• She burst out of a nightmare she couldn’t remember, gasping, cold sweat prickling her skin. It took her a moment to remember where she was, and another to realize she was horribly, horribly late.
    Struggled to get out of bed, got tangled in the sheets, slammed to the floor. She groaned, contemplated staying down for a tempting moment, then thought better of it and scrambled to her feet.
    Two minutes in the shower, thirty seconds to choke down some cold oatmeal. She glanced at the clock. Still late. Still very late.
    A moment of frustration, realizing she’d not thought to lay out her clothes the night before. A minute of rage, when her stockings tore on the bed corner – straight from thigh to heel. Pulled them off, pitched them out the open window, searched in a blind panic for another pair.
    In ten minutes, she was dressed, all her papers were shoved into her briefcase, and her hair was reasonably untangled. She pushed her feet into a pair of dangerous heels, and shuffled to the doorway. Swung it wide, raced forward...
    And she slammed face first into a very solid person’s chest.
    Strong hands grabbed her shoulders, and pushed her back carefully. “I’m here to escort you,” said a deep voice above her head.
    She looked up. She scowled. “Get out of my way.”
    The heavily moustachioed cop shook his head slowly. “I can’t do that. I am to escort you. I was told not to let you leave without me.”
    He was stronger, but she was faster. Ducking quickly under the cop’s armpit, she hobbled off down the dimly lit hall, her heels clacking loudly. “Sorry!” she yelled over her shoulder. “I don’t need your help.”
    The cop was following her, yelling, but speed racing was obviously not his thing. Even in stilettos, she kept a steady distance ahead. The elevator was feet away. She almost cackled in triumph.
    Pushing the down button a few more times than necessary, she shot a nervous look over her shoulder. The cop was still in pursuit, now lumbering more than running. His face flushed a beet red. He stopped, and leaned against the wall, gasping for breath.
    Unable to resist, she stuck out her tongue at him, and stepped into the elevator, still grinning as the doors slid close.
    By the time she reached the bottom floor, her hair was twisted back in a professional bun, her reading glasses were on, and she wore the look of an upper-class prosecutor. No sign of the morning struggle. She glanced at her watch. But still late.
    After a furtive glance around the lobby for any hiding cop escorts, she hurried out the door, hailed a cab, and was on her way. She allowed herself to sink a little into the smooth leather seats, her eyes drifting closed. It was going to be okay. One last day in the courts, and she would be on the fast track to a killer promotion. And if traffic kept smooth, she might actually arrive on time. Life was good.

    Some said being a cabbie was a crappy job. The driver of New York licence #A-0732 begged to differ. He got his own car. He drove it. The snobby upper class didn’t speak to him, and he didn’t speak to them. And for little to no trouble, he always received a healthy tip.
    The cabbie eyed his newest passenger through the rear-view. A business woman, maybe early thirties. Rich, no doubt, or getting there. She leaned back in her seat, eyes closed, a small smile on her face. Those young types were usually so high-strung. The cabbie wondered idly what she was thinking about.
    They drove in silence for silent moments, early morning sky rolling overhead. The cabbie’s finger itched for the power button on the radio, but he resisted disturbing his passenger.
    The silence was broken by the last thing he would have expected – his passenger’s scream.
    The sound froze him in his tracks, but instinct took over. Spinning the wheel wildly, they swerved off the road to a cascade of honking horns, and screeched to a stop with two tires bumped up onto the curb.
    Eyes like saucers, the cabbie spun around to stare behind them. “What the hell?” he shouted.
    His passenger was spread out across the backseat, eyes equally wide, the contents of her briefcase spilled and scattered across the floor. She just stared at him, her face slack, before she seemed to shake herself to her senses. “I’m sorry,” she gasped. “Sorry, I...”
    “Lady, have you lost your mind? I nearly crashed this car! You could have killed us both!”
    “Sorry, sorry, I thought I saw...”
    The cabbie covered his eyes with his hand, trying the calm the pounding in his ears. What was wrong with that woman? What could she possibly have seen?
    The woman was reaching down for her papers, and began stuffing them haphazardly back into her briefcase. She pulled out her wallet, threw a hundred-dollar bill at him, and opened the side door. She paused, halfway out, and said, “I’m sorry.” She was out and gone before he could stop her.

    She stumbled down the street, head down, mumbling distracted apologies to the people she knocked into. Her head swirling dizzily, she could barely think straight. The courthouse loomed ahead, and she tried to concentrate on it – and only it.
    He was still beside her. She was trying desperately to block him out, and miserably failing.
    “Liv. Liv, you have to listen to me.”
    “Shut up,” she moaned. “Shut up shut up.”
    “Liv!” He stepped into her path, forcing her to skid to a stop. “Please, you need to listen. You can’t go to the courthouse today.” He tried to take her hand, but she pulled it back roughly.
    “You’re not here,” she said, her voice weak. “Go away. Leave me alone.”
    His eyes were desperate. “I will. You just have to listen to me.”
    She squeezed her eyes closed, shaking her head furiously. “No. No. Go away.” She pushed herself forward, stepped straight through him, and strode quickly forward, head down.
    He followed. “Just go home. For the day. For an hour. You can’t go there. Not now.”
    Her eyes darted up, and hooked on his. She struggled, but couldn't look away. He was the same as she remembered. Tall, sandy hair falling into his eyes. He was even wearing the clothes she'd memorized, that he’d worn that day, the day he...
    A sob rose in her throat. “Why won’t you leave me alone!” People were starting to stare.
    His eyes were kind, but they chilled her to the bone. “Liv, baby, just calm—“
    “Don’t call me baby! I don’t know you!” She spun on the people watching her yell at a patch of empty sidewalk, mouth open to scream at them too. But they all moved quickly away under her wild-eyed gaze.
    He’d put up both palms defensively, looking stricken. “Okay,” he said. “Okay. You don’t know me. But can you please just listen--“
    “No. I’m going to work. If you follow me, I’ll...”
    His expression hardened. “You’ll what? Liv, I think you know there’s nothing you can do to me anymore.”
    She couldn’t stop the tears, so she pushed into a sprint, darting away from him. The courthouse doors were so close. If only she could get inside, somehow, she’d be safe.
    She heard him curse. “Liv! Stop!”
    But she didn’t stop. She couldn’t.