From what Honor told us, and from what we’ve found out ourselves, I would bet good money on Don being one of those overly confident, arrogant assholes who has left a trail of breadcrumbs for anyone technically competent enough to follow. You don't get much more technically competent than Asher.
Despite my exhaustion from the lack of sleep, there's an energy buzzing within me as I think we might have a way to find Honor and the pastor, and Don gave it to us. I head to the kitchen, and, after pouring myself a cup of black coffee from the pot on the side, I walk into the office.
I open the door and pause. Sitting in one of the chairs typing away furiously is Asher.
“I was about to call you,” I tell him.
“Oh, yeah,” he says, without stopping what he's doing or glancing at me.
“Yes. I haven't been able to get the coincidence of that boat's name out of my mind.”
Asher folds his lips into a thin line. “I’ve been the same. It has to be more than a coincidence.”
“When was the last time we heard from the private investigator on the mainland? Do we know if Wren is still in Reno?”
“I’m not sure. We’ve all been a little...distracted...with Honor around.”
The weight of something that feels a lot like guilt settles in the room. We should have moved sooner on the information that had been fed to us. We’d always been so laser focused before on finding Wren and making him pay, but Honor had given us something else to fixate upon. Maybe that hadn’t been a bad thing. A life that was purely about revenge wasn’t one being lived at all.
“We need to make contact with him,” I say, “find out if anything has changed with Wren.”
Asher raises an eyebrow. “You think Wren might know where Honor is? It feels like you’re grasping to me.”
I shrug. “Maybe I am, but it’s not like we’re drowning in leads. The PI might be able to look into things from Wren’s side, see if he can find a connection to Don or Honor. You could check from Don’s end of the equation.”
“Already on it,” Asher says.
I sip at the dark, strong coffee as I watch his fingers fly over the keyboard. He uses that machine the way an award-winning musician can play a piano or a guitar. At times, it's as if the keyboard and the screen in front of him become a part of him.
“I've already found something interesting,” Asher says. “It seems Don managed to buy himself that boat outright. It cost one-point-two million dollars. You want to tell me where a cop gets that kind of money?”
He finally stops typing and turns to look at me.
I can see in his intelligent eyes, the thoughts that I'm having are running through his mind, too.
“You think the pastor gave him the money to buy it?”
Asher shrugs. “If he did, Don might even have asked our esteemed pastor if he could name the boat after him. Wren wouldn’t want that, but he might have given Don his favorite saying. Can you imagine the ego boost for the pastor, knowing that a corrupt cop went and named a boat after him in gratitude?”
For a long time, I've been convinced that Pastor Wren is one of the most dangerous kinds of predators out there. He's not a sociopath. No, he’s something far worse. Wren is a full-blown malignant narcissist. He gaslights, and lies, and manipulates, and through it all he revels in the adoration of the crowds he gathers around him as he preaches. He's cunning and manipulative, but he also has a weakness, and that weaknesses is that he can't control his sick desires. However, neither can he control his need for adulation.
I truly believe someone more sociopathic, without the emotional pull that Wren feels whenever he receives attention and praise, wouldn't have run the risk of carrying out their crimes while at the same time pursuing local levels of fame as a preacher of God.
Due to my experiences as a child, I've read a lot about people with dangerous personalities, and a lot of experts say that malignant narcissists are the worst of all. I don't know Honor’s stepfather, but from the little I've heard, he strikes me as the more common grandiose type of narcissist. A little bit flashy. Very much overconfident. Bothered about how he looks, of course, and a cheating piece of crap who can't keep it in his pants.
If he got entangled with the pastor, he will definitely be the junior partner. I despise Wren, but I also respect his deviousness and his ability to commit evil. To not do so would be dangerous.
The sense of impending doom I've been feeling ever since making the connection only grows stronger.
“If there is a link between them,” I say, “it means our girl is in much more danger than we originally thought.”
“Sheisour girl, too, isn't she?” Asher states the question with a sort of melancholy sadness behind the words.
I don't know why he frames it is a question, because we both know it's the truth. Rafferty does, too, and even Brody, despite his actions, knows she belongs with us.
We've never been in this situation before, but if I know one thing about us, it is that anybody does us wrong, we’ll get our revenge. It might take us a long time, the way it has with the pastor, but we will get it in the end. You take what's ours, and we come for it.
“Yes, she is our girl, and we need to get our girl back,” I say.