“If your brother is dead, then who is that man in the asylum?” I asked.
“It can’t be Ezra. I...I was there with him when our car crashed. I was the only one who survived...unless...”
“Unless he didn’t really die and was in hiding for a long time.” Jack said.
“Do you think he killed all those people?”
I knew I’d voiced Jack’s concern because he went silent on the other end. A beat later, he said. “I have to go. I’ll talk to you later. If that man pretending to be me is in fact, Ezra, you need to be very careful. If they call me vicious, then it’s only because they haven’t met my brother yet. Alert the authorities and for godsake, Riley, don’t go alone in his room again.”
I didn’t mention the part where I kissed him. I realized that bit could wait.
“I promise, I won’t.” I assured him.
“This makes things more complicated.”
Before I could say another word, Jack hung up on me.
He really was in need of a good grilling for always cutting my call mid sentence.
I called Agent Flint early next morning. Thinking I had some lead, he asked me to come down to the station. Naturally, James was with me. He’d warned me against having any type of conversation with the fed in his absence.
Although I wasn’t scared of the agent, I was quite aware of his tactics of trying to fool me with his words. I sat in the office and tried not to show how pissed off I was about the other day when his team of officers had bulldozed their way into my apartment and nearly turned it upside down. I was quite certain my parents were rolling in their graves thinking how I’d come to turn from an innocent nurse to a suspect in a high-profile murder case. Anyway, the officers managed to find zero evidence in my house involving Jackson and that disappointed Agent Flint. He’d made up his mind that I was somehow involved and this was like a kick in his face.
“So, what information do you have, Miss. Frazer?”
“I’m sure you’re already aware that Jack was brought into the asylum recently and he’s been confined to a high security room.”
Flint looked bored. “I thought we weren’t wasting our time. What you’re telling me are facts. What I’m looking for is a solid lead, one that would help us in our investigation.”
“You didn’t let me finish.” I said. “I’m getting to that.”
“Please go on.” He urged me.
“The person in the asylum posing as Jackson is actually not him. It’s his twin brother Ezra.”
Flint stared at me for a good thirty seconds before he started laughing. “Is this some kind of a joke?” He threw a look at James who was seated silently by my side, occasionally stepping on my foot.
“I’m not making this up!” I insisted. “I’m sure of it.”
“You probably don’t know this but Ezra died three years ago in a crash. Jackson can give you a good account of the tragedy himself since he narrowly escaped with only a few injuries which is kind of strange, isn’t it? It’s like the man’s got some curse on his family. Getting them killed left and right.”
“It is possible that Ezra survived that crash and somehow lived and now...and now he’s--”
“You think Ezra killed all those people and staged it to look like Jackson did it?”
“How can you be so sure that the man is Jackson’s twin and not himself?”
I couldn’t confess that I’d paid a male nurse to sneak me into his room the other night, neither could I say that I kissed him and the man didn’t kiss me back. “I...I just sensed it. He looks a bit different. Jack never crops his hair short.”
Flint nodded, but I knew the wheels were turning in his head and he wasn’t believing a word I’d said. “I’m not sure how you came to this bizarre conclusion, Miss Frazer but I can assure you that the man we have in the asylum is in fact Jackson Wolfe. You’re either trying to put us on a wrong trail, or repeating the words Jackson drilled into you. I must admit, the twin brother troupe is so fucking outlandish, I find it more hilarious than the Kevin Hart movie I watched with my wife the other day.”
“Why is it so hard to believe this?”
“Because he is dead!” Flint yelled. “Unless you’re going to suggest that perhaps Ezra dug up his own grave and walked out of it.”
He continued, “you don’t see what I see here.”
“And what is that?”
“Jackson is manipulating you again. He’s making you see him as an innocent man, putting the blame on his dead twin.”
“I’ve told you what I know, it’s your job to take necessary precautions. If someone else dies, Agent, the blood will be on your hands.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, Miss. Frazer.” He said sarcastically. “I’d like to know something else.”
James remained alert. So far he hasn’t said a single word.
“What proof do you have that proves the man is not Jackson but is in fact Ezra? Because as far as what I’ve known they are identical, same height, built, hair color and eyes.”
“I just sensed it. Ezra has a scar near his forehead, Jack doesn’t.”
Agent Flint narrowed his eyes at me. “How did you manage to notice such details? Unless you went to see him personally, you did that, didn’t you?”
“My client will not answer that question.” James said. “She’s doing you a favor by telling you something important. Her duty is done.”
“If that man in the asylum is the twin, and if Jack is in touch with you, ask him to surrender because that’s the only way me or the department is going to believe there’s a double. If he surrenders, the case takes a different turn and I will promise that if Jack is innocent, he will walk out of the court. He gets his freedom, if not. We go from what we have right now.”
I thought about that for a while. “How about you get Ezra’s finger prints? If they don’t match with Jack, you would know I’m not lying.”
“I told you an alternative.”
Feeling exhausted, I asked. “Can I leave now, Agent?”
He gestured a hand towards the door. “You may, and think about it Riley.”
That night I decided to do a research over Ezra Wolfe. I had expected to find something huge, something that could tie up to the case. In one hour, I was disappointed and crushed. I’d managed to find almost nothing other than the school he attended and fact that he was an heir to a multi-million dollar company. There was nothing else, as if the search engines were bribed to keep from exposing any important information.
