24 ; Chapter Twenty Four

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song of the chapter is Troye Sivan's Wild

I wasn't going to tell Freddie about what Linda had confessed. I wasn't going to put him in that position, torn between telling the truth and living a lie. I could do it on my own. There was no need to drag him into it when all he had wanted to do was find out the truth.

I started to maintain a distance between us, because at the stage we were now at, we trusted each other implicitly. Sort of like it was us against the world. Freddie and I against Pandora's killer. But at the same time, I was all to aware of the dangers both lies and the truth could bring. I felt like I was living in a horror movie, but Freddie remained all too calm. He had accused me of being naive and I felt naive at the start. But now I was coming to realise that I was more attuned to the situation than he was. 

    "Where's Linda's page?" he asked as he sorted through the various suspect pages.

    "I binned it," I replied, trying to sound emotionless.

    "Why?" he asked, his eyebrows raising in confusion.

    "Because this is real life, not a low budget horror movie, despite what it may feel like sometimes. There's no way Linda would kill a child, not after the death of the first one. Pandora was a bitch, but mothers don't kill their kids." The lie slipped so easily from my lips. So easily in fact, that I was beginning to believe it.

Freddie stared at me as though he was looking at a jigsaw puzzle and one piece wouldn't fit. He knew something was up, but he didn't know what. And I was happy for it to remain that way.

    "Back up a sec," Freddie said as he lounged further back in his desk chair. "Was it or was it not you who was almost adamant it was Jack or her mother?"

I nodded, "Yes, but it wasn't Jack, and it wasn't her mom."

    "And you're sure?"

    "Linda has a career. She hasn't got the time to stalk and play games with people's heads. Think about it logically. It's someone who did something wrong and is sorry, but still doesn't want to totally take the blame. Whoever it is has had the time to think about it and watch behaviour. How often do you see Linda about town?"

Freddie rolled his eyes then with a sigh of exasperation, "kinda the point if she's stalking you. Would be a pretty shitty stalker if you were constantly aware of their presence."

   "Look, I don't want to fight you on this. But I'm telling you - drop Linda as a suspect. She's grieving for fuck sake. I say we look into Tanner and Rosa. That's basically all the actual suspects which are left."

    "And your brother," Freddie pointed out.

I stared at him for a while. "He's not a suspect. Pandora did him wrong, doesn't mean he killed her."

    "What if it does?"

   "Freddie, seriously, stop it." My head was starting to hurt from all the back and forward. I was beginning to feel adamant that Rosa had something to do with it. She was who we were looking for. Her and her gang of cheap bitches. Tanner and Arun included. 

    "Right, so from the powers of deduction. Tell me who killed your friend."

    "Rosa came up with the plan and convinced either Tanner or Arun to go along with it. My money is on Tanner because Arun seems a bit too clean cut to get involved in murder. He seems to hate Tanner more than Tanner hated Pandora. 

    "It's really messed up," Freddie noted, "but I guess it's possible."

    "More probable you mean."

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