Now that she'd seen it, she had to put the damn thing together. It didn't take her more than a few seconds to see the picture taking shape in her mind. And then she went to work, snapping the pieces together.
She was incredibly fast. Jordan watched the three men. They looked mesmerized.
"Faster than a speeding bullet, right?" she whispered to her husband.
Noah nodded. "Her brain's a computer, isn't it?"
"I swear she's wired differently than the rest of us."
"I can hear you," Allison said. "So stop making fun."
"How can you talk and do that at the same time?" Alec asked.
"I can also walk and talk at the same time."
"No need to be sarcastic, sweetheart." Liam made the comment.
"Liam, talk to Agent Phillips," Jordan said. "Tell him to let up on Allison."
Allison was exasperated. She didn't look up when she said, "Do not talk to him. I can take care of myself."
"How come he wants to track you?" Jordan asked.
"He thinks I could be dangerous. At least that's what he keeps telling me. He makes it sound like I have an affliction."
"He's right," Liam said. "You are dangerous."
Allison continued snapping the pieces together. After the first few minutes the others pulled out chairs and sat down to watch in awe, as though they were spectators at some phenomenal sporting event. When the last piece had been inserted, she stepped back and surveyed her work, then turned around.
"Wow" was all Alec could say.
"When my contract is up, I'm not doing anything more for the FBI," she blurted, finishing her argument. "I know that's why you're here, and I'm not-"
Liam didn't let her finish. He took her by the hand and led her toward the French doors that opened to the patio.
"What are you doing?" she asked. Two months without a single phone call, and now he was being domineering? No way was she going to let him get away with it.
She was about to resist when he said, "We have to talk."
Glancing over her shoulder, she wondered why Alec wasn't following them. After they stepped onto the patio and Liam closed the doors behind them, she pulled her hand away. With a bite in her voice, she asked, "More hacker talk?"
"No," he replied. He walked over to the short brick wall that surrounded the patio and leaned against it.
She took a seat next to him. "Then why are you and Alec here?"
"We're going fishing with Noah."
"So you're going to Nathan's Bay?"
She couldn't make up her mind if she was happy or irritated that he would be with her that weekend. Two months without a word and now he was acting as though he'd only just seen her yesterday. Irritated, she decided. She was irritated. She had already been thinking like a clingy rejected woman, and that was simply unacceptable. If she let that attitude continue, she would soon be singing those stupid melancholy songs. "Why do you have bruises on your face? Were you in a fight?"
"Are you going to tell me what happened?"
She didn't know if he couldn't tell her or wouldn't tell her, and she once again pretended she didn't care. "You've been in London all this while?"
"No," he answered. "I had to go back last week."
She wanted to ask where he had been for the last two months besides London, but she repressed the urge to pursue the subject. Where he had been or what he had been doing-or whom he had been doing it with-wasn't any of her business. Right?
"Okay, then." She started to get up, but he put his hand on her shoulder and stopped her.
"I have something to tell you."
"What is it?"
He didn't ease into the news. "There's a warrant out for your cousin's arrest."
She braced herself. "What happened?"
"Will's girlfriend, Mary Lou Something-or-other, went to the movie with another man. Will found out about the date and waited in the parking lot for them to come outside. According to the police report, Will was pretty drunk when he jumped the guy. There were dozens of phone cameras filming your cousin beating him to a bloody pulp. He put him in the hospital."
She thought she might be sick. "How bad was the man hurt?"
"He's stable now, but still in ICU."
"Is he going to be okay?"
"Yes," he answered. "I gotta say, Mary Lou sure set the bar low for boyfriends. The guy in the hospital is younger than Will, but he's already a felon with a record that goes way back. I wouldn't waste any tears on him, Allison, because as soon as he's released from the hospital he's going to be locked up. Turns out, the police have been looking for him. He was involved in an armed robbery a couple of months ago."