The Risk (Page 13)

The earpiece amplifies their words as long as it’s facing what I want to hear, so I keep my head angled toward Jake like I’m staring at him affectionately.

“It has to be Dev, man. There’s no one else who’d want to do something to us for that night,” Tyler is saying.

So they are meeting about me. I guess the cat’s out of the bag.

“There’s no way,” Lawrence scoffs dismissively.

“He had a breakdown two nights later and said we took it too far. He fucking cried, dude. Cried like a little bitch. Said we were sick for what we did to them. It’s him. That fucker has finally cracked and now he’s doing this. He thinks he’s innocent since he didn’t get his dick dirty that night, and now he’s picking us off one by one.”

From the corner of my eye, I notice Lawrence shaking his head. I run my hand up and down Jake’s arm, pretending to be lost in thought as I read the menu aloud to him, but really all my attention is caught up in the conversation across from us.

“No. It’s not him. I talked to his sister, and she said he’s been in Mexico for the past two months on a church mission thing.”

Dev is the only one I’m not sure what to do with, to be honest. He’s the only one who showed remorse, and they did essentially force him to be there that night. He wasn’t a victim, by any means. He could have spoken up and said something…anything.

Currently, he’s not on my kill list. But he is in the ten fingers column.

Jake gets tired of not hearing, so he discreetly lifts his hand and places another sound amplifier in his ear. It’s small enough to not be seen as long as no one stares directly into his ear. Even then, they might assume it’s a hearing aid instead of a listening device.

“I’m telling you it’s not him. Trust me. I doubt he’s even heard anything about this, and Melissa sent me pictures of him from the church mission he’s on. He’s been texting her daily with updates and such,” Lawrence argues.

“Think Melissa is just covering for him? She is his fucking sister.”

“She’s had a crush on me since we were kids. Trust me, she’d be over that crush if she had any idea what we did, unless she’s into that sort of thing. In which case she’d be outing her brother to us if it was him. Either way, she’s not covering for him.”

“I think it’s him. There’s no one else it could be.”

Lawrence looks around, letting his gaze linger on our table for a fleeting second, and then his gaze moves on, taking in the few people out on the terrace before settling his attention back on Tyler.

“It’s not him. The night he freaked out, who do you think got him back in line?”

Tyler looks confused.

Our waitress has dropped off some bread, and Jake is ordering for us, so it’s harder to hear with so many people so close speaking at once. I strain, making sure I don’t miss anything as I force myself to chew on a piece of bread, finding my appetite to be sorely lacking.

“What’d you do?” I hear Tyler ask.

“I told him the same thing that happened to Victoria would happen to Melissa if he ever said a word. After that, they left town, and he started preaching the gospel. That’s how he sought penance. He’s not out killing people, for fuck’s sake,” Lawrence hisses.

He may have just saved Dev ten fingers.

And a tongue. His tongue was going to be gone too. It was a special column I was going to draw up just for him.

“Then who else is there?”

“I think that’s pretty obvious, don’t you?”


Lawrence slaps his head like he’s exasperated. They’re acting like this is normal terrace conversation for a late lunch. I assume it’s why they picked a restaurant that doesn’t have a lot of terrace traffic.

Lawrence has a roommate. Tyler has a wife. I get why they didn’t meet up at their homes to discuss this, but why not do it over the phone?

“The entire town hated them after what their father did. Think of the one person who didn’t hate them. Here’s a hint: his father was their father’s lawyer.”

Tyler shakes his head immediately.

“No. I saw Jacob two years ago. Ran into him at a company thing, and he fist bumped me. Even told me to call and hang out some time. If he’d known, he would have at least taken a swing. I’m sure they both died before he ever heard the truth. And he left town after that, so it’s not like he was around for the rumors.”

Lawrence sits back, now looking confused. Jake squeezes my hand a little too hard.

