Divide & conquer, p.38
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       Divide & Conquer, p.38

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 38


  McCoy frowned but didnt take the bait, for which Zane was grateful. If they could get through this, he and Ty could get out of here. “All right, Garrett, you sit too. You did your debriefs, so you know we found your truck intact. Well get it back to you in a few days. Go ahead and check out a car for the rest of the week. You can drive your partner around, since his truck is toast. ”

  “About that—” “Its being filed with Bureau insurance as a work-related personal property casualty,” McCoy said, talking right over Ty. “Im sure there will be all kinds of paperwork for you. ”

  Ty grimaced but didnt say anything. Zane figured he was still grieving for the valiant Bronco. “Ill be reviewing all the intel later this week as we deconstruct the case,” McCoy announced as he handed each of them a file folder. “But in the meantime, I thought youd at least like a few answers.

  “His name was Walter Pierson Sutton, son of Clarence and Mitzi Sutton,” McCoy began. “Fathers a doctor; mothers in interior design. ” “Upper crust, huh?” Ty muttered distractedly as he licked his thumb and scrubbed at a spot on his arm, checking to see if it was a bruise or dirt.

  “The Suttons live in Roland Park, lots of money flowing. Pierce attended the Gilman School. ” He paused to check for comprehension. Zane was still new to Baltimore and shrugged.

  “More-money-than-sense type of place, patches on the uniform, schoolgirl socks,” Ty said tiredly.

  “Its a boys-only school,” McCoy specified.

  Ty shrugged as if that didnt matter. “Thats where Sutton met Ross Tanger and, through Gilmans elective program, Hannah Myles at Bryn Mawr School and Graham Lewis at Mount Saint Joseph,” McCoy explained.

  “So they basically all went to school together. White-bread kids with access to money and nothing to do,” Zane concluded. “On the nose,” McCoy said with a nod. “The Suttons gave that kid anything and everything he wanted. The other kids had reasons for wanting money that didnt come from Mommy and Daddy. Not good ones, but reasons nonetheless: oppressive stepmother, forced responsibilities, boredom. ”

  “So what went wrong?” Zane asked, turning the pages in the file as he skimmed. “Theres no way to really know what set him off,” McCoy said, sounding frustrated as he leaned back in his chair and dragged both hands through his thinning hair. “What weve been able to discover so far is he had a recent fascination with anti-authoritarianism, anarchy, and misplaced social rebellion. The principal at Gilman said he had a terrible attitude with authority figures. And although he didnt have to work, Pierce drifted through several jobs at places in the Inner Harbor—including the aquarium—over the course of the past two years. ”

  “Doing recon,” Ty said, almost under his breath. The false alarm at the aquarium suddenly made sense. McCoy nodded soberly. “Now we can see it as groundwork laid. Weve got a warrant to get at his personal effects, computer, and phone, but now that hes out of the picture…. ” He shrugged. The case was closed. More research would be academic.

  “He was an angry kid who just… decided to kill people,” Zane said, having a hard time believing it could happen even though it had come within mere seconds of killing him.

  “The banks werent the goal. They were the diversion,” Ty murmured sadly. “This was one pissed-off young man,” McCoy said. His exhaustion was clear in the deep lines and shadows on his face. “Initial profile says that by Suttons reckoning, the world needed to crash and burn and be rebuilt. And the other kids have told interrogators that he zeroed in on Grady after the aquarium. Called you his white whale. ”

  “That… makes no sense,” Ty muttered.

  “Hes talking about Moby Dick,” Zane said.

  “I know what it means, Garrett!” Ty snapped.

  Zane shrugged and looked at his partner askance, but he didnt pick up the looming argument. He closed the file and let it fall to his lap, then reached up to rub the back of his neck as it twinged painfully.

  “What about the others?” Ty asked abruptly. Zane suspected he wanted to know about Hannah Myles. “Its clear from interviews with the other three kids that Sutton became increasingly unstable over the past year. Erratic, angry, hateful, but at the same time extravagant and wild. They didnt want him to take his temper out on them, so they went along with his plans,” McCoy concluded.

