Fade Away Page 82

“Stop!” TC shouted, “You’re gonna kill him.”

Myron barely heard him.

He cocked his other fist, but TC was on him before he could throw it. Myron rolled with the tackle, digging his elbow into TC’s solar plexus. When they hit the wall, the air whooshed out of TC, his eyes bulging as he gasped for air. Myron rose. Greg was scrambling away. Myron vaulted over the couch. He grabbed Greg by the leg and pulled him toward him.

“You fucked my wife!” Greg shouted. “You think I didn’t know? You fucked my wife!”

The words slowed Myron, but they didn’t stop him. Through his tears, he threw another punch. Greg’s mouth filled with blood. Myron cocked his fist again. A hand of iron reached out and grabbed his arm, holding it in place.

“Enough,” Win said.

Myron looked up, his face distorted by confusion and rage. “What?”

“He’s had enough.”

“But it’s like you said,” Myron pleaded. “Wesson did do it on purpose. Greg hired him.”

“I know,” Win said. “But he’s had enough.”

“What the hell are you talking about? If it was you—”

“I’d probably kill him,” Win finished for him. He looked down and something flickered in his eyes. “But you wouldn’t.”

Myron swallowed. Win nodded again and let go of Myron’s wrist. Myron let his arm fall to his side. He got off Greg Downing.

Greg sat up, coughing blood into his hand. “I followed Emily that night,” Greg managed through the hacks. “I saw you two … I just wanted payback, that’s all. You weren’t supposed to get hurt that bad.”

Myron swallowed and breathed deeply. The adrenaline rush would soon ebb, but for now it was still there. “You been hiding here since the beginning?”

Greg touched part of his face, winced, then nodded. “I was afraid they’d think I killed that woman,” he said. “And I had the mob chasing me and the custody battle and my girlfriend is pregnant.” He looked up. “I just needed some time.”

“Do you love Audrey?”

Greg said, “You know?”


“Yeah,” Greg said, “I love her a lot.”

“Then give her a call,” Myron said. “She’s in jail.”


Myron didn’t elaborate. He’d hoped throwing that in Greg’s face would give him some sort of perverse pleasure, but it didn’t. All it did was remind him that he was far from blameless in this.

He turned and walked away.

Myron found Clip alone in that same corporate skybox they’d met in when this all began. He was looking down at the empty court, his back to Myron. He didn’t move when Myron cleared his throat.

“You knew all along,” Myron said.

Clip said nothing.

“You went to Liz Gorman’s apartment that night,” Myron continued. “She played the tape for you, didn’t she?”

Clip clasped his hands behind his back. Then he nodded.

“That’s why you hired me. This wasn’t all a coincidence. You wanted me to find out the truth.”

“I didn’t know how else to tell you.” Clip finally turned and faced Myron. His eyes were dazed and hazy. All color was gone from his face. “It wasn’t an act, you know. The emotion at the press conference …” He lowered his head, gathered himself, raised it again. “You and I lost touch after your injury. I wanted to call you a thousand times, but I understood. You wanted to stay away. The injury never leaves the great ones, Myron. I knew it would never leave you.”

Myron opened his mouth but nothing came out. His entire being felt exposed and raw. Clip came closer. “I thought this would be a way for you to learn the truth,” Clip said. “I also hoped this would be something of a catharsis. Not a complete one. Like I said, it never leaves the great ones.”

For several moments, they both just stood and stared.

“You told Walsh to play me the other night,” Myron said.


“You knew I wouldn’t be able to match up.”

Clip nodded slowly.

Myron felt the tears come back to his eyes. He blinked them down.

Clip set his jaw. There were tiny tremors in his face, but he stood rigid. “I wanted to help you,” he said, “but my reasons for hiring you were not all altruistic. I knew, for example, that you’d always been a team player. You loved that aspect of basketball, Myron—being part of a team.”


“My plan included making you feel like a member of the team. A real member. So much so that you would never hurt us.”

Myron understood. “You figured that if I bonded with my teammates, I wouldn’t blow the whistle when I learned the truth.”

“It’s not in your nature,” Clip said.

“But it will come out,” Myron said. “There’s no way to avoid it now.”

“I know that.”

“You could lose the team.”

Clip smiled, shrugged. “There are worse things,” he said. “Just as you now know there are worse things than never being able to play again.”

“I always knew,” Myron said. “I just maybe needed a reminder.”

Chapter 42

He and Jessica sat on the couch in her loft. He told her everything. Jess hugged her knees and rocked back and forth. Her eyes looked pained.

“She was my friend,” Jessica said.

“I know.”

“I wonder.”


“What would I have done in the same situation? To protect you.”

“You wouldn’t have killed.”

“No,” she said. “I guess not.”

Myron watched her. She looked on the verge of tears. He said, “I think I learned something about us in all this.”

She waited for him to elaborate.

“Win and Esperanza didn’t want me to play again. But you never tried to stop me. I was afraid that maybe you didn’t understand me as well as they do. But that wasn’t the case at all. You saw what they couldn’t.”

Jessica studied his face with a penetrating gaze. She let go of her knees and slid her feet to the floor. “We’ve never really talked about this before,” she said.

He nodded.

“The truth is, you never mourned the end of your career,” Jessica went on. “You never showed weakness. You stuffed it all in some internal suitcase and moved on. You tackled everything else in your life with a smothering desperation. You didn’t wait. You seized whatever was left and pressed it against you, afraid your whole world was as fragile as that knee. You rushed off to law school. You ran off and helped Win. You frantically clung to whatever you could.” She stopped.

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