Sugar Free Page 21

I don’t even know what to say to this, because sadly, I think he may be right. I never understood really why Beck maintained a relationship with them, although it was nothing more than a few get-togethers each year. But it wasn’t for me to judge and it still isn’t.

The one thing I do know without a doubt is that Caroline never looked upon Beck differently for choosing to give them a small sliver of his life.

“When we were at lunch today,” I say as I reach across the table and cover his hand with my own, “I was telling Caroline about how for the longest time I thought getting raped was my fault. That I brought it on myself.”

Beck nods and doesn’t attempt to disillusion me on that feeling. We’ve discussed this before…many times…and he knows those feelings, while complicated and misplaced, had credence in the past.

“Caroline had felt the same way,” I continue. “Not surprising. I think a lot of rape victims probably feel a level of culpability.”

He watches me carefully, understanding damn well that I have a point to all this.

So I make it clear. “I told Caroline it took me a very long time to come to grips with that, and do you know what she said?”

Beck shakes his head.

“She said it didn’t take her all that long to get past that,” I tell him, my eyes boring into his. “She said you wouldn’t let her. That you were her rock and savior. That you helped her find peace. So I guarantee you she doesn’t give a shit if you have a Christmas drink or a slice of birthday cake a few times a year at your parents’ house.”

He sighs long and loud, flips his hand over, and squeezes mine. “I know. You’re right.”

“Damn tootin’ I am,” I say with a smile, and then pull my hand away so I can eat.

Only getting hungrier here.

“I think we need to tell Caroline that JT is the one who raped her,” Beck says quietly, but his tone doesn’t diminish the force of the bomb he just threw at me.

“What?” I ask, stunned beyond any further words.

“She needs to know the truth. It’s going to hurt like hell, but it will give her closure. She’ll be able to stop the wondering who did it, and I know you understand that, Sela. You’re going to be left wondering about your other two attackers.”

And fuck if he isn’t right. It’s gnaws at me every day not knowing who committed those atrocities on me along with JT.

“Are you going to tell her that JT was her half brother?” I ask hesitantly, because that’s the twist to the twisted story that Caroline will be forced to hear from us.

He nods. “Yeah…and I know it’s a loathsome thought, but fuck if I can be wigged out by it. I see Ally and how good and smart and funny and kind she is, and there’s nothing of JT in her. She’s pure Caroline, and that is how I’m choosing to look at it.”

And damn…my heart. Right there that got me. It flutters with little happy wings of joy that I have someone as amazing as this man.

“I wish I had known you back when…well, you know,” I tell him with a sheepish smile. “Caroline’s such a lucky woman to have had you by her side.”

“You got through it just fine without me,” Beck says, and then picks up his utensils. “But you got me now and that’s what really matters, right?”

“Right!” I agree, and pick up my fork with mozzarella still speared on the end.

I bring it to my mouth but then stop again when Beck says, “There’s something else that’s been eating at me.”

I lower my fork and sigh wistfully at it. Beck snickers and says, “Eat your food and listen while I talk.”

“Okay,” I say, happily picking it back up again and placing the cheese in my mouth before I can be stopped again.

“The DNA’s bugging me,” he tells me while he works on cutting up his chicken.

I nod and speak around the food in my mouth. I know what he’s talking about because it’s caused me a little worry too. “You mean that if JT raped both Caroline and me, how come the DNA wasn’t matched up?”

“Yeah,” he says, deciding to dice the entire chicken breast before eating as he continues to throw his thoughts out to me. “It could be that JT lied to you. Told you he raped Caroline just to torture you a bit before he killed you, and I wouldn’t put it past that sadistic fuck to do that.”

“But you don’t think he lied,” I observe as I spear a piece of tomato.

He shrugs. “I honestly don’t know. The other plausible explanation is that something happened on the police side of things and the DNA didn’t get entered in correctly. I mean…no clue how that shit works, but people are fallible. Computers are fallible. Who knows?”

“And Dennis did mention that he didn’t see the documentation in the file about sending the DNA in to the database…whatever that was called,” I add.

“That’s right,” he agrees, and finally puts some food into his mouth. He chews, swallows, and then repeats as he contemplates what this all means.

Finally, he lowers his fork again and says, “I need to know, but I’m not sure how to go about doing it.”

“Just call the investigating officer in my case. Simple as that.”

“Maybe,” he says hesitantly. “But I’m a little worried about drawing attention to us right now. And we certainly can’t tell them why we’re questioning it. It’s just extra motive to pin on us. So, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right, but then again, it’s the easiest thing to do.”

“Have Dennis get involved?” I suggest.

And I can tell by the look on his face that he’s already considered this. “He’s on vacation, and I hate to bother him.”

“What the fuck ever, Beckett North,” I scoff at him. “Dennis is a friend and he’d jump all over this in a heartbeat.”

“And he’d ask us questions,” he points out, and now I understand his hesitancy. “I don’t want to drag him in any deeper.”

“Well, we don’t have to decide right this minute,” I tell him as I pick up my utensils again. “I say we finish dinner and relax the rest of the night. God knows we need a little downtime away from all of this worry and stress.”

“And we have whipped cream,” he says with a husky laugh.

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