He was dreaming.
In the dream, he was once again standing in the doorway of his old bedroom, looking at the bloody grinning face on the wall. It was late at night, the room illuminated only by the pale glare of the street lights casting through the curtainless window. Jane stared at the face, unable to look away. The scene before him had become almost as familiar to him as his own reflection, but in the dream it still felt like he was seeing it for the first time. He half expected to see the bodies of his wife and daughter lovingly posed on a bed in front of him, but the room was empty except for the old mattress on the floor, the bloody grin the only memento of his family.
He must have fallen asleep in the car on the way back to the office, or laid down on his couch for a moment while they were waiting for the forensic reports to come in. The team had been working on a new case, a murdered fireman, on the other side of the state and he hadn't heard of Red John since Panzer's death. There was no reason for him to be at his house, so the only possible explanation was that it was just a dream.
His fingers twitched as he resisted the temptation to walk into the room; to touch his wife's blood on the wall, and then settle down on the mattress underneath it. But if he was aware of the dream, then he should be able to control it, to wake up, to be somewhere else. He rarely had nightmares about this room anymore.
Something brushed against his shoulder and he turned away from the doorway to find Lisbon standing behind him. There was a hint of red around her eyes, and moisture glimmered in her lashes, like she'd been crying. Why would she be crying? She almost never cried. And why would he be dreaming of her crying? He never dreamt about her either, not if he could help it.
He looked back towards the bedroom and tried to wake up, but the bloody face refused to fade away. The hand on his shoulder slipped downward, stroking his arm, and he turned to back to Lisbon. The face looked real, the hand felt real, Lisbon was real. It wasn't a dream.
"Lisbon? Why are you here?"
The sadness in her eyes vanished, replaced by concern, as her fingers tightened on his arm.
"You don't... you don't remember?"
It was over six hour drive from Sacramento to Malibu, but he couldn't remember driving it, couldn't remember entering his house, or even why he had decided to come there. He looked down at his clothes, which were not the ones he remembered putting on when he'd woken up in the morning. His head hurt and there was a lingering taste of whiskey in his mouth, like he'd spent the night out drinking, which would explain the amnesia, except that he didn't do that, not anymore.
"I-" Words felt strange and foreign on his tongue, like he was trying to speak with someone else's voice. "Am I drunk?"
He didn't feel drunk, but his thoughts were fuzzy and disorganised, and he felt a creeping sense of panic as the memories that he knew should be there continued to evade him. His mind was his weapon; his mind was who he was, all he had. He couldn't afford to lose it.
Lisbon's lips curved to the slightest hint of a smile. "I think you were a bit when we left, but you slept it off while we drove here." Her expression turned serious again, and she tilted her head to look him in the eye.
"What's the last thing you remember?" she asked, her voice soft and gentle.
He tried to focus on his memories of the last twenty-four hours, but it was like trying to put together a puzzle that was nothing but piece after piece of clear blue sky, and no corner piece to anchor it. After a while you started to suspect even the pieces that were already in place.
"The dead fireman," he said finally. "I was looking for the murder weapon."
Lisbon gave almost an imperceptible shudder before speaking. Something bad had happened. Something that she didn't want to think about.
"You were attacked by the killer, he tried to drown you," she explained. She hesitated again for a moment before continuing. "You've been in a fugue state for the last few days. You couldn't remember any of us, or your family. The doctor said that your subconsciousness was trying to protect you from the trauma."
He nodded slowly, processing the information. Dissociative fugue, a reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality and other identifying characteristics of individuality. Often accompanied by wandering, and taking on a new identity. He latched on to the facts, raiding the rooms of his memory palace for any kind of distraction in an effort to put a distance between himself and the jumble of emotions that he could feel crowding on the edges of his consciousness.
Lisbon ran her hand down his arm one more time and then stepped back. "You still caught the guy. You always do."
She smiled at him and he tried to smile back, but couldn't quite remember how.
"So you don't remember anything from the last few days?"
He shook his head. "No, nothing. It feels like-"
There is a hole in your mind.
The memory came out of nowhere, a random line of dialogue from some old scifi show he used to sometimes watch with Angela before Charlotte was born, before-
The pain caught him by surprise, like floodgates left unlocked as the tide came in, the grief and anger suddenly washing over him, drowning him. He could feel blood drain from his face as white noise roared in his ears, darkness creeping along the edges of his vision. It was like he was falling, suddenly weightless as the earth dropped from under his feet.
