Lauren walked back and forth across the stage giving her presentation. The Aztec printed skirt she wore swished against her legs. She focused on her PowerPoint presentation.
“Ladies and gentleman, the important thing to remember when you are trying to understand the mind of a criminal is to consider the historical information available to you. Current behavior is demonstrative of past behavior. Also, beware of malingering. Criminals are notorious for faking illness. I could sight countless examples of offenders that have tried this, but I think Kenneth Bianci is a prime example. You know him as the one of the Hillside Stranglers. He pretended to have Multiple Personality Disorder for the purposes of escaping punishment for his crimes.”
“Dr. Harris,” a voice from the back of the auditorium echoed throughout the room. She looked away from the screen and saw Nick standing in the back.
“Agent Bennette, as you can see, I’m in the middle of a lecture.”
“We need to leave,” he said gruffly.
“What?” Her temper flared and heat filled her veins.
“What is today Doc?” he asked.
“Agent Bennette, please…”
“Think.” He crossed his arms. “What is today?”
She paused realizing the date; August eighteenth.
Suddenly, the significance hit her. “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize, but I need to cut this short. I am so sorry. You can pick up the power point handout on the back table. If you have questions, my email address is included,” she said as she began throwing her belongings together. “Classes begin in about three weeks and I teach a class which details this subject matter. Thank you for coming.”
Nick walked to the front of the auditorium where Lauren continued putting her things away. He stood in a pair of dark boot cut jeans, hiking boots, and a white polo shirt.
“I wish you would have been a little more polite as opposed to just barging in,” she said sternly.
“I’m just following orders. I was told to retrieve you A-S-A-P. We’re going to Coopers Rock State Forest. That’s quite a drive.”
“Local detective said she’s in a plastic box and when he saw your link and read over the VICAP data, he called me.”
“By the way, Bennette, don’t call me ‘Doc.’” He ignored her. “When was she found?” Lauren asked.
“This morning at about seven; detective said the vic’s brother received a text message with the GPS coordinates. Crime scene is still fresh. They specifically requested that you come and because you’re a consultant being paid with federal dollars and you’re an expert of some kind, I am required to bring you.”
Without another word, she threw her laptop case over her shoulder and grabbed her other belongings. Almost sprinting to the back of the room, Nick kept up without effort.
“Where are you going?” he asked curiously.
“To my office. I need to change clothes and grab an overnight bag.”