Chapter 40

MIKE sat in the same interrogation room as before. This time he was with his son.

Special Agent Darryl LeCrue and U.S. Assistant Attorney Scott Duncan had been trying to put together the case. Mike knew that they were all here somewhere-Rosemary, Carson, DJ Huff and probably his father, the other goths. They separated them out, hoping to cut deals and file charges.

They'd been here for hours. Mike and Adam had yet to answer a single question. Hester Crimstein, their attorney, refused to let them speak. Right now Mike and Adam sat alone in the interrogation room.

Mike looked at his son, felt his heart break, and said, "It's going to be okay," for maybe the fifth or sixth time.

Adam had gone nonresponsive. Shock probably. Of course, there was a fine line between shock and teenage sullenness. Hester was in crazed mode and it was getting worse. You could see it. She kept bouncing in and out and asking questions. Adam just shook his head when she demanded details.

Her last visit had been half an hour ago and ended with her saying two words to Mike: "Not good."

The door burst open again now. Hester walked in, grabbed a chair, pulled it close to Adam. She sat down and moved her face an inch away from his. He turned away. She took his face in her hands, turned it toward hers, and said, "Look at me, Adam."

He did so with great reluctance.

"Here is your problem. Rosemary and Carson are blaming you. They say it was your idea to steal your father's prescription pads and take this to the next level. They say you sought them out. Depending on their mood, they also claim that your father was behind it too. Daddy here was looking for a way to pick up extra cash. The DEA officers in this very building just got themselves wonderful ink for arresting a doctor in Bloomfield for doing the same thing-providing illegal prescriptions for the black market. So they like that angle, Adam. They want the doctor and his son in cahoots because it makes a media splash and gets them promotions. Do you get what I'm saying?"

Adam nodded.

"So why aren't you telling me the truth?"

"It doesn't matter," Adam said.

She spread her hands. "What does that mean?"

He just shook his head. "It's my word against theirs."

"Right, but see, there's two problems. First off, it's not just them. They got a couple of Carson 's buddies to back up their story. Of course these buddies would back up the claim that you performed anal probes on a spaceship if Carson and Rosemary asked them to. So that's not our big problem."

Mike said, "So what is?"

"The firmest piece of evidence is those prescription pads. You can't tie them directly to Rosemary and Carson. It's not a nice neat package. But they can tie them directly to you, Dr. Baye. Obviously. They are yours. They can also pretty much tie how they got from point A-you, Dr. Baye-to point B-the illegal market. Via your son."

Adam closed his eyes and shook his head.

"What?" Hester said.

"You won't believe me."

"Sweetheart, listen to me. It's not my job to believe you. It's my job to defend you. You can worry about your mommy believing you, okay? I'm not your mommy. I'm your attorney and, right now, that's a whole lot better."

Adam looked at his father.

"I will believe you," Mike said.

"But you didn't trust me."

Mike was not sure how to reply to that.

"You put that thing on my computer. You eavesdropped on my private conversations."

"We were worried about you."

"You could have asked."

"I did, Adam. I asked a thousand times. You told me to leave you alone. You told me to get out of your room."

"Uh, fellas?" It was Hester. "I'm enjoying this touching father-son scene, really, it's beautiful, I want to weep, but I bill by the hour and I'm damn expensive, so can we get back to this case?"

There was a sharp knock on the door. It opened and Special Agent Darryl LeCrue and U.S. Assistant Attorney Scott Duncan entered.

Hester said, "Get out. This is a private conference."

"There is someone here who wants to see your clients," LeCrue said.

"I don't care if it's Jessica Alba in a tube top-"


It was LeCrue.

"Trust me here. This is important."

They stepped to the side. Mike looked up. He wasn't sure what to expect, but certainly not this. Adam started to cry as soon as he saw them.

Betsy and Ron Hill stepped into the room.

"Who the hell are they?" Hester asked.

"Spencer's parents," Mike said.

"Whoa, what kind of emotional trick is this? I want them out. I want them out now."

LeCrue said, "Shh. Just listen. Don't talk. Just listen."

