“One hundred percent. Where did you get the photo?”
“I asked one of the volunteers at the church. Wren is normally careful about having his photograph taken. He doesn’t want people posting his image online—or anywhere else, for that matter. I said I was a reporter and writing an article on inspiring preachers, but that I’d been unable to track down any photographs, and she admitted she’d snapped a quick pic at a church gathering a few weeks ago. It had taken a little greasing of the palm to get her to send it to me, but she did eventually.”
No one is immune to the power of green, it seems. Even those who consider themselves to be devout still fold when there is enough money involved.
“Well done,” I say, but there is a tremor in my voice, and I clear my throat. “At least now we have confirmation. Keep asking around. Find out what car he’s driving or if he was traveling with anyone else.”
“Will do. If I can find out the car registration, I might be able to get the local police to do a lookout on the plate. They have automatic license plate recognition technology on traffic cameras now, so we might get lucky and pick it up.”
“Good. Grease their palms with however much money it takes. No sum is too large. Got it?”
I end the call and toss the phone back down on the desk. I exhale a long breath and rub both hands across my face. I can’t believe we’ve lost Wren right after we found him again, though I’m hoping its only temporary.
We have no way of knowing if Wren has gone to join Honor and Detective Don somewhere, but there’s a possibility. I’m not going to ignore any leads at this point. If he doesn’t have anything to do with Don or Honor, then as soon as we get Honor back, I’m going to make it a priority that we find Wren and finish that asshole once and for all.
Wilder enters the room, his head down. He sees me sitting there and comes to a halt.
“Wren left Reno. We don’t know where he’s gone or if it’s for good.”
Wilder grabs a chair and drags it over to sit opposite me. “It was definitely him, then?”
I pick my phone back up and push it at him, the photograph open on screen. I watch Wilder—all six feet four of him, with his piercings and tats and long hair—somehow shrink. It’s like seeing that picture reduces us to our childlike state, the boys we’d once been. I understand exactly how he’s feeling, the churning in his stomach, the rapid rate of his pulse. I understand how, even so many years later, he’s filled with shame and sickened at the things Wren made us so.
Fury at how the image of this man has reduced my strong, powerful friend fills me afresh. That Wren might also somehow be connected to Honor’s kidnapping also helps stoke the fire.
Wilder takes the phone from me, and I notice his hand tremble.
“Fuck. He doesn’t look any different.”
“Just a little older,” I comment.
Wilder stares at the phone a few seconds longer and then hands it back. “Do you think he’d recognize any of us now, if he saw us?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, how many of us have there been? Plus, we’ve all changed so much.”
Wilder presses his lips into a thin line. “I don’t think his ego would allow him to recognize us. He’d never believe we’d come back for revenge. He’d never think we were capable of it.”
“You’re probably right, but we’ll prove him wrong.”
“You heard anything from Asher and Brody yet?” Wilder asks.
“They’re waiting for some information. They said they’ll be in touch when they have it.”
Wilder pushes back his chair and gets to his feet. “And what are we going to do in the meantime? I can’t keep sitting around like this.”
He’s right. “I think we need to get ready to make a move, and to be able to move fast.”
Wilder narrows his eyes at me. “What are you getting at?”
“Let’s make sure the birds are ready to take to the sky.”