I didn’t ask him to forgive mine though. I’d be more careful about mine, but I knew I’d keep doing it.

I couldn’t take back the years of what we’d already done. I couldn’t take any of it back.

Carter was right, I never should have brought her there.

“I remember the first time I met Angie. I thought she was a sweet girl although a little too loud when she was drunk. She was older than me, and didn’t want a damn thing to do with me other than to score drugs for a party. Which was fine, because the feeling was mutual.” I talk easily, like I’m only telling a story.

“Coke or pot for the weekend. Whatever the flavor of the week was, she wanted it. It was easy to sell it to her. With her long red hair and wild green eyes, she wasn’t my type, but I couldn’t deny she was kind and polite. She used to stand on her tiptoes to turn around after getting her stash, doing a little curtsy of thanks that would at least get a chuckle from me.

“You remember Angie, Seth?” I speak clear enough that both Seth and Hal can hear me. The basement room today feels hotter than ever. More suffocating than it’s ever been before.

“Of course.” Seth answers calmly as I roll up the sleeves to my shirt. I’m careful and meticulous, but even so, I know I’m on edge. I’m on the verge of losing it and I haven’t even touched the surface yet. He adds, “One of our first regulars,” when I don’t respond.

I made the mistake of watching the video Marcus sent me the second I got out of the park. I brought Hal here and waited. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t go home. I just waited until Seth said Hal was alert enough to go through with this.

Like always, he’s standing behind Mr. Hal, who’s in the interrogation chair. Although there’s no interrogation today.

There are no questions for him. No need for a shirt to smother his screams. I want to hear them. I want the memories of tonight to somehow mask the memories I have of Angie’s last day.

“You remember her?” I question Hal, feeling that crease deepen in the center of my forehead as I pick up the hammer. It’s an ordinary hammer.

The tool of choice is fitting. Angie’s dad worked as a carpenter. When he died, she went off the rails, that’s what she told me once when she was struggling with her sobriety. It was easier than dealing with reality and the party drugs she bought for weekends became necessary every day. And then a few times every day. And then harder drugs. Just so she didn’t have to think about her dead father.

So it made sense to me to choose a hammer.

“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” the man answers. Confidently, stubbornly, like somehow he’s got the upper hand here. Maybe he thinks I actually have questions, but I don’t. All I have for him is a story.

I watch the light shine off the flat iron head of the hammer as I walk closer to him. There are no cuts on his wrists from trying to escape, nothing that shows any fear. And that’s fine by me. I don’t want him scared, I want him in pain. In fucking agony the way Angie was.

In the same agony Bethany’s stuck in. The thought strikes me hard, and I hate it. I want it to go away. More than anything, I want her pain to stop.

My arm whips in front of me, the metal crashing against the man’s jaw and morphing his scream into a cry of agony in a single blow.

The left side of his jaw hangs a little lower and the man fights against his restraints as he screams from the impact.

Glancing at the splatter of blood across my dress shirt, a huff of a breath leaves me, trying to calm the rage, trying to calm the need to not stop.

But Bethany’s pain never stops. It never fucking ends.

“Marcus showed me a video. Only one. You knew her,” I say and shrug, like it’s not a big deal. Like he wasn’t forcing himself down her throat while she was high and crying on a dirty floor.

“You knew her better than me,” I comment. Thinking back to who she was before it all went downhill and trying to get the loathsome video out of my mind. If I could bleach it away, I would.

“She came in a lot, but only to get what she needed,” Seth speaks from behind the fucker. He’s reading me, his eyes never leaving me as I pace in front of the chair, waiting for Hal to stop his bitching and moaning.

“I want him to hear this,” I tell Seth, raising my voice just enough for him to know not to console me like he’s trying to do. I don’t need that shit. I don’t need to be told I couldn’t have helped her or I couldn’t have stopped it. I could have. I know I could have if I wasn’t so fucking high on power and young and stupid. It’s more controlled now. But back then, there was no protocol, and we sold to anyone and as much as they wanted.

W. Winters Books | Romance Books | Irresistible Attraction Series Books
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