"Jane? Jane, are you alright? What's wrong?"
And then Lisbon's hands were back, firm and strong as she gripped his arms and pushed him against the wall before he collapsed. She helped him sit down on the floor, and then gently stroked his back, guiding him forward until his head was between his knees. She ran her hand down his back one last time and stood up.
"Wait here. I'll get you some water."
He waited for the ringing in his ears to go away and then sat up again, staring at the empty wall in front of him as he tried to empty his mind and push the memories back into the locked boxes where they belonged.
He was roused from his thoughts by the sharp trill of a cell phone ringtone, and it took him several seconds to realise that the sound was coming from his own pocket. He fished the phone from his pocket and stared at it. It wasn't his phone - it was cheaper than his, but brand new, and there was a sticker on the back indicating a pre-paid SIM card - but it would make sense that his old phone would have been ruined, if he'd almost drowned.
He fumbled with the phone for a moment before managing to answer the call.
There was a bored female voice on the other end of the line. "I guess you're not coming then? Typical. First your girlfriend took away the bracelet, and then you stood me up." She let out an annoyed huff of air. "You could have told me it was stolen."
Jane licked his lips, trying to gather enough moisture in his mouth to be able to speak.
"Who is this?"
The woman laughed. "I'm Tamara. Jesus, how many women were you planning to take out tonight?"
"I- I'm sorry, you must have a wrong number."
She let out another bark of laughter. "Yeah, right. You know you're a real bastard, Patrick."
The line closed with a click.
He put away his phone and was surprised when instead of the two-headed coin and a pair of weighted dice he usually carried with him, he found a motley selection objects in his pocket. There was one of Rigsby's calling cards, a crumpled napkin with several names and phone numbers scribbled on it, and three condom wrappers, one of them empty. He stared at the objects with a growing sense of unease, trying to remember where he'd picked them up, and failing. It was almost as if some stranger had been wearing his suit while he was away. Wearing his body.
There was the sound of footsteps from the stairs and Lisbon reappeared, carrying a teacup.
"I couldn't find any glasses," she said, and offered him the cup. When he didn't take it, she carefully placed it on the floor next to him, and then stood up again, hovering above him with an uncertain look on her face.
He looked up at her. "Who's Tamara?"
"You mean Tamarra?" she said, a mischievous smile playing on her lips. "Your special friend? You were all set out to run off to Bolivia with her."
She sat down on her haunches on the floor next to him, her smile widening when she noticed the empty condom wrapper he was still holding. "I'm glad to see that you were still in your right mind enough to at least use protection."
Jane swallowed down the bile rising in his throat, his fist automatically curling around the empty wrapper. He couldn't remember what Tamara looked like, but he could still imagine her dead body, her throat cut and and her toenails painted red, a bloody red face laughing above her. The suffocating sense of panic was back again, and he had to struggle to keep his breathing even. If Red John had been watching him-
"Hey, hey, it's okay." Lisbon appeared in his line of vision, her hand cupping the side of his face, gently forcing him to look at her. "Jane, it's okay. You were just having fun, and by the looks of it, she was having fun too. You're allowed to have fun, Jane."
She let go of him and picked up the teacup from the floor. "Here. Drink this."
He took a sip of the lukewarm water, his teeth chattering against the rim of the cup as he raised it to his lips. He could feel Lisbon watching him, concern radiating from her, and he felt ashamed of having let her see his weakness.
When he was done drinking, Lisbon gently took the cup from his hands and set it back down on the floor.
"It's getting late. Do you think you can walk?"
He nodded, and Lisbon held out her hand and pulled him to his feet. His head still felt light, and he had to brace his arms against the wall to keep from toppling over. Once he was upright, Lisbon slipped her arm around him for support.
They descended the stairs in silence, the eyeless gaze of the bloody smiley following them all the way down.
Jane was surprised to find that it was completely dark outside, and as they made their way down the driveway, he idly wondered how long they had been in the house. While Lisbon locked the door behind them, he waited by the car, gazing up at the black windows of the house. The streetlights cast flickering images on the dark surface of the glass, and he knew that if he let his imagination run free, he could let his mind mold those shapes into familiar faces and ghosts. He could easily understand why people turned to psychics, not just intellectually like when he'd used that information to his advantage, but also emotionally. He could feel the temptation even himself, to fill the empty darkness inside his heart with lies of a better world, and maybe even forgiveness.
