After a quick set of
punches on the keypad, Liam opened the door and motioned for her
to step inside. He expected her to walk through the kitchen to his
family room and curl up on the couch. Instead, she hunkered down
on the bar stool and stared at his fridge.
He tried to assess her mood and failed. "Are you hurt?"
She rubbed her arm. Probably didn’t even realize she did
it. "Sore but otherwise okay."
"How about hungry?"
He roamed around his kitchen looking for a way to keep his hands
"Just some water, please."
He grabbed a bottle and twisted off the cap before setting it
in front of her. "Yeah, I hear dying can be dehydrating."
She treated him to a slight smile then. "That's what they
His patience picked that moment to expire. He went from being
supportive to being frustrated. The latter emotion he knew well
in conjunction with Maura. "Look, I'm all for small talk but
why don’t we skip to the part where you explain what's going
She picked at the bottle's label. "There was an explosion."
"I know that much."
She frowned at him. "Let me finish."
With the shock gone, all he had left was the churning anger in
his gut. "Your brother is sitting at his house drinking himself
into a blank oblivion while he mourns your death. So, forgive me
if I'm confused why you're here and not there. Why you're anywhere,
for that matter."
Pain flashed across her face. "Dan."
"Yeah, Maura. Dan." Liam leaned down on his elbows until
they were face-to-face. "You're not the type who would let
her brother worry for no reason. What is this?"
"I was in the building when it exploded." She lifted
her hand to stop him when he tried to bud in. "I...saw something."
Yeah, him. "I'm sorry about that, Maura."
All emotion left her face. "For what?"
"You wanted to work for someone like Dr. Hammer for years
and then achieved it. I know it meant a lot to you to get that job."
Liam stumbled over his words. He'd never been good at this emotional
connection stuff. "This must be hard. You know, for you."
Her mouth dropped open. "What are you talking about?"
"Haven't you read a paper or seen the news?"
She pointed to the purple blotch on her cheek. "I've been
Doing what was the question. The same one he wanted to ask, but
he'd ease up for now. "Your boss is gone."
Oh, man. Why did he have to be the one to break this news?
"The usual definition, I'm afraid."
"I still don’t know what that means." Her tone
got testier the longer the conversation went on. It was almost hostile
Liam drew in a deep breath. There was no stopping now.
"He's dead." He enunciated each word, hoping that would
help the message get through to her.
She shook her head hard enough to knock a few teeth loose. "No."