Nikki and Virgil from the chapter “The Other Kind of Auditing”

Adobe Photoshop PDFNikki’s POV

“What’s your biggest fear as we sit here today? Can you single one out that is weighing you down or freaking you out?” Virgil asked, lacing his fingers together and pressing them against his lips. Clearly it was my turn to talk and I had his undivided attention. His determined brown eyes met mine and never looked away as I talked.

“My biggest fear? I’d have to say … Thomas ‘Lee’ Harvey. He wanted me dead almost four years ago. He shot me. I got lucky … I am lucky to be alive right now. But he’s sitting in his prison cell up in New Hampshire probably thinking of ways to break out and get revenge on me for messing up his plan to kill us all. I’m the one who got his best friend to betray him and back out. Adam testified against him to get a short sentence. I’m sure he wants to kill us both. He’s supposed to be in jail for another 20 years or so.”

Virgil removed his clasped hands from his mouth.

“Thank you for being honest about your biggest fear, Nicole. I’m sure it’s not easy talking about him.”

“No, it’s torture. I don’t have nightmares about him as much as I used to, but I still do.”

“How often?”

“It varies. Sometimes none for a few weeks. Sometimes I’ll dream about him three times in one week.”

“What you’re experiencing is completely normal,” Virgil said. “You went through a very traumatic event and this is the post-traumatic stress and emotions from that.”

“Is there a magic wand in your Scientology tool box to get rid of it?”

“Not specifically, but I do have a risky idea in mind that could yield high rewards. It would take a lot of courage and strength to pull off, but I can help make it happen if you’re willing to try.”

“What’s that?”

“I say we confront Thomas ‘Lee’ Harvey and show him who’s boss in this situation,” Virgil said, exuding confidence that I was definitely not feeling. In fact, I gasped at the thought.

“I say no effing way.”

“You wouldn’t have to face him in person,” he pressed on undeterred. “Most prisoners are allowed to use Skype these days. I would have to get clearance from the prison warden, but our company can be quite persuasive when it wants to be.”

“Even if I did, and I don’t, why the hell would he want to talk to me?”

“All we can do is ask.”

“You think having me looking this homicidal maniac in the eyes again is going to help stop my nightmares and fears? It’ll only make them worse,” I said. “I don’t want to ever see his face again.”

“But you are still seeing him and fearing him. It’s affecting your quality of life. What if we look at this as an opportunity. You get a chance to vent at the person who shot you, who tried to kill you, directly. What a release that would be for you. And maybe, just maybe — with all this time that has passed to think about what he almost did to you and your classmates — he’ll have some perspective on why he did what he did. He’s not the same person he was in 2014 when he shot you, just like you’re not the same person you were then. A lot can happen in a young person’s brain between 17 or 18 years old and 21, 22. I’m not saying Thomas will be some reformed angel by now, but I’d be willing to bet he’s at least slightly more mature. I’d also be willing to bet he’s starved for interaction, especially with people from the outside world.”

“I’m sure he is. And I don’t want to give him that. He put a bullet through me. Isn’t that enough?”

From “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble”
Pub date: 10-9-15
ARC date: Available now on NetGalley

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