Chapter Eight ~
The group sat in the living room, making plans to insure Justy’s safety.
When she came downstairs a little while later, everyone abruptly stopped talking.
"What's going on?" Justy asked suspiciously.
"Nothing secret, we're just trying to figure out a course of action for watching the house. Since the killer probably knows you're here, we need to set up a round-the-clock look-out," Jude said.
"This all seems so surreal. Like it isn't really happening, you know?" Justy asked as she took a seat at the bar, her shoulders slouching in dejection.
"I know what you mean," Amy said. That's exactly how I felt last year. I was so close to giving up hope. Every time I got free, they would capture me again. It was God who saved me. I truly believe that."
“He is a wonderful God. I know the tragedy I’ve suffered has happened for a reason, I just don’t know what it is right now. I may never know,” Justy said. "I want to tell you guys how grateful I am for the way you’ve made the last couple of days bearable." Tears shimmered in her huge eyes again, and she brushed them away.
"You're welcome, Justy. I think I speak for all of us when I say we want to be your friend. We’ll do everything in our power to keep you safe so that can happen. I thank God we were able to get to you before that monster could do anything more serious.” His voice shook, and he sighed. Did she hear the tremble in my voice?
"I am too. Again, thank you for coming to my rescue. I don’t know what would’ve happened if you hadn’t showed up. Look, I feel really rude about this, but I need to lie down.”
“Oh, go right ahead. You’ve been through a lot.” Amy said, her eyes shining with concern.
Justy left the room and the group sat quietly for a few moments. Finally Jude looked at Jackson and asked, “Did you run that check I asked about?”
“I did, but my contact couldn’t find any evidence of a cousin named Max, not even an adopted one.”
“Strange, I wonder what’s going on.” Jude rubbed his chin thoughtfully. Was Justy lying to him? And if so, why would she do that?
“I don’t know, but I’ve got a bad feeling about it.” Jackson replied as he pulled his phone out and fiddled with it for a minute.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m gonna have someone track the guy and see what he’s up to.”
“How’re you gonna find him?”
“I’ve got a guy that can use any video surveillance he passed to track him. That’ll give us an idea of where he is, if not an exact location.”
Jude looked toward the door leading out of the room into the hallway nervously. “I feel like we’re lying to her, man.”
“Don’t. Something isn’t right and if she doesn’t want to tell us, we have to find out on our own. She was acting completely different than she did when we met her.”
“I know… And I’m worried about her.”
Jackson stood up and slid his phone back in his front pants pocket. “Don’t worry too much, we’ll figure it out.
‘Justy’ stood on the other side of the door, listening shamelessly to what the group was saying. Her face contorted in anger at what they were saying. Who do they think they are? I can’t let them track Max, that’ll ruin the whole plan.
She rushed up the steps, pulling her phone out as she ran. As she passed Angela’s door, she saw the little girl standing in the doorway. “Aren’t you supposed to be taking a nap?” She asked in a hate-filled voice.
The little girl jerked back and slammed the door, and ‘Justy’ laughed. It serves her right for being so nosy. She went into her suite and shut the door quietly.
She dialed Max’s number by memory and waited for him to answer.
“Hello my dear. How is the infiltration going?”
“I’m in the mansion, but they’re suspicious. They’re tracking you down as we speak. They noticed I wasn’t acting like she did when they met. I’m worried our cover’s blown.”
“I don’t care. Stay there until I give further orders.” Max said. His voice was hard and she grimaced at the tone.
“I said stay there, Lydia.” The line went dead and she held the phone in her hand for a minute, as if he might miraculously come back on the line, even though he’d disconnected. Well, I’ve got news for him, too. They’ll all be sorry by the time I’m through. She flopped on the bed in a fit of rage. He made me who I am. Can I help it if I want to do away with him, too?
“According to Herbert we had the guy’s location, but when they got to the apartment he went into, he was gone. It was empty. Almost like he knew they were coming.” Jackson said.
“Things are getting weirder and weirder.” Jude said.
“I think we need to keep an eye on Justy.” Scott said. It was the first thing he’d contributed to the conversation.
“Why is that?” Jude asked, his voice conveying his irritation as his hands knotted into fists.
“I don’t think she’s who she’s portraying herself to be.”
The room got deathly quiet.
“What are you saying?”
“I think she’s the enemy.”