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SI DNEY SHELDON

ARE YOU
AFRAI D
OF THE
DARK?
Copyr i ght 2004 by Si dney Shel don
I SBN 0- 06- 055934- 9
FOR ATANAS AND VERA
WI TH LOVE
My speci al t hanks go t o my assi st ant ,
Mar y Langf or d,
whose cont r i but i on was i nval uabl e.
PROLOGUE
Ber l i n, Ger many
SONJ A VERBRUGGE HAD no i dea t hat t hi s was goi ng t o be her
l ast day on ear t h. She was pushi ng
her way t hr ough t he sea of summer t our i st s over f l owi ng t he
busy si dewal ks of Unt er den Li nden.
Don' t pani c, she t ol d her sel f . You must keep cal m.
The i nst ant message on her comput er f r omFr anz had been
t er r i f yi ng. Run, Sonj a! Go t o t he
Ar t emi si a Hot el . You wi l l be saf e t her e. Wai t unt i l you
hear f r om
The message had ended suddenl y. Why had Fr anz not f i ni shed
i t ? What coul d be happeni ng? The
ni ght bef or e, she had hear d her husband sayi ng t o someone
on t he t el ephone t hat Pr i ma must be
st opped at al l cost s. Who was Pr i ma?
Fr au Ver br ugge was near i ng Br andenbur gi sche St r asse, wher e
t he Ar t emi si a was l ocat ed, t he hot el t hat cat er ed t o women
onl y. I wi l l wai t f or Fr anz t her e and he wi l l expl ai n t o me
what t hi s i s al l about .
* * *
WHEN SONJ A VERBRUGGE r eached t he next cor ner , t he t r af f i c
l i ght had t ur ned t o r ed, and as she st opped at t he cur b,
someone i n t he cr owd bumped agai nst her and she st umbl ed i nt o
t he st r eet . Ver dammt t our i st en! A l i mousi ne t hat had been
doubl e- par ked suddenl y moved t owar d her , gr azi ng
her j ust har d enough t o knock her down. Peopl e began t o
gat her ar ound her .
" I s she al l r i ght ?"
" I st i hr et was passi er t ?"
" Peut - el l e mar cher ?"
At t hat moment , a passi ng ambul ance st opped. Two
at t endant s f r omt he ambul ance hur r i ed over and
t ook char ge. " We wi l l t ake car e of her . "
Sonj a Ver br ugge f ound her sel f bei ng l i f t ed i nt o t he
ambul ance. The door cl osed, and a moment l at er ,
t he vehi cl e sped away.
She was st r apped ont o a gur ney, t r yi ng t o si t up. " I am
f i ne, " she pr ot est ed. " I t was not hi ng. I "
One of t he at t endant s was l eani ng over her . " I t i s al l
r i ght , Fr au Ver br ugge. J ust r el ax. "
She l ooked up at hi m, suddenl y al ar med. " How do you know
my?"
She f el t t he shar p st i ng of a hypoder mi c needl e i n her
ar m, and a moment l at er , she gave her sel f up
t o t he wai t i ng dar kness.
Par i s, Fr ance
MARK HARRI S WAS al one on t he obser vat i on deck of t he
Ei f f el Tower , obl i vi ous t o t he r ai n
swi r l i ng ar ound hi m. Fr omt i me t o t i me a st r eak of
l i ght ni ng shat t er ed t he r ai ndr ops i nt o dazzl i ng
di amond wat er f al l s.
Acr oss t he Sei ne Ri ver st ood t he f ami l i ar Pal ai s de
Chai l l ot , and t he Tr ocader o Gar dens, but he was unawar e of
t hem. Hi s mi nd was f ocused on Pr i ma and t he ast oni shi ng news
t hat was about t o be
r el eased t o t he wor l d.
The wi nd had begun t o whi p t he r ai n i nt o a f r enzi ed
mael st r om. Mar k Har r i s shi el ded hi s wr i st wi t h
hi s sl eeve and l ooked at hi s wat ch. They wer e l at e. And
why had t hey i nsi st ed on meet i ng her e, at mi dni ght ? Even as
he was wonder i ng, he hear d t he t ower el evat or door open. Two
men wer e movi ng t owar d hi m, f i ght i ng agai nst t he f i er ce wet
wi nd.
As Mar k Har r i s r ecogni zed t hem, he f el t a sense of r el i ef .
" You' r e l at e. "
" I t ' s t hi s damn weat her , Mar k. Sor r y. "
" Wel l , you' r e her e. The meet i ng i n Washi ngt on i s al l set ,
i sn' t i t ?"
" That ' s what we need t o t al k t o you about . As a mat t er of
f act , we had a l ong di scussi on t hi s mor ni ng about t he best
way t o handl e t hi s, and we deci ded"
As t hey wer e speaki ng, t he second man had moved behi nd
Mar k Har r i s, and t wo t hi ngs happened
al most si mul t aneousl y. A heavy, bl unt i nst r ument sl ammed
i nt o hi s skul l , and an i nst ant l at er he f el t hi msel f bei ng
l i f t ed and t ossed over t he par apet i nt o t he col d dr i vi ng
r ai n, hi s body pl ungi ng t owar d
t he unf or gi vi ng si dewal k t hi r t y- ei ght st or i es bel ow.
Denver , Col or ado
GARY REYNOLDS had gr own up i n r ugged Kel owna, Canada, near
Vancouver , and had had hi s
f l i ght t r ai ni ng t her e, so he was accust omed t o f l yi ng over
t r eacher ous mount ai nous t er r ai n. He was
pi l ot i ng a Cessna Ci t at i on I I , keepi ng a war y eye on t he
snowcapped peaks sur r oundi ng hi m.
The pl ane was commi ssi oned t o car r y a cockpi t cr ew of t wo,
but t oday t her e was no copi l ot . Not
t hi s t r i p, Reynol ds t hought gr i ml y.
He had f i l ed a f al se f l i ght pl an f or Kennedy ai r por t . No
one woul d t hi nk of l ooki ng f or hi mi n Denver .
He woul d spend t he ni ght at hi s si st er ' s home, and i n t he
mor ni ng he woul d be on hi s way east , t o
meet t he ot her s. Al l t he ar r angement s f or el i mi nat i ng
Pr i ma wer e compl et e, and
A voi ce on t he r adi o i nt er r upt ed hi s t hought s. " Ci t at i on
One One One Li ma Foxt r ot , t hi s i s t he
appr oach cont r ol t ower at Denver I nt er nat i onal Ai r por t .
Come i n, pl ease. "
Gar y Reynol ds pr essed t he r adi o but t on. " Thi s i s Ci t at i on
One One One Li ma Foxt r ot . I am
r equest i ng cl ear ance t o l and. "
" One Li ma Foxt r ot , say your posi t i on. "
" One Li ma Foxt r ot . I amf i f t een mi l es nor t heast of t he
Denver ai r por t . Al t i t ude f i f t een t housand f eet . "
He saw Pi ke' s Peak l oomi ng up on t he r i ght si de. The sky
was br i ght bl ue, t he weat her cl ear . A good omen.
Ther e was a br i ef si l ence. The voi ce f r omt he t ower came
t hr ough agai n. " One Li ma Foxt r ot , you ar e cl ear ed t o l and at
r unway t wo- si x. Repeat , r unway t wo- si x. "
" One Li ma Foxt r ot , r oger . "
Wi t hout war ni ng, Gar y Reynol ds f el t t he pl ane gi ve a
sudden, hi gh bounce. Sur pr i sed, he l ooked out
t he cockpi t wi ndow. A st r ong wi nd had come up, and wi t hi n
seconds, t he Cessna was caught i n a
vi ol ent t ur bul ence t hat began t o t oss t he pl ane ar ound. He
pul l ed back t he wheel t o t r y t o gai n al t i t ude.
I t was usel ess. He was t r apped i n a r agi ng vor t ex. The
pl ane was compl et el y out of cont r ol . He
sl ammed down t he r adi o but t on.
" Thi s i s One Li ma Foxt r ot . I have an emer gency. "
" One Li ma Foxt r ot , what i s t he nat ur e of your emer gency?"
Gar y Reynol ds was shout i ng i nt o t he mi cr ophone. " I ' m
caught i n a wi nd shear ! Ext r eme t ur bul ence!
I ' mi n t he mi ddl e of a goddamn hur r i cane! "
" One Li ma Foxt r ot , you ar e onl y f our and a hal f mi nut es
f r omt he Denver ai r por t and t her e i s no si gn
of ai r t ur bul ence on our scr eens. "
" I don' t gi ve a damn what ' s on your scr eens! I ' mt el l i ng
you" The pi t ch of hi s voi ce suddenl y r ose. " Mayday! May"
I n t he cont r ol t ower , t hey wat ched i n shock as t he bl i p on
t he r adar scr een di sappear ed.
Manhat t an, New Yor k
AT DAWN, AT an ar ea under t he Manhat t an Br i dge al ong t he
East Ri ver not f ar f r ompi er sevent een,
hal f a dozen uni f or med pol i ce of f i cer s and pl ai ncl ot hes
det ect i ves wer e gat her ed ar ound a f ul l y dr essed cor pse l yi ng
at t he r i ver ' s edge. The body had been car el essl y t ossed
down, so i t s head was eer i l y
bobbi ng up and down i n t he wat er , f ol l owi ng t he vagar i es
of t he t i de.
The man i n char ge, Det ect i ve Ear l Gr eenbur g, f r omt he
Manhat t an Sout h Homi ci de Squad, had f i ni shed t he of f i ci al
pr escr i bed pr ocedur es. No one was al l owed t o appr oach t he
body unt i l phot ogr aphs had
been t aken, and he made not es of t he scene whi l e t he
of f i cer s l ooked f or any evi dence t hat mi ght be
l yi ng ar ound. The vi ct i m' s hands had been wr apped i n cl ean
pl ast i c bags.
Car l War d, t he medi cal exami ner , f i ni shed hi s exami nat i on,
st ood up, and br ushed t he di r t f r omhi s t r ouser s. He l ooked
at t he t wo det ect i ves i n char ge. Det ect i ve Ear l Gr eenbur g was
a pr of essi onal , capabl e- l ooki ng man wi t h an i mpr essi ve
r ecor d. Det ect i ve Rober t Pr aegi t zer was gr ay- hai r ed, wi t h
t he l ai d- back manner of someone who had seen i t al l
bef or e.
War d t ur ned t o Gr eenbur g. " He' s al l your s, Ear l . "
" What have we got ?"
" The obvi ous cause of deat h i s a sl ashed t hr oat , r i ght
t hr ough t he car ot i d ar t er y. He has t wo bust ed kneecaps, and
i t f eel s l i ke a f ew r i bs ar e br oken. Someone wor ked hi mover
pr et t y good. "
" What about t he t i me of deat h?"
War d l ooked down at t he wat er l appi ng at t he vi ct i m' s
head. " Har d t o say. My guess i s t hat t hey
dumped hi mher e somet i me af t er mi dni ght . I ' l l gi ve you a
f ul l r epor t when we get hi mt o t he mor gue. "
Gr eenbur g t ur ned hi s at t ent i on t o t he body. Gr ay j acket ,
dar k bl ue t r ouser s, l i ght bl ue t i e, an expensi ve wat ch on t he
l ef t wr i st . Gr eenbur g knel t down and st ar t ed goi ng t hr ough
t he vi ct i m' s j acket pocket s.
I n one pocket , hi s f i nger s f ound a not e. He pul l ed i t out ,
hol di ng i t by i t s edge. I t r ead: " Washi ngt on. Monday, 10 a. m.
Pr i ma. " He l ooked at i t a moment , puzzl ed.
Gr eenbur g r eached i nt o anot her pocket , f i ndi ng anot her
not e. " I t ' s i n I t al i an. " He gl anced ar ound. " Gi anel l i ! "
One of t he uni f or med pol i ce of f i cer s hur r i ed up t o hi m.
" Yes, si r ?"
Gr eenbur g handed hi mt he not e. " Can you r ead t hi s?"
Gi anel l i r ead i t al oud sl owl y. " ' Last chance. Meet me at
pi er sevent een wi t h t he r est of t he dope or
swi mwi t h t he f i shes. ' " He handed i t back.
Rober t Pr aegi t zer l ooked sur pr i sed. " A Maf i a hi t ? Why
woul d t hey l eave hi mout her e l i ke t hi s, i n t he open?"
" Good quest i on. " Gr eenbur g was goi ng t hr ough t he cor pse' s
ot her pocket s. He pul l ed out a wal l et and opened i t . I t was
heavy wi t h cash. " They sur e as hel l wer en' t af t er hi s money. "
He t ook a car d f r om
t he wal l et . " The vi ct i m' s name i s Ri char d St evens. "
Pr aegi t zer f r owned. " Ri char d St evens . . . Di dn' t we r ead
somet hi ng about hi mi n t he paper s r ecent l y?"
Gr eenbur g sai d, " Hi s wi f e. Di ane St evens. She' s i n cour t ,
i n t he Tony Al t i er i mur der t r i al . "
Pr aegi t zer sai d, " That ' s r i ght . She' s t est i f yi ng agai nst
t he capo di capos. "
And t hey bot h t ur ned t o l ook at Ri char d St evens' s body.
CHAPTER 1
I N DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN, i n cour t r oomt hi r t y- seven of t he
Supr eme Cour t Cr i mi nal Ter mbui l di ng at 180 Cent r e St r eet ,
t he t r i al of Ant hony ( Tony) Al t i er i was i n sessi on. The
l ar ge, vener abl e cour t r oomwas f i l l ed t o capaci t y wi t h pr ess
and spect at or s.
At t he def endant ' s t abl e sat Ant hony Al t i er i , sl ouched i n
a wheel chai r , l ooki ng l i ke a pal e, f at f r og
f ol di ng i n on i t sel f . Onl y hi s eyes wer e al i ve, and ever y
t i me he l ooked at Di ane St evens i n t he wi t ness chai r , she
coul d l i t er al l y f eel t he pul se of hi s hat r ed.
Next t o Al t i er i sat J ake Rubenst ei n, Al t i er i ' s def ense
at t or ney. Rubenst ei n was f amous f or t wo t hi ngs:
hi s hi gh- pr of i l e cl i ent el e, consi st i ng most l y of mobst er s,
and t he f act t hat near l y al l of hi s cl i ent s wer e acqui t t ed.
Rubenst ei n was a smal l , dapper man wi t h a qui ck mi nd and a
vi vi d i magi nat i on. He was never t he
same i n hi s cour t r oomappear ances. Cour t r oomhi st r i oni cs
wer e hi s st ock- i n- t r ade, and he was hi ghl y ski l l ed. He was
br i l l i ant at si zi ng up hi s opponent s, wi t h a f er al i nst i nct
f or f i ndi ng t hei r weaknesses. Somet i mes Rubenst ei n i magi ned
he was a l i on, sl owl y cl osi ng i n on hi s unsuspect i ng pr ey,
r eady t o pounce . . . or a cunni ng spi der , spi nni ng a web t hat
woul d event ual l y ent r ap t hemand l eave t hem
hel pl ess. . . Somet i mes he was a pat i ent f i sher man, gent l y
t ossi ng a l i ne i nt o t he wat er and sl owl y
movi ng i t back and f or t h unt i l t he gul l i bl e wi t ness t ook
t he bai t .
The l awyer was car ef ul l y st udyi ng t he wi t ness on t he
st and. Di ane St evens was i n her ear l y t hi r t i es.
An aur a of el egance. Pat r i ci an f eat ur es. Sof t , f l owi ng
bl onde hai r . Gr een eyes. Lovel y f i gur e. A gi r l - next - door ki nd
of whol esomeness. She was dr essed i n a chi c, t ai l or ed bl ack
sui t . J ake Rubenst ei n knew t hat t he day bef or e she had made a
f avor abl e i mpr essi on on t he j ur y. He had t o be car ef ul how
he handl ed her . Fi sher man, he deci ded.
Rubenst ei n t ook hi s t i me appr oachi ng t he wi t ness box, and
when he spoke, hi s voi ce was gent l e.
" Mr s. St evens, yest er day you t est i f i ed t hat on t he dat e i n
quest i on, Oct ober f our t eent h, you wer e
dr i vi ng sout h on t he Henr y Hudson Par kway when you got a
f l at t i r e and pul l ed of f t he hi ghway at
t he One Hundr ed and Fi f t y- ei ght h St r eet exi t , ont o a
ser vi ce r oad i nt o For t Washi ngt on Par k?"
" Yes. " Her voi ce was sof t and cul t ur ed.
" What made you st op at t hat par t i cul ar pl ace?"
" Because of t he f l at t i r e, I knew I had t o get of f t he
mai n r oad and I coul d see t he r oof of a cabi n
t hr ough t he t r ees. I t hought t her e mi ght be someone t her e
who coul d hel p me. I di dn' t have a spar e. "
" Do you bel ong t o an aut o cl ub?" Yes.
" And do you have a phone i n your car ?" Yes.
" Then why di dn' t you cal l t he aut o cl ub?"
" I t hought t hat mi ght have t aken t oo l ong. "
Rubenst ei n sai d sympat het i cal l y, " Of cour se. And t he cabi n
was r i ght t her e. "
" Yes. "
" So, you appr oached t he cabi n t o get hel p?"
" That ' s r i ght . "
" Was i t st i l l l i ght out si de?"
" Yes. I t was about f i ve o' cl ock i n t he af t er noon. "
" And so, you coul d see cl ear l y?"
" I coul d. "
" What di d you see, Mr s. St evens?"
" I saw Ant hony Al t i er i "
" Oh. You had met hi mbef or e?"
" No. "
" What made you sur e i t was Ant hony Al t i er i ?"
" I had seen hi s pi ct ur e i n t he newspaper and"
" So, you had seen pi ct ur es t hat r esembl ed t he def endant ?"
" Wel l , i t "
" What di d you see i n t hat cabi n?"
Di ane St evens t ook a shudder i ng br eat h. She spoke sl owl y,
vi sual i zi ng t he scene i n her mi nd.
" Ther e wer e f our men i n t he r oom. One a of t hemwas i n a
chai r , t i ed up. Mr . Al t i er i seemed t o be quest i oni ng hi m
whi l e t he t wo ot her men st ood next t o hi m. " Her voi ce shook.
" Mr . Al t i er i pul l ed out
a gun, yel l ed somet hi ng, andand shot t he man i n t he back
of t he head. "
J ake Rubenst ei n cast a si del ong gl ance at t he j ur y. They
wer e absor bed i n her t est i mony.
" What di d you do t hen, Mr s. St evens?"
" I r an back t o my car and di al ed 911 on my cel l phone. "
" And t hen?"
" I dr ove away. "
" Wi t h a f l at t i r e?"
" Yes.
Ti me f or a l i t t l e r i ppl e i n t he wat er . " Why di dn' t you
wai t f or t he pol i ce?"
Di ane gl anced t owar d t he def ense t abl e. Al t i er i was
wat chi ng her wi t h naked mal evol ence.
She l ooked away. " I coul dn' t st ay t her e because I I was
af r ai d t hat t he men mi ght come out of t he
cabi n and see me. "
" That ' s ver y under st andabl e. " Rubenst ei n' s voi ce har dened.
" What i s not under st andabl e i s t hat when
t he pol i ce r esponded t o your 911 cal l , t hey went i nt o t he
cabi n, and not onl y was no one t her e,
Mr s. St evens, but t hey coul d f i nd no si gn t hat anyone had
been t her e, l et al one been mur der ed t her e. "
" I can' t hel p t hat . I "
" You' r e an ar t i st , ar en' t you?"
She was t aken aback by t he quest i on. " Yes, I "
" Ar e you successf ul ?"
" I suppose so, but what does?"
I t was t i me t o yank t he hook.
" A l i t t l e ext r a publ i ci t y never hur t s, does i t ? The whol e
count r y wat ches you on t he ni ght l y news
r epor t on t el evi si on, and on t he f r ont pages of "
Di ane l ooked at hi m, f ur i ous. " I di dn' t do t hi s f or
publ i ci t y. I woul d never send an i nnocent man t o"
" The key wor d i s i nnocent , Mr s. St evens. And I wi l l pr ove
t o you and t he l adi es and gent l emen of
t he j ur y t hat Mr . Al t i er i i s i nnocent . Thank you. You' r e
f i ni shed. "
Di ane St evens i gnor ed t he doubl e ent endr e. When she
st epped down t o r et ur n t o her seat , she was seet hi ng. She
whi sper ed t o t he pr osecut i ng at t or ney, " AmI f r ee t o go?"
" Yes. I ' l l send someone wi t h you. "
" That won' t be necessar y. Thank you. "
She headed f or t he door and wal ked out t o t he par ki ng
gar age, t he wor ds of t he def ense at t or ney
r i ngi ng i n her ear s.
You' r e an ar t i st , ar en' t you?. . . A l i t t l e ext r a
publ i ci t y never hur t s, does i t ? I t was degr adi ng. St i l l ,
al l i n al l , she was sat i sf i ed wi t h t he way her t est i mony
had gone. She had t ol d t he j ur y exact l y what
she had seen, and t hey had no r eason t o doubt her . Ant hony
Al t i er i was goi ng t o be convi ct ed and
sent t o pr i son f or t he r est of hi s l i f e. Yet Di ane coul d
not hel p t hi nki ng of t he venomous l ooks he
had gi ven her , and she f el t a l i t t l e shi ver .
She handed t he par ki ng at t endant her t i cket and he went t o
get her car .
Two mi nut es l at er , Di ane was dr i vi ng ont o t he st r eet ,
headi ng nor t h, on her way home.
* * *
THERE WAS A st op si gn at t he cor ner . As Di ane br aked t o a
hal t , a wel l - dr essed young man st andi ng
at t he cur b appr oached t he car . " Excuse me. I ' ml ost .
Coul d you?"
Di ane l ower ed her wi ndow.
" Coul d you t el l me how t o get t o t he Hol l and Tunnel ?" He
spoke wi t h an I t al i an accent .
" Yes. I t ' s ver y si mpl e. Go down t o t he f i r st "
The man r ai sed hi s ar m, and t her e was a gun wi t h a
si l encer i n hi s hand. " Out of t he car , l ady. Fast ! "
Di ane t ur ned pal e. " Al l r i ght . Pl ease don' t " As she
st ar t ed t o open t he door , t he man st epped back,
and Di ane sl ammed her f oot down on t he accel er at or and t he
car sped away. She hear d t he r ear
wi ndow smash as a bul l et went t hr ough i t , and t hen a cr ack
as anot her bul l et hi t t he back of t he car .
Her hear t was poundi ng so har d t hat i t was di f f i cul t t o
br eat he.
Di ane St evens had r ead about car j acki ngs, but t hey had
al ways been r emot e, somet hi ng t hat happened
t o ot her peopl e. And t he man had t r i ed t o ki l l her . Di d
car j acker s do t hat ? Di ane r eached f or her cel l phone and
di al ed 911. I t t ook al most t wo mi nut es bef or e an oper at or
answer ed.
" Ni ne one one. What i s your emer gency?"
Even as Di ane was expl ai ni ng what had happened, she knew
i t was hopel ess. The man woul d be l ong gone by now.
" I ' l l send an of f i cer t o t he l ocat i on. May I have your
name, addr ess, and phone number ?"
Di ane gave t hemt o her . Usel ess, she t hought . She gl anced
back at t he shat t er ed wi ndow and shudder ed. She desper at el y
want ed t o cal l Ri char d at wor k and t el l hi mwhat had
happened, but she knew he was wor ki ng on an ur gent pr oj ect .
I f she cal l ed hi mand t ol d hi mwhat had j ust occur r ed, he
woul d get upset and r ush t o her si deand she di d not want hi m
t o mi ss hi s deadl i ne. She woul d t el l hi mwhat happened when
he got back t o t he apar t ment .
Suddenl y a chi l l i ng t hought occur r ed t o her . Had t he man
been wai t i ng f or her , or was t hi s j ust a coi nci dence? She
r emember ed t he conver sat i on she had had wi t h Ri char d when t he
t r i al began:
I don' t t hi nk you shoul d t est i f y, Di ane. I t coul d be
danger ous.
Don' t wor r y, dar l i ng. Al t i er i wi l l be convi ct ed. They' l l
l ock hi maway f or ever .
But he has f r i ends and
Ri char d, i f I di dn' t do t hi s, I coul dn' t l i ve wi t h mysel f .
What j ust happened had t o be a coi nci dence, Di ane deci ded.
Al t i er i woul dn ' t be cr azy enough
t o do anyt hi ng t o me, especi al l y now, dur i ng hi s t r i al .
Di ane t ur ned of f t he hi ghway and dr ove west unt i l she
r eached her apar t ment bui l di ng on East Sevent y- f i f t h St r eet .
Bef or e she pul l ed i nt o t he under gr ound gar age, she t ook a
l ast car ef ul l ook
i n t he r ear vi ew mi r r or . Ever yt hi ng seemed nor mal .
* * *
THE APARTMENT WAS an ai r y, gr ound- f l oor dupl ex, wi t h a
spaci ous l i vi ng r oom, f l oor - t o- cei l i ng wi ndows, and a l ar ge,
mar bl e f i r epl ace. Ther e wer e uphol st er ed f l or al sof as,
ar mchai r s, a bui l t - i n bookcase, and a l ar ge t el evi si on
scr een. The wal l s wer e r ai nbowed wi t h col or f ul pai nt i ngs.
Ther e was
a Chi l de Hassam, a J ul es Pasci n, a Thomas Bi r ch, a Geor ge
Hi t chcock, and, i n one ar ea, a gr oup of Di ane' s pai nt i ngs.
On t he next f l oor wer e a mast er bedr oomand bat hr oom, a
second guest bedr oom, and a sunny at el i er , wher e Di ane
pai nt ed. Sever al of her pai nt i ngs wer e hangi ng on t he wal l s.
On an easel i n t he cent er of
t he r oomwas a hal f - f i ni shed por t r ai t .
The f i r st t hi ng Di ane di d when she ar r i ved home was t o
hur r y i nt o t he at el i er . She r emoved t he hal f - f i ni shed
por t r ai t on t he easel and r epl aced i t wi t h a bl ank canvas.
She began t o sket ch t he f ace
of t he man who had t r i ed t o ki l l her , but her hands wer e
t r embl i ng so har d t hat she had t o st op.
