“Covers them both,” Vanessa said. “Except for Will spotting them, we wouldn’t even know it had happened.”
Amanda looked at her watch. “Will, it’s time for you to go back in with Jenner. Add another half hour to your watch.”
Will didn’t immediately follow orders. “That’s a big leap.”
“Do as I say,” she told him. “It might be the difference between finding the girl and finding her body.”
Will sat across the table from Jenner with his hands clasped in front of him. His watch was on full display, the hands set ahead by an hour and twenty minutes. It was a big jump, but Jenner had been in the room for almost four hours. He’d spent most of the time either staring blankly at the two-way mirror or napping. There were no magazines. No TV. No distractions. His sense of time would be infinite.
At least they hoped it would be.
Will looked at his watch. He knew that Jenner hadn’t had lunch. “It’s way past dinnertime.”
“I can get you a hot dog, chicken sandwich.”
Jenner didn’t answer. He was turned sideways in his chair. One leg was crossed over the other. Jenner’s mouth had stopped bleeding, but he looked bad. Bruises were starting to form around his eyes and nose where his face had met concrete. Dried blood speckled his chin. A crease was down the side of his face where he’d fallen asleep with his cheek on his arm.
He didn’t seem scared or anxious. If anything, he seemed bored.
Will forced out a heavy sigh. He sat back in his chair. “You wanna know why I was in the bathroom?”
Jenner’s chin lifted. He gazed at Will out of the corner of his eye.
“It’s part of a sting operation to catch men cruising for sex.”
Jenner snorted a laugh, then seemed to think better of it when the pain shot through his busted nose. “I suppose the police don’t have anything better to do.”
Will ignored the observation. “I arrested a minister last week.”
“Hmm,” Jenner said.
Will didn’t add how awful he’d felt parading the man out in handcuffs. There was a reason Amanda had assigned the job as a punishment. Every day, Will felt like he needed to go home and scrape the filth off of him.
Then again, it was nothing compared to how disgusting he felt sitting across from the likes of Joe Jenner.
Will said, “You really should make a deal.”
Jenner cleared his throat. “I’ve advised my client that it’s best not to take legal counsel from the man who’s trying to send him to prison.”
“You were so easy to track.” Will amended, “Your client was, I mean.”
Jenner rolled his eyes at the game.
“And the hand-off in the parking lot. Pretty smooth. You know we found your disguise.”
Jenner didn’t move, which was evidence enough that Will had hit on something.
Will tried another lie. “Eleanor told us where it was. We’ve got her in the other room.”
Jenner pursed his lips.
Will said, “My boss is talking to her right now.”
“Is that so.” Not a question, but Will could tell that Jenner wasn’t so sure of himself now.
“You’re a lawyer, Joe. You know that the first person who makes the deal always serves the least amount of time.” He pressed a little harder. “Eleanor’s already served time. She knows the system. She’s going to flip on you. You know that. It’s just a matter of time.”
“Time?” Jenner looked down at Will’s watch, then back at the two-way mirror. “I have plenty of time.”
“Is that right?”
“I’m not talking to you anymore.”
“Ever? Or just for now?”
Jenner’s eyes met his, then went back to the mirror. Will had no idea who was behind the glass. They’d been playing this cat-and-mouse game for a while now. It was tantamount to watching paint dry.
Jenner cleared his throat. He crossed his other leg over his knee. His fingers tapped the table.
Will stared at the man. On the surface, he seemed as normal as any other fifty-year-old. Gray hair. A bit of a paunch in the stomach. Some wattle around the chin. That was the thing about these monsters—they looked just like everybody else. They took jobs that brought them into contact with kids. They developed covers that helped them elude capture. They spent every day of their lives working to bury their tracks, which was why it took so long to unravel the truth when you finally caught them.
Joe Jenner was a pro. He’d worked all of this out ahead of time, exploring the angles, running through the various scenarios. He wasn’t alone in this. He had a team. Maybe it was just Eleanor Fielding. Maybe it was more. Whatever their numbers, these people were sophisticated. Coordinated. They hadn’t just started doing this on a whim. They had a well-timed plan. They had a backup plan. They had accounted for every variable except for Will being in that bathroom.
And that still might not stop them.
Was that why Jenner seemed so smug? You didn’t get to live in the Ritz-Carlton and drive a Bentley by being unsure of yourself, but the man seemed to have a preternatural sense of superiority.
And why wouldn’t he? Eleanor Fielding’s name was on everything—the flights, the hotel room. She was the one who boarded the flight with Abigail in her arms. There was grainy footage of Jenner with the girl, but he could argue against that. Then there was the fact that Will had jumped him in the parking lot. Jenner’s lawyer could easily claim that the police were conspiring to protect their own.
All they had was Will’s testimony and some grainy footage. Jenner hadn’t harmed the girl—at least not that anyone could say. He’d taken her hand when she got off the plane, led her to the bathroom, then led her to the parking lot. With a sympathetic jury, he might get two or three years. If they never found Abigail—never found the body—he might get less than that.
But then there was the question of time.
Jenner was obviously waiting something out. Was Jenner waiting until he was certain his accomplice had driven Abigail across state lines? Or was the man letting another abuser have his fun while Jenner ran out the clock?
There was a knock on the door that startled both of them.
Faith motioned Will out of the room.
“They found the mother,” she said, walking down the hall. “Rebecca Brannon. Lives just outside of Post Falls, Idaho. Father was KIA in Iraq five years ago. Girl’s name is Abigail Brannon. Seven years old.”
A uniformed patrolman buzzed them into the Cold Room. The main monitor showed a television feed from CNN. A woman with blonde hair and pale white skin stood in front of a bank of microphones with various news logos on them. Both of her eyes were black. Her lip was busted open.
Will blurred his eyes, saw past the damage to the woman’s face. He’d been right about one thing, at least. Abigail looked like her mother.
Faith explained, “The mom was beaten and tied up in her basement for two days. Said the attacker was wearing a mask, didn’t talk, didn’t do anything but knock her out and take the kid. Her boyfriend found her when he got home from a business trip this afternoon.”
“Business trip?” Will asked.
“His name’s Paul Riggins. He services medical equipment for operating rooms,” Faith said. “Most of his business is in Seattle.”