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Chapter no 10 – GRAYSON

The Brothers Hawthorne

They were keeping Juliet Grayson in an interrogation room. She sat cross-legged on top of the table, her wrists resting on her knees, palms up. Her hair was chocolate brown to Grayson’s light blond, wavy where his was straight. She wore it cut just below her chin, the waves buoyant, gravity-defying, and a little wild.

She was staring at an empty coffee cup, her eyes—brighter and bluer than his—unblinking.

“Still no telekinesis?” the cop who’d led Grayson back here asked. The prisoner grinned. “Maybe I need more coffee?”

“You definitely do not need more coffee,” the cop said.

The girl—Grayson’s flesh and blood, though she couldn’t know that and he wouldn’t dwell on it—hopped off the table, her hair bouncing. “Matilda by Roald Dahl,” she told him by way of explanation. “It’s a children’s book in which a neglected kid genius develops the ability to move objects with her mind. The first thing she ever knocks over is a glass of water. I read it when I was seven, and it ruined me for life.”

Grayson found himself almost wanting to smile, perhaps because the girl across from him was beaming like it was her default state. Without turning back toward the police officer, he spoke. “Leave us.”

 

 

The trick to making people do what you wanted was absolute certainty that they would.

“Wow!” the human ray of sunshine across from him said once the cop was gone. “That was great!” She adopted a deep and serious voice. “Leave us. I’m Gigi, by the way, and I bet you never have to break into bank vaults.

You just look at them, and boom, they’re open!”

Break into bank vaults? Grayson had known the location where she had been taken into police custody, but the details had been vague.

“Impressive eyebrow arch,” Gigi told him cheerfully. “But can you do this?” She let her blue eyes go very round, her lower lip trembling. Then she grinned and jerked a thumb toward the table, where the empty coffee cup she’d been trying to knock over was surrounded by five others. “Read ’em and weep. I make that face, and they just keep bringing me coffee! And chocolate, but I don’t like chocolate.” Out of nowhere, she produced a candy bar and held it out to him. “Twix?”

 

 

Grayson had an urge to tell her that this wasn’t a game. That she was in police custody. That this was serious. Instead, he tamped down on the protective instincts and opted for: “You haven’t asked who I am.”

“I mean, I did say I’m Gigi,” she said with a winning smile, “so the lack of introduction here is kind of on you, buddy.” She lowered her voice. “Did Mr. Trowbridge send you? It’s about time. I called him last night as soon as they brought me in.”

Trowbridge. Grayson filed the name away and decided the most prudent course of action was to leave the premises before someone realized that no one had, in fact, sent him. “Let’s go.”

 

 

Gigi practically vibrated out of her skin when she saw the Spider. “You know, full disclosure, I have not historically been the best driver, but blue really is my color and—”

“No,” Grayson said. By the time he made it to the driver’s side, Gigi was already making herself comfortable in the passenger seat. Never get in a car with a stranger, he wanted to tell her, but he stopped himself. In and out. He was here to deliver her home, make sure the legal situation was fully taken care of, and that was it.

“You don’t work for Mr. Trowbridge, do you?” Gigi said, after they’d been on the road for a few minutes.

“Does Mr. Trowbridge have a first name?” Grayson asked.

“Kent,” Gigi supplied helpfully. “He’s a family friend. And our lawyer.

Lawyer-friend. I used my phone call to call him instead of my mom because she isn’t a lawyer and also there’s a slight chance she’s under the impression that I spent last night and today at a friend’s house, where I committed no crimes and wholesome fun was had by all.”

The more Gigi talked, the faster she talked. Grayson was beginning to develop the sense that she should not be given caffeine. At all.

“If Mr. Trowbridge didn’t send you…” Gigi’s voice went quiet. “Was it my dad?”

Grayson had been raised to push down his emotions. Control was not and had never been optional. He kept his mind in the present. He didn’t think about Sheffield Grayson at all.

“It was, wasn’t it?” Gigi leaped to the conclusion like a ballerina across the stage. “Can you make sure Dad knows I wasn’t really breaking into that bank? I was just kind of moseying my way back to where they keep the ultra-secure safe-deposit boxes. But not in a bad way!”

