"Once a Liar, Never a Cheat"

Amber’s heart thudded against her chest as she walked out of the busy precinct into the cool California night. She couldn’t shake the image of the detective’s harsh, angry face so she tried to focus on getting as far as she can from the police station.

She vaguely noted the rapid descent of the California sun and realized there had been no sense of time for her in that tiny interview room. It was getting increasing late and she began to have second thoughts about going back to her house. After what happened today, her stomach knotted at the thought of going back to her dark house, even for a second.

But she had no change of clothes and more than anything, she wanted to get out of California as soon as possible. Luckily, she managed to find a cab just a short distance from the police station and gave the driver directions to her home. She promised him a nice tip if he waited for her. She even gave him half the fare upfront in case he thought she would cheat him out of his fare.

Her bag remained at the same spot she’d dropped, which fortunately for her didn’t require her to step too far into the house. She grabbed the small bag and darted back toward the awaiting cab. Her next stop was to a motel. She had no preference, so the driver brought her to one that was best suited for tourists.

Finally settled into her small room, she fell on the bed and let the emotions of today’s events wash through her. She didn’t fall apart as she expected, but her hands and legs would not stop shaking and she had to concentrate on settling the bile in her stomach. Marc’s face once again evaded her thoughts and she squeezed her eyes, fighting to erase the betrayed look from her memory.

When she felt composed enough, she reached for the motel phone and began to dial the number she had committed into memory. And had purposely withheld from detective Sharpe. She didn’t like deceiving the detective but he seemed compelled to think her twin brother was a murderer so she would do everything in her power to protect him.

Amber listened to the incessant ringing, willing her brother to pick up. He had promised to call her tonight to be sure she made it out of town safe. Now that she didn’t have her phone, she wanted to assure him she was safe.

No answer.

She hung up the phone and made a mental note to pick up a new cellphone tomorrow. Austen didn’t answer calls he didn’t recognized and he had instructed her not to leave any voice messages. Uneasiness gnawed at her insides but she couldn’t be sure if was lingering effects from today or the lack of response from her brother. She would try again later tonight.

Sitting in the silent motel room, she thought again of the abrasive yet protective detective and the trouble she had caused him. Though he was hell-bent on capturing Austen, he was just as determined to keep her safe. And all she done was lie to him. For the first time that night Amber wondered if he would even come looking for her.