All the Lies (Page 17)
“Was Duke suspicious?” Jake asks as I flip on the intercom switch, allowing us to hear the endless threats spilling from the lips of my next victim.
He doesn’t know how empty those threats are.
“No. The police called him when they couldn’t reach me immediately, since he took it personally that the Boogeyman attacked after he let his guard down on his quest to a bigger, better case. His guilt-induced involvement actually helps us, because I had to see him, and he’s far more reliable as a witness to my whereabouts than any regular cop. He’s watching my house, convinced I’m inside right now.”
“And if he decides to knock and check up on you?”
“You’re showing signs of the paranoia we promised to discuss if either of us suffered from it,” I say, turning to face Jake. “Paranoia evokes recklessness.”
“That’s a logical question,” Jake says, clearing his face of all emotion, hiding the inner panic I know is there.
I turn down the intercom as Kyle threatens to tear a spine out.
“If he knocks and I don’t answer, he’ll call.” I wag my phone at him. “And I’ll answer. If he asks where I am, I’ll tell him I went for a run to clear my head. Which I did run right through the trails in the back of the woods. We’re two miles from my house. I can easily run right back. I bought that house for this reason, even though I only moved in not too long ago. You know all this already, so why the freak-out?”
He blows out a harsh breath as Kyle starts throwing himself against the glass in a desperate attempt to break it. He simply bounces off, not even making so much as a crack in the resilient surface.
“Sorry,” Jake finally says. “It’s just, things are starting to go wrong. First, Logan sees you, but doesn’t see your face by some miracle. Then you deliberately find him when you shouldn’t have been able to, and get him an ambulance. He suspects a woman, Lana. You told me that. And now they know you have a partner. It just feels like everything is going to end before we’re ready.”
I put a hand on his shoulder, giving him a sympathetic half smile. “I get it. But he could have died if I hadn’t saved him, and we ran the risk of the partner thing with no drag marks. It was the only way to get Kyle, though. Breaking into his house would have been twice as hard with all four deputies inside.”
He sighs harshly.
“If your life had been at risk, and Marcus was the one reaping revenge for me, he’d have sacrificed it all to save you. Just as you would have for him.”
His gaze softens, and he leans forward, kissing the top of my head. A brotherly show of affection. “If it was Marcus doing this, I’d still be at his side,” he whispers softly. “I’d be helping him. Can you say the same for Logan?”
My heart squeezes in my chest, and I fight back the emotion that tries to surface as I turn away, watching as Kyle staggers back from another failed attack on the glass.
“I should get in there and get started before he kills himself. That would suck all the fun out of this,” I say calmly.
As I turn to head toward the door, Jake calls after me. “I worry that when the time comes, Logan isn’t going to choose you the way you keep choosing him, Lana.”
I keep my back facing him as I stand in the doorway, trying not to let the words sink in.
“I worry that he’ll never understand and only see the fault and not the good. I worry he doesn’t truly love you enough to give you what I would give Marcus. And I worry that you’ll let him kill you before you fight to stay alive. Every day, I worry more. Because I love you like Marcus loved you. You’re my only family, Lana. You’re all I have. And Marcus might actually rise from the grave to kill me himself if I see this happening and do nothing about it.”
A small smile tries to form as a tear rolls down my cheek.
“Marcus would have chosen you over me,” I whisper hoarsely.
“I doubt that, Lana. And I’ve already failed you once. I failed you worse than I ever could have imagined.”
“You didn’t fail me, Jake,” I say without turning around. “We were failed by everyone else.”
I twist my head around so that our eyes meet, and add, “But you? You’re the hero in all the fairytales that doesn’t expect the heroine to put out.”
He bursts out laughing, and I flash a smile before walking away. The smile falls the second I’m not in sight, and I put a hand on my chest, fighting the pain I don’t want him to see.
So much we learned. So much we know. So much we have going on at once.
