“How did you have time?”
“My book tour was actually only a week long.” I couldn’t conceal the hurt I felt finding out that she told another lie. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry I lied to you. I didn’t want to say anything until I had some information.”
I felt the familiar ache that came whenever my parents were brought up, but this time, it wasn’t followed by anger. “That’s okay, Aunt Carissa. I know you meant well.” I turned and shook Jackson’s hand again. “Thank you for taking care of my aunt and for finding out what happened to my parents. I can’t thank you enough.”
“No thanks necessary, Lake. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“So what’s going on?” It was the only way I could ask what he was doing here if she’d already found the answers to my parent’s disappearance without coming across as completely rude.
“Our investigation is still ongoing.”
“But you said my parents were murdered.”
“Yes,” Jackson spoke up. “But we still have to find the person who murdered them.”
“If you don’t know who murdered them, then how do you know they were murdered?”
“Are you ready to hear—”
“No.” I cut her off while taking a step back. “I don’t want to know.”
I needed to retreat fast, but Jackson’s sharp eyes held me captive. He looked like Keiran did when he was assessing me and calculating what to do next minus the heat.
“Okay, honey. Whenever you’re ready. Jackson will be staying in town for a while at a hotel, so he’ll be around a lot.” I nodded silently and turned to go.
“Lake,” he called before I could escape.
“Yes?” He pulled out a card and handed it to me. His full name and number was engraved in bold writing on the front.
Jackson Reed: Special Investigations.
“If you ever need anything, please, don’t hesitate to call.”
“Why would I need to call?” It was genuine question meant to gauge just how much he saw when he studied me moments ago. Having him here could be bad, but not because he could be dangerous. More because I had the feeling he really was good at uncovering secrets.
“I’m not sure, Lake, but I’m hoping you’ll tell us before it’s too late.”
The police station was fast becoming a familiar place to me. The next morning, before school began, I walked into the station with new determination and a goal in mind.
Some of the people moved about in a chaotic manner while others were stagnant, pouring over files, or dealing with frantic citizens and arrestees. I quickly signed in and made my way to the detectives’ desks where they talked amongst themselves. They were so engrossed in their conversations that they had failed to notice me until I was standing practically on top of them.
“Lake,” Detective Wilson greeted, noticing me first.
“How’s it going, Lake?”
I took in the detective’s face and noticed the haggard lines of fatigue and sleepless eyes as they stared back at me. Something told me they weren’t getting very far in the case that now made national news. It would only be a matter of time before Aunt Carissa caught wind. She normally stayed away from the news, preferring fantasy to facts. In fact, the only television she could be caught dead watching was the sci-fi channel and the Sons of Anarchy.
It also didn’t help that Keiran was the golden boy of Six Forks. Not many people were willing to believe he was involved in the grisly murder of Anya and Trevor though many still kept a wary eye. The nature of the act committed made even his most loyal fans cautious. Anya had always made it a point to tell everyone she was his girlfriend, and when Keiran barely blinked or showed remorse over her murder, it raised eyebrows. The history between Keiran and Trevor, once it came out, didn’t help either.
If Trevor hadn’t made bail, he might have been alive today. Would the same happen for Keiran?
It was still a mystery as to how he made bail after being initially denied.
Could it have been his family? It was a testament to how far his money and family connections went; the same family that no one has seen or heard of outside of John.
What happened to the good ole days when money bought you a car instead of getting you off from a double murder and a string of other crimes committed?
“I know you aren’t getting very far in the case… I think I can help.”
“How could you help?”
“Besides his two friends and his brother, I am the only one who can get close to him. I can get evidence.” The detectives were shaking their heads before I could finish. I thought they would jump at the opportunity.
“We can’t risk it. You’re testifying when this case goes to trial. That’s enough.”
“And if it isn’t? What if he’s never tried? He managed to get out on bail.”
The detectives said nothing as they studied me silently. I showed all the signs of distress but was too desperate to scare. I’d managed to give in to him once… twice already… and now he was back to threatening my family again.
“Has he threatened you? Approached you?” Detective Daniels questions. “We can place you under witness protection…” He was already reaching for the phone.
I panicked and did the worst thing I could do—I lied. “No.” I regretted it as soon as the word was spoken. “He hasn’t threatened me.”