Dr. Wilhelmina Harris didn’t have an appointment for another 2 hours, so the light rapping on her door surprised her. She opened the door for Dorian Shaw, one of her more unwilling patients. He hadn’t been to see her in some time and she assumed it was important if he was here. “Good morning,” she said with a smile, letting him into the well-lit room. It seems as if the sun was shining in the room as beams of white light illuminated the modest room. “Hey Doc, do you have a minute? I didn’t make an appointment or anything but…” Dorian started before the doctor ushered him inside.
“No, no, it’s fine. Please, sit,” she said, gesturing to the oversized teal sofa in the center of the room as she sat in the matching armchair.
“Everything I say here is confidential, right?” Dorian said, wiping his damp palms on his slacks.
“Unless I’m served with a subpoena. What’s going on?” she asked. Dorian mulled over his next words carefully. Of course, he couldn’t tell her everything, without implicating himself and Noelle.
“For starters, I recently began a new relationship. She’s a fellow agent.”
“Good for you. Are you happy?”
“Yeah, Carmen’s amazing. Smart as hell, funny and she understands the job, you know?”
“I sense a ‘but’ coming,” Dr. Harris said, squinting her eyes.
Dorian folded his hands. “My ex…she’s back,” Dorian said, his eyes drifting down to Dr. Harris’ black and white oxfords.
“You’re hallucinating your wife again?” Dr. Harris had managed to scoot to the very edge of her seat. “No, nothing like that. I saw a woman for a brief time after Olivia. I didn’t think it was anything serious at first, but she got under my skin.”
“And you’re afraid she wants to reconcile?” Dorian paused and licked his lips. The thought had crossed his mind multiple times since the night before.
“I’m not sure.”
“May I ask why it ended?”
“She left. No word, no note, nothing. She just…”
“And now she’s back, asking for my help and causing confusion.”
“Do you want to help her?”
“Of course. Does she deserve it? Hell no.”
“You can tell her that. Unless you don’t want to.”
It was almost as if Dr. Harris could read his mind. All he wanted was for Noelle to show up again, to make sure she was real. “I’m more afraid that if I do help her, I’ll be right back under her spell. Questioning everything I know to be right, ready to give up everything just to make her happy.”
“Hurting Carmen?” Dorian’s eyes shot up to Dr. Harris’ instantly.
“It’s okay to be protective of your relationship. From the sound of it, you know this girl isn’t any good for you and it’d be better for you to just cut all ties. Treat it like your sobriety: cold turkey,” Dr. Harris continued. She gave him a hopeful smile. Before Dorian could correct her about his journey to sobriety, his phone buzzed in his jacket pocket. He whipped it out and answered quickly.
“I need you down in Interrogation Room Delta. Now,” Deputy Director Dorson said into his phone before disconnecting.
“Sorry, Doc, duty calls.”
On the third floor, Dorian encountered his superior standing outside the fourth interrogation room. She handed him the file that she was holding when he approached. “What you got, boss?” he said, accepting the file.
“A little arson and a lot of homicide.” Dorian’s face turned up slightly as he perused the file.
“Why are you kicking it down to me?”
“Because the body belongs to a known associate of Mihai Cohen. Also, the suspect caught fleeing the scene asked for you.”
“By name,” Dorson said as she swung open the door. Inside the dark room was a desk filled with surveillance equipment, taping the adjacent room. Through the large double-sided glass, Dorian could see the young girl as she waited for someone to enter. He breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t know who she was.
“Never seen her before in my life,” Dorian said, shaking his head. Dorson glared at him once more before nodding her head towards the other room.
“Jasmine Canmore? My name is Special Agent Dorian Shaw,” he said as he entered the room. The girl didn’t speak, however, she didn’t take her eyes off Dorian as he made his way to the chair opposite of her.
“Bit of a black hat, aren’t you? Wire fraud, a litany of computer crimes, identity theft, all before your 18thbirthday.”
“My records were expunged. I’m a full-time senior at Berkley studying computer science.”
“And on your spring break, you what? Come home and set fire to general practitioners?” Dorian said, his eyebrow raised.
“I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Let’s just start from the beginning. Why did you ask for me?” Dorian jumped straight to the chase.
“I didn’t do anything. However, I believe we may be in some sort of trouble. You seem trustworthy.”
“We?” he asked, his heart nearly leaping from his chest.
“Sources,” she said plainly. Dorian had to give her credit; the girl wasn’t dumb.
Dorian felt a small rush of satisfaction. This girl had to know Noelle and everything that was happening was connected somehow. However, Dorian needed to maintain his poker face while Dorson stood unseen behind him.
