Chapter no 22

Never Lie

The recording comes to a stop and the tape recorder clicks, turning off automatically. Based on this recording, it sounds like EJ was forcing Dr. Hale to continue doing therapy sessions with him. Maybe he was blackmailing her.

Except what was he using to blackmail her?

I’m not sure I can listen to any more EJ sessions. There’s something about the sound of his voice that makes my skin crawl. You can tell just from listening to him that he’s not a good person.

He’s evil. “Tricia?”

I nearly jump out of my skin at the sound of rapping on the door to the office. I just barely have time to shove the tape recorder into the top drawer of the desk before the door swings open. It’s driving me crazy that this house doesn’t have any locks.

“Tricia?” Ethan is standing at the door, the bottom of his jeans slightly damp from the snow even though he was wearing boots. “What are you doing in here?”

I pick up a pen that was lying on the desk and tap it purposefully against the shiny wooden surface. “I decided since there isn’t much to do, I would work on my résumé a little.”

It’s a plausible enough lie. At the moment, I’m between jobs. I used to work at an online magazine. You know the

kind—twelve tips to make your boyfriend sizzle, five recipes that will get things going in the bedroom, how to drop fifteen pounds without even trying. I was the master at creating clickbait. But then the magazine unexpectedly went belly up right before the wedding. It wasn’t like I was going to look for jobs on my honeymoon, so it gave me an excuse to procrastinate. And somehow now it’s been almost six months that I’ve been unemployed.

It’s not that I don’t want to work. I do. I would love to be a productive member of society. But I remember how long it took to find a permanent position at the magazine, and I’m not excited to start pounding the pavement again. Rejection hurts, even though it’s a part of the job application process.

And now house hunting has become yet another excuse to avoid it. After all, moving and possibly renovating a house will be a full-time job. And of course, now my pregnancy.

Ethan is apparently thinking the same thing, because he crinkles his nose. “You’re looking for a job now? But we’re going to have a baby soon.”

“Not that soon,” I point out, even though I secretly agree with him. “I don’t know if I’ll take anything, but it can’t hurt to look, right?”

“Right. I mean, you can look if you want. But if you want to stay home during your pregnancy, I’d be okay with that.” He grins at me. “More than okay.”

I get a warm fuzzy feeling all over my body. I hit the husband jackpot. I don’t know why my friends don’t like him. Whenever we talk about him, they always say, this is a red flag, or that’s a red flag. But Ethan is a genuinely good guy. What does it matter that he hasn’t had many girlfriends before me? And why should the fact that he lost his parents and doesn’t have much family be a reason I should avoid him?

My mother would say they’re jealous. After all, I have a gorgeous, wealthy husband, who just wants me all to himself.

I clear my throat. “Did you get the laptop?”

He holds his MacBook up triumphantly. “I almost sunk into about six feet of snow, but I got it.”

I look around the room. When we first came in here, Ethan’s eyes lit up and he had talked about how much he wanted to make this room into his office. “Do you want to work in this room?”

“Actually,” he says, “not really. It’s a big room, and the furniture is nice, but there’s no natural light in here. There’s just that one tiny window.”

I glance over my shoulder at the window in question. He’s right. Most of the rooms have these huge picture windows, but this room doesn’t. Maybe that’s why she chose it to be the room where she sees patients. Because it’s so isolated.

“So I’m going to go work upstairs,” he says. “You can stay down here if you’d like.”

“Maybe I will.”

“And it’s great that you’re working on your résumé,” he adds, “but for the record, I’ll happily support you for the rest of your life if that’s what you want.”

It’s not what I want, but my cheeks flush with pleasure at the offer. He means it—I know that much. He wants to spend his life taking care of me.

Of course, my friends would probably call it yet another red flag. He’s trying to control you with money. Bullshit. He’s just a good guy.

“Anyway,” Ethan says, “are you all right down here? Is there anything you need?”

“No, I’m fine.” “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. Really.”

Now my cheeks are hot because I feel bad that I want him to leave. I want him to go away so I can continue listening to these tapes. It’s quickly become a bit of an addiction.

Will the contents of these tapes reveal the secret of what really happened to Dr. Adrienne Hale?

I can’t leave this house without finding out.

I open the bottom drawer of the desk. I rifle through the cassette tapes inside and the one that’s different catches my eye. LUKE. The boyfriend. Why does she have a recording of her boyfriend?

I pull the tape out of the drawer and remove it from the cover. I eject the session with EJ and I put the new tape inside the player. Then I press Play.

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