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Page 28


It is every parent’s nightmare—what had happened to this man. Megan thought now of her own kids, her stupidly cavalier comment about hating that she lived for their smile, and then she looked back at Carlton Flynn’s father.
“Scary, right?” Broome said.
She said nothing.
“You see what I’m trying to do now?”
She still said nothing.
“Stewart Green had parents too,” he went on. “He had a wife and kids. Look at the guy over there. Now imagine his sleepless night. Imagine him waiting to find an answer. Imagine that agony stretching out for a few days. Then weeks. Then months and even years. Imagine that torment.”
“I got it,” Megan said with a snap. “You’re the master of the subtle, Broome.”
“Just trying to make you understand.” He signaled for the check. “Anything else you can tell me about that photograph?”
Ray, she thought, but there was no way she could tell him that. She shook her head. “No, nothing.”
“Anything else about anything?”
Broome looked at her hard. She had come here prepared to tell him something important. Now she wasn’t so sure if she should. Her head spun. She wanted it to settle, give herself a chance to think it through clearly.
Broome waited.
“A person who shall remain nameless,” Megan began, “maybe—and I stress the word maybe—saw Stewart Green recently.”
Now it was Broome’s turn to be stunned. “Are you serious?”
“No, I just made it up. Of course, I’m serious. But the source wasn’t sure. It could have just been a guy who looked like Stewart. It’s been seventeen years, remember?”
“And you won’t tell me the source’s name?”
“I won’t, no.”
Broome made a face. “You want me to show you that grieving father again?”
“Only if you want me to get up and leave right now.”
“Okay, okay.” He put his hands up in mock surrender. “When did your source see Stewart?”
“In the past few weeks.”
“In town.”
“Where in town?”
“La Crème. And it’s dark in there.” Megan opened her mouth and almost said the word she, but she held it back at the last moment. “The source said it was only for a second and it might not have even been him.”
“This source,” he said. “Is he or she reliable?”
“Do you think he or she saw Stewart Green?”
“I don’t know.”
“And again I ask, anything else you can tell me?”
Megan shook her head. “That’s it.”
“Okay, then we’re done here.” Broome rose. “I got to hurry to the crime scene.”
“Wait, hold up.”
He looked down at her.
“What crime scene?”
“The iron-ore ruins, remember?”
She frowned. “Do you really think, what, there might still be blood or fibers or something after all this time?”
“Blood or fibers?” he repeated with a shake of his head. “You watch too much CSI.”
“Then what?”
“Sometimes history repeats itself.”
“What do you mean?”
“The man in the photograph I showed you.”
She waited, but she already knew. His eyes drifted back to the booth in the corner.
“It’s Carlton Flynn.”
MEGAN STAYED WHERE SHE WAS for a moment. She kept sneaking glances at Flynn’s father, but her mind was firmly in the past. Ray. The photograph proved it beyond a doubt.
Ray was back.
But what did that mean? Why would Ray send in that photograph to Broome—assuming he was the one who did? More to the point, why had he taken it in the first place?
She still had so many questions. The truth was, Megan did believe Lorraine. She wouldn’t be wrong about something that important. So the question was, how could Stewart Green be back? Where had he been for the past seventeen years? What really happened that night? What part did Ray play—and how could it possibly relate to a young guy named Carlton Flynn seventeen years later?
She had no clue.
Part of the reason Megan had never contacted Ray was to protect him—as he had tried to protect her. But now, seventeen years later, with another missing man in the same remote part of the park… it simply didn’t add up.
She took out the business card again. Fester at the Weak Signal.
Megan could still do the smart thing. Yes, she had opened that closet door, but nothing had really fallen out. She could simply close it again. No real damage done. She had done her part. She could get back in her car and go home and she could make up a new story for Dave, maybe pick up the new Weber grill on the way, tell him that was what she was doing and that she wanted to surprise him with it. She could do that, and it would all be over.
She had turned her back on this world seventeen years ago. She would call Harry Sutton, even though he had never showed for this meeting, and tell him she was done. She owed this city nothing.
And Ray?
An ex-boyfriend. Nothing more.
But that had always been a problem. By definition you break up with an ex. You may do it poorly or well, but one or both of you lose the feeling and you end it. That hadn’t been the case here. She had been crazy about him. He had been crazy about her. They didn’t so much break up as get ripped apart. She hated the term but maybe what they had needed, like every couple, was some kind of closure.
Ray could be in serious trouble.
Ray could be serious trouble.
She sneaked another glance at Carlton Flynn’s father in the Hawaiian shirt. He was looking toward her. Their eyes met. Not for long. Not for more than a second or two, but she could feel his grief, his confusion, his rage. Could she just walk away from that? Could she just walk away from Ray again too?
The selfless part of her knew that she couldn’t or at least shouldn’t. The selfish part, too, didn’t want to close that door just yet. Closing the door meant going back to her regular life, one day passing and then the next. She should welcome that, but right now, the thought of that, the idea of simply returning forevermore to the status quo, terrified her.
There was no choice really.
She had to find Ray. She had to ask him about that photograph. She had to ask him about what really happened to Stewart Green seventeen years ago.
Avoiding the eyes of Carlton Flynn’s father, Megan slid out of the booth and started toward the Weak Signal to find Fester.