* * *
DRI VI NG TO DI ANE STEVEN' S apar t ment , Det ect i ve Ear l
Gr eenbur g compl ai ned, " Thi s i s t he par t
of t he j ob I hat e most . "
Rober t Pr aegi t zer sai d, " I t ' s bet t er t hat we t el l t hem
t han have t hemhear about i t on t he eveni ng news. " He l ooked
at Gr eenbur g. " You goi ng t o t el l her ?"
Ear l Gr eenbur g nodded unhappi l y. He f ound hi msel f
r emember i ng t he st or y of t he det ect i ve who had gone t o i nf or m
a Mr s. Adams, t he wi f e of a pat r ol man, t hat her husband had
been ki l l ed.
She' s ver y sensi t i ve, t he chi ef had caut i oned t he
det ect i ve. You' l l have t o br eak t he news car ef ul l y.
Don' t wor r y. I can handl e i t .
The det ect i ve had knocked on t he door of t he Adams home,
and when i t was opened by Adams' s
wi f e, t he" det ect i ve had asked, Ar e you t he wi dow Adams?
* * *
DI ANE WAS STARTLED by t he sound of t he door bel l . She went
t o t he i nt er com. " Who i s i t ?"
" Det ect i ve Ear l Gr eenbur g. I ' d l i ke t o speak t o you, Mr s.
St evens. "
I t ' s about t he car j acki ng, Di ane t hought . The pol i ce got
her e f ast .
She pr essed t he buzzer and Gr eenbur g ent er ed t he hal l way
and wal ked t o her door .
" Hel l o. "
" Mr s. St evens?"
" Yes. Thank you f or comi ng so qui ckl y. I st ar t ed t o dr aw a
sket ch of t he man, but I . . . " She t ook a
deep br eat h. " He was swar t hy, wi t h deep- set l i ght br own
eyes and a l i t t l e mol e on hi s cheek. Hi s gun
had a si l encer on i t , and"
Gr eenbur g was l ooki ng at her i n conf usi on. " I ' msor r y. I
don' t under st and what "
" The car j acker . I cal l ed 911 and" She saw t he expr essi on
on t he det ect i ve' s f ace. " Thi s i sn' t about
t he car j acki ng, i s i t ?"
" No, ma' am, i t ' s not . " Gr eenbur g paused a moment . " May I
come i n?
" Pl ease. "
Gr eenbur g wal ked i nt o t he apar t ment .
She was l ooki ng at hi m, f r owni ng. " What i s i t ? I s
somet hi ng wr ong?"
The wor ds woul d not seemt o come. " Yes. I ' msor r y. I I ' m
af r ai d I have some bad news. I t ' s about your husband. "
" What ' s happened?" Her voi ce was shaky.
" He' s had an acci dent . "
Di ane f el t a sudden chi l l . " What ki nd of acci dent ?"
Gr eenbur g t ook a deep br eat h. " He was ki l l ed l ast ni ght ,
Mr s. St evens. We f ound hi s body under a
br i dge al ong t he East Ri ver t hi s mor ni ng. "
Di ane st ar ed at hi mf or a l ong moment , t hen sl owl y shook
her head. " You have t he wr ong per son, Li eut enant . My husband
i s at wor k, i n hi s l abor at or y. "
Thi s was goi ng t o be even mor e di f f i cul t t han he had
ant i ci pat ed. " Mr s. St evens, di d your husband
come home l ast ni ght ?"
" No, but Ri char d f r equent l y wor ks al l ni ght . He' s a
sci ent i st . " She was becomi ng mor e and mor e agi t at ed.
" Mr s. St evens, wer e you awar e t hat your husband was
i nvol ved wi t h t he Maf i a?"
Di ane bl anched. " The Maf i a? Ar e you i nsane?"
" We f ound"
Di ane was begi nni ng t o hyper vent i l at e. " Let me see your
i dent i f i cat i on. "
" Cer t ai nl y. " Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g pul l ed out hi s I D car d
and showed i t t o her .
Di ane gl anced at i t , handed i t back, and t hen sl apped
Gr eenbur g har d acr oss hi s f ace. " Does t he ci t y
pay you t o go ar ound t r yi ng t o scar e honest ci t i zens? My
husband i s not dead! He' s at wor k. " She
was shout i ng.
Gr eenbur g l ooked i nt o her eyes and saw t he shock and
deni al t her e. " Mr s. St evens, woul d you l i ke
me t o send someone over t o l ook af t er you and?"
" You' r e t he one who needs someone t o l ook af t er you. Now
get out of her e. "
" Mr s. St evens"
" Now! "
Gr eenbur g t ook out a busi ness car d and put i t on a t abl e.
" I n case you need t o t al k t o me, her e' s my number . "
As he wal ked out t he door , Gr eenbur g t hought , Wel l , I
handl ed t hat br i l l i ant l y. I mi ght as wel l have
sai d, " Ar e you t he wi dow St evens?"
* * *
WHEN DETECTI VE EARL Gr eenbur g l ef t , Di ane l ocked t he f r ont
door and t ook a deep, shi ver i ng br eat h. The i di ot ! Comi ng t o
t he wr ong apar t ment and t r yi ng t o scar e me. I shoul d r epor t
hi m. She
l ooked at her wat ch. Ri char d wi l l be comi ng home soon.
I t ' s t i me t o st ar t get t i ng di nner r eady. She
was maki ng pael l a, hi s f avor i t e di sh. She went i nt o t he
ki t chen and st ar t ed t o pr epar e i t .
* * *
BECAUSE OF THE secr ecy of Ri char d' s wor k, Di ane never
di st ur bed hi mat t he l abor at or y, and i f
he di d not cal l her , she knew i t was a si gnal t hat he was
goi ng t o be l at e. At ei ght o' cl ock, t he pael l a
was r eady. She t ast ed i t and smi l ed, sat i sf i ed. I t was
made j ust t he way Ri char d l i ked i t . At t en o' cl ock, when he
st i l l had not ar r i ved, Di ane put t he pael l a i n t he
r ef r i ger at or and st uck a Post - i t not e on t he r ef r i ger at or
door : Dar l i ng, supper i s i n t he f r i dge. Come and wake me up.
Ri char d woul d be hungr y
when he came home.
Di ane f el t suddenl y dr ai ned. She undr essed, put on a
ni ght gown, br ushed her t eet h, and got i nt o bed.
I n a f ew mi nut es, she f el l sound asl eep.
* * *
AT THREE O' CLOCK i n t he mor ni ng, she woke up scr eami ng.
CHAPTER 2
I T WAS DAWN bef or e Di ane coul d st op t r embl i ng. The chi l l
she f el t was bone deep. Ri char d was
dead. She woul d never see hi magai n, hear hi s voi ce, f eel
hi mhol d her cl ose. And i t ' s my f aul t . I
shoul d never have gone i nt o t hat cour t r oom. Oh, Ri char d,
f or gi ve me. . . pl ease f or gi ve me . . . I
don' t t hi nk I can go on wi t hout you. You wer e my l i f e, my
r eason t o l i ve, and now I have none.
She want ed t o cur l up i nt o a t i ny bal l .
She want ed t o di sappear .
She want ed t o di e.
She l ay t her e, desol at e, t hi nki ng about t he past , how
Ri char d had t r ansf or med her l i f e. . . .
* * *
DI ANE WEST HAD gr own up i n Sands Poi nt , New Yor k, an ar ea
of qui et af f l uence. Her f at her
was a sur geon and her mot her was an ar t i st , and Di ane had
begun t o dr aw when she was t hr ee. She at t ended St . Paul ' s
boar di ng school , and when she was a f r eshman i n col l ege, she
had a br i ef r el at i onshi p wi t h her char i smat i c mat hemat i cs
t eacher . He t ol d her he want ed t o mar r y her because she was
t he onl y woman i n t he wor l d f or hi m. When Di ane l ear ned t hat
he had a wi f e and t hr ee chi l dr en, she deci ded t hat ei t her hi s
mat h or hi s memor y was def ect i ve, and t r ansf er r ed t o
Wel l esl ey Col l ege.
She was obsessed wi t h ar t and spent ever y spar e moment
pai nt i ng. By t he t i me Di ane gr aduat ed, she
had begun sel l i ng her pai nt i ngs and was acqui r i ng a
r eput at i on as an ar t i st of pr omi se.
That f al l , a pr omi nent Fi f t h Avenue ar t gal l er y gave Di ane
her own ar t show, and i t was a huge success. The owner of t he
gal l er y, Paul Deacon, was a weal t hy, er udi t e Af r i can- Amer i can
who had hel ped
nur t ur e Di ane' s car eer .
Openi ng ni ght , t he sal on was cr owded. Deacon hur r i ed up t o
Di ane, a bi g smi l e on hi s f ace. " Congr at ul at i ons! We' ve
al r eady sol d most of t he pai nt i ngs! I ' mgoi ng t o set up
anot her exhi bi t i on i n
a f ew mont hs, as soon as you' r e r eady. "
Di ane was t hr i l l ed. " That ' s wonder f ul , Paul . "
" You deser ve i t . " He pat t ed her on t he shoul der and
bust l ed of f .
Di ane was si gni ng an aut ogr aph when a man came up behi nd
her and sai d, " I l i ke your cur ves. "
Di ane st i f f ened. Fur i ous, she spun ar ound and opened her
mout h t o make a shar p r et or t , when he
went on:
" They have t he del i cacy of a Rosset t i or a Manet . " He was
st udyi ng one of her pai nt i ngs on t he wal l .
Di ane caught her sel f j ust i n t i me. " Oh. " She t ook a cl oser
l ook at t he man. He appear ed t o be i n hi s mi d- t hi r t i es. He
was about si x f eet t al l , wi t h an at hl et i c bui l d, bl ond hai r ,
and br i ght bl ue eyes. He was dr essed i n a sof t t an sui t , a
whi t e shi r t , and a br own t i e.
" I t hank you. "
" When di d you begi n pai nt i ng?"
" When I was a chi l d. My mot her was a pai nt er . "
He smi l ed. " My mot her was a cook, but I can' t cook. I know
your name. I ' mRi char d St evens. "
At t hat moment , Paul Deacon appr oached wi t h t hr ee
packages.
" Her e ar e your pai nt i ngs, Mr . St evens. Enj oy t hem. " He
handed t hemt o Ri char d St evens and wal ked away.
Di ane l ooked at hi mi n sur pr i se. " You bought t hr ee of my
pai nt i ngs?"
" I have t wo mor e i n my apar t ment . "
" I ' mI ' mf l at t er ed. "
" I appr eci at e t al ent . "
" Thank you. "
He hesi t at ed. " Wel l , you' r e pr obabl y busy, so I ' l l r un"
Di ane hear d her sel f sayi ng, " No. I ' mf i ne. "
Hi s smi l e wi dened. " Good. You coul d do me a bi g f avor ,
Mi ss West . "
Di ane l ooked at hi s l ef t hand. He was not wear i ng a
weddi ng band. " Yes?"
" I happen t o have t wo t i cket s f or t he openi ng of a r evi val
of Noel Cowar d' s Bl i t he Spi r i t t omor r ow
ni ght , and I have no one t o go wi t h. I f you' r e f r ee?"
Di ane st udi ed hi ma moment . He seemed ni ce and was ver y
at t r act i ve, but , af t er al l , he was a t ot al st r anger . Too
danger ous. Much t oo danger ous. And she hear d her sel f say, " I
woul d l ove t o go. "
* * *
THE FOLLOWI NG EVENI NG t ur ned out t o be del i ght f ul . Ri char d
St evens was an amusi ng
compani on, and t her e was an i nst ant compat i bi l i t y. They
shar ed an i nt er est i n ar t and musi c, and
much mor e, She f el t at t r act ed t o hi m, but she was not sur e
whet her he f el t t he same way about her .
At t he end of t he eveni ng, Ri char d asked, " Ar e you f r ee
t omor r ow ni ght ?"
Di ane' s answer was an unhesi t at i ng " Yes. "
The f ol l owi ng eveni ng t hey wer e havi ng di nner at a qui et
r est aur ant i n SoHo.
" Tel l me about you, Ri char d. "
" Not much t o t el l . I was bor n i n Chi cago. My f at her was an
ar chi t ect and desi gned bui l di ngs al l over
t he wor l d, and my mot her and I t r avel ed wi t h hi m. I went
t o about a dozen di f f er ent f or ei gn school s
and l ear ned t o speak a f ew l anguages i n sel f - def ense. "
" What do you do? For a l i vi ng?"
" I wor k at KI GKi ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup. I t ' s a l ar ge
t hi nk t ank. "
" That sounds exci t i ng. "
" I t ' s f asci nat i ng. We do cut t i ng- edge t echnol ogy r esear ch.
I f we had a mot t o, i t woul d be somet hi ng
l i ke ' I f we don' t have t he answer now, wai t unt i l
t omor r ow. ' "
* * *
AFTER DI NNER, RI CHARD t ook Di ane home. At her door , he
t ook her hand and sai d, " I enj oyed
t he eveni ng. Thank you. "
And he was gone.
Di ane st ood t her e, wat chi ng hi mwal k away. I ' mgl ad he' s a
gent l eman and not a wol f . I ' mr eal l y gl ad. Damn!
* * *
THEY WERE TOGETHER ever y ni ght af t er t hat , and each t i me
Di ane saw Ri char d, she f el t t he
same war mgl ow.
On a Fr i day eveni ng, Ri char d sai d, " I coach a Li t t l e
League t eamon Sat ur days. Woul d you l i ke t o
come al ong and wat ch?"
Di ane nodded. " I ' d l ove t o, Coach. "
The f ol l owi ng mor ni ng, Di ane wat ched Ri char d wor ki ng wi t h
t he eager young bal l pl ayer s. He was
gent l e and car i ng and pat i ent , scr eami ng wi t h j oy when
t en- year - ol d Ti mHol mcaught a f l y bal l , and
i t was obvi ous t hat t hey ador ed hi m.
Di ane t hought , I ' mf al l i ng i n l ove. I ' mf al l i ng i n l ove.
* * *
A FEWDAYS l at er , Di ane had a car ef r ee l uncheon wi t h a f ew
women f r i ends, and as t hey l ef t t he r est aur ant , t hey passed a
gypsy f or t une- t el l i ng par l or .
On an i mpul se Di ane sai d, " Let ' s have our f or t unes t ol d. "
" I can' t , Di ane. I have t o get back t o wor k. "
" So do I . "
" I have t o pi ck up J ohnny. "
" Why don' t you go, t el l us what she sai d. "
" Al l r i ght . I wi l l . "
Fi ve mi nut es l at er , Di ane f ound her sel f si t t i ng al one wi t h
a sunken- f aced cr one wi t h a mout h f ul l of
gol d t eet h and a di r t y shawl over her head.
Thi s i s nonsense, Di ane t hought . Why amI doi ng t hi s? But
she knew why she was doi ng i t . She
want ed t o ask i f she and Ri char d had a f ut ur e t oget her .
I t ' s j ust f or t he f un of i t , she t ol d her sel f .
Di ane wat ched as t he ol d woman pi cked up a t ar ot deck and
began t o shuf f l e t he car ds, never
l ooki ng up.
" I woul d l i ke t o know i f "
" Shhh. " The woman t ur ned up a car d. I t was t he pi ct ur e of
t he Fool , col or f ul l y dr essed and car r yi ng
a sat chel . The woman st udi ed i t a moment . " Ther e ar e many
secr et s f or you t o l ear n. " She t ur ned
up anot her t ar ot car d. " Thi s i s t he Moon. You have desi r es
you ar e uncer t ai n about . "
Di ane hesi t at ed and nodded.
" Does t hi s i nvol ve a man?"
" Yes. "
The ol d woman t ur ned up t he next car d. " Thi s i s t he Lover s
car d. "
Di ane smi l ed. " I s t hat a good omen?"
" We wi l l see. The next t hr ee car ds wi l l t el l us. " She
t ur ned over anot her car d. " The Hanged Man. "
She f r owned, paused, and t ur ned up t he next car d. " The
Devi l , " she mut t er ed.
" I s t hat bad?" Di ane asked l i ght l y.
The gypsy f or t une- t el l er di d not answer .
Di ane wat ched as t he ol d woman t ur ned up t he next car d.
She shook her head. Her voi ce was eer i l y hol l ow. " The Deat h
car d. "
Di ane got t o her f eet . " I don' t bel i eve i n any of t hi s, "
she sai d angr i l y.
The ol d woman l ooked up, and when she spoke, her voi ce was
macabr e. " I t does not mat t er what
you bel i eve. Deat h i s al l ar ound you.
CHAPTER 3
Ber l i n, Ger many
THE POLI ZEI KOMMANDANT, OTTO Schi f f er , t wo uni f or med pol i ce
of f i cer s, and t he
super i nt endent of t he apar t ment bui l di ng, Her r Kar l Goet z,
wer e st ar i ng at t he naked, shr i vel ed body
l yi ng at t he bot t omof t he over f l owi ng bat ht ub. A f ai nt
br ui se ci r cl ed her neck.
The Pol i zei kommandant hel d a f i nger under t he dr i ppi ng
t ap. Col d. " He sni f f ed at t he empt y l i quor
bot t l e on t he si de of t he t ub and t ur ned t o t he bui l di ng
super i nt endent . " Her name?"
" Sonj a Ver br ugge. Her husband i s Fr anz Ver br ugge. He i s
some ki nd of sci ent i st . "
" She l i ved i n t hi s apar t ment wi t h her husband?"
" Seven year s. They wer e wonder f ul t enant s. Al ways pai d
t hei r r ent on t i me. Never any t r oubl e.
Ever yone l oved . . . " He r eal i zed what he was about t o say
and st opped. " Di d Fr au Ver br ugge have
a j ob?"
" Yes, at t he Cyber l i n i nt er net caf e, wher e peopl e pay t o
use t he comput er s f or "
" What l ed you t o di scover t he body?"
" I t was because of t he col d wat er t ap i n t he bat ht ub. I
t r i ed t o f i x i t sever al t i mes, but i t woul d never
t ur n compl et el y of f . "
" So?"
" So t hi s mor ni ng t he t enant i n t he apar t ment bel ow
compl ai ned about wat er dr i ppi ng t hr ough hi s cei l i ng.
I came up her e, knocked on t he door , and when t her e was no
answer , I opened i t wi t h my passkey.
I came i nt o t he bat hr oomand f ound . . . " Hi s voi ce
choked.
A det ect i ve came i nt o t he bat hr oom. " No l i quor bot t l es i n
t he cabi net s, j ust wi ne. "
The Kommandant nodded. " Ri ght . " He poi nt ed t o t he l i quor
bot t l e on t he si de of t he t ub. " Have t hat t est ed f or
f i nger pr i nt s. "
" Yes, si r . "
The Kommandant t ur ned t o Kar l Goet z. " Do you know wher e
Her r Ver br ugge i s?"
" No. I al ways see hi mi n t he mor ni ng, when he l eaves f or
wor k, but " He made a hel pl ess gest ur e.
" You di d not see hi mt hi s mor ni ng?"
" No. "
" Do you know i f Her r Ver br ugge was pl anni ng t o t ake a t r i p
somewher e?"
" No, si r . I do not . "
The Kommandant t ur ned t o t he det ect i ve. " Tal k t o t he ot her
t enant s. Fi nd out i f Fr au Ver br ugge
seemed depr essed l at el y, or i f she and her husband
quar r el ed, and i f she was a heavy dr i nker . Get
al l t he i nf or mat i on you can. " He l ooked at Kar l Goet z. " We
wi l l check on her husband. I f you t hi nk
of anyt hi ng t hat mi ght be hel pf ul "
Kar l Goet z sai d t ent at i vel y, " I do not know whet her t hi s
i s hel pf ul , but one of t he t enant s t ol d me t hat
an ambul ance was par ked i n f r ont of t he bui l di ng l ast
ni ght , and he asked i f anyone was si ck. By t he
t i me I went out si de t o see what was happeni ng, t he
ambul ance was gone. Does t hat hel p?"
The Kommandant sai d, " I t wi l l be l ooked i nt o. "
" What what about her her body?" Kar l Goet z asked
ner vousl y.
" The medi cal exami ner i s on hi s way. Empt y t he t ub and
t hr ow a t owel over her . "
CHAPTER 4
I ' M AFRAI D I have some bad news. . . ki l l ed l ast ni ght . . .
we f ound hi s body under a br i dge. . . .
For Di ane St evens, t i me had st opped. She wander ed
ai ml essl y t hr ough t he l ar ge apar t ment f i l l ed wi t h memor i es
and t hought : I t s comf or t has gone . . . i t s war mt h has gone.
. . wi t hout Ri char d, i t i s onl y
a col l ect i on of col d br i cks. I t wi l l never come al i ve
agai n.
Di ane sank ont o t he couch and cl osed her eyes. Ri char d,
dar l i ng t he day we wer e mar r i ed, you asked what I woul d l i ke
as a gi f t . I t ol d you I di dn' t want anyt hi ng. But I do now.
Come back t o me. I t
doesn' t mat t er i f I can' t see you. J ust hol d me i n your
ar ms. I ' l l know you ' r e her e. I need t o f eel your t ouch once
mor e. I want t o f eel you st r oki ng my br east . . . . I want t o
i magi ne t hat I can hear your
voi ce sayi ng t hat I make t he best pael l a i n t he wor l d. . .
. I want t o hear your voi ce aski ng me t o st op pul l i ng t he
bedcover s oj f you. . . . I want t o hear you t el l i ng me t hat
you l ove me. She t r i ed t o st op t he sudden f l ow of t ear s, but
i t was i mpossi bl e.
* * *
FROM THE TI ME Di ane r eal i zed t hat Ri char d was dead, she
spent t he next sever al days l ocked away
i n t hei r dar kened apar t ment , r ef usi ng t o answer t he
t el ephone or t he door . She was l i ke a wounded ani mal , hi di ng.
She want ed t o be al one wi t h her pai n. Ri char d, t her e wer e so
many t i mes I want ed t o
say " I l ove you, " so t hat you woul d say " I l ove you, t oo. "
But I di dn' t want t o sound needy. I was a
f ool . Now I ' mneedy.
Fi nal l y, when t he const ant r i ngi ng of t he t el ephone and
t he i ncessant sound of t he door bel l woul d not st op, Di ane
opened t he door .
Car ol yn Ter , one of Di ane' s cl osest f r i ends, st ood t her e.
She l ooked at Di ane and sai d, " You l ook l i ke hel l . " Her voi ce
sof t ened. " Ever yone' s been t r yi ng t o r each you, honey. We' ve
al l been wor r i ed si ck. "
" I ' msor r y, Car ol yn, but I j ust can' t "
Car ol yn t ook Di ane i n her ar ms. " I know. But t her e ar e a
l ot of f r i ends who want t o see you. "
Di ane shook her head. " No. I t ' s i m"
" Di ane, Ri char d' s l i f e i s over , but your s i sn' t . Don' t
shut out t he peopl e who l ove you. I ' l l st ar t maki ng cal l s. "
* * *
FRI ENDS OF DI ANE and Ri char d began t el ephoni ng and comi ng
t o t he apar t ment , and Di ane f ound her sel f l i st eni ng t o t he
endl ess l i t any of t he cl i ches of deat h:
" Thi nk of i t t hi s way, Di ane. Ri char d i s at peace. . . . "
" God cal l ed hi m, dar l i ng. . . . "
" I know Ri char d i s i n heaven, shi ni ng down on you. . . . "
" He' s passed over t o a bet t er pl ace. . . . "
" He' s j oi ned t he angel s. . . . " Di ane want ed t o scr eam.
* * *
THE STREAM OF vi si t or s seemed endl ess. Paul Deacon, t he
owner of t he ar t gal l er y t hat di spl ayed Di ane' s wor k, came t o
t he apar t ment . He put hi s ar ms ar ound Di ane and sai d, " I ' ve
been t r yi ng t o
r each you, but "
" I know. "
" I ' mso sad about Ri char d. He was a r ar e gent l eman. But ,
Di ane, you can' t shut your sel f away l i ke
t hi s. Peopl e ar e wai t i ng t o see mor e of your beaut i f ul
wor k. "
" I can' t . I t ' s not i mpor t ant anymor e, Paul . Not hi ng i s.
I ' mt hr ough. "
She coul d not be per suaded.
* * *
THE FOLLOWI NG DAY, when t he door bel l r ang, Di ane
r el uct ant l y went t o t he door . She l ooked t hr ough t he
peephol e, and t her e seemed t o be a smal l cr owd out si de.
Puzzl ed, Di ane opened t he door . Ther e wer e a dozen young boys
i n t he hal l way.
One of t hemwas hol di ng a l i t t l e bouquet of f l ower s. " Good
mor ni ng, Mr s. St evens. " He handed t he bouquet t o Di ane.
" Thank you. " She suddenl y r emember ed who t hey wer e. They
wer e member s of t he Li t t l e League
t eamt hat Ri char d had coached.
Di ane had r ecei ved count l ess basket s of f l ower s, car ds of
condol ence, and e- mai l s, but t hi s was t he
most t ouchi ng gi f t of al l .
" Come i n, " Di ane sai d.
The boys t r ooped i nt o t he r oom. " We j ust want ed t o t el l
you how bad we f eel . "
" Your husband was a gr eat guy. "
" He was r eal l y cool . "
" And he was an awesome coach. "
I t was al l Di ane coul d do t o hol d back her t ear s. " Thank
you. He t hought you wer e gr eat , t oo. He was ver y pr oud of al l
of you. " She t ook a deep br eat h. " Woul d you l i ke some sof t
dr i nks or ?"
Ti mHol m, t he t en- year - ol d who had caught t he f l y bal l ,
spoke up. " No, t hanks, Mr s. St evens. We j ust want ed t o t el l
you t hat we' l l mi ss hi m, t oo. We al l chi pped i n f or t he
f l ower s. They cost t wel ve dol l ar s. "
" Anyway, we j ust want ed you t o know how sor r y we ar e. "
Di ane l ooked at t hemand sai d qui et l y, " Thank you, boys. I
know how much Ri char d woul d appr eci at e your comi ng her e. "
She wat ched as t hey mumbl ed t hei r good- byes and l ef t .
As Di ane obser ved t hei r depar t ur e, she r emember ed t he
f i r st t i me she had wat ched Ri char d coach t he boys. He had
t al ked t o t hemas t hough he wer e t hei r age, i n l anguage t hey
under st ood, and t hey l oved hi mf or i t . That was t he day I
st ar t ed t o f al l i n l ove wi t h hi m.
