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flirtatious smile that reminds me of a certain girl I left in Georgia. As I step out of the elevator on the second floor I know something is wrong. On the other side of what look like locked doors, two security guards and a nurse are combing the corridor, checking each room. My scalp prickles, but I walk over to the reception area, pretending not to notice the commotion. “Can I help you?” asks a young man with a ring through his nose. “I’m looking for Leila Reed. I’m her brother.” He pales. “Oh. Mr. Reed. Can you come with me?” I follow him to a waiting room and sit down on the plastic chair that he points to; I note it’s bolted to the floor. “The doctor will be with you shortly.” “Why can’t I see her?” I ask. “The doctor will explain,” he says, his expression guarded, and he exits before I can ask any further questions. Shit. Perhaps I’m too late. The thought nauseates me. I get up and pace the small room, contemplating a call to Gail, but I don’t have to wait long. A young man with short dreads and dark, intelligent eyes enters. Is he her doctor? “Mr. Reed?” he asks. “Where’s Leila?” He assesses me for a moment, then sighs and steels himself. “I’m afraid I don’t know,” he says. “She’s managed to give us the slip.” “What?” “She’s gone. How she got out I don’t know.” “Got out?” I exclaim in disbelief, and sink onto one of the chairs. He sits down opposite me. “Yes. She’s disappeared. We’re doing a search for her now.” “She’s still here?” “We don’t know.” “And who are you?” I ask. “I’m Dr. Azikiwe, the on-call psychiatrist.” He looks too young to be a psychiatrist. “What can you tell me about Leila?” I ask. “Well, she was admitted after a failed suicide attempt. She tried to slash one of her wrists at an exboyfriend’s house. His housekeeper brought her here.” I feel the blood draining from my face. “And?” I ask. I need more information. “That’s about as much as we know. She said it was an error of judgment, that she was fine, but we wanted to keep her here under observation and ask her further questions.” “Did you talk to her?” “I did.” “Why did she do this?” “She said it was a cry for help. Nothing more. And, having made such a spectacle of herself, she

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey