The Risk (Page 7)
LOGAN: Okay. You win. I can’t compete with that.
LOGAN: Do you always go to the coffee shop where I met you?
ME: Umm…that’s an abrupt shift in convo, but yes, I do. I moved here a little over a month ago, and that was the first decent cup I found.
LOGAN: Then I wish I had stopped there sooner than that day. I had some downtime two weeks earlier. We could have been doing this in person then.
ME: You don’t always go there?
LOGAN: That was my first time. Craig and I went to address some of the higher-ups about some security measures. We only stopped in that day because our regular spot was closed for renovations.
ME: Oh THAT’s Craig!
LOGAN: You seriously didn’t remember his name?
ME: I only retain the names of people I like or want to kill.
I cringe when I read that back, realizing that’s not a good joke—even though it’s true—to make to a FBI agent.
LOGAN: Hope I’m on the right list.
I blow out a breath, then smile at the morbid joke, now that I know he’s not taking it seriously.
ME: You are. Currently, you’re at the top of the right list. It’s been a while since I smiled like I do when we talk.
LOGAN: I should have kissed you.
My heart thumps in my chest as I read that back. Then I read it again. And again. And again.
Each time it causes my stomach to flutter, and I try to process all the weird reactions I have to him. He makes me feel and act like the person I never thought I could be again, and I barely know him. I’ve only seen him twice.
Yet, we don’t miss a day speaking. And it’s the highlight of my day.
Every single word.
ME: Yes. You should have. Then I could have been spared the awkward wave I gave.
LOGAN: But the REALLY awkward wave was cute.
ME: Ha. Funny guy. I see how it is. It’s been a while since I tried the dating scene.
Actually, it’s only been about seven months, but as always, the interest level died after about a month, because all the feelings I wanted to feel never emerged. There’d be a fraction of the spark I feel with Logan, and I’d try to force it, desperate to feel anything other than anger, hatred, rage…brokenness.
I thought I’d lost that ability. I thought they’d taken it somehow.
Then along came exactly what I had been searching for since before I started the kill list. The problem is the fact he’s sort of my opposite in the not so good way. Meaning, I kill people and he catches killers. And I can’t stop. I wish I hadn’t met him so early on in my list.
There are still many more names on my list. I still have to right so many wrongs. My phone chimes, and I look down, smiling before I can help myself.
LOGAN: Then I definitely should have kissed you.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world.
“We know from the previous five killings and the mutilations that sexual frustration and possible rejection were the main motives.” Even though I feel like there’s a shit-ton more to it. “Maybe the unsub feels inadequate, possibly from rejection or something even larger that has happened in the past. We need to find a link, and it starts in that town. Leonard and Elise have returned to Delaney Grove, searching for anyone who might speak. For now, the rest of us will remain here where the last killing happened. It’s the freshest crime scene,” I tell the group.
They grab their folders and files, and I head to my office, feeling too tired to think straight. For the past two weeks, I’ve either crashed in my office or driven home for a few hours of sleep.
Unlike most serial killers, this one isn’t escalating in time scale or risk factor. He’s not getting bolder, which means he’s staying smarter. Which sucks for us, because he’s not making any mistakes.
The trail is going to go cold. One more week, and there could be another body at our feet.
My phone dings, and I look down at the text, smiling when I see who it is. I have no idea why she bothers speaking to me, since all we’ve done is text or talk over the phone since the day I had to bail on her at the coffee shop.
LANA: You know, I always mocked the Netflix and Chill notion, but now I see the appeal.
ME: I don’t even own a TV.
LANA: What???? How????
ME: I keep meaning to buy one…
LANA: Agent Bennett, I’m sorry. This has to end now.
ME: At least call me by my first name if you’re ending things.
LANA: Agent Bennett sounds sexier.
That has me smirking.
ME: Oh? Handcuffs turn you on?
LANA: Restraint is a hell no. Not my thing. But I wouldn’t be opposed to using them on you… If we ever make it to that level, that is.
