When I reached her bedside, I leaned as close as I could without touching her and whispered to her.
Her eyelids fluttered, but I was already gone by the time she opened them.
* * *
I called up Dash & Quentin and even dragged Diana from Keenan’s room where she was temporarily holed up until she was convinced the fleas were gone. When I found out what she said to Lake the day I took her to the store, it took everything in me not to shoot her in the face. Lake never said a word about it, and I didn’t ask. I just assumed she had become upset from seeing her climb in my ride.
After explaining to Diana I would rather lose my balls and grow a vagina than fuck her, she seemed to get it, and even appeared sorry. She apparently underestimated Lake. We both did.
As soon as this was over, I’d make it up to her if given the chance.
“Why am I here?” Diana questioned with her nose in the air. Quentin looked as if he’d tasted something foul.
I took a deep breath and released it slowly, feeling the vein in my forehand come to life. “You’re here because you’re not dead, and if you’re not dead, then it means you serve a purpose.”
“I told you everything.”
“Do I look like I’m short of a brain?”
The day I brought Diana here, I interrogated her well into the night until I was satisfied I had drained her of every piece of information. After finding out not only was Mario an FBI agent, but the reason why Lake’s parents were dead and Lily was never found, I realized I didn’t know half of what I needed to know.
“I told you everything I knew. I stay in my dad’s home, but I see him every couple of months. I don’t know anything else.”
“What did she tell you?” Quentin questioned.
“Hey, I’m sitting right here,” she snapped. Quentin ignored her and waited for my answer.
“Money wasn’t the only reason he broke the partnership with Arthur.”
“What other reason was there?”
“He was sleeping with his wife. She got knocked up and threatened to tell Arthur when Mario wouldn’t agree to make them exclusive.”
I remember Esmerelda well. She was the closest thing I had to a mother when I was young, but she was no mother. It was her name that was on the license for the children’s shelter. It was all a front to capture kids from off the streets, and even those who were kidnapped or sold. They would toss a few back to keep up the front while stowing away the unlucky ones.
“Damn.” Dash shook his head. “What are we supposed to do with that?”
“I have an idea, but first…” I stalked over to the seat Diana sat in and watched her shrink lower and lower. “Is that all the information you have? Think carefully before you answer because if I find out you’re lying, I will send you back to your father in pieces.”
I clocked every breath she took and muscle she moved while I waited. “He had those kids killed.”
“Is that right?” Quentin questioned. He didn’t trust her and neither did I.
“I’m not sure. It had something to do with you disappearing a few weeks before. I guess he panicked. He didn’t know if you were arrested and couldn’t risk you ratting him out, so he killed them and dumped them.”
“The police didn’t connect the murders to me, and they wouldn’t have. Lake told them of my involvement.”
“Then shouldn’t you be questioning her?”
“What else?” I pressed.
“I don’t think he wanted to set you up. He wanted to dispose of any evidence just in case you talked.”
The days I spent looking for my father led to Trevor and Anya’s death, but even that night when I ran down Mario, he didn’t confess. What else would he be hiding? His rash decision to kill them because of me only confirmed Mario didn’t trust me any more than I trusted him.
“Why are you turning on your father?” Dash asked.
She scoffed, but when her eyes trailed to Quentin before she closed them as if in pain. “He’s never been a father.” Her voice shook with barely controlled anger and emotion. “He’s my pimp.”
Dash nodded as if he understood, and strangely, he likely did better than anyone else in this room. Not out of experience, but because he was always the voice of reason and understanding. He would always be the last to pass judgment, even with all the facts laid out in front of him.
“I have one last question. The same rules stand. Did your father send you here to keep an eye on me?” Diana had done nothing but try to fuck me since the very second I met her. She was relentless these past three months, and I wouldn’t have suspected anything if I hadn’t seen the turmoil in her eyes every time she came on to me. She was nothing more than a trained concubine, but it wasn’t by choice.
“I told you why I’m here.”
“I won’t hurt you for telling me the truth, but I will hurt you for lying to me.”
“And I am just supposed to believe you?”
“You don’t have any other choice, Di.” I purposely used her nickname to appear less threatening. I needed her on my side. She was the bridge between information I could use against her father, and if her father could plant his own daughter here, then it meant she was disposable to him.
Her small nod was the only answer I needed.
“So who do we take down first?” Dash asked.
“We take them together.”