Hester turned to Adam. She put his hand on his forearm. "Don't say one word. Do you hear me? Not one word."

Adam just kept crying.

Betsy Hill took a seat across the table from him. There were tears in her eyes too. Ron stood behind her. He crossed his arms and looked at the ceiling. Mike could see the tremble in his lips. LeCrue stood back in one corner, Duncan the other.

LeCrue said, "Mrs. Hill, can you tell them what you just told us?" Hester Crimstein still had her hand on Adam's forearm, readying to quiet him. Betsy Hill just looked at Adam. Adam finally lifted his head. He met her eyes.

"What's going on?" Mike asked.

Betsy Hill finally spoke. "You lied to me, Adam."

"Whoa, whoa," Hester said. "If she's going to start with accusations about deception, we're going to stop this right here and right now."

Betsy kept her eyes on Adam, ignoring the outburst. "You and Spencer didn't fight over a girl, did you?"

Adam said nothing.

"Did you?"

"Don't answer," Hester said, giving his forearm a little squeeze.

"We are not commenting on any alleged fight-"

Adam pulled his arm away. "Mrs. Hill..."

"You're afraid they won't believe you," Betsy said. "And you're afraid you're going to hurt your friend. But you can't hurt Spencer. He's dead, Adam. And it's not your fault."

The tears kept coming down Adam's face.

"Do you hear me? It's not your fault. You had every reason to get angry with him. His father and I missed so much with Spencer. We'll have to deal with that for the rest of our lives. Maybe we could have stopped him if we had kept a closer eye-or maybe there was no way to save him. I don't know right now. But I know this: It is not your fault and you can't take the blame for this. He's dead, Adam. No one can hurt him anymore."

Hester opened her mouth, but no words came out. She stopped herself, pulled back, watched. Mike did not know what to make of this either.

"Tell them the truth," Betsy said.

Adam said, "Doesn't matter."

"Yes, it does, Adam."

"No one is going to believe me."

"We believe you," Betsy said.

"Rosemary and Carson will say it was me and my dad. They're already doing it. So why drag someone's name through the mud?"

LeCrue said, "That's why you tried to end it last night. With that wire you were telling us about. Rosemary and Carson blackmailed you, didn't they? They said if you told, they'd put it on you. They'd say you stole the prescription pads. Just like they're doing now. And then you had your friends to worry about. They could all get in trouble too. So what choice did you have? You let it go on."

"I wasn't worried about my friends," Adam said. "But they were going to put it on my dad. He'd lose his license, for sure."

Mike felt his breathing go funny. "Adam?"

He turned toward his father.

"Just tell the truth. Don't worry about me."

Adam shook his head.

Betsy reached out and touched Adam's hand. "We have proof."

Adam looked confused.

Ron Hill moved forward. "When Spencer died I went through his room. I found..." He stopped, swallowed, looked at the ceiling again. "I didn't want to tell Betsy. She was going through enough and I fig- ured, what difference did it make? He was dead. Why put her through any more? You were thinking something like that too, weren't you, Adam?"

Adam said nothing.

"So I didn't say anything. But the night he died... I went through his room. Under his bed, I found eight thousand dollars in cash-and these."

Ron tossed a prescription pad onto the table. For a moment, everyone just stared at it.

"You didn't steal your father's prescription pads," Betsy said.

"Spencer did. He stole them from your house, didn't he?"

Adam had his head down.

"And the night he killed himself, you found out. You confronted him. You were furious. You two fought. That's when you hit him. When he called you back, you didn't want to hear his apologies. He had gone too far this time. So you let his calls go into voice mail."

Adam squeezed his eyes shut. "I should have answered it. I hit him. I called him names and said I never wanted to speak to him again. Then I left him alone and when he called for help..."

The room pretty much exploded then. There were tears, of course. Hugs. Apologies. Wounds were ripped open and closed. Hester worked it. She grabbed LeCrue and Duncan. They all saw what happened here. No one wanted to prosecute the Bayes. Adam would cooperate and help send Rosemary and Carson to prison.

But that was for another day.

