Home > Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)(15)

Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)(15)
Author: S.T. Abby

My mind is fucked. All she has to do is ask me to join her, and I’ll be at her side. So I’m grateful that she doesn’t, because I’m not even sure what to feel about this.

“When the lights go off and the music is playing, I often think back to my mother dancing with my father. I was so young. My younger self didn’t understand how important it was to treasure and soak in all those memories. But the ones I have stay with me. Those memories kept me alive and helped drown out some of the nightmares.”

My thumb traces over her lip as I study her.

“Come on,” I say, rolling off her and standing up.

She looks at me like I’ve lost my mind until I flip on my phone and the music starts streaming through. Her eyes glisten almost instantly, and she smiles as I tug her hand, urging her to join me.

Naked in the middle of the bedroom, I pull her to me. Her head falls to my chest, and my lips press against the top of her head as I hold her as close as possible.

And we dance.

We dance for several songs.

Until she’s suddenly climbing up me and kissing me hungrily, like she can’t hold back any longer, and the night is too close to ending.

And I take her over and over, until the sun is shining down on us and we’re both too spent to even attempt another round.

As she gets comfortable on top of me, her eyes lazily drifting shut, I ask, “Why Lana Myers? What made you choose that name?”

She grins as her eyes struggle to remain open.

“My mother said she and my father always argued about my name before I was born. They agreed immediately on Marcus, but my name? It was one of the few arguments they ever held. She wanted Victoria because of my late grandma. My father loved the name Lana, had heard it when he was traveling as a teen with his parents. He said he felt like I was going to be a Lana, and not some regal girl like the name Victoria suggested.”

She laughs under her breath, her gaze shifting as she drifts into her memories again.

“Mom said after I was born, she knew she was right. But Dad said he was right, because the definition of Lana suited me perfectly, even though my mother argued I was as hot-tempered as any Victoria there ever was.”

I tilt my head, wanting in on the inside joke. “What does Lana mean?”

“Depends on the country. Precious. Little Rock. Sun Ray. But Dad said it was the Hawaiian meaning above all else that suited me—afloat; calm as still waters. It took a storm to offer me a calm.”

She meets my gaze again, and I smile, thinking of how well it does suit her.

“I needed a name that meant something; I needed something to keep me from fading into a new persona. That was the only one I had,” she goes on.

I run my finger along her nose, tapping the end of it. “It fits you perfectly. But why Myers?”

A darker smile lights her lips. “My father was also a horror movie buff. Old school horror movies. He said he didn’t have the time or patience for pretty boy douchebags who had mommy issues.”

I laugh unexpectedly, and she grins.

“Mom always teased him that he just liked the scary, in-your-face psychopaths with mommy issues. Michael Myers was one of his faves.”

I laugh harder, shaking my head, and she lifts her hand, running her fingers through my hair. Our eyes meet and a calm silence washes over us.

“Can I ask a case related question?” I ask hesitantly.

“You know everything that’s happened,” Lana says warily. “I can’t tell you what’s left.”

“Do you know who the original killer was?”

That’s when there’s a knock at the door, pausing our conversation.

“Yeah?” Lana calls out, her body sprawled across mine.

“I hate to break up the reunion, but there’s an emergency meeting going on right now. Donny says we need to be at the cabins ASAP.”

“Shit,” I groan, cursing the day already.

Lana rolls off me with effortless grace and grabs a robe, tying it together before I even manage to pry myself from the bed. She leans against the wall and just watches me as I quickly dress.

“You’re good, Logan,” Lana says quietly, drawing my attention to her as she perches on the edge of a dresser. “It’s the thing I love most about you. Do whatever you feel is right. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay.”

I knew what her answer was going to be when I asked the question last night, but hearing the finality in her tone is like a sledgehammer to my stomach.

“This isn’t goodbye, Lana. I’ll be back tonight. We may have to actually sleep, but I will be back.”

