"Tell me where Terese is" Paul shouted as he held Sammy by his collar "Have you called the police" he said turning to look at Alex.
"Not yet, maybe we should hold off until he explains himself" Alex said calmly "Maybe you should try and let him"
Paul looked back at Sammy. He stopped and stared before loosening his grip. Sammy straightened his shirt and corrected his collar before standing there looking at both men.
"Hey Alex. You ok? Actually, what are you doing here? I thought you would’ve been too busy to play detective"
“Well actually I got stuck in the lift with Mr Robinson”
“I bet that was fun” Sammy said sarcastically
“That it” Paul said through gritted teeth.
"C’mon Sammy, stop messing around. Please, do you know where Ms Willis is?"
"What if I say no. Would you believe me?"
"I would give you a chance, yeah"
"Well, I wouldn’t." Paul said interrupting the conversation.
Alex looked at him
"Why? Everyone is innocent till proven guilty, right?" Alex said " Just because he has two half packed suitcases open here on the couch and a whole lot of papers on that table, doesn’t mean a thing. Maybe it’s for him and his girlfriend. You know, the one he moved here for"
"Well, is it?" Paul asked looking at Sammy
"You could say that" Sammy said spitefully
"Don’t lie to me" Paul shouted
"You see, he will never listen" Sammy said looking at Alex
Alex looked at Paul then back at Sammy.
"You’re right. He’s just too stubborn. Thinking he can be in charge of any situation, that he’s the boss of everyone. You should’ve seen him on the way up here."
"Exactly. I’ve been trying to tell people this for a while, but no one wants to listen. I’m glad someone finally sees it"
"You’re right and I’m so sorry. I should’ve seen it sooner."
Paul looked at Alex and shook his head. He shoved Sammy to the side and walked down the narrow hall to the room where Terese had been. As he walked in, he could tell she’d been here. That lingering smell of her perfume. He smiled. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. That smell that lingered everywhere she went, a reminder that she was close. He opened his eyes and looked around. Was this where she’d been the whole time. Had she really been in his property, his penthouse, for over a week and he didn’t know. He walked towards the window. Had he walked pass this window and not think to look up to see if anyone was there? How could he have missed this? He looked around. The two lunches sat on the table exactly where they’d been set. Paul smiled.
“I bet their lunch conversations had nothing on ours.” He muttered to himself
Suddenly his eyes caught a glimpse of the bathroom. The glass was still scattered on the floor. He stood for a bit looking around. There were so many questions going around his head, so many theories. Was this Terese, did she do this? Did he do this? Was Terese hurt? He sighed. He had to find her. He turned around and headed towards the door. As he walked down the hall, he heard the boys talking. As he stopped to listen, Alex was saying his final goodbyes. At the sound of his footsteps Paul walked back into the room.
“So did you find anything?" Sammy smirked
"Just the mess. The glass on the bathroom floor? Is that hers?"
"No, it’s mine." he answered opening his hand, revealing a small cut "I fancied a glass of water and it slipped. Picking up broken glass is the worst eh."
"And the two lunches. Them for you and your girlfriend, are they?"
"Yes, they were"
"And where is she now" Paul asked "This mysterious girlfriend of yours? The one you’re apparently buying lunch for and going on holiday with."
"We had a fight. She didn’t agree with my choice of music for the trip."
"Stop lying" Paul answered raising his voice "I know she was here. Locked in that room for two weeks with only a low life like you for company. A good for nothing reprobate who thinks he deserves a woman like her"
Paul grabbed Sammy’s arm and dragged him across the room towards the coffee table. He stood next to him, leaned over and started ruffling through the papers that laid in a messy pile.
"Bank statements, travel plans, plane tickets" he said before stopping in his tracks. He lifted two A4 papers off the table. "Tell me again why you have a picture of my wife’s passport?"
"That was a work thing" Sammy said, trying to cover his tracks
"Are you serious. Just tell me where she is?" Paul shouted
"I don’t know" Sammy shouted back.