There was Jack’s photo with his brother when they were teenagers. Jack in a basketball uniform, smiling gleefully at the camera,
and the one with the stoic expressions was no doubt Ezra.
Was it possible for a brother to have so much hatred for someone who was practically a part of him? I’d heard that twins, especially the identical ones are very close.
What had drifted them apart?
Just then my thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. I glanced at the clock. It was way past eleven p.m. Who could be at the door at this hour?
I peeked through the peephole and saw that there was no one. There was a knock again, this time a urgent and a little louder.
“Who is it?” I called out.
I picked up my gun that was stashed under my pillow, loaded it and with the other hand opened the door.
“Whoa! Don’t shoot! It’s me.”
I hand flew to my mouth. “Oh my god. Jackson!”
He let himself in and kicked the door shoot. Next he reached for the gun in my hand and clicked the safety into place. He grinned at me. “I’m impressed you’re following my instructions.”
I hugged him fiercely, my head pressed to his chest, and my eyes were getting moist. He hugged me back, and softly he said. “I’m going to get mud all over you. I need a very thorough shower. Where’s the bathroom?”
I pointed in the general direction of it. I knew my eyes were still stained with tears when I looked at him. His hair had grown longer and the tips touched the collar of his bomber jacket that was matted in mud. I could tell he hadn’t washed his hair for days, the grease in it was pretty evident. His face had lost the glow and he looked tired in general.
“I also need a clean t-shirt and jeans, please.” He said, a beat later he added. “A clean underwear if possible.”
I smiled. “I have some clothes Ken never used.”
I laid out the clothes while Jack took a twenty-minute bath. When he walked out of the bathroom, he looked nicer, and cleaner. He smelled of my shampoo. The towel slipped down from his waist leaving him buck naked. He began dressing up slowly and when he noticed me watching, he winked.
Sure was getting hot in here.
I turned on the air-conditioner. It felt weird to see him in my brother’s clothing. The t-shirt was a little short for his broad shoulders and the jeans rode a little higher up his ankles, but he still managed to look sexy as hell.
“What time does your brother come home from work?”
“He has a night shift today. Won’t be back until tomorrow morning.” I said. His eyes glinted with mischief and I wondered if he’d picked on the suggestion.
I ran a hand through my hair wishing I’d at least worn something sexy like my silky night suite instead of the t-shirt and shorts I was wearing.
Jack crossed me and walked to the refrigerator. He opened it and pulled out a cartoon of milk which he guzzled down and then proceeded to devour cookies from the tin box on the kitchen counter.
I laughed. “I made dinner. Would you like to sit down and eat?”
“Oh yeah, that would be nice.”
He settled down in the dinning area and ate the mashed potatoes, gravy and the grilled cheese sandwiches like a man who had limited access to food for a few months. He wasn’t even taking his eyes off it as he ate. he’d been hungry for a long time.
Jack saw me watching and pointed to the nearly polished plate. “This is good. My offer for marriage still stands.”
“So you wanna marry me just for the food.” I decided to tease him.
He shook his head. “For everything else that comes with the food. Your smile, Cotton- Candy, it gives me hope that there’s still room for normal in my fucked up life.”
And the room filled with silence. He hadn’t been sarcastic in that moment, he’d spoken the truth.
“You look thin. Haven’t you been eating? Were you living in the cabin all by yourself?”
He gave a dry laugh, taking a sip of the wine. “You have no idea. After that accident, I was under Doctor Bowen’s care. I went to the cabin a week later to find it ransacked, literally torn apart.”
“The FBI and the police.”
He shook his head. “Sure the police came but only after the place was turned upside down. Someone else must have beat the police to the punch.”
It wasn’t hard to join the dots. “The killer.”
“I think leaving that place was a good decision. I’m sure he would have left me alive, but you.” Jack looked at me in anguish. “I don’t want to think what he would have done to you if you were still in that cabin with me.”
“And then it would have been easier to pin that murder on you. The kidnapping was just a bonus.”
“That’s right. You wouldn’t have been alive to tell them otherwise.”
It was so strange to have Jack in my house, sitting at my table making conversation. A few months back I would have never imagined that I’d fall in love with the most notorious criminal in the history of WoodVille’s asylum and the funny thing was that I hadn’t felt safer before.
I decided to ask him the question that had been haunting me for a while. “Do you think your brother killed all those people?”
Instead of answering that question, he said. “Since we were young, Ezra and I competed against each other. Whether it was grades, sports, affection of our parents, girls. We always tried to beat each other at something and then as we grew older it got out of hands.” Jack stared into the distance, as if the memory of it disturbed him.
“What happened?” I asked curiously.
“We were competing for the throne.” He said sarcastically. “The ownership of the company. You see, only one of us was going to be sitting in that chair and our father wanted us to rip each other’s throats doing it.”
“That’s awful. Why would your father want that?”
He gave a laugh. “Because that was my dad’s revenge against my mother.”
A.N: hey guys! Hope you enjoyed reading this chapter, please don’t forget to click that heart below if you haven’t already :) and I would love to see your comments and reviews. kindly keep the reviews spoiler free. Happy Holidays!