Home > Leverage in Death (In Death #47)(4)

Leverage in Death (In Death #47)(4)
Author: J.D. Robb

“You’re smart and you’re brave,” Peabody told her.

“They still killed Daddy.”

“Daddy saved us,” Cecily murmured as she pressed her lips to her daughter’s hair. “The one sitting on the bed told Paul he had to do one thing to save his wife and child. One thing, and they’d leave us alone. If he didn’t do what they said, they’d keep hurting me, they’d . . . violate me, and then they’d start on Melody. If he still wouldn’t do it, they’d kill all of us, him last so he could watch them kill his wife and child. They kept saying that—or the one did—wife and child.”

“What did they say he had to do?”

“Kill. Take lives to save lives. His wife and child, didn’t they mean more to him than anyone else? Paul said he would but he was lying, and they knew it. The one said he needed more time, more persuasion to make the deal. Then he advised me to convince my husband to save me and my child. They left us alone. I don’t know how long.”

“They left you and your husband alone in the bedroom?”

“Yes. Paul tried to get free. I tried. He kept asking if I was all right, telling me he’d find a way. We told each other we loved each other. He swore he’d never let anything happen to Melly.”

Cecily shuddered, took a moment to try to regulate her breathing that had gone ragged. “I think they had a recorder in the room because the one, when he came back in, mocked some of what we’d said to each other.

“It went on and on and on. One would come in, hit me or touch me. Then do something to make Melody call out. Ask Paul if he’d do anything to save his wife and child. Hours. Hours and hours. Then they dragged me out. I fought, and one of them hit me and knocked me out, I think. They took me to the basement, locked me up, but they put up a camera. I think they wanted Paul to see me, locked in, cold and hurt, afraid. I was so afraid. I never saw them again. I never saw Paul again.”

Tears streamed down her face, a river of grief, as she rocked her daughter, stroked Melody’s hair.

“I was alone down there until the police came. Now I know Paul did what they asked. He did what they asked to save us. They tortured a good man, a good husband and father, until he did what they asked.”

Turning, Cecily tipped Melody’s face up to hers. “Don’t ever forget that. Whatever Daddy did, whatever people say about him, he loved you more than anything in the world. He did what he had to do to protect us, to save us.”

“They made him wear a bomb.”

Cecily jerked back. “What? How do you—”

“Ms. Greenspan,” Eve interrupted. Focusing on Melody, she asked, “You saw the explosives?”

“No, but I heard them talking. One came in, and I pretended to be asleep. It was dark in the room—they kept it dark a lot, but it was dark outside, too, and I pretended to be asleep. And the other one came, like, to the door. They talked about the bombs, and the one—the one that hurt Mom, he said how my daddy would wear it, how he was almost there, how he’d do what they said.”

“Do you remember anything else they said?”

“They were talking really quiet, but I guess, like, they were really excited, too. I don’t know how to say it.”

“I get it. Anything else?”

“They were going to Fat City.”

“Fat City?”

“They’d be in Fat City at nine. And the one who came in my room most of the time came over and sort of nudged me. I just sort of rolled over and kept pretending I was asleep. He said he was glad I was getting some sleep. And the other said . . .”

She looked at her mother, tipped her head to her mother’s arm. “He said the bad word that starts with ‘f.’ The bad ‘f’ word and ‘the kid.’ And they went out. Then I did fall asleep, I think, because it got light out. The one that mostly came in let me get up and pee. It’s embarrassing. Then he put the tie things on my wrists again, and I had to get back on the bed. But he got tagged on his ’link, and he got excited and said the bad word again, a lot, but excited, not mad, and he walked out, still talking—he locked the door.”

Melody took a long breath. “He didn’t come back. Everything got really quiet. I almost fell back to sleep, or maybe I did, but then I saw he hadn’t tied up my feet again, or tied me to the bed like before. He was excited. He forgot maybe. So I tried to get out, but I couldn’t get the door open. I couldn’t get the windows open. I yelled, but nobody could hear me. I saw Mr. Benson across the street going out of his house, and I yelled and tried to bang on the windows but he didn’t look up. And I saw the police, and they came to the door, but nobody was going to answer. I saw my solar system, and I knocked Jupiter off, and I picked it up. I dropped it at first because it was hard to hold it, but then I threw it as hard as I could at the window. It broke the window, and I yelled and yelled for help. And the police came in.”

