Well, physically, at least. Emotionally, she seems...mercurial. One moment happy, the next seeming down, the next hyper, and then back to seeming almost depressed. After what she’s been through, it’s completely understandable, and we’re all doing our best to give her what she needs.
“How is it going?” Rafferty walks into the control room and runs a hand through his hair.
“We’ve had movement,” I say.
“What?” He’s instantly alert.
“Yeah. A cash withdrawal made from a bank Wren uses, on an island just off Belize.”
“Makes sense. When things get too hot, leave the country for a while.”
“Yeah, but it could also be designed to throw anyone looking for him off the scent. He could easily have one of his men withdraw that money and leave breadcrumbs for us.”
Rafferty frowns. “He can’t know we have all his details from Don’s file.”
I consider what he says. “No, he can’t know for sure, but come on. Wren’s an evil piece of shit, but he’s not stupid. He hasn’t evaded the law, or us, all these years by being an idiot. He left while Don was alive, and we were interrogating him. He found out Don had info on him and so paid him off, and he’s got to assume we have that info now, too.”
Rafferty takes a seat and scrubs his palm over his stubble. He’s not as cleanshaven as usual. His eyes are a little bloodshot, too, shadows beneath them. “Do you think he might believe he can buy us, too?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, here we are trying to track him down, the way we always have. But now, we have email addresses for him, burner phones. Lots of ways of contacting him.”
I shake my head. “Why the fuck would we want to contact him? No way. We don’t want to give him a heads up. We could lose him forever that way.”
“Or...we could reel him in. We email him and tell him we have the file on him. Tell the man we will send it to the FBI unless he agrees to meet with us and compensate us. One of the ways he’s avoided scrutiny for all these years is because he has a massive war chest that his faux ministry provides, and he uses that to bribe people.”
I scratch my jaw and think about what he’s saying.
“All his life,” Rafferty continues, “Wren has been able to get away with what he does through a combination of manipulation and money. His experience has taught him that money and power mean you can do as you please. It’s also taught him that a lot of people are buyable. Money is the ultimate power because he can use it to get almost anyone to look the other way. Even Don, a man with an ego the size of a small nation, took money instead of fame. He could have been on national television talking about the bust of the century, but instead, he took money. Would it be that much of a longshot for Wren to think the same of us?”
“Except you’ve already got more money than anyone can spend in three lifetimes,” I point out.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Then he lifts his gaze to mine. “You don’t, though. And you’re the hacker.” A slow smile spreads across Rafferty’s face. “Maybe you’re fed up. Sick of the way you’re treated as the kid by us. Maybe you’re starting to get sick of me making all the decisions just because I control the purse strings. Perhaps, you’d quite like some green of your own.”
“Go on,” I say.
He’s got my full attention now.
“You could contact him, offer him the files, and say you’ll wipe everything from our servers if he meets you and pays you.A lot. I think he might believe that.”
“Then what?” The ways this could go wrong are many. “He’s not stupid. He will meet me in a public place, or surrounded by his men, or even send his men instead of himself. He’s not going to meet me in the open in the middle of nowhere, leaving himself vulnerable. He’s not stupid.”
“I bet he’d meet you at his latest church.”
I narrow my eyes.
“He’s too fucking high on that whole thing. The power of it, the sick thrill. I bet if he thinks he can meet one of his boys in church and corrupt you all over again he’d love it.” He makes speech marks with his fingers when he says,his boys, and we both shudder. “I think it might be irresistible to him. He’s not Don. Yes, he has an ego, but overriding everything, he has a perversion. A desire that he is driven by, despite it being sick and twisted. He risks everything, over and over again, to fuel that desire. He moves and starts out again somewhere new, walking away from money and adulation. Why? So he can start abusing again.”
“I’m not a kid, though.”
“No, you’re not. Out of all of us, though, you look the youngest. And I think if he believes he can take the adult you and do a mindfuck on you again—win,as he will see it—I think it will work.”
I’m mulling over everything he says. “You know, you might be right. I think, though, we ought to go for the one of us who was his favorite for the longest. The one who he had the biggest fixation on.”
“Wilder.” Rafferty says the word heavily.