Matt didn't even bothering to make the sharp left that would have taken them to his apartment. He didn't want to sleep there tonight, and knew Emily wouldn't. He couldn't go back there tonight without spending the night lying awake, wondering if there was a camera outside that window. Wondering if someone was watching.
Sure, Tobin Jensen was dead, and couldn't possibly come back to stalk them. That didn't matter though, as his violation already turned Matt's apartment into a sinister place. He'd lived in that apartment for five years, a gift to himself after he and Cheryl were granted a raise by the FBI. Things were going well then, he'd saved up money, and had bigger paychecks coming. He happily moved out of his small, cheap apartment, to this place he'd learned to call home.
It didn't have the most sophisticated interior design, but it wasn't some sorry excuse of a bachelor pad either. It was roomy, but small enough so that he didn't feel horribly alone it in it. He'd placed furniture he loved in it, rather than the cheapest, or most popular, posh pieces. He hadn't spent centuries choosing a color to paint it, and took pride that it still looked good. This was his domain, where he found piece of mind after a hard day, and a moment of calm, in his often tension-filled life. It was the place Emily first told him she loved him.
But Jensen had seemly ruined all of that. His apartment wouldn't be a place to find piece of mind, serenity, or relaxation, rather it would be a place he was constantly looking over his shoulder. The next time he ventured in his bedroom, he would undoubtedly end up peering out the window in a understandable fit of paranoia. He also knew that if he and Emily ever tried to have sex in his bed again, it would be under the sheets, quick, and edgy. Though the worst after-effect of Tobin Jensen, would that when Matt thought of Emily shyly whispering those three little words, his mind would immediately fly to that sex tape.
These were the thoughts running through his head as he navigated through L.A., now only minutes from Emily's building. The damage was done. It was irrational, he knew, but even the streets seemed darker, threatening, and he couldn't help it as his eyes darted to the shadows, searching for imaginary intruders. He shook his head, feeling his hands grip the wheel tighter. Tobin Jensen was dead; nobody was watching them. Nobody was waiting with a loaded camera, poised to invade their lives.
He wasn't convinced as he pulled into the small complex, and parked his car, listening to the whispers of the engine as it settled down. He sat still, hands still gripping the wheel, counting in his head, breathing steadily, trying to convince himself of what his mind already knew. He then realized that Emily was moving either, but sitting still, staring out the window, as if still waiting for the car to stop. He watched her with concern; she'd been silent the whole trip, though he'd attributed it mostly to exhaustion.
She turned to face him, her eyes tired, yet burning with adrenaline, and what was clearly anxiety. She simply shook her head, knowing Matt would understand. She couldn't go in.
"Hotel?" He asked, worriedly.
"Just for tonight?" She knew he was worried about her, especially considering she wasn't comfortable going into her own apartment.
"Sure, the Marriott isn't far." He turned the ignition, metal beast roaring to life once again, and Emily resumed staring out the window.
Emily had started looking over her shoulder the moment she saw that picture, praying her dysfunctional past wasn't the shadow chasing her. It hadn't been, that shadow belonged to Tobin Jensen, something she had done right come back hurt her. Her past had only been along for the ride, but clinging tight enough to nearly tear her and Matt apart. Now she watched L.A. go by, struggling to make sense of the last few days, whirlwind that they were.
She didn't know if she would ever feel comfortable in Matt's apartment again, a place that had meant so much to her, but was seemed to bear a sign that screamed, 'violated', as if it were stigmata. She had become so comfortable in the apartment, so comfortable with Matt, so happy and at ease. That apartment meant Matt, and he was so much to her. His comforting arms that wrapped around her, his touch, which could be gentle, savoring every bit, or passionate and heated, his voice that held so many distinct tones, it was a pleasurable challenge to keep up.
But now, it felt as if someone had come in that warm, little apartment, and mocked them, mocked how she felt with him. Tobin Jensen had shown a very private moment to the world, and essentially destroyed everything about it. Emily couldn't go in that apartment yet, or she would end up looking over her shoulder, and praying for the sun to dawn so that she could finally leave it. If their bodies ever had occasion to grace that bed again, the closet would be triple-checked, the blinds nailed shut, and the door dead-bolted, chained and locked through the knob.
As for her own apartment, Jensen had obviously been watching her, and for sometime. How was she ever supposed to feel secure in her own apartment again? Her mind painted a self-deprecating picture of the next relaxing bath she would take- soft music, bubbles up to her collar bone, glass of chardonnay in one hand, and loaded pistol in the other. She couldn't shake the feeling that he was watching, and part of her feared she never would. He was dead, she knew that, saw the bullet Matt put in his head, watched the hole smolder in his forehead, but it didn't stop that disturbing chill.
Matt wrapped an arm around her as they entered the hotel, and she gladly leaned into him, exhausted, and completely drained. The lobby was generally empty when they entered, only a man or woman in business attire moving here or there. Matt spoke to the concierge, and handed his credit card over, glancing worriedly at his companion every so often.
The concierge noticed this, and his smile became an uneasy expression. This was a respectable hotel, and he didn't want to any trouble from them, he became instantly more watchful. The woman he watched was clearly very tired, but at the same time, her eyes spooked, alive and jumping around the room with energy they didn't have. Somehow, she looked familiar. The man who handed him the credit card carried a similar expression, but his eyes were nearly as jumpy, concern for his companion replacing the former. His eyes momentarily shifted back to his computer as it processed the card, and back up to the large television in the lobby. Oh, that was who she was, the Fed they kept talking about on the TV. He relaxed, now understanding their appearance, and convinced they would make no trouble. He handed the man the receipt room keys, and watch the two walk off to the elevators.