Out si de, Di ane coul d hear t he r umbl e of t hunder and t he
f i r st dr ops of r ai n begi nni ng t o r ol l down
agai nst t he wi ndows, l i ke God' s t ear s. Rai n. I t had been
on a hol i day weekend . . .
* * *
" DO YOU LI KE pi cni cs?" Ri char d asked.
" I ador e t hem. "
He smi l ed. " I knew i t . I ' l l pl an a l i t t l e pi cni c f or us.
I ' l l pi ck you up t omor r ow at noon. "
I t was a beaut i f ul , sunny day. Ri char d had ar r anged f or a
pi cni c i n t he mi ddl e of Cent r al Par k. Ther e
was si l ver war e and l i nens, and when Di ane saw what was i n
t he pi cni c basket , she l aughed. Roast
beef . . . a ham. . . cheeses . . . t wo l ar ge pat es. . . an
assor t ment of dr i nks and hal f a dozen desser t s.
" Ther e' s enough f or a smal l ar my! Who' s goi ng t o j oi n us?"
And an unbi dden t hought popped i nt o
her mi nd. A mi ni st er ? She bl ushed.
Ri char d was wat chi ng her . " Ar e you al l r i ght ?"
Al l r i ght ? I ' ve never been so happy. " Yes, Ri char d. "
He nodded. " Good. We won' t wai t f or t he ar my. Let ' s
st ar t . "
Whi l e t hey at e, t her e was so much t o t al k about , and ever y
wor d seemed t o br i ng t hemcl oser . Ther e
was a st r ong sexual t ensi on bui l di ng up bet ween t hem, and
t hey coul d bot h f eel i t . And i n t he mi ddl e
of t hi s per f ect af t er noon, i t began t o r ai n. I n a mat t er
of mi nut es, t hey wer e soaked.
Ri char d sai d r uef ul l y, " I ' msor r y about t hi s. I shoul d
have known bet t er t he paper sai d no r ai n. I ' maf r ai d i t ' s
spoi l ed our pi cni c and"
Di ane moved cl ose t o hi mand sai d sof t l y, " Has i t ?"
And she was i n hi s ar ms and her l i ps wer e pr essed agai nst
hi s, and she coul d f eel t he heat r aci ng
t hr ough her body. When she f i nal l y pul l ed back, she sai d,
" We have t o get out of t hese wet cl ot hes. "
He l aughed. " You' r e r i ght . We don' t want t o cat ch"
Di ane sai d, " Your pl ace or mi ne?"
And Ri char d suddenl y became ver y st i l l . " Di ane, ar e you
sur e? I ' maski ng because . . . t hi s i sn' t j ust
a one- ni ght st and. "
Di ane sai d qui et l y, " I know. "
* * *
HALF AN HOUR l at er t hey wer e i n Di ane' s apar t ment ,
undr essi ng, and t hei r ar ms wer e ar ound each ot her , and t hei r
hands wer e expl or i ng t ant al i zi ng pl aces, and f i nal l y, when
t hey coul d st and i t no l onger , t hey got i nt o bed.
Ri char d was gent l e and t ender and passi onat e and f r enzi ed,
and i t was magi c, and hi s t ongue f ound her and moved sl owl y,
and i t f el t as t hough war mwaves wer e gent l y l appi ng at a
vel vet beach, and t hen he was deep i nsi de her , f i l l i ng her .
They spent t he r est of t he af t er noon, and most of t he
ni ght , t al ki ng and maki ng l ove, and t hey opened t hei r hear t s
t o each ot her , and i t was wonder f ul beyond wor ds.
I n t he mor ni ng, whi l e Di ane was maki ng t hei r br eakf ast ,
Ri char d asked, " Wi l l you mar r y me, Di ane?"
And she t ur ned t o hi mand sai d sof t l y, " Oh, yes. "
* * *
THE WEDDI NG TOOK pl ace one mont h l at er . The cer emony was
war mand wonder f ul , wi t h f r i ends and f ami l y congr at ul at i ng
t he newl yweds. Di ane l ooked over at Ri char d' s beami ng f ace
and t hought of
t he f or t une- t el l er ' s r i di cul ous pr edi ct i on, and smi l ed.
They had pl anned t o l eave f or a honeymoon i n Fr ance t he
week af t er t he weddi ng, but Ri char d had
cal l ed her f r omwor k. " A new pr oj ect has j ust come up and
I can' t get away. I s i t al l r i ght i f we do i t
i n a f ew mont hs? Sor r y, baby. "
She sai d, " Of cour se i t ' s al l r i ght , dar l i ng. "
" Do you want t o come out and have l unch wi t h me t oday?"
" I ' d l ove t hat . "
" You l i ke Fr ench f ood. I know a gr eat Fr ench r est aur ant .
I ' l l pi ck you up i n hal f an hour . "
Thi r t y mi nut es l at er , Ri char d was out si de, wai t i ng f or
Di ane. " Hi , honey. I have t o see one of our
cl i ent s of f at t he ai r por t . He' s l eavi ng f or Eur ope. We' l l
say good- bye and t hen go on t o l unch. "
She hugged hi m. " Fi ne. "
When t hey ar r i ved at Kennedy ai r por t , Ri char d sai d, " He
has a pr i vat e pl ane. We' l l meet hi mon t he t ar mac. "
A guar d passed t hemt hr ough t o a r est r i ct ed ar ea, wher e a
Chal l enger was par ked. Ri char d l ooked
ar ound. " He' s not her e yet . Let ' s wai t i n t he pl ane. "
" Al l r i ght . "
They wal ked up t he st eps and ent er ed t he l uxur i ous
ai r cr af t . The engi nes wer e r unni ng.
The f l i ght at t endant wal ked i n f r omt he cockpi t . " Good
mor ni ng. "
" Good mor ni ng, " Ri char d sai d.
Di ane smi l ed. " Good mor ni ng. "
They wat ched t he f l i ght at t endant cl ose t he cabi n door .
Di ane l ooked at Ri char d. " How l at e do you t hi nk your
cl i ent i s goi ng t o be?"
" He shoul dn' t be ver y l ong. "
The r oar of t he j et s st ar t ed get t i ng l ouder . The pl ane
began t o t axi .
Di ane l ooked out t he wi ndow, and her f ace pal ed. " Ri char d,
we' r e movi ng. "
Ri char d l ooked at Di ane i n sur pr i se. " Ar e you sur e?"
" Look out t he wi ndow. " She was pani cki ng. " Tel l t el l t he
pi l ot "
" What do you want me t o t el l hi m?" To st op!
" I can' t . He' s al r eady st ar t ed. "
Ther e was a moment of si l ence and Di ane l ooked at Ri char d,
her eyes wi de. " Wher e ar e we goi ng?"
" Oh, di dn' t I t el l you? We' r e goi ng t o Par i s. You sai d you
l i ked Fr ench f ood. "
She gasped. Then her expr essi on changed. " Ri char d, I can' t
go t o Par i s now! I have no cl ot hes.
I have no makeup. I have no"
Ri char d sai d, " I hear d t hey have st or es i n Par i s. "
She l ooked at hi ma moment , t hen f l ung her ar ms ar ound
hi m. " Oh, you f ool , you. I l ove you. "
He gr i nned. " You want ed a honeymoon. You' ve got i t . "
CHAPTER 5
AT ORLY, A l i mousi ne was wai t i ng t o t ake t hemt o t he Hot el
Pl aza At henee.
When t hey ar r i ved, t he manager sai d, " Your sui t e i s r eady
f or you, Mr . and Mr s. St evens. "
" Thank you. "
They wer e booked i nt o sui t e 310. The manager opened t he
door , and Di ane and Ri char d wal ked
i nsi de. Di ane st opped i n shock. Hal f a dozen of her
pai nt i ngs wer e hangi ng on t he wal l s. She t ur ned
t o l ook at Ri char d. " I how di d t hat ?"
Ri char d sai d i nnocent l y, " I have no i dea. I guess t hey
have good t ast e her e, t oo. "
Di ane gave hi ma l ong, passi onat e ki ss.
* * *
PARI S WAS A wonder l and. Thei r f i r st st op was at Gi venchy,
t o buy out f i t s f or bot h of t hem, t hen
over t o Loui s Vui t t on, t o get l uggage f or al l t hei r new
cl ot hes.
They t ook a l ei sur el y wal k down t he Champs- El ysees t o t he
Pl ace de l a Concor de, and saw t he st or i ed Ar c de Tr i omphe,
and t he Pal ai s- Bour bon, and l a Madel ei ne. They st r ol l ed al ong
l a Pl ace Vendome,
and spent a day at t he Musee du Louvr e. They wander ed
t hr ough t he scul pt ur e gar den of t he Musee Rodi n and had
r omant i c di nner s at Auber ge de Tr oi s Bonheur s, and Au Pet i t
Chez Soi , and D' Chez Eux.
* * *
The ONLY THI NG t hat seemed odd t o Di ane was t he t el ephone
cal l s Ri char d r ecei ved at pecul i ar hour s.
" Who was t hat ?" Di ane asked once, at 3 a. m. , as Ri char d
f i ni shed a phone conver sat i on.
" J ust r out i ne busi ness. "
I n t he mi ddl e of t he ni ght ?
* * *
" Di ane! di ane! "
She was shaken out of her r ever i e. Car ol yn Ter was
st andi ng over her . " Ar e you al l r i ght ?"
" I ' mI ' mf i ne. "
Car ol yn put her ar ms ar ound Di ane. " You j ust need t i me.
I t ' s onl y been a f ew days. " She hesi t at ed.
" By t he way, have you made ar r angement s f or t he f uner al ?"
Funer al . The saddest wor d i n t he Engl i sh l anguage. I t
car r i ed t he sound of deat h, an echo of despai r .
" I I haven' t been abl e t o"
" Let me hel p you wi t h i t . I ' l l pi ck out a casket and"
" No! " The wor d came out har sher t han Di ane had i nt ended.
Car ol yn was l ooki ng at her , puzzl ed.
When Di ane spoke agai n, her voi ce was shaky. " Don' t you
see? Thi s i st hi s i s t he l ast t hi ng I can ever do f or
Ri char d. I want t o make hi s f uner al speci al . He' l l want al l
hi s f r i ends t her e, t o say goodbye. "
Tear s wer e r unni ng down her cheeks.
" Di ane"
" I have t o pi ck out Ri char d' s casket t o make sur e hehe
sl eeps comf or t abl y. "
Ther e was not hi ng mor e Car ol yn coul d say.
* * *
THAT AFTERNOON, DETECTI VE Ear l Gr eenbur g was i n hi s of f i ce
when t he cal l came.
" Di ane St evens i s on t he phone f or you. "
Oh, no. Gr eenbur g r emember ed t he sl ap i n t he f ace t he l ast
t i me he had seen her . What now? She pr obabl y has some new
beef . He pi cked up t he phone. " Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g. "
" Thi s i s Di ane St evens. I ' mcal l i ng f or t wo r easons. The
f i r st i s t o apol ogi ze. I behaved ver y badl y,
and I ' mt r ul y sor r y. "
He was t aken aback. " You don' t have t o apol ogi ze, Mr s.
St evens. I under st ood what you wer e goi ng t hr ough. "
He wai t ed. Ther e was a si l ence.
" You sai d you had t wo r easons f or cal l i ng. "
" Yes. My husband' s" Her voi ce br oke. " My husband' s body
i s bei ng hel d somewher e by t he pol i ce. How do I get Ri char d
back? I ' mar r angi ng f or hi shi s f uner al at t he Dal t on
Mor t uar y. "
The despai r i n her voi ce made hi mwi nce. " Mr s. St evens,
I ' maf r ai d t hat some r ed t ape i s i nvol ved.
Fi r st , t he cor oner ' s of f i ce has t o f i l e a r epor t on t he
aut opsy and t hen i t ' s necessar y t o not i f y t he var i ous" He
was t hought f ul f or a moment , t hen made hi s deci si on. Lookyou
have enough on
your mi nd. I ' l l make t he ar r angement s f or you. Ever yt hi ng
wi l l be set wi t hi n t wo days. "
" Oh. I I t hank you. Thank you ver y" Her voi ce choked up
and t he connect i on was br oken.
Ear l Gr eenbur g sat t her e a l ong t i me, t hi nki ng about Di ane
St evens and t he angui sh she was goi ng t hr ough. Then he went
t o wor k cut t i ng r ed t ape.
* * *
THE DALTON MORTUARY was l ocat ed on t he east si de of
Madi son Avenue. I t was an i mpr essi ve t wo- st or y bui l di ng wi t h
t he f acade of a sout her n mansi on. I nsi de, t he decor was
t ast ef ul and under st at ed, wi t h sof t l i ght i ng and whi sper s of
pal e cur t ai ns and dr apes.
Di ane sai d t o t he r ecept i oni st , " I have an appoi nt ment
wi t h Mr . J ones. Di ane St evens. "
" Thank you. "
The r ecept i oni st spoke i nt o a phone, and moment s l at er t he
manager , a gr ay- hai r ed, pl easant - f aced
man, came out t o gr eet Di ane.
" I ' mRon J ones. We spoke on t he phone. I know how
di f f i cul t ever yt hi ng i s at a t i me l i ke t hi s,
Mr s. St evens, and our j ob i s t o t ake t he bur den of f you.
J ust t el l me what you want and we wi l l see
t hat your wi shes ar e car r i ed out . "
Di ane sai d uncer t ai nl y, " I I ' mnot even sur e what t o ask. "
J ones nodded. " Let me expl ai n. Our ser vi ces i ncl ude a
casket , a memor i al ser vi ce f or your f r i ends,
a cemet er y pl ot , and t he bur i al . " He hesi t at ed. " Fr omwhat
I r ead of your husband' s deat h i n t he newspaper s, Mr s.
St evens, you' l l pr obabl y want a cl osed casket f or t he
memor i al ser vi ce, so"
" No! "
J ones l ooked at her i n sur pr i se. " But "
" I want i t open. I want Ri char d t ot o be abl e t o see al l
hi s f r i ends, bef or e he . . . " Her voi ce t r ai l ed of f .
J ones was st udyi ng her sympat het i cal l y. " I see. Then i f I
may make a suggest i on, we have a
cosmet i ci an who does excel l ent wor k wher e" he sai d
t act f ul l y" i t ' s needed. Wi l l t hat be al l r i ght ?"
Ri char d woul d hat e i t , but " Yes. "
" Ther e' s j ust one t hi ng mor e. We' l l need t he cl ot hes you
want your husband t o be bur i ed i n. "
She l ooked at hi mi n shock. " The" Di ane coul d f eel t he
col d hands of a st r anger vi ol at i ng Ri char d' s naked body, and
she shi ver ed.
" Mr s. St evens?"
I shoul d dr ess Ri char d mysel f . But I coul dn ' t bear t o see
hi mt he way he i s. I want t o r emember
" Mr s. St evens?"
Di ane swal l owed. " I hadn' t t hought about " Her voi ce was
st r angl ed. " I ' msor r y. " She was unabl e
t o go on.
He wat ched her st umbl e out si de and hai l a t axi .
* * *
WHEN DI ANE RETURNED t o her apar t ment , she wal ked i nt o
Ri char d' s cl oset . Ther e wer e t wo
r acks f i l l ed wi t h hi s sui t s. Each out f i t hel d a t r easur ed
memor y. Ther e was t he t an sui t Ri char d had
been wear i ng t he ni ght t hey met at t he ar t gal l er y. I l i ke
your cur ves. They have t he del i cacy of a
Rosset t i or a Manet . Coul d she l et go of t hat sui t ? No.
Her f i nger s t ouched t he next one. I t was t he l i ght gr ay
spor t j acket Ri char d had wor n t o t he pi cni c,
when t hey had been caught i n t he r ai n.
Your pl ace or mi ne?
Thi s i sn ' t j ust a one- ni ght st and.
I know.
How coul d she not keep i t ?
The pi nst r i ped sui t was next . You l i ke Fr ench f ood. I know
a gr eat Fr ench r est aur ant . . . .
The navy bl azer . . . t he suede j acket . . . Di ane wr apped
t he ar ms of a bl ue sui t ar ound her sel f and hugged i t . I coul d
never l et any of t hese go. Each of t hemwas a cher i shed
r emembr ance. " I can' t . " Sobbi ng, she gr abbed a sui t at r andom
and f l ed.
The f ol l owi ng af t er noon, t her e was a message on Di ane' s
voi ce mai l : " Mr s. St evens, t hi s i s Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g. I
want ed t o l et you know t hat ever yt hi ng her e has been cl ear ed.
I ' ve t al ked t o t he Dal t on Mor t uar y. You' r e f r ee t o go ahead
wi t h what ever pl ans you want t o make. . . . " Ther e was a
sl i ght
pause. " I wi sh you wel l . . . . Good- bye. "
Di ane cal l ed Ron J ones at t he mor t uar y. " I under st and t hat
my husband' s body has ar r i ved t her e. "
" Yes, Mr s. St evens. I al r eady have someone t aki ng car e of
t he cosmet i cs, and we' ve r ecei ved t he
cl ot hes you sent . Thank you. "
" I t hought woul d t hi s comi ng Fr i day be al l r i ght f or t he
f uner al ?"
" Fr i day wi l l be f i ne. By t hen we wi l l have t aken car e of
al l t he necessar y det ai l s. I woul d suggest el even a. m. "
I n t hr ee days, Ri char d and I wi l l be par t ed f or ever . Or
unt i l I j oi n hi m.
* * *
THURSDAY MORNI NG, DI ANE was busi l y pr epar i ng t he f i nal
det ai l s of t he f uner al , ver i f yi ng t he
l ong l i st of i nvi t ees and t he pal l bear er s, when t he
t el ephone cal l came.
" Mr s. St evens?"
" Yes. "
" Thi s i s Ron J ones. I j ust want ed t o l et you know t hat I
r ecei ved your paper wor k and t he change was made, j ust as you
r equest ed. "
Di ane was puzzl ed. " Paper wor k?"
" Yes. The cour i er br ought i t yest er day, wi t h your l et t er . "
" I di dn' t send any"
" Fr ankl y, I was a l i t t l e sur pr i sed, but , of cour se, i t was
your deci si on. "
" My deci si on?"
" We cr emat ed your husband' s body one hour ago. "
CHAPTER 6
Par i s, Fr ance
KELLY HARRI S WAS a r oman candl e t hat had expl oded i nt o t he
wor l d of f ashi on. She was i n her l at e t went i es, an
Af r i can- Amer i can wi t h ski n t he col or of mel t ed honey and a
f ace t hat was a phot ogr apher ' s dr eam. She had i nt el l i gent
sof t br own eyes, sensual f ul l l i ps, l ovel y l ong l egs, and a
f i gur e f i l l ed wi t h
er ot i c pr omi se. Her dar k hai r was cut shor t i n del i ber at e
di shabi l l e, wi t h a f ew st r ands spr awl i ng acr oss her f or ehead.
Ear l i er t hat year , t he r eader s of El l e and Mademoi sel l e
magazi nes had vot ed Kel l y t he
Most Beaut i f ul Model i n t he Wor l d.
As she f i ni shed dr essi ng, Kel l y l ooked ar ound t he
pent house, f eel i ng, as al ways, a sense of wonder . The
apar t ment was spect acul ar . I t was on t he excl usi ve Rue
St . - Loui s- en- El l e, i n t he Four t h Ar r ondi sseni ent
of Par i s. The apar t ment had a doubl e- door ent r y t hat
opened i nt o an el egant hal l wi t h hi gh cei l i ngs and sof t
yel l ow wal l panel s, and t he l i vi ng r oomwas f ur ni shed wi t h an
ecl ect i c mi xt ur e of Fr ench and Regency f ur ni t ur e. Fr omt he
t er r ace, acr oss t he Sei ne, was a vi ew of Not r e- Dame.
Kel l y was l ooki ng f or war d t o t he comi ng weekend. Mar k was
goi ng t o t ake her out f or one of hi s
sur pr i se t r eat s.
I want you t o get al l dr essed up, honey. You ' r e goi ng t o
l ove wher e we' r e goi ng.
Kel l y smi l ed t o her sel f . Her husband was t he most
wonder f ul man i n t he wor l d. Kel l y gl anced at her wr i st wat ch
and si ghed. I had bet t er get movi ng, she t hought . The show
st ar t s i n hal f an hour . A f ew moment s l at er , she l ef t t he
apar t ment , headi ng down t he hal l way t owar d t he el evat or . As
she di d so,
t he door of a nei ghbor i ng apar t ment opened and Madame
J oset t e Lapoi nt e came out i nt o t he cor r i dor .
A smal l but t er bal l of a woman, she al ways had a f r i endl y
wor d f or Kel l y.
" Good af t er noon, Madame Har r i s. "
Kel l y smi l ed. " Good af t er noon, Madame Lapoi nt e. "
" You' r e l ooki ng beaut i f ul , as al ways. "
" Thank you. " Kel l y pr essed t he but t on f or t he el evat or .
A dozen f eet away, a bur l y man i n wor k cl ot hes was
adj ust i ng a wal l f i xt ur e. He gl anced at t he t wo women, t hen
qui ckl y t ur ned hi s head.
" How i s t he model i ng goi ng?" Madame Lapoi nt e asked.
" Ver y wel l , t hank you. "
" I must come and see you i n one of your f ashi on shows
soon. "
" I ' l l be happy t o ar r ange i t anyt i me. "
The el evat or ar r i ved, and Kel l y and Madame Lapoi nt e
st epped i nsi de. The man i n wor k cl ot hes pul l ed
out a smal l wal ki e- t al ki e, spoke hur r i edl y i nt o i t , and
r api dl y wal ked away.
As t he el evat or door st ar t ed t o cl ose, Kel l y hear d t he
t el ephone r i ng i n her apar t ment . She hesi t at ed.
She was i n a hur r y, but i t coul d be Mar k cal l i ng.
" You go ahead, " she sai d t o Madame Lapoi nt e.
Kel l y st epped out of t he el evat or , f umbl ed f or her key,
f ound i t , and r an back i nt o her apar t ment .
She r aced t o t he r i ngi ng t el ephone and pi cked i t up.
" Mar k?"
A st r ange voi ce sai d, " Nanet t e?'
Kel l y was di sappoi nt ed. " Nous ne connai ssons pas l a
per sonne qui r epond a ce nom. "
" Par donnez- moi . C' est une er r eur de t el ephone. "
A wr ong number . Kel l y put t he phone down. As she di d,
t her e was a t r emendous cr ash t hat shook t he whol e bui l di ng. A
moment l at er , t her e was a babbl e of voi ces and l oud scr eams.
Hor r i f i ed, she r ushed
i nt o t he hal l t o see what had happened. The sounds wer e
comi ng f r ombel ow. Kel l y r an down t he st ai r s, and when she
f i nal l y r eached t he l obby, she hear d l oud, exci t ed voi ces
comi ng f r omt he basement .
Appr ehensi vel y, she went down t he st ai r s t o t he basement
and st ood i n shock as she saw t he cr ushed el evat or car and
t he hor r i bl y mangl ed body of Madame Lapoi nt e i n i t . Kel l y
f el t f ai nt . That poor
woman. A mi nut e ago she was al i ve and now. . . And I coul d
have been i n t her e wi t h her . I f not f or
t hat t el ephone cal l . . .
A cr owd had gat her ed ar ound t he el evat or , and si r ens wer e
hear d i n t he di st ance. I shoul d st ay, Kel l y t hought gui l t i l y,
but I can' t . I have t o l eave. She l ooked at t he body and
whi sper ed, " I ' mso sor r y, Madame Lapoi nt e. "
* * *
WHEN KELLY ARRI VED at t he f ashi on sal on and wal ked i n t he
st age door , Pi er r e, t he ner vous
f ashi on coor di nat or , was wai t i ng.
He pounced on her . " Kel l y! Kel l y! You' r e l at e! The show
has al r eady st ar t ed and"
" I ' msor r y, Pi er r e. Ther et her e was a bad acci dent . "
He l ooked at her i n al ar m. " Ar e you hur t ?"
" No. " Kel l y cl osed her eyes f or a moment . The i dea of
goi ng t o wor k af t er what she had wi t nessed
was nauseat i ng, but she had no choi ce. She was t he st ar of
t he show.
" Hur r y! " Pi er r e sai d. " Vi t e! "
Kel l y st ar t ed t owar d her dr essi ng r oom.
* * *
THE YEAR' S MOST pr est i gi ous f ashi on show was bei ng hel d at
31 Rue Cambon, Chanel ' s or i gi nal sal on. The papar azzi wer e
near t he f r ont r ows. Ever y seat was occupi ed, and t he back of
t he r oom
was cr owded wi t h st andees eager t o get t he f i r st gl i mpse
of t he comi ng season' s new desi gns. The r oomhad been
decor at ed f or t he event wi t h f l ower s and dr aped f abr i cs, but
no one was payi ng any at t ent i on
t o t he decor . The r eal at t r act i ons wer e on t he l ong
r unwaya r i ver of movi ng col or s, beaut y, and st yl e. I n t he
backgr ound, musi c was pl ayi ng, i t s sl ow, sexy beat
accent uat i ng t he movement s onst age.
As t he l ovel y model s gl i ded back and f or t h, t hey wer e
accompani ed by a voi ce on a l oudspeaker gi vi ng
a r unni ng comment ar y on t he f ashi ons.
An Asi an br unet t e st ar t ed down t he r unway: " . . . a sat i n
wool j acket wi t h edge t op st i t chi ng and geor get t e pant s and a
whi t e bl ouse . . . "
A sl i mbl onde undul at ed acr oss t he r unway: " . . . i s wear i ng
a bl ack cashmer e t ur t l eneck wi t h whi t e cot t on car go pant s . .
. "
A r edhead wi t h an at t i t ude appear ed: " . . . a bl ack l eat her
j acket and bl ack shant ung pant s wi t h a whi t e
kni t shi r t . . . "
A Fr ench model : " . . . a pi nk, t hr ee- but t on angor a j acket , a
pi nk cabl e- kni t t ur t l eneck and bl ack cuf f ed pant s. . . "
A Swedi sh model : " . . . a navy sat i n wool j acket and pant s
and a l i l ac char meuse bl ouse . . . "
And t hen t he moment ever yone had been wai t i ng f or . The
Swedi sh model had wal ked of f and t he
r unway was deser t ed. The voi ce over t he l oudspeaker sai d,
" And now t hat t he swi mmi ng season i s
her e, we ar e pl eased t o di spl ay our new l i ne of
beachwear . "
Ther e was a cr escendo of ant i ci pat i on, t hen Kel l y Har r i s
appear ed at t he peak of i t . She was wear i ng
a whi t e bi ki ni , a br a t hat bar el y cover ed her f i r m, young
br east s and a f i gur e- huggi ng bot t om. As she f l oat ed
sensuousl y down t he r unway, t he ef f ect was mesmer i zi ng. Ther e
was a wave of appl ause.
