Twisted Roses

Page 25

“You’ve always known a lot about what goes on between us. How is that?”
“My daughter trusts me on a level you will never understand.”
“But Delphine never tells you what goes on between us.”
He pauses. Bluffing.
“And how would you know what she’s told me?”
“Because I know Phi better than anybody,” I say confidently, sitting up in my chair. “She doesn’t want you to know the details. Yet, funnily enough, you always seem to anyway.”
“I know everything that goes on in this city. Every last detail. What have I told you, Mancino? Iamthis city. I’m always watching.”
“Is that your way of admitting you do shit you’re not supposed to?”
“I have no clue what hogwash you’re going off about. I called to let you know I’m aware of what you did,” he says in that deep, admonishing voice he uses whenever he has a criminal right where he wants him. “You better pray I’m never able to prove it. If you like being a free man, pray that I’m never able to prove anything you do.”
“Same to you, DA. I’m curious about Lena Burtka myself.”
Before he can utter a retort, I’ve hung up. I want him to spend the rest of his miserable day wondering what I do and don’t know about him and his affair with Lena.
So far, it’s been nothing new. I’ve had Stitches do some more digging on Lena, but little has been turned up other than she currently teaches Russian at Northam University.
I still can’t place where I’ve seen her before. Her face is too familiar.
I pull out my cell phone and text Delphine. The message joins the other six she’s yet to answer.
I might have crossed a line last Friday night.
Jealousy is an emotion I didn’t experience until I became obsessed with Delphine. It consumes me to the point I’m irrational, ready to tear apart any man who poses a threat limb from limb. After she strut out the door of her apartment and left me in stunned silence, I had spiraled into a jealous rage that had me going 115 mph on the highway just to make it to her date.
It had me clenching my teeth and reaching for my knife the second I glanced in the window and saw them seated together (Stitches had enough sense to stop me).
I didn’t even know the guy’s name, yet I wanted to destroy him. I wanted to hurt him very badly.
But, in that moment, I also wanted to hurt Delphine. She deserved to be punished.
Pleasure had swept across her beautiful face, seconds away from coming. I made the snap decision to deprive her. Almost as punishing for me as it was for her—Ilikemaking Phi come.
My spitefulness won out.
I not only deprived her, I sought to hurt her with my words. She’s been preoccupied with readjusting to her daily life, being the perfect Delphine Adams everyone knows her as. Residual effects of her attack last fall.
It’s a sore subject I exploited. I told her she was as fucked up as I am.
That there’s something wrong with her, too.
A low blow. It was written all over her face afterward. Then I walked out, bitter and justified for what I’d said and done.
A week later, I recognize it was an asshole move. A pang or two of guilt hits me.
For once, Ernest is right—at the moment, his daughter wants nothing to do with me.
* * *
The afternoon passes with me and Stitches digging more into Ernest’s campaign. At half past three, Fabio knocks on my door again.
“If you’re going to tell me my other arch nemesis is on the phone again, save it,” I say, spinning around in my desk chair. “Tell Ernest Adams to leave a message.”