Hank glanced between the two of us as he shuffled his weight from one foot to the next. “Uh, guys, I think we need to get back—”
“Bullshit, Roxy,” Reece snapped. “I did text you back.”
I folded my arms. “Then your text just magically disappeared. Whatever. Don’t you have another call to head to? I think Hank has this handled. Isn’t that right, Hank?”
Hank raised his hands as if he was saying he wanted no part in this. A lot of help there.
“I can’t believe this.” Reece reached into his back pocket with his other hand and pulled out his phone. After tapping the screen, he flipped his phone around. “Look at it,” he said, and when I started to look away, he stepped closer. “Look at my phone, Roxy.”
Blowing out a rough breath, I reluctantly did as he asked—well, commanded. I gave his phone a quick glance and opened my mouth, ready to fire off something smartass, when I smacked my mouth shut.
What the . . . ?
I snatched the phone out of his hand, holding it close to my face so I could make out the words and time.
Hey, let’s reschedule lunch for Sunday. We can talk then.
The text was time-marked. It showed delivered; probably no longer than ten minutes after I’d sent the text, while I had to have been in the shower. I stared at the text, half expecting it to vanish as a figment of my imagination.
“I swear,” I whispered, looking up at him. “I never saw that text. I know it says delivered, but I never saw it.”
Reece held my gaze for a long moment. “I thought you were pissed that I was rescheduling.” He gently pried his phone loose from my grip. “And that’s why you didn’t text back. And just so you know, I was planning on showing up here on Sunday, text or no text.”
“Could someone have deleted the text before you saw it?” Nick suggested.
Cold air whirled down my spine and the tiny hairs along the back of my neck stood. This . . . this was crazy creepy.
“Who would break into the house to just delete a text?” Hank asked, crossing his arms. “Not to mention, get in the house at the right moment to delete a text and only delete one from Reece? I’m not trying to be a jackass, but the likelihood of that happening is slim.”
I know it sounded crazy, but that was what had to have happened. I didn’t see that text. If I had, I would’ve responded and that text would’ve saved some of the heartache. Not all of it, but some. Though, right now, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he had texted me and he had planned on seeing me. None of that seemed to matter in this moment.
Tension had crept over Reece’s striking face as he looked down at my cell phone. His knuckles were bleached white from his tight grip.
“That’s not the only weird thing,” Nick said, drawing Reece’s unnerving stare. “Tell him what you were telling me.”
I sat down on the edge of the couch, beyond unsettled. “A couple of weeks ago I came home from work and the dishwasher was running. I hadn’t scheduled it to run. Honestly, I don’t even know how to do that.”
Hank arched a brow.
“Keep talking,” Reece said quietly.
It wasn’t easy, because I knew how insane all of this sounded. “One morning, I woke up and found the remote in the fridge. I thought maybe I’d done that without remembering, but I’ve never done anything like that before. Then there was the toilet seat thing . . .” As I spoke, Reece’s empty hand curled into a fist. “I hadn’t done that. I’m pretty sure of that. Then there was this other time when a new canvas had been hung on my easel. Little things like that—things I couldn’t be sure if I’d done or not. I really thought my place might be haunted. I told my mom and Katie.” A short laugh escaped me. “I know that sounds stupid, but then . . .”
I’d never seen Reece as still as he was, standing in front of me or his arresting face so hard, as if every feature had been carved out of marble. “Then what?”
The tips of my ears burned. This was the last thing I wanted to mention in front of Hank and Nick. “The really creepy thing—like as creepy as my picture being taken while I’m sleeping—happened a couple of days ago. Tuesday morning,” I added, and Reece’s gaze sharpened as his chest rose. “I was putting the dishes in the dishwasher.”
“I remember that,” he said.
Okay. Well, I guessed we weren’t hiding anything at this point. “A pair . . .” I swallowed as the burn traveled across my cheeks. “A pair of my undies was stuffed in the utensils cubby. And yeah, I didn’t do that.”
“Jesus,” muttered Nick as he stood, scrubbing his hand through his hair. He glanced back at the kitchen, his lip curling like he was personally disgusted by the dishwasher.
Hank didn’t say anything. He just stared at me with what had to be a “what the fuck” expression if I’d ever seen one.
But it was Reece who caught and held my attention. He was as still as a statue as he continued to stare down at me. “Why didn’t you say anything?” His voice was barely above a whisper.
My shoulders suddenly sagged as a wave of exhaustion rolled over me. “We were talking about . . . other stuff at that moment and I didn’t . . .” I trailed off, shaking my head.
I knew the exact moment he realized the meaning of that. Blood pinked the hollow of his cheeks. That flush of anger was actually kind of scary, and if I hadn’t known deep down that it wasn’t directed at me, I would’ve been a wee bit frightened of him. A myriad of raw-looking emotions flickered across his face. “I was here and . . .” He didn’t finish that line of thought. He turned toward the other officer. “I got this call, Hank.”
“I got this call,” he reiterated, voice hard enough to send a shiver across my skin.
Hank stared at him a moment and then rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” Hitting a button on his shoulder radio, he said “I’m ten–eight. Unit Three-oh-one is handling the possible break-in.”
There was a static-filled response I barely heard, and then Hank showed himself out. Nick remained standing by the recliner. He raised a hand, rubbing his jaw. “You’re okay?”
I wasn’t sure I wanted Nick to leave, because that meant it would just be me and Reece, but I knew Nick had to, as exhausted as I was. I nodded. “Thank you for coming up. I owe you.”