"Game Plan"

As soon as the doors closed behind Marc, Amber waited a few seconds then got up from her seat. Though she appreciated what the detective tried to do for her, she couldn't go with him. She had to get to Austen.

She went to the door and held her breathe. She slowly turned the knob. It cracked open enough for her to peek through. The halls appeared disserted but she couldn't see beyond the row of file cabinets to confirm.

She opened the door wider and stepped out of the room. Two uniform police officers walked toward her and she froze. One of the officers looked curiously at her and willed herself to relax. They couldn’t know why she was there so she plastered a smile on her face, trying not to look suspicious. She nodded to them when they came nearer and, to her great relief, they nodded back and continued pass her.

She vaguely remembered the way to the elevators but couldn’t imagine herself simply strolling out of there, unnoticed. And she didn’t.

This time a detective she recognized from her previous visits to the precinct spotted her. His frown suggested he wasn’t going to idly walk by.

“What are you doing out of the interview room, Ms. Bennett?”

For a moment, Amber blanked. She should have expected this, should have prepared a game plan, but her only focus had been to get out of the precinct and find a phone. They had confiscated her cellphone and now Austen had no way of reaching her.

“Uh… I was looking for the restrooms,” Amber blurted out.

His frown deepened. “There’s one around the corner there,” he said, pointing behind her. “Did you miss it?”

Damn. What could she say now? What if he offered to take her back? If she turned back now with him, she would never make it out of there.

She hated what she was about to do next but she knew from experience it was the surest way to get him to leave her alone – or at the very least, stop asking questions.

“Umm… I need a tampon.” The detective pursed his lips. Amber forged on. “And that one’s all out.” She hoped her mistook her nervous hesitation for embarrassment.

“Alright,” he began, “Why don’t you wait here and I’ll find a female officer that can help.”

She nodded in agreement and he hurried away from her, making a sharp turn down the hall. Amber waited all of two seconds before she calmly walked in the opposite direction. She passed by several uniformed and non-uniformed cops but no stopped her.

Eventually she found the elevator bank and she jabbed at the down arrow. She jumped in the first available one. Unfortunately it went up three floors before it started descending to the lobby. Her heart pounded in fear and anticipation. Only when she was walking out of the doors would she relax.

The elevator made its second stop and Amber held on to her patience as people filed out. She was now alone in the elevator. Just as the doors began to slide close, someone shouted for her to hold the elevator. She hesitated, recognizing the voice. Her stomach dropped when she noticed who strode toward her.

Detective Sharp stared back at her, astonished. Then his face contorted into a mask of rage and disbelief. She pushed the ‘door close’ button in earnest now. He ran the short distance to the elevator but the doors slid shut just as he reached them. The force of his blow against the metal doors echoed through the small chamber.

Amber willed her heart to stop its erratic beating. But she couldn’t dispel the regret that filled her.

If Marc didn’t doubt her before, he certainly did now.