It’s the kind of thought you can only have at times like this—so late at night it’s early morning, a little drunk and a lot crazy.
It was easier.
The thought sits in Jessica’s head like a weight, pulling everything else toward it.
It was easier, to have someone else in charge of even her thoughts, of every move she made, of what she did and what she wore and where she went and—
And she wouldn’t go back to it, not with a gun to her head, not for a million dollars, not for anything, but. It was easy.
And nothing’s ever easy anymore. Fuck, that’s why she’s awake at fuck you o’clock drinking cheap whiskey out of the bottle, because it’s one of those nights where if she tries to sleep— bad things happen. Because earlier, when it was still just late, she was following a woman, taking pictures of her with another man so she could show the husband he wasn’t paranoid after all, and it went bad. Slipped through some crack in her brain and set off the tripwires she can’t fucking dig out.
“Please,” the woman said, breathless, as he pressed her back against the bar. “Don’t hurt him.”
He kissed her, smiled like a shark, and said, “We’ll see about that,” as he lead her to the door, fingers locked in a vice grip around her arm. “Smile,” he said, as they stepped outside, and Jessica caught the woman’s terrified rictus in her telephoto and then slumped back against the wall, breathing fast.
“Come on, Jessica.”
“You know what I want, Jessica.”
“It would be a shame if I had to find someone else, wouldn’t it, Jessica.”
“Your—sister, is it?—she’s awfully pretty, isn’t she, Jessica?”
Main Street. Birch Street. Higgins Drive. Cobalt Lane.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
Main Street. Birch Street. Higgins Drive. Cobalt Lane…
It took a long time before she could get it together enough to come back here. To look back at the client’s financials, to find his trips to Atlantic City and his wrecked bank accounts and maxed out credit cards, and you’d have to be a worse private detective than Jessica not to realize that when that money ran out, the idiot had gone to some scumbag to feed his habit.
At least booze is cheap.
And now if she goes to sleep, she’ll wake up and it’ll be tomorrow and she’ll have to deal with this, tell the asshole that yeah, his wife’s sleeping with someone else, but it’s to save his sorry ass from whatever this scumbag’s threatening to do to him. Or tell him nothing, lie and say his wife’s clean, hope he’s dumb enough to believe it and doesn’t come after her for doing a shitty job. Or talk to the wife, or— point being, fuck that. As long as she’s still awake it’s still too late to fucking deal with any of that shit, she can save it for tomorrow.
She’s not claiming it’s good logic. But it has its appeal.
Of course, the flaw in the plan is that eventually booze will put you to sleep regardless of your thoughts on the matter. But when Jessica wakes up, fully clothed, half-sitting in bed, half still drunk and half really fucking hungover, she stumbles to the bathroom, makes it back to bed and decides the dude can wait for her to feel less like shit before he gets his answers. Whatever she decides those are.