"Will you go with me?" Will asked her. He was practically shaking with fear now.
Liam didn’t give her time to answer. "No," he said emphatically. Turning to the policemen, he showed his identification and ordered, "Cuff him. Then read him his rights and get him in the car."
"Yes, sir," both officers said at the same time.
As they led Will away, one of them turned back and asked, "Anything else we can do?"
Liam nodded. "Keep him in holding awhile. I might have some questions for him."
Will looked terrified at the prospect of being interrogated by Liam, and as the officers put him in the back of the squad car, he once again looked back at Allison with pleading eyes.
She watched the car drive away before she turned to Liam. He was frowning, which didn’t surprise her. She tried to deflect his anger before he started lecturing her.
"Thank you," she said.
"Thank you for what?"
"Not putting handcuffs on him."
"Allison, I don’t have any handcuffs with me, and that is why I didn’t put them on him."
"You could have just said, ‘You’re welcome.’" Before he could give her an argument, she asked, "What are you doing here? And how did you know Will would be here?"
"I didn’t. That’s my car parked across the street. I was on my way to pick you up when I noticed you walking. Understand me, Allison. You are not going to help Will." He took her arm and headed to his car. She was all but running to keep up with him.
"Why are you in such a hurry?"
"There’s a problem at work, and Phillips hopes you can solve it. I offered to pick you up and drive you out there. He’ll have someone bring you home."
"When isn’t there a problem?"
"You don’t sound too upset about it."
She smiled. "I’m not. I like problems. That’s why I hang out with you."
He caught himself before he smiled back. "We’re going to talk about Will. I want you to promise me-and I mean it, damn it-you will not help him."
"I feel sorry for him," she admitted.
"Tell you what. Let’s drive over to the hospital. The man Will almost beat to death is still in the ICU. You can take a good look at him and then tell me you feel sorry for Will."
"I understand, and you’re right. I can’t help him anymore. He’s got to be accountable."
"Oh," he said, surprised that she was conceding so easily. "Okay, then."
"Are you disappointed you can’t scold me anymore?" she asked as sweetly as she could.
"I never scold people." He paused to think about it and admitted, "Okay, maybe you, but no one else."
When they reached the cyber unit, Liam walked her into the building and stopped at the front desk to say good-bye.
"Where are you off to now?" she asked.
A bomb had gone off in a shopping center in Berlin the day before. Several Americans had been killed in the blast. It was all over the news. Was that why he was going? Knowing his answer would be evasive, she didn’t ask. She handed the guard her purse and headed to the stairs. When she glanced back over her shoulder, Liam was standing in the same spot, watching her walk away.
"Be safe," she said.
Two agents from the unit drove her home. Allison assumed she wouldn’t be seeing Liam for some time if, in fact, he did fly to Berlin. Then again, he could drop out of the sky and land in front of her at any second. She wouldn’t have put it past him. With Liam anything was possible.
Will made the news for having surrendered to the authorities. He couldn’t hurt anyone now, and as much as she hated to admit it, he did deserve to be behind bars. She didn’t think he would ever get rid of his temper, though. She said a prayer for him and stopped worrying.
Except for the daily scream call from Aunt Jane, Allison could finally relax, which she planned to do just as soon as she figured out how. She went back to working out twice a week, sometimes more often, not because she wanted to stay in shape but because it made her feel better. She had dinner with Jordan and Noah a couple of times. Jordan couldn’t stop talking about Brett’s presentation, and each time she brought it up, she laughed about the pompous egotism it took for Brett to think he could get away with such a scheme.
Besides her workouts, Allison also played racquetball with Dan and his girlfriend, Margo, a few times. She thought she was getting better. Neither Dan nor Margo agreed, though Margo was more diplomatic. Dan just laughed and shook his head. Over beers late one night he told Allison the latest gossip about Brett. Rumor had it that everyone in Silicon Valley and beyond had heard what he’d done. Even though he was holding on to his story about the computer program being his and blaming Allison for the underhanded "trick" she had played to destroy him and all his hard work, no one believed him. Still, he wasn’t going away quietly. Somehow he had gotten it into his head that he had enough of the program in his possession, and he could find a buyer. With each attempt that crashed and burned, he became more and more incensed. He’d gotten hold of her phone number and called several times just to let her know how much he hated her. If he had planned to scare her, he failed. Brett was a blowhard and so inconsequential she didn’t mention his drunken calls to anyone but Jordan.