Later that night, after Adam had gotten home and had his cell phone back, Betsy Hill came over.

"I want to hear," she said to him.

And together they listened to Spencer's very last message before ending his own life:

"This isn't on you, Adam. Okay, man. Just try to understand. It's not on anyone. It's just too hard. It's always been too hard..."

ONE week later, Susan Loriman knocked on the door of Joe Lewis- ton's house.

"Who is it?"

"Mr. Lewiston? It's Susan Loriman."

"I'm pretty busy."

"Please open up. It's very important."

There were a few seconds of silence before Joe Lewiston did as she asked. He was unshaven and in a gray T-shirt. His hair jutted up in different directions and there was still sleep in his eyes.

"Mrs. Loriman, this isn't really a good time."

"It's not a good time for me either."

"I've been dismissed from my teaching post."

"I know. I'm sorry to hear that."

"So if this is about your son's donor drive..."

"It is."

"You can't possibly think I'm the one to lead this anymore."

"That's where you're wrong. I do."

"Mrs. Loriman..."

"Has anyone close to you ever died?"


"Do you mind telling me who?"

The question was an odd one. Lewiston sighed and looked into Susan Loriman's eyes. Her son was dying and for some reason this question seemed very important to her. "There was my sister, Cassie. She was an angel. You never believed anything could happen to her."

Susan knew all about it, of course. The news had been full of stories on Cassandra Lewiston's widowed husband and the murders.

"Anyone else?"

"My brother Curtis."

"Was he an angel too?"

"No. Just the opposite. I look like him. They say we're the spitting image. But he was troubled his whole life."

"How did he die?"

"Murdered. Probably in a robbery."

"I have the donor nurse right here." Susan looked behind her. A woman came out of the car and moved toward them. "She can take your blood right now."

"I don't see the point."

"You really didn't do anything that terrible, Mr. Lewiston. You even called the police when you realized what your former brother-in-law was doing. You need to start thinking about rebuilding. And this step, your willingness to help here, to try to save my child even when you have all of this going on in your real life, I think that will matter to people. Please, Mr. Lewiston. Won't you try to help my son?"

He looked as though he was about to protest. Susan hoped that he wouldn't. But she was ready if he did. She was ready to tell him that her son, Lucas, was ten years old. She was ready to remind him that his brother Curtis had died eleven years ago-or nine months before Lucas's birth. She would tell Joe Lewiston that the best odds now of finding a good donor was via a genetic uncle. Susan hoped that it wouldn't come to that. But she was willing to go that far now. She had to be.

"Please," she said again.

The nurse kept approaching. Joe Lewiston looked at Susan's face again and must have seen the desperation.

"Sure, okay," he said. "Why don't you come inside so we can do this?"

I T amazed Tia how quickly life went back to normal.

Hester had been good to her word. No second chances, professionally speaking. So Tia handed in her resignation and was currently looking for another job. Mike and Ilene Goldfarb were off the hook for any crimes involving their prescriptions. The medical board was doing a for-show investigation, but in the meantime, their practice continued on as before. There were rumors that they had found a good match for Lucas Loriman, but Mike didn't want to talk about it and so she didn't push.

During those first few emotional days, Tia figured that Adam would turn his life around and be the sweet, kind boy... well, that he never really was. But a boy doesn't work like a light switch. Adam was better, no question about it. Right now he was outside in the driveway playing goalie while his father took shots on him. When Mike got one past him, he would yell, "Score!" and start singing the Rangers goal-scoring music. The sound was comforting and familiar, but in the old days, she would hear Adam too. Now, today, not a sound came from him. He played in silence, while there was something strange in Mike's voice, a blend of joy and desperation.

Mike still wanted that kid back. But that kid was probably gone. Maybe that was okay.

Mo pulled into the driveway. He was taking them to the Rangers versus Devils game down in Newark. Anthony, who along with Mo had saved their lives, was going too. Mike had thought Anthony saved his life the first time, in that alley, but it had been Adam who'd delayed them long enough-and had the knife scar to prove it. It was a heady thing for a parent to realize-the son saving the father. Mike would get teary and want to say something, but Adam wouldn't hear it. He was silent brave, that kid.

