When we broke the kiss, she said, “There’s a bus station in Lenox.”
I shook my head. “Don’t be ridiculous. Take the Jeep and drive like, well, me. Leave the car in long-term parking at the airport. If I need it, I’ll come get it.”
“How will you get home?”
I put my hand on her cheek for a moment, thinking how outrageously lucky I was to have met her and married her and become a parent with her. “Have you ever, in your life, known me to have a problem getting where I need to get?”
“You are a marvel of self-sufficiency.” She shook her head, the tears coming now. “But we’re breaking you of that, you know, your daughter and me.”
“Oh, I noticed.”
Her hug was crushing, her hands gripping the back of my head and neck like it was all that kept her from drowning in the Atlantic.
We walked around the front of the house to the Jeep. I handed her the keys. She got in and we traded another full minute of inappropriate public affection before I stepped back from the driver’s window.
Angie put the Jeep in drive, looked out the window at me. “How come they can find our daughter in Georgia but they can’t find one sixteen-year-old girl in Massachusetts?”
“A fair question.”
“A sixteen-year-old girl toting a baby around a town with a population of, at best, two thousand?”
“Sometimes hiding in plain sight is the best cover.”
“And sometimes if something smells it’s because it’s rotten, babe.”
She blew me a kiss.
“As soon as you see our daughter,” I said, “shoot me a photo of her.”
“Love to.” She looked back at the house. “I don’t know how I did this for fifteen years. I don’t know how you do it now.”
“I don’t think about it.”
She smiled. “Sure you do.”
I let myself back into the HOUSE and found Dre plopped on the couch watching The View, Babs and the girls chatting about global warming with Al Gore. The nitwit blonde with the concentration-camp collarbones asked him to explain a study she’d read that linked global warming to cow flatulence. Al smiled and looked like he’d rather be getting a colonoscopy during a root canal. My cell phone vibrated—the restricted number again.
“It’s Yefim,” I said.
Dre sat up. “I have it.”
“The cross.” He grinned like a little boy. He reached under the collars of his pullover and the henley beneath it. He pulled out a leather cord hung around his neck. A cross dangled from it, thick and black. “I gots it, baby. You tell Yefim—”
I held up a finger to him and answered the phone.
“Hello, Patrick, you hump.”
I smiled. “Hello, Yefim.”
“You like? I used ‘hump’ for you.”
“You got my cross, man?”
It hung against Dre’s upper chest. It was black and the size of my hand.
“I have your cross.”
Dre gave me a double thumbs-up and another idiotic grin.
“We meet, then. Go to Great Woods.”
“Great Woods, man. The Tweeter Center. Oh, hang on.” I heard him place his hand over the phone and speak to someone. “I been told it’s not called Great Woods or the Tweeter Center no more. It’s called—what? Hang on, Patrick.”
“The Comcast Center,” I said.
“It’s called the Comcast Center,” Yefim said. “You know it, right?”
“I know it. It’s closed now. Off-season.”
“Which is why nobody will be around to bother us, man. Go to the east gate. You’ll find a way in. Meet me by the main stage.”
“Four hours. You bring the cross.”
“You bring Sophie.”
“You bring baby, too?”
“Right now all’s I got is the cross.”
“That’s a sucky deal, man.”
“It’s the only deal I got if you want that cross in Kirill’s house by Saturday night.”
“Bring the doctor, then.”
I glanced at Dre, who stared at me with wide eyes and a childlike giddiness that I assumed was pharmaceutically generated.
“Who says I even know where he is?”
Yefim sighed. “You too smart not to know we know more than we say we know.”
It took me a second to catch up to that sentence. “We?”
“Me,” he said. “Pavel. We. You part of something, my friend, something you not supposed to understand yet.”
“True. I’m playing her game, you play mine. Bring doctor.”
“I want to deliver message to him in person.”
“Mmmm,” I said. “Not so sure I like that.”
“Don’t worry, guy, I’m not going to hurt him. I need him. I just want to tell him personally how much I would like to see him back on the job. You bring him.”
“I’ll ask him.”
“Ho-kay,” Yefim said. “I see you soon.” He hung up.
Dre returned the cross to its hiding place beneath his pullover but not before I got a look at it. If I’d passed it in an antique shop, I would have guessed the price at fifty dollars, no more. It was black onyx, fashioned in the Russian Orthodox style, with Latin inscriptions carved into the top and bottom of the face. In the center was etched another cross along with a spear and a sponge above a small rise that I presumed represented Golgotha.
“Doesn’t seem worth a bunch of dead people through the ages, does it?” Dre said before slipping it under his collar.
“Most of the things that people kill for don’t.”
“To the assholes doing the killing they do.”
I held out my hand. “Why don’t you give it to me?”
He gave me a smile that was all teeth. “Fuck you.”
“No, really.” He bugged his eyes at me.
“Seriously,” I said. “I’ll take it and I’ll do the swap. No need for you to risk your ass out there with these kinds of people. It’s not your thing, Dre.”
His smile widened. “You might have everyone else buying your good-guy bullshit, but you’re no different than anyone else. You get a chance to hold this in your hand? This artifact worth, I dunno, what van Goghs are worth? You’ll think about doing the right thing, but then you’ll just keep driving until you can find someone to fence it.”