77 | The Killers

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"LAYLA KILLED HERSELF

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"LAYLA KILLED HERSELF." The words hung in the air like a toxic hurricane, filling the room, making my stomach hurt.

Rucker pushed off the wall with a giant smile. "I was right. I said it first. Me — right here." He pointed to himself. "Me."

He was the first one to bring it up, jokingly, but I didn't put too much into it, not until I saw that Tiran's clue was missing from the floor.

Jookie let out a cackling laugh. "What's your proof?"

"Everything," I said, pushing his machete away from me. "In the video, she downed the roofies in the common room. She must've seen them when she fell into the clues."

"Give me the play by play from beginning to end or this means nothing," Jookie said, tapping my pinky with the machete.

I snatched my hand away, lips curling in disgust. "After her cleansing failed, she probably realized that she wouldn't make it long in the house because everyone wanted her dead."

"And?" Jookie blew out a breath. "You're boring me. Hurry up before I cut your finger off just to amuse myself."

"Layla always planned on killing herself. After she kidnapped us, she planned on killing all of us and then herself. But when that failed, she knew that she'd have a target on her back and wouldn't last long," I said, giving Jookie an evil stare. How the fuck did Tini kiss this ass? "While running away from Rucker, she came into the common room and knocked things over and that's when she saw the pills on the floor and took them all. If you look at the footage closely in slow motion, you see her putting her hands to lips. That's when she consumed the pills."

That's what Jookie meant when he said, "It's what's not there." Tiran's clue never moved, even after he died, but ever since we found Layla's body, it wasn't there. I didn't notice that tiny detail until two hours ago. His missing clue made everything else fall into place.

"That's why she was staggering around in the rest of the footage," I said, cutting Jookie off before he could rant about my boringness again. "The proof is in the bottle that she threw away in the laundry room."

"That's what we found under the radiator," Khan said, snapping his fingers. "The bottle."

"Yeah, but it was too burned for us to realize what it was at the time." I turned back to Jookie. "She grabbed the paper and pen to write an apology to me in case she died before saying it to my face. That's why she was at my door. She wanted to apologize before she died, and she didn't want to be alone. I was the closest thing to family that she had."

That's what hurt the most. That she was dying, and I could've helped her not be alone in her final breaths, but I didn't. Just like with my family. I wasn't there for them in their final moments either. I probably would've been dead if I was there, but that what-if still stabbed at my chest sometimes.

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