Like his father.

Tia looked out the window. Her two men-boys started toward the door to say good-bye. She waved at them and blew them a kiss. They waved back. She watched them get into Mo's car. She kept her eyes on them until the car faded away at the turn down the road.

She called out. "Jill?"

"I'm upstairs, Mom!"

They had taken the spy software off Adam's computer. You could argue it a dozen different ways. Maybe if Ron and Betsy had been watching Spencer more closely, they could have saved him. But maybe not. There is a certain fate to the universe and a certain randomness. Here Mike and Tia had been so worried about their son-and in the end, it was Jill who came closer to dying. It was Jill who suffered the trauma of having to shoot and kill another human being. Why?

Randomness. She happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

You can spy, but you can't predict. Adam might have found a way out of this on his own. He could have made that tape and Mike wouldn't have been assaulted and nearly killed. That crazy kid Carson wouldn't have pulled a gun on them. Adam wouldn't still be wondering if his parents truly trusted him.

Trust is like that. You can break it for a good reason. But it still remains broken.

So what had Tia the mother learned from all this? You do your best. That's all. You go in with the best intentions. You let them know that they are loved, but life is too random to do much more. You can't really control it. Mike had this friend, a former basketball star, who liked to quote Yiddish expressions. His favorite was "Man plans, God laughs." Tia had never really gotten that. She thought that it gave you an excuse to not try your hardest because, hey, God is going to mess with you anyway. But that wasn't it. It was more about understanding that you could give it your all, give yourself the best chances, but control is an illusion.

Or was it still more complex than even that?

One could argue just the opposite-snooping had saved them all. For one thing, snooping had helped them realize that Adam was in over his head.

But more than that, the fact that Jill and Yasmin snooped and knew about Guy Novak's gun-without that, they would all be dead.

So ironic. Guy Novak keeps a loaded gun in his house and rather than it leading to disaster, it saves them all.

She shook her head at the thought and opened the fridge door. They were low on groceries.



Tia grabbed her keys and wallet. She looked for her cell phone.

Her daughter had recovered from the shooting with surprising ease. The doctors warned her that it could be a delayed reaction or maybe she realized that what she did was proper and necessary and even heroic. Jill wasn't a baby anymore.

Where had Tia put her cell phone?

She had been sure that she had left it on the counter. Right here. Not more than ten minutes ago.

And it was that simple thought that turned everything around.

Tia felt her body go rigid. In the relief of survival, they had let a lot of things go. But suddenly, as she stared down at the spot where she was sure she had left her cell phone, she thought about those unanswered questions.

That first e-mail, the one that started it all, about going to DJ Huff's house for a party. There had been no party. Adam had never even read it.

So who had sent it?


Still searching for her cell, Tia lifted the house phone, picked it up, and dialed. Guy Novak answered on the third ring.

"Hey, Tia, how are you?"

"You told the police that you sent out that video."


"The one with Marianne having sex with Mr. Lewiston. You said you sent it out. To get revenge."


"You didn't know about it at all, did you, Guy?"



"Let it go, Tia."

He hung up.

She crept up the stairs quietly. Jill was in her own room. Tia didn't want her to hear. It was all coming together. Tia had wondered about that, about these two horrible things-Nash going on his rampage, Adam vanishing-happening at the same time. Someone had joked that bad things come in threes and you better watch out. But Tia had never quite bought that.

The e-mail about the Huff party.

The gun in Guy Novak's drawer.

The explicit video that was sent to Dolly Lewiston's address. What tied them all together?

Tia turned the corner and said, "What are you doing?"

Jill jumped at the sound of her mother's voice. "Oh, hi. Just playing Brickbreaker."



They joked about it, she and Mike. Jill was nosy. Jill was their Har- riet the Spy.

"I'm just playing."

But she wasn't. Tia knew that now. Jill didn't take her phone all the time to play video games. She did it to check Tia's messages. Jill didn't use the computer in their room because it was newer and worked better. She did it to see what was going on. Jill hated to be treated like a little kid. So she snooped. She and her friend Yasmin.

