14// Derek

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I'm not ashamed to admit that for the rest of the BBQ I stayed in my room. Until the whole thing was officially over, I knew Daisy would be safe with her uncle Deacon. And to be honest avoiding Tori was the best option I had.

I don't know what it is about that woman, but she makes me a nervous wreck when she is around me, which turns me into a jerk, or idiot or sometimes even both.

You know what it doesn't even matter, I'm fairly sure she hates me anyway.

Even if she didn't, what I have is a crush not that I will ever admit that to anyone. Tori probably doesn't even think of me at all, which she shouldn't.

I mean she doesn't live here, sooner rather than later she will be going home. And I also have to think about my daughter, Daisy is the most important person in my whole life, what I want is irrelevant.

"Look who finally came out of hiding". I heard Deacon's annoying voice joke, throwing him a dirty look as I walk towards them.

"I wasn't hiding, I was working," I said defensively, which only makes him smirk even more.

"Of course, you were...does Tori scare you that much?"

"Tori does not scare me...where is my daughter?" I argued with him, my brother just looks at me once more, shaking his head and laughing along to himself.

"Whatever brother. And Daisy has been feed, bathed, changed, and is currently sleeping" Deacon replies, feeling my annoyance leave a little, he helps with Daisy a lot and I will always be in his debt for that.

"Thank you," I said to him with sincerity.

"No problem, you know I would do anything for that little girl".

Nodding my head and opened my mouth to respond, just when a knock on the door, has us all turning our heads.

Looking from Deacon to Jack and asked,

"Did you guys order food?" I asked them confused seeing as we just had a BQQ and nobody should be here now.

They both shake their heads, looking as confused as I feel.

Taking a few steps towards the front door and opened it, just as my eyes go wide when they land on Tori and the woman, she came with early this afternoon.

"Is everything okay?" I asked confusedly, just as I feel people behind me.

Tori lifts her eyes to me and sighs, but it's the other woman that speaks up.

"We need to talk to the police and well you're a police officer....so can we come in?" Still standing there confused but nod my head.

Once their inside I close the door and turn around to face them.

"Grace what is going on?" Jack asks the woman next to Tori, at least I now know her name is Grace.

"I would like to know that too? Why do you need to speak to the police?"

"Tori has a stalker" Grace blurts out, moving my eyes from her to Tori who was shooting her friend diggers right now.

"Ignore her she's still drunk and being overdramatic". Tori shot out towards her.

"Tell that to the decapitated teddy bear on your front porch" Grace argued.

"Why don't you start from the beginning Tori" Deacon speaks this time.

"It's happened a few times, normally there's a note with a saying or something like that. And always yellow roses are left for me on the front steps of the beach house-;"

"When did it first start?" I questioned her,

"It started again a few weeks ago....but originally eight years ago," Tori announced, flicking my eyes from her to Jack, as my detective instincts begin kicking in.

"Can you explain that a little better Tori" Jack asks her softly.

Tori nods and sighs heavily before beginning,

"Me and my cousins always used to spend our summers up here with our nan. And we became known, my last summer here was when I was eighteen years old, right before college-;" She broke off and took a breath before carrying on.

"That last summer, I received a note and some yellow roses. I just assumed it was a local who I've run into who had a crush, I didn't think much of it, but I left early anyway, to spend the rest of the summer with my parents before college" She said. Keeping my eyes on her as she talked.

"After that, I got busy with college, nursing school and Jeremy-;" She was cut off by Grace.

"Wanker" Grace faked cough as Tori mentioned a man's name, which pipes my curiosity. Tori throws her eyes at her friend in a warning.

"Anyway when I finally had time, Nan had already moved back to be closer to my parents, so there was no reason for me to come back up here until she passed and left me the house," Tori says, listening to everything she said.

"Are you sure it's the same person? Has anything else been happening?" I ask her, Tori meets my eyes.

"At first, I wasn't, but the handwriting looks the same from before and of course the colour of the roses, and sometimes around town or when I'm at the beach it feels like there are eyes watching me, but I could be wrong"

Getting lost in my thoughts for a moment, what if Tori was the missing piece of the puzzle of our missing person cases.

Tori herself look like the victim, I don't know why or what the motive is, especially with Tori being older than the victims but there's a nagging in my gut that it's all connected to her, I just don't know how or why yet.

"What date did you leave that last summer?" I ask her breaking away from my own thoughts.

"I think it was around august 17th but it could have been the 19th I don't really remember" she answered, just as my eyes met Jack's and I know that he is clicking all the pieces together just like I am.

"What's with the look? And I don't lie to me, I was raised by a cop remember." Tori asks us, shaking my head at her, there's no way I'm telling her anything about our missing person cases, or how they just might be connected to her.

"It's nothing Tori" I started to say but stop when she takes a few steps towards me, the anger in her blue eyes clear as day.

"Don't bullshit me, Derek, I know a look between partners. When they both know something but don't want to say anything in front of victims or witnesses, well I'm nether and you better starting talking" She forced out at me.

Moving my eyes from her to Jack, who nods his head giving me permission to tell her about our open cases, seeing as he is the senior detective in charge.

"Jack and me we have a few open missing person cases, seven years, seven girls who look a hell of a lot like you, and they all disappear on or around the 19th of august". I explain, just as she goes pale, but she regains herself and her emotions before anyone of us could see.

But I don't miss the flicker of each emotion in that split second, fear, shock, confusion, and guilt.

"And you think that this could be connected to Tori?" Grace asks us, Tori stays silent around us.

"Right now, it's just a theory with the information that we've learnt, but we will figure it out and keep you safe" The last part I said looking directly into Tori's light blue eyes.

She finally looks up and meets my eyes, but still doesn't say anything for the moment.

"I need a moment; I need some fresh air" Tori announced and before anyone could stop her, she walks over to the back door and out of it.

Letting my eyes linger for a minute as it takes every fibre in my body to not go after her, at least I know she will be safe here with us because I will make sure of it.

Loving Derek (River-Cove Series: Book 1) ✓Where stories live. Discover now