The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of hosts. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind This month the words were supplied by River and can be found right here.Sara sat in the dark on the balcony, listening intently, straining her eyes to see any kind of movement in the dark house. Watching the cat to see if was tracking someone she couldn't see or hear, she was relieved when it relaxed and closed its eyes again. She stood and carried the cat into the house, closing the sliding glass door behind them and setting the cat down as she walked through the darkness to the alarm control panel. She had remembered to reset the front door and window alarms when she came in! Allowing herself to breathe again, she set it now for the sliding glass door as well and turned on the light in the kitchen to pour herself a second glass of wine.
The long drive to Isla Vista had been spent wracking her brain for even a modicum of sense about what had happened earlier in the day. How could it be him? The news reports after Quigley's disappearance had said there was no way that Quigley could have survived with that amount of blood loss. The rest of the blood found at the scene only indicated that Quigley had fought back, but not that any of his attackers had been seriously wounded.
She'd been careful after that day, waiting for the right time to leave so no one would notice she was gone, and so overly cautious she had never taken the same route twice to anywhere until she had left. Trips even to the grocery store were planned so perfectly that she didn't shop at the same store twice, driving miles out of her way to go to a new store where she wouldn't be known or be able to be recognized if anyone came looking for her.
Almost five years later, she still chose random routes to the Ventura apartment or her condo in Isla Vista, and grocery shopped at various stores along the drive. She could count on one hand the number of times she had gone to the same stores more than twice. Looking over her shoulder had become second nature.
Reaching for her wine glass as she tried to relax on the sofa, she was surprised to feel her lower lip quivering as sudden and unexpected tears rushed to her eyes. What was wrong with her? She wasn't normally so emotional. Things had been worse in the last few years, even the day she realized that Quigley was dead, she hadn't cried. Not that their relationship had been anything to shed a tear over, they had spent more than a year working the grift and had become close friends but nothing more.
Her stomach growled loudly and she realized that she had more than a healthy glass of wine on an empty stomach. Opening the refrigerator she pulled out a container of garlic roasted hummus. Taking a strawberry shaped bowl out of the cabinet, she shook Triscuits crackers into it and went back into the living room.
She was developing a theory about the day, that perhaps it was stress that finally caused her mind to crack. She had imagined it all. That was the only thing that it could have been. She was tired, stressed from her workload, stressed from the fear that underlined every single thing she did. Her cell phone rang suddenly and she let out a scream, jumping to her feet.
The number wasn't one she recognized and as she tried to hit the ignore button, her shaking hand hit the speaker phone instead.
"Sara? Sara, it's David James from the office. We haven't formally been introduced, but I was the one that caught you earlier and kept you from falling. Are you there?"
She debated on whether or not to say anything, but then realized that if she didn't answer someone from the office might go to the Ventura apartment to check on her.
"Yes, I'm sorry. I didn't recognize the number. You said your name was David? What department exactly do you work in and how did you get my personal number?"
"Well, I won't take umbrage with your tone of voice for the second time today, but I'm pretty certain you attended the all-hands meeting last week announcing that Ad Leverage had merged with the David James Agency? I'm that David. Your new boss."
Summoning the last vestige of confidence she had, Sara inhaled deeply.
"I'm so sorry, sir. It's been quite a stressful day."
"Call me, David, please. I was just calling to make sure you were alright and to let you know we called the police shortly after you left."
"You did? Why?"
"Well, the flowers were just plain creepy, and the man who delivered them had somehow bypassed the building security to get upstairs. He hadn't signed in, and there wasn't any card with the flowers for us to be able to verify his identity with a florist company. Your reaction to him was what raised a red flag for me. I wanted to find out why you reacted the way you did."
"Sara? Are you still there?"
Sara hesitated. How much should she say? She desperately wanted to trust someone, but didn't know if it could be him. Yet, if she didn't give him enough information to appease his curiosity, she knew he would continue to question her and could possibly involve the police further.
"Yes, I'm sorry. He is ... was ... an ex boyfriend. It wasn't a mutual breakup and I wasn't aware he knew where I worked. It just surprised me."
"Do you have a restraining order against him? Should I be concerned? I don't want anyone threatening the safety of my employees."
"No, I don't and I don't think you need to be concerned. I think he got the reaction from me that he was looking for, and won't be back because he knows that if he gets arrested for anything again he will be in prison for life."
"You didn't strike me as the type who was attracted to bad boys. You seemed to be pretty strong and confident to me and that was when I met you for the first time."
"It was a long time ago, and a part of my life I left behind. I'd really rather not relive the past, if you don't mind."
"I understand. Just know that if you need to talk to anyone, I have an open door policy. I mean that sincerely."
"Thank you. Really. I appreciate that."
"If you're sure that you are okay, I'll let you go. Just have a quiet weekend. Let us know if you will need any more time."
"Thank you, David. I will, but don't think I will need more than the weekend. I just need to regroup and gather my thoughts. Have a good weekend."
After she ended the call, Sara took out a notebook and began to make a list of things she needed to do over the weekend. At the top of the list was getting a new car. She'd been driving the Buick for a year. It was time to trade it in for something less noticeable.