Second Honeymoon Page 0,4

sitting in, for instance. To look at the elegant furniture, plush Persian rugs, and gilt-framed artwork adorning the walls, you would have thought I’d just walked into some designer show house out in the burbs.

Definitely not some guy’s office on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Then there was the guy sitting across from me.

If he had been any more laid-back his chair would have tipped over. He was wearing jeans, a polo shirt, and a pair of brown Teva sandals. In a million years you’d never have guessed he was a shrink.

Up until a week ago, I seemed pretty laid-back, too. You’d never have known that I was on the verge of trashing a somewhat promising eleven-year career at the FBI. I was hiding it well. At least that’s what I thought.

But my boss, Frank Walsh, thought otherwise. Of course, that’s putting it mildly. Frank basically had me in a verbal headlock, screaming at me in his raspy, two-pack-a-day voice until I cried uncle. You have to see a shrink, John.

So that’s why I agreed to meet with the very relaxed Dr. Adam Kline in his office disguised as a living room. He specialized in treating people suffering from “deep emotional stress due to personal loss or trauma.”

People like me, John O’Hara.

All I knew for sure was that if this guy didn’t ultimately give me a clean bill of mental health, I would be toast at the Bureau. Kaput. Sacked. The sayonara special.

But that wasn’t really the problem.

The problem was, I didn’t give a shit.

“So, you’re Dr. Grief, huh?” I said, settling into an armchair that clearly was supposed to make me forget that I was actually “on the couch.”

Dr. Kline nodded with a slight smile, as if he expected nothing less than my cracking wise right from the get-go. “And from what I hear, you’re Agent Time Bomb,” he shot back. “Shall we get started?”

Chapter 5

THE GUY CERTAINLY didn’t waste any time.

“How long ago did your wife die, John?” Dr. Kline asked, jumping right in.

I noticed there was no pen or notepad in his lap. Nothing was being written down. He was simply listening. Actually, I kind of liked that approach.

“She was killed about two years ago.”

“How did it happen?”

I looked at him, a bit confused. “You didn’t read any of this in my file?”

“I read all of it. Three times,” he answered. “I want to hear it from you, though.”

Part of me wanted to leap out of my chair and pop the guy with a right hook for trying to make me relive the single worst day of my life. But another part of me—the part that knew better—understood he wasn’t asking me to do something that I hadn’t already been doing on my own. Every day, no less. I couldn’t let it go.

I couldn’t let Susan go.

Susan and I had both been FBI special agents, although when we first met and married, I was an undercover police officer with the NYPD. I became an agent a few years later and was assigned to a completely different section from Susan’s, the Counterterrorism Division. A few exceptions notwithstanding, that’s really the only way the Bureau allows for married couples.

Susan gave birth to two beautiful boys, and for a while everything was great. Then everything wasn’t. After eight years, we divorced. I’ll spare you the reasons, especially because there wasn’t one big enough to keep us apart.

Ironically, it wasn’t until I worked on a case involving a black widow serial killer who nearly poisoned me to death that we both realized it. Susan and I reconciled, and along with John Jr. and Max, we were a family again. Until one afternoon roughly two years ago.

I proceeded to tell Dr. Kline how Susan was driving home from the supermarket when another car ran a stop sign and plowed into her side at over sixty miles an hour. The posted speed limit on the road was thirty. Susan died instantly, while the other driver barely had a scratch on him. What’s more, the son of a bitch was drunk at the time of the accident.

A drunk lawyer, as it turned out.

By refusing the Breathalyzer and opting instead to have his blood drawn at a hospital, he was able to buy himself a couple of hours—enough time to allow his blood alcohol level to dip under the legal limit. He was charged with vehicular manslaughter and received the minimum sentence.

Was that justice? You tell me. He got to see his kids again while