Rossum watched Addison walk out of the open door and felt his stomach drop. Last night had meant so much to him, but it seemed like Addison just wanted to forget everything and move on. How was he supposed to act like it never happened? He was jolted out of his own thoughts by a hand on his shoulder. When he looked over Agent Brogan was staring at him sympathetically, “don’t worry Agent Rossum, it wasn’t her. She seems mighty fine to me. Especially for someone who just found a dead body. That there girl is the strongest I’ve ever seen.”
“And the coldest.” Rossum muttered under his breath. If Addison wanted to forget about everything than he would throw himself into work, she was right after all, this poor girl had been someone’s daughter and this man had got away with killing for far too long. It was time to stop him.
He took a cursory glance around the apartment. It was clean, like Addison’s… no, not like Addison’s! it’s just clean. He scolded himself. This wasn’t like the other crime scenes where the killer had taken his time. This one seemed rushed, like he wasn’t having fun with the torture anymore, like this was simply a message. Rushed meant maybe he had slipped up, maybe he had left behind a clue. He looked at Agent Brogan again, “I don’t understand… why was Addison here? Did she know the victim?”
“No, from what I heard she got a note from her doorman. It said her keys were here or something.”
A smile widened over Rossum’s face, “a note? He delivered a note? Maybe he gave it to the doorman himself, maybe he made a mistake!”
Rossum jogged out of the room and chose the stairs instead of the elevator all the way to Tom. “Oh, Mr. Rossum, I am so terribly sorry that this is happening again in this building! I just don’t know how it’s possible.”
“That’s what I’m down here for, Tom. I was wondering what the man who dropped off the note for Addison looked like?”
Tom seemed shocked by Rossum’s urgent tone, “I – I’m sorry sir, but I wasn’t here. The note was dropped off and I only got it when I started my shift. When I saw Miss. Grace I just passed the message along.”
Defeated, Rossum nodded his head in silent resignation, “Too bad, thanks anyway Tom. Is there any way you can check with the person who was covering the overnight shift? And if you could collect the video footage and send it to the office or even just give it to Addison the next time you see her it would be greatly appreciated.” He pulled a card out of his breast pocket and slid it across the table. “Any problems and don’t hesitate to give me a call.”
“Yes, sir… agent. I will do that. Thank you.” Tom looked at the card like it was plated in gold and slipped it into his pants pocket.
Rossum let out a dejected sigh as he trudged his way back to the elevator. He was starting to think that this was just going to be one of those days, especially because of the way it had started. Looking around the elevator he was haunted by how familiar it was. How many times he had bounded into it, happy with the prospect of what it held on the other side of its smooth shiny doors, but lately all the elevator ever held for him was pain and haunting images when it opened up. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror across from him and jumped out of the small box before it could trap him inside. The stairs seemed like a better option today. But even as he opened the heavy door that lead to them he couldn’t help but think about the face that had moments ago been staring back at him. It couldn’t have possibly been his own, there had to be some sort of mistake. His shoulders couldn’t possibly been that slumped, his skin hadn’t looked that ashen since he was a child, but it was his eyes that were the real stranger they looked sad and listless. He had never been a man who was quick to smile, but his eyes had always retained a certain twinkle even when they were concentrated and determined, as they so often were, there was always a bit of playfulness within them, but he hadn’t seen a speck of it.
Suddenly he was angry, outraged. How dare she take away his spark! How dare she taunt and tease him only to give in then pull away. How dare she act like nothing had happened last night? At the very least she owed him an apology. That outrage fueled his 4 storey climb and caused him to burst through the doors and stomp onto the tiled floor. He was surprised to see Addison looking pale and slightly shaken, standing by the sink and gazing out the window across the room. She was clearly oblivious to him even though he was making a fair bit of noise which only served to make him even angrier. He cleared his throat. Her neck muscles tightened, but her head didn’t move from its position. If Rossum hadn’t been so angry with her he would have been very concerned seeing her like this, but that was not the case, so he pushed.
“Addison!” he called a little more harshly then he meant to, but it caused her head to whip out of its position and her eyes to lock on his. She stayed silent, however, and just looked at him with the same blank expression she was using on the window. “I think there are some things that need to be discussed… between us.”
“I thought we went over this already, Rossum, I don’t –”
“And that’s the problem, Addison, everything is always about you. It’s always on your terms. Well, you owe me this, okay? You at least owe me a talk.”
A moment of what looked like understanding flashed across her eyes, then something he had never seen, but with a sigh it looked like she was giving in, “Then talk, Agent.”
