Darkest Fear Page 52

But the heat in his blood would not leave him. So he stopped fighting it, let the heat soothe him, relax his muscles, settle gently over him. Maybe the heat wasn’t such a bad thing. Maybe the horrors he’d seen and the truths he’d learned hadn’t changed him, hadn’t deadened him, after all.

Myron closed the boxes, took one last, lingering look at the sunkissed isle of Mykonos, and made a silent vow.

28

Greg and Myron met up on the court. Myron strapped on his knee brace. Greg averted his eyes. The two men shot for half an hour, barely speaking, lost in the pure strokes. People ducked in and pointed at Greg. Several kids came up to him and asked him for autographs. Greg acquiesced, glancing at Myron as he took pen in hand, clearly uncomfortable getting all this attention in front of the man whose career he had ended.

Myron stared back at him, offering no solace.

After some time, Myron said, “There a reason you wanted me here, Greg?”

Greg kept shooting.

“Because I have to get back to the office,” Myron said.

Greg grabbed the ball, dribbled twice, took a turnaround jumper. “I saw you and Emily that night. You know that?”

“I know that,” Myron said.

Greg grabbed the rebound, took a lazy hook, let the ball hit the floor, and slowly bounce toward Myron. “We were getting married the next day. You know that?”

“Know that too.”

“And there you were,” Greg said, “her old boyfriend, screwing her brains out.”

Myron picked up the ball.

“I’m trying to explain here,” Greg said.

“I slept with Emily,” Myron said. “You saw us. You wanted revenge. You told Big Burt Wesson to hurt me during a preseason game. He did. End of story.”

“I wanted him to hurt you, yes. I didn’t mean for him to end your career.”

“You say tomato, I say tomahto.”

“It wasn’t intentional.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Myron said in a voice that sounded awfully calm in his own ears, “but I don’t give two shits about your intentions. You fired a weapon at me. You might have aimed for a flesh wound, but that didn’t happen. You think that makes you blameless?”

“You fucked my fiancée.”

“And she fucked me. I didn’t owe you anything. She did.”

“Are you telling me you don’t understand?”

“I understand. It just doesn’t absolve you.”

“I’m not looking for absolution.”

“Then what do you want, Greg? You want us to clasp hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’? Do you know what you did to me? Do you know what the one moment cost me?”

“I think maybe I do,” Greg said. He swallowed, put out a pleading hand as though he wanted to explain more, and then he let the hand drop to the side. “I’m so sorry.”

Myron started shooting but he felt his throat swell.

“You don’t know how sorry I am.”

Myron said nothing. Greg tried to wait him out. It didn’t work.

“What else do you want me to say here, Myron?”

Myron kept shooting.

“How do I tell you I’m sorry?”

“You’ve already done it,” Myron said.

“But you won’t accept it.”

“No, Greg. I won’t. I live without playing pro ball. You live without my accepting your apology. Pretty good deal for you, you ask me.”

Myron’s cell phone rang. He ran over, picked it up, said hello.

A whisper asked, “Did you do as I instructed?”

His bones turned to solid ice. He swallowed away something thick and said, “As you instructed?”

“The boy,” the voice whispered.

The stale air pressed against him, weighed down his lungs. “What about him?”

“Did you say one last good-bye?”

Something inside of Myron withered up and blew away. His knees buckled as the realization seeped into his chest. And the voice came on again:

“Did you say one last good-bye to the boy?”

29

Myron snapped his head toward Greg. “Where’s Jeremy?”

“What?”

“Where is he?”

Greg saw whatever it was on Myron’s face and dropped the basketball. “He’s with Emily, I guess. I don’t get him until noon.”

“Got a cell phone?”

“Yes.”

“Call her.”

Greg was already heading toward his gym bag, the athlete with the wonderful reflexes. “What’s going on?”

“Probably nothing.”

Myron explained about the call. Greg did not slow down to listen. He dialed. Myron started running toward his car. Greg followed, the phone pressed against his ear.

“No answer,” Greg said. He left a message on the machine.

“Does she have a cell phone?”

“If she does, I don’t have the number.”

Myron hit a stored number as they walked. Esperanza picked up.

“I need Emily’s cell phone number.”

“Give me five,” Esperanza said.

Myron hit another stored number. Win answered and said, “Articulate.”

“Possible trouble.”

“I’m here.”

They reached the car. Greg was calm. That surprised Myron. On the court, when the pressure mounted, Greg’s modus operandi was to get freaky, start screaming, psych himself into a frenzy. But of course, this was not a game. As his father had recently told him, when real bombs drop, you never know how someone will react.

Myron’s phone rang. Esperanza gave him Emily’s cell phone number. Myron dialed it. After six rings, Emily’s voice mail picked up. Damn. Myron left a message. He turned to Greg.

“Any clue where Jeremy might be?” Myron asked.

“No,” Greg said.

“How about a neighbor we can call? Or a friend?”

“When Emily and I were married, we lived in Ridgewood. I don’t know the neighbors in Franklin Lakes.”

Myron gripped the steering wheel. He hit the accelerator. “Jeremy’s probably safe,” Myron said, trying to believe it. “I don’t even know how this guy would know his name. It’s probably a bluff.”

Greg started shaking.

“He’ll be all right.”

“Jesus, Myron, I read those articles. If that guy has my kid …”

“We should call the FBI,” Myron said. “Just in case.”

“You think that’s the way to go?” Greg asked.

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