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“I wasn’t wounded on that operation in the Kush, and I didn’t know those people at the NCTC like he did.”

“But you’ve been wounded before.”

“And I’ve always bounced back.”

“That’s debatable.”

Rapp knew she was referring to his lengthy absence after his wife had been killed. “Listen . . . I think it would be a mistake for you to try to compare Mike and me. For starters I’ve been at this a lot longer, and I think I have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m committed. I—”

“You don’t think Mike is committed?” Kennedy asked, cutting him off.

Rapp’s frustration was apparent. “Are you going to let me talk or are you going to keep interrupting me?”

Kennedy put on a pleasant smile and said, “By all means, continue.”

“I’m not saying Mike isn’t committed. I’m saying his life is a little more complicated than mine. He has certain obligations that I don’t have.”

“His family?”

“Yes. I think this job is really taking its toll on his personal life.”

“We are all aware of the pressures that go with this job.”

“It’s deeper than that, Irene. It’s not just the job . . . it’s the way the job has crept into his life.” Rapp paused for a beat and tried to honestly put his finger on what was going on with Nash. Shaking his head he said, “I think maybe I scare the hell out of him.”

Kennedy was surprised by Rapp’s statement. “Why would Mike have reason to be afraid of you? Has he done something you’re not telling me?”

“No . . . it’s not that. He hasn’t done anything that I know of. I think he’s afraid he’s going to become me.”


“He has a family to go home to at night, and he has to somehow shut down this portion of his brain that deals with all this crap. He has to be a father and a husband. Try to teach those kids the difference between right and wrong. Live up to the ideals of Maggie and reassure all of them that everything is all right and will be all right . . . when he knows damn well the world is a scary place. At some point it creeps into your head that you might not make it home.” Rapp paused as he thought of an image he had blocked from his mind. “Just last week he looked down and found his secretary lying on the floor with her brains blown all over the carpeting. Something like that is going to haunt a man for a long time.”

Kennedy made a steeple with her hands and asked, “And how do you cope with it?”

Rapp sighed. She’d been trying to get him to discuss his wife’s murder for years. “I don’t know. I just do.”

“I think it’s a little more involved than that.”

Rapp shrugged. “I’m not normal. I’m wired different.”

“So you say,” she said in an accusatory tone.

Rapp saw his chance to counterattack. “How do you deal with it?”

“With what?”

“The pressures of the job. You ever sit down and talk to a therapist?”

Kennedy inclined her head and took on a stern look. “That is none of your business.”

It wasn’t easy to read Kennedy, but Rapp thought he saw something in her eyes. A flash of anger and a look that told him to back off. It was probably as close as he would get to an admission that she had seen a therapist, and in all likelihood it was Lewis. “It’s interesting how at this juncture everything becomes a one-way street. As my boss and my friend,” Rapp stressed, “you’ve been very vocal about the fact that I need to sit down with a professional and talk about my pain over the loss of Anna.”

“Yes, I have, but don’t try to change the subject. This isn’t about me. It’s about you and Mike.”

Rapp was willing to let her off the hook for now. This was about Nash. “It’s apples and oranges. For starters . . . I go home to an empty house. I don’t have to confront the lie every time I walk through the door.”

“The lie?”

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