Something About You Page 12

But that morning, as she watched the defendant being escorted out of the courtroom wearing his handcuffs and orange jumpsuit, she felt as though something had been accomplished, no matter how small the degree. Justice had been served. The man who had shot and killed her father had been a felon, too. Maybe if more had been done, maybe if that gun hadn’t been on the streets, maybe if he hadn’t been on the streets . . .

She could do something about that, she’d realized.

That very week, she applied for an assistant U.S. attorney position.

One aspect of being a prosecutor Cameron hadn’t anticipated, however, was the politics that often came into play with government jobs. While sitting across from Silas that day, discussing his reasons for pulling out of the Martino case, she realized that the U.S. attorney’s office was no exception. She could guess Silas’s real problem: simply put, he didn’t want to stick his neck out and potentially lose a trial that would be covered by every national newspaper, television, and radio station.

She was surprised by his decision. And frustrated. And disgusted by the thought that someone like Roberto Martino would be allowed to go on, unchecked, with business as usual. But unfortunately, unless she planned to hand over her assistant U.S. attorney badge right then and there, her hands were tied. She’d been with the office for only a year—openly challenging her boss on such an issue would not be the smartest move if she wanted to remain an employed crime-fighter. So she kept her thoughts to herself.

“Okay. No charges.” She got a pit in her stomach, saying the words out loud.

“I’m glad you understand,” Silas said with a nod of approval. “And there’s one last thing: I haven’t had the chance to speak to anyone at the Bureau about this. Somebody needs to tell Agent Pallas and the others that we’re pulling out of the Martino case. I thought, since you seem to have a good rapport with him, that it should be you.”

Now that was a conversation Cameron wanted no part of. “I think it might be more appropriate if Agent Pallas heard this directly from you, Silas. Especially given everything he went through in this investigation.”

“He was doing his job as an FBI agent. That’s how these things turn out sometimes.”

Sensing from his tone that the matter was no longer open for discussion, Cameron nodded. She wasn’t sure she trusted herself to speak at that moment, anyway.

Silas held her eyes. “And just so we’re on the same page, the only thing the FBI needs to know is that there aren’t going to be any charges brought against Martino and his men. This office has a strict policy that we do not comment on our internal decision-making process.”

When Cameron still said nothing, Silas cocked his head. “I need you to be a team-player on this, Cameron. Is that understood?”

Oh, she understood all right. Silas was selling her out—letting her take the fall for his decision to back off of Martino. But that was how the game was played. He was her boss, not to mention an extremely important and well-connected member of the Chicago legal community. Which meant there was only one thing she could say.

“Consider it done.”

JACK WATCHED AS Wilkins checked his rearview mirror. The passenger in the backseat had been silent for a while.

“Is she asleep?” he asked.

Wilkins nodded. “Been a long night.”

“True. Let’s pick up another round of coffee before heading back. The stuff they have in the office tastes like shit.”

“I meant that it’s been a long night for her.”

Jack knew exactly what Wilkins had meant. But he was trying to avoid thinking about her as much as possible.

“Kind of strange, the two of you meeting again under these circumstances.”

Wilkins apparently had not received his let’s-just-drop-the-issue memo.

Jack glanced in his mirror to double-check that Cameron was sleeping. “It would’ve been strange no matter what circumstances we’d met under,” he said, keeping his voice low.

Wilkins looked away from the road. “You have any regrets?”

“About what I said?”

“Yeah.”

“Only that they had a camera there.”

Wilkins shook his head. “Remind me to never get on your bad side.”

“Don’t ever get on my bad side.”

“Thanks.”

Jack liked working with Wilkins. He’d hesitated at first when his boss had decided to partner him with a guy who’d just graduated from the Academy. He’d hesitated even more when he’d gotten a look at the expensive suit Wilkins had been wearing the first day they met. But underneath the grins and jokes, Wilkins was a lot savvier than Jack had first given him credit for, and he respected that—even if the two of them couldn’t have been more different in their approach to most things. Besides that, Jack welcomed having a partner who actually talked for a change, considering his last partner in Nebraska had spoken an average of about six-point-three words a day and had the personality of a doorknob. Stakeouts with the guy had been a real hoot. Not that stakeouts in Nebraska were all that interesting to start with. He’d been bored out of his mind the last three years—which, of course, had been the whole point of the disciplinary action the Department of Justice had taken against him.

Jack glanced again in his mirror to check out Cameron sleeping in the backseat.

He wasn’t being entirely truthful, telling Wilkins that he had no regrets about what had happened three years ago. Of course he did—what he said had been uncalled for. He knew that all of about two seconds after the words had flown out of his mouth.

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