“Smart,” Eve told her. “Seriously smart.”

“But my daddy—”

“Your mom was trapped in the basement. Hurt, cold, scared. She couldn’t get help. You could, and you did. It would help now if you took Detective Peabody up to your room, and showed her how you did it. It would help.”

“I don’t want to leave Mom.”

“I’m going to stay with your mom.”

“My daddy didn’t want to wear the bomb.”

“I know. I think he’d want you to help us now, as much as you can.”

“Go on, Melly.” Cecily kissed the top of her head. “Be brave for Daddy.”

“Don’t take Mom away.”

“Never going to happen,” Eve promised.

She waited as Peabody led Melody out. If anyone could get more out of the kid, Peabody could.


“Could I have a minute? I think I want to get some tea after all.”


Eve watched her walk into the kitchen area with the careful, stiff-bodied movement of the injured.

“I’ve been knocked around a few times,” Eve began. “I hate hospitals, but sometimes you need them.”

“I can’t and won’t leave Melly. We can’t stay here, I know that. We won’t be able to live in this house.”

She began to weep. “I know it’s just a house, but it’s home. Our home, and they killed that, too. My husband, my baby’s father, the home we made together.”

She fought the tears back, swiped at her face. “I need to talk to my mother. She and my stepfather live in New Rochelle. We can stay with them until we decide what to do. Once I know Melly’s with my parents, I can see a doctor there.”

“We’ll arrange to get you to your mother’s.”

Cecily nodded as she programmed tea. “I have to keep going. I have to think of Melly first and last. Paul . . . I don’t know, I don’t know what I’m going to do without him, but I can’t think about that yet. I can’t think.”

“Can you describe the men?”

“They wore black, all black, with hoods like skullcaps. Tight over their heads, high on the neck. Thin black gloves. And the masks were white, they almost glowed in the dark. No features, slits for eyes.”

“Height, weight, build?”

“Not tall or short. Paul’s six feet exactly. Maybe about his height. Fit. Not bulky, but fit. One slimmer than the other. The one who hit me had more muscle. I . . .”

“Keep going.”

“It’s just an impression, but I think the one who hit me liked it. He liked hitting me, and watching Paul react. The other one didn’t—as much. He slapped me, but he never punched me, and it seemed like it was more because the other one was watching.”

The cup and saucer rattled in her hand when Detective Callendar walked in.

“This is Detective Callendar, with our E division,” Eve said. “We’re going to need to go through your electronics. Did your husband have a home office?”

“Yes. Second floor, directly across from the master bedroom. I can show you.”

“We’ll find it. We’d like your permission to examine any and all electronics and security systems, communication devices. We may need to take them in for further analysis.”

“Yes, anything.”

Eve moved to Callendar. “Check the security first, then the home office.”

“On it.”

“Ms. Greenspan, was there anything about their voices? Accents, syntax, colloquialisms?”

“They kept their voices low, often in whispers.”

“Okay.” Change directions, Eve thought. “How did your husband get along at work? Was he happy in his job?”

“He loved his work. He loved the company. He worked hard, but he enjoyed it. He ran the marketing department, and thought of his team like family.”

She walked back to the couch, sat with that same stiff-bodied care. “Lieutenant, please, please tell me what happened. Please tell me what they made him do.”

“Are you aware of the meeting this morning?”

“The merger with Econo. It’s the biggest campaign Paul’s worked on in years. It’s taken months for the deal to get approved and pushed forward. He and his team have been working on the marketing for the expansion. I don’t understand.”

“This morning your husband went into the meeting wearing a suicide vest.”

“Oh God, oh God. How many? How many?”

“Eleven dead, nine injured at this time.”

She set the tea down, covered her face with her hands. Sobbed. “They made him a killer. They made my Paul a killer. Why? Why would they do this? Why would they force him to do this?”

“Did he have any enemies?”

“No, no, no.”

“How did he feel about this merger?”

“He—he wasn’t sold on it initially. Quantum’s luxury travel, high end, all the amenities, and Econo’s cut rate. But Derrick—Derrick Pearson—wanted the expansion, liked the idea of adding levels, and more hubs. Econo has hubs everywhere. Paul got on board, looked at his end of it as a challenge. He’s a company man, Lieutenant. His loyalty is always to Derrick and to Quantum.”

Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
fantasy.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2023