Home > Deception (Infidelity #3)(5)

Deception (Infidelity #3)(5)
Aleatha Romig

FUCK!

I pulled my phone from my pocket as the apartment door closed. After two pushes and one ring, Jerrod answered.

“I want to know where you take her.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Keep both me and Deloris informed. I want round-the-clock surveillance.”

“Yes, sir. You’ll be constantly informed. She won’t make a move that you don’t know about.”

Damn, that sounded wrong. I wasn’t trying to suffocate Charli. That was her word. I was assuring her safety. Why couldn’t she see that?

“Safety. That’s my number-one objective.”

“Yes, sir,” Jerrod replied.

I disconnected the call and looked back at Deloris. She was sitting on the sofa hammering out a text message. Briefly her eyes met mine and then with a slight shake of her head, her attention was drawn back to the screen of her phone. My teeth ached with the pressure as I held my jaws together—tighter and tighter. If I didn’t find another outlet, surely my teeth would shatter.

As soon as she hit send, Deloris sighed and looked up.

I waited.

The silence continued.

Finally, I spoke. “Tell me how in the fuck someone broke in here.”

Her head moved from side to side. “I can’t.”

What the hell kind of answer was that?

Then, as if delayed, her words hit hard, drying my mouth and weakening my knees as I fell to the sofa. A swoosh escaped my lips as if I’d truly been struck, the impact causing the air to exit my lungs. Her words were the same ones I’d given Charli.

“I can’t,” I said again, confessing my rare inability.

“No, I can’t,” she said, misinterpreting my statement as a question for her. “It doesn’t make sense. You know my security is top-notch. I don’t believe Edward Spencer or anyone connected with the Montagues was responsible for this note. They never would’ve been able to trick the system.”

I stared in disbelief. That wasn’t what I’d meant by I can’t. I’d meant that I couldn’t tell Charli the truth about Jo. Not yet. I hadn’t verbalized it since it happened, not in a concise statement, nor in a long, breathy rambling statement. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t even looked at the online reports. I didn’t think I could say it aloud.

Though Jo’s death was almost five years ago, if I closed my eyes it seemed like yesterday. It seemed like today. Adrenaline flooded my system as perspiration moistened my palms. I didn’t want to think about it. The anger. The blood. But it was there, in the forefront of my mind.

It had been the day that wouldn’t end. Maybe it hadn’t. Maybe it was still today.

It was like that movie Groundhog Day. I couldn’t think of a worse hell.

“Lennox, I’ll get to the bottom of this.”

I nodded, unsure if the awful images in my mind would come bubbling out if I spoke.

“You read the accusations?” she asked.

I nodded again. The list came together in my mind: murder, abuse, hiding evidence, coercion of a judge, illegal activities including prostitution. Then it hit me. “The letter blamed me for Melissa Summer’s disappearance. Who would have any knowledge of that? And prostitution? That has to be referring to Infidelity.” I thought some more. “The writer called Charli Alexandria. It seems as though only her family uses that name for her.”

Deloris looked my way, her shoulders stiff as she contemplated. “It’s her name. Anyone who knows the Montagues of Savannah would refer to her that way. That isn’t enough for me to immediately jump to her family. I believe that’s the direction the writer wanted us to look. It’s the direction the person assumed would have the most impact on Alex.”

I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. “I shouldn’t have let her go.”

Both Deloris’s and my phone buzzed.

Text message.

Jerrod: “I JUST DROPPED MISS COLLINS AT 1214 FIFTH AVENUE. SHE SAID SHE WOULD SPEND THE NIGHT.”

“That’s Patrick’s building,” I volunteered. “At least she isn’t alone.”

Deloris nodded as she replied to the text message. When she was done, she said, “I’m glad she didn’t go to the apartment.”

“Get the surveillance set up there tomorrow. I want it complete. If she decides to move there, I need to know she’s safe.”

Unable to take the pressure anymore, I stood with an exasperated breath. “Fuck. This isn’t the way tonight was supposed to go.” I ran my palms over my stubbly cheeks. I should be balls deep in Charli right now, not sitting here with Deloris trying to put together pieces of a puzzle that didn’t fit.

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