She smiles at me, but it’s weighted once again.

I turn my phone back on, letting it go crazy with messages I don’t have time to read. Instead of wasting these last few minutes, I kiss her, letting her know I love her even if she is choosing to finish this.

My head is still spinning with a thousand conflicting arguments as to why this is wrong or right, but I refuse to give her up.

“Later,” I say against her lips.

“Later,” she whispers back.

Hadley and I leave and head to her vehicle, and I take in her disheveled hair and realize…that house has only two bedrooms.

“I thought you were gay,” I say as she works from her laptop in the passenger seat in the silver car she got from who knows where.

“I told you I wasn’t. I’ve always liked guys and girls…but you know what? Let’s have this conversation later. Whatever is bugging Donny has me worried.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” I say dismissively.

It’s not until we’re almost back at the cabins that I realize I never got an answer to the question I asked Lana about the original serial killer.

But the look in her eyes told me she knows.

Chapter 9

Everything’s fine today; that is our illusion.



“Showtime?” Jake asks as I walk into the living room. My hair is pulled back, my combat boots are on, and my red shirt is the only pop of color on the otherwise black apparel.

“Final countdown.”

I take out the paintbrushes, pull up my hoodie, and grab two cans of paint.

“You take the east, and I’ll take the west. I’m assuming you know what that meeting is about?” Jake asks.

“Yeah. It’s what we predicted from the start. Johnson and the director are about to railroad the entire investigation. Johnson has his target, which happens to be Diana’s son, despite his numerous alibies and the fact he’s states away.”

“And dating a damn fancy lawyer who will give them hell before they ever even think about arresting him,” Jake adds with a smirk.

“It’s almost anti-climatic how predictable they all are.” I feign a sad sigh, but he doesn’t smile the way I expect him to.

“I’m having reservations about the final leg of the plan. I think we should just leave and let the fireworks happen instead of you risking yourself.”

I quirk an eyebrow at him, ignoring all the festering emotions that are aching inside my chest. Today, Logan will leave. Tonight, Logan will be free to forget me.

His life will go on, and he’ll eventually just see this as a blemish in his otherwise flawless character.

“I’m not risking anything but them surviving if we deviate now, Jake. Have a little faith. I’m better than them. They’ve not even laid a hand on me.”

His lips thin, and his gaze flicks to the bullet graze on my bandaged cheek, but he doesn’t argue as we pack our separate vehicles with the paint.

“Quit dawdling. We have an entire town to terrorize,” I say when I know he’s about to press the issue.

He’s worried about me surviving.

I see a life too empty to be concerned with the notion of survival.

Chapter 10

The road to perdition has ever been accompanied by lip service to an ideal.

—Albert Einstein


“You’re fucking kidding me,” I snap, glaring at Johnson as he pokes his chest out, posturing like a motherfucking gorilla about to beat the damn thing.

“You have your orders. You and the rest of your team are to return to Quantico. The director signed off on it. That’s what happens when you stray from the current case to work on a closed case from ten years ago, while people continue to die in this town. Four people in one night died, and you didn’t even bother to ask any questions. Nor did you bother to show up to where all the officers set up to canvas the surrounding woods in that area.”

Donny grips me before I can launch myself at the smug son of a bitch smirking at me.

I brush Donny off, grabbing my phone as I walk out the door, ignoring the stupid fucking deputy who has the audacity to act like he’s going to lead me to one of the SUVs.

Collins finally answers, and I immediately start snapping at him.

“You’re letting this happen? You’re letting them pull us out so they can do what? Launch a new witch hunt like the one they did ten years ago? It’s obvious they didn’t learn their lesson. You’re really going after a pro athlete with a fucking lawyer girlfriend?”

Collins heaves out a breath. “It’s out of my hands, and the girlfriend already knew about the intent to arrest before it was ever decided. Obviously they have a leak, and she’s pretty much squashed their entire case. It’s not going to be like last time.”

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