Paul looked at the floor and shook his head. Just under the table he saw another piece of paper. He leant over, picked up a little scrunched up ball and opened it carefully. As he started reading, Sammy grabbed the paper. His quick reaction saw the letter fly out of Paul’s hand and safely into his. He scrunched it tightly and placed it in his pocket.
"That’s private, you have no right reading it"
Paul looked at him
"Why was it addressed to me? Was that going to be my goodbye?" Paul questioned
"What goodbye? Why would I be writing you a goodbye letter?”
Paul’s face turned, his eyebrows frowned as he raised his hand and pointed at Sammy.
“You think you’re so clever, playing your little cat and mouse game. You think you can pull the wool over my eyes, over Alex’s. But you listen to me. Now he may have left, but I won’t. I will stay here for as long as is needed. I will stay here until I know my wife will be coming home. And then I will come for you, do you understand”
“Think I’m kidding?” he asked
“Oh no, I know you’re serious. But don’t you stop and think sometimes. Maybe Terese had enough. Maybe she just decided it wasn’t worth it? That what you have wasn’t worth all the challenges?”
“And that’s exactly why you could never be anything more than a staff member to her. Why she wouldn’t look twice in your direction. You don’t know who she really is. You don’t know what makes her tic, what makes her happy. You think she’d want to hide from the challenges, shy away from them. But that’s who she is, she thrives on them. You think you know her, but in reality, she’s more than your petty little mind could imagine”
“I couldn’t care less about what she thinks of me. For the last time. And I’ll spell it out for you. I. Don’t. Know. Where. She. Is”
Paul shook his head.
“You will tell me where she is. Sooner rather than later your smart mouth will trip you up. You’re fooling no one but yourself thinking this little game will play out in your favour”
“Have you considered that maybe you’re looking at the wrong staff member. I mean, why did Alex bring you up here? Why tag along only to leave when you wanted answers. I bet he saw me, saw his chance and went after Terese”
Paul stepped back and looked down. He lifted his head
“Let just say that makes any sense, why would he go after her? If you don’t know where she is, why would anyone need to go after her?”
“No, I just meant...” Sammy stuttered
“What? What did you mean?” Paul said angrily as he stepped forward. Sammy panicked and quickly took a couple of steps back. As he did his leg hit the side of the coffee table and he lost his footing. Paul watched as he fell to the floor. There was a loud bang as his head hit the corner of the table on the way down. Standing over him, Paul looked down. He kicked his feet, and Sammy opened his eyes. Just as he leant forward to lend him a hand the lift pinged. Paul turned around as the doors opened and two police officers walked out. As one turned towards the hallway the other came round the corner.
“What's going on here?” he asked as he looked down “What happened?”
Just as Paul was getting ready to explain he made his way around the couch and kneeled down. He saw blood on the corner of the table.
“Son, can you hear me?” he asked Sammy. There was nothing. He grabbed his radio. Just as he was ready to call the Ambulance the lift doors opened. Paul turned around as two paramedics stepped out.
“Over here guys” the police officer shouted as one made his way towards him. The other went down the hallway towards the bedrooms.
As he looked in the direction of the lift, in between the holes of the bookcase, Paul caught sight of another figure. A short figure, in a black and white dress. He stood up. The worried look on his face was replaced by a broad smile. She looked up and saw him. There he was. This was the moment she’d been waiting for. The moment that had kept her going. She smiled. She suddenly felt safe. As her fear turned to relief her smile disappeared and she broke down. He made his way around the corner and stood there for a little while. She looked so vulnerable, so fragile. He didn’t know what she’d been through, what Sammy had done to her. She lifted her head long enough for him to see her eyes. That look, that’s all he needed. He walked towards her, wrapped his arms around her tightly and kissed the top of her head. She rested her head in his chest and wrapped her arms around him. The warm feel of his body against hers felt like she remembered, like coming home. As she lifted her head to look at him, without a word, their foreheads touched and they closed their eyes.
“You’re safe now darling. Everything is going to be ok” he whispered.