But she didn’t actually seem that interested in him, and Alex held his own pretty well. He wasn’t falling all over himself to please her, and there was a glint of disgust in his eyes whenever he looked at her.
“So what are you doing in here in the tent?” Daniel asked, doing his best not to look over at her. “There’s a Miss Capri Pageant going on out there. Don’t you wanna go trick the judges into giving you a crown?”
“Please.” She sneered. “Getting awarded the prettiest girl in this town is like winning cleanest hog in the pen. You have to hang out with a buncha dirty pigs to prove something that everybody already knows.”
“That’s quite the imagery there, Penn,” Alex said.
“Since we got interrupted last night,” Penn said, dropping her voice to sultry, soft words in his ear, “it seems like you’re free today—”
“Speaking of last night.” Daniel cut her off, clearing his throat. “Where is Liv?”
Penn groaned. She sat with her back against the table, so she was facing in the opposite direction from Daniel and Alex, and her black hair cascaded over the wood. It also made it easier for her to stick her chest out, but Daniel wasn’t about to look over and catch a glimpse.
“She’s on lockdown,” Penn said. “I’m not letting her out of the house until…”
“Until what?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t know.” She sighed. “Maybe never again. I’m getting so sick of her attitude.”
He smirked. “I told you.”
“Really, Daniel?” She cast him a look. “I’m already getting enough of that crap from Thea and Gemma. I don’t need it from you, too.”
“That’s him,” Mayor Adam Crawford said, his words booming through the tent. “You, you there.”
Daniel glanced back over his shoulder to see what the mayor was freaking out about. Since it was seventy degrees, he’d ditched the suit jacket, but he still wore the slacks and a dress shirt, with the sleeves rolled up. His hair was normally slicked back, but a strand had fallen forward, dipping down over his forehead.
With a severe glare, the mayor was pointing directly at Daniel, and his petite blond wife hid behind him, looking sad and shaken. Daniel glanced around to be sure, but it was obvious that Mayor Crawford’s accusation was directed at him.
He marched over to Daniel. An aide tried to stop him, but he just pushed him away. Then the aide gently guided the mayor’s wife out of the tent, apparently not wanting her to witness her husband’s outburst.
The mayor stood directly in front of Daniel, and he turned around on the bench, so he could face him fully.
“You.” Then his eyes bounced over to Alex. “Actually, both of you were there.”
“Where?” Alex asked, baffled about being brought into this. “What are we talking about?”
“During the cook-off on Monday, you had an altercation with my son,” the mayor explained, and Penn snickered from beside Daniel.
“What are you talking about?” Daniel asked. “I didn’t even say anything to Aiden. I was defending his date from Liv.”
The mayor shook his head with a comical ferocity. “No, you got in a fight with my son over his girlfriend.”
“What?” Daniel was entirely perplexed now. “No, I didn’t. I—”
Penn leaned over and spoke low in his ear, “Honey, they don’t remember any of it.”
“What?” He looked over at her, then it hit him. “The song.”
During the fight at the park, Liv had bared her teeth and almost transformed in front of everyone. To make the incident go away before the X-Files division of the FBI descended on Capri, Thea and Gemma had used the siren song to make everyone forget what they’d seen.
Apparently, it didn’t make them forget everything, though. It must’ve twisted things up somehow, so the mayor thought he’d seen Daniel assaulting Aiden though he’d done nothing of the sort.
Still, sitting in front of Aiden’s father brought up a surge of memories. Gruesome images of Aiden’s body, and the final moments when Daniel had dropped the dismembered remains into the ocean. In the back of his mind, he could still hear the splash of the body hitting the water. A wave of nausea rushed over him, and he quickly swallowed it down.
“I’m sorry you’re upset about your son,” Daniel said, his voice almost inaudible over the din of the beer tent. “If there was anything I could do to help, believe me, I would.”
Mayor Crawford didn’t seem to hear a word Daniel had said. He’d been staring down at him, his small eyes fixated on him, as perspiration slid down his forehead, and he began wagging his finger in Daniel’s face.
“I know you, don’t I? You’re John Morgan’s little brother.”
Daniel nodded slowly. “Yeah, I am.”
“He was always trouble.” The mayor glowered down at him. “I always told Aiden to stay away from him. Aiden didn’t need to get mixed up with trash like that.”
“Trash?” Daniel got up, and it was only the realization of what the mayor was going through that kept his anger under control. John had his problems, but he was a far kinder guy than Aiden had ever been.
Alex stood up then, flanking Daniel on his side. Things wouldn’t come to blows, at least not on Daniel’s account. But it was still nice to know that Alex had his back, especially since Alex had toughened up so much working at the docks. He looked like he could handle himself in a fight.
“I have no idea what your problem is, but you need to shut up and get out of here,” Alex said.
But the mayor ignored Alex, keeping his glare focused on Daniel, and for some reason, that kept making Penn giggle.
“You were always jealous of Aiden,” the mayor said. “I saw it in your eyes, and it was still there when you fought with him. What did you do to him?”
“What are you talking about?” Alex asked. Daniel swallowed hard, but he managed to keep his gaze from wavering. “We didn’t do anything to him.”
“Then where is he?” Mayor Crawford demanded.
Daniel closed his eyes and shook his head. “I have no idea where he is.”
“You’re lying.” The mayor looked like he was about to deck Daniel, and honestly, Daniel would’ve welcomed it. “I didn’t get where I am without knowing when people are bullshitting me, and you are full of shit. Aiden disappeared last night, and you were the last person seen fighting with him.”