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She plots her own escape, sometimes.

It's 2:35 AM and she should be going over her testimony for tomorrow; instead, she's scribbling random thoughts on a blank sheet of paper.

She could get money pretty easily. Max out the advances on her credit cards. Stop by David's house and tell him it was an emergency. He's still in love with her, so he would do what he had to with his stocks and meet her somewhere with an envelope full of cash. It would be enough to get her set up somewhere.

She'd chop up her credit cards. Cut up her driver's license, too, because there's this guy downtown who makes halfway decent fakes. It would be enough to help her get away. Jack knows him too - they get information from him sometimes - but if she asked him not to tell Jack, he would abide by her wishes. He'd swear up and down that he hadn't seen her in months, no matter what Jack did to him. Honor among thieves. Or something.

Maybe Jack wouldn't even look for her.

She's not sure if she wants to fly or rent a car. Flying seems too dangerous; if she was recognized, they'd just show up at her destination and she'd be back at square one. She could try to mislead them - buy a ticket under her own name and then another with her fake - but Jack's too smart for that. She'd just be handing him a piece of the puzzle, and he only needed a few of those to figure out the whole picture.

So she'd rent a car. And if she changed her mind on the way to Virginia or Connecticut or where ever, she'd just make a turn and head somewhere else.

She'd pick a town that's just big enough to let her blend into the background, but too small to show up on most maps. She knows half a dozen ways to get a new identity, so she'd pick a name she could live with and reinvent herself. She'd tell people she didn't have any references because her husband was an asshole and she left him to make a new life. People would believe it, because it's the plot line of every other movie on Lifetime. She didn't look like the kind of woman who was running from the law. She looked like the kind of woman that men broke the law for.

She'd get some menial, boring job, but there would be room for advancement. She'd have a new career, and one day, she'd meet a nice man who didn't have a wife and they'd live happily ever after, because that had to exist for some people, somewhere.

Of course, someone might see her face on a news broadcast, or online. She'd just have to bite down on her tongue, until tears welled up in her eyes, and then she'd tell him that her husband knew people and could do things and please, please, please, don't tell anybody. If they found out where she was, she'd be dead before morning.

She can imagine her page on the missing persons' site. She can imagine what the little blurb would say, under the vague description that could fit a thousand women: Samantha Spade was reported missing on the afternoon of Monday, April 4th, 2005, when she failed to show up for work.

And that would be it, really, wouldn't it? What else is there to say? There might be a listing of what she was last seen wearing. Maybe if someone spotted her talking to someone, asking for directions, there would be rough sketches posted at the bottom. Last seen with, wanted for questioning. No one would offer a reward.

No one should be looking for her at all - grown woman, with no signs of foul play - but Jack didn't harbor a love for playing by the rules.

Any maybe that, really, was why she was tempted. If it really was over, if he really was done with her, he'd let it go. He'd accept that she had moved on and he'd do the same. But if it wasn't, if he wasn't, he'd look for her. And he wouldn't stop until she was found.

She crumples up the paper and tosses it in the trash. She won't think about it again for at least a few months.

 

(fin.)