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By:Alexa Riley

He’s probably still up from last night. Big Shot always gives me the creeps. He stares a little too long, but beyond that he’s never done more. He always has women coming and going, though. A lot of them are pretty. Prettier than me, so I don’t understand why he’s always trying to get my attention and talk to me. Or why those women are coming and going, either. I keep to myself and don’t ask him questions. I wish he’d do the same.

“Yeah, going to grab some breakfast,” I tell him, slipping my keys into my bag. I go to move, but he steps in front of me.

“Who was the guy last night?” he asks.

I look up at him because I’m so short I have to look up at most people. I want to say “what guy?” but then he’ll know I’m lying because he must have seen him. Crap, I’m a terrible liar.

“I really gotta go,” I say, stepping around him. He moves out of my way, but not enough, and I have to brush past him. I glance back over my shoulder, and his eyes are on my ass. Gross.

I make my way down the stairs fast but pause at the door to leave the building. I shake my head and push through the door, trying to let go of my fear. My eyes dart up and down the street. I glance to the way I normally go, and curiosity wins out. Something my aunt used to tell me was going to get me in trouble one day. That I shouldn’t go digging into things but I could help but do it. I was always wondering what was going on around the house. There wasn’t a ton to do, but there was a ton of people-watching to do. It was oftentimes more interesting than the TV. Not that I ever got a turn at the TV.

I walk along my normal path. My heartbeat picks up as I make my way to the shortcut to get to my train. When I get to the fence, I pause and glance over. It looks like nothing happened. I step in, trying to get a better look, but still nothing. No signs that a man was murdered in there. I see movement out of the corner of my eye and I glance over to a man standing in the junkyard. He’s in a suit and is looking straight at me.

My breath freezes in my lungs. It’s not the man from last night, but I can’t seem to move. He studies me and can probably hear my heart beating even from this distance.

Act normal, I tell myself. “Hi,” I manage to say and give a small wave. A woman who saw someone get murdered here wouldn’t be so casual and friendly, right? Jesus, I want to smack myself. “Hope you don’t mind I cut through here. Shortcut to the station,” I say. He doesn’t say anything. He keeps staring at me.

Okay then. I turn and keep walking, picking up my steps a little and praying he doesn’t follow me. I feel the breath I was holding leave my lungs as I see the train pull up right as I get there. I jump in, falling into one of the seats, and my head drops back against the window. Maybe I’ll take a cab home tonight, because I’m never going down that alley again.

Chapter 5


“It’s been two weeks. Are you going to tell me who she is or not?” Gio asks, startling me.

“It’s none of you — ”

“You can’t keep saying it’s none of my business.” He cuts me off and gives me a glare. “Everything is my business, especially when it comes to you. I know you’ve been watching the woman who lives there. Are you going to tell me why?”

I’m in my office packing up for the day. It’s only four o’clock, but I like to watch Thea walk from the telemarketing job to Rita’s, just to make sure she’s safe. Not that she knows I’m watching her. I haven’t spoken a word to her directly since that first night. But every day since, I’ve been a part of her life. In more ways than she realizes.

I let out a deep sigh and sit down in my chair, leaning back. Gio may not be my brother by blood, but he is in every other sense of the word. There’s nothing I’ve ever kept from him, and this secrecy is causing a rift to form between us. This has been something that’s only mine, but I know it can’t stay that way forever.

“Her name is Thea,” I finally admit, and look away from him. I don’t like sharing any part of her, even her name, with someone else.

“She’s the reason we bought the building, right?” he asks, and I nod. “Does she know who you are?”

There’s a long pause, and I look back to him, unsure of how to explain it. Then I decide the truth is the best.

“She saw me kill Joey. I chased her down, and now I’m just making sure she doesn’t talk.” Okay, so maybe not one hundred percent true.

“You let a witness walk?” Gio’s voice is a mix of shock and disapproval.

“I took care of it,” I say defensively, and stand up. I go back to cleaning up my desk before I leave. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.