A knock at the door interrupted John staring off into space. Unable to sleep and unwilling to venture out, he was stuck sitting in his living room, doing nothing. It was already well into the evening, and he wasn’t expecting anyone, so he didn’t get up. Maybe whoever it was would just go away.
The knock came again, a little louder this time. “John?”
Even muffled by the door, the voice sounded familiar. Reluctantly, he left his chair and walked over to look out of the peephole. Sure enough, it was her. How had she found him? Did she go through his wallet after drugging him the other night? Did he even want to talk to her? No, he decided. He had stayed home for a reason.
“John, I know you looked out; I could see the shadow. Please let me in.”
He walked away from the door and began heading to the back of his apartment away from the door.
“John. I dropped the restraining order. It’s okay to talk to me. I wanted to explain.”
Colleen? Why was she here?
“No need to explain,” he shouted through the door. “Thank you for dropping it, but I don’t want to cause you any more trouble. Please just go.”
He turned around to walk away again.
“I had a dream about you.”
Once again, he stopped. “Probably because I kept insisting you were someone you aren’t. I’m sorry about that. It won’t happen again.”
“No. Before. Before that first time.”
A shiver ran up his spine. He walked quickly back to the door. There she was, the perfect copy of Cailín, except for the apparent lack of confidence.
“Can I please come in?”
“When did you have a dream about me?”
“The night before you first came up to me.”
He didn’t think she was lying, but he wasn’t sure he could trust his intuitions anymore. Still, he stepped aside and gestured for her to come in. Leading her to an armchair, he sat down on the corner of the couch next to it.
She looked nervous. Would she call the police? Was this a set up? He tried to ignore that possibility. If she could shed any light on this whole mess, he wanted to hear her out.
“Okay, well… The night before we met, I had a dream about you. We had been drinking in a bar. I actually hadn’t remembered the dream until you talked to me. It kinda freaked me out. I don’t usually remember my dreams. And I’ve certainly not dreamed about someone I’ve never met just before meeting them.”
“I can see why that might freak you out.” Realizing he might be making her uncomfortable, he leaned back against the couch to give her some space.
She nodded. “So when I saw you again…”
“And I grabbed you.”
“Yeah. I thought… Well, I don’t know what I thought, exactly. The dream had really unnerved me. And I wanted to get rid of you so I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore.”
“I shouldn’t have grabbed you.”
“No, you shouldn’t have. But the dream bothered me more. I didn’t know what to make of it. And then you thought you recognized me. It was all rather unsettling.”
“So what made you drop the restraining order? Why come here to tell me all of this?”
“I went to that bar. Or I tried to. They wouldn’t let me in. But it really bothered me that I had never noticed it before. And I thought about everything you’d said… And… so I came here. I thought maybe you knew something that would help me make sense of this.”
“It doesn’t really make sense to me, either, I’m afraid.”
Her disappointment was obvious. But what could he offer her? He hadn’t believed anything Cailín had told him. Maybe, though…
“I think there is someone who might be able to help you. Let’s try the bar again.”
“But they already turned me away.”
“I know a guy…”
* * *
“I’m sorry, sir. Members only.” The doorman blocked the door.
“What? Since when?” John hadn’t expected this, even after Colleen had told him she hadn’t been able to get in. “You know me. You’ve let me in before.”
“Sorry, sir. If you aren’t a member, I must ask you to leave.”
Desperate, he tried another tack. “Don’t you recognize your boss?” He gestured at Colleen.
“Not the boss. Please leave.”
John was defeated. He had been certain the doorman would let him in.
Colleen tugged at his jacket. “Come on. Let’s go. I’m not feeling well, anyway.”
John hated giving up. The answers were inside. Colleen and Cailín face to face would surely bring some sort of resolution. Maybe that was the way in. He turned back to the man standing between him and the door.
“Look, Matt?” The man nodded. “I need to prove to this woman,” again indicating Colleen, “that she and your boss are twins. It will help clear up some trouble I’m in.”
“But I…” John gave Colleen a quick look to stop her. She appeared to get the message.
“My instructions were clear. No one gets in. I’m sorry.”
“John, I’m really not feeling well.”
He finally noticed she had started looking very pale. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. I felt this way earlier, but it seemed to go away…” She collapsed before she could finish her sentence.
John tried to catch her but didn’t get there quickly enough, and she landed heavily on the ground. “Dammit.” He picked her up; she was completely unconscious. “I suppose you can’t call anyone?”
The doorman seemed frozen with worry and uncertainty. John pushed past him into the club to get to a phone. By the time the man had recovered his wits, John was already through the door. He took a step toward the bar, and Colleen vanished from his arms.
She hadn’t fallen, nor had she gotten out of his arms herself. She was just gone, as though she had never been there.
John turned around and opened the door without walking out. “Did she leave?”
“The woman I was with.”
“No one came out. But you need to. Right now.”
“Not going to happen. And Cailín told me you won’t come in, so I don’t think you’re going to make me.” John closed the door again.
If she hadn’t left, where was she?
John saw Cailín walking over to him from the direction of her office. A sad smile on her face, she did not seem to be in a hurry to get to him. He walked swiftly to close the distance.
“I’m surprised to see…”
John cut her off. “Where is she?”
“Who?” The question seemed genuine enough, but he had lost his patience.
“You know who. Colleen. Where is she?”
“You brought her here?”
“Yes. To straighten things out.”
“Oh.” Cailín started chewing her lip.
“Do we need to go somewhere to talk? This is getting old.”
He sighed. “Lead the way.”