Christa-Marie stood face to face with Byrne. Jessica watched, mesmerized by the tableau as Byrne took Christa-Marie by the hand and led her to the center of the hall, beneath the exquisite chandelier.
A new song began, a waltz. They danced.
As the strings played, Kevin Byrne and Christa-Marie Schönburg moved in beautiful, fluid lines, as if they had danced together all their lives. When they were finished, Byrne took Christa-Marie in his arms and kissed her.
The scene was so surreal, so unexpected, that Jessica found she had been holding her breath the entire time. She snapped out of it. She had a job to do.
She opened her mouth to speak.
She didn't get the chance.
The front door burst open, the sound of the battering ram echoing through the cavernous space. A pair of SWAT officers rolled into the foyer, their AR-15 assault rifles high. They were followed by Russell Diaz and two of his men, all three of them with weapons drawn. They ran down the main hall toward Byrne and Christa-Marie.
Diaz reached the couple first, stopping a few feet away. He pointed his weapon at Kevin Byrne.
'Down on the ground!' Diaz shouted.
Byrne edged slowly away from Christa-Marie, his hands out to his sides.
'Get down ... on the fucking . . . ground!' Diaz repeated.
Christa-Marie stepped back, a look of horror and confusion on her face. The house was suddenly filled with silence. Byrne eased himself to the floor, put his arms out to the side. Two uniformed officers pinned him down and pulled his hands behind his back. They handcuffed him.
Seconds later, more people streamed through the door - Michael Drummond and Dana Westbrook among them. A dozen more officers spilled into the house.
Byrne was read his Miranda rights. As they took him into custody, Jessica put her weapon on the floor. She stepped into the foyer, her hands held high.