Sugar Free Page 12

Oh fuck…no, no, no. No fucking way.

I push up off the couch, crack my knee on the coffee table but ignore the pain. I turn away from Sela, afraid to look at her. Afraid to hear what she’s going to say.

“He’s the one that raped Caroline,” she murmurs, the anguish clear in her voice.

For one brief, glorious moment, everything sort of goes white on me. I don’t feel, hear, or see a thing. One tiny blessed moment of peace, where I know deep down it’s my sanity refusing to acknowledge what she’s just told me.

Then everything turns red and lavalike rage sizzles within my veins.

“Motherfucker!” I scream so loud I feel my vocal chords shredding. I bend down, put my hands under the heavy coffee table, and heave it up and over where it crashes loudly against the hardwood floor. “Jesus fucking Christ…just no!”

I wheel on Sela, my hands curled into fists and demand, “Tell me that’s a fucking lie.”

She doesn’t respond but just looks at me with sympathy. She doesn’t need to defend her statement. I can see the truth in her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Beck,” is all she says.

I spin back away from her, sidestep the overturned table, and stalk across the living room to the windows. Crossing my arms over my chest, I stare bleakly out over the darkened waters of the bay and let the weight of this revelation start to drown me.

JT raped my sister.

Drugged her—most likely at the Christmas party—then ambushed her.

And then that fucker smiled at me the next time I saw him, probably laughing inside over that little tidbit of information.

And Jesus…JT is Ally’s father.

Sela’s arms wrap around me from behind, her body warm as she presses into my back and squeezes me in comfort. “I’m so sorry, baby. So damn sorry.”

I drop my arms and place them over hers, locking my hands on to her to hold her in place. I hold her tightly as she holds me in sympathy and regret for all the things that are killing me right this moment.

I thought I hated JT before…when I knew what he did to Sela.

But now…I didn’t know such an ugly emotion could exist inside of a human. I don’t know how I’ll survive this feeling, which seems to be clawing its way deeper into me. My hot rage turns into a dark form of acceptance of this truth, but it feels like oily sludge coating and dampening my soul.

I struggle against it.

“Tell me again about how you killed JT,” I murmur as I look out the windows. “Tell me exactly what it was like when you plunged that thing into his neck.”

“Beck,” Sela whispers in admonishment that I’d even let my thoughts go there.

Black, bubbling, putrid, roiling hatred for JT.

“Tell me,” I urge her. “Do you think he was in pain? Do you think he was afraid when he realized he was dying?”

She’s silent for a moment but then she tells me what I need to hear, even if it’s not true. “Yes. He was terrified at the end.”

My lips curl upward and the oily darkness rumbles inside of me, pleased to be reliving the vengeance Sela delivered.

“Good,” I whisper in relief. “That’s real good. Now tell me more.”

My gut was telling me that Beck needed to know the truth about Caroline and JT. I was sure it was the right thing to do. But his reaction…the bleak despair mixed with helpless rage made me instantly regret my decision. It’s the worst feeling to cause pain to someone you care about, but there’s nothing I can do to take it back.

When Caroline was raped, Beck stepped up to the plate and took control. He was able to use his love and strength to help her get through it. While it could never remove the pain that event caused, Beck’s ability to support his sister also provided an amount of inherent healing for himself.

But now that he knows it was JT who did it?

He has no way to purge the feelings or make things better in his mind. The most I could offer him was the security of my arms around him and a retelling of the grisly way in which I murdered his sister’s rapist. It was a momentary balm to him, but it just wasn’t good enough.

Beck left the apartment soon after, forgoing a shower and throwing on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a sweatshirt, saying he had things to do.

I didn’t like the sound of that so I asked, “What kinds of things?”

He was distracted as he shoved his wallet into a back pocket and headed toward the foyer for his keys. He didn’t answer me.

“Beck,” I said firmly as I followed him. “Are you okay?”

He stopped in his tracks and wheeled on me, and the misery in his eyes was almost too much for me to bear. “No, I’m not okay. But I’ve got to get rid of that letter opener and the bloody clothes.”

There was no opportunity to do it last night once he saw the police at JT’s house and realized they could be showing up at his place at any moment to tell him about JT. The items were in the trunk of his Audi, and the thought of the police showing up with a search warrant makes me tremble with fear. There was no chance of that happening last night, of course, because his body had just been found, and even I know that a warrant would never come that quickly. They’d have to have a solid suspect, and last night, they did not.

But today?

Well, we don’t know what to expect, so we have to get rid of the incriminating stuff.

“I’ll come with you,” I told him with a smile, because I did not like the way he was behaving. I threw him for a terrible loop with my revelation of JT and Caroline, and his frame of mind was fragile at best. Besides, that was my murder evidence and I should be taking responsibility for it.

“No,” he told me, and turned away, grabbing his keys from the foyer table. “I don’t want you anywhere near this shit. If I were to get stopped before I can ditch it—”

“You’d go down for a murder you didn’t commit,” I pointed out reasonably.

“Better me than you,” he retorted as he looked over his shoulder at me briefly before reaching for the front door.

“The difference is,” I said softly, and it stopped him cold. “I committed the murder and you didn’t.”

Beck’s shoulders sagged a bit and he huffed out a pained breath. “Stop calling it murder. It was self-defense.”

He turned to me, shoving his key into his front pocket and taking me by the shoulders. It was a tender move when he bent toward me and touched his nose alongside mine. “You’ve been through enough, Sela. Since you were sixteen years old, you’ve been through too much shit. Now let me handle this, okay?”

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