Kel l y gave a f ai nt smi l e of acknowl edgment , ci r cl ed t he
r unway, and di sappear ed.
Backst age, t wo men wer e wai t i ng f or her .
" Mr s. Har r i s, i f I coul d have a moment ?"
" I ' msor r y, " Kel l y sai d apol oget i cal l y. " I have t o make a
qui ck change. " She st ar t ed t o wal k away.
" Wai t ! Mr s. Har r i s! We ar e wi t h t he Pol i ce J udi ci ai r e. I
amChi ef I nspect or Dune and t hi s i s I nspect or St eunou. We
need t o t al k. "
Kel l y st opped. " The pol i ce? Tal k about what ?"
" You ar e Mr s. Mar k Har r i s, yes?"
" Yes. " She was f i l l ed wi t h sudden appr ehensi on.
" Then I amsor r y t o i nf or myou t hat t hat your husband di ed
l ast ni ght . "
Kel l y' s mout h was dr y. " My husband? How?"
" Appar ent l y, he commi t t ed sui ci de. "
Ther e was a r oar i n Kel l y' s ear s. She coul d bar el y make
out what t he chi ef i nspect or was sayi ng: " . . .
Tour Ei f f el . . . mi dni ght . . . not e . . . ver y r egr et t abl e
. . . deepest sympat hy. "
The wor ds wer e not r eal . They wer e pi eces of sound wi t h no
meani ng.
" Madame"
Thi s weekend, I want you t o get al l dr essed up, dar l i ng.
You' r e goi ng t o l ove wher e we' r e goi ng.
" Ther e i s somesome mi st ake, " Kel l y sai d. " Mar k woul dn' t "
" I amsor r y. " The chi ef i nspect or was wat chi ng Kel l y
cl osel y. " Ar e you al l r i ght , madame?"
" Yes. " Except t hat my l i f e has j ust ended.
Pi er r e bust l ed over t o Kel l y, car r yi ng a beaut i f ul st r i ped
bi ki ni . " Cher i e, you must change qui ckl y.
Ther e i s no t i me t o wast e. " He t hr ust t he bi ki ni i n her
ar ms. " Vi t e! Vi t e! "
Kel l y sl owl y l et i t dr op t o t he f l oor . " Pi er r e?"
He was l ooki ng at her i n sur pr i se. " Yes?"
" You wear i t . "
* * *
A LI MOUSI NE BROUGHT Kel l y back t o her apar t ment . The sal on
manager had want ed t o send someone t o be wi t h her , but Kel l y
had r ef used. She want ed t o be al one. Now, as she wal ked i n
t hr ough t he ent r ance, Kel l y saw t he conci er ge, Phi l i ppe
Cendr e, and a man i n over al l s, sur r ounded
by a gr oup of t enant s.
One of t he t enant s sai d, " Poor Madame Lapoi nt e. What a
t er r i bl e acci dent . "
The man i n over al l s hel d up t wo j agged ends of a heavy
cabl e. " I t was no acci dent , madame. Someone cut t he
el evat or ' s saf et y br akes. "
CHAPTER 7
AT FOUR O' CLOCK i n t he mor ni ng, Kel l y was seat ed i n a
chai r , st ar i ng out t he wi ndow i n a daze,
her mi nd r aci ng. Pol i ce J udi ci ai r e. . . we need t o t al k .
. . Tour Ei f f el . . sui ci de not e. . . Mar k i s
dead. . . Mar k i s dead. . . Mar k i s dead. The wor ds became
a di r ge pul si ng t hr ough Kel l y' s br ai n.
She coul d see Mar k' s body t umbl i ng down, down, down. . . .
She put her ar ms out t o cat ch hi mj ust bef or e he smashed
agai nst t he si dewal k. Di d you di e because of me? Was i t
somet hi ng I di d?
Somet hi ng I di dn' t do? Somet hi ng I sai d? Somet hi ng I
di dn' t say? I was asl eep when you l ef t ,
dar l i ng, and I di dn' t have a chance t o say good- bye, t o
ki ss you and t el l you how much I l ove you.
I need you. I can' t st and i t wi t hout you, Kel l y t hought .
Hel p me, Mar k. Hel p met he way you al ways hel ped me. . . .
She sl umped back, r emember i ng how i t had been bef or e Mar k, i n
t he awf ul ear l y days.
* * *
KELLY HAD BEEN bor n i n Phi l adel phi a, t he i l l egi t i mat e
daught er of Et hel Hackwor t h, a bl ack mai d who wor ked f or one
of t he t own' s most pr omi nent whi t e f ami l i es. The f at her of
t he f ami l y was a j udge. Et hel was sevent een and beaut i f ul ,
and Pet e, t he handsome, bl ond, t went y- year - ol d son of t he
Tur ner f ami l y, had been at t r act ed t o her . He had seduced her ,
and a mont h l at er Et hel l ear ned she was pr egnant .
When she t ol d Pet e, he sai d, " That ' st hat ' s wonder f ul . "
And he r ushed i nt o hi s f at her ' s den t o t el l hi mt he bad news.
J udge Tur ner cal l ed Et hel i nt o hi s den t he next mor ni ng
and sai d, " I won' t have a whor e wor ki ng i n t hi s house. You' r e
f i r ed. "
Wi t h no money and no educat i on or ski l l s, Et hel had t aken
a j ob as a cl eani ng l ady i n an i ndust r i al bui l di ng, wor ki ng
l ong hour s t o suppor t her newbor n daught er . I n f i ve year s,
Et hel had saved enough money t o buy a r un- down cl apboar d
house t hat she t ur ned i nt o a boar di nghouse f or men. Et hel
conver t ed t he r ooms i nt o a l i vi ng r oom, a di ni ng r oom,
f our smal l bedr ooms, and a nar r ow l i t t l e ut i l i t y r oomt hat
Kel l y sl ept i n.
Fr omt hat t i me on, a ser i es of men const ant l y ar r i ved and
l ef t .
" These ar e your uncl es, " Et hel t ol d her . " Don' t bot her
t hem. "
Kel l y was pl eased t hat she had such a l ar ge f ami l y unt i l
she became ol d enough t o r eal i ze t hat t hey
wer e al l st r anger s.
When Kel l y was ei ght year s ol d, she was asl eep one ni ght
i n her smal l , dar kened bedr oomwhen she
was awakened by a gut t ur al whi sper : " Shhh! Don' t make a
sound. "
Kel l y f el t her ni ght gown bei ng l i f t ed, and bef or e she
coul d pr ot est , one of her " uncl es" was on t op of her and hi s
hand was over her mout h. Kel l y coul d f eel hi mf or ci bl y
spr eadi ng her l egs. She t r i ed t o st r uggl e, but he hel d her
down. She f el t hi s member t ear i ng i nsi de her body, and she
was f i l l ed wi t h excr uci at i ng pai n. He was mer ci l ess, f or ci ng
hi msel f i nsi de her , goi ng deeper and deeper , r ubbi ng her ski n
r aw. Kel l y coul d f eel her war mbl ood gushi ng out . She was
si l ent l y scr eami ng, af r ai d she woul d f ai nt . She was t r apped
i n t he t er r i f yi ng bl ackness of her r oom.
Fi nal l y, af t er what seemed l i ke an et er ni t y, she f el t hi m
shudder and t hen wi t hdr aw.
He whi sper ed, " I ' ml eavi ng. But i f you ever t el l your
mot her about t hi s, I ' l l come back and ki l l her . "
And he was gone.
The next week was al most unbear abl e. She was i n mi ser y al l
t he t i me, but she t r eat ed her l acer at ed
body as best she coul d unt i l f i nal l y t he pai n subsi ded.
She want ed t o t el l her mot her what had happened, but she di d
not dar e. I f you ever t el l your mot her about t hi s, I ' l l come
back and ki l l her .
The i nci dent had l ast ed onl y a f ew mi nut es, but t hose f ew
mi nut es al t er ed Kel l y' s l i f e. She changed
f r oma young gi r l who had dr eamed of havi ng a husband and
chi l dr en t o someone who f el t t hat she
was t ar ni shed and di sgr aced. She r esol ved t hat she woul d
never l et a man t ouch her agai n. Somet hi ng
el se had changed i n Kel l y.
Fr omt hat ni ght on, she was af r ai d of t he dar k.
CHAPTER 8
WHEN KELLY TURNED t en, Et hel put her t o wor k hel pi ng
ar ound t he boar di nghouse. Kel l y r ose
at f i ve ever y mor ni ng t o cl ean t he t oi l et s, scr ub t he
ki t chen f l oor , and hel p pr epar e br eakf ast f or t he boar der s.
Af t er school she di d t he l aundr y, mopped t he f l oor , dust ed,
and assi st ed wi t h di nner . Her
l i f e became a dr eadf ul , t edi ous r out i ne.
She was eager t o hel p her mot her , hopi ng f or a wor d of
pr ai se. I t never came. Her mot her was t oo pr eoccupi ed wi t h
t he boar der s t o pay any at t ent i on t o her daught er .
When Kel l y was ver y young, a ki nd boar der had r ead t o her
t he st or y Al i ce' s Advent ur es i n
Wonder l and, and Kel l y was f asci nat ed by t he way Al i ce
escaped i nt o a magi c r abbi t hol e. That ' s
what I need, Kel l y t hought , a way t o escape. I can' t spend
t he r est of my days scr ubbi ng t oi l et s
and moppi ng f l oor s and cl eani ng up af t er messy st r anger s.
And one day Kel l y f ound her magi c r abbi t hol e. I t was her
i magi nat i on, whi ch woul d t ake her
anywher e she want ed t o go. She r ewr ot e her l i f e. . .
She had a f at her , and her mot her and f at her wer e t he same
col or . They never got angr y and yel l ed
at her . They al l l i ved i n a beaut i f ul home. Her mot her and
f at her l oved her . Her mot her and f at her
l oved her . Her mot her and f at her l oved her . . . .
* * *
WHEN KELLY WAS f our t een, her mot her mar r i ed one of t he
boar der s, a bar t ender named Dan
Ber ke, a sur l y, mi ddl e- aged man who was negat i ve about
ever yt hi ng. Kel l y coul d do not hi ng t o
pl ease hi m.
" The di nner i s l ousy. . . . "
" That dr ess i s t he wr ong col or f or you. . . . "
" The shade i n t he bedr oomi s st i l l br oken. I t ol d you t o
f i x i t . . . . "
" You haven' t f i ni shed cl eani ng t he bat hr ooms. . . . "
Kel l y' s st epf at her had a dr i nki ng pr obl em. The wal l
bet ween Kel l y' s bedr oomand her mot her and st epf at her ' s
bedr oomwas t hi n, and ni ght af t er ni ght , Kel l y coul d hear t he
sounds of bl ows and scr eams. I n t he mor ni ng, Et hel woul d
appear wear i ng heavy makeup t hat f ai l ed t o cover br ui ses and
bl ack eyes.
Kel l y was devast at ed. We shoul d get out of her e, she
t hought . My mot her and I l ove each ot her .
One ni ght , when Kel l y was hal f asl eep, she hear d l oud
voi ces f r omt he next r oom. " Why di dn' t you
get r i d of t he ki d bef or e she was bor n?"
" I t r i ed t o, Dan. I t di dn' t wor k. "
Kel l y f el t as t hough she had been ki cked i n t he gut . Her
mot her had never want ed her . No one want ed her .
* * *
KELLY FOUND ANOTHER escape f r omt he unendi ng dr ear i ness of
her l i f e: t he wor l d of books. She became an i nsat i abl e r eader
and spent as much of her spar e t i me as she coul d at t he
publ i c l i br ar y.
At t he end of t he week, t her e was never any money l ef t f or
Kel l y, so she got a j ob as a babysi t t er , envyi ng t he happy
f ami l i es she woul d never have.
* * *
AT SEVENTEEN, KELLY was devel opi ng i nt o t he beaut y her
mot her had once been. The boys at
school began aski ng her f or dat es. She was r epel l ed. She
t ur ned t hemal l down.
Sat ur days, when t her e was no school and Kel l y' s chor es
wer e f i ni shed, she woul d hur r y t o t he publ i c l i br ar y and
spend t he af t er noon r eadi ng.
Li sa Mar i e Houst on, t he l i br ar i an, was an i nt el l i gent ,
sympat het i c woman wi t h a qui et , f r i endl y manner and whose
cl ot hes wer e as unpr et ent i ous as her per sonal i t y. Seei ng
Kel l y i n t he l i br ar y so of t en,
Mr s. Houst on became cur i ous.
One day she sai d, " I t ' s ni ce t o see a young per son
enj oyi ng r eadi ng so much. You spend a l ot of t i me her e. "
I t was t he openi ng gambi t of a f r i endshi p. As t he weeks
went by, Kel l y pour ed out her f ear s and hopes and dr eams t o
t he l i br ar i an.
" What woul d you l i ke t o do wi t h your l i f e, Kel l y?"
" Be a t eacher . "
" I t hi nk you' d make a wonder f ul t eacher . That ' s t he most
r ewar di ng pr of essi on i n t he wor l d. "
Kel l y st ar t ed t o speak, t hen st opped. She was r emember i ng
a br eakf ast conver sat i on wi t h her mot her
and st epf at her a week ear l i er . Kel l y had sai d, I need t o
go t o col l ege. I want t o be a t eacher .
A t eacher ? Ber ke had l aughed. That ' s a dumb- ass i dea.
Teacher s make zi p. Do you hear me? Zi p.
You can make mor e sweepi ng f l oor s. Anyway, your ol d l ady
and I don' t have money t o send you
t o col l ege.
But I ' ve been of f er ed a schol ar shi p and
So what ? You' l l spend f our year s wast i ng your t i me. For get
i t . Wi t h your l ooks, you coul d pr obabl y peddl e your ass.
Kel l y had l ef t t he t abl e.
Now she sai d t o Mr s. Houst on, " Ther e' s a pr obl em. They
won' t l et me go t o col l ege. " Her voi ce
was choked. " I ' l l spend t he r est of my l i f e doi ng what I ' m
doi ng! "
" Of cour se you won' t . " Mr s. Houst on' s t one was f i r m. " How
ol d ar e you?"
" I n t hr ee mont hs I ' l l be ei ght een. "
" You' l l soon be ol d enough t o make your own deci si ons.
You' r e a beaut i f ul young woman, Kel l y.
Do you know t hat ?"
" No. Not r eal l y. " How can I t el l her t hat I f eel l i ke a
f r eak? I don' t f eel beaut i f ul . " I hat e my l i f e,
Mr s. Houst on. I don' t want t o be l i keI want t o get away
f r omt hi s t own. I want somet hi ng
di f f er ent , and I ' l l never have i t . " She was t r yi ng har d t o
cont r ol her emot i ons. " I ' l l never have a
chance t o do somet hi ng, t o be somebody. "
" Kel l y"
" I never shoul d have r ead al l t hose books. " Her voi ce was
bi t t er .
" Why?"
" Because t hey' r e f i l l ed wi t h l i es. Al l t hose beaut i f ul
peopl e and gl amor ous pl aces and magi c . . . " Kel l y shook her
head. " Ther e i s no magi c. "
Mr s. Houst on st udi ed her a moment . I t was obvi ous t hat
Kel l y' s sense of sel f - wor t h had been badl y damaged. " Kel l y,
t her e i s magi c, but you have t o be t he magi ci an. You have t o
make t he magi c happen. "
' Real l y?" Kel l y' s t one was cyni cal . " How do I do t hat ?"
' Fi r st , you have t o know what your dr eams ar e. Your s ar e
t o have an exci t i ng l i f e, f i l l ed wi t h i nt er est i ng peopl e and
gl amor ous pl aces. The next t i me you come i n her e, I ' l l show
you how t o make your dr eams come t r ue. "
Li ar .
* * *
THE WEEK AFTER Kel l y gr aduat ed, she r et ur ned t o t he
l i br ar y. Mr s. Houst on sai d, " Kel l y, do you r emember what I
sai d about maki ng your own magi c?"
Kel l y sai d skept i cal l y, " Yes. "
Mr s. Houst on r eached behi nd her desk and pul l ed out a
handf ul of magazi nes: COSMOgi r l , Sevent een, Gl amour ,
Mademoi sel l e, Essence, Al l ur e . . . She handed t hemt o Kel l y.
Kel l y l ooked at t hem. " What amI supposed t o do wi t h
t hese?"
" Have you ever t hought of becomi ng a model ?"
" No. "
" Look at t hese magazi nes. Then t el l me i f t hey gi ve you
any i deas t hat mi ght br i ng magi c i nt o your l i f e. "
She means wel l , Kel l y t hought , but she doesn' t under st and.
" Thank you, Mr s. Houst on, I wi l l . "
I ' l l st ar t l ooki ng f or a j ob next week.
* * *
KELLY TOOK THE magazi nes back t o t he boar di nghouse and
shoved t hemi nt o a cor ner and f or got about t hem. She spent
t he eveni ng doi ng her chor es.
As Kel l y st ar t ed t o get i nt o bed t hat ni ght , exhaust ed,
she r emember ed t he magazi nes Mr s. Houst on
had gi ven her . She pi cked up a f ew out of cur i osi t y and
st ar t ed t o ski mt hr ough t hem. I t was anot her wor l d. The
model s wer e beaut i f ul l y dr essed, wi t h handsome, el egant men
at t hei r si des, i n London
and Par i s and exot i c pl aces al l over t he wor l d. Kel l y f el t
a sudden sense of year ni ng. She hast i l y put
on a r obe and wal ked down t he hal l t o t he bat hr oom.
She st udi ed her sel f i n t he mi r r or . She supposed t hat
per haps she was at t r act i ve. Ever yone al ways t ol d
her she was. Even i f i t ' s t r ue, I have no exper i ence. She
t hought about her f ut ur e l i f e i n Phi l adel phi a
and l ooked i n t he mi r r or agai n. Ever yone has t o st ar t
somewher e. You have t o be t he magi ci an . . .
make t he magi c happen.
* * *
EARLY THE NEXT mor ni ng, Kel l y was i n t he l i br ar y t o see
Mr s. Houst on.
Mr s. Houst on l ooked up, sur pr i sed t o see Kel l y i n t he
l i br ar y so ear l y. " Good mor ni ng, Kel l y. Have
you had a chance t o l ook at t he magazi nes?"
" Yes. " Kel l y t ook a deep br eat h. " I woul d l i ke t o t r y
bei ng a model . The pr obl emi s t hat I have no
i dea wher e t o st ar t . "
Mr s. Houst on smi l ed. " I do. I l ooked i n t he New Yor k
t el ephone di r ect or y. You sai d you want ed t o
l eave t hi s t own?" Mr s. Houst on t ook a t yped sheet of paper
f r omher pur se and handed i t t o Kel l y.
" Thi s i s a l i st of t he t op dozen model i ng agenci es i n
Manhat t an, wi t h t hei r addr esses and t el ephone number s. " She
squeezed Kel l y' s hand. " St ar t at t he t op. "
Kel l y was st unned. " I I don' t know how t o t hank"
" I ' l l t el l you how. Let me see your phot ogr aph i n t hese
magazi nes. "
At di nner t hat eveni ng, Kel l y sai d, " I ' ve deci ded t hat I ' m
goi ng t o be a model . "
Her st epf at her gr unt ed. " That ' s your st upi dest i dea yet .
What t he hel l ' s t he mat t er wi t h you?
Al l model s ar e whor es. "
Kel l y' s mot her si ghed. " Kel l y, don' t make my mi st ake. I
had f al se dr eams, t oo. They' l l ki l l you.
You' r e bl ack and poor . You' r e not goi ng anywher e. "
That was t he moment Kel l y made her deci si on.
* * *
AT FI VE O' CLOCK t he f ol l owi ng mor ni ng, Kel l y t ook a packed
sui t case f r omunder her bed and
headed f or t he bus st at i on. I n her pur se was t wo hundr ed
dol l ar s t hat she had ear ned babysi t t i ng.
The bus r i de t o Manhat t an t ook t wo hour s, and Kel l y spent
t hat t i me f ant asi zi ng about her f ut ur e.
She was goi ng t o become a pr of essi onal model . " Kel l y
Hackwor t h" di d not sound pr of essi onal .
I know what I ' l l do. I ' l l j ust use my f i r st name. She sai d
i t i n her mi nd over and over . And t hi s i s
our t op model , Kel l y.
* * *
SHE CHECKED I NTO a cheap mot el , and at ni ne o' cl ock, Kel l y
wal ked i n t he f r ont door of t he model i ng agency at t he t op of
t he l i st Mr s. Houst on had gi ven her . Kel l y had no makeup on
and
was wear i ng a wr i nkl ed dr ess, because she had no way t o
i r on her cl ot hes.
Ther e was no one at t he r ecept i on desk i n t he l obby. She
appr oached a man si t t i ng i n an of f i ce,
busi l y wr i t i ng at a desk.
" Excuse me, " Kel l y sai d.
The man gr unt ed somet hi ng wi t hout l ooki ng up.
Kel l y hesi t at ed. " I wonder ed i f you needed a model . "
" No, " t he man mut t er ed, " we' r e not hi r i ng. "
Kel l y si ghed. " Thank you, anyway. " She t ur ned t o l eave.
The man gl anced up, and hi s expr essi on changed. " Wai t !
Wai t a mi nut e. Come back her e. " He had j umped t o hi s f eet .
" My God. Wher e di d you come f r om?"
Kel l y l ooked at hi m, puzzl ed. " Phi l adel phi a. "
" I meannever mi nd. Have you ever model ed bef or e?"
" No. "
" I t doesn' t mat t er . You' l l l ear n i t her e, on t he j ob. "
Kel l y' s t hr oat was suddenl y dr y. " Does t hat mean I ' mI ' m
goi ng t o be a model ?"
He gr i nned. " I ' l l say. We have cl i ent s who wi l l go cr azy
when t hey see you. "
She coul d har dl y bel i eve i t . Thi s was one of t he bi ggest
model i ng agenci es i n t he busi ness and t hey
" My name i s Bi l l Ler ner . I r un t hi s agency. What ' s your
name?"
Thi s was t he moment Kel l y had been dr eami ng of . Thi s was
t he f i r st t i me she was goi ng t o use her
new, one- wor d pr of essi onal name. Ler ner was st ar i ng at
her . " Don' t you know your name?" Kel l y
dr ew her sel f up t o her f ul l hei ght and sai d conf i dent l y,
" Of cour se I do. Kel l y Hackwor t h. "
CHAPTER 9
THE SOUND OF t he pl ane buzzi ng l ow over head br ought a
smi l e t o Loi s Reynol ds' s l i ps. Gar y. He
was l at e. Loi s had of f er ed t o go t o t he ai r por t t o meet
hi m, but he had sai d, " Don' t bot her , si s. I ' l l
t ake a t axi . "
" But , Gar y, I ' l l be gl ad t o"
" I t wi l l be bet t er i f you st ay home and wai t f or me
t her e. "
" What ever you say, br o. "
* * *
HER BROTHER HAD al ways been t he most i mpor t ant per son i n
Loi s' s l i f e. Her gr owi ng- up year s, i n Kel owna, had been a
ni ght mar e. Fr omt he t i me Loi s was a young gi r l , she f el t t hat
t he wor l d was agai nst her : gl amour magazi nes, f ashi on model s,
f emal e movi e st ar sand j ust because she was a l i t t l e pl ump.
Wher e was i t wr i t t en t hat buxomgi r l s coul d not be j ust as
beaut i f ul as si ckl y- l ooki ng, ski nny gi r l s?
Loi s Reynol ds woul d const ant l y st udy her r ef l ect i on i n t he
mi r r or . She had l ong bl onde hai r , bl ue eyes,
del i cat e pal e f eat ur es, and what Loi s consi der ed a
pl easant l y f ul l - f i gur ed body. Men can go ar ound
wi t h t hei r beer bel l i es hangi ng over t hei r pant s and no
one says a wor d. But l et a woman put on a
f ew pounds and she' s an obj ect of scor n. What mal e mor on
had t he r i ght t o deci de t hat t he i deal
woman s f i gur e shoul d be 36- 26- 36?
For as l ong as Loi s coul d r emember , her school mat es had
mocked her behi nd her back" f at ass, " " t ubby, " " por ky. " The
wor ds hur t deepl y. But Gar y had al ways been t her e t o def end
her .
By t he t i me Loi s had gr aduat ed f r omt he Uni ver si t y of
Tor ont o, she had had enough of t he t easi ng.
I f Mr . Wonder f ul i s l ooki ng f or a r eal woman, I ' mher e.
* * *
AND ONE DAY, unexpect edl y, Mr . Wonder f ul appear ed. Hi s
name was Henr y Lawson. They met at
a chur ch soci al , and Loi s was i mmedi at el y at t r act ed t o
hi m. He was t al l , t hi n, and bl ond, wi t h a f ace
t hat seemed al ways r eady t o smi l e and a di sposi t i on t hat
mat ched i t . Hi s f at her was t he mi ni st er of t he chur ch. Loi s
spent most of her t i me at t he soci al wi t h Henr y, and whi l e
t hey wer e t al ki ng, she l ear ned
t hat he owned a successf ul nur ser y and was a nat ur e l over .
" I f you' r e not busy t omor r ow ni ght , " he sai d, " I ' d l i ke t o
t ake you t o di nner . "
Ther e was no hesi t at i on on Loi s' s par t . " Yes, t hank you. "
Henr y Lawson t ook her t o t he popul ar Sassaf r az, one of t he
f i nest r est aur ant s i n Tor ont o. The menu
was t ant al i zi ng, but Loi s or der ed a l i ght di nner because
she di d not want Henr y t o t hi nk she was a gour mand.
Henr y not i ced t hat she was eat i ng onl y a sal ad and he
sai d, That ' s not enough f or you. "
" I ' mt r yi ng t o l ose wei ght , " Loi s l i ed.
He put hi s hand over her s. " I don' t want you t o l ose
wei ght , Loi s. I l i ke you j ust t he way you ar e. "
She f el t a sudden t hr i l l . He was t he f i r st man who had
ever sai d t hat t o her .
" I ' mgoi ng t o or der you a st eak, some pot at oes, and a
Caesar sal ad, " Henr y sai d.
