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Tiny Dark Deeds
***Unedited teaser chapter***
There wasn’t a station my brother or I could turn to that wasn’t stating the same thing.
This can’t be happening.
I literally didn’t believe what I was seeing. This had to be a lie, a mistake.
“You’re everywhere,” Bru whispered beside me. He eased in at my side, flipping to another news station.
The same thing.
Bru appeared in awe himself, and I swiped the remote from him, clicking through stations at a rapid pace. There had to be some kind of mistake here. I wasn’t this… girl they kept talking about on TV.
I wasn’t a Mallick.
This had to be bullshit because I wasn’t one and definitely not a twin.
My swallow shifted my throat, each and every news station reporting the same thing. An anonymous tip had been apparently given to the authorities about who I was. From there, they claimed I’d been kidnapped by the very person who’d done it. My father, Godfrey Sloane, was being accused of taking me and not just once but twice. I’d been stolen initially from a hospital shortly after birth and again today. My parents… Godfrey and Marilyn were kidnappers…
And I was the kid.
My brother adjusted a blanket around my shoulders. When it’d gotten there I didn’t know. I did recall flinching when he’d put it on me, and only partially because my shoulder still fucking hurt from that fall in the warehouse.
My stomach coiled, twisting and clamped up. I gripped the remote in an iron hold, each pant of breath meeting my brother’s hand when he rubbed my back.
“Sloane, this is insane,” my brother gasped out. He rubbed his mouth a beat, his expression haunted, and it had to match mine. He raised a hand. “But this tip they keep talking about. The anonymous one?” His hand lowered. “How did they even know this baby is… you? And how did they know you were even kidnapped today? One better, how did they know you were coming here after it happened—”
“I don’t know, and this is a lie.” I wasn’t this girl, and whoever had made this tip had to have made a mistake. I shut off the television. “Where’s Callum?”
“I think still downstairs.” Bru’s knees hit mine when he turned. He was still in his jean jacket and sweats from when we had pizza the night prior.
I hadn’t even had the thoughts to go over all that, kidnapped and held against my will after and then all this?
My brother cuffed my arm before my thoughts could run away with themselves. “You heard Lucas, and it’s a good thing he’d been proactive about securing the floor from the press. When you hadn’t arrived yet, I didn’t know what the families would do before you got up here. They really think you’re this girl.”
By families he meant all the families, Legacy families, and the only reason they weren’t here now was because they’d left to come back with an army. An army to get me according to the press.
Dorian and his family had been amongst them.
I’d seen them on the news too, his beautiful parents and the dark prince in the middle of them. All the Legacy parents had been visually striking, Bow and Thatcher with their parents. Wells with his.
I’d gone to my knees on the floor when I’d seen the Mallicks, Brielle I’d met. She’d been there on the TV with her husband, Ares’s dad Ramses.
I searched his face, hers too, and even Ares’s. He’d been with his parents of course, and they all had dark eyes, a glow to their skin like mine…
I didn’t care what I saw on that screen, or what the world was telling me. These people all had to be making a mistake. I’d wanted to go downstairs after seeing them all, but security told my brother and me we needed to stay put until we were heard from either Lucas or Callum. Neither one of us had our phones either. Mine had been destroyed and apparently after the press had been blowing up my brother’s phone he’d given it to Callum’s PR people to man.
My brother’s hands came to my shoulders. “We’ll figure this out.”
We would figure this out.
That was if I didn’t faint first.
We waited for a little bit longer and by then, I’d been given some hospital scrubs. I still smelled like gas, hair thick and matted with sweat. I tried not to cry when I saw myself in the mirror, face bruised and with so much weight to my limbs. I physically was holding the weight of all the thoughts circulating in my mind. Who was I?
And who were those people who thought they knew who I was downstairs?
A doctor came in to look at me too at one point. No serious injuries besides my bruised hip, shoulder, and face. I’d been holding a can of Coke that’d gone warm by the time Lucas returned to the hospital room. Staff had given it to me, but I hadn’t drank it.
I got up with the assistance of my brother, my hip still warm from my fall on hard concrete. I’d been surrounded by fire then, gas…
The click of a cane came behind Lucas, an older man and my and my brother’s guardian. Callum always sported a suit, but his tie was absent today, the top buttons undone and his jacket gone. He appeared exhausted, a tension around his eyes, and I wondered how long he’d been awake.
“Sloane.” A large breath escaped him, one that rose his large shoulders. His cane tapped the floor as he ventured over to me. “You’re okay?”
As okay as I could be considering the situation. My throat constricted again. “What’s going on?” No one was giving us answers, not security or even the news at this point. Eventually, my brother and I turned it back on but they just kept repeating the same stuff we’d seen. “Why is the news saying what it’s saying about me?”
“And who told them all that?” My brother had his jacket of, his Adam’s apple flicking. “They got the world down there thinking that Sloane is some face on a milk carton. She has parents. We have parents. Well, we had…”
His speech croaked, and I couldn’t help myself when I placed my arm around him. All this was fucked up, our parents and that situation.
