Home Chapter 17
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
― George Orwell, 1984
The phone rang loud and indecent in the quiet New Rochelle bedroom of the Dunn’s home, just as Frank was about to slip into bed.
This time of night, it had to be work or someone dead, usually both.
He grabbed it, fumbling the button on the handset. He didn’t need a fight with Ginny tonight.
“I’m sorry to call you at home, Agent Dunn—” Morrissey started in.
Frank looked over at his wife.
Turned to the bedroom wall, she pulled up the cover in her stubborn way. Damage done.
“Morrissey, it’s late. What the hell couldn’t wait until—”
“A baby,” Agent Morrissey said in an excited voice trying to control itself.
“Chandler had a baby … when she was kidnapped.”
“Hold on,” Dunn commanded, then placed a hand on the receiver.
“Ginny, I need to take this in my office.”
Ginny didn’t move.
Dunn slid into his slippers and marched down the second-floor hall. He didn’t lock the door these days, now the kids were out of the house. Frank circled around the desk and picked up the old phone.
“Ok, tell me.”
The other end of the line clicked as Ginny put it on the cradle. At least she could do that.
“So, you remember how Chandler stared at the doctor’s photo today? The doctor, Kenneth Anderson, who was shot in the hospital?” Morrissey yelled. He was calling from a payphone somewhere, the city sounds—a siren, a rumbling truck—nearly drowning him out.
“Yeah, I remember the guy.”
“I got thinking … she looked sick, exactly like you said.”
The kid was giving him credit so he’d listen. Dunn didn’t know if he hated Morrissey for supposing he was that gullible or admired him playing the game.
“Something clicked in my head, so I went to talk to her one contact, her family doctor. It was just a hunch.”
Hunches were good. Frank believed in them, but they were few and far between these days. The case had gone bottoms up when Sol’s body turned up midtown. Dunn and his team would never learn the true extent of Gabriel’s operation, especially now with a killer sweeping up after. The higher ups were giving him grief about that, too. But, maybe, Morrissey, like an angel in the outfield, could make some chicken salad out of this chicken shit.
“I wanted to see if her doctor had seen her since her kidnapping. I got there about an hour ago, but he’d only talk to me on the front step.”
“It’s late,” Dunn argued, as he moved the legal pad closer.
“No, it was more than that. He wouldn’t let me inside,” Morrissey continued. “Said he couldn’t discuss Chandler because she’d been a patient.”
“Yeah, that’s convenient.” Maybe true, but still convenient. Rich bastards and their roadblocks would be the death of him.
“Anyway, I looked past him and saw her jacket on a chair in the front hallway.”
Her jacket? Morrissey noticed her jacket? Dunn searched his memory, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember anything about the woman’s outfit today. Only the crazy way she acted before Maxwell took her away.
“The Tiffany blue one. I even recognized those shoes she keeps wincing in.”
Frank chuckled at the detail. “Ok. Sure.”
“Dunn, she was in there, at the doctor’s house. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want him to panic and send her packing. I was walking down the front steps when I heard this crying through his window. I looked up and there’s this silhouette of woman pacing behind the curtain, rocking a baby. It was her, Chandler, with a baby in her arms. I’m certain of it.”
“A baby?” Dunn asked again.
“I heard it crying,” Morrissey repeated.
“Is Alcott married?” Dunn asked. Horses before zebras.
“I checked. Widower from way back. One daughter. Never remarried.”
“His daughter then, a grandchild.”
Dunn rummaged for a pen from the drawer.
“With Chandler’s exact body type? What about her suit jacket and shoes?”
Dunn flipped papers over to a blank sheet.
“Don’t you see?” Morrissey continued to yell over the traffic sounds. “It makes sense! She’s at Alcott’s, her doctor’s house. She’s been protecting a baby! Maybe Gabriel kept her because of the kid.”
“A baby?” Dunn asked, not masking his skepticism. “Gabriel Sol?”
Dunn may not notice a woman’s shoes, but he knew Gabriel Sol front and back. He’d followed the mobster’s career from improbable up-and-comer to quiet king of the New York underworld, with a lot of bodies and blood on that timeline. The man wasn’t human enough for children. No girlfriends; hell, no prostitutes. There was even talk he’d got himself taken care of so he’d never have kids.
“Gabriel kept her alive,” Morrissey went on, “but for no reason we can find—or none she’d confirm—for months. We’ve checked her financials front to back. There was nothing there that we could trace from Sol to her.” Another siren flew by and the junior agent had to stop.
Frank found himself surprisingly impatient to hear the rest.
Once the blaring faded Morrissey continued. “A woman who worked that hard to put bad guys away wouldn’t get involved with Gabriel for love.”
Dunn wrote, Chandler, at the top of the page.
“Rape?” Dunn offered.
“It could be, but the baby didn’t seem that small. She wasn’t gone long enough for her to be raped and then have a baby. It would have to have been before they kidnapped her, right? If someone raped her before the kidnapping, why didn’t she report it? Why not get an abortion?”
Morrissey was right. If she’d gotten knocked-up, especially if it was rape, there was no way Chandler would keep the baby. Abortion was a near sacrament to her type of woman.
Dunn wrote baby.
“Doesn’t seem to fit her,” Morrissey added for some reason.
“Doesn’t seem to fit her?” Dunn asked. “What do you mean? What did you find?”
Morrissey went quiet for a second too long.
“Nothing. Just an idea. I’ll tell you when I’m sure.”
“What?” Dunn demanded.
But Morrissey wasn’t budging, so the silence kept growing.
What was that little shit hiding? A pissant field office reject didn’t do that to him.
“If it’s not Gabriel’s, whose baby then?” Dunn asked, marking the moment in his head. Morrissey would have to go above and beyond to prove himself after this.
And Chandler—baby or no—wasn’t clean. She was covering up something big. If Dunn had a hunch, that was it. Sol kept her for a reason, and not because she was some crusading D.A. Sol should have eaten her for lunch and spit out the bones. Why didn’t he?
“Whose baby would a mob boss like Sol keep her around for?” Dunn asked, as he wrote father? under Chandler and baby.
“Exactly,” Morrissey agreed. “We need to find the dad. We find him, the pieces start to fit.”