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“Well yeah…Beck knew those things about JT,” I admit, but I feel like this is a slippery slope. “But it was business, you know.”

“But Beck wanted JT out of the business, didn’t he?”

Christ. Definitely a slippery slope.

“Yes,” I have to say truthfully, because clearly this cop knows this for sure. “They had discussions.”

“More like arguments, right?”

“I guess,” I hedge. “Beck doesn’t really get into a lot of details about that stuff with me.”

And shit, shit, shit. That just made me sound so guilty because it was completely evasive.

I can feel a bead of sweat trickle down my spine. I wait for him to drop the next hammer on me.

But instead, he picks up his cup of coffee and stands. “Well, I don’t want to take any more of your time. I think I’ve got what I need here.”

Not sure if that’s good or bad, but I smile at him politely. “Glad to help.”

He nods his head and gives me a wink. “Have a nice day, Miss Halstead.”

“You too,” I murmur, and watch as he walks out of the coffee shop, and I have to physically restrain myself not to run out after him.

Call out, Wait, Detective. I did it. I killed JT.

I want to do that because it’s patently clear to me that they’re focused on Beck, and I can’t bear the thought of him taking the blame on my behalf. I can’t even think about the possibility of arrest.

But then I have to remember Caroline’s words that I needed to trust in Beck that we were doing the right thing. I had to remember Beck’s confidence and determination that we were doing the right thing that was best for both of us at this moment.

I force myself to try to calm down. I take deep breaths, hoping to get my heart rate back under control. I tell myself over and over again that this will all work out for the best.

The church is overflowing with people, which doesn’t surprise me given the large circle of people that JT knew. What does surprise me is that his parents are having his funeral service in a church. They must have given a hefty donation to the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Sausalito to have the funeral here, because JT and his parents weren’t Methodist. They weren’t churchgoers at all. I expect they chose to have his funeral in the house of God because that would be expected by polite society, and after all, news of JT’s death was in all the papers. There’s no way Candace and Colin Townsend would want to be caught with pictures in the society page of JT’s service being held in something as common as a funeral parlor.

Sela and I were surprised when Caroline showed up at the condo this morning, dressed in a long-sleeved black dress with black high-heeled boots. I took one look at her when I opened the door and said, “You didn’t have to come.”

She gave me a light, backhand slap to my stomach and I gave an equally fake doubled-over ooph, and she breezed by me into the condo. “I didn’t come for you. I came to see Sela.”

I laughed because I know my sister. She came for both of us.

We made a unanimous decision to leave for the funeral a bit late to put us there with no time to spare for socializing once we arrived.

The church is overflowing with cars and we have to park in a public lot a few blocks down. Caroline insisted on following us in her car because she was going to head straight back to Healdsburg after the service. By the time we walk up to the chapel, it’s only a few minutes before the service starts and I’m surprised when we’re met at the chapel doors by my father looking upset.

Because Sela and I walked in together holding hands, and Caroline followed behind us, my father’s eyes come first to me, then Sela, then back to me without even noticing Caroline.

“You’re late,” my father says by way of greeting. “I was afraid you weren’t going to come.”

“Why in the hell would you think I wouldn’t come?” I ask, affronted that he gives me so little credit.

“We’ll talk about it later,” he says dismissively. “After the service. But your mother and I saved you a seat up front.”

He then has the grace to look at Sela, and I’m surprised he remembers her name. “Hello, Sela. It’s good to see you again.”

“Hello, Mr. North,” she says with polite reserve. Like me, she’s written my parents off and isn’t going to spare them much more than common decency.

“Well, come on, you two,” my father says impatiently, and I’m surprised his invitation includes Sela. My mother would certainly have a cow if she knew her husband was fraternizing with the riffraff.

“Actually, we’re going to sit back here with Caroline,” I say to my father, and he blinks in surprise, then his eyes immediately cut over my shoulder to see his daughter standing there. He hasn’t seen her in almost five years…not since the rape.

He appears confused for a moment and I think he might even be compelled to say something to her, but then an organ plays a sad melody indicating that the service is starting and his mouth clamps shut. He merely nods at me and says, “We’ll talk after the burial.”

I nod back, wishing this day would just hurry up and get the fuck over. Why the hell you have to have a service and then a separate get-together at the gravesite is beyond me. Why can’t it all just be done there at once?

To say I’m a little on edge since the meeting with the detectives yesterday is an understatement. I came out of the police station with Doug on my heels feeling relatively okay about matters. Sure, they asked tough questions but nothing that would be beyond circumstantial evidence that I’d killed JT.

Of course, my bubble was deflated a bit as we walked to the coffeehouse and I pointed that out to Doug. He said, “Mr. North, most murders are proven based only on circumstantial evidence. There’s hardly ever anything in the way of direct evidence unless there’s a witness who observed what happened.”

That put me in a pissy mood, but when we walked into the coffeehouse and I saw the look on Sela’s face, my mood got darker without even knowing what was causing it.

I went berserk when she informed Doug and me about the surprise interview from Detective DeLatemer, but Doug managed to calm us down and told us not to worry. He seemed confident that neither one of us said anything that was incriminating and that we just needed to remain calm.

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