I t was so wonder f ul , f i nal l y, t o f i nd a man who under st ood
her appet i t e and appr oved of i t .
* * *
THE NEXT FEWweeks went by i n a del i ci ous ser i es of dat es.
At t he end of t hr ee weeks, Henr y
sai d, " I l ove you, Loi s. I want you t o be my wi f e. "
Wor ds she t hought she woul d never hear . She put her ar ms
ar ound hi mand sai d, " I l ove you, t oo,
Henr y. I want t o be your wi f e. "
* * *
THE WEDDI NG TOOK pl ace i n Henr y' s f at her ' s chur ch f i ve
days l at er . Gar y and a f ew f r i ends wer e t her e, and i t was a
beaut i f ul cer emony, of f i ci at ed by Henr y' s f at her . Loi s had
never been so happy.
" Wher e ar e you t wo goi ng t o honeymoon?" Rever end Lawson
asked.
" Lake Loui se, " Henr y sai d. " I t ' s ver y r omant i c. "
" That ' s per f ect f or a honeymoon. "
Henr y put hi s ar ms ar ound Loi s. " I expect ever y day t o be
a honeymoon f or t he r est of our l i ves. "
Loi s was ecst at i c.
* * *
I MMEDI ATELYAFTER THE weddi ng, t hey l ef t f or Lake Loui se.
I t was a spect acul ar oasi s i n
Banf f Nat i onal Par k, i n t he hear t of t he Canadi an Rocki es.
They ar r i ved i n t he l at e af t er noon wi t h t he sun spar kl i ng
over t he l ake.
Henr y t ook Loi s i n hi s ar ms. " Ar e you hungr y?"
She l ooked i nt o hi s eyes and smi l ed. " No. "
" Nei t her amI . Why don' t we get undr essed?"
" Oh, yes, dar l i ng. "
Two mi nut es l at er , t hey wer e i n bed and Henr y was maki ng
exqui si t e l ove t o her . I t was wonder f ul . Exhaust i ng.
Exhi l ar at i ng.
" Oh, dar l i ng, I l ove you so much. "
" I l ove you, t oo, Loi s, " Henr y sai d. He st ood up. " Now we
must f i ght car nal si n. "
Loi s l ooked at hi m, conf used. " What ?"
" Get on your knees. "
She l aughed. " Ar en' t you t i r ed, dar l i ng?"
" Get on your knees. "
She smi l ed. " Al l r i ght . "
She got on her knees and wat ched, puzzl ed, as Henr y t ook a
l ar ge bel t f r omhi s t r ouser s. He wal ked
up t o her , and bef or e she r eal i zed what was happeni ng, he
smashed t he bel t har d agai nst her naked but t ocks.
Loi s scr eamed and st ar t ed t o get up. " What ar e you?"
He shoved her down. " I t ol d you, dar l i ng. We must f i ght
car nal si n. " He r ai sed t he bel t and st r uck
her agai n.
" St op i t ! St op i t ! "
" St ay t her e. " Hi s voi ce was f i l l ed wi t h f er vor .
Loi s f ought t o get up, but Henr y hel d her down wi t h one
st r ong hand and sl ammed t he bel t agai nst
her agai n.
Loi s f el t as t hough her backsi de had been f l ayed. " Henr y!
My God! St op i t ! "
Fi nal l y Henr y st ood up and t ook a deep, qui ver y br eat h.
" I t ' s al l r i ght now. "
I t was di f f i cul t f or Loi s t o move. She coul d f eel t he open
sor es oozi ng. She pai nf ul l y managed t o get
t o her f eet . She coul dn' t speak. She coul d onl y st ar e i n
hor r or at her husband.
" Sex i s si nf ul . We must f i ght t empt at i on. "
She shook her head, st i l l speechl ess, st i l l not bel i evi ng
what had j ust happened.
" Thi nk of Adamand Eve, t he begi nni ng of t he downf al l of
manki nd. " He went on.
Loi s began t o weep, huge gul pi ng sobs.
" I t ' s al l r i ght now. " He t ook Loi s i n hi s ar ms. " I t ' s al l
r i ght . I l ove you. "
Loi s sai d uncer t ai nl y, " I l ove you, t oo, but "
" Don' t wor r y. We have conquer ed i t . "
Whi ch means t hat wi l l be t he l ast t i me t hat happens, Loi s
t hought . I t pr obabl y has somet hi ng t o do
wi t h hi s bei ng a mi ni st er ' s son. Thank God i t ' s over .
Henr y hel d her cl ose. " I l ove you so much. Let ' s go out t o
di nner . "
* * *
I N THE RESTAURANT, Loi s was bar el y abl e t o si t down. The
pai n was t er r i bl e, but she was t oo embar r assed t o ask f or a
pi l l ow.
" I ' l l or der , " Henr y sai d. He or der ed a sal ad f or hi msel f
and an enor mous meal f or Loi s. " You have t o keep your
st r engt h up, my dear est . "
Dur i ng di nner Loi s t hought about what had j ust happened.
Henr y was t he most wonder f ul man she
had ever known. She had been t aken aback by hi swhat was
i t , she wonder edf et i sh. Anyway,
t hat was over . She coul d l ook f or war d t o spendi ng t he r est
of her l i f e t aki ng car e of t hi s man and
bei ng t aken car e of .
When t hey had f i ni shed t hei r ent r ees, Henr y or der ed an
ext r a desser t f or Loi s and sai d, " I l i ke a l ot
of woman. "
She smi l ed. " I ' mgl ad I pl ease you. "
When di nner was over , Henr y sai d, " Shal l we go back t o t he
r oom?
" Fi ne. "
When t hey r et ur ned t o t hei r r oom, t hey undr essed and Henr y
t ook Loi s i n hi s ar ms and t he pai n
seemed t o di sappear . Hi s l ovemaki ng was sweet and gent l e
and was even mor e enj oyabl e t han bef or e.
Loi s hugged her husband and sai d, " That was wonder f ul . "
" Yes. " He nodded. " Now we must at one f or car nal si n. Get
on your knees. "
* * *
I N THE MI DDLE of t he ni ght , when Henr y was asl eep, Loi s
qui et l y packed a sui t case and f l ed. She
t ook a pl ane t o Vancouver and cal l ed Gar y. At l unch, she
t ol d hi mwhat had happened.
" I ' mf i l i ng f or di vor ce, " Loi s sai d, " but I have t o move
out of t own. "
Gar y t hought f or a moment . " I have a f r i end who owns an
i nsur ance agency, si s. I t ' s i n Denver ,
and t hat ' s f i f t een hundr ed mi l es away. "
" That woul d be per f ect . "
Gar y sai d, " I ' l l t al k t o hi m. "
* * *
TWO WEEKS LATER, Loi s was wor ki ng at t he mi dwest i nsur ance
agency i n a manager i al posi t i on.
Gar y had kept i n const ant t ouch wi t h Loi s. She had bought
a smal l , char mi ng bungal ow wi t h a vi ew of t he Rocki es i n t he
di st ance, and f r omt i me t o t i me her br ot her woul d vi si t her .
They woul d have gr eat weekends t oget her ski i ng, or f i shi ng,
or si mpl y si t t i ng on t he sof a, t al ki ng. I ' mso pr oud of you,
si s,
he' d al ways t el l her , and Loi s was pr oud of Gar y' s
accompl i shment s as wel l . He had ear ned hi s Ph. D.
i n sci ence, was wor ki ng f or an i nt er nat i onal cor por at i on,
and had t aken up f l yi ng as a hobby.
* * *
AS LOI S WAS t hi nki ng about Gar y, t her e was a knock at t he
f r ont door . She l ooked out t he wi ndow
t o see who was cal l i ng and r ecogni zed hi m. TomHuebner . He
was a t al l , r ugged- l ooki ng char t er pi l ot ,
a f r i end of Gar y' s.
Loi s opened t he door and Huebner wal ked i n.
" Hi , Tom. "
" Loi s. "
" Gar y i sn' t her e yet . I t hi nk I hear d hi s pl ane a l i t t l e
whi l e ago. He shoul d be her e any mi nut e. Woul d
you l i ke t o wai t or ?"
He was st ar i ng at her . " You haven' t been wat chi ng t he
news?"
Loi s shook her head. " No. What ' s goi ng on? I hope we' r e
not goi ng t o get i nt o anot her war and"
" Loi s, I ' maf r ai d I have some bad news. Real l y bad news. "
Hi s voi ce was t i ght . " I t ' s about Gar y. "
She st i f f ened. " What about hi m?"
" He was ki l l ed i n a pl ane cr ash on hi s way her e t o see
you. " He wat ched t he l i ght go out of her eyes.
" I ' mso sor r y. I know how much you l oved each ot her . "
Loi s t r i ed t o speak, but she was hyper vent i l at i ng.
" Howhowhow?"
TomHuebner t ook her hand and gent l y l ed her t o t he couch.
Loi s sat down and t ook deep br eat hs. " What what happened?"
" Gar y' s pl ane hi t t he si de of a mount ai n a f ew mi l es
out si de of Denver . "
Loi s f el t f ai nt . " Tom, I ' d l i ke t o be al one. "
He st udi ed her , wor r i ed. " Ar e you sur e, Loi s? I coul d st ay
and"
" Thank you, but pl ease go. "
TomHuebner st ood t her e i r r esol ut el y, t hen nodded. " You
have my number . Cal l i f you need me. "
Loi s di d not hear hi ml eave. She sat t her e i n a st at e of
shock. I t was as i f someone had t ol d her she had di ed. Her
mi nd st ar t ed f l ashi ng back t o t hei r chi l dhood. Gar y had
al ways been her pr ot ect or , f i ght i ng
boys who t eased her and, as t hey got ol der , escor t i ng her
t o basebal l games and movi es and par t i es.
The l ast t i me she had seen hi mwas a week ago, and she saw
t he scene i n her mi nd, unspool i ng l i ke
a bl ur r ed f i l mt hr ough her t ear s.
The t wo of t hemwer e seat ed at t he di ni ng r oomt abl e.
" You' r e not eat i ng, Gar y. "
" I t ' s del i ci ous, si s. I ' mnot ver y hungr y. "
She wat ched hi ma moment . " Anyt hi ng you want t o t al k
about ?"
" You al ways know, don' t you?"
" I t ' s somet hi ng t o do wi t h your wor k. "
" Yes. " He pushed hi s pl at e away. " I t hi nk my l i f e i s i n
danger . "
Loi s l ooked at hi m, st ar t l ed. " What ?"
" Si s, onl y hal f a dozen peopl e i n t he wor l d know about
what ' s happeni ng. I ' mf l yi ng back her e next Monday t o spend
t he ni ght . On Tuesday mor ni ng, I ' mheadi ng f or Washi ngt on. "
Loi s was puzzl ed. " Why Washi ngt on?"
" To t el l t hemabout Pr i ma. "
And Gar y expl ai ned i t .
* * *
NOWGARY WAS dead. I t hi nk my l i f e i s i n danger . Her
br ot her had not been ki l l ed i n an acci dent .
He had been mur der ed.
Loi s l ooked at her wat ch. I t was t oo l at e t o do anyt hi ng
now, but i n t he mor ni ng she was goi ng t o make t he phone cal l
t hat woul d avenge her br ot her ' s mur der . She was goi ng t o
f i ni sh what Gar y had pl anned
t o do. Loi s f el t suddenl y dr ai ned. I t was an ef f or t t o get
up f r omt he couch. She had had no di nner , but t he i dea of
f ood nauseat ed her .
Loi s headed f or t he bedr oomand f el l ont o t he bed, t oo
t i r ed t o undr ess. She l ay t her e, dazed, unt i l she f i nal l y
f el l asl eep.
* * *
LOI S DREAMED THAT she and Gar y wer e on a speedi ng t r ai n
and t hat al l t he passenger s i n t he r ai l r oad car wer e smoki ng.
I t was get t i ng hot , and t he smoke made her cough. Her
coughi ng woke her
up, and she opened her eyes. She l ooked ar ound i n shock.
Her bedr oomwas on f i r e, t he bl aze r aci ng
up t he cur t ai ns, t he r oomf i l l ed wi t h smoke. Loi s st umbl ed
out of bed, choki ng. Tr yi ng t o hol d her
br eat h, she st agger ed i nt o t he l i vi ng r oom. The ent i r e
r oomwas engul f ed i n f l ames. She t ook hal f a
dozen st eps t owar d t he door , f el t her l egs gi ve way, and
f el l t o t he f l oor .
The l ast t hi ng Loi s Reynol ds r emember ed was t he f l ames
hungr i l y l i cki ng t hei r way t owar d her .
CHAPTER 10
TO KELLY, EVERYTHI NG was happeni ng at a di zzyi ng pace. She
qui ckl y l ear ned about t he most i mpor t ant aspect s of model i ng:
t he agency had gi ven her t r ai ni ng cour ses i n i mage
pr oj ect i on, poi se,
and car r i age. Much of model i ng was at t i t ude, and t o Kel l y
t hat meant act i ng, because she f el t nei t her beaut i f ul nor
desi r abl e.
The phr ase " over ni ght sensat i on" coul d have been i nvent ed
f or Kel l y. She pr oj ect ed not onl y an
exci t i ng, pr ovocat i ve i mage, but al so an ai r of
unt ouchabi l i t y t hat was a chal l enge t o men. Wi t hi n t wo year s,
Kel l y had r i sen t o t he t op t i er of model s. She was
adver t i si ng pr oduct s i n a dozen count r i es.
Much of Kel l y' s t i me was spent i n Par i s, wher e some of her
agency' s most i mpor t ant cl i ent s wer e
l ocat ed.
Once, af t er a f ashi on ext r avaganza i n New Yor k, bef or e
headi ng back t o Par i s, Kel l y went t o see her mot her , who
l ooked ol der and mor e car ewor n. I ' ve got t o get her out of
her e, Kel l y t hought . I ' l l buy
a ni ce apar t ment f or her , and t ake car e of her .
Her mot her seemed pl eased t o see her . " I ' mgl ad you' r e
doi ng so wel l , Kel l y. Thanks f or your mont hl y checks. "
" You' r e wel come. Mot her , t her e' s somet hi ng I want t o t al k
t o you about . I have a pl an al l wor ked out .
I want you t o l eave"
" Wel l , l ook who' s come t o pay us a vi si t her hi ghness. "
Her st epf at her had j ust wal ked i n. " What
ar e you doi ng her e? Shoul dn' t you be st r ut t i ng ar ound i n
t hemf ancy cl ot hes?"
I ' l l have t o do t hi s anot her t i me, Kel l y t hought .
* * *
KELLY HAD ONE mor e st op t o make. She went t o t he publ i c
l i br ar y wher e she had spent so many wonder f ul hour s, and as
she wal ked t hr ough t he door , hol di ng hal f a dozen magazi nes,
her mi nd was danci ng wi t h memor i es.
Mr s. Houst on was not at her desk. Kel l y wal ked i nsi de and
saw her st andi ng i n one of t he si de ai sl es, l ooki ng r adi ant
i n a sl eek, t ai l or ed dr ess, busi l y f i l l i ng a shel f wi t h
books.
As Mr s. Houst on hear d t he door open, she sai d, " I ' l l be
wi t h you i n a moment . " She t ur ned. " Kel l y! "
I t was al most a scr eam. " Oh, Kel l y. "
They r an t o each ot her and embr aced.
Mr s. Houst on pul l ed back and l ooked at Kel l y. " I can' t
bel i eve i t ' s you. What ar e you doi ng i n t own?"
" I came t o see my mot her , but I want ed t o see you, t oo. "
" I ' mso pr oud of you. You have no i dea. "
" Mr s. Houst on, do you r emember when I asked how I coul d
t hank you? You sai d I coul d t hank you
by l et t i ng you see my pi ct ur e i n a f ashi on magazi ne.
Her e. " And Kel l y put t he pi l e of f ashi on magazi nes
i n Mr s. Houst on' s ar ms. Ther e wer e copi es of El l e,
Cosmopol i t an, Mademoi sel l e, and Vogue. She
was on t he cover of each one.
" They' r e beaut i f ul . " Mr s. Houst on was beami ng. " I want t o
show you somet hi ng. " She went behi nd
her desk and pul l ed out copi es of t he same magazi nes.
I t t ook a moment bef or e Kel l y coul d speak. " What can I
ever do t o t hank you? You changed my l i f e. "
" No, Kel l y. You changed your l i f e. Al l I di d was gi ve you
a l i t t l e push. And Kel l y"
" Yes?"
" Thanks t o you I ' ve become a f ashi on pl at e. "
* * *
SI NCE KELLY VALUED her pr i vacy, her f ame somet i mes was
t r oubl esome. The const ant bar r age
of phot ogr apher s annoyed her , and she had what amount ed t o
a phobi a of bei ng appr oached by peopl e she di d not know.
Kel l y enj oyed bei ng al one.
One day, she was havi ng l unch at Rest aur ant l e Ci nq at t he
Geor ge V Hot el , when a badl y dr essed
man passi ng by st opped t o st ar e at her . He had t he pal l i d,
unheal t hy compl exi on of someone who
spent al l hi s t i me i ndoor s. He was car r yi ng a copy of
El l e, opened t o a page of phot ogr aphs of Kel l y.
" Excuse me, " t he st r anger sai d.
Kel l y l ooked up, annoyed. " Yes?"
" I saw your I r ead t hi s ar t i cl e about you, and i t says
t hat you wer e bor n i n Phi l adel phi a. " Hi s voi ce
gr ew ent husi ast i c. " I was bor n t her e, t oo, and when I saw
your pi ct ur es, I f el t l i ke I knew you and"
Kel l y sai d col dl y, " You don' t , and I don' t l i ke st r ange
men bot her i ng me. "
" Oh, I ' msor r y. " He swal l owed. " I di dn' t mean t oI ' mnot
st r ange. I meanmy name i s Mar k Har r i s, and I wor k f or
Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup. When I saw you her e, I I
t hought maybe you di dn' t l i ke havi ng l unch al one and t hat you
and I coul d"
Kel l y gave hi ma scat hi ng l ook. " You t hought wr ong. Now
I ' d l i ke you t o l eave. "
He was st ammer i ng. " I I di dn' t mean t o i nt r ude. I t ' s j ust
t hat I " He saw t he l ook on her f ace.
" I ' mgoi ng. "
Kel l y wat ched hi mwal k out t he door , car r yi ng t he magazi ne
wi t h hi m. Good r i ddance.
* * *
KELLY HAD SI GNED t o do a week of l ayout s f or sever al
f ashi on magazi nes. The day af t er her encount er wi t h Mar k
Har r i s, she was i n t he model s' dr essi ng r oom, get t i ng
dr essed, when t hr ee
dozen r oses ar r i ved f or her . The car d r ead: Pl ease f or gi ve
me f or bot her i ng you. Mar k Har r i s.
Kel l y r i pped up t he car d. " Send t he f l ower s t o t he
chi l dr en' s hospi t al . "
The next mor ni ng t he war dr obe mi st r ess came i nt o t he
dr essi ng r oomagai n, wi t h a package.
" Some man l ef t t hi s f or you, Kel l y. "
I n i t was a si ngl e or chi d. The car d r ead: I hope I ' m
f or gi ven. Mar k Har r i s.
Kel l y t or e up t he car d. " Keep t he f l ower . "
* * *
AFTER THAT, MARK Har r i s' s gi f t s came al most dai l y: a smal l
basket of f r ui t , a mood r i ng, a t oy
Sant a Cl aus. Kel l y t hr ew t hemal l i nt o a wast ebasket . The
next gi f t t hat ar r i ved was di f f er ent : i t was
an ador abl e Fr ench poodl e puppy wi t h a r ed r i bbon ar ound
i t s neck wi t h a car d: Thi s i s " Angel . "
I hope you' l l l ove her as much as I do. Mar k Har r i s.
Kel l y di al ed I nf or mat i on and got t he number of Ki ngsl ey
I nt er nat i onal Gr oup. When t hei r oper at or answer ed, Kel l y
asked, " Do you have a Mar k Har r i s wor ki ng t her e?"
" Oui , mademoi sel l e. "
" Coul d I speak wi t h hi m, pl ease?"
" Un moment . "
A mi nut e l at er Kel l y hear d hi s f ami l i ar voi ce. " Hel l o?"
" Mr . Har r i s?"
" Yes. "
" Thi s i s Kel l y. I ' ve deci ded t o t ake you up on your
i nvi t at i on t o l unch. "
Ther e was a st unned si l ence, t hen, " Real l y? That ' st hat ' s
wonder f ul . "
Kel l y coul d hear t he exci t ement i n hi s voi ce.
" Laur ent t oday, at one?"
" That wi l l be gr eat . Thank you so much. I "
" I ' l l make t he r eser vat i on. Good- bye. "
* * *
MARK HARRI S WAS st andi ng, wai t i ng at a t abl e at Laur ent ,
when Kel l y st r ode i n, car r yi ng t he puppy.
Mar k' s f ace l i t up. " Youyou came. I wasn' t sur e t hat and
you br ought Angel . "
" Yes. " Kel l y pl ant ed t he dog i n Mar k' s ar ms. " She can j oi n
you f or l unch, " she sai d i ci l y, and t ur ned t o l eave.
Mar k sai d, " I don' t under st and. I t hought "
" Wel l , I ' mgoi ng t o expl ai n i t f or you f or t he l ast t i me, "
Kel l y snapped. " I want you t o st op annoyi ng
me. Do you under st and t hat ?"
Mar k Har r i s' s f ace t ur ned a br i ght r ed. " Yes. Yes, of
cour se. I ' msor r y. I di dn' t I di dn' t mean t o
I j ust t hought I don' t know what t o . . . I ' d l i ke t o
expl ai n. Woul d you si t down j ust f or a moment ?"
Kel l y st ar t ed t o say no, t hen sat , a l ook of cont empt on
her f ace. Yes?
Mar k Har r i s t ook a deep br eat h. " I ' mr eal l y so sor r y. I
di dn' t mean t o annoy you. I sent you t hose
t hi ngs t o apol ogi ze f or i nt r udi ng. Al l I want ed was a
chance t owhen I saw your pi ct ur e, I f el t as
t hough I had known you al l my l i f e. And t hen when I saw
you i n per son and you wer e even mor e"
He was st ammer i ng, mor t i f i ed. " I I shoul d have known t hat
someone l i ke you coul d never be
i nt er est ed i n someone l i ke . . . I I act ed l i ke a st upi d
school boy. I ' mso embar r assed. I t ' s j ust t hat I
I di dn' t know how t o t el l you how I f el t , and . . . " Hi s
voi ce t r ai l ed of f . Ther e was a naked vul ner abi l i t y about hi m.
" I ' mj ust not good at . . . at expl ai ni ng my f eel i ngs. I ' ve been
al one al l my l i f e. No one ever . . . when I was si x year s
ol d, my par ent s got a di vor ce, and t her e was a cust ody
bat t l e. Nei t her one of
t hemwant ed me. "
Kel l y was wat chi ng hi m, si l ent . Hi s wor ds wer e r esonat i ng
i n her mi nd, br i ngi ng back l ong- bur i ed memor i es.
Why di dn' t you get r i d of t he ki d bef or e she was bor n?
I t r i ed t o. I t di dn' t wor k.
He went on. " I gr ew up i n hal f a dozen di f f er ent f ost er
homes, wher e nobody car ed. . . . "
These ar e your uncl es. Don' t bot her t hem.
" I t seems I coul dn' t do anyt hi ng r i ght . . . . "
The di nner i s l ousy. . . . That dr ess i s t he wr ong col or
f or you. . . . You haven' t f i ni shed cl eani ng
t he bat hr ooms. . . .
" They want ed me t o qui t school t o wor k at a gar age, but
I I want ed t o be a sci ent i st . They sai d
I was t oo dumb. . . . "
Kel l y was becomi ng mor e and mor e engr ossed i n what he was
sayi ng.
I want t o be a model .
Al l model s ar e whor es. . . .
" I dr eamed of goi ng t o col l ege, but t hey sai d wi t h t he
ki nd of wor k I woul d be doi ng, I I di dn' t
need an educat i on. "
What t he hel l do you need t o go t o school f or ? Wi t h your
l ooks, you coul d peddl e your ass. . . .
" When I got a schol ar shi p t o MI T, my f ost er par ent s sai d I
woul d pr obabl y f l unk out , and shoul d
go t o wor k at t he gar age. . . . "
Col l ege? You' l l wast e f our year s of your l i f e. . . .
Li st eni ng t o t hi s st r anger was l i ke hear i ng a r epl ay of
her own l i f e.
Kel l y sat t her e, deepl y t ouched, f eel i ng t he same pai nf ul
emot i ons as t he st r anger seat ed acr oss f r omher .
" When I f i ni shed MI T, I went t o wor k f or a br anch of
Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup i n Par i s. But I was
so l onel y. " Ther e was a l ong pause. " Somewher e, a l ong
t i me ago, I r ead t hat t he gr eat est t hi ng i n l i f e
was t o f i nd someone t o l ove, who l oved you . . . and I
bel i eved i t . " Kel l y sat t her e, qui et . Mar k Har r i s sai d
awkwar dl y, " But I never f ound t hat per son and I was r eady t o
gi ve up. And t hen t hat day I saw
you . . . " He coul d not go on.
He st ood up, hol di ng Angel i n hi s ar ms. " I ' mso ashamed
about al l t hi s. I pr omi se never t o bot her you agai n.
Good- bye. "
Kel l y wat ched hi mst ar t t o wal k away. " Wher e ar e you goi ng
wi t h my dog?" she cal l ed.
Mar k Har r i s t ur ned, conf used. " I ' msor r y?"
" Angel i s mi ne. You gave her t o me, di dn' t you?"
Mar k st ood t her e, nonpl ussed. " Yes, but you sai d"
" I ' l l make a deal wi t h you, Mr . Har r i s. I ' l l keep Angel ,
but you can have vi si t i ng r i ght s. "
I t t ook hi ma moment and t hen hi s smi l e l i t up t he r oom.
" You mean I canyou' l l l et me?"
Kel l y sai d, " Why don' t we di scuss i t at di nner t oni ght ?"
And Kel l y had no i dea t hat she had j ust set her sel f up as
a t ar get f or assassi nat i on.
CHAPTER 11
Par i s, Fr ance
REUI LLY POLI CE Headquar t er s on Henar d St r eet , i n t he
Twel f t h Ar r ondi ssement i n Par i s, an i nt er r ogat i on was t aki ng
pl ace. The super i nt endent of t he Ei f f el Tower was bei ng
quest i oned by Det ect i ves Andr e Bel mondo and Pi er r e Mar ai s.
