Gone for Good Page 55

Katy turned and looked at me.

“I was taking a walk,” I said quickly.

Pistillo paced, pressing his advantage. “Uh-huh, sure, okay, so let’s see if we got this straight. Your brother is having sex with the girl you still loved. You happen to be taking a walk by her house that night. She ends up dead. We find your brother’s blood at the scene. And you, Will, know that your brother didn’t do it.”

He stopped and gave me the grin again. “So if you were the investigating officer, who would you suspect?”

A large stone was crushing my chest. I could not speak.

“If you’re suggesting . . .”

“I’m suggesting you go home,” Pistillo said. “That’s all. Go home, both of you, and stay the hell out of this.”


Pistillo offered to find Katy a ride home. She declined and said that she would stay with me. He didn’t like that, but what could he do?

We drove back to the apartment in silence. Once inside, I showed her my impressive collection of take-out menus. She ordered Chinese. I ran downstairs and picked it up. We spread the white boxes out on the table. I sat in my usual seat. Katy sat in Sheila’s. I flashed back to Chinese with Sheila—her hair tied back, fresh out of the shower and smelling sweet, in that terry-cloth robe, the freckles on her chest . . .

It was odd what you would always remember.

The grief roared back at me in high, crippling waves. Whenever I stopped moving, it hit me hard and deep. Grief wears you down. If you don’t guard against it, it will exhaust you past the point of caring.

I dumped some fried rice on my plate and followed it up with a dash of lobster sauce. “Are you sure you still want to stay tonight?”

Katy nodded.

“I’ll give you the bedroom,” I said.

“I’d rather sleep on the couch.”

“You sure?”


We pretended to eat.

“I didn’t kill Julie,” I said.

“I know.”

We pretended to eat some more.

She finally asked, “Why were you there that night?”

I tried to smile. “You don’t buy that I was taking a walk?”


I put down the chopsticks as if they could shatter. I wondered how to explain this, here in my apartment, talking to the sister of the woman I once loved, sitting in the chair of the woman I’d wanted to marry. Both murdered. Both connected to me. I looked up and said, “I guess that maybe I wasn’t really over Julie.”

“You wanted to see her?”



“I rang the bell,” I said. “But nobody answered.”

Katy thought about it. She looked down at her plate and tried to sound casual. “Your timing was strange.”

I picked up the chopsticks.


I kept my head down.

“Did you know your brother was there?”

I moved the food around the plate. She lifted her head and watched me. I heard my neighbor open and close his door. A horn honked. Someone on the street was shouting in what might have been Russian.

“You knew,” Katy said. “You knew Ken was at our house. With Julie.”

“I didn’t kill your sister.”

“What happened, Will?”

I folded my arms across my chest. I leaned back, closed my eyes, tilted my head all the way back. I did not want to go back there, but what choice did I have? Katy wanted to know. She deserved to know.

“It was such a strange weekend,” I began. “Julie and I had been broken up over a year. I hadn’t seen her in all that time. I’d tried to bump into her on school breaks, but she never seemed to be around.”

“She hadn’t been home in a long while,” Katy said.

I nodded. “The same with Ken. That was what made it all so bizarre. All of a sudden, all three of us are back in Livingston at the same time. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Ken was acting strangely too. He was looking out the window all the time. He wouldn’t leave the house. He was up to something. I don’t know what. Anyway, he asked me if I was still hung up on Julie. I told him no. That we were history.”

“You lied to him.”

“It was like . . .” I tried to figure out how to explain this. “My brother was like a god to me. He was strong and brave and . . .” I shook my head. I was not saying this right. I started again. “When I was sixteen, my parents took the family on a trip to Spain. The Costa del Sol. The whole place was one big party scene. It was sort of like Florida spring break for the Europeans. Ken and I hung out at this one disco near our hotel. On our fourth night there, a guy bumped me on the dance floor. I looked over at him. He laughed at me. I went back to dancing. Then another guy bumped me. I tried to ignore him too. Then the first guy, he ran up to me and just pushed me down.” I stopped, tried to blink away the memory as if it were sand in my eye. I looked at her. “Do you know what I did?”

She shook her head.

“I yelled for Ken. I didn’t jump up. I didn’t push the guy back. I yelled for my big brother and scrambled away.”

“You were scared.”

“Always,” I said.

“That’s natural.”

I didn’t think so.

“So did he come?” she asked.

“Of course.”


“A fight broke out. There was a big group of them from some Scandinavian country. Ken got the hell beat out of him.”

“And you?”

“I never so much as threw a punch. I hung back and tried to reason with them, convince them to stop.” The shame flushed my cheeks yet again. My brother, who had been in more than his share of fights, was right. A beating hurts for a little while. The shame of cowardice never leaves. “Ken broke his arm during the scuffle. His right arm. He was an incredible tennis player. Nationally ranked. Stanford was interested in him. His serve was never the same after that. He ended up not going to college.”

“That’s not your fault.”

How wrong she was. “The point is, Ken always defended me. Sure, we fought the way brothers do. He’d tease me mercilessly. But he’d step in the way of a freight train to protect me. And me, I never had the courage to reciprocate.”

Katy put her hand to her chin.

“What?” I said.

“It’s odd, that’s all.”

“What is?”

“That your brother would be insensitive enough to sleep with Julie.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies