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Chapter 22

It was hot. That was the first thing she noticed. Her t-shirt was sticking to her skin and she could feel the sweat hanging on her brow. She pressed her eyelids together before she opened them. She knew something terrible had happened and she wanted just a moment of peace before she had to face whatever it was. For just a moment she had transported herself to the morning she woke up in Rossum’s arms. The scent of his aftershave wafting through the room a cool breeze hitting her naked body, and, for what she felt was the last time she smiled, then, reluctantly, she opened her eyes.

It was dark at first, too dark to see where she was, but as her eyes adjusted she was able to see more. She was sitting in the middle of the room on a wire cot. There was no sheet on it and the mattress was starting to fray so there was stuffing coming out and a few springs visible. There was a little space around the bed but she was blocked in on all four sides. Behind her was a concrete wall and the other three sides were a fence that looked like chicken wire, but thicker. She got up off the got and felt the wire to see if she could break through it, but it was seemingly impossible. There was a small slot built into the bottom of one of the fences, but reinforced with metal siding and it was barely big enough to squeeze her arm though. Right in front of that was a tray that looked like it came from a food court with a pile of what could only be described as slop. Her lip curled in disgust as her eyes fell on a glass of musky water, and at that sight she couldn’t ignore the burning sensation in her throat. Her tongue felt like sand paper in her mouth, but there was no bone in her body that trusting any of the food in front of her.

Her body betrayed her, however and moved closer to the glass. She dipped a finger into the top and swirled it around lightly, then she brought it, hesitantly, to her lips brushed the liquid across them. They immediately felt better and she decided to do the same thing to the inside of her mouth, not wanting to actually drink the water, but hoping this would be enough. As she placed the water into her mouth she sucked on her finger trying to get every last drop. After she had moistened her mouth a bit she looked over at the brown sludge, but couldn’t bring herself to eat anything even though she felt the emptiness in the pit of her stomach.

She stood up and looked down at herself. She wore the same leggings and t-shirt that she had on when she passed out on her apartment and her feet where bare. The coolness of the concrete floor dug into her souls and she shifted uncomfortably. One moment. That’s all she gave herself to feel vulnerable and the full gravity of her situation. Her eyes welled up, but didn’t spill over, she wished that Rossum was here with her, she knew that if he was he would instinctively know what to do, but he wasn’t here, wherever here was. So she set her face with a hardened expression and blinked away the tears in her eyes.

Another glance around the room showed what the first had not. Just beyond the fence to her left was another room with another cot and a body curled up on his side. Her heart dipped, as much as she didn’t actually want Rossum to be in this situation, she knew she would be so much stronger with him there. She pressed her face against the chain links and started slamming her hand on it.

“Hey! Wake up!” she yelled at the figure. He seemed to jerk up and slowly turned his head, her stomach clenched in anticipation and when his head finished its rotation her heart dropped.

“Miss Grace?” the familiar voice rang out in the small space.

“Tom?! What –How are you…” her voice trailed off as she remembered what happened. Tom had been at her door, she had blacked out. “Tom, I am so sorry I got you into this mess!”

He got up off the bed slowly and made his way to the fence in front of Addison, “it’s not your fault, Miss Grace.”

“Please, Tom, I think, considering we are in this situation together, you can call me Addison.” She looked down with dejection, “do you mind… do you mind if I ask what happened after I passed out?”

It was Tom’s turn to look down, “I came up to your apartment to drop the tape off as Agent Rossum had asked me to. When you answered the door you seemed a little pale or shaky or something and you were slurring your words. After that, you kind of staggered and fell forward onto me. I caught you, but then I felt something hit the back of my head and I blacked out. When I woke up I was here and you were there, but that was a couple days ago. You’ve been out cold for a while.”

“Did you get a look at the guy?”

“Not right when it happened, but someone has been dropping off food and checking on you. I try to ask him questions but he doesn’t even acknowledge me. He hasn’t even said two words to me.” He weaved his fingers together and looked down at them guiltily, “I feel so terrible.”

“I mean, considering the situation we’re in, that’s understandable.” Addison offered him a small smile and felt the guilt stir in her stomach, but she attempted to ignore it. Feeling guilty was not going to get them anywhere.

“No, not about that. We are in a bad situation, but I feel bad that I couldn’t stop it. I was there and I couldn’t help us, I couldn’t help you.”

“Tom, this is so far from being your fault. I know why this is happening; I just don’t know who’s doing them. This is all on me.”

“What do you mean? What do you know?”

