Nocera spent part of the next two years untangling the complex and troubling relationship and eventually pitched a story to the Times magazine. It was a thorny narrative, and Nocera was himself a character in it. His lengthy draft was submitted to a drawn-out editing process in 2013, but ultimately, just as the piece was nearing publication, Times editors decided they just couldn’t make it work and gave Nocera a kill fee. “It was an ambitious personal story full of weird stuff, but a lot of great magazine stories are like that. I just wasn’t in the position where I could go to bat for it,” said Hugo Lindgren, editor of the magazine at the time, who left the Times a couple months later.