TOUR EI FFEL SUI CI DE I NVESTI GATI ON
Monday, May 6
10 a. m.
Subj ect : Rend Pascal
* * *
BELMONDO: Monsi eur Pascal , we have r eason t o bel i eve t hat
Mar k Har r i s, t he man who supposedl y f el l f r omt he obser vat i on
deck of t he Ei f f el Tower , was mur der ed.
PASCAL: Mur der ed? But I was t ol d i t was an acci dent and
MARAI S: He coul d not possi bl y have f al l en over t hat
par apet by acci dent . I t i s much t oo hi gh.
BELMONDO: And we have est abl i shed t hat t he vi ct i mwas not
sui ci dal . I n f act , he had made
el abor at e pl ans wi t h hi s wi f e f or t he weekend. She' s
Kel l yt he model .
PASCAL: I ' msor r y, gent l emen, but I don' t see what
t hat why was I br ought her e?
MARAI S: To hel p us cl ar i f y a f ew mat t er s. What t i me di d
t he r est aur ant cl ose t hat ni ght ?
PASCAL: At t en o' cl ock. Because of t he st or m, t he J ul es
Ver ne was empt y, so I deci ded t o
MARAI S: What t i me di d t he el evat or s shut down?
PASCAL: They usual l y r un unt i l mi dni ght , but on t hat
ni ght , si nce t her e wer e no si ght seer s or di ner s,
I cl osed t hemdown at t en p. m.
BELMONDO: I ncl udi ng t he el evat or t hat goes t o t he
obser vat i on deck? Pascal - . Yes. Al l of t hem.
MARAI S: I s i t possi bl e f or someone t o get t o t he
obser vat i on deck wi t hout usi ng t he el evat or ?
PASCAL: No. On t hat ni ght ever yt hi ng was cl osed of f . I
don' t under st and what t hi s i s al l about . I f
BELMONDO: I wi l l t el l you what i t i s al l about . Monsi eur
Har r i s was t hr own f r omt he obser vat i on
deck. We know i t was t he obser vat i on deck because when we
exami ned t he par apet , t he t op had
been scr aped, and t he cement embedded i n t he sol es of hi s
shoes wer e f l akes t hat mat ched t he scr aped cement on t he
par apet . I f t he f l oor was l ocked of f , and t he el evat or s wer e
not wor ki ng, how di d he get
up t her e at mi dni ght ?
PASCAL: I don' t know. Wi t hout an el evat or , i t woul d bei t
woul d be i mpossi bl e.
MARAI S: But an el evat or was used t o t ake Monsi eur Har r i s
up t o t he obser vat i on t ower , and t o t ake
up hi s assassi nor assassi nsand br i ng t hemdown agai n.
BELMONDO: Coul d a st r anger r un t he el evat or s?
PASCAL: No. The oper at or s never l eave t hemwhen t hey ar e
on dut y, and at ni ght t he el evat or s ar e l ocked down wi t h a
speci al key.
MARAI S: How many keys ar e t her e?
PASCAL: Thr ee. I have one, and t he ot her t wo ar e kept
her e.
BELMONDO: You ar e cer t ai n t hat t he l ast el evat or was shut
down at t en o' cl ock?
PASCAL: Yes.
MARAI S: Who was r unni ng i t ?
PASCAL: Tot h. Ger ar d Tot h.
MARAI S: I woul d l i ke t o speak wi t h hi m.
PASCAL: So woul d I .
MARAI S: I beg your par don?
PASCAL: Tot h has not shown up f or wor k si nce t hat ni ght . I
cal l ed hi s apar t ment . Ther e was no
answer . I got hol d of hi s l andl or d. Tot h has moved out .
MARAI S: And l ef t no f or war di ng addr ess?
PASCAL: That ' s r i ght . He' s vani shed i nt o t hi n ai r .
* * *
" ' VANI SHED I NTO THI N ai r ' ? Ar e we t al ki ng about t he Gr eat
Houdi ni or a damned el evat or
oper at or ?"
The speaker was Secr et ar y Gener al Cl aude Renaud, i n char ge
of I nt er pol Headquar t er s. Renaud was
a shor t , dynami c man i n hi s f i f t i es, who had wor ked hi s
way up t he pol i ce hi er ar chy over a per i od of t went y year s.
Renaud was chai r i ng a meet i ng i n t he mai n conf er ence r oom
at t he seven- st or y I nt er pol Headquar t er s,
t he i nt er nat i onal pol i ce or gani zat i on t hat i s t he
cl ear i nghouse of i nf or mat i on f or 126 pol i ce f or ces i n 78
count r i es. The bui l di ng was l ocat ed i n Sai nt - Cl oud, si x mi l es
west of Par i s, and t he headquar t er s was manned by f or mer
det ect i ves f r omt he Sur et e Nat i onal e, and t he Par i s
Pr ef ect ur e.
Ther e wer e t wel ve men seat ed at t he l ar ge conf er ence
t abl e. They had been quest i oni ng Det ect i ve Bel mondo f or t he
past hour .
Secr et ar y Gener al Renaud sai d sour l y, " So you and
Det ect i ve Mar ai s wer e unabl e t o get any i nf or mat i on about how
a man was mur der ed i n an ar ea i t woul d be i mpossi bl e f or hi m
t o be i n, i n t he f i r st pl ace, and i mpossi bl e f or hi s
assassi ns t o get t o or escape f r om? I s t hat what you' r e
t el l i ng me?"
" Mar ai s and I t al ked t o ever yone who"
" Never mi nd. You may go. " Yes, si r .
They wat ched t he chast ened det ect i ve wal k out of t he r oom.
Secr et ar y Gener al Renaud t ur ned t o t he gr oup. " Dur i ng your
i nvest i gat i ons, have any one of you come acr oss a man named
Pr i ma?"
They wer e t hought f ul a moment and t hen shook t hei r heads.
" No. Who i s Pr i ma?"
" We don' t know. Hi s name was scr i bbl ed on a not e f ound i n
t he j acket pocket of a dead man i n New Yor k. We t hi nk t her e' s
a connect i on. " He si ghed. " Gent l emen, we have a r i ddl e
wr apped i n a myst er y i nsi de an eni gma. I n t he f i f t een year s I
have been i n t hi s of f i ce, we have i nvest i gat ed ser i al
ki l l er s, i nt er nat i onal gangs, mayhem, pat r i ci de, and ever y
ot her cr i me i magi nabl e. " He paused. " But i n al l t hose year s,
I have never come acr oss anyt hi ng l i ke t hi s. I amsendi ng a
NOTI CE t o t he New Yor k of f i ce. . . . "
* * *
FRANK BI GLEY, CHI EF of Manhat t an det ect i ves, was r eadi ng
t he f i l e Secr et ar y Gener al Renaud
had sent when Ear l Gr eenbur g and Rober t Pr aegi t zer ent er ed
hi s of f i ce.
" You want ed t o see us, Chi ef ?"
" Yes. Si t down. "
They each t ook a chai r .
Chi ef Bi gl ey hel d up t he paper . " Thi s i s a NOTI CE t hat
I nt er pol sent t hi s mor ni ng. " He st ar t ed r eadi ng. " Si x year s
ago, a J apanese sci ent i st named Aki r a I so commi t t ed sui ci de,
hangi ng hi msel f i n hi s hot el
r oomi n Tokyo. Mr . I so was i n per f ect heal t h, had j ust
r ecei ved a pr omot i on, and was r epor t ed t o be
i n hi gh spi r i t s. "
" J apan? What does t hat have t o do wi t h?"
" Let me go on. Thr ee year s ago, Madel ei ne Smi t h, a
t hi r t y- t wo- year - ol d Swi ss sci ent i st , t ur ned on t he
gas i n her Zur i ch apar t ment and commi t t ed sui ci de. She was
pr egnant and about t o mar r y t he f at her of her baby. Fr i ends
sai d t hey' d never seen her happi er . " He l ooked up at t he t wo
det ect i ves. " I n t he past t hr ee days: a Ber l i ner named Sonj a
Ver br ugge dr owned her sel f i n her bat ht ub. The same ni ght Mar k
Har r i s, an Amer i can, di d a swan di ve of f t he obser vat i on deck
of t he Ei f f el Tower . A day l at er , a Canadi an named Gar y
Reynol ds cr ashed hi s Cessna i nt o a mount ai n near Denver . "
Gr eenbur g and Pr aegi t zer wer e l i st eni ng, mor e and mor e
puzzl ed.
" And yest er day, you t wo f ound t he body of Ri char d St evens
on t he bank of t he East Ri ver . "
Ear l Gr eenbur g was l ooki ng at hi m, per pl exed. " What do al l
t hese cases have t o do wi t h us?"
Chi ef Bi gl ey sai d qui et l y, " They' r e al l t he same case. "
Gr eenbur g was st ar i ng at hi m. " What ? Let me see i f I have
t hi s r i ght . A J apanese si x year s ago, a
Swi ss t hr ee year s ago, and i n t he past f ew days a Ger man,
a Canadi an, and t wo Amer i cans. " He was si l ent f or a moment .
" What connect s t hese cases?"
Chi ef Bi gl ey handed Gr eenbur g t he NOTI CE f r omI nt er pol . As
Gr eenbur g r ead i t , hi s eyes wi dened.
He l ooked up and sai d sl owl y, " I nt er pol bel i eves t hat a
t hi nk t ank, Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup, i s
behi nd t hese mur der s? That ' s r i di cul ous. "
Pr aegi t zer sai d, " Chi ef , we' r e t al ki ng about t he bi ggest
t hi nk t ank i n t he wor l d. "
" Al l t hose peopl e wer e mur der ed, and each one had a
connect i on wi t h KI G. The company i s owned and r un by Tanner
Ki ngsl ey. He' s t he pr esi dent and CEO of Ki ngsl ey
I nt er nat i onal Gr oup, chai r man of t he Pr esi dent i al Sci ence
Commi t t ee, head of t he Nat i onal Advanced Pl anni ng I nst i t ut e,
and on t he Def ense Pol i cy Boar d at t he Pent agon. I t hi nk you
and Gr eenbur g had bet t er have a t al k wi t h Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Ear l Gr eenbur g swal l owed. " Ri ght . "
" And Ear l . . . "
" Yes. "
" Wal k sof t l y and car r y a smal l st i ck. "
* * *
FI VE MI NUTES LATER, Ear l Gr eenbur g was t al ki ng t o Tanner
Ki ngsl ey' s secr et ar y. When he had f i ni shed, he t ur ned t o
Pr aegi t zer .
" We have an appoi nt ment Tuesday at t en a. m. Ri ght now Mr .
Ki ngsl ey i s appear i ng at a congr essi onal commi t t ee hear i ng i n
Washi ngt on. "
* * *
AT THE HEARI NG bef or e t he Senat e Sel ect Commi t t ee on t he
Envi r onment , i n Washi ngt on, D. C. ,
a panel of si x Senat e commi t t ee member s and t hr ee dozen
spect at or s and r epor t er s wer e l i st eni ng at t ent i vel y t o t he
t est i mony of Tanner Ki ngsl ey.
Tanner Ki ngsl ey was i n hi s f or t i es, t al l and handsome,
wi t h st eel y bl ue eyes t hat bl azed wi t h
i nt el l i gence. He had a Roman nose, a st r ong chi n, and a
pr of i l e t hat coul d have gr aced a coi n.
The commi t t ee head, seni or senat or Paul i ne Mar y Van Luven,
was an i mposi ng f i gur e wi t h an al most aggr essi ve
sel f - conf i dence. She l ooked at Tanner and sai d cr i spl y, " You
may cont i nue, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Tanner nodded. " Thank you, Senat or . " He t ur ned t o t he
ot her member s of t he commi t t ee, and when
he spoke, hi s voi ce was i mpassi oned. " Whi l e some of our
pol i t i ci ans i n t he gover nment ar e st i l l
qui bbl i ng about t he consequences of gl obal war mi ng and t he
gr eenhouse ef f ect , t he hol e i n t he ozone l ayer i s r api dl y
gr owi ng. Because of t hat , hal f t he wor l d i s suf f er i ng
dr ought s and t he ot her hal f f l oods.
I n t he Ross Sea, an i ceber g t he si ze of J amai ca has j ust
col l apsed because of gl obal war mi ng. The
ozone hol e over t he Sout h Pol e has r eached t he r ecor d si ze
of t en mi l l i on squar e mi l es. " He paused
f or ef f ect and r epeat ed sl owl y, " Ten mi l l i on squar e mi l es.
" We' r e wi t nessi ng a r ecor d number of hur r i canes, cycl ones,
t yphoons, and st or ms t hat ar e r avagi ng
par t s of Eur ope. Due t o t he r adi cal changes i n t he
weat her , mi l l i ons of peopl e i n count r i es ar ound t he wor l d ar e
f aci ng st ar vat i on and ext i nct i on. But t hose ar e j ust wor ds:
st ar vat i on and ext i nct i on. St op t hi nki ng of t hemas wor ds.
Thi nk of t hei r meani ngmen, women, and chi l dr en, hungr y and
homel ess and f aci ng deat h.
" Thi s past summer , mor e t han t went y t housand peopl e di ed
i n a heat wave i n Eur ope. " Tanner ' s
voi ce r ose. " And what have we done about i t ? Our
gover nment has r ef used t o r at i f y t he Kyot o
Pr ot ocol dr awn up at t he gl obal envi r onment al summi t . The
message i s t hat we don' t gi ve a damn
what happens t o t he r est of t he wor l d. We' l l j ust go ahead
and do what sui t s us. Ar e we so dense,
so sel f - absor bed t hat we can' t see what we' r e doi ng t o?"
Senat or Van Luven i nt er r upt ed. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, t hi s i s not
a debat e. I wi l l ask you t o adopt a mor e moder at e t one. "
Tanner t ook a deep br eat h and nodded. I n a l ess
i mpassi oned t one, he cont i nued. " As al l of us ar e
awar e, t he gr eenhouse ef f ect i s caused by t he bur ni ng of
f ossi l f uel s and ot her r el at ed f act or s
compl et el y under our cont r ol , and yet t hose emi ssi ons have
r eached t hei r hi ghest poi nt i n hal f a
mi l l i on year s. They' r e pol l ut i ng t he ai r t hat our chi l dr en
and gr andchi l dr en br eat he. The pol l ut i on can
be st opped. And why i sn' t i t ? Because i t woul d cost bi g
busi ness money. " Hi s voi ce r ose agai n.
" Money! How much i s a br eat h of f r esh ai r wor t h compar ed
t o t he l i f e of a human bei ng? A gal l on of gas? Two gal l ons of
gas?" Hi s voi ce became even mor e f er vent . " As f ar as we know,
t hi s Ear t h i s t he onl y pl ace t hat ' s habi t abl e f or us, yet
we' r e poi soni ng t he l and and t he oceans and t he ai r we
br eat he
as f ast as we can. I f we don' t st op"
Senat or Van Luven i nt er r upt ed agai n. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey"
" I apol ogi ze, Senat or . I ' mangr y. I can' t wat ch t he
dest r uct i on of our uni ver se wi t hout pr ot est i ng. "
Ki ngsl ey spoke f or anot her t hi r t y mi nut es. When he was
f i ni shed, Senat or Van Luven sai d,
" Mr . Ki ngsl ey, I woul d l i ke t o see you i n my of f i ce,
pl ease. Thi s hear i ng i s adj our ned. "
* * *
SENATOR VAN LUVEN' s of f i ce had been or i gi nal l y f ur ni shed
i n t ypi cal st er i l e, bur eaucr at i c f ashi on:
a desk, a t abl e, si x chai r s, and r ows of f i l i ng cabi net s,
but t he senat or had added her own f emi ni ne t ouches, wi t h
col or f ul f abr i cs, pai nt i ngs, and phot ogr aphs.
When Tanner ent er ed, t her e wer e t wo peopl e i n t he of f i ce
besi des Senat or Van Luven.
" These ar e my assi st ant s, Cor i nne Mur phy and Kar ol ee
Tr ost . "
Cor i nne Mur phy, an at t r act i ve young r edhead, and Kar ol ee
Tr ost , a pet i t e bl onde, bot h i n t hei r
t went i es, t ook seat s next t o t he senat or . They wer e
obvi ousl y f asci nat ed by Tanner .
" Si t down, Mr . Ki ngsl ey, " Senat or Van Luven sai d.
Tanner t ook a seat . The senat or st udi ed hi mf or a moment .
" Fr ankl y, I don' t under st and you. "
" Oh, r eal l y? I ' msur pr i sed, Senat or . I t hought I made
mysel f per f ect l y cl ear . I f eel "
" I know how you f eel . But your company, Ki ngsl ey
I nt er nat i onal Gr oup, has cont r act s f or many
pr oj ect s wi t h our gover nment , and yet you' r e chal l engi ng
t he gover nment on t he envi r onment i ssue.
I sn' t t hat bad f or busi ness?"
Tanner sai d col dl y, " Thi s i sn' t about busi ness, Senat or
Van Luven. Thi s i s about humani t y. We' r e
seei ng t he begi nni ng of a di sast r ous gl obal
dest abi l i zat i on. I ' mt r yi ng t o get t he Senat e t o al l ocat e
f unds t o cor r ect i t . "
Senat or Van Luven sai d skept i cal l y, " Some of t hose f unds
coul d go t o your company, coul dn' t t hey?"
" I don' t gi ve a damn who get s t he money. I j ust want t o
see act i on t aken bef or e i t ' s t oo l at e. "
Cor i nne Mur phy sai d war ml y, " That ' s admi r abl e. You' r e a
ver y unusual man. "
Tanner t ur ned t o her . " Mi ss Mur phy, i f you mean by t hat ,
t hat t he maj or i t y of peopl e seemt o bel i eve
t hat money i s mor e i mpor t ant t han mor al s, I r egr et t o say
you' r e pr obabl y r i ght . "
Kar ol ee Tr ost spoke up. " I t hi nk what you' r e t r yi ng t o do
i s wonder f ul . "
Senat or Van Luven gave each of her assi st ant s a
di sappr ovi ng l ook, t hen t ur ned t o Tanner . " I can' t pr omi se
anyt hi ng, but I wi l l t al k wi t h my col l eagues and get t hei r
poi nt of vi ew on t he envi r onment al i ssue. I wi l l get back t o
you. "
" Thank you, Senat or . I woul d be most appr eci at i ve. " He
hesi t at ed. " Per haps somet i me when you' r e i n Manhat t an, I can
t ake you ar ound KI G and show you our oper at i on. I t hi nk you
mi ght f i nd i t i nt er est i ng. "
Senat or Van Luven nodded i ndi f f er ent l y. " I ' l l l et you
know. "
The meet i ng was over .
CHAPTER 12
FROM THE MOMENT peopl e hear d of Mar k' s deat h, Kel l y Har r i s
had been f l ooded wi t h phone cal l s and f l ower s and e- mai l s.
The f i r st t o cal l was SamMeadows, a cowor ker and cl ose
f r i end of Mar k' s.
" Kel l y! My God. I can' t bel i eve i t ! I I don' t know what t o
say, I ' mj ust devast at ed. Ever y t i me I t ur n ar ound, I expect
t o see Mar k t her e. Kel l yi s t her e anyt hi ng I can do f or you?"
" No, t hank you, Sam. "
" Let ' s st ay i n t ouch. I want t o be of hel p i n any way I
can . . . "
Af t er t hat came a dozen cal l s f r omMar k' s f r i ends, and
f r ommodel s Kel l y wor ked wi t h.
Bi l l Ler ner , t he head of t he model i ng agency, t el ephoned.
He of f er ed hi s condol ences, t hen sai d, " Kel l y,
I r eal i ze t hi s i s not t he appr opr i at e t i me, but I t hi nk
t hat get t i ng back t o wor k mi ght be good f or you r i ght now.
Our phone has been r i ngi ng of f t he hook. When do you t hi nk
you' l l be r eady t o go t o wor k?"
" When Mar k comes back t o me. " And she dr opped t he
t el ephone.
* * *
AND NOWTHE phone was r i ngi ng agai n. Fi nal l y Kel l y pi cked
i t up.
" Yes?"
" Mr s. Har r i s?"
Was she st i l l Mr s. Har r i s? Ther e was no Mr . Har r i s
anymor e, but she woul d al ways, al ways be
Mar k' s wi f e.
She sai d f i r ml y, " Thi s i s Mr s. Mar k Har r i s. "
" Thi s i s Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s of f i ce. "
The man Mar k wor kswor ked f or . " Yes?"
" Mr . Ki ngsl ey woul d appr eci at e i t i f you coul d come and
see hi mi n Manhat t an. He woul d l i ke t o have
a meet i ng wi t h you at t he company headquar t er s. Ar e you
f r ee?"
Kel l y was f r ee. She had t ol d t he agency t o cancel al l her
booki ngs. But she was sur pr i sed. Why does Tanner Ki ngsl ey
want t o see me? " Yes. "
" Wi l l i t be conveni ent f or you t o l eave Par i s on Fr i day?"
Not hi ng woul d ever be conveni ent agai n. " Fr i day. Al l
r i ght . "
" Good. Ther e wi l l be a Uni t ed Ai r l i nes t i cket wai t i ng f or
you at Char l es de Gaul l e ai r por t . " He gave
her t he f l i ght number . " A car wi l l meet you i n New Yor k. "
* * *
MARK HAD SPOKEN t o Kel l y about Tanner Ki ngsl ey. Mar k had
met wi t h hi mand t hought he was
a geni us and a wonder f ul man t o wor k f or . Per haps we coul d
shar e some memor i es of Mar k. The
t hought cheer ed her up.
Angel came r unni ng i n and j umped ont o her l ap. Kel l y
hugged her . " What amI goi ng t o do wi t h you
whi l e I ' maway? Mama woul d t ake you wi t h her , but I ' monl y
goi ng t o be gone a f ew days. "
Suddenl y, Kel l y knew who woul d t ake car e of t he puppy.
* * *
KELLY WALKED DOWN t he st ai r s t o t he bui l di ng conci er ge' s
of f i ce. Wor kmen wer e i nst al l i ng a
new el evat or , and Kel l y wi nced ever y t i me she passed t hem.
The super i nt endent of t he bui l di ng, Phi l i ppe Cendr e, was a
t al l , at t r act i ve man wi t h a war mper sonal i t y, and hi s wi f e
and daught er had al ways gone out of t hei r way t o be hel pf ul .
When t hey had hear d t he
news about Mar k, t hey had been devast at ed. Mar k' s f uner al
had been hel d at t he Per e- Lachai se Cemet er y, and Kel l y had
i nvi t ed t he Cendr e f ami l y t o at t end.
Kel l y appr oached Phi l i ppe' s apar t ment door and knocked.
When Phi l i ppe opened t he door , Kel l y
sai d, " I have a f avor t o ask of you. "
" Come i n. Anyt hi ng you wi sh, Madame Har r i s. "
" I have t o go t o New Yor k f or t hr ee or f our days. I wonder
i f you woul d mi nd t aki ng car e of Angel
whi l e I ' mgone. "
" Mi nd? Ana Mar i a and I woul d l ove i t . "
" Thank you. I woul d appr eci at e i t . "
" And I pr omi se t o do ever yt hi ng I can t o spoi l her . "
Kel l y smi l ed. " Too l at e. I ' ve al r eady spoi l ed her . "
" When do you pl an t o l eave?"
" Fr i day. "
" Ver y wel l . I wi l l see t o ever yt hi ng. Di d I t el l you t hat
my daught er has been accept ed at t he Sor bonne?"
" No. That ' s wonder f ul . You must be ver y pr oud. "
" I am. She st ar t s i n t wo weeks. We' r e al l ver y exci t ed.
I t ' s a dr eamcome t r ue. "
* * *
FRI DAY MORNI NG KELLY t ook Angel down t o Phi l i ppe Cendr e' s
apar t ment .
Kel l y handed t he conci er ge some paper bags. " Her e' s
Angel ' s f avor i t e f ood and some t oys f or her t o pl ay"
Phi l i ppe st epped back, and behi nd hi mKel l y saw a pi l e of
dog t oys on t he f l oor .
Kel l y l aughed. " Angel , you' r e i n good hands. " She gave t he
puppy a f i nal hug. " Good- bye, Angel .
Thank you so much, Phi l i ppe. "
* * *
ON THE MORNI NG Kel l y was l eavi ng, Ni col e Par adi s, t he
r ecept i oni st at t he f ancy apar t ment
bui l di ng, was st andi ng at t he door t o say good- bye. An
ebul l i ent gr ay- hai r ed woman, she was so
t i ny t hat when she was seat ed behi nd her desk, onl y t he
t op of her head was vi si bl e.
She smi l ed at Kel l y and sai d, " We wi l l mi ss you, madame.
Pl ease hur r y back t o us. "
Kel l y t ook her hand. " Thank you. I ' l l be back soon,
Ni col e. " And, mi nut es l at er , she was on her way
t o t he ai r por t .
The Char l es de Gaul l e ai r por t was cr owded beyond bel i ef ,
as al ways. I t was a sur r eal i st i c maze of
t i cket count er s, shops, r est aur ant s, st ai r ways, and gi ant
escal at or s cr awl i ng up and down l i ke pr ehi st or i c monst er s.
When Kel l y ar r i ved, t he ai r por t manager escor t ed her t o a
pr i vat e l ounge. For t y- f i ve mi nut es l at er , her f l i ght was
announced. As Kel l y st ar t ed t owar d t he boar di ng gat e, a woman
st andi ng near by wat ched
her go t hr ough t he gat e. The moment Kel l y was out of
si ght , t he woman pi cked up her cel l phone and made a cal l .
* * *
KELLY SAT i n her ai r pl ane seat , t hi nki ng about Mar k,
obl i vi ous t o t he f act t hat most of t he men and women i n t he
cabi n wer e cover t l y st ar i ng at her . What was Mar k doi ng on
t he obser vat i on deck of
t he Ei f f el Tower at mi dni ght ? Who was he goi ng t o meet ?
And why? And t he wor st quest i on of
al l Why woul d Mar k commi t sui ci de? We wer e so happy
t oget her . We l oved each ot her so much.
I don' t bel i eve he ki l l ed hi msel f . Not Mar k. . . not Mar k.
. . not Mar k. She cl osed her eyes and l et
her t hought s dr i f t back. . . .