“Agent, huh? I thought I was the angry one. I don’t want to talk here; there are too many people around.”
“That would be because of the dead body in the bathroom.”
“I’m more than aware of the dead body in the bathroom, Addison. It’s not going anywhere and our colleagues are more than capable of collecting evidence.”
“Fine, where would you like to go then?” She drawled out sarcastically.
“I was thinking maybe your apartment? That way we can have a little privacy.”
She flinched a little at that and it looked like those words were the last things she wanted to hear, but also what she had expected. She recovered quickly, “after you, Agent.”
Her place looked brighter than it did before, it also felt colder, or maybe that was just coming from the look Addison was giving him. She was propped up on the marble counter top with her arms across her chest, like she was protecting herself. Every once and a while she would look over the apartment then rest on him again. He had got what he had wanted, they were alone and she was waiting for him to speak, but all of a sudden he didn’t know what to say, or how to start. Just as he was about to dive in, she cut him off.
“Listen, before you start laying into me about my cruel behaviour or whatever there are some things that you should know.” She paused and Rossum took that opportunity to jump in.
“Please don’t feed me some bullshit about how you are emotionally damaged and you don’t understand how your actions may hurt someone because it’s just not true.”
“Oh shit I don’t know what I’ll do now that option is off the table.” She shot him a sarcastic look that he almost wanted to chuckle at, but he kept his FBI mask on. “I was just going to suggest that you call home and check your voicemail. That might clear some things up.”
With that she turned and started to make herself a drink assuming that he would do as she asked. He glanced down at the cell phone that seemed to appear in his hand magically, he had pulled it out of his pocket without realizing. Against his better judgement, he decided to trust her and typed the familiar number onto the screen. His stomach seemed to tighten with every ring, not sure what would be waiting for him after his voicemail greeting. Finally he heard a long beep and the automated voice tell him that he had one new message.
“Hi… Phil… Phillip.” That was the last voice he had expected to hear when he picked up his phone. The blast from the past settled over him like an uncomfortable chill and he physically shook for a moment, “It’s Lena. I know this is probably a shock to you. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it and I’ve had a good month or so on you. I think there are some things that we have left unsaid for too long. I’m not sure how you feel, but I know that I have never quite been done with us. I’ve searched a long time for closure, but it just seems to elude me. I’m now thinking, and have been for the past couple of weeks that it’s because we haven’t spoken. We left things so abruptly and I think a part of me, a big part of me, feels bad about that.”
So many thoughts we’re racing through his mind. How did she track him down? Why did she track him down? How did Addison know that voicemail would be waiting for him? What did all this mean? But every time one thought popped into his head a new one would replace it before he could think about the answer and Lena was still rambling on making it difficult to hear himself think.
“I almost knocked on your door this morning, but your friend was there to let me know that you would be surprised to say the least and she convinced me that calling first would be the best option.” At this he lifted head and for the briefest of moments their eyes met without any of the anger or lust or humour that had been occupying both of them lately, but, as always, hers shot down to her drink as she lightly swirled it around in her cup. “Thank her again for me, will you? I don’t think I would have had the courage to contact you if she hadn’t given me the push. Anyway, I will come by your house later on tonight and hopefully we can talk. It was nice to hear your voice, even if it was just on the answering machine.”
Another beep sounded then there was only silence, broken up every once and a while by the ice cubes that would clang together in Addison’s cup. She kept her eyes down so that even if Rossum had wanted to read what was on her face he wouldn’t have been able to.
Lena had called him. After 4 years of radio silence there was her voice again, leaving him a message like a day hadn’t gone by. But a day had gone by, many days had gone by. He had written off that part of his life. It had been nice while it had lasted, that was true enough, but then it was done and gone and he had moved on, right? Closure was the word Lena had used. Closure. What the fuck did it mean? Did it mean that she still loved him? Or did it just mean that she regretted the way things had ended between them? And, the question of the hour, did it matter to him? If she did still love him would he drop everything and run back to her side after everything that had happened? Did he still love her?
At this thought he couldn’t help but glance across the room. This time she was looking back at him guiltily. Her cup had been drained and set on the counter where it was collecting condensation and making a wet ring. He watched as a bead of water rolled down the glass before he opened his mouth to speak. He wished that she would cut him off again and speak first, but it looked like she was revelling in the silence and wanted to prolong it for as long as she could.
“So, that was interesting… care to shed some light on the situation? I would really appreciate it.”
