The phone rang as Miranda stepped out of the shower. She wrapped a blanket around her body and answered it, “Blake” she said automatically, moving through to her bedroom.
“Miranda? You busy?”
“Max? I just got out of the shower, why?”
“Inés just rang, she told me to tell you to pack a bag”.
“Why didn’t she ring me?”
“Would you have answered it?”
“Eventually- look why am I packing a bag?”
“I’m coming over to pick you up. Inés wants us at the station”.
“At this time of night?”
There was a pause where she thought her signal had dropped but it was just Max finding the words.
“Just be quick Blake, please” he hung up.
She looked at her room and found her bag.
Max calling her Blake unnerved her, his voice had felt so out of it, so un-Max. Something must be wrong for him to be acting like that. However, she trusted his judgement, he was a brilliant police officer when he put in effort so she knew for him to be calling her Blake he must be worried. Anxious for her.
Pulling on her clothes she began to pack some clothes away anything she thought she might need wherever it was that they would be going. Briefly, she thought about her toothbrush. Would she need it? How long would she be gone for?
She grabbed it, and other essential toiletries, not wanting to be caught out again like she was in Cazador.
A knock at her door threw her into panic mode.
Nobody knocked at her door, Max didn’t even knock at her door, she was always waiting outside for him.
As far as she was aware, he didn’t even know what number she lived at.
Slowly, with trepidation, she moved to the door.
“Miranda it’s me” Max called from the other side.
Huffing, she unlocked it, “why didn’t you just ring?”
Max shrugged, “got a bag?”
She nodded and moved back to her room, letting him into her apartment for what would be the first time.
“Where’s your dog?”
“He’s a stray” she called from the bedroom before sticking her head out of the door, “I fed him earlier”.
Max nodded and moved to her laptop. It was resting on the sofa as was a now empty glass of wine.
He looked at her, “got a charger for this?”
She nodded to it as she pulled her jacket on and her bag over her shoulder. Max pulled the charger out of its socket and grabbed it. He handed the laptop and charger to her.
“Max. You know more than you are letting on don’t you?”
Max sighed, “I don’t want to worry you…”
“I’m worried enough as it is! You ringing me at 11 at night and asking if I can pack a bag? Max just tell me what’s going on?”
“We might have to be in lockdown”.
“Me and you…Inés was telling me that there had been a development in a case and that your name kept coming up. Alongside your address”.
Max shrugged, “I’m here as your collateral”.
“What so my name gets mentioned and you’re dragged alongside?”
“Isn’t that always the way? Here give me that” he held out his arm for her bag.
“I can carry my own bag Max” she pointed out.
“I know. But it’s you they are after. You can run quicker without a bag weighing you down”.
“This is ridiculous” she snapped but handed over her bag. Max nodded, “got everything? We can’t come back”.
Miranda looked around at her apartment, at her home. As much as she didn’t take to Mallorca instantly, this had been her home for over a year now. She pulled her balcony door shut and made sure it was locked before she nodded.
“Yep. Got everything”.
She nodded, she hadn’t realised that her voice had cracked.
“I’m fine” she said, she moved to his side, “didn’t expect to be leaving here so quickly”.
Max nodded, “you’ll be back. It’s just temporary measures Miranda”.
Miranda shrugged and grabbed her keys, “so, to the station then I assume I’m being taken to a safe house?”
“It’s safe enough” Max said, “those measures haven’t been mentioned yet”.
Miranda nodded and as they left her apartment, she locked it and pocketed her keys.
Max thought about holding her hand and thought better of it, instead he opted to smile goofily at her.
It was comforting to have Max maintain his Maxness at a time like this.
Inés looked at Max and Miranda. Max had her bag in his hands.
“I take it you’ve decided then?” she asked him.
“There was no time needed” he replied.
“I’m missing something…what has Max decided?” Miranda asked and crossed her arms.
“That you are going to stay with him”.
Max grinned warily at her, “I uh surprise?”
“I thought you said safe house”.
“I said it was safe enough. And besides, it’s not my name or address they’re concerned with…it’s yours”.
“I can’t stay at yours we don’t even know how long that I’m going to be-“
“As long as it takes us to catch the perpetrator’s” Inés said, “it is not up for discussion Miranda. You are staying at Max’s and neither of you can leave the apartment”.
“Hey you never said that” Max said, “I thought we were able to go back to work”.
Inés narrowed her eyes at them, “I suggest you go and get some food whilst you still can. Because if I catch you out of your apartment; even if it is to go to Joan’s. I will personally make sure that you both walk the Arenal every night for a month, cleaning up the sick and drunken tourists”.
Max gulped at her threat, “fine”.
“Am I clear Detective?” Inés asked Miranda, after her being oddly silent for so long.
“Yes” she bit out, “I’ll stay at Max’s and not leave. Although I can’t promise Max will be alive after it”.
