Page 27 of Jed Had to Die

“You smell like outside,” I mumble under my breath.

Great, so the speechless part has decided to fuck me over, and oh, hey! Hello there, stupidity!

One corner of his mouth tips up but thankfully, he doesn’t say anything about my moronic comment. With the way he’s got me all jumbled up in the head right now, there’s no telling what would have happened if he said something cocky. I did just kill a man, after all. Leo should probably fear me.

“I got in here by turning the handle and opening the front door,” he informs me, answering my previous question. “The owner of this house was just murdered in the backyard. You and Emma Jo should probably keep the doors locked.”

He’s still giving me that cocky little smirk, and I start wondering if he’s doing it because he knows it annoys me, or as some sort of inside joke between us because he knows we murdered Jed and he’s all Ha ha, get it? It’s funny because the murders are actually IN the house! Then I start thinking Leo should get some new material because he’s not funny AT ALL, and then what he said finally sinks in.

Seriously, why does he have to be so hot and smell so good? My brain has the dumb and it’s all his fault.

“M-murdered? You s-said murdered,” I stutter. “So, it definitely wasn’t a heart-attack?”

Leo sighs and leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees and stares down at his hands clasped between them.

“I can’t say much because there needs to be an official investigation now, but yes. Jed Jackson was definitely murdered,” Leo confirms, lowering his voice and glancing toward the stairs that lead up to the bedrooms.

“She’s asleep. She passed out a few hours ago. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure after the day she’s had, not even a dump truck crashing through the front door would wake her,” I reassure him, knowing immediately that he’s concerned about Emma Jo overhearing what he said.

Leo nods and since he’s still busy looking down at his hands, I can stare at his profile as much as I want without it being creepy or him making some stupid comment about picturing him naked. Which, I mean, I am, but it’s not like he needs to know that. I realize as I sit here looking at him just how hard all of this must be on him as well, and I feel a tiny bit guilty about how many times I called him a jerk and also for that song I made up when I took another shower after Emma Jo went to bed.

It was to the tune of Wind Beneath My Wings and went a little something like, “Did you ever know that you’re a jeeeee-eeeerk? You’re everything I wish I could punch…” It was a lovely little ditty with stellar lyrics, but now I think I’ll keep it to myself instead of serenading him.

Sitting this close to Leo and studying his face, I immediately see how exhausted he is. His short hair is all messed up on top of his head and I can picture him running his hands through it in frustration and worry. Not only did someone in the town Leo has sworn to protect die, and that someone was the mayor, he was murdered. Something like that has never happened in Bald Knob as far as I know. On top of dealing with the murder of one of his citizens, Leo also has Emma Jo to worry about, as well as figuring out how to break it to this town that their leader was killed and that killer is still out there somewhere.

Or, you know, sitting right next to him.

“You’ve had a long day too, huh?” I ask softly, turning away from the window to sit facing him, crisscrossing my legs in front of me.

I decide to suck it up, stop feeling sorry for myself, and play nice. If anything, this is the guy who could potentially keep me from being Big Bertha’s bitch in the clink and fighting for packs of smokes in the yard. I’m not a fighter, or a smoker, so it really wouldn’t end well for me.

“You have no idea…” Leo trails off, finally lifting his head up to gaze at me.

His blue eyes stare right into mine, and even though they look tired and like they’ve seen way too much for one day, they’re still mesmerizing and I have a hard time looking away.

“How about you? How are you doing?” he asks gently, his voice filled with the honesty of his worry as he cocks his head to the side waiting for my answer.

Just like that, the spell is broken and I forget all about what kind of stress he’s under because he drives me insane and something about him triggers the part of my brain that does all my rational thinking for me and renders it useless.

“Oh, so NOW want to know how I’m doing? You spent all day ignoring me and never once showed any kind of concern for my wellbeing, but by all means, go ahead and act like you care now, when the most traumatic day of my life is almost over,” I tell him with a roll of my eyes as I push up from the couch to get away from him.

He doesn’t say a word, just sits there and watches me pace back and forth when I get to the other side of the room where I can’t smell him or get another urge to lick his arm.

“I’ve never seen a dead body before, but I’ve especially never seen the dead body of someone I know, who was married to my best friend. But don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m totally fine!” I shout through my manic pacing. “I left my life and my business and everything I know and love to fly back home for the first time in twelve years to find out my best friend has been getting the shit kicked out of her since I left. But it’s okay, I’m fine!”

I don’t glance over at Leo while I rant because I know if I take one look at him my brain will shut down and my ovaries will take over, so I keep right on walking in a circle and bitching out loud.