“Thank you for inviting me to join Girl’s Night,” I said, taking a sip of my wine. Maura and Jane had been amazing with their efforts to get to know me and including me in their weekly Girl’s Night.
“It is our pleasure,” Maura assured, leaning across her kitchen island to refill my wine glass. “So, Emily, tell us more about you. What was your life like in Florida?”
“Not that much different than it is here. I spent most of my time working. I was a beat cop for several years, but finally made the jump to detective recently. In my time in Florida, I closed a record number of cases for our district and put away several high profile convicts.” I could feel the effects of the wine and knew I needed to slow down. We had work in the morning and the last thing I wanted was to show up hungover my second week with the team.
“But that’s all about work. What about your personal life? Were you seeing anyone?” Maura prodded.
“Maura!” Jane exclaimed. “She may not want to share that information with us. You do remember that she only just met us last week, right?”
Waving her hand in a dismissive motion, Maura replied, “But she’s your sister. Why wouldn’t she want to share with us?”
Watching the two of them together was like watching a sitcom play out before my eyes. “Sometimes you are just as intrusive as my mother,” Jane shot back playfully, downing the rest of her wine and instantly reaching for the bottle.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Maura asked, a look of confusion on her face.
Jane just rolled her eyes, then turned her attention back to me. “Please do not feel like you need to tell us everything about yourself, especially since you haven’t known us long.”
I started to reach for my glass, but remembered I needed to stop since I had to work in the morning. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know about me, although there isn’t much that’s very interesting. My life in Florida pretty much only revolved around work.”
Maura turned her gaze on Jane and said, “Must run in the family.” When she turned back to me, I could see the interest in her eyes. “So, was there a guy back home?”
“No. Like I said, I spent almost all of my time working. I was dead set on becoming the youngest detective to put away a most wanted killer and I did just that a few months before I transferred here.”
“That’s amazing!” Maura gushed. She had clearly had enough wine tonight. Her cheeks were tinged pink and she was becoming overly enthusiastic about everything. “It took Jane longer than that to put away that level of an offender.”
“Is tonight rag on Jane night? What gives? So what, Emily is a bit ahead of where I was when I was her age. It might be because she’s been looking up to me since she started her career. Who’s been looking up to you that long?” Jane turned to face Maura as she responded to Maura’s claims.
“I can think of one person,” Maura said without missing a beat.
“Someone that doesn’t want to sleep with you?” Jane shot back.
“That’s low even for you,” Maura argued.
As much fun as this was, I knew I needed to get home, so I quietly stood up and gathered my things while calling for a car. Maura and Jane were so lost in their argument, they didn’t even notice I was leaving. It didn’t matter. I would see them in the morning.
I stepped outside into the chilly night air. A light breeze was blowing as I waited my the curb for my ride. I thanked myself for remembering to stop by home and drop off my car before I headed to Maura’s because now I wouldn’t have to Uber to work in the morning. It had been about ten minutes when a car rolled to a stop. I glanced at the description on my phone and from what I could tell in my slightly inebriated state, everything lined up, so I hopped in the backseat and gave the driver my address.
I was still trying to get my bearing on the city, so I trusted the driver to get me home, but somewhere along the way, I realized we had been driving for way too long to be headed to my house. “Excuse me,” I said, enunciating my voice so the driver could hear me over the sound of the radio.
“What?” the guy barked, instantly turning my blood to ice. I had heard enough of that voice in Florida that I would recognize it anywhere. How was he here? How had he found me? Why was he here? The thoughts bounced through my head as I tried to figure out my next play. Obviously he wasn’t here just to be my Uber driver, which begged the question, why was he here? What business did he have with me?
I ran through a thousand different options in my head, playing out each scenario at warp speed before deciding on my strategy. I just hoped it would work and I would live long enough to get out of this situation.
With one hand in my purse, I discreetly pulled up my text messages and shared my location with Jane. I knew there was a good chance this guy would take my phone and it would become obsolete, but for now, it was my best option.
“I think you missed the turn to my house. Can we turn around?” I asked, keeping my voice even and calm.
“If you really think I’m taking you home then you aren’t as good of a detective as you pretended to be,” he grunted.
“Okay. You have my attention. Clearly we both know each other. What do you want? You’re out. What else do you want?”
“I want my name cleared. I can’t walk down the street or go to my nephew’s school without everyone running in the opposite direction. I go out of prison fair and square,” he said, meeting my gaze through the rearview mirror.
“But you committed all the crimes we convicted you of. Don’t you understand why people might act that way?” I knew I was playing with fire, but I had to try the calm, tactical approach first. If I went straight for trying to gain control of the car of making a run for it, I would never get far. I knew too much about this guy’s MO. He would kill me before I made it to the sidewalk.
“But you were the one that ruined my life. You were the one that dragged me out of that house, blood on my clothes. You were the one that caused my picture to be plastered all over the media. You were the one that caused everyone to see me as a monster. I can never have my old life back because of you, so now, it’s time for you to pay.” I felt my breath catch in my throat. I had seen first hand the kind of torture this man could inflict and I did not want to be on the receiving end of that. The only advantage I had was I knew who I was dealing with. I had studied this man. I knew his MO and he never deviated, although, here he was hundreds of miles away from his usual hunting grounds. I would be lucky to survive through tomorrow. I needed to find a way to alert someone. I needed help.