“Moseying?” Grayson let his skeptical tone speak for itself.

 

 

The seventeen-year-old next to him grinned. “It’s not my fault I have a really sneaky mosey.” She paused. “Seriously, though, have you talked to my dad recently?”

You father is dead. “I have not.”

“But you do know him?” Gigi didn’t wait for a response. “You worked for him or something? Secretly. On something that totally explains his disappearance?”

Grayson swallowed. “I cannot help you.”

The energy she’d exuded up to that point seemed to retract. “I know that he must have had a good reason for leaving. I know that there’s not another woman. I know about the box.”

Clearly, Gigi believed that he understood what she was talking about. That he did, in fact, work for her father. Telling her the truth—any part of it

—would have been a kindness, but it was a kindness he could not afford.

I know, she’d said, about the box. “The safe-deposit box.” Grayson made the obvious inference, given her earlier confession about the events that had led to her arrest.

“I have the key,” Gigi said earnestly. “But it’s not under his real name, and I don’t know what name he used. Do you?”

Sheffield Grayson had a safe-deposit box under another name. It took

Grayson less than a second to process that—and the possible implications. “Juliet, your father didn’t send me. I don’t work for him.”

“But you do know him,” Gigi said quietly. “Don’t you?”

Grayson flashed back to a conversation, a cold exchange. My nephew was the closest thing I will ever have to a son, and he is dead because of the Hawthorne family. “Not well.”

He’d met Sheffield Grayson only that once.

“Well enough to know he didn’t just leave?” Gigi asked, a note of hope in her voice. “He wouldn’t have,” she continued fiercely. Blinking back tears, she looked down, her riotous waves falling into her face. “When I was five, I had my tonsils out, and my dad filled the entire hospital room with balloons. There were so many the nurses got mad. He sits front row at all of Savannah’s games—or at least, he used to. He would never cheat on my mom.”

Grayson felt each sentence out of her mouth like a slice into bare skin.

 

 

He did cheat on your mother. He couldn’t tell her that. I’m the result.

“So this whole ‘he ran off to the Maldives or Tunisia for some tax-free hanky-panky’ thing? I don’t believe it,” Gigi said vehemently. “My dad didn’t just leave. And I’m going to prove it.”

“With whatever is in that safe-deposit box.” Grayson heard the way his tone must have sounded to her: calm and cool. But his mind was on Avery and what she stood to lose if the truth about Sheffield Grayson’s disappearance came out.

He pulled his car to a stop in front of a large stucco house. The design was Tuscan, striking and tasteful. If Gigi wondered how he knew where she lived, she gave no sign of it. Instead, she pulled a delicate chain out from beneath her aquamarine shirt.

On the end of the chain, there was a key. A safe-deposit box key.

“I found this inside my dad’s computer.” Gigi gave Grayson a beseeching look. “I’m a computer person. I think he wanted me to find it, you know? To find him.”

“You should get some sleep.”

“After six cups of jailhouse coffee?” Gigi tossed her hair. “I’m pretty sure I can fly.”

Grayson eyed the height of the roof on the Grayson family’s abode. “You cannot.” He brought his gray eyes to meet her bright blue ones. This

might well be good-bye. “You cannot fly. You cannot keep breaking into banks. You can’t, Juliet.”

She closed her eyes. “My dad called me that, you know. He was the only one. I declared myself Gigi at age two and brought everyone else over to my side by sheer force of will.” Blue eyes opened again, bright and clear and full of steel. “I’m like that.”

She’s not going to stop. Grayson sat with that thought for a moment. “Will you at least tell me your name?” Gigi asked.

Clearly, she hadn’t recognized him. Not a fan of celebrity gossip sites, then. He gave her his first name only. “Grayson.”

“Your first name just happens to be the same as my last name?” Gigi gave him a look. “Don’t take this the wrong way, ‘Grayson,’ but I think you could use some lessons on being sneaky.”

If only she knew.

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