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Shadow Me: Caliginous
Jordan's dark eyes were wide, the pupils dark holes in the middle of muddled brown. Her jaw dropped, and she fought back the urge to pound on the button that would open the elevator doors and let her out. "J-J-James. Um… Wow."
He grinned at her, the expression sly and menacing – the wolf to Jordan's Red Riding Hood. "Is that all you can say, Sis?"
"How – Uh – How are you?"
The car began to move downward. James chuckled with a dark heartiness. "Fine, Jordan. Just fine. Thank you for asking."
"How are you? Surprised? Happy?" He moved next to her. "Frightened?"
She dropped her gaze briefly and then brought it back to his inscrutable face. "Why would I be frightened?"
He flicked up one brow. "Why wouldn't you be?"
Jordan swallowed, willing spit into her arid mouth. "You – Uh – You survived."
"You are good, Dr. Cavanaugh. I guess this means you won't try to autopsy me."
She glared up at him.
"Yes, I survived."
"Of course, you are." His sarcasm laden voice sent shivers through her. She was suddenly certain she knew what a web-caught fly felt like when it saw the spider coming. A kind of paralysis overtook her. She could only watch as he stepped back to his side of the car and lazily reached out a finger to stop the car's downward progress. He leaned back, regarding her much the way that spider would regard its prey. "Don't you want to know where I've been?"
Jordan found it an act of will to move her tongue and lips, to force coherent speech from her brain. "You told me once – a long time ago – that you wanted to be left alone."
"And yet no one respects that!"
She flinched from his outburst.
"I thought maybe when I went into the river, when I realized you all thought I was dead… I thought I'd be free."
Hard to be free of being crazy was Jordan's unspoken thought. "What – What happened?"
His eyes burned. "What happened? You'll find out soon enough. They'll find the body, it'll come here, and you or one of your super-sleuth friends will start asking questions."
"What body, James?"
For a long moment he didn't answer.
"I said, what body?"
"I heard you," he growled. "You know, things were going pretty well. I've been driving delivery trucks. Pick up, drop off, no one pays much attention to you. Until some guy – some idiot – has to ruin it all."
Jordan could barely speak above a whisper. "What guy?"
"Some security guard. He knew me. He remembered me from high school. Can you believe it? Some moron I knew in Ninth grade was about to ruin everything." James shrugged. "I said I'd meet him for a beer. He never made it."
"Why not just leave? Go somewhere else? No one would know."
He grinned, the wolf coming back for more goodies from the basket. "Oh, but I can't. Not yet, Sis. It's not over here."
"What's not over?"
"I'm still owed." He waited for her response which never came. "My life – the one that was stolen from me – the one with Mom and Dad and my cute little sister. Remember that one? I'm still owed for that."
"Who, James? Who owes you?"
His teeth gleamed wickedly. "Max. Max owes me. Malden, I took care of, but Max… Max got away."
"He isn't even in Boston, anymore!"
"Oh, I know that. But he'll come back. Sometime. I missed my chance last time, but I'm watching more closely this time. He loves his little girl, his stubborn Jordan. He can't stay away forever."
Jordan's skin crawled. "You've been – watching me?"
"Isn't that what bid brothers do?" He laughed. "So, you see, Jordan, I don't have any intention of leaving Boston. Not yet. But I have this little problem."
Her mind whirled. "With the security guard?"
He nodded. "Very good, Dr. Cavanaugh. You catch on. See, I think I probably left some evidence at the crime scene. And I also think that after that whole thing with you and me and the abandoned apartment building… well, I'm willing to bet the police have my fingerprints, maybe even my DNA, on file." He cocked his head and smiled at her again. "But you're going to help me."
"That's right, Sis. Blood is thicker than water, right? So, you're going to do the autopsy yourself, maybe lose a little evidence here and there. I don't care if you find some poor sap to pin the death on, as long as it's not me."
Jordan's spine stiffened. "No way, James. Not happening. I'm not-"
"Oh yes, you are." He stepped closer to her again, close enough to grip one arm. With his free hand, he pulled a photo from his pocket. "If you don't, I'll kill him." He held the photo up for her to see.
She snorted. "Who is he?"
"Nice try. Nice."
She shrugged, wrenching her arm free. "I don't know him."
"Funny. He used to have a key to your place. You spent a weekend up at the Vineyard with him. He even bought you an engagement ring. I never did figure out exactly what happened there." His eyes danced with merriment. "Was it the cop? Trying to have them both?" James shook his head and clucked his tongue. "Never works. I'm proof of that."
"All right," she spit the words at him. "So what? Pollack's in D.C."
"Wrong again." James made a tsking noise. "He came back here about three weeks ago. I guess he learned his lesson about you, though."
"I'll warn him."
"I wouldn't do that. See, if you warn him, I'll kill him. If you don't do what I want, I'll kill him. If you tell your cop boyfriend, I'll kill the reporter. And don't bother telling me you don't care. I think you do. And anyway," he shrugged. "If I have to kill Pollack, I'll make it look like the cop – Woody, right? – I'll make it look like he did it."
The blood drained from Jordan's face.
"So, what do you say, Sis? Gonna help me?"
End Part Two