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Clouded Judgment

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“As usual, good job. Here’s your bit. Don’t spend it all in one place.” Lily handed Chloe a duffle bag.

“Thanks.” Chloe didn’t bother counting. She’s known Lily forever and they’ve been at this for way too long.

“So I’ll pick you up here at the same time tomorrow?”

“No I’m good. I have my car. I just want to spend an extra night here to relax before going back to reality tomorrow.”

“You’re your own boss. No one’s forcing you to go back so soon.”

“I know but I miss it. So see you when I see you?”

“You sure you don’t wanna join us tonight? Boss would want you there.”

“Nah I’m good. You guys know me. She’ll understand.”

“Alright. I’ll hold on to the rest of your stuff for you.”

Chloe looked to the other bag in the back seat. She thought about taking it with her. “Yeah I think that’s best. Thank you.”

“Guess I’ll see you in the next one.”

“You got it.” She put the duffel bag over her shoulder and walked towards the hotel’s revolving doors.

Chloe met Lily when she started on this venture. She walks straight to the elevators and greets the hotel staff she passes on her way to her room.

Chloe just finished a job and these things always took a toll on her mentally and physically. She got into her room and wanted nothing more but to sit in the bath. She opened the duffel bag that carried approximately $100,000 in cash. She grabbed a couple packs of money and puts the duffel bag away in the closet then she called for room service.

She considered just getting drunk in her hotel room but thought where’s the fun in that. So before she even knew where she was going she was starting to get ready to go out. She went for comfortable and nothing too flashy. At least nothing that makes her to stand out at least. She applied light make up and left her hair down.

She just wanted to have a night where she’s not anyone. No jobs, no orders to follow, no people to shoot. The more she thought about going out, the more excited she got. She pocketed a bit of cash, her ID, her room key and left her earpiece, her phone and watch behind.

“Try to track me now, Lil.”

***

“Don’t worry too much Becs. We’ll get him.” Jessica was comforting Beca.

They have been working on this case together with their team for years now.

“It’s like he’s always one step ahead of us. How did we miss this? I don’t even know what’s worse, the fact that he doesn’t even care or he’s that confident we won’t catch him.”

“Hey. Don’t talk like that. We know him better than anyone else.”

“I just hate the feeling like we’re being played. I want to trust the system I really do, but I don’t like the feeling when we’re so close. What are we doing wrong?”

“Look. I think you need to loosen up a bit. Come out with us for a few drinks. I think you need it.”

“I don’t know Jess.”

“It’s your day off tomorrow right?”

Beca sighed. “It is. But I don’t know. I don’t think I can go out and let loose when there’s someone out there whose killing people for a living right under our noses.”

“That’s not on you Becs.”

“It is though. Every single passing day that we’re not catching this motherfucker, every single victim, his next kill it’s all on us.”

“Hey, we’re doing the best we can. This isn’t on you. Now what do you say? Just a drink or two. I know you’re frustrated and it is frustrating but I think this’ll be good for you. For all of us.”

“How can we even be drinking when there’s another victim and there’s a murderer on the loose?”

“Becs. I really think you need to just step away especially with this new investigation coming up.”

Beca knew Jessica was right. She knew when to push and when to leave her alone. “Fine. But I’m not staying past midnight.”

“That’s the spirit! We’ll pick you up at 7?”

“No need. It’s okay I’ll take an uber.”

“Promise you won’t ditch?”

“I promise.”

***

Beca joined Jessica, Ashley and a couple of guys from work at a bar Beca’s never been to before at around 9pm.

“Beca you made it! I was starting to get worried partner. What do you feel like drinking? Come on first round’s on me.”

Jessica was the first one to spot her. Beca hated how happy she looked. “I think I’ll have a cider to start with.”

“Gotcha. Glass of cider for Mitchell coming right up.” Jessica left her to walk towards the bar.

Beca rolled her eyes at Jessica, who obviously had a couple of drinks in her system already. Out of habit, she eyed the whole room and took note of the other people who were there.

Beca didn’t usually do this, going out drinking and stuff. For a couple of years now, she’s truly become a workaholic, borderline obsessing with work.

It was almost midnight and she still had no plans of going home. She already had one too many drinks; way passed her limit. But she had such a shitty day at work and not thinking about work even for a couple of hours is a huge weight off her shoulders. Jessica was right.

“Hey Becs. You ready to go?” Jessica was calling out to her.

“I already called for an uber. You guys go ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I uhm.” Beca nodded to the bar and Jessica saw what Beca was pertaining to.

“Text me when you get home please?”

“I will. Now go on. You losers have work tomorrow. I get to sleep in.”

She wasn’t going to pretend like the alcohol hasn’t gotten to her. Beca wasn’t a big drinker and it wasn’t a secret. She looked around again and couldn’t hide her disgust. One thing she hated about going out was how guys treated girls like their prey. She’s seen it happen all night and if she saw one more guy hit on a girl who, in her opinion, just wanted to have a fun night out, she was going to do something about it.

She kept tabs of almost everyone coming in and she remembered when she first spotted the hot redhead by the bar sitting alone by herself drinking. She was alone as far as she could tell but she went back and forth to the dance floor and just came back to her spot by the bar to order another drink.

