EVA LEFT MIAMI on a flight to New York where she boarded the Concorde and flew to Paris. The Concorde was an extravagance, but she now considered herself to be a wealthy woman. From Paris to Nice, and from there across the countryside by car to Aix-en-Provence, a journey she and Patrick had made almost one year earlier. It was the only time he'd left Brazil since he'd arrived. He was terrified of crossing borders, even with a perfect new phony passport.
Brazilians love all things French, and virtually all with education know the language and culture. They had taken a suite at the Villa Gallici, a beautiful inn on the edge of town, and spent a week strolling the streets, shopping, eating, and occasionally venturing into the villages between Aix and Avignon. They also spent a lot of time in their room, like newlyweds. Once, after too much wine, Patrick referred to it as their honeymoon.
SHE FOUND a smaller room at the same hotel, and after a nap had tea on the patio in her bathrobe. Later, she dressed in jeans and took a casual walk into town, to the Cours Mirabeau, the main avenue of Aix. She sipped a glass of red wine at a crowded sidewalk cafe and watched the college kids parade back and forth. She envied the young lovers strolling aimlessly hand in hand, nothing to worry about. She and Patrick had made these walks, arm in arm, whispering and laughing as if the shadows behind him had vanished.
It was in Aix, during the only week they had ever spent together without interruption, that she first realized how little he slept. Regardless of when she awoke, he was already awake, lying still and quiet and staring at her as if she were in danger. A table lamp was on. The room would be dark when she fell asleep, but a light would be on when she awoke. He would turn it off, rub her gently until she fell asleep, then sleep himself for half an hour before turning the light on again. He was up well before dawn, and usually had read the newspapers and several chapters of a mystery by the time she ambled forth and found him on the patio.
"Never more than two hours," he answered when she asked how long he could sleep. He seldom napped and never went to bed early.
He didn't carry a weapon or peek around corners. He wasn't overly suspicious of strangers. And he seldom talked about life on the run. Except for his sleeping habits, he seemed so perfectly normal that she often forgot he was one of the most wanted men in the world.
Though he preferred not to talk about his past, there were times in their conversations when it became unavoidable. They were together, after all, only because he had fled and re-created himself. His favorite topic was bis boyhood in New Orleans; not the adult life he was running from. He almost never mentioned his wife, but Eva knew she was a person Patrick deeply despised. It had become a miserable marriage, and as it deteriorated he became determined to flee it.
He had tried to talk about Ashley Nicole, but the thought of the child brought tears to his eyes. His voice quit him, and he said he was sorry. It was too painful.
Because the past was not yet complete, the future was difficult to contemplate. Plans were impossible as long as shadows were moving back there somewhere. He would not allow himself to speculate on the future until the past was settled.
The shadows kept him awake, she knew that. Shadows he couldn't see. Shadows only he could feel.
THEY HAD MET in her office, in Rio, two years earlier, when he presented himself as a Canadian businessman who now lived in Brazil. He said he needed a good lawyer to advise him on import and taxation matters. He was dressed for the part in a handsome linen suit with a white starched shirt. He was lean and tanned and friendly. His Portuguese was very good, though not as good as her English. He wanted to speak in her language; she insisted on his. They had a business lunch that lasted three hours, with the languages switching back and forth, and both realized there would be others. Then there was a long dinner, and a barefoot walk on the beach at Ipanema.
Her husband was an older man who'd been killed in a plane crash in Chile. No children. Patrick, or Danilo, as he was at first called, claimed to be happily divorced from his first wife, who still lived in Toronto, their home.
Eva and Danilo saw each other several times a week during the first two months, as the romance flourished. Finally, he told the truth. All of it.
After a late dinner in her apartment, and a bottle of good French wine, Danilo confronted his past and bared his soul. He talked nonstop until the early hours of the morning, and went from a confident businessman to a frightened man on the run. Frightened and anxious, but extremely wealthy.
The relief was so forceful he almost cried, but caught himself. This was, after all, Brazil, and men simply did not cry. Especially in front of beautiful women.
She loved him for it. She embraced him and kissed him and cried when he couldn't, and promised to do everything in her power to hide him. He had given her his darkest, deadliest secret, and she promised to always protect it.
During the next weeks, he told her where the money was and taught her how to move it quickly around the world. Together, they studied offshore tax havens and found safe investments.
He had been in Brazil for two years by the time they met. He had lived in Sao Paulo, his first home there, and Recife and Minas Gerais and half a dozen other places. He had spent two months working on the Amazon, sleeping on a floating barge under a thick mosquito net, the insects so thick he couldn't see the moon. He had cleaned wild game killed by rich Argentines in the Pantanal, a mammoth preserve the size of Great Britain in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. He had seen more of her country than she; he'd been to places she'd never heard of. He had carefully selected Ponta Pora as his home. It was small and remote, and in a land of a million perfect hiding places, Danilo decided Ponta Pora was the safest. Plus, it had the tactical advantage of being on the Paraguayan border-an easy place to run to if a threat occurred.
She didn't argue with this. She preferred that he stay in Rio, close to her, but she knew nothing about life on the run, and she reluctantly deferred to his judgment. He promised many times that they would be together someday. They occasionally met at the apartment in Curitiba; brief little honeymoons that never lasted much more than a few days. She longed for more, but he was unwilling to make plans.
As the months passed, Danilo-she never called him Patrick-became more convinced that he would be found. She refused to believe this, especially given the meticulous steps he took to avoid his past. He worried more; slept even less; talked more about what she should do in this scenario, or that one. He stopped talking about the money. His premonitions were haunting him.