  “Whats the US District Attorney going to do?” Zane asked quietly, thinking about the sheer terror on Grahams face. “Theyll likely go with our recommendations,” McCoy said. “Probably extended time in a minimum-security jail for Ross Tanger, assignment to a low-security womens facility for Hannah Myles, and possibly just probation for Graham Lewis, considering his choice to turn Sutton in and the fact he wasnt personally involved in any robberies. ”

  “So its over,” Zane said slowly.

  McCoy raised one shoulder. “For now. This time. ”

  “Im going to go get drunk,” Ty stated, pushing himself up out of his chair.

  Zane stood as well, tapping the file folder on his other palm. “You coming to the wake, Mac?” “Ill drop by,” McCoy said. “At least make an appearance and then bow out so the real drinking can begin. You two go on. And you, Garrett, have a drink yourself. That was a dumbshit thing to do, but youre the hero of the hour. ”

  “Yeah, hes a real fucking hero,” Ty grumbled as he walked out of the office, but Zane could hear the undertone of pride in his voice. Then Zane grimaced. “Im going to be on TV again, arent I,” he said, dread building. “Running for the end zone,” McCoy confirmed. “Were going to have a talk about your newfound popularity next week. But for now, go on. Get out of here. Ill see you two later. ”

  “I VEgot Garretts first drink,” Perrimore announced as Zane walked into the pub the Bureau had taken over for the night. “Hes damn well earned it. ” Applause broke out, and Zane felt his cheeks heat—he was glad hed decided not to shave off the beard. He hadnt planned to be a hero.

  “Hes also our DD, so make it a Coke,” Clancy answered as she pulled Zane by the elbow around some tables to join the rest of the crew.

  “Hell, Ill buy whatever drinks Garrett wants all night if it means I dont have to drive home,” Alston said, toasting Zane with his bottle of beer.

  Zane shrugged out of his jacket and sat down next to Lassiter, who bumped their shoulders together companionably. “Good one, Zane,” Lassiter said seriously, holding out his hand. “Thanks, Harry,” Zane replied as he shook it.

  “Wheres your partner, Garrett?” Alston asked.

  “Went home to change,” Zane said, frowning a little. “I figured hed beat me here. He was more than ready for a drink after this afternoon. ”

  “Amen to that,” Perrimore added as he set a tall glass bottle of Coke in front of Zane.

  Zane smiled his thanks. “They practically had to cuff him to a chair to keep him still long enough to debrief. ” Everyone who had ever tried to keep Ty focused on something in the office for more than an hour laughed, and the table dissolved into meaningless chatter. They talked about work, mostly, because to a group of FBI agents, there wasnt much else, and because theyd all worked with Lydia Reeves in some way. But they also talked about softball, their kids, their spouses, their exes, the Ravens winning and the Orioles losing, about the weird smell that had been emanating from the third-floor supply room for a week now, and anything else that would fill the companionable silence.

  They were on their second round when Alston sat up straighter and waved at someone whod just come into the crowded bar. When Zane turned, he saw Ty making his way through the standing-roomonly floor toward them. Ty smiled and nodded as he pardoned his way past people, sliding his hand down one womans arm as he squeezed by her, patting someone on the shoulder and smiling like he knew the guy as he slipped past.

  He waved two fingers at the bartender he probably did know very well, since they were just a block or two from his house, and he stepped up to the table to put his arms around Alston and Clancy.

  “Whatd I miss?”

  “Youre two rounds behind, Grady,” Alston announced.

  “What took you so long?” Clancy asked practically on top of Alstons words. “And why didnt you keep the uniform on?” Zane just watched his partner, again feeling the rush of thankfulness for being able to see. Ty was, as the cliché went, a sight for sore eyes, and Zane wished they were anywhere but a bar crowded with their friends and co-workers. He swallowed hard, feeling his pulse pick up as the same thoughts that had been racing in circles in his head the past few hours started right back up again.

  Hed told Ty that he loved him, no ifs, ands, or buts. There was no going back now, and Zane wouldnt if he had the chance. But damn, they had to call some kind of moratorium on important declarations during life-threatening situations.

  Ty gave them all his trademark crooked grin, either oblivious to Zanes gaze on him or ignoring it like he often did when they were together in a crowd. “I had to change and take everything to the cleaners before the burnt smell settled in,” Ty told them just as the bartender called out his name.

