“And then wine happened,” he adds.
“And then wine happened,” I agree with a nod. “Fucking wine.”
We’re both quiet for a few minutes until Leo finally reaches over and takes my hands in his again.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you what was going on, but I’m not sorry you felt like shit for keeping this from me. You should feel like shit for that,” he sighs. “And I only brought up pie around you all the time because I knew it made you act weirder than usual, and I was just trying to get you two to tell me what was going on. I seriously had no idea it was because of something like this. You honestly thought this entire time that you were the one who murdered Jed?”
All I can do is shrug. The more I think about it, and actually saying it out loud to Leo, made me realize just how stupid the entire thing was and how dumb Emma Jo and I acted. Did we honestly think we could get away with murder if it turned out Jed really had died from eating the poisoned pie we made?
“I should have kept you guys up-to-date with the investigation and the autopsy and I’m sorry about that and for whatever part I played in the two of you losing more of your minds,” he apologizes, his voice going quieter. “I’m out of my element here, Payton. The first murder that happened in this town, happened under my watch, and I don’t know what the hell to do.”
I quickly scoot closer to him, letting go of his hands to wrap my arms around him and rest my chin on his shoulder so I can be near him and still look at his face.
“Don’t apologize to me for anything. I know this has been hard on you, and I know you’re probably not allowed to tell anyone certain things about the case and it was wrong of me to expect that from you,” I admit softly. “I was just freaked out and things got a little out of hand trying to cover it up.”
Leo pulls his face back a few inches from mine and stares down at me.
“Cover it up?” he repeats.
“Ummmm, did I forget to mention I also bagged up the pie baking mess from the kitchen while you were busy outside that night with Jed’s body, hid it in the hall closet, and then snuck out of the laundry room window later that night and burned it in the back yard?” I ask.
He leans forward, pulling out of my arms to rest his elbows on his knees and put his head in his hands.
“I swear on Baby Cecil, that’s the last thing I haven’t told you,” I promise, patting his back and making soothing circles with my palm.
More cursing and grumbling under his breath comes from Leo until I grab his arm and haul him back upright.
“Oh, stop being so melodramatic and tell me how Jed died,” I demand.
“You’re lucky you’re cute and I really like you,” he replies, shaking his head before continuing. “Like I said, as soon as Billy Ray rolled Jed’s body over, I knew the preliminary cause of death, and that it wasn’t poison.”
He gives me a pointed glare and I give him one right back, waving my hand at him to speed it up and tell me the rest, without all the glaring and annoying sighs.
“Up close, I could see the blood all over the back of his head and it was pooled right under it in the grass. Someone jammed something into the back of Jed’s skull that night,” he finishes.
A sudden flash of a memory hits me from the other night, when I answered the door for Buddy the night he Tased me. I reached for something to use as a weapon just in case, grabbing for that damn award of Jed’s that was always on the small table by the front door, but it wasn’t there. And now that I think about it, it hasn’t been there since then either.
“What’s wrong? You’ve got that pie look in your eyes again,” Leo states, dipping his head down to catch my eyes that were in a daze, staring at the buttons on the front of his shirt.
“It’s nothing,” I reassure him with a smile. “I was just wondering who could have done something like that. And you know, what kind of weapon they would have used.”
Shit. I just promised him I didn’t have anything else to hide, and here I am keeping things to myself again. See? This is why it’s not safe for me to ever fall in love again. I suck at it.
“Not sure yet,” Leo replies with a shrug. “The medical examiner in Louisville is still running tests. Right now all we know is that it was something sharp and pointy, but we’ll know for sure after he makes a mold of the wound and analyzes it. Hopefully any day now.”
Sharp and pointy…just like the tip of that award.
“Alright, as fun as this morning has been, I need to get to the station and see if he called.” Leo kisses me on the cheek before he gets up from the bed. “Just to let you know, I’ll be expecting you to distract me a whole hell of a lot with sex when I get off work tonight to make up for keeping this shit from me. And for torturing me through all of that by wearing a tiny scrap of lace over your tits that I want to rip off with my teeth.”
I laugh nervously even as my body heats with the imagery his words bring, giving him a smile as he walks backward to the door.
“Oh, and I left you a present downstairs on the kitchen table. Don’t bake any more poison pies when you get in there,” he adds with a wink, and then he’s out the bedroom door and I can hear his boots thumping down the stairs.
Hopefully, by some miracle, he left the award and possible murder weapon on the table for me as a present. That way, I won’t have to worry about what he’ll do when I have to come clean with him. Again.