“Who is Dr. Dimitri Ivanov to you?”
“No one,” the girl said, a confused look spreading across her face. Dorian began running down his usual interrogation questions. The girl was good; Dorian knew that she’d evaded all suspicion as she answered each question flawlessly. If he wasn’t paranoid, he’d have believed her too. He stood and exited the room, rejoining Dorson in the observation room to return the file. She leaned on the desk, mulling over what she’d just witnessed.
“You like her for this? Ballistics found bullet casings all over and no gun,” Dorian said, jamming his hands into his pockets. He would have to go with whatever Dorson said, on paper anyhow.
“Listen, Shaw, I didn’t get to where I am by being naïve. I know something is going on with you and that girl. Whether you’re screwing her or you’re helping her, I don’t know. All I know is I will not stick my neck for you anymore. You’re an amazing agent, but you aren’t above the law. Cut her loose,” she said, before exiting the room.
Dorian followed the protocol to the letter as he released Jasmine from interrogation room. He escorted her to the front of the building, a safe distance from any eavesdropping. “Are you working with who I think you’re working with?” Dorian said, trying to look casual. “She needs your help. Someone’s after us.”
“I can’t get involved with this shit.”
“It’s already on your doorstep.”
“Meet me at Salvatore’s in the Bay. 10pm,” he said.
“Good afternoon, Agent Shaw,” said Carmen from over his shoulder. He spun to greet her, wondering if she’d overheard their conversation.
“I was just walking this young lady to her car.”
“Actually, they impounded me,” Jasmine said, shrugging her shoulders.
“I can drop you off. I’m on my way past there anyway,” Carmen said, exchanging looks between the two of them. Dorian hesitated before he consented; the more removed he remained from Noelle’s shit, the better.
“I’ll go pull my car around,” Carmen said patting the girl on the shoulder.
Noelle paced the kitchen, plotting. Her phone vibrated and she jumped to read the message from Maverick. Salvatore’s, Bay City, 10pm.
Dorian’s heart pounded in his chest as Noelle walked in. He cursed himself for choosing a place they’d been to together and tried to calm himself and the growing thickness in his pants. Salvatore’s was far enough away to avoid being seen by someone or being followed. Noelle approached the booth, far more put together than she had been the first time he’d seen her, and shrugged out of her coat.
“Where is she?”
“We released her this afternoon,” Dorian frowned.
“She must be laying low. She’s not cut out for this.”
“El, what the fuck is going on? Since when does your shit come with a body count?” Dorian said, before they were interrupted by the waiter. They placed their drink orders quickly, to get rid of him.
“It started in Spain,” Noelle said with a sigh. She wasn’t ready to go there, but she had no choice. A lump formed in Dorian’s throat.
“Mihai,” he said.
“He delivered a message from my father to meet.”
“Why couldn’t you just tell me that?”
“If you haven’t noticed, my father isn’t your biggest fan. Not to mention, I didn’t want to get you involved with, what I thought was, work. He didn’t show up. Days passed and I had no word from him and I knew something was wrong. I had to go after him.”
The waiter returned with their drinks. Noelle nearly finished hers in one gulp. “People my father and I have worked with, people we knew are turning up dead. At first, I chalked it up to occupational hazards. However, my DNA began showing up at the scenes, a hair here, a partial print there, nothing to implicate me fully, but enough to raise alarms.”
“So you think whomever is hunting him is coming after you and Jasmine?”
“Both of us have been threatened. Every time I moved, another body dropped, closer and closer to home. I had to smuggle myself back to the States.”
“Why haven’t I seen anything being broadcasted?”
“No one’s connected the dots yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I’ve gone completely off the grid, but after last night…”
“The fire. You were there.”
Noelle looked up at him for the first time since she arrived. “We didn’t start it but we saw the person who did. I didn’t get a good look, due to the gun fire.”
“Let’s wait until we aren’t in public,” Dorian said, holding his hand up. The waiter approached again with their food. They began eating, considering ways to fill the now-awkward silence.
“I thought I was going crazy when I saw you following me,” Dorian chuckled.
“Yeah, I figured the wig and glasses were a bit much. I didn’t know how you’d respond to me just showing up after all this time.” Dorian fell silent again. Knowing what he knew about Spain, that Noelle didn’t just leave him, he’d begun to reconsider everything he thought he knew.
“I know you’ve moved on, but I need you to know it was never you. Every day, I wanted to come back, to call and explain but I couldn’t bear to see you hurt because of me,” Noelle said as she set down her fork. Before Dorian could reply, her phone buzzed with a message from Maverick. Noelle pressed play on the video and watched the camera person put a bullet into Maverick’s head.