"Ready?" Lisbon asked, rousing him from his thoughts.
She was hovering again, uncertainty evident in her every movement. He'd never seen her like this, so unsure of herself and her actions.
He gave her a small smile. "Yeah, let's go."
His feet were still shaky, so Lisbon helped him into the car before taking a seat behind the wheel. She pushed the key into the ignition, but then paused, glancing at her watch.
"I don't think I'm up to another six hours behind a wheel." She bit her lip and turned to look at him. "Would you mind if we stayed in a motel for the night and drove back tomorrow?"
He shrugged. She took that as enough of an answer, and without another word turned the key to start the car.
Lisbon picked the first decent motel they came across; Jane waited in the car while she picked up their keys. He must have dozed off because the next thing he knew, the passenger side door was open, and Lisbon was again standing next to him, an ugly plastic keychain in her hands.
"They didn't have any twins, so I had to take a double," she told him as she led him to their room. There was a hint of defensiveness in her voice, and he couldn't fail to notice that she could have just taken two rooms.
Even in the room she kept casting quick looks at him, like she expected for him to suddenly vanish into thin air. There was still two days worth of blank pages in his head, and he wondered what had happened during those days to make her so obsessed with keeping an eye on him. Dissociative fugue was often characterised by wandering. Had he tried to leave? To escape? It wasn't as if the idea didn't hold some appeal even now that he had his memories back. For a few days he'd been someone else, and a part of him wished that he could remember what it had felt like.
She gave him one more look, and then grabbed her coat. "I'll go get us something to eat. You gonna be okay?"
He nodded, studying the room to avoid looking her in the eye. There was a faded brown stain on the wall that reminded him of an octopus, and he idly wondered if it was coffee, or simply water, and if the former, how it might have been created. He had already come up with an elaborate story that involved a caffeine addicted travelling salesman who'd been caught in bed with his assistant, when he realised that he hadn't heard Lisbon leave. When he glanced over his shoulder, she was still standing in the doorway, her coat in her hands, looking like she was arguing with herself whether to leave him alone or not.
He gave her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, I'm fine. I'll take a shower while you're away."
She hesitated for a second more, and then answered his smile. "Okay. I'll be back in just a moment."
After Lisbon finally left, Jane made his way to the bathroom. He hadn't been thinking of a shower until he'd mentioned it, but the idea of hot water did hold some appeal. He turned on the shower on to warm up the water, but to his disappointment, only a trickle of lukewarm water came out of the spout. He sighed, and took a look at the bath tub. It was scuffed and slightly yellowed, but he already had his mind set on a warm shower, so it would have to do.
He was just unbuttoning his shirt, waiting for the tub to fill, when he caught his reflection in the mirror. It took him a few seconds to recognise his own face looking back at him. For a moment he had expected to see someone younger. Happier.
He stared at his reflection, tilting his head this way and that as he tried to rid the sense of unfamiliarity. He could recognise his eyes, the bridge of his nose, the curve of his lips, every feature of his face familiar on its own, but the whole didn't match, the puzzle pieces still scattered on the floor.
It was a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia, the inability to recognise one's own mirror image. He'd considered it, of course, the possibility that he might be Red John himself. One of the first things he'd done after joining the team had been to retrace his own movements on the night his family was killed, and then compare it with the files CBI had on him, until he was certain that there were no gaps. It was something he knew he could never tell Lisbon, even though he was certain she too had done the same.
He tossed a towel over the mirror to cover it, and then stripped off the rest of his clothes.
The bath wasn't as hot as he'd wanted, and did little to ease the icy cold in his bones. He closed his eyes and leaned back, trying focus on his breathing, then bent his knees and slid down in the small bathtub until his face was underwater. The water enveloped him like a cocoon, muffling all sound except the rhythmic hum of his own heartbeat. He focused on the sound, letting the world fall away, and his mind empty. After a while he could feel his muscles began to twitch as the oxygen in his veins started to run out, and a burning in his lungs as the breathing reflex tried to kick in, but he held on, wanting to remain under water just a little bit longer. There was part of him that was convinced that as long as he remained underwater, nothing could touch him or hurt him, even when the rational part of him was well aware that this was nothing but magical thinking.