Innocent kid stuff, right?

"You knew we were watching Adam's computer, didn't you?"


"Brett said that whoever sent that e-mail had done it from inside the house. They sent it, they went on Adam's e-mail because he wasn't home, they deleted it. I couldn't figure out who would or could do that. But it was you, Jill. Why?"

Jill shook her head. But at the end of the day, a mother knows.


"I didn't mean for this to happen."

"I know. Tell me."

"You guys shredded the reports, but I mean, why did you suddenly have a shredder in your bedroom? I could hear you whispering about it at night. And you even bookmarked the site for E-SpyRight on your computer."

"So you knew we were spying?"

"Of course."

"So why did you send that e-mail?"

"Because I knew you'd see it."

"I don't understand. Why would you want us to see something about a party that wasn't really happening?"

"I knew what Adam was going to do. I thought it was too dangerous. I wanted to stop him, but I couldn't tell you the truth about Club Jaguar and all that. I didn't want to get him in trouble."

Tia nodded now. "So you made up a party."

"Yes. I said there would be drinking and drugs."

"You figured that we'd make him stay home."

"Right. So he'd be safe. But Adam ran away. I didn't think he'd do that. I messed up. Don't you see? It's all my fault."

"It's not your fault."

Jill started to sob. "Yasmin and me. Everyone treats us like babies, you know? So we spy. It's like a game. The adults hide stuff, and then we find out about it. And then Mr. Lewiston said that horrible thing about Yasmin. It changed everything. The other kids were so mean. At first Yasmin got really sad, but then it was like, I don't know, like she went crazy mad. Her mom had always been so useless, you know, and I think she saw this as a chance to help Yasmin."

"So she... she set up Mr. Lewiston. Did Marianne tell you about it?"

"No. But see, Yasmin spied on her too. We saw the video on her camera phone. Yasmin asked Marianne about it, but she said it was over and that Mr. Lewiston was suffering too."

"So you and Yasmin...?"

"We didn't mean any harm. But Yasmin had had enough. All the adults telling us what was best. All the kids in school picking on her. On us, really. So we did it on the same day. We didn't go to her house after school. We came here first. I sent out the e-mail about that party to get you to act-and then Yasmin sent out the video to make Mr. Lewiston pay for what he'd done."

Tia stood there and waited for something to come to her. Kids don't do what their parents say-they do what they see their parents do. So who was to blame here? Tia was not sure.

"That's all we did," Jill said. "We just sent out a couple of e-mails. That's all."

And that was true.

"It's going to be okay," Tia said, echoing the words her husband had repeated to her son in that interrogation room.

She kneeled down and took her daughter in her arms. Whatever had been holding back Jill's tears gave way. She leaned against her mother and cried. Tia stroked her hair and made comforting sounds and let the sobs come.

You do what you can, Tia reminded herself. You love them the best you can.

"It's going to be okay," she said once more.

This time, she almost believed it.

ON a cold Saturday morning-the very day that Essex County Prosecutor Paul Copeland was to be married for the second time-Cope found himself standing in front of a U-Store-It unit on Route 15.

Loren Muse stood next to him. "You don't have to be here."

"The wedding isn't for six hours," Cope said.

"But Lucy-"

"Lucy understands."

Cope glanced over his shoulder where Neil Cordova waited in the car. Pietra had broken her silence a few hours ago. After all her stone-walling, Cope had come up with the simple idea of letting Neil Cordova talk to her. Two minutes in, with her boyfriend dead and a deal firmly in place with her lawyer, Pietra broke down and told them where they would find the body of Reba Cordova.

"I want to be here," Cope said.

Muse followed his gaze. "You shouldn't have let him come either."

"I promised."

Cope and Neil Cordova had talked a lot since Reba had vanished. In a few minutes, if Pietra was telling the truth, they would now have something horrible in common-dead wives. Weirdly enough, when they looked into the background of the killer, he too shared this hor- rific attribute.

