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CHAPTER 5: SHATTERED DREAMS BROKEN MIRRORS
"Wait a minute. You're telling me Reeva got to live in that lavish apartment for free? Why the hell are we living in this dump?"
"Because," Alison answered, "those apartments are crawling with hidden cameras and microphones for all the world wide web to see and hear everything you're doing 24/7!"
"Seems fair enough."
"Are you serious? You'd be ok with perverts watching your every move in EVERY room of the apartment?"
"What's the big deal? It's not like you have to do anything with the people watching. It'd be like that movie they did. You know, the one with Jim Carrey?"
"This is nothing like The Truman Show. Salvi said the police located multiple cameras in places like the shower to get every angle."
"Homicide detectives to be exact."
"Oh shit! What happened?"
"Some psycho kidnapped her and kept her prisoner. They found her dead body shackled to the wall of a garden shed in the backyard of the house they were investigating. The police had been called by neighbors who reported the sound of a gunshot."
"So they caught the dude who took her?"
"Not exactly. They found him in the bedroom while searching the house. Apparently, he'd held the gun to his chest as he sat on the bed when he pulled the trigger."
"Even more disturbing, photos of Reeva covered every inch of wall space of the bedroom. Thousands of snapshots that captured every aspect of her life in that apartment."
"What the cops never could figure out though was how he got to her."
"What do ya' mean?"
"The modeling agency had cameras everywhere and were completely cooperative with the investigation. Security footage was of no help."
"Meaning, he grabbed her from somewhere other than the agency. He knew where to find her somehow and took her when no one was looking."
"What about her school? You said she'd just started her senior year. Did they check there?"
"The investigators determined she'd attended all her classes on Friday but didn't show up on Monday. She'd kept her parents in the dark about where she was living but everything had seemed normal at breakfast with her dad at the diner on Friday morning. Surveillance from her apartment showed her leaving at 4:30 PM on Saturday, never to return."
"So when did they find her in the shed of psycho man?"
"Early Monday evening as police searched the property of the gunshot call. Officers on the scene didn't even know about Reeva's disappearance. The K-9 unit went crazy as they approached the shed. The coroner determined she'd been dead for some time before officers found her."
"How awful! Did the old man tell you how she died?"
"Yeah, he said they told him she had gone into cardiac arrest from heatstroke. They estimated she'd been in the shed since late Saturday-early Sunday. With the suspect dead they couldn't determine the full story beyond the obvious unhealthy obsession he had with Reeva thanks to that disgusting agency. And now I'm out of a job."
"You're in luck. One of the waitresses at the club quit today. Come with me to work tomorrow and you'll forget all about that fraud of an agency. Now, go freshen up. All that crying today ruined your pretty face. Dinner should be here any second then we're going out tonight."
Alison smiled. "Thanks, Natalie."
She finished off her drink and headed to the bathroom. One glance in the mirror and she agreed with Natalie. Her mascara now streaks of black down her cheeks, looked as if her muddy brown eyes had swelled their banks and broke through the levees. She pulled a washcloth from the drawer and turned on the faucet. She gently swept the warm, wet cloth across her closed eyes and scrubbed the smears of make-up from her face.
She looked in the mirror, admiring her high cheekbones. Her eyes now resembled milk chocolate more than muddy water. Her full lips spread into a smile. She stared at her reflection, willing her nose to shrink if only just a little. It never worked.
After washing her face, she brushed her long blonde hair, letting it cascade down to her waist. She tied it up in a loose ponytail and headed back to the kitchen, eager to find out just what Natalie had in mind for her tonight.
When she returned to the kitchen, she found Natalie setting out the containers of food.
"I couldn't remember what you liked so I ordered my two favorites, sweet and sour chicken and kung pao shrimp."
"Sounds perfect, I'll grab the plates."
After a few bites of food, Alison began to feel better about her situation. She asked Natalie about the club where she bartended and nearly choked when she learned just what kind of club it was.
"A gentlemen's club?" She didn't think she'd heard her right. "I can't work in a place like that!"
"You haven't even seen it yet."
"I don't need to see it. I've heard about places like that."
"You'd just be waiting tables and taking drink orders. What's the big deal?"
"What's the big deal?" Alison got up from the table to take her plate to the sink. " It's a strip club. That's the big deal."
"Listen," Natalie crossed the room and gently placed her hands on Alison's flushed cheeks. "All I'm asking is for you to come with me tomorrow and check it out. It's a great place and feels more like a party than work."
She looked into her roommate's eyes and Natalie fluttered her long eyelashes and gave a small pout.
"Just check it out and then decide for yourself."
Reluctantly, Alison agreed to give it a shot. Besides, it's not like she had any other ideas in mind for a new job. They finished cleaning up the table then went to Natalie's room to get ready for a night out.
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