Jenner was looking down again, but his eyes were not on the shoe. They were on Will’s watch. Will followed his gaze as the big hand moved to the seven.
Jenner flashed a self-satisfied smile. He said, “I want it in writing.”
Will was so shocked that it was finally the appointed hour that he almost didn’t know how to respond.
Jenner said, “I’ll tell you where the girl is being held, but I’m not going to jail.” He added, “And I’m not going on the registered sex offenders list.”
“You know you can’t avoid jail time.”
“I can avoid anything I like if you want to find the girl alive. Get the DA in here.” His eyes flashed toward the door. “I’d hurry if I were you. Tick-tock.”
Will stood from the table. Instead of leaving, he waited for the door to open. It was quite a crowd for the small room: Anna Ward, the Atlanta district attorney; Vanessa Livingston; and Amanda Wagner.
Jenner held up his handcuffed wrists, telling Will, “Get these things off me.”
Will fished into his pocket for the key. He took off the cuffs as Amanda shut the door.
“Mr. Jenner.” Anna smoothed her skirt as she sat down at the table. She placed a digital recorder beside a closed file folder. A click of a button turned on the red recording light. “I’m Anna Ward, the city’s attorney. I want to advise you that I’m recording this conversation. Can you please confirm for the tape that you’ve been read and understand your rights?”
Jenner rolled his eyes. “Yes, I’ve been advised of my rights. Yes, I am aware that this is being recorded. Yes, I’m aware that this is being watched through that ridiculous mirror on the wall.”
“Thank you.” She opened the folder, ignoring his sarcastic tone. “I hope you don’t mind if I skip the rest of the introductions. As you know, we don’t have much time.”
Jenner smiled, showing his broken teeth. “On the contrary. I have all the time in the world.”
Anna passed him the first document from the folder. The red, gold, and black seal of the Atlanta Police Department was in the top corner. “This authorizes your immediate release from the Atlanta Police’s Airport Precinct and guarantees that the department will not pursue any charges against you in this matter. It is signed by Commander Vanessa Livingston here at the bottom.” She turned to the next page. “This states that the City of Atlanta will not require you to register on the sex offenders list and that we will not pursue any further charges against you for the abduction, transportation, trafficking, or any other crime related to the minor known as Abigail Brannon.” She turned to the last page. “This specifies that the deal is strictly contingent upon you directing us to the exact location of the girl.”
“I can only tell you where she was taken.”
“We understand that, Mr. Jenner. If you refer to this line”—she touched her finger to the appropriate words—“you’ll see that your only requirement in honoring this agreement is to tell the truth about everything you know. If at any time you lie or evade questioning, or any information you give is found to be untrue, this agreement is void and you are subject to full prosecution.” She took a pen out of her jacket pocket and handed it to Jenner.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Jenner said. He took his time reading the documents. His eyes scanned back and forth along each line of each page. Will looked down at his watch. Five minutes passed before Jenner was certain he’d seen every possible loophole or trick in the one-page agreement.
“Okay,” he said, taking the pen. He signed each page, then handed the sheets back to Anna. She signed and initialed everything.
Amanda said, “Mr. Jenner, where is the girl?”
He pursed his lips, clearly enjoying the tension. “She’s being held at the Lakewood Arms Hotel. Room 215.” Less than ten miles away.
“Go!” Vanessa yelled, tapping the two-way mirror, though Will was certain her team was already heading to the hotel.
“So.” Jenner took the documents and folded them in two. “I suppose I should get out of your hair.”
“Did you touch her?” Will asked.
Jenner’s eyes went to Anna Ward. She told him, “You’re required to tell the truth, Mr. Jenner. That’s the agreement.”
“No,” he admitted. “Unfortunately.”
Will’s body tensed. Except for Amanda’s calming hand on his shoulder, he would’ve pounded the guy into the floor again.
“I think we’re done here.” Jenner tucked the documents into his jacket pocket and stood from the table. “When are you people going to realize you’re not smart enough to play these games?”
“Thirty thousand dollars,” Will said. “That’s all a child’s life is worth?”
Jenner looked at Anna Ward again. “The truth, right?”
She had to clear her throat before she could speak. “Yes.”
“I think that’s a fair sum when you factor in transportation and accommodations.” He gave a pleased sigh. “I know the Lakewood Arms doesn’t sound like much, but I had such a lovely night planned for our first date.”
Will’s fists clenched. “You bastard.”
Jenner had that familiar snarky grin on his face. “I’d hurry out to Lakewood, Officers. Eleanor was expecting me an hour ago. I’m sure she’s halfway to Florida by now.” He headed toward the door. There was something like a spring in his step. “Florida. That sounds like a nice place for a first date, doesn’t it?” He put his hand on the doorknob.
Amanda asked, “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Home,” he said. “It’s been a long day.”
“Be that as it may—” Amanda reached past Jenner and opened the door. An imposing man in a sheriff’s uniform blocked the exit—literally; he was as big as a refrigerator.
Amanda made the introductions. “Mr. Jenner, this is Phil Peterson, the sheriff for Clayton County. You can’t see behind him, but the Fulton sheriff and the FBI would like a word, too.”
“The—” Jenner pulled the documents out of his pocket. “I have your word that—”
“Mr. Jenner.” Vanessa Livingston did the honors. “Perhaps as a tax lawyer you’re familiar with the competing interests of various jurisdictions?” She paused, as if she expected an answer. “The airport compound reaches into the unincorporated regions of two counties and three cities.” She paused for effect, pointing at the floor. “You’re currently in the city of Atlanta. As the commander of this zone, I’ve ordered your release. You have my signature on that paperwork. I’ll do nothing to stop you from leaving.”
Anna Ward added, “Nor will I. The City of Atlanta will honor its agreement. We will not pursue charges against you.”
Jenner’s tone had a decidedly higher pitch. “I don’t understand.”
Vanessa explained, “The C concourse is in Hapeville, which is inside Fulton County. Your time in the underground train took you through the unincorporated parts of Clayton County. Your jaunt through the South Terminal breezeway was in College Park, which, again, is within the Fulton County limits. Sheriff Peterson won the coin toss, so he gets first crack at charging you.”