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Nicole had the nagging feeling of being watched. She felt this way ever since her encounter with Joe McIntyre a few days prior. She wanted the feeling gone, but when she confronted Danny about it, he didn’t seem too enthralled with anything that’s happening to her that isn’t making money.

“It’s all in your head,” he’d say. “You’re reading too much into it, like a lot of things. Just focus on your work, alright?” Danny was way bitchy than normal, and she hated it. “Well, thanks for giving a shit, Your Highness,” she barked back before walking backstage to her dressing room.

“God, he is such an ASSHOLE!” I shout to no one—if anyone heard me, may a barrage of applause fill the studio. “He doesn’t even care about my well being, just as long as I make it to work on time and spread everything I got for the camera. Damn him. My fans actually give me more respect, and they don’t even know the real me! I’m done with him.”

The anger she had towards Danny blinded her momentarily, for she didn’t even notice the bouquet of pink and white roses settled atop her vanity. “What the--?” When she picked up the flowers, a card fell out from the inside of the gold and red wrappings. Nicole bent down to pick it up and read the contents:

To my Darling Nikki: These roses do not capture your beauty the way I expect them to, but they’re close. Enjoy them as I enjoy basking in your presence.”

The note was unsigned. “That’s weird,” she said upon putting the card down. A smile crept up on her face as she believed the flowers could have come from one person: Danny. That bastard,” she muttered under her breath with a chuckle. “Just when I thought I knew you...” Nicole left the dressing room and approached Danny while holding up the card. “Daniel,” she began. “You shouldn’t have.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked without bothering to look up at her, he was too busy analyzing the film tape. “This card and these flowers! How did you know I loved white and pink roses?” she couldn’t help but to take another whiff of the bouquet with a child like grin. “Nicole, I’m allergic to flowers. I didn’t send for those.” “But…you had to, the—“ “Trust me on this. I didn’t send the flowers.”

And in one fell swoop, her stomach dropped. Not the fact she didn’t know who gifted her the bouquet, but the fact Danny didn’t send them, and wouldn’t think of doing something so romantic and spontaneous; I guess he had a lot to learn from Danny Wood. The relationship is obviously one of convenience.

“Do you mind getting them away from me?” he asked through a few sneezes. Nicole threw the roses down on the ground and stormed out. The anger and frustration she felt not 5 minutes before returned to her in a huff.

“What was I thinking? Danny would never send me flowers. I should have known better.”

She always thought her boyfriend saw her as a meal ticket. With how he’s ‘showing appreciation’, she’s not that far off. Without the star, he’s nothing, so he’s only with her to save face…which brings back the question of ‘a relationship of convenience’. A shame really, you can ask anyone.

Without Danny noticing, Nicole snuck out of the studio through the back entrance, got in her SUV and drove off. She needed time to unwind and for a moment, forget about everything, including the earlier fear of being watched. “I hope it’s just a feeling,” Nicole thought before switching the radio to the AM dial.

“And in other news, a local woman was found strangled to death nearby a Stock Hut grocery store. 22 year old Sahaira Al Haddad was last seen two days ago by friends as well as her mother, a well known politician. Authorities say she had been dead for at least 27 hours, and sadly, had been contacted to identify her. We’ll have more on this story as it develops.”

Shakily, Nicole switched off the radio. “Another one…?” she thought. The sensation of being watched crept back up on her, with a dose of fright. “My God…” she said aloud. “Who’s next?”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jordan’s eyes were sunken in once Detective Wahlberg tossed the Miami Sun down in front of him. “The fuck is going on here, man?” he asked, his hands on his hims, his brow furrowed. “I…I don’t know,” Jordan said wistfully. “What’s with you?”

Knight looked up at his partner, his bottom lip pursed between his teeth. “I could have taken her home,” he said softly. “Who?” “Saihara. She approached me minutes before she…” he trailed off, his eyes had the deer caught in the headlights stare as he looked at a blank wall. “I could have saved her,” he finished.

“Jordan, you can’t save ‘em all. They chose their p—“ “Don’t. Spare me your shitty lecture.” Detective Wahlberg backed away without saying a wor, leaving Jordan alone with his thoughts.

She would have been one less victim; one less family having to bury their child. One less death. I’m not even close in catching this son of a bitch. Who is this maniac?” Jordan’s face found his tired hands and leaned back, slowly giving up.

But he, like Nicole, knew better than to give out the slightest hint of weakness. He would not give up until the perp was in chains.