Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)(4)

by Meghan March

Detective Hennessy’s long stride carried him toward me and the uncooperative officer within seconds.

“Is there something we can help you with, Ms. Noble?”

The officer I was speaking to, the bar on his uniform read L. JENKINS, decided to reply for me.

“She’s trying to file a missing person’s report, and the missing person in question hasn’t been gone for even twenty-four hours yet. I keep explaining that because the girl is eighteen and Ms. Noble here isn’t a close relative, she really needs to get a family member to report the girl missing, and it’d be best if she waited another day or two to make sure the girl is really missing.”

“That’s not acceptable,” I said. “Trinity’s only been eighteen for four days. She’s barely an adult. Her grandmother is her only living relative, and she’s not much for getting out of the house these days. I’ve been the closest adult in Trinity’s life for years, and it’s absolutely ridiculous that you won’t file the damn report.”

My temper was flaring, even though I was trying to keep my cool. This was ridiculous. Trinity was barely out of school, didn’t live on her own, and when something was wrong in her life, she came to me.

“Jenkins, let me speak to Ms. Noble. You can carry on with your duties,” Hennessy told the fresh-faced officer who wouldn’t budge off his asinine rules.

Jenkins smirked at me, clearly pleased to be handing me off to someone else.

Fabulous. Now I’d have to make my plea directly to Hennessy when what I really wanted to do was have him hypnotized and order him to forget every interaction we’d ever had—especially last night.

Hennessy led me to a small room and shut the door behind us. He wasted no time before starting with the dreaded small talk.

“How are you feeling today?”

I swallowed back the urge to wish for some voodoo incantation that would handle the aforementioned memory wipe, and forced a placid smile to my lips. “I’m fine, thank you. I appreciate your assistance. I apologize for . . . everything.”

Hennessy shrugged, as if my personal humiliation was really no big deal. And honestly, compared to my concern over Trinity, my personal issues were nothing.

“You have a missing person to report?” he prompted.

“Yes, one of my employees. She’s the most responsible eighteen-year-old I know, and she’s never done anything like this before. Her grandmother said she didn’t come home last night, and she hasn’t heard from her. She didn’t show up at work today, and she’s not answering her cell. This isn’t like her. I’ve called all the hospitals, and Officer Ever-So-Helpful confirmed she wasn’t in jail.”

Hennessy’s face, handsome in a rough-hewn and stubbled sort of way, didn’t show any indication of his thoughts. “Have you called her friends? Boyfriend? Did she get into an argument with her grandmother or anyone else?”

“She and her grandmother aren’t exceptionally close, and Trinity basically just comes and goes as she pleases. As far as I know, they don’t argue about anything. She hasn’t been hanging out with her friends ever since she got involved with her boyfriend.”

Finally, Hennessy’s expression changed. Skepticism was branded all over it now. “Have you checked with the boyfriend?”

Feeling like a moron, I shook my head. “No. I don’t know how to get in contact with him.”

“Do you know his name?”

The moronic feelings compounded. “Derrick. I don’t know his last name.”

“You know anything about him? How old he is? Where he works? Who he might hang out with?”

I shook my head as I kicked myself for not getting more details. I’d been listening to Trinity talk about him for months, but she mostly just talked about their dates, how romantic he was, and that she was sure he was the one, but she was still going to start art school in the fall. She certainly wasn’t going to get knocked up—yet.

I sifted through all the details I could recall. “He worked for a guy. One guy, not a company. Sometimes she called Derrick ‘D-Rock,’ which I assumed was just some kind of pet name. The guy he worked for had an odd name too. Rex or something like that.”

Squeezing my eyes shut for a beat, I searched my memory for anything else I could think of. Why couldn’t I remember the name? Why hadn’t Trinity ever brought Derrick to the gallery? I’d assumed it was because he wasn’t interested in art, but hadn’t asked too many questions because she told me over and over how supportive he was of her going to college because he hadn’t gotten a chance to.

“And he’s older than her. Twenty-three or four, I think.” I opened my eyes to see a dark expression settle over Hennessy’s face. “What?”

“Was the guy’s name Rix? The one Derrick worked for?”

I felt like I’d hit the jackpot. “Yes! Rix. That’s it. Do you know him? Can you help me track down Derrick, and if Derrick hasn’t seen Trinity, will you file a missing person’s report and start investigating?”

Hope bubbled up inside me—and then Hennessy crushed it. He clicked his pen shut and flipped the little cop notebook closed. Bad sign.

“Your girl never mentioned that she hooked up with a gangbanger, did she?”

I blinked, trying to comprehend his words. “What do you mean?”

Hennessy crossed his arms and leaned back in the chair. “Rix heads up one of the biggest gangs in the city. I haven’t heard of D-Rock before, but it wouldn’t take me long to track him down, especially if he’s been arrested before.”

Shock ripped through me. “A gang? Like . . . what?”

Hennessy pushed his chair back from the table and rose. “Let me go run a search, and I’ll see if I can confirm it. But there’s only one guy I know named Rix in this town, and he and his crew are not people you should be messing with.”

He was already halfway out of the room when I gathered my wits and shoved out of my chair. Marching after him down the hall, I caught up with Hennessy as he turned a corner and entered a room full of desks and cops. The noise hit me first—everyone was either talking to someone or yelling.

Hennessy pulled out a chair at a battered metal desk covered in stacks of manila files, and began clicking keys on a keyboard.

My mind was on Trinity’s boyfriend and what that meant. She’d never once mentioned he was in a gang. It had to be a mistake. There could be more than one guy named Rix in this city. I dropped into the molded plastic and metal chair next to the desk without invitation.