For the story so far
“You know you drive me mental. Absolutely up the fucking wall. Do you have the receipt for filling up with petrol?” He thumped the table. I didn’t blink. I’d seen Sam in this mood before and whilst he hit things, I held absolutely no doubt that he would ever hit a female in anger.
“I should do,” I moved towards the door. He blocked me.
“I just shove everything into my wallet,” I glared at him, giving him my version of a dirty look. Fucking control freak. Samuel grinned nastily at me.
“Find it,” he ordered, stepping back so I could move past him. I stalked out and grabbed my handbag. Returning to the kitchen I upended everything onto his table. Neat freak Sam glared at the sight.
“Lighten up,” I said. “I have security, I kept the calls, I have this covered.”
“I’ll lighten up when you start thinking. You are a single woman who lives alone. A monitored security system won’t help you when it takes the police over five minutes to get to you. I can be in, murder you and out of your duplex in three minutes. Indy, you are not taking this threat seriously,” Sam continued his emotionless death stare. He continued to scroll through the messages.
“What, I’m getting murdered now am I. It’s a few phone calls of heavy breathing, the odd creepy voicemail. It’s probably some teenager I work with,” I responded. Although, if I admitted it to myself, most of the teenagers gave up after a couple of calls. They didn’t have the persistence to keep calling after a week or two. I couldn’t for the life of me work out who the hell would want to stalk me. I had very little, I was an ex-druggie, I’d never dealt. I had been a bottom feeder, occasionally stealing and shoplifting for a hit.
“Don’t forget the photo.” We were at a Mexican standoff. Sam won. I flicked through some receipts. He reached forward and grabbed a small black thing.
“And do the teenagers you work for have the funds to get at least 6 different burn phones and put a bug,” he showed me the little object, “into your handbag.”
He grabbed Matt’s phone and hit a speed dial number. There was almost no delay in the phone being answered.
“Matt, your sister is being stalked,” he paused but I could hear Matthew shouting down the phone, if not the words. “Six months. She’s safe enough here, my security hasn’t malfunctioned. I’ve traced the messages, they were from burn phones. She has a bug in her bag. Her sunroof malfunctioned last night, and the creep sent her a photo. I won’t go on but you need to check out her townhouse. She has extra monitored security.” I heard Matt laugh in disgust. “Yeah, I know, you probably should have told her more about what we do. Oh, and I want to date her.” Sam hung up.
“You want to date me?” I was a little shell-shocked. He’d gone from ignoring to kissing to avoiding to kissing to demanding and now he announced to my brother that he wanted to date me?
“Matt and I are close, he saved my life in a shit storm overseas. I saved his. If I am going to try and grow, try and actually have a relationship I don’t screw up then I have to be open about it. Matt is closer to me than my real brothers are. Brothers don’t hold out on each other, even if they want one of their mate’s sister. I am trying to do this right.”
“Buddy, you have a funny way of showing it. May I suggest next time you actually have a rational discussion with me and perhaps ask me if I want to date you first.”
“It’s the rational discussions at the moment we are struggling with. You have a stalker Indy. I am not particularly rational where you are concerned at the moment. You are in danger, and you are dealing with this by yourself.” Sam gazed into my eyes. His were stormy gray, intense yet let off the aura of complete confidence. “You are not rational. Have you even spoken to anyone at work about this,” he asked me.
I gave him a look as if to say duh, of course not.
“You can go to one of our safe houses.”
“Your business is large enough for a safe house,” I asked.
“It’s Beth’s old house. This way the company gets a tax break on the mortgage repayments. At the moment we mostly use it to store excess equipment. It has a wicked safe room that Beth designed.”
“No,” I replied.
“Yes,” he responded. I ignored him and placed the receipts in my hand on the table.
His kitchen was simple but beautiful. Timber cabinetry was topped with what looked like slabs of granite. I stood and reached out and ran my hands across the cool stone. The benches were higher than normal and the sink looked out into the non-existent garden through a massive window. I could see it in my mind; corn blowing gently in the breeze, the scent of basil and rosemary wafting in through open windows, the hum of the bees, ripening tomatoes giving a glimpse of color to the lush vegetable patch. I sighed and stopped daydreaming, turning my attention to the kitchen again.
