Long Lost Page 61

I told him everything. He listened without interrupting or asking any follow-up questions. When I was done, he said, ’’Next step?’’

’’I tell Terese.’’

’’Any thoughts on how she\'ll react?’’

’’None.’’

’’You could wait. Do more research.’’

’’On what?’’

He picked up the photograph. ’’The girl.’’

’’We will. But I need to tell Terese now.’’

My cell phone chirped. The caller ID showed me Unknown Number. I flipped on the speakerphone setting and said, ’’Hello?’’

’’Miss me?’’

It was Berleand. ’’You didn\'t call me back,’’ I said.

’’You were supposed to stay out of it. Calling you back may have encouraged you to rejoin the investigation.’’

’’So why are you calling now?’’

’’Because you have a very big problem,’’ he said.

’’I\'m listening.’’

’’Am I on speakerphone?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Is Win there with you?’’

Win said, ’’I am.’’

’’So what\'s the problem?’’ I asked.

’’We\'ve been picking up some dangerous chatter coming out of Paterson, New Jersey. Terese\'s name was mentioned.’’

’’Terese\'s,’’ I said, ’’but not mine?’’

’’It may have been alluded to. This is chatter. It isn\'t always clear.’’

’’But you think they know about us?’’

’’It seems likely, yes.’’

’’Any idea how?’’

’’None. The agents involved with Jones, the ones who took you into custody, are the best. None of them would have talked.’’

’’One must have,’’ I said.

’’Are you sure about that?’’

I ran it through my head. I thought about who else was there that day in London, who might have told other jihadists that I had killed their leader Mohammad Matar. I glanced at Win. He held up the photograph of Carrie and arched an eyebrow.

When you eliminate the impossible . . .

Win said, ’’Call your parents. We\'ll move them to the Lockwood compound in Palm Beach. We\'ll add the best security for Esperanza maybe Zorra is available or that Carl guy from Philadelphia. Is your brother still on dig in Peru?’’

I nodded.

’’He should be safe then.’’

I knew that Win would stay with Terese and me. Win started making calls. I picked up the phone, taking it off speaker. ’’Berleand?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Jones implied that you might have been lying about that DNA test in Paris.’’

Berleand said nothing.

’’I know you were telling the truth,’’ I said.

’’How?’’

But I had already said too much. ’’I have some calls to make. I\'ll call you back.’’

I hung up and called my parents. I was hoping my father would answer, so naturally my mother picked up.

’’Mom, it\'s me.’’

’’Hello, darling.’’ Mom sounded tired. ’’I\'m just back from the doctor.’’

’’Are you okay?’’

’’You can read about it on my blog tonight,’’ Mom said.

’’Hold up, you just got back from the doctor, right?’’

Mom sighed. ’’I just said that, didn\'t I?’’

’’Right, so I\'m asking about your health.’’

’’That\'s going to be my blog topic. If you want to know more, read it.’’

’’You won\'t tell me?’’

’’Don\'t take it personally, sweetie. This way I don\'t have to repeat myself when someone else asks.’’

’’So you blog about it instead?’’

’’It increases traffic to my site. See, now you\'re interested, am I right? So I\'ll get more hits.’’

My mother, ladies and gentlemen.

’’I didn\'t even know you had a blog.’’

’’Oh, sure, I\'m very now, very today, very hip. I\'m on MyFace too.’’

I heard my father in the background shout out, ’’It\'s MySpace, Ellen.’’

’’What?’’

’’It\'s called MySpace.’’

’’I thought it was MyFace.’’

’’That\'s Facebook. You have one of those too. And MySpace.’’

’’Are you sure?’’

’’Yes, I\'m sure.’’

’’Listen to Mr. Billy Gates back there. Knows everything about the Internet all of a sudden.’’

’’And your mother is fine,’’ Dad yelled out.

’’Don\'t tell him,’’ she whined. ’’Now he won\'t click my blog.’’

’’Mom, this is important. Can I talk to Dad for a minute?’’

Dad came on. I explained quickly and with as little detail as possible. Again Dad got it. He didn\'t question or argue. I had just finished explaining about how we\'d get someone to pick them up and take them to the compound when my call waiting beeped in another call. It was Terese.

I finished up with my father and switched over.

’’I\'m about two minutes from you,’’ I said to Terese. ’’Stay inside until I get there.’’

Silence.

’’Terese?’’

’’She called.’’

I heard the sob in her voice.

’’Who called?’’

’’Miriam. I just got off the phone with her.’’

34

I met her at the door.

’’Tell me what happened.’’

Her whole body shook. She moved close to me and I held her and closed my eyes. This conversation, I knew, would be devastating. I got it now. I got why Rick Collins told her to be prepared. I got why he warned that what he would say would change her entire life.

’’My phone rang. I picked it up and a girl on the other end said, \'Mommy?\' ’’

I tried to imagine the moment, hearing that word from your own child, believing it was someone you loved more than anything else in the world and that you had a hand in killing.

’’What else did she say?’’

’’They were holding her hostage.’’

’’Who?’’

’’Terrorists. She said not to tell anyone.’’

I said nothing.

’’A man with a thick accent took the phone away from her then. He said he\'d call back with demands.’’

I just held her.

’’Myron?’’

We managed to find our way to the couch. She looked at me with hope and I know how this will sound love. My heart was cracking in my chest as I handed her the photograph.

’’This is the blond girl I saw in Paris and London,’’ I said.

She studied the picture for a full minute without speaking. Then: ’’I don\'t understand.’’


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