That night, Catarina stood outside the hotel room where J.J. was supposedly staying. She knocked a few times, but received no answer. She felt uneasy, a feeling which she had been experiencing relentlessly for the past few weeks. She hadn’t heard from him since lunch, and now he wasn’t answering the door or his phone. After a few more minutes, she decided to go home.
Her mouth felt dry, and her heart was beating loudly in her ears. She couldn’t stop worrying, she feared the worst. She wasn’t sure why though. For all she knew he was just out and his battery was dead, but something was off. For some strange reason, ever since she accepted the job at the asylum, she had become more paranoid. Every little thing had a horrible reason behind it.
She was Dr. Catarina Crane, the mistress of fear! She shouldn’t be afraid of anything! She was utterly baffled by how quickly fear had taken over her life.
As she pulled into her parking spot, she thought about how the next morning she’d get a call from J.J., and she’d see how completely ridiculous she was being. Or, at least, that’s what she hoped.
But the next day, that call never came.
She sat in the cafeteria, Michelle sitting beside her and rambling about something that Cat hadn’t been paying attention to. Cat thought she was a sweet woman, but at the moment her mind was racing. Little did she realize, Michelle noticed her worried expressions and blank eyes.
“Hey, you look like you’ve been through hell. What’s up?” She asked as her hand grazed across Cat’s. She was right, the doctor had dark circles under her eyes, and although she always did, this time they were much more prominent. Her bun was slightly messier than usual, with her brown curls cascading in individual ringlets. The doctor looked up at her, the pain clear in her eyes this time.
“I think a friend of mine’s missing.” She whispered, not entirely sure of the situation herself. Michelle, despite knowing the severity and awfulness of the situation, looked slightly relieved. Of all the things she thought might have been bothering the doctor, her friend going missing was not one of them. The older woman brought her in for a hug, but Cat didn’t return it. She, for once, was terrified. She wondered how something like this could have happened, and she only hoped he was still alive.
“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry.” Michelle tried comforting her, but all Cat could do was pull away slightly. The red head looked remorseful, but not much more could be done. Cat had settled on filing a missing person’s report that morning, and she figured she’d wait a bit to tell Harleen and Jack. Hell, maybe she’d tell them first considering the fact that Jack was the best detective Cat’s ever encountered.
“If it’s not too impolite,” Michelle began now that her mind’s started wandering, “how long has he been missing for?”
“Since yesterday afternoon. He came to see me while I was working, I ended up bumping into him on the way to my office. The last thing he told me was where he was staying, then, nothing. I went to his hotel room but he wasn’t there. None of the staff had seen him since that morning.” Cat explained as her eyes welled up with tears. Michelle looked away and bit the inside of her lip. She felt dread wash over her. If Cat’s friend was last seen at the asylum, chances were he was still there. She suspected that someone around there had to know where he might’ve been. She looked back at Cat.
“Maybe we can check the security room? I’ll meet you there after work and we can ask to see yesterday’s footage, okay?” She suggested, to which Cat only nodded. She felt helpless; she felt like him going missing was her fault somehow.
However, Cat wasn’t there after work. Michelle waited for her, checking her watch every few minutes and looking down the hallway both ways, waiting for the brunette to round a corner. She decided to go in alone and check the footage herself. She was sure she could find him with what Cat told her. She walked into the room, and the guard immediately got up. He looked like he was ready for a fight, but when he realized she wasn’t a threat he relaxed.
“I’m just here to check on things.” Michelle explained as she moved closer to the computers. The guard simply nodded, though he still watched her closely. She began to type in the date from the day before, and all the monitors changed to the previous footage, and then Michelle started her search. After a few minutes, she sped up the tapes, only to see Dr. Crane entering Trager’s office.
“Cat what are you doing?” She whispered, almost horrified. She had her own problems with him, though she was going to take care of that soon enough. She only hoped that Dr. Crane was careful around him.
Meanwhile, Dr. Crane was still held up in her office. A few patients had made it hard for her to finish up before her shift was over, even though she found it impossible to focus on her work. Her mind kept wandering toward J.J. and Michelle, who was no doubt waiting for her by the security room.
Her hands worked quickly to organize the files in front of her. Beside the folders were her notes, spread lazily along the side of her desk, with the only difference between the two things being her cursive handwriting and the bold, stiff typewriter font. When a shadow came over the window of her office door, she barely thought about it before allowing them to come in. Naturally, she was rather annoyed when she realized that the person waiting outside her door wasn’t Michelle, but instead Richard Trager.