Suddenly something grabbed his arm, pulling him back to the surface. He reflexively gasped for breath, but only drew in a mouthful of water. There was a second of panic until he managed to straighten himself up and raise his head above the water. Guided by the invisible hands, he stumbled out of the tub and fell down of the floor, sprawled on his hands and knees as he tried to cough up the water he'd inhaled.
When he could finally breathe again, he looked up to see Lisbon standing above him.
"What the hell, Jane? What the fucking hell?" Her voice broke as she shouted at him, and she was shaking, literally shaking, with anger. But he would have known she was mad even if he hadn't seen her, because she rarely swore - a lingering sense of propriety, he assumed, left over from being the mother figure to three brothers.
He looked away, grabbing hold of the edge of the tub to gingerly pull himself back on his feet. Lisbon took a few quick steps to position herself in front of him, almost as if to block his way to the door.
"Are you trying to kill yourself? Is that it? Is that what you were doing?"
When he didn't answer, she slapped his chest and he almost lost his balance on the slippery, wet floor.
He couldn't honestly tell her why he'd done it. He didn't feel suicidal, at least no more than he felt on most days. He knew she expected an answer, but he couldn't give her one because there were no words to describe how he felt. Would she understand if he tried to explain it? If he told her that everything around him felt somehow off, like his mind was out of step with his body? That he felt almost as if there had been someone else living inside his body the last few days, and that he felt both violated by and jealous of that person. But most of all that he desperately wanted to be someone else, someone who didn't have to feel all this guilt and pain and grief that he had to live with every day, and that a part of him hated her for taking that away from him.
As he struggled to find some answer to give her, he caught his reflection in the mirror that had been uncovered at some point, the towel now lying in a heap on the floor. His face was deathly pale, almost white, with a blueish tinge to his lips, and his wet hair was hanging limp over his face. The image of Lisbon standing next to him, fully clothed, a stark reminder that he was completely naked himself. He couldn't remember the last person who'd seen him naked. Not Tamara, not the orderlies who must have bathed him while he had been hospitalised. He felt both vulnerable and ashamed standing in front of her, and had to resist the urge to cross his arms to cover himself.
Lisbon's face softened, and he realised he must look pathetic enough for her to forget her anger, and that only made him feel more ashamed.
"Don't ever do that to me again," she finally muttered, grabbed the towel from the floor and wrapped it around his shoulders.
He wanted to promise her that he wouldn't, but he wasn't sure if that would be a lie.
She led him to the other room, her grip on his arm both firm and gentle, and helped him sit down on the bed. He leaned against the headboard and she took away the towel, covering him with a blanket instead. She fussed with the blanket for a moment, making sure that he was warm, before taking a seat on the bed next to him.
"There's food in the bag," she said, nodding towards the paperbag on the bedside table.
When he looked inside, he found two wrapped sandwiches and two cans of coke. He wasn't really hungry, and returned the sandwich to the bag after just a few bites. She looked disappointed, but didn't say anything. He couldn't fail to notice she'd barely taken a bite of her own sandwich. For several minutes they sat there in silence, just breathing, as they both stared at the slightly yellowed Kinkade print framed on the wall opposite to the bed.
"Do you want to know?" she finally asked. "What happened while you were in the fugue state?"
"Yeah." He wasn't sure he really wanted to, not after what he'd already gleaned from her, but he'd find out sooner or later. He'd read it in their eyes, in how they treated him. It was better to hear it from her.
She leaned her head to the headboard and closed her eyes. "You were different. You behaved like your family had never existed, insisted that your ring was just for show." She paused. "But you were happy."
There was something almost wistful in her voice when she said it.
He reflexively touched his ring, giving in to the subconscious need to sure that it was still there. "Since you decided to bring me to Malibu for some hands-on therapy, I'm guessing the happy me wasn't a very nice person."
She opened her eyes, and cast him a quick side-ways glance. "You stole money from the evidence and you were a bit... frisky."
He winced, remembering Tamara. The urge to touch his ring returned, but this time he resisted it, hyperaware of the weight of the golden band on his finger.
"Did I come on to you?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer. She was exactly his type, if a man who'd been faithful to one woman for most of his life could be said to have a type. There was so much in her that reminded him of his wife. Too much, he sometimes thought. He briefly closed his eyes, squeezing his hand into a fist to snuff the thought before it could take form.
