Chapter no 47 – GRAYSON

The Brothers Hawthorne

From the beginning, Grayson’s fear had been that the contents of the safe-deposit box might shed light on what his father had really been up to in the lead-up to his “disappearance.” Financial records of payments Sheffield Grayson made to have Avery watched, to have a bomb planted on her plane. Record of Sheffield’s travel to Texas the days before her kidnapping. Evidence of a long-term grudge against the Hawthorne family. The possibilities pumped through Grayson’s head, rhythmically, incessantly.

The name on the ID in his hands seemed like confirmation.

Which made it all the clearer: Grayson couldn’t allow Gigi or Savannah access to the box. He needed to get in himself, vet the contents, clear the box out before anyone else discovered its existence. But first, he had to switch the keys.

He strode toward the bank, Savannah beside him, and slipped the key into the pocket of his dress pants, then allowed his fingers to make their way inside the envelope in which the decoy key sat.

“I’ll handle this,” Savannah declared icily, her hand locking over the door handle. “Just give me the key. It doesn’t belong to you.”

Grayson withdrew his hand from his pocket. He gave her the decoy key. It’s done. The switch had been smooth. Easy. He shouldn’t have felt sick to his stomach.

He shouldn’t have felt like he’d lost something. Admit it, he could hear Gigi saying cheerfully. We’re friends.

“May I help you?” A bank employee zeroed in on them six steps into the building.

Savannah assessed the man who’d offered assistance with a small, perfunctory smile. “I may need to speak to someone more senior.”

“That won’t be necessary.” The employee looked to be in his midtwenties. “How can I help you?”

Savannah raked her eyes over his face. “I need to access my father’s safe-deposit box.” She arched one delicate brow. “I have the key and his information, as well as my own.”

The employee made an attempt at seeming all business, but Grayson couldn’t help noticing the way his gaze lingered on Savannah. “Right this way.” He led them back to a computer. “Are you an authorized user on the account?”

“Presumably.” Savannah’s reply was virtually arctic. “The box is under the name Tobias Davenport.”

“And you have the key?” the man asked, typing in the name.

Savannah brandished it, holding it between her index finger and her thumb. The man reached for it, and she let it drop into her palm and closed her fingers over it. “I’ll hold on to this until we go back, thank you.”

The man visibly flushed. When he spoke again, his voice was terse. “Your identification, please.”

You’re not making friends here, Savannah, Grayson thought.

“Mine,” Savannah said, sliding two IDs and a piece of paper across the counter. “Along with the box owner’s and a signed and notarized statement granting me access.”

She’d forged a notary’s signature and seal? That was a felony.

“I’m afraid you’re not listed on the account, Ms. Grayson.” There was just the barest hint of satisfaction in the bank employee’s voice. Grayson wasn’t sure when, precisely, the man had tipped from wanting to prove himself to her to wanting to have power over her, but he unquestionably had.

“Hence the signed statement,” Savannah replied calmly. “As I said, I may need to speak to someone more senior.”

Grayson almost intervened. The tension around the man’s mouth was visible now. “I assure you, even the bank’s CEO would tell you the same.”

“I’m afraid you misapprehend the situation.” Savannah was utterly unflappable.

“I apprehend the situation just fine.” The man glared at her. “The only

people authorized to access this box are Mr. Davenport himself and Acacia…” The man seemed to realize what he was saying a second too late. “Grayson.”

“Thank you,” Savannah said, her lips tilting slightly upward on the ends. “You’ve been very helpful.”

Grayson waited until they were back outside to speak “You were never trying to get into the box.”

“Unlike my sister, I’m a realist.” Savannah cut Grayson a pointed look. “And my last name isn’t Hawthorne.” Her stride was nearly as long as his own. “I’m surprised you’re not fighting me on this, telling me that you can handle it.”

I could, Grayson thought, but that wasn’t what he said. “I’m not your enemy, Savannah.” Lies.

“Maybe not.” Savannah’s cool agreement felt more like the thrust of a blade. “But you’re also not my keeper—or Gigi’s. We do not need you.” Savannah’s pale blonde hair shone in the sun. “I have everything under control.”

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