“Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life.”
I simply wanted to close my eyes. We had spent all damn day at that goddamned park, and now we had to spend the evening smiling for more political cameras. But that wasn’t even the least of my problems. I wasn’t sure what was coming, but I knew it was coming straight from hell.
I didn’t want to deal with this. I didn’t want spend my days and nights trying to uncover the mystery of Mel’s mother. I didn’t want this photo I held in my hands to be real, because now I would have to tell my wife why I’d been hiding the truth from her. She had searched for answers only to come up empty handed. This was another thing that I’d have to apologize for; I had Declan delete everything he’d found so that she couldn’t get her hands on it. She thought she was working with him, but instead, he was doing everything he could to hide information from her.
She’s going to fucking kill me. I sighed.
Eventually, she came to the conclusion that Vance had been lying to her. Sadly, he wasn’t. I hated when liars started telling the truth; it was bad for business. Mel’s mother was alive, very much so, in fact. We’d discovered that she was in the South of France right before she entered the US.
“So, I have to tell her,” I said, as I pinched the bridge of my nose. The question was how. She was going to kill my sorry ass.
“Remind her that I was simply following orders. I’d prefer not to die tonight,” Declan said as he frowned and adjusted his tie for this night’s gala.
“Even that won’t save you.” Not that I let him around Melody alone anyway. She could take him, and he wouldn’t try anything, but I enjoyed threatening him whenever he came too close to my wife. The only feelings he should have had for her were fear and respect.
We both stood silently in the security room. This was the calm before the storm, the break before the final wave.
“Have Anna meet me at the gala,” I told him walking out of the room and into the study.
Fixing my cufflinks as I walked, I made sure to nod at the help as I walked past. Rule Thirty-Three: Respect the help, they know more than they let on.
None of them would say anything, but it was still a rule to live by. Entering the living room, I found my beautiful wife, her dark hair in perfectly curled waves, and brown eyes glued to the letter she finished up writing before handing it to Fedel, who stood in the corner of the room, almost as her shadow.
The rest of the family sat around the television like figures waiting to be painted. The only ones who looked out of place were Olivia’s parents, and our new political strategist, Mina Sung. She and the Senator remained standing, as if they were afraid our furniture would eat them alive, while Mrs. Colemen sat by her daughter and squeezed her hand.
Why were they so worried? We would win by a landslide.
Melody nodded to Fedel as she rose gracefully from her chair and moved over to me. Declan, with his shady brown hair brushed, and black suit pressed, entered and made his way to Cora. He kissed her brown cheek before leaning on the arm of the couch beside her.
My eyes focused on Melody and the way her sliver dress clung to every inch of her body. Her olive skin begged for me to kiss it, and I longed to slowly peel her dress off of her…before she cut off my hands.
“You look beyond the realm of beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she said. “Now, what are you hiding from me, Liam? You’ve been acting odd for weeks. I’ve done the wife thing and I’ve given you time, but you’re starting to piss me off,” she finished fixing the bracelets on her arm.
“What do you think I’m hiding, wife?”
“Now you’re avoiding my question.” She frowned as she looked me over. Then she reached out and adjusted my bowtie. She was either going to try to strangle me with it, or she was simply annoyed at how I had tied it…it was more likely the former.
“Whatever you think I’m hiding, you’re wrong.”
“But you are hiding something.”
Lucky for me, my mother turned up the volume on the screen.
“There you have it, America! It is official. Senator Daniel Colemen is this year’s Republican Candidate and our contender for future president. As the primary favorite, this news shouldn’t come to as a surprise to anyone. Tonight, he will be giving his victory speech at a Charity Gala hosted by the Callahans. His only child, Olivia-Ann, married Neal Callahan five years ago. Tonight, they celebrate, tomorrow, he has his work cut for him if he wants to defeat current president, Franklin Monroe.”