Chapter no 43

Never Lie

I want to do something to try to distract Ethan from the hidden room, but his eyes are focused on it like a laser beam.

“What is that?” he says.

“I… I don’t know. Probably just a closet.”

But he’s not listening to me. He strides over to the bookcase while my heart does jumping jacks in my chest. How could I be so stupid as to leave it open? I was sure I shut it the last time I went in to grab some tapes, but I noticed the latch doesn’t always catch. It must’ve swung open again after I closed it.

And in a flash, Ethan is pulling open the door. I at least turned the light out, which delays him about five seconds as he fumbles around for the cord. When he finally finds it and the room lights up, I hear the sharp inhalation of his breath. “What the…?”

I stand at the entrance to the room, wringing my hands together. I want to pretend I don’t know anything about this, but he’ll see right through me.

Ethan selects one tape from a shelf. He examines the writing on the spine. “She recorded all her patient interviews…”

“Yeah…” I say.

“There must be thousands of these…” His eyes rake over the shelves and shelves packed with tapes. “When did you find this place?”

My cheeks feel like they’re on fire. “Um…” “Tricia…”

“Yesterday. I found it yesterday.” “And you didn’t tell me?”

Obviously not. “You seemed busy with work. I didn’t think you would care.”

“That’s a load of bullshit and you know it, Tricia.” Bright red creeps into his face from his neck. “Have you been listening to these tapes?”

“No,” I answer quickly.

He raises his eyebrows. “How about if you tell me the truth this time?”

“Maybe a couple…”

Don’t lie.” His voice is sharp now, not quite yelling but just on the verge. There’s a glint in his eyes that makes me take a step back. “Have you been listening to these tapes?”

“Not that many. Maybe five or six.”

I’m still lying. I listened to far more tapes than that. If Ethan went back into Dr. Hale’s office and looked in her desk drawer, he would see more tapes than that. I’m taking a chance he won’t do that.

“Don’t listen to any more tapes,” he says in a voice that doesn’t sound like the man I married. “Promise me you won’t.”

“I promise,” I gasp.

He stands there for a moment, studying my face. I try not to squirm under his gaze. It’s yet another reminder that I’ve only known this man for a little over a year. There’s so much I still don’t know about him, even though I’ve pledged to spend my life with him and I’ve got his child growing inside me. He doesn’t want to share his past with me, and whenever I bring it up, he shuts down.

I’m his wife. He should feel comfortable telling me anything. It’s upsetting that he feels there are things he can’t tell me. That needs to change. Maybe not this minute, but everything needs to get laid out on the table. Soon. If we’re starting a family together, there can’t be any secrets.

Ethan finally rips his eyes away from my face. He turns around and closes the door to the hidden room. I hear the

snap as it closes. When he turns back to look at me, the color in his face has gone back to normal.

“I’m going out now to try to find help,” he says. “I’ll be back soon, okay?”

I nod, not wanting him to leave, although realizing it has to be this way.

He reaches out and grabs my arm hard enough that it hurts. But not enough to leave behind bruises. “Don’t go in that room again.”

“I won’t…”

“I mean it.” His grip tightens. “That’s private patient information. We could get in a lot of trouble for listening to it. We should turn it over to the police.”

“Yes, of course.” But there’s something in his eyes that tells me this isn’t the reason he doesn’t want me to listen to those tapes. He isn’t being entirely honest with me.

He runs his tongue over his lips. “How did you get it open, anyway?

The Shining. I was going to read it, but it unlocked the door when I tried to pull it open.”

He considers this for a moment, then he nods. He yanks his black beanie out of his coat pocket and shoves it onto his golden hair. He’s got on his black boots, and he stomps across the living room on his way to the front door. He gives me one last look before he slams the door shut behind him.

The sound of the door slamming echoes through the giant living room. For a full minute after he’s gone, I just stand there. Trying to figure out my next move.

Ethan knows about the hidden room with the cassette tapes in it. I don’t know if he’s going to make good on his promise to tell the police about it, but if there’s any chance of that, I’ve got to put back all the tapes I removed from the room. I don’t want to be accused of tampering with evidence.

There’s only one problem:

If I want those tapes back, I have to go back into Dr.

Hale’s office.

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