All the Lies (Page 5)
“Just getting started,” I tell him, motioning to the wall of the school.
The lies we tell influences them. The present is pregnant with the future.
The message is getting a lot of pale faces as it finishes appearing like magic.
“Logan is leaving town, and the sun isn’t too far from setting. I’m going to Diana’s.”
As I stand, Jake tosses up my knife, and I catch it by the handle as he takes my seat in front of the monitors.
“Stick to the sidewalks. The boots won’t lie,” he says, eyeing my girly combat boots that are fully equipped with blood red shoestrings.
Walking around with my weighted bags and my men’s boots might be a little suspicious.
The cold has washed in, which is perfect. It makes wearing a hoodie less conspicuous. I nearly froze to death in my dress.
But I wanted to return home in style—wearing the color red.
“Lay out pillows in case she faints,” he says as I walk out, and I smirk while taking the brisk walk, maneuvering the shortcuts through the buildings. The town is built like a circular maze, the roads getting wider as they circle the city. Town hall is directly in the center.
From the sky, it’s amazingly beautiful.
It’s only ugly when you’re in the middle of it and can see the truth.
I walk around back to keep anyone from seeing me at the front, and I knock twice, checking over my shoulder to make sure no one is watching.
When Diana opens the door, my heart unexpectedly sputters. I thought I’d steeled myself against any emotion I might feel when I came here.
I blame Logan. He’s tearing away the ice I put in place.
“Can I help you, hun?” she asks sweetly.
I push the hood back. “You could let me in.”
Her eyes narrow, and her smile slips.
I feel like an ass for scaring her.
“Diana, I need to talk to you, and you know what you told them today.”
“I’m sorry, dear. I think you should go,” she says, closing the door.
My hand shoots out, and I shoulder my way in, feeling worse when she gasps and stumbles back, trembling.
She’s on edge because she told the story no one else has had the balls to.
“Diana, I need you to sit down. I don’t want you to get hurt, and I’m only here to keep you safe.”
“Keep me safe?” she asks, confused as she looks over me, obviously convinced I’m not a match for anyone.
My hoodie hides my knife, but I decide not to show her the blade. She might actually faint.
“Once upon a time you loved a little girl. You betrayed her to save your son. Today, you finally stood up for her and gave her a chance to be heard.”
Tears waver in her eyes as she takes another step back.
“Who are you?” she whispers, emotion riddling her voice.
Adjusting the knife under the hoodie to go to the back of my pants, I pull up the front my shirt, revealing the scars I’ve hidden for too long.
Her eyes drop to my stomach, and she takes another step back.
“I’m that little girl.”
When she hits the ground, I catch her head just in time. Jake was right. I should have put down pillows.
“Well, shit,” I say to the woman who has fainted.
I can practically hear Jake saying, “I told you so,” in my head.
Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
“Thanks for meeting with us, Mr. Denver,” I say to the man who hands us both a cup of coffee.
“I’m here to help in any way I can.” He studies us like he expects us to be on the wrong side of the law, as though he’s waiting for us to trick him.
It makes me hate Johnson even more.
“We’re hoping you can shed some light on what happened to Robert Evans.”
He grimaces. “It should all be on record. I’m sure the FBI has access to all that.”
“All murder trials are usually taped, but this one wasn’t.”
“It was,” he argues. He stands and goes to his bookcase, and he pulls out a book. When he opens the book and grabs a DVD, Donny raises his eyebrows at me.
Christopher Denver brings us the DVD, and he hands it to me.
“You can keep that. I have others.”
“The file stated it wasn’t filmed.”
“It was,” he states simply.
I blow out a long breath. “I realize the FBI are probably not on your list of people to trust, but I can assure you that the two of us are looking for real answers.”
“Because of the Scarlet Slayer,” he says simply.
I cock my head, studying him. He has alibies, so he can’t be our guy.
“That’s part of what led us there, yes. But also because we feel as though the case might have been mishandled.”
He snorts derisively, and I arch an eyebrow at him.
“Sorry. I’m just not used to such understatements being made with true sincerity.”
Donny leans back, and I sip my coffee, looking around the house. His walls are mostly bare, other than several achievements from his son and from him.
“We spoke with Jacob as well. He wouldn’t give us any information,” I say, watching his face.
He remains impassive, years of courtroom training teaching him to school his features.
“My son was broken that night. The boy he loved was killed, and the girl he adored as his own sister died as well. And it was reported as a car accident. He completely withdrew from the world after that night. I struggle to even get him to come here for the holidays now. Although he came to visit recently due to a personal matter.”
I want to pry, but doubt he’d tell us why Jacob came to visit.
“Why didn’t you tell us about Victoria and Marcus if you knew?” I ask instead.
“Because you would have went after my son, of course. He was the closest to them, other than the Barnes boy. But a NFL football star is less likely to be a suspect.”
Just telling us his son was paralyzed would have been good enough. But it’s like he almost doesn’t want to say that.
“You don’t even mind giving us that information, do you?” Donny asks him.
“That I wanted to keep my son safe from corrupt bureaucrats cleaning up a mess they helped make? Not at all. There was no obstruction of justice, considering this story was squashed by one of your own when my son tried to tell it. My silence in no way interfered with your investigation of this Scarlet Slayer.”
“Only it did,” I tell him.
He looks just like Jacob, only an older version of him. Dark hair barely dusted by time, and fine wrinkles that almost look intentional.
“How is that, SSA Bennett?”
“The unsub we’re looking for is working off a list of the rapists involved that night.”
I see the surprise in his eyes. He’s genuinely caught off guard by that admission.
“What can you tell us about Robert Evans? And this time, hold nothing back.”
He clears his throat, probably not used to being surprised.
“Robert Evans was a brilliant man with no ambition to be more than a janitor. The pay was good enough, and he enjoyed the hours because it gave him more time with his kids.”
He sighs long and hard.
“I worked too much. Jacob spent more time there than he did at home. I never even knew he was in love with Marcus until years after the boy’s death. He told me everything one night, broke down right there on that couch, told me how much he hated the whole town. Then he felt like he was being punished when he was put in a wheelchair.”
He’s telling us about Jacob and not Robert, speaking of his shortcomings. That’s the tell of a regretful father I’ve heard too often in cases where they’ve lost a child. Never a case where the son is still alive.
“Robert was a simple man, who never caused problems. But he painted himself an easy target for the sheriff who just wanted someone to pay for his daughter’s death. Didn’t matter if he was innocent. Didn’t matter if he had an alibi. Nothing mattered except one man’s revenge. Robert Evans was the most unlucky soul I ever knew.”
“Why do you say that?” Donny asks, though it should be obvious.
“He lost the love of his life to two rich drunks. Both her parents and his parents had passed already, leaving him with no help to care for his kids. He lost his life because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And his kids were murdered for crimes he never committed. Don’t see how you can get unluckier than that.”
Donny clears his throat and loosens his tie. Every time we hear more about the Evans family, we become a little more invested. It’s probably the most heartbreaking shit I’ve heard.
“What happened after the trial?”
“The trial that shouldn’t have happened in a town as small as Delaney Grove?” he asks bitterly. “A trial that shouldn’t have happened with a biased judge ruling? Do you realize he could have gotten an appeal with little effort?”
We both nod, deciding to hold our silence as he reins in his temper.
“I don’t know what they did to him. All I know is he sure as hell didn’t hang himself. He’d already had Hannah Monroe contact him, offering to take his case on appeal and wave her fee. She was going to ruin Delaney Grove.”
“What happened to her?” I ask.