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Eternal

Page 107

   


“What puzzles you?”
When he didn’t immediately start talking or hand over the evidence, she got a little pissy. She snagged the envelope.
He frowned, but she frowned right back.
“Della,” Holiday said as if to try to calm her.
Della rolled her eyes at the fae. “He’s going to show it to me sooner or later, right? Let’s just get it over with.”
Chapter Forty-five
They were photographs. Large eight-by-ten images. The first one was of Chase standing outside on his porch.
No incriminating evidence there.
Her hands shook slightly with fury at Burnett interfering with her life. She flipped to the next photo. Chase sitting on his porch with binoculars in his hands. Bird-watching. Oh, yeah, that made him a terrible person.
She moved to the next picture. Chase standing on his porch talking to someone. A man with his back to the camera, moving, so he was nothing more than a blur.
She flipped to the image behind that one. Her hands stopped shaking. Her heart stopped beating.
“I’m not sure what this means,” Burnett said. “Does Chase know your father?”
“I … I…” She couldn’t answer.
Della felt her chest grow heavy, and her sinuses stung, but not one tear dared to crawl up her nose and appear in her eyes. She was too busy studying the picture. Studying the man standing on Chase’s porch. Staring at the look in Chase’s eyes. He was angry.
Then she shifted her focus to the man. The same face as her father. The same height, but it wasn’t him. Her father didn’t have muscled arms; her father’s gut, though not fat, was just a little paunchy.
This wasn’t her father.
This was her uncle.
Emotion washed over her in waves of pain. Chase had lied. Had been lying to her from the start.
Anger.
Fury.
Betrayal.
And to think she’d worn her black bra. Had even considered taking off her black bra. She’d practically fallen …
No, she had not fallen. But, by God, he was going to fall. Hard. On his ass. And she was the one who was going to put him there.
“Are you okay?” Holiday asked.
“No,” she said. Why lie? Burnett would know. But she said it in a low, quiet voice. “Can I have this?” She held up the photo and tried her best to sound pleasant.
Burnett nodded. “You’re going to confront him?”
Or kill him. “I think that’s a good idea.” She stood.
“I don’t think so.” Holiday popped up and caught her arm. “You’re too angry.”
“She seems fine to me,” Burnett said. “Let her go and get her answers. She deserves to know what kind of game he’s playing. For all we know, her father wants Chase to find something bad to discredit the school.”
My father’s not doing anything. But Della didn’t say a word.
Holiday continued to hold her arm and glanced at her husband. “Ever heard the saying, ‘silence can be deadly’? Or ‘the calm before the storm’?”
“I won’t stay long,” Della said. “I need to talk to him.” And more.
“No,” Holiday said with vigor. “Go take a walk or a run and then come back here in a few minutes and we’ll reassess. When your emotions settle down, you can go talk to him.”
Della wanted to explain that she wasn’t going to calm down.
How could she? She’d been duped.
Played.
Nothing made her angrier than someone playing her for a fool.
And she’d been a fool all right.
“Give it ten minutes. Ten,” Holiday said.
Della nodded. She pulled her phone out and snapped a picture of the photograph.
“Don’t you leave until you come back to see me,” Holiday said.
“I won’t,” she said and meant to keep that promise. Not that it would be easy, all she wanted to do right now was find the Panty Perv and tell him exactly what she thought of him. But like it or not, Holiday was right. She had to plan what needed to be said, because she didn’t ever plan on laying eyes on him again.
Bonded my ass! How could he claim to be bonded to her, then do nothing but lie? The whole time, he’d lied. He knew about her uncle.
She suddenly felt sick. She walked out of the office and started toward her cabin, only to realize she didn’t want to talk to Kylie or Miranda right now.
Right before she turned off the trail to head out toward the woods, she heard someone call her name.
Derek.
“Later,” she said and started to take off.
“No!” Derek yelled out. “It’s important.”
She started to take off anyway, but words sounded in her head.
You need to hear this!
The cold surrounded her.
“Hear what? Why the hell should I listen to a word you say?” Della asked, speaking to a wall of nothing more than cold air. “Aren’t you the one who put Chase and me together to work this case? I could’ve saved Natasha on my own. I didn’t need him!”
She stopped and turned to face Derek, who she heard stop behind her.
“What did you say?” he asked.
“I wasn’t talking to you. But since you’re here … what is it?”
His mouth formed a tight line, concern filled his eyes. “I … shit, Della, I don’t know how to tell you this.”
“It’s easy. You open your mouth and words come out,” she said, her patience spent. “Try it.”