By 10:13:15 p.m., Leslie is yawning nonstop. She has taken a break from the case because her mind is on overload. Now, she needs to sleep. She emails Siobhan with her most recent update, and then she heads to the bathroom to perform her ablutions. She is falling asleep as she brushes her teeth, so she decides to forego taking a shower—she can do it in the morning. She goes back to the bedroom, strips off her clothes, sets the alarm, and then lies down on the bed. She is out before she can even close her eyes.
Leslie is dreaming of John. He is healthy, happy, and oh, so handsome. She hugs him, kisses him, and he is hard. She slides her hand down his body, but he stops her with a gentle kiss.
“You are so beautiful, Leslie.” John presses a kiss so tender to Leslie’s lip, it takes her breath away. After breaking away, he presents a black rose to Leslie—a real, living black rose. “I need you to break into the rose. You will find me in the rose. Bear that in mind. Can you remember that after you wake up?”
“Yes, John,” Leslie whispers, pressing her cheek to John’s chest. She sheds a few tears as he closes his arms around her.
“I have to go now, baby.” John kisses Leslie on the top of her head.
“No!” Leslie is anguished as she looks up at John, tears in her eyes. “Don’t leave me again!”
“I’ll always be with you, Leslie. Always.” John hugs Leslie hard before letting her go. She watches as he evaporates into thin air. “Remember. Break into the rose. Bear that in mind.” With a start, Leslie wakes up.
“Damn.” Leslie looks at her watch. It’s 3:12:39 a.m., and Leslie is wide awake. She emails Siobhan to let her know, and then she returns to her laptop. She writes down what John had told her—something about breaking into a rose and bearing it in mind. Then, she takes a deep breath and starts researching Senator Bronson more thoroughly. Her earlier Google search had been cursory at best, but now is not time to be squeamish.