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.”I said, “Really? He was really frightened of falling? Or was it, perhaps, something else?”“That day, really.Later, I think it was something else.Afraid of falling, you know, metaphorically.He’d say ‘catch me’ when he was feeling down.Lost.He was asking for my help.To save him, I think.”“Was it always sexual?” I asked.Immediately — I mean instantaneously — I knew I’d asked the wrong question.At the very least I’d asked a question when I should have sat as mute as a bronze Buddha.“Was what sexual?” she asked in return.I tried to recover.“Sterling’s concern about falling.Did he only say ‘catch me’ in sexual situations?”She lifted the Starbucks cup, popped off the lid, and drained whatever remained of her morning coffee.Mocha-stained foam coated her upper lip like sea froth on a glossy red shore.She used her tongue to wipe her lip clean.She did it slowly, deliberately.Out first, then side to side.Seductively? I just didn’t know.I wanted to see the replay.Sometimes I just needed to see the replay.She said, “We’re back there again, aren’t we?”“Back where?”“I told you once we needed to talk about sex, didn’t I?”I remembered that.“Yes, you did.”“Well,” she said.“The truth is, I enjoyed it.”“Excuse me.”“I enjoyed it.It turned me on.”Talking with me about sex turned Gibbs on? Uh-oh.It’s too early in the morning for this.“And it has ever since that night on the balcony,” she said.I was grateful for the clarification.But her words, I thought, carried a hint of defiance.Or maybe it was provocation.Did the difference make a difference?“Sterling saying ‘catch me’ while you two were having sex turned you on? That’s what you’re saying?”She shook her head.Damn.“No, no.God, no.Watching the other couple that night.That’s what turned me on.I told you about the night on the yacht in St.Tropez, didn’t I? When we met? I did, right?”“Yes.” She knew she had.“That was the first time I’d ever seen anybody else … do it.” She laughed.“Everybody else do it, actually.The feeling that I had that night was … indescribable.It was so unexpected.Then came New Year’s Eve on the balcony and the couple in the bedroom, and I … I was watching him and he was watching me and …”Her words drifted away.She was breathing through her mouth, and her chest was rising and falling visibly.The coffee in the mug in my hand had gone tepid.The light in the room had transformed from dawn to day, and stringy shadows from the naked branches of the leafless trees were streaking across the floor.Gibbs’s perfume marked the air.I was thinking, Weren’t we talking about Sam? I’m pretty sure we had started off talking about Sam.“Yes,” I said.“Go on.” Two heartbeats later, before she’d responded, my train of thought skipped back, then forward once more, and I added, “Gibbs? You said Sterling was asking for your help when he said ‘catch me.’ Help with what?”“I think he wanted me to help him stop killing the women.”Ah, yes.That.THIRTY-FOURAs strange as it may sound, the fact that Gibbs was confident that Sterling Storey had killed a number of women had to remain my secret.Legally, I not only didn’t have a responsibility to tell anyone — for instance, the police — about the other women whom Gibbs suspected her husband had murdered, but I also didn’t have the right to tell anyone about them.If Gibbs had informed me that her husband was about to kill yet another woman, well, then that would have left me sailing in murkier waters.But even in those circumstances I probably couldn’t breach Gibbs’s confidentiality without her permission.That’s right.The only circumstance that would have allowed me freedom to spread the word about the other murders was if Sterling himself came into my office and told me that he was about to kill yet another woman, then proceeded to conveniently identify that woman.Given the events on the Ochlockonee River on Saturday night, that didn’t seem too likely.But morally?In the field of mental health, ethics and morals are an odd couple.Despite their differences, though, they get along most of the time.Sure there are occasional quarrels, but most controversies eventually get ironed out because their goals are so similar.Sometimes there occurs, however, a set of circumstances that creates a chasm between ethics and morals that is the size of the Mariana Trench.This was one of those.Morally, I knew I had to tell somebody that Sterling Storey had killed other women.But ethically, it was just as clear that I couldn’t.Look up “quandary” in the dictionary.In the margin beside the definition there will be a picture of me sitting across from Gibbs Storey wondering what the hell to do next.THIRTY-FIVESAMI used my cell phone to call Simon from a truck stop outside Montgomery.While I talked to my son, I was strolling along the border of the property, kicking at weeds I didn’t recognize and swatting at insects I didn’t know lived on the planet with me.I didn’t tell Simon I was calling from the South.It wouldn’t have bothered me at all that he knew I was in Alabama — with his limited worldview he’d have figured I was at the U of A for a football game, and he’d have a question or two about the Crimson Tide — but I didn’t want him to start conspiring with me to keep secrets from his mom, so I kept the news about my travels to myself.Sherry didn’t want to talk to me.Her father, a gruff, kind, barrel of a man whom I’d always liked, was the one she’d tapped to tell me she didn’t want to talk to me.Angus had always been fond of me, and after I’d bulldogged my way a few years back into a position to help my niece — his granddaughter — get some medical care she desperately needed, he thought I was the son-in-law from heaven.I’d always tried hard to do nothing to dissuade him.“She’s still being a bitch, Sam, what can I say?” was the way Angus described the situation to me.Angus was never one to mince words about his progeny.When one of his girls acted heroic, he called her a hero.When one of them acted bitchy, he called her a bitch.Angus taught me good things about being a dad.“How about you and I cut her a little slack, Angus? How about that? She’s working stuff out.” Sherry and I had our problems, but gang-tackling her with her father didn’t seem like a fair way to confront them.He harrumphed.“You okay? Your ticker?”“It’s ticking fine.I’m following all the rules, and the docs think I’m a star.Simon sounds good.”I didn’t like lying to Angus, but there it was.Not the part about Simon, the part about following all the recovering-from-a-heart-attack rules.Buried somewhere in the fine print there had to be a rule about no nonstop road trips to the land of deep-fried everything.Yep, that was probably prohibited.That’s the one I’d broken.That one and maybe a few others.“Simon’s good.He’s a great kid.A little on the wild side, but a great kid.Though he should be in school.You and I both know that.”“Stay cool, Angus.This will all work out.”“Ask me, it’s goofy.They should both be in Boulder with you.But nobody asks me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]