Home > Kian(10)

Author: Tijan

The media speculation about where I had gone would spark up again. It was only a matter of time. And my small sanctuary lasted until Sunday morning when that phone rang. It wasn’t my cell phone. It wasn’t the landline that Erica had insisted we get. It wasn’t her cell phone. There was only one other phone in the apartment, and only I knew who was on the other line.

I didn’t say anything when I accepted the call. I didn’t need to. The other person said, “Mel’s Diner. One hour.” They hung up, and the hope I’d had of remaining hidden was gone.

That phone had been given to me by a federal agent who was assigned to me. The case drew enough national attention the FBI were called in, and when everything was done, he helped me hide and start a new life.

When I got to the diner, he was in the back booth, reading a newspaper. Kian’s face was plastered on the front, staring at me as I made that trek past the few other diners. Our booth was set far apart from the others and as I slid into my side, he folded the newspaper down. Kian’s face was on the outside, staring up at me.

I sighed. I’d never get away from him.

“Long weekend?”

I shot him a look. “Not funny, Snark.”

He laughed, but there was no smile or grin on his face. His entire face remained stone-like.

I wasn’t joking when I called him Snark. That was his last name. He had introduced himself to me three years ago as Agent Snark. I’d asked one time if it was a nickname.

He’d looked at me, deadpan, and responded, “Why would I joke about my name?”

That was the last of that conversation, and he’d been Snark ever since.

He took off his reading glasses now and inspected my face, taking his time with his perusal. He finally said, “You look different.”

“You told me to look different.”

“You lost weight?”

“I gained twenty pounds.”

I was inspecting him, too, but he looked the same—graying brown hair and eyes that still looked dead. I knew they were blue, but the flat look he had in them outweighed any color they might’ve had. He just had dead eyes to me. His skin was wrinkled, showing signs of aging. He kept himself trim, like he had back then, but I saw the wedding ring was gone from his hand. I bit the inside of my lip. There was no way I could ask him what had happened, if he’d divorced or if he was a widow. Snark did not share information—ever.

He asked now, “You’re healthy?”

“I didn’t go to the gym before. I do now.”

“Good. That’s a new habit then.”

“I also drink coffee now.” I used to drink tea before.

“That’s good, too.” He asked, “Boyfriend?”

“How’s that your business?”

He didn’t answer me. I should’ve known he wouldn’t, so I reached for a napkin and started to shred it piece by piece, but he took it from me. He slid it to the side, and I remembered—new habits. That was an old one.

I shook my head. “No boyfriend.”

“Not even that Jake guy?”

“How did you…” He was FBI. “Have you been watching me the whole time?”

“Since he was released, yes.” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Tell me about this Jake guy. What’s he like?”


“Because he wants to see you.”

That halted everything. I had guessed, but hearing it made the floor open up beneath me. “Are you serious?”

“As a bullet to my forehead.” His eyes narrowed, still studying me. “Now, tell me about this Jake guy.”


“Because he’s new. Your other friends are not. Erica. That kid nicknamed Wanker, and by the way, I’d like to know how he got that nickname.”

“For my file?”

“No.” He grinned. “For my own enjoyment, but that’s not important right now. Start reporting. Get on with it.”

“No.” My friends weren’t new. “I moved in with Erica this year. I was in the dorms my first two years, and my roommates were assigned. Jake’s not new either, and I’m not spending time with him anymore.”

“You spoke to him yesterday and again last evening.”

“Wha—” My head was swimming. “Jake hung out with us last night. That’s it, and it won’t be a recurring thing. I dated him briefly in December. It ended when he decided to go back to his previous girlfriend. I don’t understand why any of this is important. Am I in danger? Does Kian want revenge on me or…” Nothing was making sense. “What is going on?”

“The judge was dirty.”


“The judge was dirty. That’s why your boy was released. His lawyers broke the case, but as they know, that means their client can be retried.”

“But double jeopardy? Isn’t that what it is?”

“Not if there wasn’t a fair trial. And a dirty judge—that’s not a fair trial. The District Attorney wants to put him back in. They want him to serve the rest of his eight years, and we think Kian’s team is going to use anything they can to throw that possibility out the window.”



“Me?” What did that mean? What was he talking about? “Me what?”

“If and when Kian is taken back to trial, we think his legal team is going to go after you.”

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