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Home > Rage of Angels(10)

Rage of Angels(10)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

“Here. Be sure to keep a record of your mileage. You do have a car, don’t you?”

“No, I’m afraid I—”

“Well, if you use the subway, keep track of the fares.”

“Right.”

Jennifer spent the rest of the day delivering subpoenas in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens in a downpour. By eight o’clock that evening, she had made fifty dollars. She arrived back at her tiny apartment chilled and exhausted. But at least she had earned some money, her first since coming to New York. And the secretary had told her there were plenty more subpoenas to serve. It was hard work, running all over town, and it was humiliating. She had had doors slammed in her face, had been cursed at, threatened, and propositioned twice. The prospect of facing another day like that was dismaying; and yet, as long as she could remain in New York there was hope, no matter how faint.

Jennifer ran a hot bath and stepped into it, slowly sinking down into the tub, feeling the luxury of the water lapping over her body. She had not realized how exhausted she was. Every muscle seemed to ache. She decided that what she needed was a good dinner to cheer her up. She would splurge. I’ll treat myself to a real restaurant with tablecloths and napkins, Jennifer thought. Perhaps they’ll have soft music and I’ll have a glass of white wine and—

Jennifer’s thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. It was an alien sound. She had not had a single visitor since she had moved in two months earlier. It could only be the surly landlady about the overdue rent. Jennifer lay still, hoping she would go away, too weary to move.

The doorbell rang again. Reluctantly, Jennifer dragged herself from the warm tub. She slipped on a terry-cloth robe and went to the door.

“Who is it?”

A masculine voice on the other side of the door said, “Miss Jennifer Parker?”

“Yes.”

“My name is Adam Warner. I’m an attorney.”

Puzzled, Jennifer put the chain on the door and opened it a crack. The man standing in the hall was in his middle thirties, tall and blond and broad-shouldered, with gray-blue inquisitive eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses. He was dressed in a tailored suit that must have cost a fortune.

“May I come in?” he asked.

Muggers did not wear tailored suits, Gucci shoes and silk ties. Nor did they have long, sensitive hands with carefully manicured nails.

“Just a moment.”

Jennifer unfastened the chain and opened the door. As Adam Warner walked in, Jennifer glanced around the oneroom apartment, seeing it through his eyes, and winced. He looked like a man who was used to better things.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Warner?”

Even as she spoke, Jennifer suddenly knew why he was there, and she was filled with a quick sense of excitement. It was about one of the jobs she had applied for! She wished that she had on a nice, dark blue tailored robe, that her hair was combed, that—

Adam Warner said, “I’m a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the New York Bar Association, Miss Parker. District Attorney Robert Di Silva and Judge Lawrence Waldman have requested the Appellate Division to begin disbarment proceedings against you.”

4

The law offices of Needham, Finch, Pierce and Warner were located at 30 Wall Street, occupying the entire top floor of the building. There were a hundred and twenty-five lawyers in the firm. The offices smelled of old money and were done in the quiet elegance befitting an organization that represented some of the biggest names in industry.

Adam Warner and Stewart Needham were having their ritual morning tea. Stewart Needham was a dapper, trim man in his late sixties. He had a neat Vandyke beard and wore a tweed suit and vest. He looked as though he belonged to an older era, but as hundreds of opponents had learned to their sorrow through the years, Stewart Needham’s mind belonged very much to the twentieth century. He was a titan, but his name was known only in the circles where it mattered. He preferred to remain in the background and use his considerable influence to affect the outcome of legislation, high government appointments and national politics. He was a New Englander, born and reared taciturn.

Adam Warner was married to Needham’s niece Mary Beth, and was Needham’s protégé. Adam’s father had been a respected senator. Adam himself was a brilliant lawyer. When he had been graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, he had had offers from prestigious law firms all over the country. He chose Needham, Finch and Pierce, and seven years later became a partner. Adam was physically attractive and charming, and his intelligence seemed to add an extra dimension to him. He had an easy sureness about himself that women found challenging. Adam had long since developed a system for dissuading overamorous female clients. He had been married to Mary Beth for fourteen years and did not approve of extramarital affairs.

“More tea, Adam?” Stewart Needham asked.

“No, thanks.” Adam Warner hated tea, and he had been drinking it every morning for the last eight years only because he did not want to hurt his partner’s feelings. It was a brew that Needham concocted himself and it was dreadful.

Stewart Needham had two things on his mind and, typically, he began with the pleasant news. “I had a meeting with a few friends last night,” Needham said. A few friends would be a group of the top power brokers in the country. “They’re considering asking you to run for United States senator, Adam.”

Adam felt a sense of elation. Knowing Stewart Needham’s cautious nature, Adam was certain that the conversation had been more than casual or Needham would not have brought it up now.

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