Caesar thinks Beck was killed late at night. Shooting a gun would have woken everyone up, and Falk is smarter than that. But strangling? I look toward the apartment, remembering the display of knives he has in the closet. No, he would have used a knife if not a gun.
The fire begins to die out, and I follow Falk to our apartment. Falk sits on the edge of the couch and places one of his many handguns on the coffee table. He starts taking it apart and cleaning each piece. I watch him for several minutes, pondering.
“Did you do it?”
I glare at him. He’s trying to give me an innocent look, but I’m not buying it. He knows exactly what I’m talking about, and he’s being intentionally obtuse.
“Don’t do that!”
“Hannah, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He picks up pieces of the gun and starts to reassemble it.
I growl under my breath.
“Did you kill Beck?” I keep my voice low though there’s no way anyone could have heard my question if they weren’t inside the room.
“No.” He doesn’t even look up from his gun.
“Would you lie to me if you had?”
He sets the assembled gun back on the table, leans his elbows on his knees, and rubs his fingers into his eyes. I hear him sigh deeply before he looks at me.
“Yeah, I probably would,” he says. “You’ve got enough shit on your mind. It doesn’t matter though because I didn’t do it.”
I watch him closely, but there’s nothing in his expression or posture that tells me whether or not I should believe him. His words ring true with me, and I let out a sigh.
“Okay,” I say, “I believe you.”
He snorts out a laugh and then stands to walk over to me. Before speaking, he reaches out and lightly touches both of my wrists with his fingertips.
“There is no way I would have left you alone last night.” He runs his hands slowly from my wrists to my shoulders. “You were upset. Sometimes you have nightmares when you’re upset. I wouldn’t have left you.”
I close my eyes and lean against him as the tension leaves my body.
“I’m sorry,” I say quietly. “I didn’t mean to accuse you of anything. I just…I don’t know what to think of all this.”
“I understand,” Falk says. “I was pissed at him last night for getting in your face and harassing you.”
“So, what do you think happened? Who would have killed him?”
“I think he pissed off most everyone,” Falk says, “but to be completely honest, I don’t care who killed him. If Caesar wants to waste his time doing police work, well, he’s welcome to do that. I wonder what the hell he’s going to do if he tracks down the killer. It’s not like we have any jail cells, and as far as I know, no one in our group is a judge.”
“What would you do?” I ask.
“Exactly what I am doing,” Falk replies as he steps back. “Nothing.”
“You’re all right with anarchy?”
“It’s not a matter of political ideology,” Falk says. “It’s more about pragmatism. My focus is on survival and your safety. I don’t have time to fuck around with the other shit. If someone came after you, they would have to answer to me. I wouldn’t start by asking Caesar what the most law-abiding course of action might be.”
“If I were threatened, would you kill over it?”
“If I had to, yes.”