The Untouchables

By: J.J. McAvoy

PROLOGUE

“If only these walls could talk…the world would know just how hard it is to tell the truth in a story in which everyone’s a liar.”

—Gregg Olsen



MELODY

“You will all be queued in the moment we come back from commercial break. All you have to do is yell, ‘Good Morning, Chicago!’ You all look prefect,” the producer for Good Morning Chicago said to all of us, as she and the rest of the camera crew moved to their places.

“Whose bloody idea was this again?” Liam muttered right beside me, placing his hand on my back and working downward.

“Liam.”

He sighed, his hand stopping on my ass, as we all stood, waiting like one big happy family in the middle of the newly renovated park we had spent millions on for the “community.”

To mark the grand opening, we were having a large neighborhood picnic. I found myself eyeing the crowd, as more and more people gathered with their stupid fanny packs and grubby hands all reaching for something free to stick in their mouths. The worst were the clowns who were walking around us handing out balloon hats.

“Don’t you dare,” I muttered to myself, as I watched the freak march its fat feet towards me. He pulled out a white balloon, twisting it until it was some sort of hat. Bowing comically, he handed it to me.

“A crown fit for a queen,” he said.

Liam snickered beside me, and I fought the urge to snap at them both. Taking it, I smiled and placed it on my head.

“Thank you.” You stupid fuck.

“And we’re on in ten…” The producer pointed to us, pulling us back into focus.

We squashed up beside each other, as if we all loved each other so much that we were glued together. Normally Liam and I would be in the center of the family for these things, but not today. Instead, Olivia and her family stood in the center, while we were pushed off to the side.

It was Senator Colemen who was running for President after all, and since today was the day of the primary elections, good press couldn’t hurt. Elections are just popularity contests. How much do you give? How much do you take? How put together is your family? Can you throw a football? Do you like The Beatles? That’s all that mattered to them—no matter how much they pretended to care about the “issues.” And all of that could be faked. We were all fakers; lying to people who were lying to themselves.

Three.

Two.

One.

“Good morning, Chicago!”





ONE

“Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life.”

—Daniel Webster





LIAM

I simply wanted to close my eyes. We had spent all damn day at that goddamned park, and now we had to spend the evening smiling for more political cameras. But that wasn’t even the least of my problems. I wasn’t sure what was coming, but I knew it was coming straight from hell.

I didn’t want to deal with this. I didn’t want spend my days and nights trying to uncover the mystery of Mel’s mother. I didn’t want this photo I held in my hands to be real, because now I would have to tell my wife why I’d been hiding the truth from her. She had searched for answers only to come up empty handed. This was another thing that I’d have to apologize for; I had Declan delete everything he’d found so that she couldn’t get her hands on it. She thought she was working with him, but instead, he was doing everything he could to hide information from her.

She’s going to fucking kill me. I sighed.


Eventually, she came to the conclusion that Vance had been lying to her. Sadly, he wasn’t. I hated when liars started telling the truth; it was bad for business. Mel’s mother was alive, very much so, in fact. We’d discovered that she was in the South of France right before she entered the US.

“So, I have to tell her,” I said, as I pinched the bridge of my nose. The question was how. She was going to kill my sorry ass.

“Remind her that I was simply following orders. I’d prefer not to die tonight,” Declan said as he frowned and adjusted his tie for this night’s gala.

“Even that won’t save you.” Not that I let him around Melody alone anyway. She could take him, and he wouldn’t try anything, but I enjoyed threatening him whenever he came too close to my wife. The only feelings he should have had for her were fear and respect.

We both stood silently in the security room. This was the calm before the storm, the break before the final wave.

“Have Anna meet me at the gala,” I told him walking out of the room and into the study.

Fixing my cufflinks as I walked, I made sure to nod at the help as I walked past. Rule Thirty-Three: Respect the help, they know more than they let on.

None of them would say anything, but it was still a rule to live by. Entering the living room, I found my beautiful wife, her dark hair in perfectly curled waves, and brown eyes glued to the letter she finished up writing before handing it to Fedel, who stood in the corner of the room, almost as her shadow.

The rest of the family sat around the television like figures waiting to be painted. The only ones who looked out of place were Olivia’s parents, and our new political strategist, Mina Sung. She and the Senator remained standing, as if they were afraid our furniture would eat them alive, while Mrs. Colemen sat by her daughter and squeezed her hand.

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