Catching Smoke: Ch. 6

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How dare he! 

        Emma had never had a request turned down, and she had certainly never been the one to leave without answers. Whoever this prick was, he couldn't be good for her. She needed to find a way to disappear immediately.

But what if he followed her? Hadn't he said he wouldn't be so easy to shake? Of course, he could have been lying to scare her from trying to leave. However, he seemed to know so much about her, was it worth the risk to leave without getting answers from him first? She needed to know everything he had on her, and she needed to know why. She'd never be able to live comfortably again until she had everything figured out.

For the first time in years, Emma felt the heavy weight of being utterly alone. She had nobody she could call, nobody to talk to, nobody to give her any consolation.

She only had herself, and right now, she wasn't doing such a good job of calming herself down and working out a plan of action. She began pacing, walking briskly from one side of the hotel room to the other.

What was she going to do? How was she going to do it? 

She remembered a woman who had tried to befriend her in Brazil. Emma had taken on the identity of Rosa-Marie de la Garza, the fiercely wealthy drug smuggler. It was an exciting life to take over, but since it was also a dangerous one, Emma had been particularly wary of making new friends. She couldn't remember the woman's name. Just the look on her face seconds before Emma boarded a plane to take her to her next life, her next identity. At the time, Emma had thought it looked pathetic.

"Please," the woman had said, "I just have a job opportunity for you. I know who you are, Emmalee. I know everything. I'm a recruiter for..."

Emma hadn't let her finish. She had boarded the plane, and made a note never to return to Brazil. She never saw or heard from the woman again, and had since put the woman and the last message out of her mind.

But now another person had shown up in her life who seemed to know her story or at least her real name and tendency to escape into different identities. Had she left a trail behind somewhere? Where were these people coming from? How did they know so much about her?

Her thoughts were making circles, not progress. She couldn't figure out the answers on her own. But she was all she had at the moment. She doubted the stranger who had showed up at the gallery tonight and refused to give her answers would be any help to her. After all, she had already given him the chance to explain himself, and now she was the one humiliated and forced to return to her hotel room defeated. She wasn't going to give him another chance to put her in this position again.

Eventually, she accepted that she wasn't going to be able to figure anything out that night, and she stopped pacing. She turned out the bedside lamp and got into bed.

That's when the hotel phone in her room began to ring.

This was odd because she knew nobody knew she was staying here, or at least nobody who would be calling her at this hour. Still, she picked up the phone.

"This is your wake-up call." She recognized the voice. It was the man she couldn't figure out. "Meet me in the lobby in ten minutes. Your answers await."

Then, he hung up.

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