“That camera is the size of a goddamn pencil eraser. No way she would have noticed it,” Ryan says from behind me, and he’s right. Paige went up and pulled it off of there and brought it down for us to see.
My fist aches to punch the wall again, but I need my hands right now.
One of the next meetings Spencer shows up in, he does the same thing. Only this time he goes over to one of our cameras and attaches something to it as well. It all happens so fast there’s no way we could have caught it in the feed. Not unless someone was staring directly at the screen all hours of the day.
I think about all the times I sat at my desk and watched Jay. If she was in a meeting with Miles, I usually never checked back in. She was a stickler for time, so it wasn’t like she would get out of her meetings early. She was so regimented that I only checked on her when I knew her desk hours were listed on her schedule.
“Fuck. How did I miss this?” I say, guilt washing over me.
“We all did,” McCoy says. “He used a tracker bracket on our system. It allowed him to access our digital feed and get into the entire panel with one clip. These things are military grade. He would either have to know someone who had that security clearance or gotten it on the black market.”
“I’m going with knowing someone who had access,” Paige says, and we turn to look at her. “Stein had contact with illegal weapons. I’m guessing Spencer was his in once he was no longer coming into work. He had to get his intel somehow. The only question I have is, why would Spencer go along with it? What did Stein have that Spencer wanted?”
“Jay,” Miles says, and I grind my teeth.
The video feed plays out with Spencer cornering Jay and then Miles interrupting them.
“I knew something wasn’t right, but she didn’t say. Then she was out for a few days, and I forgot to bring it back up.” Miles shakes his head. “Jordan, I’m so sorry.”
“There’s nothing we can do now but find the motherfucker,” I say, and dig into his files.
I pull up everything I can on him and blast it across all the screens at my desk.
“These are his properties. We’re looking for something close, possibly isolated, where he could have taken Jay and Summer.”
“Are we sure it was a place he owned?” McCoy asks, and I nod.
“Stein is definitely involved, and he’s been smart enough to slip us so far. There’s no way he would use something in his name. And Spencer seems to be blinded by his need for—”
I stop myself, unable to finish the sentence. I can’t put my love’s name next to his. I’ll burn his world to the ground for even daring to look at her.
“I think Spencer is dumb enough to use one of his houses as a location,” I say, clicking on his real-estate holding.
“He invests in properties as a hobby. How are we going to find which one?” Paige asks.
“Like I said, we’ve got to do this based on a process of deduction. Stein wants his files, and he wants our server clear. That’s the only way he can possibly make things right with the people he took the money from. I think it’s his only chance for survival. So he’s not taking Jay and Summer out of the country.” I toggle a few things, and I’m left with only a few properties.
“Let’s assume he stays in-state if he’s willing to negotiate,” Ryan says, and I click a few more, clearing off all properties except those in New York.
“He’s going to be close, but rural,” I say, and remove all the properties in the city.
I code all the addresses left with a map of New York, and there are two red dots remaining. I lean forward and stare at them, pulling up the images on Osbourne satellites.
The first is of a town house that’s in a cul-de-sac. It’s a family neighborhood, with sidewalks and a school right behind it. The second image shows an overgrowth of trees with a small cabin in the distance.
“There,” I say, and get up from my chair.
I want to fall to my knees and pass out at the sight of Martin Stein. I close my eyes and open them again, willing what I see not to be real, that the dream of help inside the cabin didn’t just die. How do we keep going from one bad place to another? We can’t catch a break.
“It’s one problem after another with you, isn’t it?” Stein says as he makes his way toward us. I don’t see a gun or weapon on him at this moment, but I know he could easily catch us. I suspect he has a weapon within reach.