“Not a peep.” I thought of what John said about Mitch being as smart as he is greedy. “He’s laying low.”
“How did you get this?”
“It’s the proof Mrs. Risdell had.”
“Again…” Dash said, eyeing me warily. “How did you get this?”
“I paid her a nighttime visit.”
“Jeez, Keiran! What are you thinking? What if she calls the police?”
“She won’t and if she does, I’m prepared for it.”
“Do I want to know what that means?” I shrugged my answer and looked at Keenan, who had been sitting silently since he heard Mitch’s name.
The slick fucker had taken a picture of Keenan placing Trevor and then Anya in Dash’s car the night of the fair. The other picture was of them driving off.
It was all that was in the envelope, but I knew there had to be more. The girls were there that night so there would be pictures of them, also. Mitch would be saving them for a better advantage, which meant I needed to get to him before he had the chance.
“So what’s the plan?” Keenan asked and tossed the pictures down. “We have to protect them.”
Them being Monroe, Sheldon, and Willow. Five months ago, I never thought I would be in a place where I would fight to protect her from anything. I had mixed feelings because of what had gone down two weeks ago. I was still mad as fuck for a number of reasons, and they all involved her.
“We wait for him to make a mistake.”
“That could take months,” Dash argued.
“He doesn’t have months. He needs money, and if he used the amount of resources he needed to get this far, then I’m sure he’ll need it fast.”
“We could lure him out,” Quentin suggested.
“But if he took that picture, it means he’s watching and closely. He’ll know if we try anything. He will react.”
“So let him try something,” Keenan growled.
“And if he runs?” I couldn’t keep the exasperation out of my tone. “What if he exposes the rest of those pictures? If he has these, then he has pictures of Sheldon, Willow, and Lake. We can’t risk them.”
“But we have to do something, or we will risk them.”
“Keenan, we need to do this with a level head.” The tension in the room kicked up a notch or two, and I knew that he was pissed.
His eyes narrowed into slits, turning darker by the second as his lips curled into a sneer. “A level head? Please share your idea of a level head? Did you have one when you killed our mother?”
“This. Is. Not. The. Time.”
“Let’s get something clear. The only reason I didn’t kick you out along with my father is that I needed to know how much you screwed up. We aren’t cousins, we aren’t friends, and we definitely aren’t brothers.”
“Are you done?” He only glared back at me. “You may hate me, but I’ll always protect you. I fucked up, but I told you, Keenan. I fucking warned you all those years ago… I’m not a good person.”
“At least we know you can tell the truth.”
“I’ve never lied to you.”
“But you sure left a lot of important shit out. Kind of convenient, don’t you think?”
“I didn’t know she was our mother.”
“It doesn’t matter. She could have been someone’s mother, but that didn’t matter to you. You killed her anyway.”
“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
“I know enough.”
“You don’t know anything but what Mitch told you.”
“You didn’t bother to say otherwise either.”
I didn’t realize we were shouting until a nurse came in and ordered us to leave. Visiting hours were over.
“They are going. I’m staying,” I told the nurse.
“I don’t want you here.”
“Don’t be a brat.”
“Fine. Then I don’t need you here.”
“Tough. You aren’t staying here by yourself.”
Before I could argue, he called out to the nurse waiting by the door. “I want him gone and removed from my list of authorized guests.”
“You got it, sweetie,” the nurse gushed. When she turned her attention to me, her eyes widened in that familiar look of lust. She moved as if to usher me out, but one look at my face had her stopping in her tracks.
“Keiran, leave,” Dash offered, his voice gruff with aggravation. “Just go. I’ll stay with him.”
* * *
“Stab him.” The knife pierced flesh.
The sound of tearing flesh and running blood as it seeped from the man’s body mingled with the emotionless commands from Frank.
“Pierce him deep, boy. That’s it,” he encouraged when I obeyed.
A profound and unsettling feeling continued to build in my stomach as I mindlessly drove the knife into the bound man. Arms, legs, and even his knees. The sickening crunch of bone was worst of all.
His screams were muffled by the gag, but his eyes watched and pleaded with me as he held on to what little life he had left. Even now, I could see the life draining from his eyes while I used him for practice.
Think of them as your canvas, Frank would tell me.
They would never let me outright kill them. I had to torture them first with pain that would maim but not kill.