She was in the direct line of sight of where Beca was sitting so she ends up eyeing her most. Beca watched her for a bit and envied her a little. She would never have had the guts to go out alone and actually have fun like her.

Jessica and Ashley were saying goodbye to her when she spots the redhead at the bar again. This time, however, she wasn’t alone. There was a guy that was trying to get all over her. He touched her a lot and kept trying to invade her personal space by leaning in and putting his arms around her.

Beca tried to ignore it but she couldn’t help it. She could see how the redhead was moving away from him and almost flinched at his touch. Jessica even noticed her staring at them.

“Becs. I’m sure she’s fine.”

Beca downed her drink. “Yeah well I’m just gonna go make sure. You guys go ahead alright?”

“Okay. Please stay away from trouble. Do you want us to wait for you?”

“No it’s okay. I got this. You said I should enjoy myself right?”

She walked up to the bar when Jessica and Ashley left and went in between the redhead and the guy. She really insisted to squeeze herself between the two.

“Excuse you?” The guy said to her, which she ignored completely.

Instead, she eyed the redhead who was avoiding her gaze.

Beca nudged her on her shoulder. “Hey you okay?”

The redhead met her eyes for the first time and Beca had to hold her breath. “Wow. Your eyes are wow.” She said to herself. She wasn’t sure if the she said that louder than she intended and if she heard her.

“Is this guy bothering you?” She asked her louder.

The redhead just shrugged and signaled for the bartender to get her another drink.

Beca saw the guy has already given up and left. “Sorry about him. Some guys are total creeps.”

Beca still didn’t get a response.

“Wait. Don’t tell me you know him?”

It was a relief to hear her chuckle. “No. I don’t.”

“Oh okay. For a second there I thought.”

“I see. I see.” The woman beside her downed the shots in front of her before looking at Beca again. “You read it wrong. I didn’t need you to save me. I was perfectly fine. I can handle guys like him.”

Beca was surprised. This wasn’t how it usually went down when she was looking out for someone. “Sorry I didn’t mean it like you couldn’t handle him, I just couldn’t sit and watch him keep annoying you like that.”

“No that’s okay. It’s not your fault you don’t know me.” She lifted the empty shot glasses in front of her and raised them to the bartender again.

Beca watched as the bartender refilled her drink. She downed them both one after the other again and then looked at Beca for the second time. “This girl doesn’t need saving tonight.”

The redhead then stood up and threw a wink her way before heading off to the dance floor.

Beca was stunned. “What the fuck. Who is this chick?”

***

Chloe danced to her heart’s content. When she got tired, she returned to her spot at the bar. She was a little surprised to see the same girl who tried to ‘save’ her earlier still in the same spot where she left her.

Chloe took the same seat beside her but ignored her.

“You just let them touch you like that?” Chloe wasn’t sure if the girl was asking or telling her off.

She signaled to the bartender for more drinks and turned to the girl beside her, she said. “Were you just watching me the whole time?”

The other girl laughed. “Great. Now I’m the creep.”

Chloe was smirking. “Relax. It’s called dancing. Maybe you should try it out sometime.”

“I don’t dance.”

“Oh well that’s too bad.” Chloe watched as the bartender serve her drinks. “What are you drinking?”

“Are you buying me drinks now?”

Chloe just shrugged and the other girl followed up with. “Whatever you’re having.”

Chloe nods and makes eye contact with the bartender. “Shots for my friend here too.”

“So we’re friends now? Friends know each other’s names. I’m Beca and you are?”

Chloe takes note of her name but doesn’t give hers. “Not all friends do.” Chloe slides the two shot glasses filled to the brim in front of Beca.

Beca accepts them, suddenly feeling not so sure about her self and the situation she’s put herself in.

Without breaking eye contact, Chloe downs her shots. Beca copies Chloe as she downs hers and makes that face you do when you’ve drank your very first shot. To begin with, Beca wasn’t a heavy drinker and she’s been drinking a lot already before this so she just knew this wasn’t going to end well for her.

Chloe caught this and found it amusing. She taps on the counter again to grab the attention of the bartender.

“Wait. Again?” Beca’s eyes grew a little wide when another four freshly filled shot glasses were in front of her. “No no I’m good.”

“If you’re sitting with me, then you’re drinking with me.”

Beca stared at the drinks in front of her. “I think you’re trying to get me drunk.”

“And why would I want to do that?”

Two more rounds later and Beca and Chloe were grinding on each other on the dance floor. Beca was almost blind drunk. She’s lost control of her limbs. She’s never done this before and her head was spinning. Indeed she was at the mercy of her very attractive companion. Her choices were to either stay at the bar downing shots with the redhead or dancing with her. It was a no brainer.

One second they were jumping, then they couldn’t get their hands off of each other. Beca had her arms around Chloe and when they stared at each other’s eyes, she drowned in them. It was as blue as the ocean. She just wanted to dive in. Beca didn’t think twice. She closed the gap and kissed her. She was half expecting the redhead to push her off but instead she kissed her back just as hard.

It must have been all those shots but here they are making out in the middle of the dance floor. When they were able to pull away, it was Beca who leaned into her again and whispering in her ear.

“You wanna get out of here?”

Beca grabbed Chloe’s hand and pulled her towards the exit. Again she was not expecting her to go with her as easily. She’ll never forget how the redhead was laughing then looked back at her biting her lips trying to resist a smile.