by Emma Right
Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams–of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.
Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult psychological thriller and mystery
(Chapter Seven continued)
“No! You don’t understand. You can’t trust anyone. My brother’s well-connected.”
“We need to know if this is really your brother after you. The law’s here to protect you. Besides, didn’t you say if Todd’s caught in illegal or criminal actions, he’d lose his trust fund? And inheritance? That might take him off your back, if we have evidence that could nail him.”
Sarah searched inside one of the drawers on the floor. She brought out a dark green book, only about two inches wide by three inches long. “He didn’t get this.” She tapped it on her palm.
My face must have shown confusion.
“I keep tabs of all the places Todd’s been. Every trip he’s taken and dates.”
“Some of the places he frequents every two, three weeks. At least that’s what my informers reported. I think he has a girlfriend there, or someone special.”
“So, you hired a P. I. to track him? Perfect! We’ll hire the same guy to sleuth for us.”
“We can’t,” she said rather sharply.
My eyes glanced at the bedside clock on the dresser. Almost four thirty. I have to be up already. Bummer. “Why can’t we hire your P. I.?”
“He’s disappeared. I tried to get a hold of Jackson— that’s his name—after I saw your Craig’s List ad, and don’t get mad at this, but I wanted to run a background check on you to be sure you’re a nobody so my brother or anyone else can’t find me. But Jackson’s secretary said he hadn’t reported to work for two weeks, and they didn’t know where he was. Not like him to just up and leave.”
So, she’d tried to do a background check on me. I should have played the same game with her. At least I would have landed with a saner roommate. I thought of Peter Salazar. His brother was a cop but worked as a P. I. now. “I have to get ready for work. Pete Salazar can help.”
“The guy at Stay Fit.”
“Ah, the guy who hangs onto your every word.” “He does not.”
“I saw him gawk at you the day I was there.”
“That’s because he mistook you for me, and he was trying to see how alike we looked.”
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You’re so blind. Can’t you see he’s all eyes on you?”
It wasn’t that Pete wasn’t cute, what with his shaggy blond hair and deep-set eyes, but ever since my high school sweetheart, Drew, had disappeared to New York and taken my heart with him, this bitter taste in my mouth always came up when my mind wandered to the idea of another boyfriend. Maybe I was one of those destined to be single forever. Like a nun. “Your imagination needs some reining in. Anyway, Pete’s brother can help. He’s a P.I.”
“You should go out with Peter some time. Or, are you still hung up on that rich little boy who ditched you in high school?” How’d she know I was thinking of Drew? My face must be such an open book.
“He didn’t ditch me.” That was what I’d convinced myself. “Do you want to find out who just broke into our place, or not?” I glared at her.
Sarah wrung her hands as though they were wet rags. “Don’t say anything about my family’s history, or that it could be my brother doing this, okay? If word leaks out, Todd could press charges on me for trying to soil his good name. Slander, or something.”
“I’ll be discrete. But you’d better not stay home alone today.”
“I’ll take my laptop and go to the library. I can research on a good alarm company. One with video and sound capture.”
Growing up rich sure kept her abreast of technology and security systems.
“Call my cell when you want to come back here.” The hair on my arms stood when I recalled Sarah’s frightened eyes. “Better clean up that blood on your forehead. How’d you get it, anyway?’
She strode to the doorway, ran her finger on the edge of the door, and displayed the blood on her finger. The burglar must have slammed her head on the edge of the door when he’d tried to drag her out.
But, what had he been trying to do? Besides robbing her? If he’d wanted her dead, he wouldn’t have bothered to get her out of the room. And he’d only stolen her Rolex. And what was that worth? Ten thousand, max? Was it just a warning?
Sarah might not have been telling me everything. She always locked her bedroom door, too. So had she forgotten to lock it last night? Maybe the burglar had the key, but how was that possible? Only Mr. Yamamoto, our landlord, kept the spare ones.
“Sarah, which of your friends have you spoken to since you moved in?” It had only been three weeks. Maybe a snake was disguised as a buddy? Todd could have spun a yarn and offered a reward for Sarah’s whereabouts, especially since his upside amounted to quite a treasure.
“Only Ken and Kaleb—the K brothers, I call them. Oh, and Megan. I’ve known her since forever, all the way back in kindergarten in West Virginia. I hooked up with her a few months back. She wouldn’t have told Todd. She hates him. Even threw up on his head once when we were kids.” She narrowed her eyes. “And you, of course. You know I’m here.”
I let that slide. “And my parents,” I added. Let’s see what she’ll still say to that.
“The K brothers have never met Todd. They work at Bank of America, and I got to know them, maybe a few months back. They’re typical banker types. Clean-cut and do everything above board. Hardly burglar material.”
Back in my room, my clock alarm rang so I excused myself after arranging to meet Sarah back at the apartment during my lunch break so the alarm people could install the security system. I didn’t even ask how she was going to get them here on such short notice that very afternoon; cash could buy quite a few favors. I’d have to let my landlord know, convince Mr. Yamamoto an alarm would raise his apartment’s value. He, too, could be swayed by US currency.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
October 29 – December 3
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