  Ty turned and stretched across the bar to take the two beers hed ordered. He stood right there at the bar and gulped down one bottle as the others heckled him. He slammed the empty on the bar, nodded to the girl cheekily, and then brought his other bottle to the table with him. He sat on the edge of Clancys stool, the two of them using each other as backrests. Tys knee brushed Zanes as he settled in, and when Zane caught himself watching his partner, he was glad it was fairly dark in the pubs interior but for the colored light of the beer signs and the several LCD TVs mounted on the walls.

  Zane could see how very tired Ty was in every move he made, when hed stare blankly at nothing and then shake it off, how he was so still. Hed been through the emotional wringer today, and the whole past week certainly hadnt been a cakewalk. Zane was even more concerned now than he had been earlier.

  When theyd spoken briefly before leaving the office, Zane had honestly thought Ty might drop on the spot, and hed suggested they just skip the wake. But Ty had insisted he wanted to go, so Zane had relented. Theyd stay until the party started to break up; then Zane would drive people home and take Ty home with him. Maybe now, finally, theyd be able to sleep one night in peace, without dreading the coming day. More than anything else, he wanted to hold Ty through the night and know hed be there in the morning, safe and sound.

  “We thought Mac locked you up somewhere,” Alston said. “They about had Garrett shackled to the table all evening for the debrief. ” Ty had his bottle to his mouth. He looked from Alston to Zane and nodded, still drinking. After he set the bottle down, he reached out and patted Zanes knee. “My partner did all the heavy lifting. They didnt have too many questions for me, just the basics. Do you like risking your life for your stupid partner, do you have suicidal tendencies, does the dark still make you piss yourself?”

  “Oh, par for the course, then,” Perrimore egged.

  Zane didnt try to hold back the chuckle. “Now, now, Freddy, dont get him all riled up when we finally get to relax. ” Ty just gave him a raspberry and continued drinking his beer, wearing a decent enough approximation of a smile. The whole table laughed, and Zane soaked in the unusual feeling of camaraderie as the group fell into casual talk again.

  The chatter was interrupted when one of the assistant SAICs stood on a chair and yelled to get everyones attention. The whole pub calmed, and Dan McCoy stood up, drink in hand.

  “Okay, I think everybodys here whos coming. Its been an absolute hell of a day, more for some than others, and I want to tell you how proud I am that you all stuck with it through this mess. It would have been way too easy to knuckle under when the public turned on us and the bombs kept coming. But we all did our jobs, even when we knew wed get nothing but shit for it. ” McCoy lifted his bottle. “To Lydia Reeves, who died in the line of duty. God bless her memory. ”

  “Hear, hear,” Alston said, just loud enough for the table to catch. Zane and the others echoed the sentiment as everyone raised their drinks in a toast to their fallen comrade.

  A few moments of expectant silence later, the hairs on Zanes arms rose as Ty began to sing the first few lines to “Amazing Grace. ” When he reached the second verse, no one joined in with him, all of them either too stunned or too entranced by his voice to do anything but listen as they mourned.

  S UNLIGHT glowed buttery yellow as it beamed through the open curtains in Zanes bedroom. His eyes just barely open, he sleepily admired the light, soaking it in, a quiet joy filling him simply because he could see it. He lay still in the mussed bed for long minutes, waking up slowly and savoring it.

  Finally he yawned and shifted in the sheets, smiling despite the impressive array of aches and pains from the bruising all over his body. Ty hadnt added to the bruises last night. Theyd both been so tired that all they could do was strip and collapse into bed, where Ty had burrowed into Zanes arms, wrapped around him like a limpet, and kissed him gently over and over between their whispers of achingly tender words that were so difficult to say in the light of day, until theyd drifted off to sleep.

  Zane hummed and rolled to his back, reaching out for Ty only to feel cool sheets. Frowning, Zane sat up, and as the sheet pooled across his lap, he heard a soft crinkle. He picked up the sheet of paper and unfolded it to read two short lines written in Tys messy scrawl that brought Zanes happy morning crashing down around him.

  I’m sorry. Walls are closing in and I need to go. Love you.

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