“We need to hurry,” Ted yelled over his shoulder and waved to Amanda to come. She shook her head but followed the British player.
“I don’t even understand why you need me?” Amanda growled. But Ted didn’t answer. He was busy looking for a certain room. Judging from the greyish walls it was a cheap hotel. One of these accommodations Ted himself had to stay in during the early years of his career. However, it was not far from Flushing Meadows which was the reason several lower ranked players had chosen it. But a day before the women’s final most of them had left already. Amanda and Ted didn’t need to worry to be seen. Ted stopped in front of a door. He had taken out a key.
“How did you get the key for his room?” Amanda looked shocked. But Ted shook his head.
“It’s not his,” he said when he stepped inside the dark room. “That’s why I need you.”
He crossed the room and opened he window.
“His room is right under here. I waited all week for the room next door to become available but it didn’t work out. He always leaves the window open, you see?” Amanda stared at him while he climbed on the window sill. She shook her head, still not understanding.
“You have to let me down to his window,” Ted explained in a last attempt to motivate Amanda.
“I wholeheartedly disagree with this idea, Ted.”
“You can thank me later, when you see all the evidence.”
Carefully, he slipped over the sill while facing Amanda. When he hung down only holding on to the sill, she took his hands and slowly let him down inch by inch until he touched the window sill on the lower floor.
“You have to go downstairs and warn me if he comes back,” Ted said without lifting his head. Before Amanda could protest, he had slipped inside Tom’s room.
Tom’s bags were tidily heaped in one corner of the room. On the left nightstand was one of his cameras and battery chargers. But Ted headed straight to the other side of the bed. He sat down and grabbed Tom’s notebook. Ted was sure Tom would keep all the information in here. When the computer asked for a password he frowned. Why hadn’t he thought about it? Frantically he typed several words to no avail. After trying every possible combination of 30 Love he was just about to give up but gave one word a last try: Teddybear. He felt a bit foolish to type down the nickname Tom had used. But as soon as he hit the Enter the window magically opened.
Ted was touched by the fact that even after two month Tom still seemed to care for him. Why else would he still use this password.
But there was no time to wonder about Tom’s feelings now. Ted pulled out a memory stick from his pants and plugged it into the notebook. After a little search he found the file which contained Tom’s mischievous doings. They were all filed under the players’ names and Ted was surprised to see how much evidence Tom had gathered since they had broken up. He had been busy taking photos of several high profile couples in the WTA and even the ATP.
Waiting for the files to be moved he was startled by the buzz of his mobile. Amanda was calling.
“What?” Ted answered the phone.
“He just exited the elevator,” Amanda said pressed. “You need to leave the room now.”
Ted hung up. The computer showed that it would still need 23 seconds to move the last files. He jumped up and raced to the door. Opening it slowly he peeped outside and his heart almost made a jump. Tom was just coming around the corner. Ted hurried back to the computer, decided he could do without the remaining files, pulled out the memory stick and shut the notebook. After placing it exactly how he had found it, he sprinted to the window. When he was standing outside he looked up but Amanda was not there. Why did she take so long from the other floor? In the same moment he knew the answer already. He could feel the door key in the pocket of his pants. He had forgotten to give it to her.
Then he could hear Tom’s key in the door. Looking around he realized there was only one way out – and that was down.