It took about forty minutes to get to Samantha’s house, and Allison fell asleep on the way. She lived on the outskirts of town in a neighborhood that felt like it had once been rundown, but was now cleaned up for the working middle-class.
“Used be a lot worse here, but they fixed it up. For people who don’t make enough to move farther out, but who can afford better than what’s offered in town can afford these neighborhoods. Some rent. Some own. But we all work hard to live here.”
The woman had to be telepathic. She had an uncanny ability to answer unasked questions. Then again, she was a cop. A detective, at that. That sort of skill would be invaluable to her.
The cab pulled up to the curb in front of a cute little cape. It was hard to tell what color it was at night, but it was homey no matter the color.
Samantha paid the driver and climbed out into the street. She reached in to take our bags as I gently woke Allison again and helped her get out of the car.
We scanned around as we approached the house. I never let go of Allison’s hand in case we had to run. But, all was quiet on the street. Samantha unlocked the door and checked inside before allowing us in.
It was a small foyer, with a coat rack still heavy with winter wear and an assortment of shoes along the wall. A hallway lead straight back to the kitchen, stairs running alongside to the left. The living room was to the right.
“I have a guest room with a double bed, if you’d like. Or, you can use the sofas.” Samantha’s voice had a bit more tension in it. Was it just because we were now in her home, her personal space? Or was there more to it than that?
I wanted to trust her. I needed to trust her in some deep crevice of my psyche. But I kept coming back to all the setups we’d run into already.
“We’ll take the guest room, thank you,” I told her.
Allison trudged up the steps behind the other woman with me bringing up the rear. “My neighbor across the street is a state trooper,” Samantha provided. “He doesn’t know my history, or what’s been going on with you. Hell, he doesn’t even know you’re here. But, if anything does happen, I want you to know that we’ll have outsider backup.”
“Assuming he’s home at the time,” I added.
“Yeah,” she said. “There’s that.
“Here’s the bathroom,” she said at the top of the stairs, indicating a room with the dim glow of a night light. “Your room is at the end of the hall.”
Samantha’s room was between us and the bathroom. That could be good or bad, depending on the point of view.
As Allison climbed into bed and promptly fell asleep, Samantha handed me a pistol. “Nine millimeter. It’s loaded, but the chamber’s empty.”
“How many shots?” I asked. My heart was pounding with weight of yet another gun in my hands. I didn’t want this burden on me anymore. It was starting to wear on me, and I didn’t know if I would crack under the pressure.
“Eight, since the chamber’s empty.”
I huffed out a heavy breath. “Okay. I’ll find a place for it. Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me until this is over, Ella. Anything can happen, yet.”