Dark Sins (Dark Intentions #3) - Charlotte Byrd Page 0,1

night. He usually avoided driving at that time, but he was there. His car collided with the center divider, and there was an explosion. The fire department said that, unlike what the movies would have you believe, cars rarely blow up, but there was a big fire. They investigated and confirmed that it was indeed an accident."

"Were you able to confirm that he had died?" Dante asks.

"You mean, identify the body?"

He nods.

"No, it was too charred."

"Wow, I'm so sorry," he says under his breath.

"They did identify that it was him, if that's what you're thinking," I add.

“I sent his dental records over from the dentist and they confirmed it. Besides, it happened in his car."

"It had to be an accident," Mom says.

"I know, I want to believe that, too."

"Want to believe it?" she snaps. "If it's not an accident, all of this healing and everything has been a lie. If it's not an accident, we have to find out the truth."

"I know," I say, shrinking down in my seat.

"You have to find out the truth," she snaps.

She gets up from the table, making a loud clinking sound as the chair pulls away. The chair practically falls onto the floor behind her as she walks out. She looks discontented, upset, no, full-on angry.

I'm pissed off, too, but something feels odd about this. I follow her to the kitchen, where she pours herself a glass of water, holding the glass in her shaking hand as it fills up from the faucet.

"Mom, I know that this is a big deal. Okay? This letter is a big deal. I'm not trying to say that it's not. But it's also a very realistic possibility that this is a fake, a joke."

"Why would someone do that? No," she snaps.

"Look, I've investigated stories about missing persons before, and sometimes the families would get these mystery letters from somewhere else in the world or somewhere far away. They would say this person is alive, and they just saw him at this bar or place."

"Yeah, and then they would want something from them, right?"

"Yes, on occasion," I admit.

"Well, this person doesn't want anything. This person is just telling me their truth."

"You don't know if it's the truth." She turns and glares at me, and I've never seen such anger and disappointment in her eyes.

"I called you about this because I thought that you would understand. I thought that, as an investigator and a journalist, you'd want to get to the bottom of this. But you just want to hide it. You just want to pretend that this never happened."

She holds the envelope in her hand, stretched out in front of me.

"I'm not saying that. I want to get to the truth, but I have my doubts. Am I not allowed to air my doubts?"

"Get out," she snaps, and I'm completely taken aback.

She's never talked to me like this before.

I stare at her, and when she repeats it for the second time, I grab my bag and my coat and start to walk out.

"Mrs. Archer.” Dante approaches her to try to make peace. “Jacqueline didn't mean-"

"What do you think she meant? I know exactly what she meant," Mom says. “I want her to know how serious I am about this, and figuring out what really happened.”

Dante takes a step away.

"I'm sorry that we met under these circumstances.” She approaches him. “I really do appreciate you paying for my treatment, and for saving my life. I hope that we can have dinner sometime, and I can thank you properly. Just not now."

"Yes, I'd like that.” Dante nods and follows me out.



We drive away from my mom's house and I am incensed. I sit in the passenger seat of Dante's BMW and I wonder what the hell just happened on this fine morning.

"How could she do that? How could she think that I don't care what happened to my brother?" I say out loud.

It's a rhetorical question that doesn't need an answer and luckily Dante doesn't bother.

"She knows how much I loved him. She knows how close we always were. Of course, I want to find out what really happened, if something other than an accident happened, but I also don't want to get my hopes up. Things like this happen all the time. She doesn't know because she doesn't read a lot of newspapers and she doesn't follow true crime, but it's much more common than you would think. People see that someone is missing and they reach out to the