Chapter 2

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I didn't sleep that night. I'm not sure if I slept the next either. I sat vigilantly by the door, waiting for voices or sounds, anything to indicate life on the other side. For two nights, there was nothing.

I never left it except for a few mad dashes to the bathroom, desperate to not miss a single sound. I nodded off a few times but would pinch myself if I ever felt the overwhelming compulsion to sleep. The thin walls also helped, allowing me to be aware of every little thing that happened outside of my door. That's how I knew Ian never came back.

I would have heard it.

Chris and Ian also weren't the only guards on our floor, but they were the only ones who worked day shifts. At one point during the first night, I swore I heard a guard leave for a night shift somewhere at the other end of the hall. I seriously considered opening my door to check, but I knew the consequences of being caught if I was wrong.

By the time morning light started to break through the window's curtains after my second night in front of the door, my head pounded and my back was stiff from sitting for so long in the same position. I rolled my shoulders back and stretched my neck. I knew I couldn't keep just waiting next to the door. I needed to think and sitting wasn't going to make Chris come home. I made a move to stand but flinched.

Well, this is going to be unpleasant.

I'd been dumb and sat cross-legged for hours, and my legs had gone completely numb. I stretched one leg out and a strong sensation of pins and needles shot all the way from my toes to my butt. I tried to massage my leg, but that only made the feeling worse. When it got a bit better, I managed to wiggle my toes. It helped, so I repeated the same process with my other leg.

A door slammed in the building, making me jolt upright. I could barely hear it, which meant it probably wasn't on our floor. I didn't care. Ignoring the overwhelming stinging that came from my legs as I moved them, I crawled closer to the door and put my ear against it.


I waited. Maybe they were back. Maybe Chris had just gotten held up. Maybe he'd gotten injured and Ian had helped him out. Maybe he'd had to help Ian out. Maybe if I wished it hard enough, maybe if my will was strong enough, he'd come back to me.


I sat on the floor for what could have been five minutes or thirty. Nothing came of it. Letting out a sigh, I stood up. My legs were shaky at first, but they got stronger with each step I took. I needed to think, to make a plan, to... I had no idea. My mind blanked as I looked around my small, empty apartment. I was at a complete loss.

Chris was the planner. I was impulsive, putting my trust in the idea that things would always just eventually work out. I never thought that I'd be here alone, without Chris. Now I was alone, so completely and utterly alone.

I felt something crack within me, like a tiny piece of my heart shattered. The tears hit my cheeks before I even realized I was crying. I quickly stifled my sobs with the back of my hand.

Suck it up. Hold yourself together.

Taking three deep breaths, I managed to pull myself together long enough to stop crying. I went to the bathroom and splashed my face in the sink, letting the icy water shock me back to reality. Wiping a face on a hand towel, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The whites of blue-grey eyes were filled with angry red veins, looking more bloodshot than I'd ever seen them. I needed to sleep, to eat, but what I really needed was a plan.

Making my way back to the kitchen, I opened the cabinet and pulled down a can without bothering to look at the label. I opened it and got a fork out of the drawer. I placed the can and fork on the kitchen table then went back and filled up a glass of water. As soon as the liquid touched my lips I realized how painfully thirsty I was. I gulped down the first glass in seconds and quickly filled it up again. I made myself go a bit slower on the second glass, feeling the pressure of it hit my stomach made me have to breathe through a wave of nausea. I'd really done a number on myself with my negligence.

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