Inside the room, they dropped their overnight bags, which sat in their trunks just in case of an emergency, and surveyed the room. Matt suddenly turned back to the door, locking the knob, and throwing the chain on, while Emily undid the bows holding the curtains open, allowing the drapes to swing shut. She made for the bathroom, intent on splashing some cool water over her face, in an attempt to bring her tired, stressed self back to life. Matt stripped out of his clothes, leaving only his boxers on, and adjusted the air conditioning, before hopping into the bed. When Emily came out, she began to do the same, but instead of searching for nightclothes in her own bag, she went to his and pulled out a t-shirt. She pulled the black cotton over her head, and crawled into the bed, curling beside him. Even with both minds on high alert, the absence of sleep for two days won out, and sleep took them with in minutes.
Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way for very long. Matt woke up two and a half hours later, blinking in sleepy confusion at the empty spot beside him. He pulled himself up, and looked around the room, his eyes landing on the figure sitting in the chair by the window. Her legs were drawn up to her chest, one arm encircling them loosely, the other rested on the window sill, supporting her head, as she stared blankly into the dark city. Matt threw his legs over the bed, yawned once, and approached her, resting a hand on her back. She moved the hand from her legs, and laid it over his, but didn't turn around.
Emily had woken up almost forty-five minutes earlier, her body unable to shake that feeling, and so unable to relax. Rather than wake Matt, and have them both suffer sleeplessness, she moved to the window, and gazed out into the night. A part of her had always loved the look of a city at night, painted in shadows, but still lit up like Christmas. It was impossible to see the stars at night when you lived in the city, but the lights that never seemed to extinguish almost made up for it. But, tonight she wasn't just admiring the lights, or the quiet of the night, the irrational, anxious, shaken part of her was desperately looking for that camera lens.
"Hey, you alright?" His soft voice broke the silence.
He was taken aback, expecting her to deny that anything was wrong. It was the typical cop way—everything was fine until a Band-Aid couldn't stop the blood flow, or you gotten bad enough to stick your own gun in your mouth.
"You want to talk?"
"Not really." Her sad voice answered him.
"He's gone Em."
"It doesn't feel like it."
"Yeah…I know." He felt the same way.
"Oliver Marsh in going to need years of therapy," she spoke almost angrily.
"Probably, but he's a pretty strong kid from what I saw, he'll be okay."
"Maybe. I keep hearing his voice, when he told Jensen to let him go home earlier. He's just some poor kid, why did Jensen had to use an innocent kid to screw with me?" Her voice held guilt and anguish, feelings held at bay, while her mind was engulfed in paranoia.
"Because he knew it would eat away at you, like it is. He knew that you're a good person, and the idea that somebody suffered because of you would hurt like hell. But, Oliver didn't suffer because of you, but because of Jensen. You are just as innocent, and got just as unlucky as Oliver. Had it been me, or Cheryl, or Binder, or whoever that took his case, we would have told him the same thing, and he would have done the same thing."
"You don't know that, Matt."
"Yes, I do. Jensen was a sick bastard who hated you because you saved his life, and he went to prison. That's it. He knew nothing about you until he started planning this. You aren't responsible for this."
"I know, but I feel responsible."
"Yeah, guilt is a bitch."
She nodded, "are you still mad at me for lying to you?"
"No, I was more hurt than mad. Did you really think I'd think less of you if I knew you had a sister in prison?"
"Yes, part of me did. You are only beginning to learn how dysfunctional my family is Matt, I don't want it to scare you off."
"Give me a little credit, your family isn't a reflection on you, I know that. I'm the guy who hasn't spoken to his brother in six years, remember?"
"Sorry, I guess I just don't expect anyone to understand that." It had been that way her whole life, people learn about her sister, and suddenly they look at her differently.
"So, that's why you try so hard to help people isn't it?" his sudden question startled her, and she only looked at him in confusion.
"Because you couldn't help Ally, and you wish you could. So you try to help other people instead?"
"Now who's the shrink?" The corners of her mouth were turned up slightly in amusement.
He rolled his eyes, "It's true isn't it?"
"Yeah, probably," she answered noncommittally, yawning moments later.
"You ready to try and sleep again?" He sounded like a father that had been comforting his child after a nightmare. Emily evidently caught that too.
"Yes, dad." He once again rolled his eyes at her, but grabbed the hand she held out to him, and pulled her from the chair.
The climbed into the bed once again, seemingly oblivious to the curtain they'd left open. For the duration of that conversation Jensen wasn't in the room. He was the monster that had kidnapped a young boy, and terrorized them for two days, seeking revenge against Emily for a wrong she'd never committed. But, he wasn't watching them anymore, he was dead, something of an abstract thought now. There was no face at the window, no camera lens pointing in, just the twinkling lights of the city. And, when they woke up in what would undoubtedly be the later morning, they'd go in to work, even though Cheryl told them not to, and write the reports that would close this case forever. They would bury Tobin Jensen away in a cardboard evidence box.
Yes, I already wrote one for "Lie to Me", but forgot about it. This was written for a request and again, originally posted to the messageboards. Thanks for reading and reviewing!