“They’re calling them kidnappers.” Bru’s expression pinched, mouth tight, words squeezed tighter. “Now, I know what Dad did was fucked yesterday but he’s had mental issues.”
“It goes beyond that, Bruno.” Callum gestured to Lucas and in the next second, his head of security was leaving the room. Bru and I found out he was in charge of the fleet outside the room.
Lucas shut the door and with his absence things got so quiet. Callum advised my brother and me to take a seat and though I took one, Bru chose to stand.
Bru’s hand locked on my shoulders, tight and I reached back for his. It was as if I was bracing myself as much as comforting him.
“I’m afraid what the news is saying is true.” Callum had taken his own seat, an easy chair in this luxurious hospital room. The place looked more like a hotel than an actual room to tend to patients. Callum’s hand rubbed the top of his cane. “I know because I’m the one who told them.”
Bru shifted behind me. His hands catching my scrubs in a way that made me think he was attempting to keep himself on two legs.
“What are you talking about?” he started, and I blinked.
“I’m saying I’m the one who leaked the information to the press.” He tucked the cane against his chair. “At the time, we didn’t know exactly where Sloane was. We were able to track her via GPS since Godfrey had taken Bru’s vehicle, but he abandoned the car a fair distance out from where we ended up finding her. Lucas combed the area visually for long enough where it made us all nervous. For all we knew, Godfrey could have hopped a train with her or changed out cars even. I hoped by telling the press what was going on would help toward the quick capture of Godfrey.”
“But why all that other stuff?” Bru came around the couch. “That stuff about Sloane being a missing kid and all that—”
I got Bruno’s arm.
Mostly because of Callum’s expression.
A tension thinned his lips, the skin at his eyes taut and rigid. His mouth parted. “Because it’s true.”
Bruno tucked in beside me.
And I wasn’t breathing. I gripped his leg. “What do you mean it’s true?”
Callum’s hands came together. “I mean you are a missing person,” he stated, then glanced at my brother. “And she’s not your sister. At least not biologically.”
Bru started to speak but I got up. “What are you talking about, Callum?” I asked. “Why are you saying this?”
“I’m saying it because it’s true, Sloane.” Callum rubbed his hands. “And though it pains me to say, though I wish that wasn’t the case, it is and now that I know the truth, I’m giving it to you. It’s something I suspected for quite some time, but until I had solid proof I couldn’t present this information to you. I have it now and Godfrey trying to destroy the evidence of such, of what he’d done, only corroborates just what my team and I have discovered. Him taking you and trying to get rid of you only validates that he and his wife did indeed take you. They took you from here. Maywood Heights and raised you as their own.”
My lips moved, twitching. “How do you know?”
“It started after I gained custody of you both. My suspicions.” Callum’s head tilted. “Your records weren’t panning out, Sloane. In fact, they appeared fabricated. All of it from your birth records. Social security…”
“None of it appeared right, and that didn’t sit well with me.”
Bru put his hand over mine. “What made you think she was Pilar?”
Him saying that name made me twitch.
That’s not my name. That’s not my name.
“My team found out all that for me. They have their ways, but it took some time.” Callum panned in my direction. “They presented to me the strong possibility that you were this missing girl, Pilar Mallick, and as soon as they did, I started the process of undoing all Godfrey and his wife had done. That meant you coming home and back to your family.”
My breaths labored again, thoughts the same. “My family.”
“The Mallicks, dear.” Callum nodded. “Ramses and Brielle Mallick. You are their biological child. A twin.”
“One who was taken from a hospital not far from here,” he continued. “You were very sick the week of your birth and your kidnappers…”
“Godfrey and Marilyn,” he corrected, knowing to do that for some reason. I knew what he was saying. I knew what was claiming they were, but still. Callum’s expression hardened. “They took you. He and his wife lived in a town not far from Maywood Heights. Godfrey actually worked for me during that time. He left the company abruptly. It was unusual considering his more senior position but in business there’s often movement.”
“But why would they do that?” Bru rocked and when I returned beside him, but then his eyes twitched. “Am I taken too? Kidnapped?”
“No, Bru,” Callum said and both my brother and I sighed. Callum lifted a hand. “You are biologically Godfrey and Marilyn’s but according to the file and the information my people were able to gather about your parents the two had quite a bit of difficulty having children. We believe that was why Sloane was initially taken—”
“But how was he alive?” I stood. “Godfrey? Also, you said he tried to destroy the evidence? You mean me?”
The words chilled, the thought making me completely ill. Me in that fire…
That I was evidence to destroy.
Bru took my hand while I stood, but I wasn’t sitting.
I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to get back up.
