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Chapter 20

I know who you are.

Addison pulled all her hair into a high bun and chewed on the inside of her cheek.

I know who you are.

Every time she closed her eyes she could see the words staring back at her from her bathroom mirror. There were so many meanings those words could have, but there was only one name that was reverberating against the walls of her head. She rubbed her temple and stopped dead on the sidewalk causing an irate older gentleman to grumble with anger and sidestep her.

Addison took a moment to compose herself and shake the name out of her. There were other things she had to focus on at the moment. The big office building in front of her shone in the midday sun and made her shield her eyes with her hand as she looked up at it. Instead of walking inside she pulled her phone out of her back pocket and scrolled down the recent calls list before selecting one.

“Preston, Rutherford, and Sand, how may I direct your call?”

“Hi, could you transfer me to Mr. Preston’s line.”

“I will transfer you to his secretary.” The cheery voice said.

“I would really appreciate it if you could put me directly through to his line. He is expecting my call.” Addison bounced from foot to foot and kicked the sidewalk while she waited.

“Could I get your name miss?”

“Of course, sorry, I should have told you that before. I’m Addison Grace.”

“Ah, yes he is expecting your call Ms. Grace. I will transfer you right now.”

The line went dead before Addison could say anything else. Then a deeper voice greeted her. “This is Gregory Preston.”

“Greg, it’s Addison.”

“Hi, Addy. I have the file in front of me right now. Do you have a couple minutes to talk this out with me? Can I come pick you up for lunch or something?”

“I’m actually outside of your building right now.”

“Why didn’t you just come up?”

“Wasn’t sure how you and I stood… after everything.” She laughed uncomfortably.

There was a pause on the other end, “after everything.” He repeated her words, “I’m glad that you still felt like you could call me.”

“Well, it wasn’t easy. Trust me.”

She could almost hear him smiling, “how about I come down and get you, then we can talk a little more about Mr. Harrington.”

“Thanks, Greg.”

She paced back and forth in front of the doors until they opened up and strong arms pulled her inside. The pair were silent during the walk through the lobby. Once the elevator doors closed Addison could feel the awkwardness radiating off Greg, but she couldn’t think of anything that might make him feel better, but he spoke first. “How’s Rossum doing?”

Addison flinched slightly at the mention of his name, “He’s… Rossum.”

“I liked him, you know. He seemed like a good man, if not a little old for you.”

“Rossum and I aren’t together so our age gap is irrelevant, but he is a good man.”

Greg held his hand open to lead her into his office. She took a seat on one of the leather chairs that faced his desk and crossed her legs. True to his word, Joel Harrington’s file was sitting open on top of a multitude of papers sprawled across his desktop. He flopped into his own chair and pulled himself closer. “So, I agree with you, there are some questionable circumstances, but Harrington didn’t do a hell of a lot to help himself and I’m afraid that is going to hurt us going forward.”

Addison’s eyes shot up at that, “Us? That’s going to hurt us? Does that mean you’ll do it? You’ll take the case?”

“Of course I’ll take the case, Addison. You never ask for anything if you can help it. I would like to do this for you if I can. Plus, if this poor kid is innocent, then he’s already wasted too many years.”

“I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve already spoken to him and I think I’ve made myself fairly clear about how large of a hole he has dug himself. He was dealing with some guilt and it made him do some stupid things, but he’s on board now.” Addison shook her head and looked at her hands that were folded in her lap. She thought about the last time she had seen Joel. His black eye and the hopeless look in his eyes. “You’ve got to help him, Greg; I don’t think he’s going to make it much longer.”

“I’m going to do everything I can, Addison. I’ve already called the prison and set up a time to talk with Joel and I’ve sent out to the prosecutor’s office to have them send over everything they have.” He was shuffling the papers on his desk as if to confirm everything he was telling her. She smiled at him, but he gave her a weary look, “Addison, I feel the need to mention that this story, while plausible, is a bit hard to believe. I don’t want you to get your hopes up. This isn’t an easy clear up, it’s going to take some time, and even after that…”

“I get it. I don’t expect it to happen tomorrow and I just… I just don’t know what I could possibly say to thank you for this.”

Greg just shrugged, “I’m due for a pro bono case anyway. Despite what all the jokes say, us lawyers really do like to do some good in this world.”

She nodded and looked up at him, “you look good, Greg. Fatherhood suits you.”

He smiled and got a far off look in his eyes, “It’s really incredible, Addy. I’m really happy.”