And all I can think about is what Logan will do if he learns the truth.
Once again pulling up a façade of composure, I push through the door, and the killer inside me emerges, turning my heart to ice and my nerves to steel.
Kyle doesn’t even notice me until the door shuts and seals with a lock, the sound echoing around us.
His murderous gaze swings to me, but then he falters, his eyebrows raising in confusion.
“The fucking feds? The fucking feds are responsible for this?!” he shouts. “I’ll have you all on a fucking platter when my father finds out about this.”
A dark grin slithers across my lips like a serpent’s ominous smile.
“Oh, the feds have nothing to do with this, Kyle. Don’t you remember me?” I ask, my tone light but taunting as I take a step to the right, moving idly through the mirrored room.
He cocks his head to the side.
“You’re that fed’s girlfriend. Surely he’s not stupid enough to piss me off and leave me all alone with someone so fragile.”
His eyes drop down my body, the look in his eyes all too familiar as his gaze sweeps over me, leering, contemplative, calculated. “You really don’t want to do this, SSA Bennett! You have no idea what I’m capable of!” he calls out. “Playing games with me will end badly,” he goes on.
A voice comes over the com, as Jake decides to play a part.
“Actually, the feds are hours away, Davenport. Hope you don’t expect Daddy to save you tonight.”
Kyle tenses, looking around. He recognizes Jake’s voice, yet hasn’t placed mine. Well, that’s just insulting.
“Jacob Denver?” Kyle asks, confused as he looks around. “The fucking hell do you think you’re doing?” he demands, slamming his fist against the glass.
“Helping me reap a debt that’s long overdue,” I answer, smirking when his dark glare returns to me.
He tilts his head, and he starts coming right at me. “You want to fucking play? Let me show you what a mistake that is,” he growls.
“Please try,” I mock.
He lunges suddenly, and I dart to the side, bringing my foot up just in time to connect with his stomach. He barely gives himself time to recover before he’s grappling for me again, but it’s like watching a child fight with a teenage bully—the teenage bully being me.
With quick succession, I deliver one blow after another, my fist colliding with his nose; my knee making contact with his ribs. His cry of pain is like sweet music to my demented ears.
As I spin, my foot comes around, catching him on the side of the face hard enough to cause blood to fly from his mouth. His body spirals around and he collides with the glass, leaving a bloody smear before dropping to the ground.
As he spits up his blood, he glares over at me.
“Who the fuck are you?”
The music starts playing through the com; my mother’s voice wafts over us, serenading this moment with past memories that have his eyes widening and his features paling.
That song is what the Scarlet Slayer has been tormenting the town with. He’s starting to figure things out slowly.
He scrambles back, crab-walking right into the wall where he has no more room to run.
“I’m the girl you thought you broke,” I say quietly, taking a step toward him as his body seizes in delicious fear. “I’m the girl you took too much from.” Another step from me, and a pained sound from him as he tries to stand, but falls back down in his haste. “I’m the girl you thought you killed.”
He finally gets to his feet, and my fist shoots out, connecting with his face over and over as he weakly tries to shield himself.
I finally grab his hair and slam his face into the glass, knowing Jake is on the other side and enjoying this like I am.
“I’m the girl who finally ends your reign of terror.”
“No,” he groans, wincing when I slam his face into the wall again. Then I grab his hair, jerking his head back, letting him see the bloody reflection of his face staring back at him.
“I’m going to let you watch every fucking second of it, just like you did for Marcus.”
He cries out in pain when I wrench his arm back hard enough to dislocate it from its socket, using just the right angle.
He turns and tries to hit me with his good hand, but it’s a pathetic swing that I dodge with too much ease.
“So weak,” I taunt. “All those women were hurt by such a weak man.”
His eyes darken, and a sick smile spreads over my lips as a knife slides to my feet, accompanied by the sound of the door shutting and sealing again.
“I think I’ll join you on this one,” Jake says as he nears.