The Lost Saint Page 24

“Grace,” Daniel said, a warning tone in his voice.

“What? They should know the truth.”

“Looks like you got pretty hurt,” Deputy Marsh said. “You weren’t looking for a little payback, were you? Didn’t track Tyler down and try to teach him a lesson for messing with you? Maybe went a little too far?”

“What?” Daniel stared Deputy Marsh right in the eyes. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Did something happen to this Tyler kid?”

Sheriff Ford cleared his throat. “He’s dead.”

My stomach lurched. “What happened?”

“His roommate, a Pete Bradshaw”—Sheriff Ford consulted his notepad—“found him outside their apartment this morning. Looks like he was jumped in the parking lot and beaten to death sometime during the night.”

“Pete told us you had an altercation with him two nights ago,” Deputy Marsh said. “He said you’d be looking for revenge.”

“That’s insane,” I said. “Daniel would never attack anyone.” Well, at least not the new, werewolf-free Daniel. “Pete’s a total liar. He’d say anything to get Daniel in trouble.”

“I assure you, sir, I had nothing to do with this,” Daniel said to the sheriff, sounding much calmer than I did.

“You two have quite the history with Mr. Bradshaw, as I recall.” Deputy Marsh glared at Daniel. “Perhaps you were looking to settle an old score with Pete, but went after his roommate when you couldn’t find him. You must have been angry when the charges were dropped in your girlfriend’s case, considering the only other witness died. Most guys wouldn’t take it lightly if their girl was attacked by a classmate who got off without even a slap on the wrists. Perhaps the fight from the other night was the final straw.”

“Marsh,” the sheriff snapped. Ford liked Daniel a lot more than his deputy did, and he had a lot of respect for my father. Either that, or they were doing a great job at playing good cop/bad cop. “I’m not at liberty to discuss the details, but we have reason to believe that Tyler’s death may have been connected with the burglary at Day’s Market, but since you had an altercation with Tyler and you work at Day’s, we need to ask you a few questions. We can do it here or at the station.”

“Wait, now you’re blaming him for Day’s Market, too?”

“We’re not blaming, just investigating.”

Anger roiled in my stomach. Pete and his stupid accusations were making a fine mess of our lives. If Tyler and the market were connected, then this probably had more to do with his being at The Depot last night. Gah! Of course. The Depot! Those gamer guys had looked like they wanted to skin Tyler alive for messing up their game. What if they’d followed him home and decided to mess him up in return?

“Tyler likes to hang out a place called The Depot … in the city. Maybe you should—”

Daniel shot me a weighted look.

Deputy Marsh’s thin eyebrows perked into arches. “So you’re aware of Tyler’s whereabouts last night? That’s interesting. His friends were supposed to meet him at a place called The Depot, but he wasn’t around when they got there. Were you two following him?”

“Um … no.” Crap, how come everything I said made Daniel look guiltier? How could I tell them what I saw at the club without letting them know that I’d been there myself? It would only make it sound like I was following Tyler. “I’m just saying that I’ve heard it’s a dangerous place, and if Tyler went there and stepped on the wrong toes … like messed up someone’s video game, they might be mad enough to take it out on him.”

“You think Tyler was killed over a video game?” Deputy Marsh asked.

“It’s possible,” I said, but I didn’t sound like even I believed myself at this point. I really probably should just shut up.

“We’ll look into it,” Ford said. “But in the meantime, I have to ask you, Daniel, about your whereabouts last night.”

Daniel tensed beside me. I could almost feel the stress radiating off his body. He’d seemed so calm until this moment. I looked at him, waiting for his reply.

“I was here,” he said slowly, deliberately, “watching TV.”

“Between the hours of ten p.m. and one a.m.? What did you watch? Times? Channels? Any specific commercials you can remember?”

“Um …” Daniel’s fingers twitched next to mine. I wanted to grab his hand to calm the tic before the others noticed it—but that would probably be just as noticeable. “I don’t recall anything specific.”

“Really,” Deputy Marsh asked, “nothing at all?” He put his hands on his hips and puffed out his chest like he was preparing to grab Daniel and haul him down to the station. The cocky smile on his face made it seem like he’d enjoy doing it, too.

Daniel took a slight step back, his fingers still twitching. “I’m sorry. I really can’t remember.”

I stepped forward. “What he means is that he was distracted. We were here … together. The TV was on, but we weren’t exactly, you know, watching it.” I blushed even though I wasn’t telling the truth, but hopefully it would blend in with the red splotches that always painted my neck whenever I lied.

Daniel gave me a look like he was surprised by my acting abilities—but hopefully grateful.

“I stayed until about two a.m. Daniel just didn’t mention it because, you know … you won’t tell my dad, will you?” I asked, wringing my hands. I didn’t even have to act that part. “Please?”

Sheriff Ford cleared his throat. “And you’re sure you were here with him the whole time, alone?”

I nodded.

“Very well, then.” Ford slipped his notepad into his pocket. “That’s all I needed to know.”

Marsh’s shoulders dropped, though the cocky smirk stayed on his face. He indicated the duffel bag strapped to Daniel’s bike. “I hope you’re not planning on leaving town anytime soon.”

“No, sir,” Daniel said quietly.

“We’ll be watching you,” Deputy Marsh said.

Daniel and I stood side by side and watched the two officers climb into the truck and drive away. Daniel’s fingers twitched even after they were gone. I grabbed his hand before he could turn away.

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