She slowly licked her lips then drew the bottom one between her teeth, clearly choosing her words carefully. “There was a time, a while ago when I thought it would be a good idea… after the way I heard you speak about her. I’m sorry if I made the wrong decision, but I did it with good intentions.”
“The issue here isn’t your intentions, Addison, it’s that you made this huge decision for me… when did I talk to you about my wife?”
He saw her flinch slightly, “That night you took me to my first Tri-Way killer scene. In the car when you told me I reminded you of her.”
“I… I thought you were sleeping.” He replied lamely. That night was clear in his head, but he couldn’t remember exactly what he had said about Lena
“I was, but I was also awake. Drifting in and out.”
“So from that one conversation you decided to contact my wife? A woman that I haven’t spoken to in years and then you didn’t tell me about it?”
“To be honest I completely forgot about it. I did it on a whim,” she held up her hands in surrender before Rossum could cut it, “which isn’t an excuse, I know. But then a few days went by, and a few weeks, and she never called me. Other things were happening, things that kind of took precedence in my head. And then I ran into her this morning…”
“As you were leaving my house.” Rossum clarified.
“Running away from me.”
“That’s not really the problem here.”
“Yes, Addison, that is the problem.” His legs were moving on their own accord across the tiled floor and closer to the woman who was looking at him questioningly, but didn’t move. He placed his hands on either side of her waist. The marble had been warmed by her body and he was now close enough that he could feel her steady breath on his neck. “It’s a problem because I thought that you were someone I could trust, that you might have actually trusted me too. It’s a problem because I went to bed with a beautiful girl last night and I woke up alone.”
“Beautiful girls tend to do that to people.”
“I’m not joking around, Addison.”
She looked up at him through her long eyelashes, “neither am I. I’m not a good person for you. I made a decision.”
The anger flared in him, but he didn’t pull away, “There you go again making decisions for me.”
“No, I made a decision for the both of us and I stand by it. Lena is beautiful and she seems like a wonderful person and obviously you were in love with her at some point, so in love that you married her. I mean that’s huge, Ross, that’s major. I can’t even imagine loving someone that much… loving someone at all.” Her eyes glazed over with that faraway look again, “and now she’s here, she came back. I don’t think that’s something you should ignore. She showed some major courage doing something like that and I’m not going to be one of your excuses for not hearing her out.”
“She’s… I did love her at one point and I don’t take that lightly, but…” Rossum shook his head and searched Addison’s eyes and tried to find some part of her that would understand, “she is my past.”
A small smirk crossed her lips and for a moment Rossum thought he had done it, but, as always, she was a step ahead of him. “Then why do you still call her your wife?”
“Wha… I… that’s irrelevant!”
Rossum could feel the frustration stir in his chest along with the tightening in his stomach. She wasn’t listening to him and he could feel her slipping through his fingers and he felt the desperate need to hold on to her so he grasped at the hem of her sweater and, in a last ditch effort, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her hard. He knew it was desperate, but if she really was escaping him he wanted to feel her lips under his one last time.
When he pulled away a smile was on her lips again, but he had no false hope this time. When she spoke it came out in almost a whisper, “A kiss is what men do when they’re not really sure what they’re fighting for anymore.”
He rested his forehead against hers and spoke in her same tone, “what gives you the right to make statements like that?”
“Rom-coms?” She smirked and shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know… life experience, I guess.”
“And what if that’s something that I don’t want to accept?”
Her voice dropped to a full whisper, “I think you’ll thank me one day.” With that she lightly placed her lips over his then ducked out from the cage his body was creating.
Rossum whirled around to see her standing by the door, “that wasn’t really an answer to my question.”
“Wasn’t it?” They looked at each other for a couple seconds, both unsure of what they were hoping to find and both coming away disappointed, “feel free to stay here for a while, I have some things to do anyway, then call your wife. I’m going to call Mortimer and tell him I need a little time off. I think we could both use it to… well, maybe we could both just use it.”
She disappeared outside her front door and Rossum didn’t stop her, or run after her. He just stood in the middle of her kitchen and looked at the front door. His head was pounding, all of the thoughts he had been repressing were begging to be released and he couldn’t get a handle of it. Addison’s whiskey bottle was still on the counter and he took a quick swig of it just for something to do. He looked into her bedroom and saw the bathroom light was on so he walked across the carpet to turn it off and take a last look. His hand was on the switch when he looked up. This time it wasn’t his reflection that haunted him it was the five words written crudely with a substance that looked suspiciously like blood.
I know who you are.