Darkest Fear Page 6

“How Old Testament of you,” Myron said.

“Sarcasm,” she said with almost a smile. “Your favorite defense.”

“Your maternal intuition hardly counts as evidence, Emily.”

“You asked before about Sara.”


“Jeremy’s sister. You wondered about her matching as a donor. She didn’t.”

“Right, but you said there was only a one-in-four chance with siblings.”

“For full siblings, yes. But the match wasn’t even close. Because she’s only Jeremy’s half sister.”

“The doctor told you this?”


Myron felt the stone footing beneath his feet give way. “So … Greg knows?”

Emily shook her head. “The doctor pulled me aside. Because of the divorce, I’m Jeremy’s primary custodian. Greg has custody too, but the children live with me. I’m in charge of the medical decisions.”

“So Greg still believes …?”

“That Jeremy is his, yes.”

Myron was floundering in deep water with no land in sight. “But you said you’ve always known.”


“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Are you kidding? I was married to Greg. I loved him. We were starting our life together.”

“You still should have told me.”

“When, Myron? When should I have told you?”

“As soon as the baby was born.”

“Aren’t you listening? I just told you I wasn’t sure.”

“A mother knows, you said.”

“Come on, Myron. I was in love with Greg, not you. You with your corny sense of morality—you would have insisted I divorce Greg and marry you and live some suburban fairy tale.”

“So instead you chose to live a lie?”

“It was the right decision based on what I knew then. With hindsight”—she stopped, took a deep sip—“I probably would have done a lot of things differently.”

He tried to let some of it sink in, but it was a no-go. Another group of stroller-laced soccer moms entered the coffee shop. They took a corner table and started jabbering about little Brittany and Kyle and Morgan.

“How long have you and Greg been separated?” Myron’s voice sounded sharper than he intended. Or maybe not.

“Four years now.”

“And you were no longer in love with him, right? Four years ago?”


“Earlier even,” he went on. “I mean, you probably fell out of love with him a long time ago, right?”

She looked confused. “Right.”

“So you could have told me then. At least four years ago. Why didn’t you?”

“Stop cross-examining me.”

“You’re the one who dropped this bombshell,” he said. “How do you expect me to react?”

“Like a man.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“I need your help. Jeremy needs your help. That’s what we should be concentrating on.”

“I want some answers first. I’m entitled to that much.”

She hesitated, looked like she might argue, then nodded wearily. “If it’ll help you get past this—”

“Get past this? Like it’s a kidney stone or something?”

“I’m too tired to fight with you,” she said. “Just go on. Ask your questions.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before now.”

Her eyes drifted over his shoulder. “I almost did,” she said. “Once.”


“Do you remember when you came to the house? When Greg first vanished?”

He nodded. He had just been thinking about that day.

“You were looking out the window at him. He was in the yard with his sister.”

“I remember,” Myron said.

“Greg and I were going through that nasty custody battle.”

“You accused him of abusing the children.”

“It wasn’t true. You realized that right away. It was just a legal ploy.”

“Some ploy,” Myron said. “Next time accuse him of war atrocities.”

“Who are you to judge me?”

“Actually,” Myron said, “I think I’m just the person.”

Emily pinned him with her eyes. “Custody battles are war without the Geneva Accords,” she said. “Greg got nasty. I got nasty back. You do whatever you have to in order to win.”

“And that includes revealing that Greg wasn’t Jeremy’s father?”


“Why not?”

“Because I won custody anyway.”

“That’s not an answer. You hated Greg.”


“Still do?” he asked.

“Yes.” No hesitation.

“So why didn’t you tell him?”

“Because as much as I loathe Greg,” she said, “I love Jeremy more. I could hurt Greg. I’d probably enjoy it. But I couldn’t do that to my son—take away his father like that.”

“I thought you’d do anything to win.”

“I’d do anything to Greg,” she said, “not Jeremy.”

It made sense, he guessed, but he suspected she was holding something back. “So you kept this secret for thirteen years.”


“Do your parents know?”


“You never told anyone?”


“So why are you telling me now?”

Emily shook her head. “Are you being purposely dense, Myron?”

He put his hands on the table. They weren’t shaking. Somehow he understood that these questions came from more than mere curiosity; they were part of the defense mechanism, the internal barbed wire and moat he’d lavishly built to keep Emily’s revelation from reaching him. He knew that what she was telling him was life altering in a way nothing he’d ever heard before was. The words my son kept floating through his subconscious. But they were just words right now. They’d get through eventually, he guessed, but for now the barbed wire and moat were holding.

“You think I wanted to tell you? I practically begged you to help, but you wouldn’t listen. I’m desperate here.”

“Desperate enough to lie?”

“Yes,” she said, again with no hesitation. “But I’m not, Myron. You have to believe that.”

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