"You were mostly after Van Pelt," she said. "But you did grab my ass."
"It's okay. I've known worse guys." She made a face. "I've dated worse guys. Besides, it wasn't really you."
Who, then? he wanted to ask her, but didn't. And in any case, from what she'd told him, he already knew the answer.
"Paul Fricke," he finally said.
"Claire Wolcott's lover." When she looked confused, he continued. "The dead woman whose husband wanted to sue the CBI after I tweaked his nose."
"Oh, right. The playboy. What about him?"
"When we interviewed him about the murder, I remember being so envious of him."
What he'd meant was that he'd been envious of Fricke's ability to compartmentalize his emotions, to just be and not feel all the guilt and shame that he must have carried, but Lisbon must have been thinking of Katie, the waitress who'd loved Fricke instead, because she understood his words differently.
"That just means that you're human," she said, "Everyone deserves to love and be loved."
He thought of Rosalind and Red John, the unadulterated love in her voice when she'd talked about her lover. Sometimes, he was envious of them too.
"I know, but I-" He shook his head. "You saw what happened to Kristina. As long as Red John is alive, I can't risk-"
"Jane", she said, interrupting him. "When was the last time that you... that you were with someone."
He shrugged. "Last night, I guess."
Lisbon pursed her lips, annoyed. "No, I mean the last time you remember."
He didn't need to think. "The day before my wife died."
"That's over eight years ago."
"It's been a bit of a dry spell, I grant you." She didn't laugh at his joke. Then again, he didn't find it particularly funny either.
"Eight years. Really?" She hesitated again. "Is it... is it because you feel like you still need to be faithful to her?"
He shrugged. "Yes. No. Partly. Not completely." He knew his body language was revealing too much, but he couldn't stop touching his ring, irrationally afraid that it might disappear if he let it go. The feeling of detachment came again, like he was in a wrong body, looking at someone else's hands. There was a small treacherous voice at the back of his head whispering that maybe it hadn't been his wife and daughter who had died, but someone else's. At the same time he also knew that it must have been someone else thinking those thoughts, because it couldn't have been him thinking them. He wasn't supposed to want to be happy.
He took a deep breath and locked the errants thoughts away.
"My turn," he said. "Why were you crying?" She frowned, pretending not to understand, and he continued. "Back at my house. You were crying. Why?"
For a moment she looked like she was going to deny it, but then she spoke: "I thought I'd lost you," she said.
Her voice was small and quiet, lacking its usual strength, and for a moment he could imagine her as she must have been when she was just a girl, right after she'd lost her mother. She hadn't always been this strong.
"I was the one who found you, after you were... attacked. When I saw your body floating in the lake, I thought..." She shuddered, and this time she didn't even try to hide it. "I thought I'd lost you. And then when I got you out of the water, your heart stopped and they had to shock you. You were dead. And even when you did come back, it wasn't... it wasn't you. I didn't want to hurt you, but... It wasn't you."
She blamed herself, he could tell, thought that what she'd done was selfish; more for her own benefit than his. He wanted to tell her that she'd done the right thing, that he was thankful that she hadn't let him forget his wife and daughter, but he wasn't sure he could convince her. Not now at least, when he wasn't entirely certain if he believed it either.
"There was no bright light," he finally said.
She turned to him, frowning. "What?"
"If I was dead, there should have been a bright light, but there wasn't. There wasn't anything. Proves that I'm right and there's no such thing as an afterlife."
She was still staring at him, a look of disbelief on her face. "You really wanna turn this into a theological argument?"
"Rather that than talk about my sex life."
He could see her lips twitch a she tried not to smile, and he couldn't help the smiling himself as he held her gaze. This was again familiar territory, the back and forth of playful insults, both daring the other to make the next move. Finally Lisbon rolled her eyes and put away the remains of her sandwich. He expected her to leave the bed, and maybe go and have a shower, but instead she just sat up, twisting her body until she was sitting on her knees on the bed in front of him. She tilted her head, her bottom lip caught between her teeth as she studied him.
"Do you trust me?" She asked.
"With my life," he said, automatically, and meant it. There weren't many things left in the world that he still trusted, but she was one of them. Some days, he trusted her more than he trusted himself.
