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“None of us were. That’s how it was back then.”

Lewis nodded in understanding and studied Hurley with his blue eyes. “He was in the clandestine service with you?”


“So he was around even less than the average dad?”

“I suppose so.”

“Was his mother detached?”

“Marge,” Hurley said, as his eyes became unfocused, as if trying to remember some distant memory. “She wasn’t exactly the warmest person.”

“Not very affectionate?”

“About as affectionate as that desk over there.”

Lewis nodded. “It all fits the profile. Adams has an overinflated sense of worth and that carries over into a sense of entitlement. The flip side is that his self-esteem is very fragile. It would be extremely difficult for him to take criticism. To deepen the problem, he lacks empathy, which enables him to be extremely exploitative of others. He feels that he is special . . . and can only be understood by brilliant people. That he should only associate with others whom he deems talented enough, while at the same time he needs their real talent to validate his underlying insecurities.”

“Martyr complex? Always thinks he’s getting screwed by someone and needs to let everyone know it?”

“Very common. When he comes across someone like Mitch, for instance,” Lewis gestured to Rapp, “someone who is strong-minded, independent, results-oriented, not prone to handing out compliments, someone who is acknowledged as being at the top of their game. When that happens,” Lewis winced, “he feels that person is the enemy and has to be knocked down to size. It is not uncommon for people with this disorder to become lawyers. It makes them feel smarter than most other people, and they can use their knowledge of the law to bully those who do not validate their imagined genius.”

Hurley thought back to some of the family trips they’d taken some forty years ago. He remembered his friend Mark getting mad as hell at the way his son would pout if he didn’t get his way. “Suicidal?”

“No . . . virtually unheard of. He’s too in love with himself. Might fake it or threaten it, but most certainly would not follow through.”

“Anything else?” Hurley asked.

“He’s asked for you.”

“He knows I’m here?” Hurley asked in surprise.

“No, he has no idea you’re involved in this. He claims you’ll understand what is going on.”

Hurley frowned. “Understand? How could he possibly think that of all people out there, I would understand what he’s doing?”

“I wouldn’t read too much into it. As I said, he has an overinflated sense of his own importance. Also . . . remember, it is extremely difficult for someone with this disorder to ever accept responsibility for his actions. There is always a rationalization.” Lewis looked at Rapp and added, “He’s scared to death of Mitch because he knows nothing that he can say or do will change his mind. With you,” he looked at Hurley and shrugged his shoulders, “he’s hoping that he’ll find some empathy from an old family friend.”

Rapp could see that Hurley was having a hard time with this new twist. He took no joy in seeing the tough old bastard like this, so he touched his arm and said, “Let me take care of it.”

“No.” Hurley shook his head and stood up as straight as his seventy-eight-year-old frame would allow. “I need to do this.”



TED White slid out of bed and grabbed the pile of clothes sitting on the chair in the corner. Through the gap in the shades he glimpsed the gray predawn morning. He picked up the bundle, looked over his shoulder at his wife, and began to carefully tiptoe out of the room. As he walked past the open door he grabbed the handle and slowly pulled it until the door closed with a soft click. Safely in the hallway, he allowed himself to breathe. He waited for a moment to make sure she didn’t stir, and then he took two steps and entered his son Hayden’s room.

The seventeen-year-old lay there twisted up in his sheets and blankets, two of his four pillows on the floor, one trapped under his body, and the last one on top of his head. He was due to graduate from high school in one month. White grabbed him by the shoulder and gently shook him. Nothing. He waited five seconds and tried again. This continued for another thirty seconds with increasing force until Hayden’s eyes snapped open with a dazed, crazy look.

“What?” he asked, still delirious with sleep. “What’s wrong?”

“Shhhh,” his dad said. “If you wake your mother up, there’s no way she’ll let you come with me.”

/> The kid didn’t reply, he just looked around the room and tried to figure out what was going on.

“Grab your hunting gear.”