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Home > Rage of Angels(13)

Rage of Angels(13)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

She stepped into the bath again and lay back, letting the still-warm water lap at her, soothing away her tension. At this moment she was too tired to care what happened to her. She closed her eyes and let her mind drift. She was half asleep when the chill of the water awakened her. She had no idea how long she had lain in the tub. Reluctantly she stepped out and began toweling herself dry. She was no longer hungry. The scene with Adam Warner had taken her appetite away.

Jennifer combed her hair and creamed her face and decided she would go to bed without dinner. In the morning she would telephone about the ride to Seattle. She opened the bathroom door and walked into the living room.

Adam Warner was seated in a chair, leafing through a magazine. He looked up as Jennifer came into the room, naked.

“I’m sorry,” Adam said. “I—”

Jennifer gave a small cry of alarm and fled to the bathroom, where she put on her robe. When she stepped out to confront Adam again, Jennifer was furious.

“The inquisition is over. I asked you to leave.”

Adam put the magazine down and said quietly, “Miss Parker, do you think we could discuss this calmly for a moment?”

“No!” All the old rage boiled up in Jennifer again. “I have nothing more to say to you or your damned disciplinary committee. I’m tired of being treated like—like I’m some kind of criminal!”

“Have I said you were a criminal?” Adam asked quietly.

“You—isn’t that why you’re here?”

“I told you why I’m here. I’m empowered to investigate and recommend for or against disbarment proceedings. I want to get your side of the story.”

“I see. And how do I buy you off?”

Adam’s face tightened. “I’m sorry, Miss Parker.” He rose to his feet and started for the door.

“Just a minute!” Adam turned. “Forgive me,” she said. “I—everybody seems to be the enemy. I apologize.”

“Your apology is accepted.”

Jennifer was suddenly aware of the flimsy robe she was wearing. “If you still want to ask me questions, I’ll put some clothes on and we can talk.”

“Fair enough. Have you had dinner?”

She hesitated. “I—”

“I know a little French restaurant that’s just perfect for inquisitions.”

It was a quiet, charming bistro on 56th Street on the East Side.

“Not too many people know about this place,” Adam Warner said when they had been seated. “It’s owned by a young French couple who used to work at Les Pyrénées. The food is excellent.”

Jennifer had to take Adam’s word for it. She was incapable of tasting anything. She had not eaten all day, but she was so nervous that she was unable to force any food down her throat. She tried to relax, but it was impossible. No matter how much he pretended, the charming man seated opposite her was the enemy. And he was charming, Jennifer had to admit. He was amusing and attractive, and under other circumstances Jennifer would have enjoyed the evening enormously; but these were not other circumstances. Her whole future was in the hands of this stranger. The next hour or two would determine in which direction the rest of her life would move.

Adam was going out of his way to try to relax her. He had recently returned from a trip to Japan where he had met with top government officials. A special banquet had been prepared in his honor.

“Have you ever eaten chocolate-covered ants?” Adam asked.

“No.”

He grinned. “They’re better than the chocolate-covered grasshoppers.”

He talked about a hunting trip he had taken the year before in Alaska, where he had been attacked by a bear. He talked about everything but why they were there.

Jennifer had been steeling herself for the moment when Adam would begin to interrogate her, yet when he finally brought up the subject, her whole body went rigid.

He had finished dessert and he said quietly, “I’m going to ask you some questions, and I don’t want you to get upset. Okay?”

There was a sudden lump in Jennifer’s throat. She was not sure she would be able to speak. She nodded.

“I want you to tell me exactly what happened in the courtroom that day. Everything you remember, everything you felt. Take your time.”

Jennifer had been prepared to defy him, to tell him to do whatever he pleased about her. But somehow, sitting across from Adam Warner, listening to his quiet voice, Jennifer’s resistance was gone. The whole experience was still so vivid in her mind that it hurt just to think about it. She had spent more than a month trying to forget it. Now he was asking her to go through it again.

She took a deep, shaky breath and said, “All right.”

Haltingly, Jennifer began to recount the events in the courtroom, gradually speaking more rapidly as it all came to life again. Adam sat there quietly listening, studying her, saying nothing.

When Jennifer had finished, Adam said, “The man who gave you the envelope—was he in the District Attorney’s office earlier that morning when you were sworn in?”

“I’ve thought about that. I honestly don’t remember. There were so many people in the office that day and they were all strangers.”

“Had you ever seen the man before, anywhere?”

Jennifer shook her head helplessly. “I can’t recall. I don’t think so.”

“You said you saw him talking to the District Attorney just before he walked over to give you the envelope. Did you see the District Attorney hand him the envelope?”

“I—no.”

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