A small fridge stood discordant in a much larger space than was required, and there was what appeared to be a wood stove. I ran my hands over the timber doors. They were so smooth.
“I felled all the timber myself,” he commented as he sat opposite me, pouring a cup of tea from the pot on the table. I sat back down again as well, seemed like a bit of a jack in the box at the moment.
“The stove and oven are wood fired. I grew up with one of these, can’t seem to live without it.” He pulled out a sheet of paper from his pocket. It had a list of things written on it.
“Now Indy,” his tone hardened. This was Sam the Security Man. “The stalker is definitely persistent. Tell me about what is happening in your life. I need to judge how big a thread we have here. Matt, Beth and I, as well as providing corporate security do some special jobs from time to time. One of them is to track down stalkers and other threats. We do more than what the police do. In order to do this, I need all the details of your life.”
He sipped his tea. He was sitting across from me and looked comfortable and in control. Me, I felt like, well – I did not really know. It was odd to feel so hot and sexy one minute and then so unsure of the world the next. My hand shook a little as I sipped my tea.
“My life is dull. I go to work, I go home, I shop at Op shops,” was my eventual contribution. I’d been fantasizing about Sam for a while, but I wasn’t telling him that.
I gave him a look that would have withered the majority of parolees that I dealt with.
Samuel smirked at me. Oh hell, that was not what my body needed, another sexy grin.
“Work, home, and shopping, never thought I would fall for such a girly girl,” he articulated.
“Girly girl,” I crossed my eyes at him. “I didn’t notice you complaining about my outfit.”
“Darlin’ no one was complaining about your outfit last night and those shoes – if that is what you are buying keep doing. I have plans for those shoes. But stalkers pick their targets for a reason.”
I resumed looking for my receipt in the rubbish from my handbag.
“I don’t know Sam,” I said deliberately enjoying his responding growl, “Get over yourself darlin’,” I mimicked him. “I go to work, at work I deal with lots of different people. I got a promotion about 9 months ago so I am not on the counter anymore, but I am in charge of organizing a whole lot of case managers and their parolees.”
“You haven’t considered changing your job have you?” Samuel interrupted me.
“All of the time but I have a high school education. There is not much I can do.”
“What about studying at university? You are certainly intelligent enough for it.”
“I,” I had no answer. I’d never considered it. “We were talking about my stalker,” I replied eventually, filling in the silence.
“He’s not your stalker, he’s a creep and I am trying to assess how dangerous he actually is. What exactly do you do?”
“I’m an Administration Officer in the Department of Corrective Services. I got promoted to Level 3, nine months ago and thus now, instead of getting to greet all the parolees at the front of the building, I now handle all their paperwork and the paperwork of their officers. I work in the Juvenile section and handle maybe 50 different parolees and their caseworkers. None of my clients have anything out of the run of the mill to indicate creepy stalker. For the most part, they are angry and have no direction. I understand that.” It was possibly the one thing I liked about my job, helping angry and directionless people get onto a track that was not destructive. Of course, it helped when they wanted to help themselves and my role in it was limited.
“It’s still a big risk,” Samuel said, I shrugged. “What about your home and your social life?”
“Not a lot to tell. I spend my spare time window shopping, looking for the best sexy dress at the cheapest price. I live in a townhouse and most of my money is going towards paying it off as quickly as I can. I don’t go out very often. I actually have very few friends. Most of my high school friends don’t speak to me and I don’t get close to those at work easily. I joined a gym about 7 months ago and used it 3 times before I decided I didn’t like hot and sweaty.”
Samuel laughed, “You weren’t complaining last night.”
I grinned back.
“Perhaps there is some hot and sweaty that I quite like. Look I can’t think of any man that I led on.”
Sam looked at me in disbelief.
“I dress conservatively at work – jeans and a shirt,” I protested. “If I am out, most of the time I dress in the same way. Last night was unusual.”
“What about the man you were going to the party with last night,” Sam kept his eyes on me. They were sexy eyes.
“I was annoyed because I don’t do anything anymore so I decided to try and start dating again. One of the parole officers asked me to the party. He stood me up so I decided to stuff him and go anyway.”
I did not meet his eyes; rather I resumed my slow search for the receipt.