As if reading his thoughts, Muse asked, "Do you leave any room for the chance that Pietra is lying?"

"Very little. You?"

"Same," Muse said. "So Nash killed these two women to help his brother-in-law. To find and destroy this tape of Lewiston 's infidelity."

"So it seems. But Nash had priors. I bet if we go back, we'll find a lot of bad in his past. I think this was probably an excuse for him to wreak damage more than anything else. But I don't know or care about the psychology. You can't prosecute psychology."

"He tortured them."

"Yes. In theory to see who else knew about the tape."

"Like Reba Cordova."


Muse shook her head. "What about the brother-in-law, the school-teacher?"

" Lewiston? What about him?"

"Are you going to prosecute him?"

Cope shrugged. "He claims that he told Nash as a confidante and that he didn't know that he'd go so crazy."

"Do you buy that?"

"Pietra backs it, but I don't have enough evidence one way or the other yet." He looked at her. "That's where my detectives come in."

The storage unit supervisor found the key and put it in the lock. The door was opened and the detectives poured in.

"All that," Muse said, "and Marianne Gillespie never sent the tape."

"Seems not. She just threatened to. We checked it out. Guy Novak claims that Marianne told him about the tape. She wanted to let it slide-thought just the threat was punishment enough. Guy didn't. So he sent the tape to Lewiston 's wife."

Muse frowned.

"What?" Cope asked.

"Nothing. You going to prosecute Guy?"

"For what? He sent out an e-mail. That's not against the law."

Two of the officers walked out of the storage unit slowly. Too slowly. Cope knew what it meant. One of the officers met Cope's eyes and nodded.

Muse said, "Damn."

Cope turned and walked toward Neil Cordova. Cordova watched him. Cope kept his eyes up and tried not to teeter. Neil started shaking his head as he saw Cope move closer. He shook his head harder now, as if the very act could deny the reality. Cope kept his pace steady. Neil had braced for this, knew it was coming, but that never cushioned blows like these. You have no choice. You can no longer divert or fight it. You simply have to let it crush you.

So when Cope got to him, Neil Cordova stopped shaking his head and collapsed against Cope's chest. He started sobbing Reba's name over and over, saying it wasn't true, couldn't be true, begging some higher power to return his beloved to him. Cope held him up. Minutes passed. Hard to say how many. Cope stood there and held the man and said nothing.

An hour later Cope drove himself home. He took a shower and put on his tuxedo and stood with his groomsmen. Cara, his seven-year-old daughter, got "awws" as she walked down the aisle. The governor himself presided over the nuptials. They had a big party with a band and all the trimmings. Muse was there as a bridesmaid, all dressed up and looking elegant and beautiful. She congratulated him with a kiss on the cheek. Cope thanked her. That was the extent of their wedding conversation.

The evening was a colorful whirlwind, but at some point, Cope got two minutes to sit alone. He loosened his bow tie and undid the top button of his tux shirt. He had gone through the cycle today, starting with death and ending with something as joyous as the joining of two. Most people could probably find something profound in that. Cope didn't. He sat there and listened to the band wreak havoc on some up-tempo number by Justin Timberlake and watched his guests try to dance to it. For a moment, he let himself drift into the dark. He thought about Neil Cordova, about the crushing blow, about what he and his little girls were going through right now.


He turned. It was Cara. His daughter grabbed his hand and looked at him, all seven years of her. And she knew.

"Will you dance with me?" Cara asked.

"I thought you hated to dance."

"I love this song. Please?"

He rose and walked to the dance floor. The song repeated its silly refrain about bringing sexy back. Cope started to move. Cara grabbed his new bride away from some well-wishers and dragged her onto the dance floor too. Lucy and Cara and Cope, the new family, danced. The music seemed to grow louder. Their friends and family started clapping encouragement. Cope danced hard and horribly. The two women in his life smothered laughs.

When he heard that sound, Paul Copeland danced even harder, flapping his arms, twisting his hips, sweating now, spinning himself until there was nothing left in the world but those two beautiful faces and the wondrous sound of their laughter.