Sugar Free Page 11

“What’s wrong?” I ask her as I sit on the middle cushion right beside her. I angle my body to face her, throwing an arm over the back of the couch.

I expect her to hit me up with another plea to let her confess to the cops, because I know she’s questioning our course of action. But I’m not about to let that happen, because I don’t doubt it. Sela’s story would be too improbable and I know the Townsends would put their weight and money behind the investigation so as to not have their son’s reputation tarnished. I also know that motive is paramount and she had the ultimate reason to kill him. I just can’t risk that the police would be open-minded enough to entertain a self-defense claim, when Sela went to JT’s home with a weapon.

Bracing myself against her plea, I’m stunned into momentary inaction when she says, “I didn’t tell you everything that happened before I killed JT.”

My mind races as I flit through the details she’d given me, but most of that involved her physical actions so that I could be sure I cleaned up everything. But past that, the story that led up to her killing JT is actually sparse. I don’t put that on Sela’s doorstep though, as I was rushing her into the shower so I could in turn rush to JT’s house and take care of business.

Then the cops showed up.

Then we went to the Townsends’.

Then we fucked hard and went to sleep.

“What happened?” I ask encouragingly, although I know deep in my gut that what she’s getting ready to tell me could be a game changer. I have to force myself to look at her with open acceptance of whatever may come out of her mouth.

She doesn’t pull any punches. “JT knew you were his brother.”

A zing of adrenaline courses through me, but immediately recedes. It’s an interesting fact, and one that surprises me, but I’m not sure that it’s harmful or helpful to us at this point.

“The reason he called me over there…his plan was to get you to let him stay in the Sugar Bowl…was that he was going to renounce his right to a part of your father’s inheritance.”

“How the fuck could he do that if he’s not even in the will?” I ask astonished. At least I don’t think he’s in the will. My father said JT doesn’t know about his paternity, so I just assumed…

Sela shrugs. “He said his mother told him years ago. Said she wanted him to know so that he could claim what was rightfully his.”

I consider the truthfulness of what JT told Sela in those moments before he died. I can accept his mom would tell him the truth, because she’s a born gold digger. It’s why she married Colin and I could see her wanting to make sure JT wasn’t denied anything. But for him to use those words with Sela…

Renounce his rights?

It doesn’t make sense. Just because he’s a biological child of my father doesn’t mean he’d inherit anything. Not if there’s a will in place. That I know for a fact, and I also know without a doubt my father has a will. Not that I’ve seen it, but he’s a financial advisor and guru. He knows the importance of estate planning. Fuck, he oversees estate planning for his clients.

He has a will, I’m sure of it.

“You think your father was lying to you, don’t you?” Sela asks astutely.

“If JT used those exact words, then yeah…sounds like he knows there’s a will and that he’s in it.”

“Which means your dad lied when he said he hadn’t told JT,” Sela concludes.

“Probably,” I mutter as I press my fingers to the bridge of my nose. I mean, it’s possible my dad put JT in the will but didn’t tell him. Figured it would be a surprise after he died and he wouldn’t be here to deal with the negative fallout that such a bomb would cause.

Christ…I was going to have to pay my dad a visit and ask him. I think about how devastated he looked last night at the Townsends’ and I wonder if he was feeling guilt removing himself from the situation with JT. The Townsends and my parents had no clue last night of the potential Vegas connection to JT, because at the time the cops had informed them of his death, they weren’t aware of that connection. But still…my dad knew JT was in trouble because I told him to stay out of it without giving him any details.

“That’s not the worst of what I have to tell you,” Sela whispers, and my eyes fly up to her.

She looks positively green in the face and tears swim in her eyes. She’s cried so fucking much the last twenty-four hours and I can’t stand it.

My hand automatically reaches out to her, but she holds her own up, palm out. “Just listen to me. What I’m getting ready to tell you is really bad, and I’m sorry for the hurt I’m getting ready to cause, but you need to know everything.”

Fuck me.

Paranoia unreasonably takes hold of me.

She’s getting ready to tell me it wasn’t self-defense. That she carried out her murderous plot as originally intended. Drove to JT’s house with the intent to remove him from both of our lives permanently, and somehow…not sure how…but she didn’t use her gun. For some reason, the letter opener was the better deal. Maybe she was going to shoot him and there was a struggle. That totally explains the bruises then.

So it was self-defense. I can see the fucking bruises right now from where I’m sitting. She was protecting herself and that’s that.

So maybe something else happened.

Is it possible that JT did something else to her?

Raped her?

“It’s about Caroline,” Sela says, and I step backward from her in surprise, my momentary paranoia completely forgotten.


“JT told me something about Caroline, and I couldn’t say anything when Caroline was here. In fact, I had no intention of telling her or you this ever, especially not her. But I think you need to know. It’s eating at me and I think it’s because you need to know. I can’t keep the truth from you.”

Acid roils within my stomach and a feeling of dread starts at the base of my spine and crawls its way up until my hair is standing on end.

“Tell me,” I whisper, my throat raspy from the effort to keep down the backwash of bile.

Sela’s fingers twist in her lap, a sure sign she’s nervous, but to give her credit, she never loses eye contact with me. “When JT had me on the desk and was choking me, he told me there was one last thing I needed to know before I died.”

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