Hider in the House: Episode Eight

Hider in the House

Hider in the House: Episode Eight

Hallie lay awake in the guest room. All she could think was that for now, at least, she was safe. Thomas wasn’t going to turn her in. Not yet, anyway. They’d reached a bit of an impasse. She wanted to hide out in his house. He wanted to solve the mystery of who exactly had set him up and forced him out of active police work.

He’d agreed to let her look at the file. And he planned to make a few discreet inquiries about her situation. Both of them knew he’d have to tread carefully, because there were likely tripwires in place for anyone who tiptoed too close to being actively interested.

Hallie turned over for the twentieth time. It wasn’t that the bed was uncomfortable, although she was used to a queen-size. Had she already become used to sleeping on the floor? Listening to Thomas breathing above her? Freezing at each shift of the mattress? Terrified she’d sneeze or need the bathroom while he was there?

Or was it just the slight release of the tension she’d been living with these past few days.

Thomas had given her one of his white tee shirts to sleep in, so at least there was that. He’d also agreed to pick up a few things for her tomorrow. God, how embarrassing to ask an almost complete stranger for feminine hygiene products. But she knew how regular her cycle was. She was going to need them

Now Thomas knew her shirt size (medium), her pants size (eight) he also knew her underwear size. What kind of moisturizer she preferred.

She supposed it was only fair. She’d been rummaging through his things and knew not only what brand of peanut butter he bought, but also what hair care products and shaving cream he used. She hadn’t found anything embarrassing in his medicine cabinet. No hemorrhoid cream or wart remover. Still, it wasn’t the same as him knowing which tampons she used.

Her mind tumbled over itself as she returned to thinking about her responsibility for Erin’s murder. If it was the last thing she did, and she reminded herself, it might very well be, she would get justice for her friend. It wasn’t much consolation, but it was all she had.

***

Hallie woke the next morning when she heard Thomas’s alarm. She knew his routine. He never hit the snooze button. He’d go to the kitchen and switch on the coffeemaker then head for the bathroom. When she heard the shower turn on, she made a beeline for the guest bath. Afterward, she snuggled under the covers even though she didn’t plan on going back to sleep. The best thing she could do, she’d decided last night, was to keep a low profile and stay out of Thomas’s way.

When she heard the garage door close, she pulled on her yoga pants and crept to the kitchen. She was feeling more paranoid than ever, even though Thomas was the only person who knew where she was and she trusted him to keep her secret. He’d give her fair warning if that changed.

Still she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t nearly as safe hiding out here as she thought she was. Thomas has assured her that his cleaning lady came bi-weekly. No one else had access to his home or a reason to be there. His time with his daughter was always planned ahead of time. And it would be easy enough for Hallie to hide as she had the day before.

But still, the uneasiness didn’t abate. Hallie poured coffee and toasted an English muffin. She switched the TV on and muted the volume, flipping through the news channels to see if there was mention of the murder or her as a person of interest, or worse, her photo.

She saw nothing which both elated and disappointed her. Erin’s murder was four days ago. It had already been eclipsed by other news.

She set her dishes in the sink and headed to the bathroom. There was no reason not to take a leisurely shower. She had nothing else to do and nowhere to go. She itched to research the murder suspects, but she couldn’t even do that.

Her spirits drooped as she stood under the warm spray. She knew how quickly a case could grow cold if not solved in the first 48 hours. And if cops were involved? They knew better than anyone how to cover up a murder, how to hide or destroy evidence. She couldn’t let that happen. But how could she prevent it? Her mind tumbled over itself as she sought a solution.

Her priority had to be self-preservation. She was no good to Erin dead. She needed the background material she’d compiled on the candidate she was vetting. A deep dive on both the cops she’d seen once she identified them. She hated relying on Thomas no matter how good a detective he’d once been. She also hated the fact that she might have put his life in danger by enlisting his help.

Anger displaced sadness as she stepped out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel. She froze when she heard the front door open.

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