Allen would not have been able to make peace with himself if anything had happened to her, because he had been the one to send her inside as a spy. Maybe God had been listening, because she had been released. But so were Joy, and Izzy, and Dr. What kind of capricious God would roll the dice like that?
The detective looked directly at Janine, as if to see whether she was okay with Allen calling the shots. She had done what he wanted from the moment she arrived in town, intent to serve his mission any way she could.
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And she knew that he meant well. Janine started walking, still clutching her foil blanket around her shoulders. She just needed space, for a second. At the end of the hallway was another interrogation room, much like the one she had been in. What had been a mirror on the inside was, from this vantage point, a window.
Joy sat at a table with a female detective.
Before she realized what she was doing, Janine was knocking at the window. The interrogation room door swung open, and a moment later a female detective looked at her. I wanted to see. In the hospital room, there was a piece of tape stuck to one of the slats of the air-conditioning vent overhead. Then they both saw it—the flicker of a heartbeat. The doctor took measurements and recorded them. He wiped the gel off her belly and pulled the drape down to cover her again.
Izzy struggled onto her elbows. Definitely takes after its mama. Izzy lay back on the gurney and slipped her hands underneath the scratchy blanket. She flattened them on her stomach. As soon as she had gotten outside the clinic, the EMTs had put her on a stretcher beside Dr. He would have none of it. Ward said to the young paramedic inspecting his tourniquet. That was the last she had seen of him. She wondered if he was in surgery; if he would keep the leg. She had a good feeling about it.
She had grown up with a chronically unemployed father and a mother who struggled to take care of Izzy and her twin brothers, in a house so small that the three kids shared not just a room but a bed. Her mother would take them on a spare change hunt. Occasionally they celebrated Colonial Week—when they used candles instead of electric lights. When Izzy thought about her life, there was such a clear break between then and now.
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Now, she lived with Parker in a house three times larger than her childhood home. They had met when he was in traction with a broken leg. Their first date, he liked to say, had been a sponge bath. Parker had gone to Yale like his father and grandfather and great-grandfather.
He had grown up in Eastover, the snobbiest neighborhood in the whole state. He went to private schools and dressed in miniature blazers and ties even as a child. He summered. Even his job—a documentary filmmaker—was possible only because of his trust fund. Izzy still ordered the cheapest thing on a menu if they ate out. They might as well have come from different planets.
How on earth were they supposed to raise a child together? Izzy wondered if now—finally—the fault line of her life would no longer be the first day she earned a paycheck.
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The woman. Bex something? Izzy felt tears spring to her eyes. Thank God. The nurse shook her head. They sure had.
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She had been covered in Dr. She helped Izzy off the gurney and led her through the curtain to a single-person bathroom. Izzy shook her head. She closed the door and locked it, leaned against the wood. Her teeth were chattering now. Her hair had long ago escaped its braid and was a hot red frizz around her face. The scrubs they had given her to replace the bloody ones she had been wearing when she was brought in were too big, and the top was slipping off one shoulder, like a really poor version of a sexy nurse fantasy.
Although she had washed off most of the blood that covered her arms and neck, she could see the spots she had missed. She scrubbed until her skin was raw and then walked back to her little cubicle. Hovering outside the curtain was a police officer. I was hoping you might be able to just give a short statement? She drew back the curtain and sat down on the gurney, her legs dangling. Thibodeau scratched above his ear with his pen.
But she only noticed that when she touched him, she finally stopped shaking. Maybe there was a way to stop worrying about what might drive them apart, and to focus on what bound them together. There were dozens of questions written across his features, and he stared into her eyes as if he were trying to find the answers. Or the truth. Maybe they were even, for once, the same. This was not how—or where—she had thought her day would end.
But somehow, it was exactly where she needed to be. She took his hand and flattened it against her belly, smiling. When one of the junior detectives brought the word that his older sister Bex was out of surgery, Hugh winged a silent thank-you to a God he had long ago stopped believing in. The part of his brain that had been worrying about her could go back to focusing on Wren, who was still in there with a murderer. He paced the command center from where he had made the call to give the shooter a few more minutes, in the hope he would make good on his promise to release all the hostages.
The question was, had he made a bad decision? A fatal one, for Wren? He released most of them. You go in there and we both know how this will end. What if George had agreed to release the hostages, planning all along to go back on his word? What if he wanted to go out in a blaze of bullets, and take Wren with him? Was this going to be his ultimate fuck-you to Hugh? Quandt met his gaze. Hugh remained immobile, his arms crossed. The commander narrowed his eyes. And then I will do everything in my power to make sure she is safe.
The minute Quandt walked away, Hugh picked up his cellphone and dialed the clinic number, the same one he had been using for hours now to speak to George. It rang and rang and rang. Pick up, Hugh thought. After eighteen rings, he was about to hang up. He remembered when she was a toddler, and she had fallen. If Hugh looked upset, Wren would burst into tears.
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