Her smile was gentle, and a little sad. "Then how about you trust me with my own life as well."
Before he knew what was happening, she leaned down, took his face between her hands, and kissed him. His first instinct was to pull away but she didn't let him. She was stronger than she looked, all muscle and steel, and she easily held him in place.
She tasted like mustard and diet coke, and that's how he knew that he wasn't dreaming, because he was fairly sure his imagination wouldn't have thought to include that detail.
"Lisbon..." he breathed, when she finally released him, but she silenced him with a gentle touch of her finger on his lips.
"Hush," she whispered. Her eyes were dark, only a narrow green halo of her iris visible around her pupils. She took her finger away from his lips and cupped his face, holding his gaze. "If you want me to stop, just say it, and I will."
Her eyes never leaving his, she began to slowly unbutton her blouse, then shrugged it off her shoulders. His gaze automatically followed the falling piece of clothing as she cast it on the floor, and when he looked up again, she was already unhooking her bra. It had been a while since he had seen a naked woman, and he could feel arousal building in the pit of his stomach at the sight of her. Again, his first reaction was to try to quell it, to ignore these feelings and sensations that he wasn't allowed to feel.
She noticed his hesitation, and stopped, the strap of her bra still dangling between her fingers.
"Trust me," she said, and he could feel almost ten years worth of locked doors and brick walls crumbling down in his mind.
She kissed him again, and this time he responded, revelling in the feel of her body pressed against his. He felt like a teenager, his movements clumsy and his hands shaking as he cupped the curve of her breast. She let out an appreciative hum of pleasure against his mouth, grinding their bodies together as she straddled his hips. Her right hand still tangled in his hair as if she was afraid he was going to bolt if she let go, she slipped her left hand between their bodies to unbutton her slacks. He reached down to help her, their hands tangling in an effort to get her clothes off.
Finally Lisbon let out a frustrated groan and broke their kiss. She sat back to better unbutton her pants, then swung her legs off the bed and stood up, shimmying out of the rest of her clothes. He almost made a comment about her lack of patience, but even in his
current state of mind, he had enough self-preservation hold his tongue. When she was naked, she leaned forward to kiss him again, one knee braced on the bed.
"Wait," she whispered against his lips, then turned away from him.
He watched her pad across the floor and disappear into the bathroom. When she returned, she was holding the condoms he'd found in his pocket.
She tore one off and tossed the rest on the bedside table. His eyes followed the movement of her arm, then caught on the pale white scar on her shoulder left when she'd been shot by O'Laughlin.
When she climbed back on the bed, straddling him, his hands were drawn to the scar. He ran his fingertips over the hardened skin, feeling the texture of it.
He almost told her to stop, then, suddenly struck by all the reasons why they shouldn't do this, by the selfishness of of it all. Even if it was going to be just this one night, it still would be enough to change their relationship, to make her even more of a target for Red John than she already was. He had never dared to even dream about this, because he knew his dreams had a tendency to turn into nightmares.
But then he caught her eyes, the hard steel of her gaze, felt the confidence of her movements as she began to move. Trust me, she said again, or maybe he just imagined it.
It was someone else's hands that circled her waist, someone else's body that moved with hers; it had to be, because in his life there was nothing but Red John. But he focused on the warmth of her flesh on his, the touch of it underneath his fingertips; anchored himself in the moment, because if it was all he was going to have, he wanted to remember it. Soon he could feel his release building in the base of his spine, rising, until it swallowed him who in a blinding flash of pleasure, leaving him light-headed and gasping for breath.
He was distantly aware of her soft cry of her own release. She shuddered in pleasure, then relaxed against him, resting her face in the curve of his neck as she caught her breath. Her skin felt burning hot against his, sweat cooling on their bodies as they breathed together.
When she finally lifted her head, she studied him for a few seconds, a small smile playing on her lips, then pressed a gentle kiss on his lips.
"Let's try to get some sleep. We have a long drive to Sacramento tomorrow."
She pulled him down until they were lying on the bed, and rested her head on his chest. A moment later, he felt her breathing change as she fell asleep.
As he waited for sleep to claim him, too, he found himself idly wishing that they'd picked a more salacious motel, the kind with a mirror on the ceiling above the bed. He wasn't quite sure who would be looking back at him, but whoever it was, for the moment at least, that was the person he wanted to be.