My cock stirs in my pants, and I mentally count the months since the last time I even had time to think about sex. By month five, I stop counting, because it’s just depressing. I’ll need a few dates with my hand before I try taking on Lana and embarrassing myself.
ME: Dinner tomorrow?
LANA: You can do dinner?
ME: No leads right now on my case, so I have some free time. It won’t be much free time, but it has to be better than texting all the time.
LANA: I’m not sure about the protocol in this situation.
My brow furrows as I read her last text.
ME: What protocol?
LANA: Am I allowed to say yes to a last minute dinner invite? Or is it frowned upon to seem readily available on such short notice? ?
That has me smiling and laughing to myself as I sit back and look at the clock. It’s after nine, but I really want to see her right now.
ME: It’ll be a lot of short notices from me, so I hope you’re the kind of girl who can be readily available… Hopefully that sounds better aloud.
LANA: It sounds… Yeah, no. It doesn’t sound good, but I get what you mean. Yes to dinner. ? I hope to leave with more than an awkward wave this time.
I fist pump the air, then look up to see a few curious eyes on me through my open office door. Feeling like a fourteen-year-old jackass, I message her again.
ME: I won’t walk away with just a wave this time. Who knows when I’ll see you again, or if you’ll continue to deal with my shitty schedule.
LANA: My schedule is pretty shitty too.
ME: Is it wrong that I’m tempted to ask where you live so I can subtly swing by tonight with the excuse I was in the neighborhood and thought I saw someone too close to your house?
LANA: Is it wrong that I hope you’ll break some rules, find my address, and do just that?
Groaning, I glance at the time, then at my computer screen. Deciding to totally abuse my privileges, I do look up her address. But that’s all I research. Grabbing my phone, I pull up my GPS, grab my ‘go bag’ from the office, and jog down to my car.
Since it’s wishful thinking and incredibly presumptuous to bring a bag, I toss it in the back, hoping she doesn’t notice it and realize I’m expecting a lot more than I should be. Obviously I’ll leave as soon as I get there if she wants me to, but I’m really hoping she doesn’t want me to leave.
Because Lana Myers has been in my head since the day I met her, and it’d be nice if someone noticed I was missing.
To know the secrets of life, we must first become aware of their existence.
I stare at my last text and the empty space below it, because he never messages back. Seriously, I suck at flirting.
Groaning, I get up, flicking a gaze over at the monitor on the wall. Tyler walks around in front of the camera in just his boxers, smirking as he texts someone. My secondary phone dings right on cue, and I look down and read the messages he’s sending to a girl named Denise.
TYLER: What’re you wearing? I’m thinking of you.
I roll my eyes, hoping Denise tells him to fuck himself. But she doesn’t.
It’s hard to watch them live their lives for a month. I have to watch them loving the freedom they stole from me. The freedom they stole from us.
Tyler is the first one who is married, and apparently having an affair. I’ve been saving him for closer to last, but right now, I can’t afford to go home and sprint through so many. And sprint is an accurate depiction of how that time will go, considering it’ll be too easy to get caught if I try to space it out as I do now.
Jake assured me the feds are investigating our hometown. It was only a matter of time before they linked the kills and made the connection. I’d hoped to have more time before they got on my trail, hence the reason I started the kills outside of town.
It’s not like they’ll link any of it to me, of course. Lana Myers doesn’t exist in that town. Never has.
Victoria Evans died ten years ago. I look nothing like her anymore. They made sure of that. My eyes flick to the small mirror on the wall beside me. Without any makeup, you can see a few faint scars.
I spent a lot of money to help make sure there were as few scars as possible. Victoria Evans was a poor girl from Delaney Grove, but Kennedy Carlyle was an heiress who died in a car accident the same night my death certificate was signed. She was so mangled and unrecognizable that Jake had no problem shifting the info around in the computers.
Kennedy might have died that night, but the stranger I never met saved my life.