I remember that run-in. Jake does freelance computer work, and Tyler was working closer to where Jake lives now at that time. It was all Jake could do not to kill him, but he knew we had a plan, and he knew this revenge was mine. He knew he had a part to play, but his part was to be the brains. My part was to be their worst nightmare.

“Besides,” Tyler goes on, “he’s in a wheelchair these days. Some motorcycle wreck put him in the chair a few years ago.”

Jake nudges my foot with his, a calculated grin on his lips. We’ve thought of everything.

“Then I don’t know anyone else who would be enraged over a rapist’s whore daughter and fag son,” Lawrence says coldly.

My stomach churns hearing the way he refers to my brother. My good, honest, strong, loving, incredible brother who never deserved to be mutilated and… So much happened that he never deserved.

Because of them, I was left without anyone. Because of them, the best man who has ever walked the face of the earth died before he could light the world with his smile.

And they think it’s okay because he was gay. They think it’s okay because I’d had sex with two guys before that night.

They think it makes it alright to punish us so brutally for loving our father…

Jake clears his throat, and I realize that it’s my grip that is too tight now. My nails are cutting into his hand.

Loosening my grip, I continue to listen, wondering how much more I can take before I slice both of their throats right now.

Lawrence may die sooner than I planned. I may tie him up with Tyler and let them cry to each other while I cut them both to pieces.

“Maybe it’s not even related,” Lawrence says with a shrug. “Just don’t let anyone in your house for a while, and tell your wife to do the same. I’m getting a security system installed in my apartment. You should too. Not that it matters. According to Dad, they’re being let in, because there’s no sign of a break in.”

“Fuck,” Tyler hisses. “Fine. I’ll get something installed.”

Keyless entry locks are my best friends. It’s easy to catch the code being punched in on camera. It’s also easy to grab a set of keys and have a copy made if they use traditional locks. It just looks like I’m being invited in.

One more thing to keep them off a dead girl’s trail.

He grabs a bite of his bread, and I find myself dizzy. It’s the first time I haven’t heard them begging for forgiveness when this subject gets brought up. Usually it’s not brought up until I have a knife pressed to their skin.

They don’t have the balls to say this kind of shit when I’m the one making them cry for mercy, beg for forgiveness, and plead for their lives. I’ve never been more eager to get to the fun part.

Their conversation shifts to the best security systems to get, and I try to calm myself down before I slit both their throats and dicks in the middle of a restaurant.

“I think we should probably consider getting two birds for the new house. What do you think?” Jake asks, apparently thinking the same damn thing I am.

“Think we could do it on such short notice?” I ask him, smiling sweetly even though the taste of vengeance is potent on my tongue.

“I think so. Maybe an extra week at most. Could probably find a better place for them too, just to be safe.”

There’s a storm shelter behind Tyler’s old house that is still up for sale. I could put them both in there, and Jake could do something to keep any realtors from walking in on me while I’m busy killing two boys at once.

“I’m not as hungry as I thought I was, dearest,” Jake tells me when the waitress drops off our food.

“Me neither,” I say, stabbing my steak much harder than necessary.

Tyler and Lawrence never say anything else worth hearing again. Mostly I hear a few people around them taking bets on if I’m really a hooker or not.

Just as Tyler starts to leave, Lawrence stops him.

“Get a burner phone like I did. Anything else comes up, call me from that phone. No more personal phone calls. Got it?”

So he got a burner phone? How’d we miss that?

Tyler nods, and Jake and I exchange a look.

“If we find out who it is, we don’t need anything linking it back to us when we take matters into our own hands. Understood?” Lawrence asks.

“I’d love to see them fucking try,” Jake whispers.

My lips twitch. I’ve never been this excited to kill someone.

We let Tyler be gone for a while before we stand. As we walk past Lawrence’s table, his hand shoots up, grabbing my wrist. My stomach roils and my heart hammers in my chest as I fight all my instincts not to rip his throat out here and now.