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Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)(5)
Author: Meghan March

“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.

“You should’ve stayed in the conference room, Valentina,” Hennessy said without looking away from the computer monitor.

“Well, I wasn’t just going to sit there and look pretty while you figure out if the girl I’ve known for years is caught up with something she probably doesn’t even understand. Trinity is good people. She’s bright, hardworking, and loves art, and she wants to paint and own her own gallery. She’s not the kind of girl who falls for a guy in a gang. She’s smarter than that.”

Hennessy finally looked at me. “Are you sure? Some people say you can’t choose who you fall for.”

When I didn’t address that comment, Hennessy’s attention went back to the monitor as mug shots started to appear. One was of a very handsome young black man, and Hennessy clicked on it.

“Derrick Rockins, also known as D-Rock, is a low-level member of the New Orleans Down ’n Out, also known as the NODOs, which is the gang currently headed by Rix.”

I straightened in the chair, disbelief warring with fear. No. Way. This had to be a mistake.

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Sorry, Valentina. Your girl got hooked up with a guy in the wrong crowd.”

My concern for Trinity mounted exponentially. “So that’s all the more reason to investigate that she’s missing, right? I mean, who knows what could have happened to her? She’s in danger. Clearly.”

My voice was rising with every word, and I could only imagine what my face looked like right now as panic zipped through my system, but Hennessy never lost his unflappable calm.

“She’s eighteen. She’s made her choices. Keep calling her, and if you don’t hear from her by tomorrow, get her grandmother to give us a call to file the report. For adults, it’s usually best if a close family member is the one to report the disappearance.”

“But—”

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