“Again,” David interrupts. “We don’t have any proof the man in the journal is Mark Compton.”
Grant doesn’t look at him. “Did you read the scene, Ms. McMillan?”
My throat thickens and I nod, fearing a squeaked out reply will show some kind of guilt during this witch hunt.
“Is that why you went to look for her?” he presses. “Because you were afraid for her?”
“We didn’t come here to discuss Mr. Compton,” David interjects.
“We need to know what Ms. McMillan’s motivations were so we know she’s rock solid in front of a jury. If she looks bad, the defendant looks good.”
“It wasn’t about the journal entries,” I offer honestly. “I hate the idea of people losing their belongings to an auction, which is why I didn’t get involved in auction-hunting when Ella did.”
He pulls one of the journals from the accordion file and holds it up. “You know this journal, I assume?”
I nod. “That’s her work journal.”
“Did you read this note she wrote?” He opens it to a page and flips it around, showing me a passage highlighted with a pointed sticky note.
I read the familiar passage out loud. “Riptide auction piece. Legit? Find Expert.” I glance up at him. “I brought this note to the attention of the private eye we hired to help find Rebecca. I was concerned that it might have somehow led to her disappearance. That’s how Mary and Ricco’s actions were discovered.”
“The private eye would be who?” Detective Miller queries.
“Blake Walker of Walker Security,” David supplies. “Which you know since you questioned him.”
“Simply making sure there wasn’t another private eye,” Detective Miller states, the tension between her and David palpable.
Detective Grant stays focused on me. “Were you concerned they might have killed Rebecca?”
“In my interactions with Ricco, it was clear that he was in love with Rebecca. I didn’t believe he would hurt her.”
“And Mary?” he presses.
“She was prickly with me, and my understanding is that’s how she treated Rebecca.”
Grant arches a brow. “Why was that?”
“We both worked with Mark on Riptide auction items, and he trusted us over her.”
“Did you ever sleep with Mr. Compton or engage in any form of sexual activity?”
“Asked and answered,” David says sharply.
Despite his objection, I say, “Never.”
Detective Miller shifts in her chair. “You seem to rule out Ricco as having anything to do with Rebecca’s disappearance. What about Mary?”
“She’s mean-spirited,” I say, “but Mary knew Ricco cared about Rebecca. He was vocal about it to everyone. And in my opinion, Mary’s more of a revenge kind of person. She’d want to hurt Rebecca and Mark—not kill either of them.”
Detective Grant moves the journal in front of Chris. “She marked out your name and her notes about you. Why?”
My heart starts racing. Do they know Chris fought with Mark over Rebecca? How would they know? Would Mark have told them?
“I don’t begin to assume I know why another person does anything,” Chris answers, in full avoidance mode.
The journal is scooted back in front of me. “Any idea why she marked out Mr. Merit’s name?”
Where is this going? Are they accusing Chris of something? “I saw no notes that indicated why in anything I read.” Somehow my voice is steady, though my knees aren’t.
David slaps his hands on the table. “And on that note, I’m going to ask my clients to leave so I can talk with you alone.” He pushes to his feet. “This interview is over.”
• • •
“I’m scared, Chris,” I say as we exit the police station into the parking lot, still reeling from the interrogation.
He stops walking and faces me, his hands settling solidly on my arms. “That wasn’t about you, baby. They’re using you for information. Think about them like you do Mark. Don’t let them intimidate you.”
“Mark can’t put me in jail.”
“They can’t, either,” he assures me. “You have an alibi.”
“But they implied that Rebecca came back and left again. They made it sound like I killed her to keep my job.”
“Blake would have seen another travel date. It’s all a head game. I’m confident you’re in the clear.” He scrubs a hand through his hair. “And I’m hoping like hell I was in Paris the day Rebecca returned. I never checked the date. I didn’t have a reason to until now.”
I blanch. “Do you think they’re going after you?”
“No. I think they’re going after Mark. And they’ll use any intimidation method they can to put the knife in our hands if we let them.”
“They do seem to think he’s involved in her disappearance, don’t they?”
“Yes. They do.”
“Do you?” While I know in my heart that Mark’s innocent, I find myself holding my breath.
He will never belong to me as I do to him. I will never control him as he does me. I play by his rules and I never know how they will change, or what or who will be part of the new game each of our encounters becomes.
Rather than answer my question, Chris ushers me into the 911, where he shuts us inside. He sits with his wrists on the steering wheel, staring forward, tension rippling off of him. I hold my breath, still waiting on the answer to my question.