All the Lies (Page 19)
Lisa draws my attention when she rolls her shoulders back, a smirk coming over her lips.
“I guess old habits die hard, considering I used to walk into his room all the time. Sometimes we forget we’re not together anymore.”
Fucking immature bullshit.
“I never forget,” I decide to point out, only to keep Lana from thinking otherwise, because she should honestly know I’d never do anything with Lisa.
Lana doesn’t move, her posture never changes, and for some reason, a twisted grin tugs at one corner of her mouth.
“Do you now?” Lana asks quietly. “I suppose I could remind you some time.”
Hadley clears her throat, glaring at Lana as she shoulders by Lisa and walks on into the room. I’m really glad everyone is seeing Lana on my lap while I’m in bed with nothing but a pair of boxers on.
“Lisa, you really shouldn’t try to piss her off when you don’t even have any true interest in Logan,” Hadley sighs.
She casts a warning glare at Lana for some reason, then directs her attention to me.
“Sheriff called a town meeting in the park. Said he wants everyone there. They’re about to send every single citizen in town out on a search for Kyle, now that there’s daylight.”
Kyle was taken right after sunset yesterday, and in a vehicle. There’s no chance of us finding him in the woods, but the sheriff refuses to believe a car was involved because nobody says they saw a vehicle.
I think he underestimates this town’s fear.
I also think he overestimates his son’s value to this town.
“In that case, do you think you two could get out of here so I can get some clothes on?”
Lisa snorts. “Like I haven’t seen you in less.”
Lana’s smile only grows, but it’s actually kind of creepy, as though she’s plotting something nefarious for Lisa.
“I’ll get her out of here,” Hadley says to Lana, then points a finger. “Nothing happens.”
Lana shrugs and turns to face me, while Hadley berates Lisa. As their voices fade, Lana gets more comfortable on my lap, and I kiss her before she can say anything.
“I’m sorry,” I murmur against her lips as I break the kiss. “Lisa’s a bitch.”
“She’s just used to women and men letting her say whatever she wants with no consequences. I’ve dealt with the mean girl types before. All bark. No bite. But lots of tears.”
I tilt my head, studying her. She seems…off. As though she’s distanced herself somehow.
“Hey, you okay?” I ask her seriously, searching her eyes.
It’s like they’re colder. Almost eerie.
“Long night,” she says on a sigh, running her finger down my cheek. “But I’m feeling better by the second. It’s like you’re magical or something, reminding me I’m human.”
I have no idea what that means, but it’s obvious she’s hurting and trying to close herself off right now.
“What happened?” I ask, cupping her face.
Her eyes instantly glisten as they warm, and she blinks rapidly like she’s holding back tears.
“Nothing,” she says with a brittle smile. “Just not a lot of sleep. I wanted to get back to you as soon as possible.”
I kiss her again, feeling her slowly relax in my arms, as though she’s shedding whatever wall was weirdly between us for a moment. Her kiss is searching, as though she needs something only I can provide. But before I can deepen it, my phone goes off, reminding me there’s a lot of work today, and I’ve only had about two hours of sleep.
Groaning, I break the kiss, resting my forehead against hers. “As soon as this day is over, we’re going to resume that kiss. Hadley has a lot of forensics to go through in the far cabin today. Stay with her.”
“I love how protective you are,” she says softly.
Her eyes meet mine, and I try again to decipher what’s going on in her head. It’s like she’s waged a war with herself, but she’s not telling why. I almost want to ditch this day and just spend it in bed with her, wishing I could offer her the same escape she’s so often given me.
“Go,” she says on a sigh as she stands, straightening her red shirt. She’s worn red almost every day since we’ve been here. Or maybe it has been every day.
“Why so much red?” I ask her, fingering the hem of her shirt as she stands.
“I just tossed a bunch of clothes in my bag. Apparently I picked stuff from my red section.”
She flashes a smile, rolling her eyes.
“You have a red section?”
“I have a massive closet. Has to be organized somehow.”
She skips out of the room, and I stand, running a hand through my hair. I don’t even have time to take a shower to wake me up, since my phone won’t shut the hell up.