He walked in with a large smile on his face, with a dazed look in his eyes. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say he was high. He stopped mere inches from her desk, and she knew he was looking down at what she was so preoccupied with. She couldn’t help but wonder why he was there and what he wanted. She already told him off, and he had no reason to be on her floor, so why the hell was he there? She placed the files away in her desk drawer and began to organize her notes, placing them in a special folder that went in a completely different drawer.
“What is it now, Mr. Trager?” She asked, though this time she sounded more tired than annoyed.
“I heard the IT girl was looking for you.” He answered rather casually, and when Cat looked up he wasn’t looking at her. She was rather surprised by this, and for a moment she wondered if she was projecting the idea that he was obsessed with her onto him. Perhaps it was her who was obsessed with him.
“I know Michelle’s waiting for me, I just needed to finish some things up in here.” She explained, her voice carrying none of the hostility it normally did.
“Well what’s she looking for you for?”
“It’s nothing too important.” She muttered as she stood, making her way around the desk. He grabbed her wrist gently, yet this was still enough to make her arm break out into goosebumps as a shiver went down her spine. It wasn’t because his hands were cold (quite the contrary, his hands were rather warm and inviting, much to Cat’s dismay), she felt fear take over again. She wanted to tear herself away from him, but for once she wanted to see where this would go. She wanted to see what was so important he felt the need to stop her, felt the need to put his hands on her .
“She said you were looking for someone.” He stated clearly and confidently. His brown eyes were equally as intense as they were caring. Cat had no doubt that he was being insincere, and considering the fact that he was suspect number one with this missing persons case? She had no doubt he was trying to clear his name.
“I am.” She whispered, though this wasn’t what she intended to do. She pulled her arm away and turned away from him, half tempted to run to the door. She was done with the conversation, whether he liked it or not.
“Hey, is it that guy from yesterday by any chance?” He asked, which of course froze Cat in her tracks. She whipped around, a look of fury on her face and a finger pointed in his direction.
“I could help you find him. I saw him this morning.” He said before she could get a single word out. Her eyes narrowed and she grit her teeth, fighting the urge to spout accusations at him that she knew he’d deny.
“But,” he continued, and she balled a fist, fearing what he was going to say next, “if I help you I want you to go out to dinner with me and a friend of mine.” There it was. She wanted to yell at him; she felt as if she could spit in his face.
“Is that it? This is your trump card, huh? You use my missing friend against me?” She seethed, her voice laced with venom and pent up anger. She could punch him.
“I’m the only person who saw him today, Dr. Crane.” He spat, and her title felt foreign on his tongue. He’d only used it a handful of times, yet in this instance it felt far too formal. He loomed over her again, though this time frustration was clear on his face.
“From what I know, he had a meltdown shortly after your little meeting yesterday. He was admitted. I don’t know where he is in the building but I figured I’d ask Jeremy. It might take a while, but I can get him back for you. The least you could do is take me up on my offer.” This information was valuable, too valuable for her to file away for later while she screamed at the person she hated in this world most. From what she knew, a friend would be at dinner with them, they wouldn’t be alone, and while she found him insufferable, at least there’d be someone else there.
She looked up at him, hatred brimming in her bright, blue eyes, and whispered.
“What was that? Sorry, doc, you’re muttering.” He taunted. She bit the inside of her cheek hard, drawing a bit of blood.
“Fine.” She said finally, feeling as if she just sold her soul to the devil himself.
He stood there for a moment, staring at her with a wide smile on his face, but it didn’t take too long before his chapped lips were on hers. It was an uncomfortable kiss that lingered for a second too long. His hand rested on her cheek, pulling her closer to him despite the obvious fact that she wanted nothing to do with him. Her hands were on his chest, pushing slightly at first, only for them to grow more forceful the longer he had her trapped there. With one last shove, he gave, though his fingers trailed down to her chin, where he forced her to look up at him.
“I knew you had it in you, Cat. I’ll see you Friday night, and I’ll find that guy for you.” He winked before waltzing out of her office.
Cat stood in the middle of the room, alone, frozen with fear and disgust. Her hands immediately shot up to her face where she rubbed her lips on the backs of her arms. She felt like she was going to puke, not only from the utter repulsion she felt, but from the fear that crept up her spine and soaked her very being. She was entirely unprepared for what laid ahead of her, but she was willing to endure to get her friend back and make sure he was safe. After all, she was Catarina Crane, mistress of fear, and she was not someone to be trifled with.