Facade

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Dread

THEA’S POV

I chew on my lips as my eyes scan through the piles of papers littering my bedroom’s floor. Newspaper articles, any police reports I could get my hands on, family accounts as well as business accounts—considering my recent inheritance, it was easy to get my hands on them.

Even if Giovanni is the one handling business at the moment, it still belongs to me.

I still cannot believe that Grinch left everything in my name. Sometimes I wonder if he’s mocking me. Even dead, my father—Mr. Scarlett—has managed to get on my nerves.

Nothing, in particular, catches my eyes. My back aches from sitting on the floor in a crouched position for so long.

Damn it! I give up, frustrated from the lack of any suspicious evidence, and kick the stack of papers away from me before standing up.

“Fuck!” I toss the paper behind my back in anger and huff out a sigh. It’s almost time for Beth to get come back.

Caleb has been staying at a friend’s—surprisingly not Luke’s—house for an assignment. Or so he says.

I decide to go out for coffee and clear my head on the way.

*****

The file in front of me zooms in and out of focus as I try to find something—anything. I decided to bring the documents containing the company’s finances with me while leaving the rest lying on my bedroom floor back home.

I pick one up when a certain transaction catches my eyes. The money transferred isn’t particularly something that seems suspicious but I have seen the same thing somewhere else.

I sift through the file until I find another record showing a similar transaction to the same Swiss account. Since when does the company make payments to offshore accounts?

My suspicion grows with each passing second as I discover several transactions of small amounts. Adding them together makes me realize transferring such a large sum of money at once would have alerted at least someone at the company.

Whoever did this must have been clever enough to go through such lengths but simply being intelligent wouldn’t make this successful.

This means that person had the authority to oversee such important matters.

The first name that pops into my mind is Mr. Scarlett’s. The next two are of Giovanni and the company’s Head of Finance, Andrew.

If these are somehow connected to the murder, I need to know who the accounts belong to.

And who better than the boss’s secretary herself?

Picking my phone up, I search for her contact, knowing it has been years since we last spoke to each other. As far as my memory recalls, she seemed like a very cold and calculating person. If I hadn’t spoken to her personally, that’s what I would have thought to.

Working with Mr. Scarlett is no easy task. No wonder she acted closed off even though she has a heart of gold.

“Hello?”

My voice gets stuck in my throat for a second, hearing her voice after so long. “Jessica, hi. It’s Thea. Do you have a moment?”

“Thea?” she gasps softly, “Oh my God, it’s been so long.”

“I know. But I really need your help with something.”

“Sure, anything.”

“I’m sending you some documents. As my father’s secretary, I know you handled these. Can you please tell me who used to be in charge of them?”

“I don’t know, it’s been so long, I don’t know if I remember correctly.”

“Bullshit.” I regret my choice of word the moment it leaves my mouth but I don’t say anything to rectify it. “Your memory is impeccable. It’s one of the main reasons he kept you as his secretary for so many years.”

I hear her sigh through the phone. “I see you’re as persistent as ever.”

My lips quirk up. “Of course. Does that mean you’ll help?”

“Sure. There’s no escaping you. You’re just as bad as that father of yours.” I want to tell her that he’s not even my real father but I bite my tongue. “Still I like you better. No offense but that son of a bitch was a real pain.”

I simply reply with a chuckle.

“Still he didn’t deserve to die.”

I have nothing to say to that. Instead, I send her the files, highlighting the transactions.

“These were mostly handled by Andrew.” My heart drops. “But the ones you highlighted were overseen by Giovanni. I remember this because they were the only ones Andrew didn’t know about. Giovanni had told me that Mr. Scarlett knew about them and as his most trusted man, I never questioned his decisions.”

My heart picks up its pace again, faster than before.

“Do you know to whom the money went?”

“No, but I can find out.”

“That’ll be great. Thanks for everything.”

“Anytime. I’m guessing I won’t be hearing from you anymore? Nothing personal but I just don’t want to keep turning back to the past after everything.”

“Don’t worry. You’ve done more than enough.”

“’Kay. I’ll text you the details. Hope to never see you kid. Stay safe.”

“Take care.”

Without any further words, she ends the call.

Thirty minutes later I get a text from her that only says a name. A name I’m disturbingly aware of.

Another text comes through.

‘It was originally under a different name but the money was transferred from the Swiss bank to another account before finally going to the account of said person.’

‘Giovanni sure went to great lengths to do this. Makes it look suspicious but I don’t want to go around digging stuff I don’t need to. So be careful, kid.’

I reply back with a ‘thanks and I will’ before contemplating whether to ask her how she found all this.

Deciding against it, I switch off the screen and sigh heavily. No point in asking her because she’ll never tell me.

So I decided to head back home.

After a long walk, while being on the phone with Xavier, I reach my house.

He still doesn’t know that I have doubts about David being the killer. I don’t want to tell him until I’m sure and have some evidence to back my claim. He already has a lot going on. Me adding to his plate isn’t something I want to do.

“Hey, I’ll call you back after a quick shower.”

“Alright. I gotta go help out Elijah with dinner as well. Hope he hasn’t burned anything. Bye. Love you.”

The call ends without me saying anything else and once again I’m struck by the guilt of not replying to him with a confession of my own.

Something inside me is holding me back. I don’t know what it is but I don’t get to dwell on the thought much longer.

The sight of my bedroom halts me at my door, a silent scream ripping through me as I stare at the scene ahead.

Crimson liquid drips down my mirror, the words in red taunting me.

‘Back away, Thea. Don’t want your loved ones to get hurt, now do we?’

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