>Chapter 6: Secrets
Seeing Jesse made Veronica feel all the import of the last day. It felt like they had talked years ago, not days. They swapped stories while walking the quiet side streets near Veronica’s home. Though the sun burned, she could still see her breath blow out in white clouds.
“You’re not kidding about Guarini,” Jesse said, running his hands over his curly brown hair. “He brought up my arrest and inferred that I hacked into the systems at Maddox Tech and stole information to sell it.”
“I’m not surprised.”
Jesse shifted his gaze, looking at her suspiciously from the side.
“I mean, they would know your background and all.” Veronica cursed herself for speaking so quickly. Her boyfriend knew nothing about her meetings with Maddox Felton and she couldn’t tell him she was going to spy for him. Not if the spying was going to work anyway.
“I was seventeen!” Jesse shook his head. “I didn’t hack into anything. And Guarini’s a fool if he thinks Felton would keep anything that secret around to take in the first place.”
Veronica’s heart stung with that assessment of the Lieutenant. Not that she’d had the best feelings of him either, but still. “He’s doing what he’s paid to do. Besides, part of the process is elimination and that means asking tough questions.”
Jesse scowled. “Where’s the love, V? I haven’t seen you in a week!”
“You haven’t given me much to work with either.” She gave him a sharp look out of the side of her glasses. “I did hit someone with my car if you remember.”
“I know. But he was already dead.”
“And that makes it okay?”
“No, but you didn’t do anything wrong so what difference does it make?”
Veronica flung around. “What difference does it make? I discovered the body of a human being. That’s a big difference!”
“Okay, okay. You don’t have to freak out. I’m just saying everything worked out fine in your case. You’re best friends with the Lieutenant now and no harm’s done. But I’m not out of the hole yet.”
Veronica examined him coldly. “No, you’re not.”
“You know, I should be mad at you. Why didn’t you call me about what happened until today?”
They stopped walking and Veronica scanned through her memories, wondering how to explain without mentioning any of the real reasons. “I just…it was just….” She sighed. “I was kind of worn out and didn’t want to talk anymore.”
“Well, you talked to somebody. Who?”
“You know, my brother, sister-in-law…Guarini.”
“And you couldn’t squeeze me in?”
Veronica licked her lips. “Honestly, no. But that’s why I wanted you to come over.” She could feel her ears turning red and hoped her hair covered them. “So let’s stop fighting and you can tell me more about all the conspiracy whisperings at work.”
Asserting it was all nonsense, Jesse still went on to relay everything he’d heard since learning about their colleague, David Moore’s, death. Veronica listened more intently than she ever had to his office gossip, hoping that hiding what really happened the day before would pay off in the long-run.
If you’re just joining Veronica’s story, catch up with the previous five chapters right here.