74 | Jookie's Talk

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JOOKIE

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JOOKIE. We had this weird relationship that I didn't quite understand. I didn't know if he liked me, hated me, wanted to fuck me or kill me.

His tight grip on my hand sent weird ripples up my arm, as he pulled me through various halls. I stopped him in front of the laundry room, pulling my hand back.

"What's going on?" I asked, pulling my hand to my chest. "Why do you want to talk to me all of a sudden? You've been a dick to me since T—" Tini left, but I cut myself off before the words could leave my lips.

He let out a light, whimsical laugh, eyes never leaving my face. "Never a dick. Just always honest."

"Honest?" I placed my hands on my hips. "You basically put a bounty on my head."

He shrugged. "I was in a bad mood then, a little in my feelings about something. It's whatever." He put up a finger. "And I am honest. I don't pretend to be something that I'm not. What you see is what you get."

"And I'm not?"

Jookie stepped very close to me, body only centimeters away. His breath kissed my lips, coming out in shallow wisps. "You can only lie to yourself for so long, my deceiving peach."

"I'm not lying."

"No, you're overthinking and being stupid."

"Stupid?"

He waved and circled his arms around the area. "This whole thing should've been solved yesterday. It's so fucking easy, and I really hope you're just acting dumb."

"You're such a fucking prick." I pushed him back into the door jam. "You can't go from one conversation to the next like that."

"Ooo you wanted to keep talking about us, my delicious peach," Jookie said, putting a hand on his cheek. "I didn't know you were such a romantic."

I bared my teeth, clenching them so tight they squeaked. "There is no us."

Jookie moved his head back and forth while tsking his tongue. "I don't know, my little peach. There's something here. I know you feel it." He pushed me into the open laundry room, closing the door behind us.

In one swift movement, he slammed me against the closed door, almost knocking the air out of me when he crashed his body against mine. Every movement of his body on mine felt hard yet soft at the same time as the scent of harsh earth and peppermint surrounded us like a crazy halo.

The tip of his tongue slid up the side of my face before settling on my earlobe. "I put us in here so we could talk in private and I'm close so the cameras can't hear us," he whispered low and throaty. "I would've brought you in here earlier if I knew you were going to react so deliciously."

My nails sunk into his arms, digging in deep. "I'm not reacting. I'm just trying to stop myself from punching you in the face until you bleed out."

"Mmm great foreplay," he said, using the tip of his tongue to play with my earlobe again. "I do like it rough."

I shivered while wanting to gouge his eyes and tongue out. "Why are we here?"

"So, I can tell you that you're wrong," he whispered low. "That whole secret shit was a waste of time. A dead end."

"Okay, so who did it?"

Jookie snorted, aligning his body even closer to me, making me feel every hard muscle in his body. "Ah, yeah, no. There will be consequences for fucking with this game, and I like you, my little peach. I do. But not enough to die. I gave you enough clues and hints already. Follow the footage."

"I did, and I came up with nothing. Everything that's there—"

"That's what you're not getting," he whispered before licking my lobe again. "It's not what's there, but what's not there." After he said that last line, he swirled me away from the door and opened it before exiting.

I peeked out, and he was gone. Only people who were there was my team a few feet away, still staring. Rucker was the first to move and run toward me.

"What the hell did he want?" Rucker asked, standing in front of me.

Jookie talked to me in private, so he must can't publicly help me, and I didn't want to get him in trouble. Even though he'd deserve it for putting a bounty on my head.

"He was just fucking with me again, just wasting my time," I said with a sigh. "He just kept calling me stupid for not solving this earlier."

Yaz gave me a knowing smirk before laughing. "Looked like it was more than that."

"Trust me, it wasn't," I said, avoiding Sebastian's hurtful expression. "Can we go back to Khan's room and rest? I need some food."

"You don't think Chi is right," Khan said as we walked back toward his room.

"I don't know," I said, shaking my head. Jookie wouldn't have come to me if Gmie and Demo were the killers, so Chi had to be wrong. So, who was it? He basically said I was missing something — missing something that wasn't there. What did that mean?

Duke met us with happy eyes and lots of kisses when we all made it back to Khan's room. I hugged him to my chest and got onto the bed, hoping his affection would make me feel better.

"I'll make some food," Rucker said, going over to the stove.

"You better not take forever again," Yaz said, sitting in the recliner. "I don't mind bringing out the spatula again."

Rucker grinned at her. "I think I'm starting to like the spatula," he said, grabbing a cast-iron skillet and some flour.

"Are we going with Chi's theory or not?" Sebastian asked, sitting on the edge of the bed. "We only have a few hours left."

"I don't think anyone has a better theory," Yaz said, looking at me and Khan.

"Logically, Gmie and Demo fit," Khan said, sitting at his desk. "They had the means, the motive, and the opportunity."

It made sense logically, but I knew it wasn't right. Even if Jookie didn't tell me, I knew inside that something wasn't adding up with that theory.

"But I still don't think they did it," Khan said, watching me. "And I think you agree."

Everyone turned to me, except Rucker who was pattering away at the stove, frying pancakes.

I clutched Duke who was nuzzling my cheek with his nose and whimpering. "I do agree, but I still have no idea who did it."

"Neither do I," Khan admitted as he clenched his fist, eyes swirling.

"You guys are working off emotion," Sebastian said. "You just said that logically Chi's theory makes sense."

"Yes, but logically it also does the opposite," Khan said, eyes lighting up, almost like he figured something out. "It makes Gmie and Demo not look guilty at the same time."

"How?" Yaz asked.

"Chi said that she thinks Gmie and Demo did it because they were the first ones to find the body, and because she heard them talking about killing Layla," Khan said, tapping his cheek. "But then why did she plant her own hair in Layla's mouth? She said because she wanted to trick Gmie and Demo, right? Why would you try to trick the true killers? It makes no sense."

"That bitch," Yaz murmured. "She tried to trick us. Her whole theory was probably some made up bullshit to get us to pick the wrong people."

"That's what I was thinking," Khan said. "It sounds like she's the real killer and she's trying to throw us off her path."

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