Elias made a B-line for his home office as soon as he closed the front door. Vito had looked almost human at the bar before he’d left. He hadn’t been putting on some kind of charming facade. There hadn’t been a smirk on his face or a grin. He hadn’t made a lame joke or tried to touch Elias like he had previously in the night and the night before.
He had looked upset. His eyes had been bloodshot. His cheeks had been red. The inside of his bottom lip had been pulled between his teeth when he wasn’t speaking.
Vito Minetti–charming master manipulator, mafia soldier, multi-state serial killer–had feelings?
Elias let out a harsh breath, dropping into his desk chair. It didn’t make sense. How could someone with actual human emotions murder a new person every month? Every week? Every day? How could someone human be capable of the monstrosities Vito Minetti was?
Elias clasped his hands over his mouth, elbows digging into the piles of papers on his desk. It didn’t make sense. He had only read through a few interrogation transcripts so far, but Vito came off as an insufferable cocky son of a bitch in the handful he’d gotten through–practically bragging about whatever woman he’d supposedly screwed the night before as an alibi, talking about how he had all the time in the world to waste, so long as the detectives wanted to keep wasting their own.
It didn’t make sense that the man was even capable of human emotions, human sadness. He was a monster, a murderer. How could someone with actual feelings be capable of beheading hundreds of people without remorse? Without showing any signs of stopping? Without burying themselves in drugs and alcohol just to get through the day?
Elias lifted his head, scrubbing his hands over his face. It had to have been a ploy. Vito probably faked little emotions here and there to keep up the ‘totally not a member of the Horror Twins’ charade. That made far more sense than the monster being capable of anything outside of his manipulative charm.
Or, at least, it made more sense as long as he didn’t think about it any further. Once he started thinking about it, more questions arose. Why would he fake cry in front of someone he was trying to sleep with? That sad, broken-hearted ploy didn’t work on every single person, and he had no reason to believe it would work on Elias. And even if it had worked, the effective next move would have been to bleed out his feelings to further show how sad and broken he was, not claim he hadn’t been upset.
Elias groaned, dropping his head back to his hands. Why did he have to keep thinking about it? Why couldn’t he just let it be? Why couldn’t his mind just accept that Vito was a monster and a temporary overflow of hidden emotions didn’t change that?
Why couldn’t he leave well enough alone and stop picking holes in his own damn explanations?
He lifted his head, eyes focused on the way, hands cupped over his mouth. He knew why. That journalistic need to know everything there was to know ate away at him on a consistent basis, and there was rarely an escape from it.
He let out a slow breath, closing his eyes. He’d just have to sit on it until he saw Vito again. He’d hang out at Drake’s Place for as many nights as he needed to. If Vito wouldn’t give his damn phone number, so be it. Elias was a patient man. He’d get the answers he needed in due time, and until then, he’d research the other answers he needed.
Elias awoke bright and early to his five AM alarm. With a groan, he lifted his head from the desk. For the second night in a row, he’d gotten about three hours of actual sleep. He’d be able to use the weekend to recover from his shitty sleep schedule. For now, pushing forward was the best option for him, for his story.
He pushed himself to his feet, snagging his phone from the desk as it rang. “Yeah?” he asked, pressing the device to his ear.
“Have you checked the news?”
Elias rubbed his forehead with his free hand. “Cole?”
“Yes! Have you checked the news?”
Cole, an intern at the station, would often text or call at unacceptable times of the day to relay what he believed to be an ‘important’ news story. It rarely was, especially for Elias. Being first to those scenes wasn’t his responsibility. Going to them at all wasn’t his job. But Cole didn’t seem to care much about it.
“No, I haven’t checked. What’s up?”
“Oh, my God. It’s about Minetti. Elias, man, you’re so gonna get that big break you need.”
Downstairs, Elias turned on the television and the living room and flipped through until he got to Channel 7 News. As soon as he read the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen, his heart skipped a beat. “Oh, my God.”
“I know, right? Minetti got shot. On a plane! Elias, this is the universe telling you to reach for the stars, man. Chase that damn story before someone successfully kills one of your subjects, you know.”
Elias swallowed. “Yeah, guess so.”
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