Inés shrugged, “sacrifices have to be made”
“Hey!” Max exclaimed.
“Miranda go wait outside. I have further instructions for Max” Inés ordered.
Miranda nodded and looked at Max, “don’t you agree to anything that involves keeping me in your apartment”.
Max shrugged, “what Inés wants, I won’t be long” he said.
She nodded and left Inés office, going straight for her desk as the door shut.
Inés looked at Max, “have you told her who is behind it all?”
Max shook his head, “not yet”.
“Max this is important! She needs to know”.
“This is her life at stake Max. Tell her” Inés stated.
“You think I don’t know that? You think that I’m not terrified for her?” Max exploded, “I don’t want her dead Inés. I want to do everything I can to keep her safe!”
Inés raised her eyebrow, “then tell her”.
“How? How can I tell the woman I love that because of my mistakes her life is now at risk!”
“I think you just did” Inés said.
Max turned and saw Miranda looking at him from her desk. Shock and fear covered her face.
“Shit” he breathed and ran as she bolted out of the station.
Miranda ran fast and furiously away from the station. Thanking her past self for giving Max her bag so she had nothing to obstruct her.
She ran away from the station, not caring what direction just wanting to get away from Max’s revelation.
The woman I love
How could Max say that? How could he dare to lie about something? He didn’t love her. He probably only liked her as a friend.
“Miranda” Max called, he gotten into his car and was driving behind her, slowly so as not to spook her. But fast enough so that she couldn’t escape him.
“Go away Max” she snapped and looked at him, slamming her hands on his bonnet, “go away!”
Max stopped the car and got out of it, “i-I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not telling you” he said and approached her, “I didn’t know how” he said.
He took her arm and manoeuvred her, she struggled in his arms.
“Please just let me explain” he breathed, “Miranda stop moving” he said and placed his hands on her shoulders.
She glared at him, and, he noticed that her eyes looked watery.
“There was a drugs bust I did a year ago…just before I met you. He was a nasty piece of work…targeted people. I had to move, Carmen had to go to her mothers. A few days ago, Inés told me he had been seen near the island…and then a few hours later an unknown number had sent me this”.
He handed her his phone.
Miranda looked down at it, at the preloaded picture of her on her balcony.
“He said my girlfriend looks pretty” Max said.
“What’s his name?”
Miranda’s eyes widened, “Max i- w-we…” she had heard his stories about Mario. Been absolutely terrified by them.
“I know” he said, “I know…I’m sorry you’re involved in the whole thing. If there was a way to keep you out of his games I would take it”.
“Well you are…you-you’re letting me stay at yours…that’s keeping me out of his games isn’t it?”
Max nodded, “so you okay with having to stay at mine now then?”
“Come on we’re too exposed here. Let’s just get some food and then go back to mine. He’s got eyes everywhere”.
Miranda got into his car and looked at his worried face, “how long have you put off telling me?”
“As long as I could. I didn’t want it to distract us from the case we had been working”.
“It was just a stolen necklace” she pointed out.
Max sighed and started the car, “I wanted to believe it was all a dream, that Mario wasn’t really back”.
Miranda nodded, “what made him get so pissed at you then?”
Max chuckled, “I don’t know. I guess he just took an instant hatred to me. Tried to kill me, nearly succeeded, guess he doesn’t like that I escaped. He told me that my girlfriend would be the first person he kills once he returned”.
“It’s not your fault” she said, “I’m sorry he’s back”.
Max shrugged and pulled his car over, just outside of his local grocery store, “Miranda-“
“What did he do to the people he killed?” she asked suddenly, not wanting Max to offer anything about his revelation.
“You don’t want to know”.
“He tortured them” Max said in a small voice, “he’d pump them full of drugs; they’d be so high…so high that if they initially survived they’d be hooked. They never survived. They’d be burnt…cut…tied up and locked into a car and that would be set alight…or the car would be driven off a cliff…he did awful things Miranda...awful" his voice cracked slightly towards the end.
Miranda nodded, suddenly feeling so grateful that Max had offered to remain locked-down with her.
“I won’t let that happen to you” Max said, “I won’t let him get anywhere close to you” he took her hand in his and squeezed it, “okay?”
“No let me. I want you to be alive Miranda. I know you heard me in the office and that doesn’t change anything if you don’t want it to. I won’t push or press you into anything. I want you safe, the fact that I’m in love with you doesn’t change anything. Not unless you want it to”.
Miranda gulped, “w-we should uh, get some food”.
Max nodded and kept her hand in his, squeeze it he added, “I’m not leaving your side okay? Just in case”.
“He’s got eyes everywhere then?”
“Everywhere” he nodded and got out of the car.
“Well in that case...we’re going to need wine” she said and followed him into the grocery store.