“It’s something in my life that I have been running from. I thought I had erased every part of it. I guess I didn’t do as good of a job as I thought I did. Someone found out, someone found me.” Addison wasn’t hysterical; she was just stating a fact. In reality she had been coming to terms with this truth since she had seen the message in the mirror.

“I just don’t understand, Ms. Grace, why is he coming after you?”

Addison bit her lip. A million thoughts had been running through her mind, but for some reason that wasn’t one of them. She had just assumed that it was the tri-way killer messing with her, which it still could be, but that note, the kidnapping, it suggested something far more thought out, far more intimate. She was lost and confused. Was it all about her? Did all those girls die simply because some sicko had a weird obsession with her? “I’m sorry, Tom, I can’t answer that… I wish I could, but I guess it’s just a matter of why anyone does what they do. People get taken all the time, we aren’t the first, we won’t be the last. Sometimes there is a reason, other times it’s just being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. It just so happens that today you knocked on the wrong door.”

Tom was silent for a couple minutes, then he spoke low, “at least it means you don’t have to be alone.”

“I would prefer to be alone if it meant that you were safe, Tom, but thank you for saying that.” As Addison was saying this her attention was pulled to a small red light that was set a little in front of her. It startled her at first, her being unsure of what it was, but as her eyes adjusted to the darkness on that side of the room she realized that she recognized the glow. It was a camera, whoever had taken them here was keeping a close eye on them.

She was vaguely aware that Tom was speaking, but she wasn’t listening to a word he was saying. There was a plan formulating in her head. If she was going to have any chance of making it out of this place she had to know who was keeping her here, who had found out the one thing that she had worked her entire life to cover up?

The sheets were torn easily from the bed and she used the exposed springs to tear small sections apart. Tom had long since stopped talking and seemed content to just watch Addison was curiosity as she did this, but, to his credit, he wasn’t pestering her with questions, he wasn’t crying, or pacing or yelling. He was simply sitting on his bed with his chin in his hands following her with his eyes. They followed her as she took the strips over to the chain link fence directly across from the camera and started to weave the fabric through until it resembled a familiar message, one she had been thinking about for the past 24 hours: I know who you are.

Once she was finished she stepped back to admire her work, then she stared directly into the camera, cocked her head and gave it her best come and get me look. All was silent until Tom decided to emerge from his reverie, “what do we do now?”

She briefly tore her eyes from the red light, “we wait.”

And so she did. She sat down on the dingy floor and waited for any acknowledgement from her unknown captor. Her mind inevitably started to wander. To the water sitting half a foot from her. To her empty and protesting stomach. To the innocent man that she may have sentenced to death. And to Rossum, always to Rossum. She had acted selflessly one time in her entire life, just once, and it was probably the thing that was going to kill her.

What if things had played out differently? What would have happened if when Rossum kissed her she just gave in and let her body do exactly what it was screaming at her to do and fall into him. Let him hold her up, and completely consume her. What would have happened if she hadn’t left, if he had stayed?

All the questions were overwhelming her brain and making her dizzy. She felt her heartbeat speed up and pound against her ribcage. There was no doubt in her mind that if she had done things differently she wouldn’t be in this situation, and she wouldn’t have pulled Tom into it either, but no was not a time for what ifs. She couldn’t change what she had done, besides it had been the right thing to do, hadn’t it?

She shook her head to dispel the annoying thought and briefly wondered what was wrong with her, thinking about such trivial matters at a time like this. That was when she heard it, a scratching, then a scraping and finally footsteps, heavy footsteps. She scrambled to her feet and took in a deep breath to try and control her heart that was wildly beating for a much different reason than it was a few moments ago.

Addison closed her eyes. All of a sudden she wasn’t ready to see who this man was. This person who had stalked her and taunted her then drugged her to kidnap her. The footsteps had stopped and everything was silent. She knew she would have to open her eyes eventually, but a few more seconds to settle her nerves was all she needed, after that she could be big, bad, fearless Addison Grace, the person she had hand crafted.

“Interesting little art project you put together there, Addison.” Her eyes shot open, but they took a second to clear. That voice, she knew that voice. “You are a very interesting girl, you know that? Not one scream, no hysterical crying, no clawing at the fence. So level headed even in a life and death situation. It’s remarkable, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen that before.”

Addison’s throat went dry as her eyes cleared. There he was standing in front of her, clear as day. There had only ever been one person in her life that was able to pull the wool over her eyes so thoroughly, fooled her so completely that she could not even speak. He may not be wearing his regular clothes, or have the happy dumb look in his eyes, and his accent may have faded away, but standing only feet from her, separated by thin metal links was Agent Alex Brogan.

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