“Jesus, Roxy, are the police on their way?” he demanded.
“No. I didn’t call them.”
There was a nanosecond of silence. “Did you call Reece?”
“No.” I straightened, putting my toes on the cool tile. “I can’t call him. He—”
“Are you fucking out of your mind, girl? You need to call the police right now. Wait.” He sounded like he was moving. A door slammed shut. “Where are you?”
“I’m in my bathroom.” I stood, pushing my hair back from my face. “I just wasn’t thinking. I woke up, saw the picture and panicked.”
“I’m heading over to your place now and I’m calling Reece. He’s off on Fridays, right? He’ll ans—”
“Don’t call him. Please don’t call him.” I squeezed my eyes shut. “He isn’t . . . we aren’t really talking right now and I don’t want him . . . just don’t call him.” Truth was, I knew how crazy this was, how utterly bizarre it was to wake up and find a picture of myself on the phone. Someone could easily believe that I’d done it for attention, and the way things were with Reece right now, I didn’t want him to think that. “Are you there?”
“Yes. I’m coming to you, but I need you to get off the phone and call the police. You need to do that right now,” he said, his voice calm as I heard an engine roar to life.
“And you need to stay in that bathroom until you hear from me or the police. You understand?”
I felt stupid for not calling the police immediately. “Okay. I’m going to call them now. I’m sorry—”
“Don’t apologize, Roxy. Call the police. I’ll be right there.”
I did what I should’ve done immediately. I called the police. The dispatcher didn’t laugh hysterically in my ear when I told her that I’d woken up and found a picture of myself sleeping on the cell. She took my information, and stayed on the phone until Nick beeped in on the other line, letting me know he was outside.
I had no idea how he got to my place so fast. The number of laws he had to have broken astonished me.
Opening the bathroom door was the scariest thing I’d ever had to do. My entire body shook as I grabbed the doorknob. When I did, I expected to see a serial killer in a clown mask waiting for me, but the hall was empty. I ran to the door a second time.
Nick came in, dressed like he’d been earlier at the bar. He barely looked at me as he took my free hand in his and started turning on the lights throughout the apartment. “Were you in your bedroom?”
“Yes. I was in bed.” My voice cracked as I followed him on shaky legs.
He steered me toward the couch. “Stay here.” Reaching behind me, he tugged the quilt off the couch, draping it over my bare legs. It was then when I realized I was wandering around in my undies and tank top. “I’m going to check out your bedroom real quick, okay?”
Numb, I tucked the blanket around my legs as I clutched my phone. The next several moments were surreal. The moment he left the room, I didn’t want to be alone. Getting up, I wrapped the blanket around me and found him just leaving my extra bedroom and heading into my main one.
Nick sent me a look as he checked the window.
“I don’t want to be by myself,” I admitted hoarsely. I didn’t want to be anywhere in the house alone.
He nodded and then crossed the room, opening the closet door. I could hear hangers banging around. Then he turned to me. “Do you have some bottoms you can put on? I think the police are outside.”
Flushing, I hurried to the dresser and pulled out a pair of cotton shorts. Nick started to leave the room. “Can you stay? Please?”
Running a hand through his dark hair, he turned around, giving me privacy. “Jesus, Roxy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so scared.”
I dropped the blanket and pulled the shorts on with shaking hands. Then I picked the blanket up once more, holding it to my chest. I didn’t say anything as we went back out to the living room. I could see blue and red lights flashing outside.
The officer who Nick let inside was around Reece’s age, and I vaguely recognized him. He came to the bar a couple of times with the guys. I thought he might be engaged or something. Without my glasses, I couldn’t make out his name. Luckily he introduced himself, saving me the trouble of figuring it out.
Officer Hank Myers.
Ah, yes. Hankie Hank. I remembered him. That was Katie’s nickname for him, and he wasn’t engaged. On second thought, I think he had the hots for Katie, because I was pretty sure he’d let her use him as a pole a couple of times at Mona’s.
None of this was important.
“I checked the apartment out,” Nick said. “The window in the extra bedroom was open.”
I gasped. “What?”
“I think that’s how someone got into your house. Odd thing is, though, I didn’t see the screen.”
“I don’t . . . I don’t have a screen in the window right now.” I watched Hank leave the room. “It was damaged a few months ago and the landlord was getting it repaired.” My breath hitched. “The person . . . they came in through the window? Oh God..”
Hank did a quick search that lasted all of a minute tops before returning to the living room. “What’s going on, Roxy?”
Sitting back down on the couch wrapped in a blanket burrito, I told Hankie Hank about the picture. His face was impressively blank as he made his request. “Can I see your phone?”
I handed it over, and when I looked down at my hand, the phone had left thin indentations in my palms. “You have to go into the pictures.”
Nick sat on the arm of the couch. He was silent, but I appreciated his presence and that I wasn’t alone dealing with this.
It pierced me in the chest when I thought that a few days ago I could’ve called Reece. Hell, even during the eleven months we hadn’t been nice to each other, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to call him, and I believed without a doubt that Reece would be here.
The dark blue uniform stretched across his shoulders as Hank took a look at my phone, blond brows raised. He glanced up at me. “And this was on your phone when you woke up?” When I nodded, he looked at the photo again. “There was no way this happened before tonight?”
I shook my head. “No. And when I woke up, my screen was still lit up. It was just taken.”
“Is there anyone who could’ve done this as a joke? Has access to your apartment?”