“That’s really great. You deserve it, Greg.” For some reason that Addison couldn’t grasp her eyes filled with tears and there was a sinking feeling in her stomach. Seeing Greg so happy, knowing that at any moment Rossum could be reuniting with his long lost wife, it made her feel more alone then she ever had. But that was how she liked it, right? That was the way she always wanted it to be, that’s why she pushed everyone away, it was her choice. “Anyway, I should probably head out. Please call me if there is anything at all I can help with. I’m going to keep visiting Joel because I think he needs it, and I will obviously keep reviewing the case and I’ll call you if I notice anything else.”

“Sounds great, I’m going to put a small team on it and give one of them your number if that’s alright.”

“As long as he’s cute.” She threw her purse over her shoulder and winked at him by his door frame, “I was good seeing you, Greg, and thank you again.”

“It’s official, if you thank me one more time I’m not going to believe that this is really you.”

“I’m just grateful. There aren’t a lot of people in the word that would do what you’re doing at a moment’s notice.”

“Well, there aren’t many people like you, Addison.”

“Thank god for that.” She walked out of the office feeling a little better. It was nice to know that someone was taking this case as seriously as she was. As the sun warmed her face she let her body go to autopilot and lead her home desperately hoping that she had left enough time for Rossum to gather his thoughts and leave.

With that thought she hesitated once she pushed her key into the lock. What would she say to him if he was still there? Was there any way she could stay strong and repeat the statements she had made before? It was hard enough being the bigger person once, she was sure she couldn’t do it again, not if he was standing so close to her again. But when she finally opened up her door Rossum was nowhere in sight, and, although she was relieved she was also a bit disappointed.

Before she forgot, she took out her cell phone and rang up Agent Mortimer. His familiar voicemail picked up and Addison had to scramble to figure out what she was going to say before the beep.

“Hi, Mortimer. I’m really sorry about this, I know you put your faith in me and you trusted me and I really appreciate it, I hope you realize how much. That is what makes saying this so difficult, but I really need some time off. Not too long, just enough time to get some things together and figure some other stuff out. When I accepted this offer I thought that I would be there for a month and just disappear and move on, but the more I showed up and got to know everyone the more difficult it was for me to detach myself from the job. I ended up falling in love with it.” Her breath hitched a little at this and she hoped it was not noticeable, “anyway hope you don’t hate me for this, and I also am praying that you will be open to me taking up my old position when I can. I will call you in a few days so save up your yelling and insults for then, old man. Thank you again for everything.”

She felt a cloud of unease settle over her once she disconnected her call. Now that she was alone, truly alone again, she wasn’t sure what to do. In the last few months she had never been alone, not really. Rossum was always lingering in the background, even when he wasn’t exactly with her, even when they were fighting, he was always still with her. But now it was just her, and even though that’s how she had been for most of her life and that she was the one who had pushed everyone away, she couldn’t help but feel lonely and a tinge of sadness. It was new for Addison so she did what felt familiar, she walked over to the counter where the whiskey was sitting and took a swig out of the bottle. As the alcohol burned her throat Addison felt calm by the familiar burning sensation. She was about to take another swig when there was a light knock on her front door.

She slammed the bottle down and stomped over to the door. She whipped it open with a scowl on her face that she regretted when she saw who was on the other side.

“I’m t-terribly sorry to disturb you, Miss Grace, but Agent Rossum asked me to drop these off when I got them. I also just called Patrick and he said the note was left on the desk while he had been called out to do a sweep of the front of the building.”

Her face softened as she took the thick manila envelope, “Thank you, Tom. I will messenger them over to the office as soon as I can. You’ve been so helpful through all this and I really appreciate that.”

“It’s not a problem, I’m just happy to help in trying to sort all of this nasty business out.” Addison tried to blink the fuzziness from her eyes. She was feeling the swig of alcohol like a ton of bricks and it surprised her that such a small amount could have such an effect of her. Her arms hung down heavy against her hips and her breathing felt strained. Tom’s hand reached out to steady her, “Miss Grace, are you feeling alright? You don’t look so well.”

She heard Tom’s words, but didn’t understand them. There was a pounding in her chest that felt like her heart was about to bust right out. Dark spots started to blot out her vision, “Shit.” Was all she managed to get out before she stumbled forward and felt Tom’s arms wrap around her and stop her from hitting the ground, then she felt nothing at all.

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