Ricky had no problem getting up in her business. He was referring to Adam Springhurst, the dentist who practiced in an office beneath Hailey's down in the Village. They'd had a fleeting relationship around the time of the murders, but it left Hailey with the feeling she was cheating on Will by even considering dating again. Her heart wasn't in it, and she'd disengaged as best she could, sure she came off as cold and uncaring. It was actually just the opposite: She couldn't afford to care. It could hurt too much.
In any event, because Hailey ended up applying Adam's dentist drill, whirring at full force, into the temple of the defense lawyer who'd stalked her and murdered her two friends, things between them had been on hold, for lack of a better term.
"No, not the dentist ... the cop."
"What cop? Not the one that arrested you? He's the only cop that's ever been here ... "
"That's the one. How did he know I was coming back?" she repeated the question.
His eyes got wide to display innocence. "I don't know ... it wasn't me! Ask the morning shift. You know how Julio is ... He'll tell anything for a hundred bucks!"
"Don't you worry, I'll do just that."
"Don't tell him I told you! Hey, you need help with that box? It's kind of big. Want me to carry it up?
"No. Thanks, though, I can manage." Hailey glanced at the clock sitting on the counter of the front desk."Wait, on second thought, let me just dump my bag here. I've got to get across town. I'll pick them both up tonight. You hold it for me? The box and the bag?"
"You got it, sunshine."
Hailey turned and headed back out. She hurried down the steps and up the sidewalk to First Avenue. Looking into oncoming traffic and holding her right arm up high, Hailey quickly hailed a cab. She slid into the back seat with nothing but her purse and her pad of handwritten notes.
"West side, Sixth Avenue and 59th." Hailey rolled the window down to catch the breeze and the driver began inching through traffic across town to the West side. All the television networks were there, HLN and CNN in the Time Warner Center looking down on Central Park and Columbus Circle. Fox there on the corner at Avenue of the Americas, with American flags flying out front, CBS, NBC, ABC ... They all made their homes here. Hailey was glad she stopped at her apartment, vacant for nearly a year now. But after the murders of Hayden and Melissa, not to mention her own near-strangulation, she needed to leave the city. She wanted to go home and see the red dirt, smell the azaleas' perfume in the air, feel the hot afternoons heavy with humidity, see her mother and father.
The apartment sat there during it all, quietly waiting for her to come back. She paid Ricky to water her plants and crack the windows an inch or two every couple of weeks. Her mail had all been forwarded to a post office box in Atlanta. Not that she ever read it. It was all bills and catalogues and flyers. She paid all her bills online, and as for shopping, she'd rather be beaten with a stick than set foot in a shopping mall, much less spend her free time thumbing through a catalogue.