* * *
I T WAS THEI R f i r st dat e. She had dr essed f or t he eveni ng
i n a pr i mbl ack ski r t and a hi gh- necked
whi t e bl ouse so t hat Mar k woul d not get t he i dea t hat she
was t r yi ng t o t empt hi mi n any way. Thi s
was j ust goi ng t o be a casual , congeni al eveni ng. Kel l y
f ound t hat she was ner vous. Because of t he unspeakabl e t hi ng
t hat had happened t o her when she was a chi l d, Kel l y had not
soci al i zed wi t h any
men except f or busi ness r easons or obl i gat or y char i t y
event s.
Mar k i sn' t r eal l y a dat e, Kel l y kept t el l i ng her sel f . He
and I ar e j ust goi ng t o be f r i ends. He can be
my escor t ar ound t own, and t her e won' t be any r omant i c
compl i cat i ons. Even as she was t hi nki ng i t ,
t he door bel l r ang.
Kel l y t ook a hopef ul br eat h and opened t he door . Mar k
st ood t her e, smi l i ng, hol di ng a box and a paper bag. He was
wear i ng an i l l - f i t t i ng gr ay sui t , a gr een shi r t , a br i ght r ed
t i e, and br own shoes. Kel l y al most l aughed al oud. The f act
t hat Mar k had no sense of st yl e was somehow endear i ng. She
had known t oo many men whose egos wer e i nvol ved i n how
el egant t hey t hought t hey l ooked.
" Come i n, " Kel l y sai d.
" I hope I ' mnot l at e. "
" No, not at al l . " He was t went y- f i ve mi nut es ear l y.
Mar k handed Kel l y t he box. " Thi s i s f or you. "
I t was a f i ve- pound box of chocol at es. Over t he year s
Kel l y had been of f er ed di amonds and f ur s and pent houses, but
never chocol at es. Exact l y what ever y model needs, she
t hought , amused. Kel l y smi l ed. " Thank you. "
Mar k hel d out t he bag. " And t hese ar e t r eat s f or Angel . "
As i f on cue, Angel came bounci ng i nt o t he
r oomand r an up t o Mar k, her t ai l waggi ng.
Mar k pi cked Angel up and pet t ed her . " She r emember s me. "
" I r eal l y want t o t hank you f or her , " Kel l y sai d. " She' s a
wonder f ul compani on. I ' ve never had one bef or e. "
Mar k l ooked at Kel l y, and hi s eyes sai d i t al l .
* * *
THE EVENI NG WENT unexpect edl y wel l . Mar k was a char mi ng
compani on, and Kel l y was t ouched
by how obvi ousl y t hr i l l ed he was t o be wi t h her . He was
i nt el l i gent and easy t o t al k t o, and t he t i me
went by mor e qui ckl y t han Kel l y had ant i ci pat ed.
At t he end of t he eveni ng, Mar k sai d, " I hope we can do
t hi s agai n. "
" Yes. I woul d l i ke t hat . "
" What ' s your f avor i t e t hi ng t o do, Kel l y?"
" I enj oy soccer games. Do you l i ke soccer ?"
A bl ank l ook came over Mar k' s f ace. " Oher yes. I I l ove
i t . "
He' s such a poor l i ar , Kel l y t hought . A mi schi evous i dea
came i nt o her head. " Ther e' s a champi onshi p game Sat ur day
ni ght . Woul d you l i ke t o go?"
Mar k swal l owed and sai d weakl y, " Sur e. Gr eat . "
* * *
WHEN THE EVENI NG was over and t hey ar r i ved back at Kel l y' s
apar t ment bui l di ng, Kel l y f ound
her sel f t ensi ng. Thi s was al ways t he moment f or :
How about a good- ni ght ki ss?. . .
Why don' t I come i n f or a bi t , and we' l l have a ni ght cap.
. . .
You don' t want t o spend t he ni ght al one. . . .
Fi ght i ng of f t he pawi ng. . .
As t hey r eached Kel l y' s door , Mar k l ooked at her and sai d,
" Do you know what I f i r st not i ced about
you, Kel l y?" Kel l y hel d her br eat h. Her e i t comes:
You have a gr eat ass. . . .
I l ove your boobs. . . .
I ' d l i ke t o have your l ong l egs wr apped ar ound my neck. .
. .
" No, " Kel l y sai d i ci l y. " What di d you f i r st not i ce?"
" The pai n i n your eyes. "
And bef or e she coul d r epl y, Mar k sai d, " Good ni ght . " And
Kel l y wat ched hi ml eave.
CHAPTER 13
WHEN MARK ARRI VED on Sat ur day ni ght , he br ought anot her
box of candy and a l ar ge paper bag. " The candy i s f or you.
The t r eat s ar e f or Angel . "
Kel l y t ook t he bags. " I t hank you, and Angel t hanks you. "
She wat ched Mar k pet t i ng Angel and asked i nnocent l y, " Ar e
you l ooki ng f or war d t o t he game?"
Mar k nodded and sai d ent husi ast i cal l y, " Oh, yes. "
Kel l y smi l ed. " Good. So amI . " She knew t hat Mar k had
never even seen a soccer game.
* * *
THE PARI S SAI NT- GERMAI N st adi umwas packed t o capaci t y,
wi t h si xt y- seven t housand eager
f ans wai t i ng f or t he champi onshi p game bet ween Lyon and
Mar sei l l e t o begi n.
As Kel l y and Mar k wer e usher ed t o t hei r seat s di r ect l y
above mi d- f i el d, Kel l y sai d, " I ' mi mpr essed.
These seat s ar e har d t o get . "
Mar k smi l ed and sai d, " When you l ove soccer as much as I
do, not hi ng i s i mpossi bl e. "
Kel l y bi t her l i p t o keep f r oml aughi ng. She coul d not
wai t f or t he game t o begi n.
* * *
AT 1400 HOURS, bot h t eams ent er ed t he st adi um, st andi ng at
at t ent i on whi l e t he band pl ayed " La Mar sei l l ai se, " t he Fr ench
nat i onal ant hem. As t he l i neups f or Lyon and Mar sei l l e f aced
t he st ands f or i nt r oduct i ons, a pl ayer f or Lyon st epped
f or war d, wear i ng t he Lyon l ogo i n t he t eamcol or s of bl ue and
whi t e.
Kel l y deci ded t o r el ent and l et Mar k know what was
happeni ng. She l eaned t owar d hi m. " That ' s t hei r goal i e, "
Kel l y expl ai ned. He s
" I know, " Mar k sai d. " Gr egor y Coupet . He' s t he best goal i e
i n t he l eague. He won a champi onshi p
agai nst Bor deaux l ast Apr i l . He won a UEFA Cup and a
Champi on League t he year bef or e t hat .
He' s t hi r t y- one year s ol d, si x f eet t al l , and wei ghs a
hundr ed and ei ght y pounds. "
Kel l y l ooked at Mar k i n ast oni shment .
The announcer cont i nued. " Pl ayi ng f or war d, Si dney Gouvou .
. . "
" Number f our t een, " Mar k ent hused. " He' s i ncr edi bl e. Last
week, agai nst Auxer r e, he scor ed a goal
i n t he l ast mi nut e of t he game. "
Kel l y l i st ened i n amazement as Mar k knowl edgabl y di scussed
al l t he ot her pl ayer s.
The game began and t he cr owd went wi l d.
I t was a f r enzi ed, exci t i ng game, and goal i es f or bot h
t eams f ought har d t o keep t hei r opponent s f r omscor i ng. I t
was di f f i cul t f or Kel l y t o concent r at e. She kept l ooki ng at
Mar k, amazed by hi s exper t i se.
How coul d I have been so wr ong?
I n t he mi ddl e of a pl ay, Mar k excl ai med, " Gouvou' s goi ng
f or a f l i ck ki ck! He made i t ! "
A f ew mi nut es l at er , Mar k sai d, " Wat ch! Car r i er e' s goi ng
t o be f i ned f or handl i ng t he bal l . "
And he was r i ght .
When Lyon won, Mar k was euphor i c. " What a gr eat t eam! "
As t hey wer e l eavi ng t he st adi um, Kel l y asked, " Mar khow
l ong have you been i nt er est ed i n soccer ?"
He l ooked at Kel l y sheepi shl y and sai d, " About t hr ee days.
I ' ve been r esear chi ng i t on my comput er . Si nce you wer e so
i nt er est ed, I t hought I shoul d l ear n about i t . "
And Kel l y was i ncr edi bl y t ouched. I t was unbel i evabl e t hat
Mar k had spent so much t i me and ef f or t
j ust because she enj oyed t he game.
They had made a dat e f or t he f ol l owi ng day, af t er Kel l y
f i ni shed a model i ng assi gnment .
" I can pi ck you up at your dr essi ng r oomand"
" No! " She di d not want hi mt o meet t he ot her model s.
Mar k was l ooki ng at her , puzzl ed.
" I meant her e' s a r ul e t hat men ar en' t al l owed i n t he
dr essi ng r ooms. "
" Oh. "
I don' t want you t o f al l i n l ove wi t h
* * *
" LADI ES AND GENTLEMEN, pl ease f ast en your seat bel t s and
r et ur n your seat backs and t r ays t o
t hei r upr i ght and l ocked posi t i ons. We' r e appr oachi ng
Kennedy ai r por t and we' l l be l andi ng i n j ust a
f ew mi nut es. "
Kel l y was j ol t ed back t o t he pr esent . She was i n New Yor k
t o meet Tanner Ki ngsl ey, t he man whomMar k had wor ked f or .
* * *
SOMEONE HAD I NFORMED t he medi a. When t he pl ane l anded,
t hey wer e wai t i ng f or Kel l y. She
was sur r ounded by r epor t er s wi t h t el evi si on camer as and
mi cr ophones.
" Kel l y, woul d you l ook t hi s way?"
" Can you t el l us what you t hi nk happened t o your husband?"
" I s t her e goi ng t o be a pol i ce i nvest i gat i on?"
" Wer e you and your husband pl anni ng a di vor ce?"
" Ar e you movi ng back her e t o t he St at es?"
" How di d you f eel when you hear d what happened?"
The most i nsensi t i ve quest i on of al l .
Kel l y saw a pl easant - f aced, al er t - l ooki ng man st andi ng i n
t he backgr ound. He smi l ed and waved t o
Kel l y and she mot i oned f or hi mt o come over t o her .
Ben Rober t s was one of t he most popul ar and r espect ed
t al k- show host s on net wor k t el evi si on. He
had i nt er vi ewed Kel l y bef or e, and t hey had become f r i ends.
She wat ched as Ben made hi s way
t hr ough t he cr owd of r epor t er s. They al l knew hi m.
" Hey, Ben! I s Kel l y goi ng t o be on your show?"
" Do you t hi nk she' l l t al k about what happened?"
" Can I get a pi ct ur e of you and Kel l y?"
By t hi s t i me, Ben had r eached Kel l y' s si de. The t i de of
r epor t er s was pushi ng agai nst t hem. Ben
cal l ed out , " Let ' s gi ve her a br eak, boys and gi r l s. You
can t al k t o her l at er . "
Rel uct ant l y, t he r epor t er s began t o gi ve way.
Ben t ook Kel l y' s hand and sai d, " I can' t t el l you how
sor r y I am. I l i ked Mar k so much. "
" That was mut ual , Ben. "
As Kel l y and Ben made t hei r way t owar d t he baggage cl ai m
ar ea, he asked, " Of f t he r ecor d, what
ar e you doi ng i n New Yor k?"
" I ' mher e t o see Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
Ben nodded. " He' s a power f ul man. I ' msur e you' l l be wel l
t aken car e of . "
They had r eached t he baggage count er . " Kel l y, i f t her e i s
anyt hi ng I can do f or you, you can al ways
r each me at t he net wor k. " He l ooked ar ound. " Ar e you bei ng
pi cked up? I f not , I ' l l "
At t hat moment , a uni f or med chauf f eur came up t o Kel l y.
" Mr s. Har r i s? I ' mCol i n. The car i s r i ght out si de. Mr .
Ki ngsl ey has checked you i nt o a sui t e at t he Peni nsul a Hot el .
I f you' l l gi ve me your
t i cket s, I ' l l at t end t o your l uggage. "
Kel l y t ur ned t o Ben. " Wi l l you cal l me?"
" Of cour se. "
* * *
TEN MI NUTES LATER Kel l y was on her way t o t he hot el . As
t hey weaved t hr ough t r af f i c, Col i n
sai d, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey' s secr et ar y wi l l t el ephone you and set
up an appoi nt ment . The car wi l l be at your di sposal whenever
you need i t . "
" Thank you. " What amI doi ng her e? Kel l y wonder ed.
She was about t o get t he answer .
CHAPTER 14
TANNER KI NGSLEY WAS r eadi ng t he headl i ne of t he af t er noon
newspaper : " Hai l st or mBat t er s I r an. " The r est of t he st or y
went on t o cal l i t a " f r eaki sh event . " The i dea of a
hai l st or mhappeni ng i n summer , i n a hot cl i mat e, was bi zar r e.
Tanner buzzed f or hi s secr et ar y. When she came i n, he sai d,
" Kat hy, cl i p t hi s ar t i cl e and send i t t o Senat or Van Luven,
wi t h a not e: ' A gl obal war mi ng updat e. Si ncer el y
" Ri ght away, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Tanner Ki ngsl ey gl anced at hi s wat ch. The t wo det ect i ves
wer e due at KI G i n hal f an hour . He l ooked ar ound hi s
ext r avagant of f i ce. He had cr eat ed al l of t hi s. KI G. He
t hought about t he power behi nd t hose t hr ee si mpl e i ni t i al s,
and how sur pr i sed peopl e woul d be i f t hey knew t he
ast oni shi ng st or y of KI G' s humbl e begi nni ngs, a mer e seven
year s ago. The memor i es of t he past r aced t hr ough hi s mi nd. .
. .
He r emember ed t he day he had desi gned t he new KI G l ogo.
Pr et t y f ancy f or a not hi ng company, someone had sai d, and
Tanner had si ngl e- handedl y t ur ned t hat not hi ng company i nt o a
wor l d power house. When Tanner t hought about t he begi nni ngs,
he f el t as
t hough he had per f or med a mi r acl e.
* * *
TANNER KI NGSLEY HAD been bor n f i ve year s af t er hi s
br ot her , Andr ew, and t hat had t ot al l y
shaped t he di r ect i on of hi s l i f e. Thei r par ent s wer e
di vor ced, and t hei r mot her had r emar r i ed and
moved away. Thei r f at her was a sci ent i st , and t he boys had
f ol l owed i n hi s f oot st eps and had
gr own up t o be sci ence pr odi gi es. Thei r f at her had di ed of
a hear t at t ack at age f or t y.
The f act t hat Tanner was f i ve year s younger t han hi s
br ot her was a const ant f r ust r at i on. When
Tanner won t he t op awar d i n hi s sci ence cl ass, he was
t ol d, " Andr ew was number one i n hi s cl ass
f i ve year s ago. I t must r un i n t he f ami l y. "
When Tanner won an or at or i cal cont est , t he pr of essor sai d,
" Congr at ul at i ons, Tanner . You' r e t he
second Ki ngsl ey t o get t hi s awar d. "
On j oi ni ng t he t enni s t eam: " I hope you' r e as good as your
br ot her , Andr ew. "
When Tanner gr aduat ed: " Your val edi ct or i an speech was
i nspi r i ng. I t r emi nded me so much of Andr ew' s. "
He had gr own up i n t he shadow of hi s br ot her , and i t was
gal l i ng t o know t hat he was consi der ed
second best onl y because Andr ew had got t en t her e f i r st .
* * *
THERE WERE SI MI LARI TI ES bet ween t he t wo br ot her s: t hey
wer e bot h handsome, i nt el l i gent , and t al ent ed, but as t hey
gr ew ol der , maj or di f f er ences became appar ent . Whi l e Andr ew
was al t r ui st i c and sel f - ef f aci ng, Tanner was an ext r over t ,
gr egar i ous and ambi t i ous. Andr ew was shy ar ound women,
whi l e Tanner ' s l ooks and char mdr ew t hemt o hi ml i ke a
magnet .
But t he most i mpor t ant di f f er ence bet ween t he br ot her s was
t hei r goal s i n l i f e. Whi l e Andr ew was
deepl y concer ned wi t h or gani zi ng char i t y and assi st i ng
ot her s, Tanner ' s ambi t i on was t o become r i ch
and power f ul .
* * *
ANDREWGRADUATED FROM col l ege summa cuml aude and
i mmedi at el y accept ed an of f er t o
wor k at a t hi nk t ank. Ther e he l ear ned what a si gni f i cant
cont r i but i on an or gani zat i on l i ke t hat coul d make, and f i ve
year s l at er Andr ew deci ded t o st ar t hi s own t hi nk t ank, on a
modest scal e.
When Andr ew t ol d Tanner about t he i dea, Tanner was
exci t ed. " That ' s br i l l i ant ! Thi nk t anks get gover nment
cont r act s wor t h mi l l i ons, not t o ment i on cor por at i ons t hat
hi r e"
Andr ew i nt er r upt ed. " That ' s not my i dea, Tanner . I want t o
use i t t o hel p peopl e. "
Tanner was st ar i ng at hi m. " Hel p peopl e?"
" Yes. Ther e ar e dozens of Thi r d Wor l d count r i es t hat have
no access t o moder n met hods of agr i cul t ur e and manuf act ur i ng.
Ther e' s a sayi ng t hat i f you gi ve a man a f i sh, he can have a
meal . I f you t each hi m
t o f i sh, he can eat f or t he r est of hi s l i f e. "
You coul d cut down an oak t r ee wi t h t hat ol d saw, Tanner
t hought . " Andr ew, count r i es l i ke t hat can' t af f or d t o pay
us"
" That doesn' t mat t er . We' l l send exper t s t o Thi r d Wor l d
count r i es t o t each t hemmoder n t echni ques
t hat wi l l change t hei r l i ves. I ' mmaki ng you a par t ner .
We' l l cal l our t hi nk t ank Ki ngsl ey Gr oup. What
do you say?"
Tanner was t hought f ul f or a moment . He nodded. " As a
mat t er of f act , i t ' s not a bad i dea. We can
st ar t wi t h t he ki nd of count r i es you' r e t al ki ng about ,
t hen go af t er t he bi g moneyt he gover nment cont r act s and"
" Tanner , l et ' s j ust concent r at e on maki ng t he wor l d a
bet t er pl ace. " Tanner smi l ed. I t was goi ng t o be
a compr omi se. They woul d st ar t t he way Andr ew want ed t o
and t hen t hey woul d gr adual l y bui l d up
t he company t o i t s r eal pot ent i al . " Wel l ?"
Tanner hel d out hi s hand. " Her e' s t o our f ut ur e, par t ner . "
Si x mont hs l at er , t he t wo br ot her s wer e st andi ng i n t he r ai n,
out si de a smal l br i ck bui l di ng wi t h an uni mpr essi ve l i t t l e
si gn t hat r ead
" How does i t l ook?" Andr ew asked pr oudl y.
" Beaut i f ul . " Tanner managed t o keep t he i r ony out of hi s
voi ce.
" That si gn i s goi ng t o br i ng happi ness t o so many peopl e
ar ound t he wor l d, Tanner . I ' ve al r eady
st ar t ed hi r i ng some exper t s t o go t o Thi r d Wor l d
count r i es. "
Tanner st ar t ed t o obj ect and st opped. Hi s br ot her coul d
not be r ushed. He had a st ubbor n st r eak. But
t he t i me i s comi ng. The t i me i s comi ng. Tanner l ooked up
at t he l i t t l e si gn agai n and t hought , Someday
i t wi l l r ead KI G, Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup.
* * *
J OHN HI GHOLT, A col l ege f r i end of Andr ew' s, had i nvest ed a
hundr ed t housand dol l ar s t o hel p get
t he t hi nk t ank st ar t ed, and Andr ew had r ai sed t he r est of
t he money.
Hal f a dozen peopl e wer e hi r ed and sent t o Kenya, Somal i a,
and Sudan t o t each t he nat i ves how t o
bet t er t hei r l i ves. But no money was comi ng i n.
I t made no sense t o Tanner . " Andr ew, we coul d get
cont r act s f r omsome of t he bi g compani es and"
" That ' s not what we do, Tanner . "
What i n t he hel l do we do? Tanner wonder ed. " The Chr ysl er
Cor por at i on i s l ooki ng f or "
And Andr ew smi l ed and sai d, " Let ' s do our r eal j ob. "
I t t ook al l of Tanner ' s wi l l power t o cont r ol hi msel f .
Andr ew and Tanner each had hi s own l abor at or y at t he t hi nk
t ank. They wer e bot h i mmer sed i n
t hei r own pr oj ect s. Andr ew f r equent l y wor ked f ar i nt o t he
ni ght .
One mor ni ng, when Tanner ar r i ved at t he pl ant , Andr ew was
st i l l t her e. He saw Tanner come i n,
and Andr ew j umped t o hi s f eet . " I ' mexci t ed about t hi s new
nanot echnol ogy exper i ment . I ' m
devel opi ng a met hod of . . . "
Tanner ' s mi nd dr i f t ed t o somet hi ng mor e i mpor t ant : t he hot
l i t t l e r edhead he had met t he ni ght bef or e. She had j oi ned
hi mat t he bar , had a dr i nk, t aken hi mt o her apar t ment , and
gi ven hi ma wonder f ul
t i me. When she hel d hi s
" . . . and I t hi nk i t ' s r eal l y goi ng t o make a di f f er ence.
How does t hat sound, Tanner ?"
Caught by sur pr i se, Tanner sai d, " Oh. Yes, Andr ew. Gr eat . "
Andr ew smi l ed. " I knew you woul d see i t s possi bi l i t i es. "
Tanner was mor e i nt er est ed i n hi s own secr et exper i ment .
I f mi ne wor ks, he t hought , I ' l l own
t he wor l d.
* * *
ONE EVENI NG, SHORTLY af t er hi s col l ege gr aduat i on, Tanner
was at a cockt ai l par t y when a pl easant , f emi ni ne voi ce
behi nd hi msai d, " I ' ve hear d a l ot about you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Tanner t ur ned ar ound i n ant i ci pat i on and t hen t r i ed t o
conceal hi s di sappoi nt ment . The speaker was
an unr emar kabl e- l ooki ng young woman. Al l t hat kept her
f r ombei ng pl ai n was a pai r of i nt ense
br own eyes and a br i ght , sl i ght l y cyni cal smi l e. The si ne
qua non f or Tanner was t he physi cal beaut y
of a woman, and i t was cl ear t hat t hi s woman di dn' t make
t he cut .
Even as he sai d, " Not hi ng t oo bad, I hope, " he was
t hi nki ng up an excuse t o get r i d of her .
" I ' mPaul i ne Cooper . My f r i ends cal l me Paul a. You dat ed
my si st er Gi nny i n col l ege. She was mad
about you. "
Gi nny, Gi nny. . . Shor t ? Tal l ? Dar k? Bl onde? Tanner st ood
t her e, smi l i ng, t r yi ng t o r emember .
Ther e had been so many.
" Gi nny want ed t o mar r y you. "
That was no hel p. So di d a l ot of ot her s. " Your si st er was
ver y ni ce. We j ust di dn' t seemt o be"
She gave Tanner a sar doni c l ook. " Save i t . You don' t even
r emember her . "
He was embar r assed. " Wel l , I "
" I t ' s al l r i ght . I j ust at t ended her weddi ng. "
Tanner was r el i eved. " Ah. So, Gi nny i s mar r i ed. "
" Yes, she i s. " Ther e was a pause. " But I ' mnot . Woul d you
l i ke t o have di nner t omor r ow ni ght ?"
Tanner t ook a cl oser l ook at her . Even t hough she was not
up t o hi s st andar ds, she appear ed t o have
a ni ce body and seemed pl easant enough. And t hi s was
cer t ai nl y an easy l ay. Tanner t hought of hi s
dat es i n basebal l t er ms. He woul d t hr ow a woman one pi t ch.
That was i t . I f she di dn' t hi t a home r un,
she was out .
She was wat chi ng hi m. " I ' l l pay. "
Tanner l aughed. " I can handl e i t i f you' r e not a
wor l d- cl ass gour mand. " Tr y me.
He l ooked i nt o her eyes and sai d sof t l y, " I wi l l . "
* * *
THE FOLLOWI NG EVENI NG, t hey di ned at a t r endy r est aur ant
upt own. Paul a was dr essed i n a cr eam- col or ed, l ow- cut si l k
bl ouse, a bl ack ski r t , and hi gh- heel ed shoes. As Tanner
wat ched her
st r i de i nt o t he r est aur ant , i t seemed t o hi mt hat she was
a l ot bet t er l ooki ng t han he had r emember ed.
I n f act , she had t he bear i ng of a pr i ncess f r omsome
exot i c count r y.
Tanner st ood up. " Good eveni ng. "
She t ook hi s hand. " Good eveni ng. " Ther e was a
sel f - assur ed ai r about her t hat was al most r egal .
When t hey wer e seat ed, she sai d, " Let ' s st ar t over , shal l
we? I have no si st er . "
Tanner l ooked at her , conf used. " But you t ol d me?"
She smi l ed. " I j ust want ed t o t est your r eact i on, Tanner .
I ' ve hear d a l ot about you f r omsome of my f r i ends, and I
became i nt er est ed. "
Was she t al ki ng about sex? He wonder ed whomshe had spoken
t o. I t coul d have been so many
" Don' t j ump t o concl usi ons. I ' mnot t al ki ng about your
swor dsmanshi p. I ' mt al ki ng about your mi nd. "
I t was as t hough she had been r eadi ng hi s t hought s. " So,
you' r eer i nt er est ed i n mi nds?"
" Among ot her t hi ngs, " she sai d i nvi t i ngl y.
Thi s i s goi ng t o be an easy home r un. Tanner r eached over
and t ook her hand. " You' r e r eal l y
somet hi ng. " He st r oked her ar m. " You' r e ver y speci al .
We' r e goi ng t o have a good t i me t oget her
t oni ght . "
She smi l ed. " Ar e you f eel i ng hor ny, dar l i ng?"
Tanner was t aken aback by her bl unt ness. She was an eager
l i t t l e t hi ng. Tanner nodded. " Al ways, pr i ncess. "
She smi l ed. " Fi ne. Get out your l i t t l e bl ack book and
we' l l t r y t o f i nd someone who' s avai l abl e f or
you t oni ght . "
Tanner f r oze. He was used t o maki ng spor t of women, but
none of t hemhad ever mocked hi mbef or e. Tanner st ar ed at
her . " What ar e you sayi ng?"
