Something About You
Page 3

 Julie James

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The taller security guard sighed. “You know the protocol—we have to go in.” Out of his pocket he pulled what presumably was some sort of master key card. He slid it into the lock and cracked open the door.
“Hello? Hotel security—anyone in here?” he called into the room.
He looked over his shoulder at his partner and shook his head. Nothing. He stepped farther in and gestured for the second guy to follow. Both men disappeared into the room, out of Cameron’s view, and the door slammed shut behind them.
There was a momentary pause, then Cameron heard one of the security men cry out through the adjoining wall.
“Holy shit!”
Her stomach dropped. She knew then that whatever had happened in 1308, it wasn’t good. Uncertain what she should do, she pressed her ear to the wall and listened.
“Try CPR while I call 9-1-1!” one of the men shouted.
Cameron flew off the bed—she knew CPR—and raced to the door. She threw it open just as the shorter security guy was running out of 1308.
Seeing her, he held up his hand, indicating she should stop right where she was. “Ma’am—please get back in your room.”
“But I heard—I thought I could help, I—”
“We’ve got it covered, ma’am. Now please step back into your room.” He rushed off.
Per the security’s guard order, Cameron remained in her doorway. She looked around and saw that other people in the nearby rooms had heard the commotion and were peering into the hallway with mixed expressions of trepidation and curiosity.
After what seemed like forever but what was probably only minutes, the shorter guy returned leading a pair of paramedics pulling a gurney.
As the trio raced past Cameron, she overheard the security guard explaining the situation. “We found her lying there on the bed . . . She was nonresponsive so we began CPR but it doesn’t look good . . .”
By this time, additional staff had arrived on the scene, and a woman in a gray suit identified herself as the hotel manager and asked everyone to remain in their rooms. Cameron overheard her tell the other members of the staff to keep the hallway and elevator bank clear. The thirteenth floor guests spoke amongst themselves in low murmurs, and Cameron caught snippets of conversations as a guest from one room would ask another if he or she knew what was happening.
A hush fell over the crowd when the paramedics reappeared in the doorway of room 1308. They moved quickly, pulling the gurney out into the hall.
This time, there was a person on that gurney.
As they hurried past Cameron, she caught a glimpse of the person—a quick glimpse, but enough to see that it was a woman, and also enough to see that she had long red hair that fanned out in stark contrast to the white of both the sheet on the gurney and the hotel bathrobe she wore. And, she saw enough to see that the woman wasn’t moving.
While one of the paramedics pushed the gurney, the other ran alongside it, pumping oxygen through a handheld mask that covered the woman’s face. The two security guards raced ahead of the paramedics, making sure the hallway was clear. Cameron—and apparently several of the other hotel guests as well—overheard the shorter guard saying something to the other about the police being on their way.
At the mention of the police, a minor commotion broke out. The hotel guests demanded to know what was happening.
The manager spoke above the fray. “I certainly understand that all of you have concerns, and I offer you our sincerest apologies for the disturbance.” She addressed them in a calm, genteel tone that was remarkably similar to that of the man from Guest Services who Cameron had spoken on the phone with earlier. She wondered if they all talked that way to each other when no customers were around, or if they dropped the charm routine and that vague, quasi-European-even-though-I’m-from-Wisconsin accent the minute they hit the lunchroom.
“Unfortunately, at this point I can tell you only that the situation, obviously, is very serious and may be criminal in nature,” the manager continued. “We will be turning this matter over to the police, and we ask that everyone remain in their rooms until they arrive and assess the situation. It’s likely the police will want to speak with some of you.”
The manager’s gaze fell directly upon Cameron. As the crowd fell back into their murmurs and whispers, she walked over. “Ms. Lynde, is it?”
Cameron nodded. “Yes.”
The manager gestured to the door. “Would you mind if I escorted you back into your room, Ms. Lynde?” This was Polite-Peninsula-Hotel-speak for “You might as well get comfortable because your eavesdropping ass isn’t going anywhere.”
“Of course,” Cameron said, still somewhat shell-shocked by the events that had transpired over the last few minutes. As an assistant U.S. attorney, she’d had plenty of exposure to the criminal element, but this was different. This was not some case she was reviewing through the objective eyes of a prosecutor; there were no evidence files neatly prepared by the FBI or crime scene photos taken after the fact. She had actually heard the crime this time; she had seen the victim firsthand and—thinking back to the man in the blazer and hooded T-shirt—very possibly the person who had harmed her as well.
The thought sent chills running down her spine.
Or, Cameron supposed, maybe the chill had something to do with the fact that she was still standing in the air-conditioned hallway wearing nothing but her T-shirt and underwear.
With as much dignity as one could muster while braless and without any pants, Cameron tugged her T-shirt down an extra half-inch and followed the hotel manager into her room.