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Jonson nodded.

“Third floor, directly across the courtyard from Lewis’s office. We already have all your equipment.” Rapp saw the surprise wash across Johnson’s face. “I know more shit about you than you can even begin to imagine, Max. You fucking hold back on me one more time and this will get really ugly. I mean Saddam Hussein, third world, shove a thermometer up your pecker and smack it with a hammer ugly. Shove your head in a bucket full of your own shit ugly. That’s what we do to traitors.”

“I’m sorry,” Johnson said in a shaky voice.

“Sorry doesn’t fucking cut it, Max. You need to get it though your head that you have one shot at this.”

“I understand.”

“Good, because the next time I ask you for a number, you better be damn sure it’s the right one.”

“I will. I promise.”

Rapp wasn’t so sure, but maybe with a little reprogramming they could get him back on the right team. He’d never pull a Saddam Hussein on him, but he might show him a few photos just to scare the piss out of him. “All right, now where are these copies?”



THE house was on a nice tree-lined street in North Arlington, not far from where Rapp had grown up. It was upscale, but not obnoxious. Lots of two-story colonials and federal style houses with well-kept lawns. Lawyers, lobbyists, and government contractors lived in the neighborhood. Jobs that fed out of the bottomless trough of federal funds. Very few civil servants lived in the neighborhood, unless, like Nash, their spouse worked in the private sector.

Rapp pulled up in front of the house a few minutes before eight and threw the gearshift into park. He looked up the sidewalk at the white front door and imagined what was going on inside. Kennedy had called Nash before bed and told him he would be traveling with her for most of the day. They had a closed meeting on the Hill with the Judiciary Committee and then a briefing with the president. If Nash had told Kennedy about his problem with Rapp she had failed to pass it along. Rapp undid his seat belt and climbed out of the car. As he started up the walk he wondered if Nash might take a swing at him. Rapp hoped he’d gotten a little sleep and regained some of his senses.

Rapp hit the doorbell and then stepped off the front stoop. If Nash was still pissed it was best to have a little room to maneuver. A few seconds later Maggie answered the door. She had raven-black hair, a button nose, and bright blue eyes, all set against smooth alabaster skin. She was already dolled up for the big day, dressed in a black pencil skirt and white cotton blouse with a shirred waist. Her jet-black hair was slicked back in a perfect high ponytail that both showed off her gorgeous face and gave her a little bit of that corporate dominatrix look that told men to tread carefully. You would never guess by looking at her that she’d given birth to four kids.

Maggie flashed Rapp a nice smile and a conspiratorial wink. “Mitch, what a nice surprise.” She offered her cheek.

Rapp kissed it and whispered, “How’s he doing?”

“He doesn’t have a clue.” Then in a louder voice she said, “Come on in.” Maggie led him down the hallway. “We’re getting the kids ready for school.”

“Good, I was hoping I’d catch them.”

As Rapp entered the kitchen four faces lit up as if it were Christmas and one face turned so sour you would have guessed his mortal enemy had just walked in the room. Shannon, the fifteen-year-old daughter, jumped up from the kitchen table and threw her arms out. “Uncle Mitch.” She gave Rapp a hug and said, “Guess what?” Before Rapp had a chance to answer she said, “I get my permit Saturday!”

It had been a long time since Rapp had gone through that teenage right of passage, but she was obviously extremely excited at the prospect of being able to drive. “Great.”

“Will you take me driving?”

“Absolutely.” Rapp reached out and rubbed the head of Jack, the ten-year-old brain child, who was simultaneously working on a bowl of c

ereal and watching Sports Center. Maggie was from Boston and the kids were all big Red Sox fans, so Rapp asked, “How are your Yankees doing?”

“Yeah, right,” Jack replied. “They’re a bunch of overpaid prima donnas.”

“Sounds like you’re talking about the Red Sox.”

Maggie was coming back from the other side of the kitchen with a fresh cup of black coffee. “Don’t make me throw this on you.” She handed the mug to Rapp, just as Charlie, the one-year-old, started banging on the tray of his high chair.

Rapp took the mug and turned to face Charlie, who was looking up at him with his big brown eyes. He had an expectant smile on his sloppy, food-caked lips. “Sorry, little man. I was getting to you.” Rapp bent over and kissed the top of his head. When he straightened up he looked at Rory, who was sitting on the other side of the table. The thirteen-year-old had a plate of Pop Tarts and an open book in front of him. “How’d it go last weekend?”

Rory looked up with a barely concealed grin. “We won all three matches.”

Without looking away from the TV, Jack said, “He had fourteen goals. No one could stop him.”

“Nice,” Rapp said. Rory was a phenomenal athlete. Rapp had been an All-American lacrosse star at Syracuse and took great joy in watching Rory play. The kid was a man child on the pitch and had the potential to play at the highest levels.

“We play again Saturday,” Rory said, dropping a hint.