Chapter Six

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Tap-tap-tap-tap.

Someone was at the door. But which one? I didn't even have a door anymore, did I?

A harsh beam of light illuminated the book tented on my chest, my hand strewn across it, the blue bracelet pressed into my wrist.

The car. I'd been reading in the back seat and must have fallen asleep. Not too surprising-Richard III was not one of my favorites.

Tap-tap-tap-tap.

Blearily, I sat up, sending Richard III tumbling to the floor. The beam of light shined into my face, making my eyes water. The beam lowered, and once my eyes adjusted, I saw the man standing outside my window.

Rhys?

My throat constricted. My heart slammed against my ribs. If he had found me-

But the man scowling into my driver's side window was older than Rhys. He had a stockier build. And, most noticeably, he was wearing a cop uniform. The fear clutching my throat loosened its grip.

Officer Not-Rhys beckoned for me to get out of the car.

With trembling fingers, I unlocked the door and slipped outside. We were alone in the parking lot, apart from the crickets chirping in the brush. The only light came from his flashlight and the dimmed headlights of his cruiser. My gaze flicked to the gun on his hip. "Is something wrong, Officer?"

He gave me a hard, assessing look, from my unkempt hair to my stocking feet, before glancing past me into my car. His eyes narrowed at the empty pack of cigarettes in the center console and the handbag slumped across the passenger's seat, as if he were looking for something.

"Can I ask what you're doing here, miss?"

My mind whirled with possible explanations. "I was at the beach."

"Alone?"

"Yes."

"And you decided to take a nap?"

I couldn't tell him. I couldn't. "I was reading, and I... must have dozed off."

"Reading." He scrutinized my face, my eyes. I could have sworn he was trying to smell me.

Drugs-that what he was worried about, what he was looking for. He thought I'd been getting high in my car.

"I didn't want to go home right away, that's all," I said, trying to keep my voice steady, "but I'll go home now, if that's okay."

Please let me leave. Please.

His expression shifted from one worry to another. "Are you having problems at home, miss?"

"No," I said. "No problems." I'd say anything if it meant he'd let me leave. I didn't want to be arrested. I couldn't stand the thought of him touching me.

"All right," the cop said slowly. "Why don't you head home."

"Thank you, Officer."

He nodded at my driver's side window. "Go ahead and leave first. And don't let me catch you parking here at night again."

"Yes, sir." My body shook with adrenaline as I slid into the driver's seat and toed the pedals with my stocking-feet.

He was letting me leave, but where was I going to go? Claire's? I was pretty sure she knew, or at least suspected, no matter how much I'd tried to hide it. But if I showed up at Claire's, Owen would find out. And Jenny. I couldn't stand the thought of Jenny knowing this about me.

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