SHE WOULD STAY in Aix for a few days, watching CNN International and reading what she could find in American newspapers. They would move Patrick shortly, take him home and put him in jail and file all sorts of hideous charges against him. He knew he would be locked up, but he'd assured her he would be fine. He would cope; he could handle anything as long as she promised to wait for him.
She'd probably return to Zurich and tidy up her affairs. Beyond that, she wasn't certain. Home was out of the question, and this weighed heavy on her mind. She had talked to her father three times, always calling from airport pay phones, always reassuring him she was okay. She just couldn't come home now, she explained.
She and Patrick would communicate through Sandy, but weeks would pass before she would actually see him.
HE CALLED for the first pill just before 2 A.M., after waking with a sharp pain. It felt like the voltage returning to his legs. And the cruel voices of his captors were taunting him. "Where's the money, Patrick?" they chanted like a demonic chorus. "Where's the money?"
The pill arrived on a tray carried by a lethargic night orderly who forgot to bring cold water. He demanded a glass, then swallowed the pill and washed it away with warm soda from a leftover can.
Ten minutes, and nothing happened. His body was covered with sweat. The sheets were drenched. The sores burned from the salt in the sweat. Another ten minutes. He turned on the television.
The men who had tied him down and burned him were still out there, looking for the money, no doubt fully aware of where he was at this moment. He felt safer in daylight. Darkness and dreams brought them back. Thirty minutes. He called the nurses' station, but no one answered.
He drifted away.
At six, he was awake when his doctor entered, smileless today, all business as he poked the wounds quickly, then declared, "You're ready to go. They have good doctors waiting for you where you're going." He scribbled in his chart and left without another word.
Thirty minutes later, Agent Brent Myers sauntered into the room with a nasty smile and a flash of the badge, as if he needed to practice its delivery. "Good morning," he said. Patrick didn't look at him but said, "Couldn't you knock first?"
"Sure, sorry. Look, Patrick, I just talked to your doc. Great news, man, you're going home. You'll be released tomorrow. I've got orders to bring you back. We'll leave in the morning. Your government is giving you a special flight back to Biloxi on a military plane. Isn't that exciting? And I'll be with you."
"Could you leave now?"
"Sure. See you early in the morning."
He bounced from the room and closed the door. Luis was next, arriving quietly with a tray of coffee and juice and sliced mangoes. He slid a package under Patrick's mattress, and asked if he needed anything else. No, Patrick said, thanking him softly.
An hour later, Sandy arrived for what he thought would be a long day of digging through the past four years and finding answers to his countless questions. The television went off, the shades opened, the room brightened up as the day began.
"I want you to go home, immediately," Patrick said. "And take these with you." He handed over the package. Sandy sat in the only chair, flipping through the photos of his naked friend, taking his time.
"When were these taken?" he asked.
"Yesterday." Sandy made a note of this on a yellow legal pad.
"Luis, the orderly."
"Who did this to you?"
"Who has custody of me, Sandy?"
"So, I think the FBI did it to me. My own government tracked me down, caught me, tortured me, and is now hauling me back. The government, Sandy. The FBI, Justice Department, and the locals-the D.A. and the rest of my welcoming party. Just look at what they've done to me."
"They should be sued for this," Sandy said.
"For millions. And quickly. Here's the plan: I'm leaving in the morning on some type of military flight to Biloxi. You can imagine the reception I'll get. We should take advantage of it."
"Exactly. We should file our lawsuit late this afternoon so it'll be in the paper tomorrow. Leak it to the press. Show them two of the photos, the two I've got marked there on the back."
Sandy shuffled until he picked out the photos. One was a close-up of the burns on Patrick's chest, with his face visible. The other showed the third-degree burn on his left thigh. "You want me to give these to the press?"
"Only to the Coast paper. That's the only one I'm worried about. It's read by eighty percent of Harrison County, where I'm sure our jury will come from."
Sandy smiled, then chuckled. "You didn't sleep much last night, did you?"
"I haven't slept in four years."
"This is brilliant."
"No, but it's one of the few tactical advantages we can spring on those hyenas circling my carcass. We broadside them with this, and we soften up the sentiment a bit. Think of it, Sandy. The FBI torturing a suspect, an American citizen."
"Brilliant, just brilliant. We sue only the FBI?"
"Yes, keep it simple. Me versus the FBI, the government-for permanent physical and psychological injuries sustained during a brutal torture and interrogation session somewhere in the jungles of Brazil."
"Sounds wonderful to me."
"It'll sound even better when the press gets finished with it."
"I don't care. Ten million in actual damages, a hundred million in punitive."
Sandy scrawled notes and flipped to the next page.
Then he stopped and studied Patrick's face. "It wasn't really the FBI, was it."
"No," Patrick said, "it wasn't. I was delivered to the FBI by some faceless thugs who've been chasing me for a long time. And they're still lurking out there somewhere."
"Does the FBI know about them?"
The room went silent, as Sandy waited for more and Patrick became tight-lipped. Nurses could be heard prattling in the hallway.
Patrick shifted his weight. Three days on his back, and he was ready for a change of scenery. "You need to hurry home, Sandy. We'll have plenty of time to talk later. I know you have questions, just give me some time."
"File the lawsuit with as much noise as possible. We can always amend it later to bring in the real defendants."
"No problem. This won't be the first time I've sued the wrong defendants."
"It's strategy. A little sympathy won't hurt."
Sandy placed his legal pad and the photos into his briefcase.
"Be careful," Patrick said. "As soon as you're identified as my lawyer, you'll attract all sorts of strange and nasty people."
"Yeah, but not exactly what I had in mind. I've buried a lot of money, Sandy. There are people who'll do anything to find it."
"How much of the money is left?"
"All of it. And then some more." "It may take that to save you, pal." "I have a plan." "I'm sure you do. See you in Biloxi."