“It hasn’t been entirely dropped. It’s been temporarily suspended.”
“I’m sorry, Lake, but we can’t discuss it. It’s high profile and if we blow this, it would mean not only our jobs but many lives, as well.”
“After you convinced me to turn him in and testify, putting my own life at risk, you just decide to back out?”
“You don’t understand what’s at stake.”
“Then make me understand! It’s the least you could do, don’t you think?”
The detectives did their silent communication thing I was starting to hate. “We have the chance to catch a much bigger fish. We have the chance to bring down the most notorious child slavery ring in history.”
“And so now I’m just inconsequential?”
“Lake, we will continue to protect you. If Masters hadn’t provided us with suitable proof Trevor and Anya’s deaths were connected, then we wouldn’t consider it. However, as of now, we don’t believe he is a great threat to you or anyone else.”
“You don’t know him, Detective Daniels. He is calculating and manipulative. He’s using you to get what he wants, and I am a part of that equation.”
“We are on it, Lake. Trust us. If Masters tries anything, we will lock him up and throw away the key.”
“And I am supposed to believe you? You don’t know what he’s done or what he’s capable of.”
“Lake… Keiran’s freedom is based solely on the information he can provide us. If he does not deliver to us both Mario Fulton and Arthur Phalan, we will pursue the death penalty when he is tried.
The death penalty?
They would kill Keiran?
I didn’t realize I was falling until Detective Wilson caught me.
* * *
After Detective Daniel’s had dropped the massive bomb in my lap, I went numb. The thought of Keiran dying hurt worse than finding out my parents were dead. As much hell as he’d brought to my life, it made sense. I didn’t know them, but I knew him, and despite the hate I held for him, and the need to make him pay, I still loved him.
But this wasn’t what love was supposed to be.
It wasn’t how the rest of the world would see it.
They would see a young girl who had been so fearful of her childhood tormentor she, instead of reciprocating the hate, chose to love him instead.
I went to Willow’s after I left the station. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies and doing homework. I wanted to avoid questions and most of all, Jackson. He’d been hanging around a lot and though my aunt warned me previously, it still made me uncomfortable. He was essentially a good guy, but I didn’t like the way he was always watching me, reading and assessing me. He saw too much, and if he ever figured it out, he would tell my aunt.
When I finally pulled myself together enough to chance going home, I said goodbye to Willow, who couldn’t manage more than a noncommittal glance.
With college right around the corner, Willow was working furiously to keep her grades up. Or at least that’s what she said. Avoiding Dash may have had a little more to do with her constant need to stay distracted, though he seemed to avoid her just as much.
When I asked her what had happened between them after laser tag, she said me almost being killed was a reminder of what Dash had done, and she couldn’t be with someone like that. She also made it a point to tell him someone like him wasn’t worth breaking her mother’s heart, which explained the stick up his ass.
Despite Dash’s involvement, I couldn’t help but feel responsible for keeping Willow from being with the only guy she’d ever shown such keen interest in.
I didn’t hang around much longer after our homework was complete, but later, wished I had. All hell seemed to break loose soon after I came home, which was unfortunate because I wasn’t prepared to handle anything else that required stimulation of the brain. I managed to hide it well, but I was still reeling from the effects of Keiran today. I was more upset that I could still feel anything for him.
So what did that tell me?
That I still hadn’t learned anything from the past couple of months?
That Keiran was still very much in control?
I pulled into my driveway a few minutes later and saw my aunt was home, but when I walked inside, she was nowhere to be found. I figured she’d locked herself in whatever room inspired her today, and chose not to disturb her. Not even five minutes later, she decided to make her presence known.
“Lake, what is this?” My aunt demanded as she stormed into the kitchen where I was creaming my bagel. I was too distracted by thoughts of Keiran and forbidden moments in abandoned classrooms to eat anything more. She slapped a newspaper down in front of me, and the caption on the front sent my knife and bagel slathered in cream cheese, crashing to the floor.
“That’s that boy, isn’t it? Keiran Masters? He’s from your school. He was here… Oh, God,” she rushed out in one breath.
“Aunt Carissa, please… calm down. It’s not what you think.” Actually, it was exactly what she might have been thinking, but what else was I supposed to say?
“Why didn’t you tell me about this?”
There are many reasons why I didn’t tell her about Keiran being accused of murder. Fortunately, my aunt wasn’t one to keep up with the news. She preferred fantasy to facts, and it was the main reason I was able to keep this a secret for this long. However, a gruesome murder of underage kids, one being an ex-police officer’s son, was bound to come to light. I was just surprised she went this long without hearing about it.