and saw her bathroom mirror.