It’s after one a.m. on Sunday, the 14th. On the couch with the lights off, Jena slouches, fully dressed, ginger tea cooling in her mug. It’s dark, but darkness is easy to see through. Stars enhance the illusion. One foot in, one foot out. Eyelids drooping, head nodding, dozing off. More stars, please.
At the doorbell chime, Jena spills tea on her jeans. First impression: it’s her Bureau contact and one other. On her way to the door, she rubs the wet tea spot. She hits the switch, the porchlight flaring as she opens the door. Short for a guy, Phillip Brock stands nearly eye to eye, his rumpled suit, too tight. His nose is bent out of shape about something, normal for Agent Brock, but behind it, the sorrow is new. An FBI agent—who would want to live like that? She could never do that job—too tempting to turn criminal. She’s seen it. Besides, consulting work is hard enough. And the new one behind him?
She smiles easily. “Agent Brock.”
Brock grimaces—bags under red eyes, revealing. “Ms. Halpern.” His bottom lip trembles. “Sorry to bother you so late.”
Without moving, Jena envelops Phillip Brock. Images spring into view: a green gridiron beneath day-bright stadium lights; Cardinal and navy jerseys dot the field. Those boys, dead. Tears behind Brock’s eyes. Jena lets them form and run down her cheeks. She breathes deep and embraces him. “It will be all right,” she whispers in his ear.
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