As I leave the cabin, I glance down, catching a glimpse of Lana as she disappears inside our temporary headquarters.
Leonard is waiting for me when I get outside.
“Problems?” he asks, his eyes on the far cabin where Lana and Hadley are inside.
He snorts and gets in, and I start pulling out.
“Lisa looked pleased with herself when she left.”
“She’s a pain in the ass.” Quickly, I also tell him the details of the wonderful fucking morning I’ve already had.
“What’d Lana do?”
“Smiled at her and made a snide remark, but there was no bite to her tone. It was actually sort of weird. There was no aggression. Almost any other woman would have flown off the handle if my ex stalked in and stirred shit like Lisa did. Then again, Lana always surprises me with her reactions.”
“Takes a lot control to not react in the heat of the moment,” Leonard says, though it sounds like he’s saying it more to himself than me. “Can I ask you something?”
“How do you really feel about our killer? If you found out her identity today and heard her out, would you really be able to lock her away, knowing there’d never be any justice without her?”
My brow furrows. “Justice isn’t torturing and killing a bunch of people, Leonard.”
“Pretend you’re not FBI for just a minute. Pretend you’re a person who has witnessed the worst in humanity, and seen good in the monsters.”
“I’m not following,” I tell him as we pull up to the street that is blocked off. Cars are everywhere, so we’re forced to park at the rear.
“My sister’s best friend, Katie, once dated a drug dealer,” he says randomly, and I twist in my seat, arching an eyebrow at him.
He stares me in the eye as he continues. “He never sold to kids, always held his distance from the drug life when he was home, and if any of his guys sold to a kid, their bodies would be found floating in the river, minus their heads, hands, and feet.”
“Awesome choice in men,” I say, confused.
He rolls his eyes. “At first glance, anyone would say that. But not one kid in his city could get their hands on drugs. No outsiders would even sell to a kid from that city for fear of what he’d do to them. But Katie? He never touched her. In fact, he fucking worshiped her, treated her like a queen, and every day he came home to her, swearing she saved him from his demons.”
“Where are you going with this?” I ask, still confused.
“Katie was oblivious to what he did for a living, even though most of the city knew. She was always safe. The cops turned their heads, simply because if you get one dealer behind bars, another one pops up, and this guy wouldn’t deal to kids. Better the devil you know and all that.”
He blows out a heavy breath.
“He eventually got picked up on a misdemeanor, because not all cops believed in the ‘devil you know’ logic. Two weeks after his lock-up, Katie found out the truth. She felt betrayed. She was furious. She broke things off, and a new dealer moved into town. Within three weeks, ten kids between twelve and fifteen had died of an overdose.”
“So you’re saying that it’s better to let one dealer keep doing illegal shit as long as he’s not selling to kids?” I ask, still wondering where any of this is coming from.
“I’m saying, bad shit is in the world. But some of the monsters have morals, where others are pure evil. Katie moved on after a few months, found a guy with a nice normal job and life. He went to work at the accounting firm, but when he came home, he’d beat the hell out of her. She left him twice, and twice he hunted her down and made her pay. She pressed charges, and the cops let it slide, since he had no priors and Katie had been involved with a known drug dealer.”
His lips tense, and I bristle.
“I had to step in when my sister called. I threatened the piece of shit, even used my status as leverage. Didn’t stop him. And the cops didn’t arrest him even after he put her in the hospital with half a dozen broken bones.”
“What happened?” I ask, leaning forward.
“The drug dealer ex got out of jail after a year. He found Katie, and the cops found the abusive accountant. Well, they found his body floating with no head, hands, or feet. They also found the new dealer in the city a few weeks after that—same shape, if you know what I mean. Katie is married to him with three kids, and he still treats her like gold, while running a business that makes most furious. Katie learned that what you do for a living doesn’t determine if you’re a monster. And a killer can sometimes be more gentle than a man who’s never killed before. I guess I’m saying I wouldn’t fault our killer, because she could be worse, and these people, Logan… These people are fucked up. And how do you arrest an entire law enforcement department?”