“We found the details surrounding all that about an hour ago, the faking of his death and his motives surrounding it.” Callum paused, his lips pressed together. “Godfrey had been staying at a motel, and the establishment contacted the authorities after seeing Sloane’s story on the news about a kidnapping and who’d done it.” Callum shifted in my direction. “You see, they found a journal. The ravings of a madman they said. It gave details about a plan to wash himself of sin. Cleanse from wrongdoing.”
I wavered, and Bru stood up beside me.
“I believe we saw the result of that.” Callum exchanged a glance between my brother and me. “The plan was to fake his death, eliminate Sloane, and eventually come back for Bru and start a new life with him. The motel ID’d Godfrey from the footage on the news and contacted the hospital where Sloane was staying.”
“Of course, I’m sure Godfrey’s plan didn’t involve me finding out the truth.” Callum’s narrowed, his eyes scanning the floor. “He must have found out someway that I was asking questions. Gathering evidence to make things right.” He sighed. “This feels like my fault what happened. I should have been more careful about the investigation, as well as spoken up sooner. My people and I weren’t being quiet about what we were looking into, and I supposed we didn’t think we had a reason to considering your father’s passing.”
“Why didn’t you? Speak up sooner?” Bru rubbed my arm, and I was at a loss for words. How was all this true?
How was this my life?
I leaned into my brother and using his cane, Callum stood. He faced my brother. “There’s a lot of parties involved here, Bru. A lot of people who could be hurt if evidence was unfounded or not factual. I had you kids moved here when we were mostly certain. Once we were, I planned to reveal the information delicately. First to you kids, then well, the Mallicks of course. The family.”
But Dad got in the way of all that, Godfrey…
“It’s unfortunate how it all ended up happening. And I do take responsibility.” Callum frowned. “I’ve known for a few weeks now, and I was trying to find the right time. It’s difficult. There are other factors.”
I glanced up, eyes itchy, face hot. My tongue felt thick in my mouth and with as dry as my throat was, I didn’t know whether speaking would result in speech or tears. I blinked down one. “Factors?”
Maybe it’d been more than one tear. Maybe it’d been a river. Because next thing I knew, my brother was helping me to sit, and Callum was giving me his handkerchief.
I sobbed into my brother’s shirt, body shaking and I was sure fucking ugly cry. I couldn’t stop, grabbing onto my brother’s shirt.
“It’s okay,” Bru kept saying, his hand covered my head. He moved my hair out of my face, his big arms wrapped around me as if shielding me from the fucking world. Maybe he was.
“What factors, Callum?” Bru continued, but our guardian didn’t say anything. He appeared pained when I looked at him, Callum. He was always such a serious man, albeit kind. He’d always been so good to us.
I could always rely on him.
I had always been able to, a rock for my brother and me. He took care of us, did that and in more ways that either of us could have ever believed. Godfrey had been his friend, and he stood up. He did something when others… well, others could have remained quiet.
The fact he took care of us financially only drove the point in more, the man coming forward. He lifted a hand and when he waved it, Lucas came back into the room.
I pulled apart from my brother when he did, and Callum’s expression went grave.
“I have to tell you kids something, and once I do, I’m going to be handing you off to Lucas here,” Callum said, his security standing by the door. “He’ll oversee anything you need and aid with the reunification process regarding Sloane and the Mallicks.”
I didn’t understand, letting go of Bru.
“I haven’t been completely honest with your children. Honest about myself and who I am to this town.” Callum’s hand rubbed his cane. “I haven’t and because of that I don’t expect you to want any further contact with me. Especially you Sloane, and you’ll understand when I tell you. That’s why Lucas is here. He’ll be taking over for me after what I have to tell you both.”
Bru’s mouth opened, and I stepped forward.
“I hoped to shield you children from who I was. I didn’t want my history to be any part of the horrible ordeal you kids have already had…”
“Callum?” My voice rocked, wavering on the end.
“But I know now that was weak of me. Selfish.” He shook his head, hair of a graying blond. He was a lot older than he appeared. I would have said late fifties, but I knew him to be older. His head tilted. “I was protecting myself as much as I was trying to protect you kids, and that wasn’t right. In any case, it’s moot because I’ll be making a statement to the press regarding my role in you kids’ lives. It’s time I stop hiding and let everyone know the truth. I’m not who you kids think I am.”
My fingers bit into my arms, my hands gripping them. “Who are you?”
I heard myself speak the words, ask the question. I thought I’d be prepared for the answer. I mean, I’d asked it…
I’d asked for it.
Did you know Court Legacy is a spin off series to Eden O'Neill's Court High and Court University books?? Get caught up today before the new series drops!
Court Legacy is an all new series by Eden O'Neill. It's about the children of characters featured in the author's Court High and Court University books. Court Legacy can be read without reading any of the other series, but below is the recommended reading order for those who'd like to read the books in order of the Court universe's timeline.
Recommended reading order:
Court High Books (non-standalones)
They The Pretty Stars
Illusions That May
We The Pretty Stars
Court University Books (standalones)
5. Brutal Heir
7. Beautiful Brute
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(All books FREE in Kindle Unlimited)