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Rapp and Hurley stood by smiling as Nash hugged Rory and Jack. Maggie joined the group and buried her head in her husband’s chest. Nash wrapped his left arm around his wife’s back and placed his right hand on Charlie’s head. They stood there for a long moment and said nothing.

Finally Maggie wiped tears from her eyes and asked, “Where’s Shannon?”

“She’s in the house with Doc,” Nash said. “She’s fine. Minor concussion and a few scratches, but other than that Doc says she’s in good shape.”

“I want to see her.” Maggie turned and saw Hurley. She stepped toward him and gave him a peck on the cheek. “Thanks for taking care of us, Stan. I had to get out of that house.”

The media had descended on the Nash house. The normally quiet suburban street looked more like a carnival midway, all lit up with news vans, reporters, and cameramen trying to get a piece of the story. When Kennedy got wind of it she sent two Suburbans and a full security detail to the house to extract the family and bring them back to Langley. Knowing they would want to be together, she had the helicopter waiting.

Maggie finally noticed Rapp. She stepped toward him. There was a quizzical look on her face, and for a moment Rapp thought she might slap him. He was prepared to take it. He felt like crap for endangering her family.

Maggie reached up and wrapped her arm around Rapp’s neck, pulling him in for a big hug. “Thank you. Irene told me what you did.”

Rapp kissed the top of her head. “I’m sorry I put your family in danger.”

She shook her head bravely and wiped more tears from her eyes. “That’s nonsense. You’ve given me my husband back. That man tried to take him from me and you stopped him.”

“But . . .”

“But nothing,” she said. “If you hadn’t intervened, he’d be dead right now, and probably Shannon as well.” She kissed him again on the cheek and said, “Thank you.”

The family shuffled off toward the house. They wanted to be with Shannon. Hurley, Rapp, Coleman, and Kennedy watched them go. When they were far enough away, Kennedy exhaled and said, “I had a nice talk with her on the ride down. She’s a pretty strong woman.”

The three men nodded, not knowing what to say.

Kennedy glanced back at her helicopter. “I have to get back to D.C. The FBI is a little concerned about how this is going to play in the press.”

Rapp shrugged his shoulders. “Let ’em take all the credit. Nobody needs to know it was us.”

“There were a number of witnesses who saw you and Mike. The rumors are flying fast and furious. Art Harris call

ed and said the FBI press office is swamped with calls from reporters wanting to confirm or deny that the two men involved in the takedown were CIA counter-terrorism operatives.”

“I don’t understand the problem,” Rapp said. “The military does this all the time. Delta runs an op and they give the credit to the Rangers or some other outfit.”

“That’s a little different,” Kennedy responded. “They don’t have dozens of cameras and live footage of it.”

“All they have is footage of two men in black hoods and tactical vests. FBI, D.C. Park Police . . . I don’t care who gets the credit.”

“I think we’ll be able to work something out.”

“You can’t do anything about the rumors,” Hurley announced as he lit a cigarette. “People are going to believe what they want to believe. Besides, it’s not the worst thing to have floating around out there. It’s a nice message. You fuck with us and guys in black masks show up and put a bullet in your head. It’ll make the next guy think twice before he volunteers for one of these one-way trips.”

Kennedy thought about it for a moment and said, “Stan, you always have an interesting take on things.” She kissed him on the cheek and said, “I need to get back. Thanks for taking care of them.” She pointed at Rapp and Coleman. “Be available tomorrow. I think some people are going to want to talk to you.”

Kennedy headed for the chopper and the pilots started the engines.

Rapp turned back toward the house and said, “Stan, I think I need a drink.”

“I like the sound of that.”

They started walking back toward the house. “Scott, what’s your poison?”

“Just a beer, Stan.”


“Whiskey and beer, please.”