Something About You
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SOMETHING WASN’T RIGHT.
Cameron had been trapped inside her hotel room for nearly two hours while the Chicago Police Department supposedly conducted their investigation. She knew enough about crime scenes and witness questioning to know that this was not standard protocol.
For starters, nobody was telling her anything. The police had arrived shortly after the hotel manager escorted her back into her room. A middle-aged, slightly balding and extremely cranky Detective Slonsky introduced himself to Cameron and took a seat in the armchair in the corner of the hotel room and began to take her statement about what she had heard that night. Although she had at least been given two seconds of privacy to throw on yoga pants and a bra, she still found it awkward to be questioned by the police while sitting on a hastily made hotel bed.
The first thing Detective Slonsky noticed was the half-empty glass of wine that she had ordered from room service still sitting on the desk where she’d left it hours before. That, of course, had prompted several preliminary questions regarding her alcohol consumption over the course of the evening. After she seemingly managed to convince Slonsky that, no, she was not a raging alcoholic and, yes, her statement at least had a modicum of reliability, they moved past the booze issue and she commented on the fact that Slonsky had introduced himself as “Detective” instead of “Officer.” She asked if that meant he was part of the homicide division. If for no other reason, she wanted to know what had happened to the girl in room 1308.
Slonsky’s sole response was a level stare and a curt, “I’m the one asking the questions here, Ms. Lynde.”
Cameron had just finished giving her statement when another plain-clothes detective stuck his head into the room. “Slonsky—you better get in here.” He nodded in the direction of the room next door.
Slonsky stood and gave Cameron yet another level stare. She wondered if he practiced the look in his bathroom mirror.
“I’d appreciate it if you would remain in this room until I get back,” he told her.
Cameron smiled. “Of course, Detective.” She was debating whether to pull rank in order to start getting some answers, but she wasn’t quite at that point. Yet. She’d been around cops and agents all her life and had a lot of respect for what they did. But the smile was to let Slonsky know that he wasn’t getting to her. “I’m happy to cooperate in any way I can.”
Slonsky eyed her suspiciously, probably trying to decide whether he heard a hint of sarcasm in her voice. She got that look a lot.
“Just stay in your room,” he said as he made his exit.
The next time Cameron saw Detective Slonsky was a half hour later, when he dropped by her room to let her know that, due to certain “unexpected developments,” she would not only have to remain in her room longer than anticipated, but that he was posting a guard at her door. He added that “it had been requested” that she not make any calls from either her cell phone or the hotel line until “they” had finished questioning her.
For the first time, Cameron wondered whether she personally was in trouble. “Am I considered a suspect in this investigation?” she asked Slonsky.
“I didn’t say that.”
She noticed that wasn’t officially a “no.”
As Slonsky turned to leave, she threw another question at him. “Who are ‘they’?”
He peered over his shoulder. “Excuse me?”
“You said I can’t make any calls until ‘they’ finish questioning me,” Cameron said. “Who were you referring to?”
The detective’s expression said that he had no intention of answering that question. “We appreciate your continued cooperation, Ms. Lynde. That’s all I can say for now.”
A few minutes after Slonsky left, Cameron looked out her peephole and—sure enough—was treated to the view of the back of some man’s head, presumably the guard he had stationed outside her door. She left the door and went back to sitting on the bed. Cameron glanced at the clock and saw that it was nearly 7:00 A.M. She turned on the television—Slonsky hadn’t said anything about not watching TV, after all—and hoped that maybe she would see something about whatever was happening on the news.
She was still pushing buttons on the remote, trying to figure out how to get past that damn hotel “Welcome” screen, when the door to her room flew open once more.
Slonsky stuck his head in. “Sorry—no television either.”
He shut the door.
“Stupid thin walls,” Cameron muttered under her breath. Not that anyone was listening. Then again . . .
“Can I at least read a book, Detective Slonsky?” she asked the empty room.
Then a voice came through the door, from the hallway.
And indeed the walls were so thin, Cameron could actually hear the faint trace of a smile in his answer.
“THIS IS GETTING ridiculous. I have rights, you know.”
Cameron faced off against the cop guarding the door to her hotel room, determined to get some answers.
The young police officer nodded sympathetically. “I know, ma’am, and I do apologize, but I’m just following orders.”
Maybe it was her frustration at being cooped up in her hotel room for what was now going on five—yes, five—hours, but Cameron was going to strangle the kid if he ma’am-ed her one more time. She was thirty-two years old, not sixty. Although she’d probably given up the right to be called “Miss” somewhere around the time she had started thinking of twenty-two-year-old man-boy police officers as kids.