Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 24

He pulled his jacket off, handed it to the bodyguard, Isaac, then strode through the foyer to the living room.
“It’s obviously not a new hobby,” she stated as she followed him and her mother, only to pause just inside the door and watch as he strode to the bar. “A Crown on ice would be lovely,” she suggested as he lifted a decanter of liquor.
Desmond paused before pouring the desired drink as well as a snifter of brandy for her mother.
“Crown and ice.” Her mother sounded furious now. “That is not a proper young lady’s drink, Victoria.”
“I asked you to call me Lilly, Mother.” Lilly stepped into the room and accepted the drink from Desmond before striding to the sofa and lounging back. She smothered a sigh of exhaustion. Lifting the drink to her lips Lilly sipped the smooth liquor, nearly closing her eyes at the pleasurable burn that hit her stomach.
She watched as Desmond handed her mother her drink then took his seat beside her on the couch. Strange, she had never seen her mother sit with her father like that, close, intimate. They had rarely sat on a couch, they had each had their own chairs instead. But the distance she had always sensed between her parents was present here as well.
“We need to discuss tonight,” Desmond told her firmly after taking a long sip of his drink, as though needing fortification.
“What is there to discuss?” Lilly asked him. “I met a friend for drinks. I’m of age, I have no curfew. What we do need to discuss is what the hell you were doing following me at this hour of the night.”
“What did you do?” Her mother almost whispered the words, as though terrified of the answer.
“I found her with Travis Caine,” Desmond informed her. “He has a house here in Hagerstown as well. Your daughter somehow acquired a rather racy motorbike and she broke several speeding laws to meet him at a bar, and then followed him to his house.”
“Caine?” Wide-eyed, Angelica turned to Desmond. “My God.” She turned back to Lilly. “He’s a suspected terrorist, a man known to associate, if not partner with criminals! Victoria . . .”
“Lilly.” Determination surged inside her. She hadn’t been Victoria for six years. She was Lilly.
“Why are you doing this? Do you want to be taken from us again?” Her mother ignored the reminder. “You’ll be arrested for sure!”
“I rather doubt there’s a warrant out for my or Travis’s arrest,” Lilly objected.
“There’s a warrant for your arrest in China, should you ever reenter their sovereign borders again, for theft of a government artifact, which they can’t prove to America. There’s a warrant for your and Caine’s arrest in Iran for the suspected death of a militant who was related to the current ruler. There’s also a warrant to bring you in for questioning in Spain for the death of a Spanish militant suspected of being part of a radical extremist group protesting against the government.”
Had she killed?
She had. Lilly felt that knowledge bleeding through her, bloodred and stained with guilt.
Had she killed in cold blood? She couldn’t imagine that. She had a healthy respect for life, more for others’ than for her own. At least, that was the thought that flitted through her head.
How would she know these things? And why was she suddenly so frightened at the thought of her mother or her uncle knowing the full truth about her?
“From what I’m hearing, if I did kill, then it was no one that didn’t deserve it,” she informed them both with an air of unconcern.
She was aware that she would have never made such a statement six years ago.
“Victoria . . .” Horror rippled through her mother’s voice.
“Mother.” Lilly shook her head as she leaned forward. “I don’t know what happened to me. I don’t know who I was, or what I did. But I do know I wasn’t a criminal.”
“I have the report on you, Victoria,” her uncle said. “The governments may not have proof, but I have enough evidence to substantiate, at the very least, a strong suspicion that you did kill.”
There was something in his gaze then, some thread of compassion, perhaps? Understanding? What was she seeing there, and why did it bother her so much to see it?
Lilly wanted nothing more than to run now. To escape the judgment and the disapproval she could feel coming from the mother.
She didn’t know if she could live much longer without somehow figuring out who or what she had been and why she had killed.
“I want this report you have on me.” She rose to her feet and stared at her mother and uncle. “Then, I want to know how the two of you ended up married, and why the hell my father’s murderer was never found.”
That was the source of her anger. Her father was dead, murdered, and his killer had never been caught. From what she gathered since she had been back, the search for his killer had been less than enthusiastic.
With that last warning she strode from the living room, ignoring her mother calling out to her, and her uncle’s almost silent curse.