" That we' r e goi ng t o have t o i mpr ove your l i ne, l ove. Do
you have any i dea how t r i t e i t i s?"
Tanner f el t hi s f ace get t i ng r ed. " What makes you t hi nk
i t ' s a l i ne?"
She l ooked hi mi n t he eye. " I t was pr obabl y i nvent ed by
Met husel ah. When you t al k t o me, I want
you t o say t hi ngs t hat you' ve never sai d t o any woman
bef or e. "
Tanner l ooked at her , t r yi ng t o conceal hi s f ur y. Who does
she t hi nk she' s deal i ng wi t hsome hi gh school ki d? She was
t oo damned i nsol ent f or her own good. St r i ke one. The bi t ch
i s out .
CHAPTER 15
THE WORLD HEADQUARTERS of Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup was
l ocat ed i n l ower Manhat t an,
t wo bl ocks f r omt he East Ri ver . The compound occupi ed f i ve
acr es of l and and consi st ed of f our
l ar ge concr et e bui l di ngs, al ong wi t h t wo smal l st af f
houses, f enced i n and guar ded el ect r oni cal l y.
At t en o' cl ock i n t he mor ni ng, Det ect i ves Ear l Gr eenbur g
and Rober t Pr aegi t zer ent er ed t he l obby of t he mai n bui l di ng.
I t was spaci ous and moder n, f ur ni shed wi t h couches and
t abl es, and hal f a dozen chai r s.
Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g gl anced at t he assor t ment of magazi nes
on a t abl e: Vi r t ual Real i t y, Nucl ear and Radi ol ogi cal
Ter r or i sm, Robot i cs Wor l d. . . He hel d up a copy of Genet i c
Engi neer i ng News and
t ur ned t o Pr aegi t zer . " Don' t you get t i r ed of r eadi ng
t hese i n your dent i st ' s of f i ce?"
Pr aegi t zer gr i nned. " Yeah. "
The t wo det ect i ves appr oached t he r ecept i oni st and
i dent i f i ed t hemsel ves. " We have an appoi nt ment
wi t h Mr . Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
" He' s expect i ng you. I ' l l have someone escor t you t o hi s
of f i ce. " She gave t hemeach a KI G badge. " Pl ease t ur n t hese
i n when you l eave. "
" No pr obl em. "
The r ecept i oni st pr essed a buzzer , and a moment l at er , an
at t r act i ve young woman appear ed.
" These gent l emen have an appoi nt ment wi t h Mr . Tanner
Ki ngsl ey. "
" Yes. I ' mRet r a Tyl er , one of Mr . Ki ngsl ey' s assi st ant s.
Fol l ow me, pl ease. "
The t wo det ect i ves wal ked down a l ong, st er i l e cor r i dor
wi t h t i ght l y cl osed of f i ce door s on each si de.
At t he end of t he cor r i dor was Tanner ' s of f i ce.
I n Tanner ' s wai t i ng r oom, Kat hy Or donez, Tanner ' s br i ght
young secr et ar y, was seat ed behi nd a desk.
" Good mor ni ng, gent l emen. You can go r i ght i n. "
She got up and opened t he door t o Tanner ' s pr i vat e of f i ce.
As t he det ect i ves st epped i nsi de, t hey
st opped t o st ar e, i n awe.
The huge of f i ce was cr ammed wi t h ar cane el ect r oni c
equi pment , and t he soundpr oof wal l s wer e l i ned wi t h
waf er - t hi n t el evi si on set s di spl ayi ng l i ve scenes f r omci t i es
ar ound t he wor l d. Some of t he vi ews wer e of busy conf er ence
r ooms, of f i ces, and l abor at or i es, whi l e ot her s showed hot el
sui t es wher e meet i ngs wer e t aki ng pl ace. Each set had i t s own
audi o syst em, and even t hough t he vol ume was bar el y audi bl e,
i t was eer i e t o hear sni ppet s of sent ences spoken
si mul t aneousl y i n a dozen di f f er ent l anguages.
A capt i on appear ed at t he bot t omof each scr een
i dent i f yi ng t he ci t i es: Mi l an . . . J ohannesbur g . . .
Zur i ch . . . Madr i d . . . At hens . . . At t he f ar wal l was
an ei ght - t i er bookshel f f i l l ed wi t h l eat her - bound vol umes.
Tanner Ki ngsl ey was seat ed behi nd a mahogany desk t hat
cont ai ned a consol e wi t h hal f a dozen
di f f er ent col or ed but t ons. He was el egant l y dr essed i n a
t ai l or ed gr ay sui t wi t h a l i ght bl ue shi r t and
a bl ue checked t i e.
Tanner r ose as t he t wo det ect i ves wal ked i n. " Good
mor ni ng, gent l emen. "
Ear l Gr eenbur g sai d, " Good mor ni ng. We' r e"
" Yes, I know who you ar e. Det ect i ves Ear l Gr eenbur g and
Rober t Pr aegi t zer . " They shook hands.
" Si t down, pl ease. "
The det ect i ves t ook seat s.
Pr aegi t zer was st ar i ng at t he swi f t l y changi ng, wor l dwi de
pi ct ur es on t he pr of usi on of t el evi si on set s.
He shook hi s head i n admi r at i on. " Tal k about t oday' s st at e
of t he ar t ! Thi s i s"
Tanner r ai sed a hand. " We' r e not t al ki ng her e about
t oday' s st at e of t he ar t , Det ect i ve. Thi s t echnol ogy won' t be
on t he mar ket f or anot her t wo or t hr ee year s. Wi t h t hese,
we' r e abl e t o wat ch t el econf er ences
i n a dozen di f f er ent count r i es si mul t aneousl y. The
i nf or mat i on t hat pour s i n f r omour of f i ces ar ound
t he wor l d i s aut omat i cal l y cat egor i zed and r ecor ded by
t hese comput er s. "
Pr aegi t zer asked, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, f or gi ve a si mpl i st i c
quest i on. What does a t hi nk t ank do, exact l y?"
" Bot t oml i ne? We' r e pr obl emsol ver s. We f i gur e out
sol ut i ons t o pr obl ems t hat may l i e ahead. Some
t hi nk t anks concent r at e i n onl y one ar eat he mi l i t ar y or
economi cs or pol i t i cs. We deal i n nat i onal secur i t y,
communi cat i ons, mi cr obi ol ogy, envi r onment al i ssues. KI G
f unct i ons as an i ndependent
anal yst and cr i t i c of l ong- r ange gl obal consequences f or
var i ous gover nment s. "
" I nt er est i ng, " sai d Pr aegi t zer .
" Ei ght y- f i ve per cent of our r esear ch st af f hol d advanced
degr ees, and mor e t han si xt y- f i ve per cent
have Ph. D. s. "
" That ' s i mpr essi ve. "
" My br ot her , Andr ew, f ounded t hi s company t o assi st Thi r d
Wor l d count r i es, so we' r e al so heavi l y i nvol ved i n st ar t - up
pr oj ect s t her e. "
Ther e was a sudden r umbl e of t hunder and a f l ash of
l i ght ni ng f r omone of t he t el evi si on set s. They
al l t ur ned t o l ook.
Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g sai d, " Di dn' t I r ead somet hi ng about a
weat her exper i ment you wer e doi ng?"
Tanner gr i maced. " Yes, i t ' s known ar ound her e as
Ki ngsl ey' s f ol l y. I t ' s one of t he f ew maj or f ai l ur es
KI G ever had. I t was t he one pr oj ect t hat I most hoped
woul d wor k. I nst ead, we' r e cl osi ng i t down. "
Pr aegi t zer asked, " I s i t possi bl e t o cont r ol t he weat her ?"
Tanner shook hi s head. " Onl y t o a l i mi t ed degr ee. A l ot of
peopl e have t r i ed. As l ong ago as 1900,
Ni kol a Tesl a was doi ng exper i ment s wi t h weat her . He
di scover ed t hat i oni zat i on of t he at mospher e
coul d be al t er ed by r adi o waves. I n 1958, our Def ense
Depar t ment exper i ment ed wi t h dr oppi ng
copper needl es i nt o t he i onospher e. Ten year s l at er , t her e
was Pr oj ect Popeye, wher e t he gover nment at t empt ed t o ext end
t he monsoon season i n Laos, t o i ncr ease t he amount of mud i n
t he Ho Chi Mi nh Tr ai l . They used a si l ver i odi de nucl ei
agent , and gener at or s shot banks of si l ver i odi de i nt o t he
cl ouds,
t o become seeds f or r ai ndr ops. "
" Di d i t wor k?"
" Yes, but on a conf i ned l ocal basi s. Ther e ar e sever al
r easons why no one wi l l ever be abl e t o cont r ol
t he weat her . One pr obl emi s t hat El Ni no cr eat es war m
t emper at ur es i n t he Paci f i c Ocean t hat di sr upt
t he wor l d' s ecol ogi cal syst em, whi l e La Ni na cr eat es col d
weat her t emper at ur es i n t he Paci f i c, and t he
t wo of t hemcombi ned compl et el y negat e any r eal i st i c
weat her cont r ol pl anni ng. The Sout her n Hemi spher e i s about
ei ght y per cent ocean, whi l e t he Nor t her n Hemi spher e i s si xt y
per cent ocean,
causi ng anot her i mbal ance. I n addi t i on t o t hat , t he j et
st r eamdet er mi nes t he pat h of st or ms, and
t her e i s no way t o cont r ol t hat . "
Gr eenbur g nodded, t hen hesi t at ed. " Do you know why we' r e
her e, Mr . Ki ngsl ey?"
Tanner st udi ed Gr eenbur g a moment . " I t r ust t hat t hat i s a
r het or i cal quest i on. Ot her wi se, I woul d f i nd i t of f ensi ve.
Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup i s a t hi nk t ank. Four of my
empl oyees have di ed or di sappear ed myst er i ousl y wi t hi n a
per i od of t went y- f our hour s. We have al r eady st ar t ed our own
i nvest i gat i on.
We have of f i ces i n maj or ci t i es ar ound t he wor l d, wi t h
ei ght een hundr ed empl oyees, and i t i s obvi ousl y di f f i cul t f or
me t o keep i n cont act wi t h al l of t hem. But what I have
l ear ned so f ar i s t hat t wo of t he empl oyees who wer e mur der ed
wer e appar ent l y i nvol ved i n i l l egal act i vi t i es. I t cost t hem
t hei r l i ves
but I assur e you, i t i s not goi ng t o cost Ki ngsl ey
I nt er nat i onal Gr oup i t s r eput at i on. I expect our peopl e
t o r esol ve t hi s ver y qui ckl y. "
Gr eenbur g spoke up. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, t her e' s somet hi ng el se.
We under st and t hat si x year s ago a
J apanese sci ent i st named Aki r a I so commi t t ed sui ci de i n
Tokyo. Thr ee year s ago a Swi ss sci ent i st
named Madel ei ne Smi t h commi t t ed sui ci de i n"
Tanner i nt er r upt ed. " Zur i ch. Nei t her of t hemcommi t t ed
sui ci de. They wer e mur der ed. "
The t wo det ect i ves l ooked at hi mi n sur pr i se. Pr aegi t zer
asked, " How do you know t hat ?"
Ther e was a har dened t one i n Tanner ' s voi ce. " They wer e
ki l l ed because of me. "
" When you say"
" Aki r a I so was a br i l l i ant sci ent i st . He wor ked f or a
J apanese el ect r oni cs congl omer at e cal l ed Tokyo
Fi r st I ndust r i al . I met I so at an i nt er nat i onal i ndust r y
convent i on i n Tokyo. We got al ong wel l . I f el t
t hat KI G coul d of f er hi ma bet t er at mospher e t han t he
company he was wi t h. I made hi man of f er t o wor k her e, and he
accept ed. I n f act , he was ver y exci t ed about i t . " Tanner was
f i ght i ng t o keep hi s
voi ce st eady. " We agr eed t o keep i t conf i dent i al unt i l he
was l egal l y abl e t o l eave t hat company. But
he obvi ousl y ment i oned i t t o someone, because t her e was an
i t emabout i t i n a newspaper col umn,
and . . . " Tanner st opped agai n f or a l ong moment , t hen
went on. " The day af t er t he i t emappear ed,
I so was f ound dead i n a hot el r oom. "
Rober t Pr aegi t zer asked, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, coul dn' t t her e
have been ot her r easons t hat mi ght expl ai n hi s deat h?"
Tanner shook hi s head. " No. I di dn' t bel i eve he commi t t ed
sui ci de. I hi r ed i nvest i gat or s and sent t hem
and some of my own peopl e t o J apan t o t r y t o l ear n what
had happened. They coul dn' t f i nd any
evi dence of f oul pl ay, and I t hought t hat per haps I was
wr ong, t hat possi bl y t her e was some t r agedy
i n I so' s l i f e t hat I knew not hi ng about . "
" Then why ar e you so sur e now t hat he was mur der ed?"
Gr een- bur g want ed t o know.
" As you ment i oned, a sci ent i st named Madel ei ne Smi t h
supposedl y commi t t ed sui ci de i n Zur i ch, t hr ee year s ago. What
you don' t know i s t hat Madel ei ne Smi t h al so want ed t o l eave
t he peopl e she wor ked
f or and come t o our company. "
Gr eenbur g f r owned. " What makes you t hi nk t he t wo deat hs
ar e connect ed?"
Tanner ' s f ace was st one. " Because t he company she wor ked
f or i s a br anch of t he same Tokyo Fi r st I ndust r i al . "
Ther e was a st unned si l ence.
Pr aegi t zer sai d, " Ther e' s somet hi ng I don' t under st and.
Why woul d t hey mur der an empl oyee j ust because she want s t o
qui t ? I f "
" Madel ei ne Smi t h wasn' t j ust an empl oyee. Nei t her was I so.
They wer e br i l l i ant physi ci st s who wer e about t o sol ve
pr obl ems t hat woul d have made t he company a f or t une l ar ger
t han you can i magi ne.
That ' s why t hey di dn' t want t o l ose ei t her of t hemt o us. "
" Di d t he Swi ss pol i ce i nvest i gat e Smi t h' s deat h?"
" Yes. So di d we. But agai n, we coul d pr ove not hi ng. As a
mat t er of f act , we' r e st i l l wor ki ng on al l t he deat hs t hat
occur r ed, and I expect t hat we wi l l sol ve t hem. KI G has
f ar - r eachi ng connect i ons al l over t he wor l d. I f I get any
usef ul i nf or mat i on, I wi l l be happy t o shar e i t wi t h you. I
hope you wi l l r eci pr ocat e. "
Gr eenbur g sai d, " That ' s f ai r enough. "
A gol d- pl at ed phone on Tanner ' s desk r ang. " Excuse me. " He
wal ked over t o t he desk and pi cked up
t he phone. " Hel l o. . . . Yes. . . . The i nvest i gat i on' s
comi ng al ong ver y sat i sf act or i l y. As a mat t er of f act , t wo
det ect i ves ar e i n my of f i ce at t hi s moment , and t hey have
agr eed t o cooper at e wi t h us. " He gl anced over at Pr aegi t zer
and Gr eenbur g. " Ri ght . . . . I ' l l l et you know when we have
any f ur t her news. " He r epl aced t he r ecei ver .
Gr eenbur g asked, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, ar e you wor ki ng on
anyt hi ng sensi t i ve her e?"
" You mean ar e we wor ki ng on somet hi ng sensi t i ve enough t o
have hal f a dozen peopl e mur der ed? Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g, t her e
ar e mor e t han a hundr ed t hi nk t anks ar ound t he wor l d, some of
t hem
wor ki ng on exact l y t he same pr obl ems we ar e. We' r e not
bui l di ng at omi c bombs her e. The answer
t o your quest i on i s no. "
The door opened, and Andr ew Ki ngsl ey wal ked i nt o t he
of f i ce car r yi ng a st ack of paper s. Andr ew Ki ngsl ey bor e
l i t t l e r esembl ance t o hi s br ot her . Hi s f eat ur es seemed t o be
bl ur r ed. He had t hi nni ng gr ay hai r , a l i ned f ace, and he
wal ked i n a sl i ght l y st ooped post ur e. Wher eas Tanner Ki ngsl ey
was br i mmi ng wi t h vi t al i t y and i nt el l i gence, Andr ew Ki ngsl ey
appear ed t o be sl ow- wi t t ed and apat het i c. He spoke hal t i ngl y
and seemed t o have t r oubl e put t i ng sent ences t oget her .
" Her e ar e t hoseyou knowt hose not es you asked f or ,
Tanner . I ' msor r y I di dn' t f i ni shf i ni sh t hemear l i er . "
" That ' s per f ect l y al l r i ght , Andr ew. " Tanner t ur ned t o t he
t wo det ect i ves. " Thi s i s my br ot her , Andr ew. Det ect i ves
Gr eenbur g and Pr aegi t zer . "
Andr ew l ooked at t hemuncer t ai nl y and bl i nked.
" Andr ew, do you want t o t el l t hemabout your Nobel Pr i ze?"
Andr ew l ooked at Tanner and sai d vaguel y, " Yes, t he Nobel
Pr i ze . . . t he Nobel Pr i ze . . . "
They wat ched as he t ur ned and shuf f l ed out of t he r oom.
Tanner si ghed. " As I ment i oned, Andr ew was t he f ounder of
t hi s company, a t r ul y br i l l i ant man. He
was awar ded t he Nobel Pr i ze f or one of hi s di scover i es
seven year s ago. Unf or t unat el y, he became i nvol ved i n an
exper i ment t hat went wr ong and i t i t changed hi m. " Hi s t one
was bi t t er .
" He must have been a r emar kabl e man. "
" You have no i dea. "
Ear l Gr eenbur g r ose and hel d out hi s hand. " Wel l , we won' t
t ake up any mor e of your t i me,
Mr . Ki ngsl ey. We' l l keep i n t ouch. "
" Gent l emen" Tanner ' s voi ce was st eel . " Let ' s get t hese
cr i mes sol vedf ast . "
CHAPTER 16
TANNER COULD NOT st op br oodi ng about t he woman he had
t hought of as Pr i ncess. And t he mor e
he t hought about how i nsol ent she had been and how she had
r i di cul ed hi m, t he mor e i ncensed he became. We' r e goi ng t o
have t o i mpr ove your l i ne, l ove. Do you have any i dea how
t r i t e i t i s?. . .
Ar e you f eel i ng hor ny, dar l i ng?. . . Get out your l i t t l e
bl ack book and we' l l t r y t o f i nd someone
who' s avai l abl e f or you t oni ght . . . I t was as t hough he
needed t o exor ci se her . He deci ded he woul d
see her once mor e, t o gi ve her t he comeuppance she
deser ved, and t hen f or get about her .
* * *
TANNER WAI TED THREE days and t el ephoned. " Pr i ncess?"
" Who i s t hi s?" He was r eady t o sl amdown t he phone. How
many goddamn men cal l ed her Pr i ncess?
He managed t o keep hi s voi ce cal m. " Thi s i s Tanner
Ki ngsl ey. "
" Oh, yes. How ar e you?" Her t one was compl et el y
i ndi f f er ent . I ' ve made a mi st ake, Tanner t hought .
I shoul d never have cal l ed her . " I t hought we coul d have
di nner agai n somet i me, but you' r e pr obabl y busy, so l et ' s
f or get "
" What about t hi s eveni ng?"
Tanner was caught of f guar d agai n. He coul d not wai t t o
t each t he bi t ch a l esson.
* * *
FOUR HOURS LATER, Tanner was seat ed acr oss a t abl e f r om
Paul a Cooper at a smal l Fr ench r est aur ant east of Lexi ngt on
Avenue. He was sur pr i sed by how pl eased he was t o see her
agai n. He
had f or got t en how vi t al and al i ve she was.
" I ' ve mi ssed you, Pr i ncess, " Tanner sai d.
She smi l ed. " Oh, I ' ve mi ssed you, t oo. You' r e r eal l y
somet hi ng. You' r e ver y speci al . "
They wer e hi s wor ds comi ng back t o hi m, mocki ng hi m. Damn
her .
I t l ooked l i ke t he eveni ng was goi ng t o be a r epl ay of
t hei r l ast meet i ng. On Tanner ' s ot her r omant i c eveni ngs, he
had al ways been t he one who cont r ol l ed t he conver sat i on. Wi t h
Pr i ncess, he had t he unset t l i ng f eel i ng t hat she was al ways
one st ep ahead of hi m. She had a qui ck comeback f or
ever yt hi ng he had t o say. She was wi t t y and swi f t and t ook
no nonsense f r omhi m.
The women Tanner dat ed wer e beaut i f ul and wi l l i ng, but f or
t he f i r st t i me i n hi s l i f e, Tanner f el t t hat per haps
somet hi ng had been mi ssi ng. They had been t oo easy. They wer e
al l agr eeabl e, but t hey
wer e t oo agr eeabl e. Ther e was no chal l enge. Paul a, on t he
ot her hand . . .
" Tel l me about you, " Tanner sai d.
She shr ugged. " My f at her was r i ch and power f ul and I gr ew
up as a spoi l ed br at mai ds and but l er swai t er s t o ser ve us at
t he swi mmi ng pool , Radcl i f f e, and a f i ni shi ng school t he
whol e bi t .
Then my f at her l ost i t al l and di ed. I ' ve been wor ki ng as
an execut i ve assi st ant t o a pol i t i ci an. "
" Ar e you enj oyi ng i t ?"
" No. He' s bor i ng. " Her eyes met hi s. " I ' ml ooki ng f or
someone mor e i nt er est i ng. "
* * *
THE NEXT DAY, Tanner cal l ed agai n.
" Pr i ncess?"
" I was hopi ng you woul d cal l , Tanner . " Her voi ce was
i nvi t i ng.
Tanner f el t a smal l f r i sson of pl easur e. " Wer e you?"
" Yes. Wher e ar e you t aki ng me t o di nner t oni ght ?"
He l aughed. " Anywher e you woul d l i ke t o go. "
" I ' d l i ke t o go t o Maxi m' s i n Par i s, but I ' l l set t l e f or
goi ng anywher e i f I can be wi t h you. "
She had t hr own hi mof f guar d agai n, but f or some r eason,
her wor ds war med hi m.
* * *
THEY HAD DI NNER at La Cot e Basque on Fi f t y- f i f t h St r eet ,
and t hr oughout di nner , Tanner kept l ooki ng at her and
wonder i ng why he was so at t r act ed t o her . I t was not her
l ooks; i t was her mi nd
and per sonal i t y t hat wer e dazzl i ng. Her whol e essence
bl azed wi t h i nt el l i gence and sel f - conf i dence.
She was t he most i ndependent woman he had ever known.
Thei r conver sat i ons r anged over myr i ad subj ect s, and
Tanner f ound her t o be r emar kabl y
knowl edgeabl e.
" What do you want t o do wi t h your l i f e, Pr i ncess?"
She st udi ed Tanner a moment bef or e answer i ng. " I want
power t he power t o make t hi ngs happen. "
Tanner smi l ed. " Then we' r e a l ot al i ke. "
" How many women have you sai d t hat t o, Tanner ?"
He f ound hi msel f get t i ng angr y. " Wi l l you st op doi ng t hat ?
When I say you' r e di f f er ent f r omany
woman I ' ve ever "
" Ever what ?"
Tanner sai d, exasper at ed. " You f r ust r at e me. "
" Poor dar l i ng. I f you' r e f r ust r at ed, why don' t you go t ake
a shower ?"
The anger st ar t ed agai n. He had had enough. He r ose.
" Never mi nd. Ther e' s no use t r yi ng t o"
at my pl ace. "
Tanner coul d har dl y bel i eve what he was hear i ng. " Your
pl ace?"
" Yes, I have a l i t t l e pi ed- a- t er r e on Par k Avenue, " she
sai d. " Woul d you l i ke t o t ake me home?"
They ski pped desser t .
* * *
THE LI TTLE PI ED- A- TERRE was a sumpt uous apar t ment ,
beaut i f ul l y f ur ni shed. Tanner l ooked ar ound, amazed at how
l uxur i ous i t was, and how el egant . The apar t ment sui t ed her :
an ecl ect i c
col l ect i on of pai nt i ngs, a r ef ect or y t abl e, a l ar ge
chandel i er , an I t al i an set t ee, and a set of si x
Chi ppendal e chai r s and a couch. That was al l t hat Tanner
had t i me t o see bef or e she sai d, " Come
see my bedr oom. "
The bedr oomwas done i n whi t e, wi t h al l - whi t e f ur ni t ur e,
and a l ar ge mi r r or ed cei l i ng over t he bed.
Tanner l ooked ar ound and sai d, " I ' mi mpr essed. Thi s i s t he
most "
" Shh. " Paul a began t o undr ess hi m. " We can t al k l at er . "
When she had f i ni shed undr essi ng Tanner , she st ar t ed
sl owl y t aki ng of f her own cl ot hes. She had
a body t hat was er ot i c per f ect i on. Her ar ms wer e ar ound
Tanner and she was pr essed agai nst hi m,
and she put her l i ps t o hi s ear and whi sper ed, " That ' s
enough f or epl ay. "
They wer e i n bed and she was r eady f or hi m, and when he
was i nsi de her , she squeezed her hi ps and t hi ghs t i ght l y
t oget her and t hen r el axed t hem, and squeezed agai n and
r epeat ed i t , get t i ng Tanner mor e and mor e exci t ed. She kept
shi f t i ng her body sl i ght l y, so t hat each sensat i on was
di f f er ent f or hi m. She gave hi mvol upt uous gi f t s he had never
i magi ned, st i mul at i ng hi mt o an ecst at i c pi t ch of exci t ement .
Much l at er , t hey t al ked f ar i nt o t he ni ght .
They wer e t oget her ever y eveni ng af t er t hat . Pr i ncess was
const ant l y sur pr i si ng Tanner wi t h her humor and char m, and
gr adual l y, i n hi s eyes, she had become beaut i f ul .
* * *
ONE MORNI NG, ANDREWsai d t o Tanner , " I ' ve never seen you
smi l e so much. I s i t a woman?"
Tanner nodded. " Yes. "
" I s i t ser i ous? Ar e you goi ng t o mar r y her ?"
" I ' ve been t hi nki ng about i t . "
Andr ew r egar ded Tanner f or a moment . " Maybe you shoul d
t el l her . "
Tanner squeezed Andr ew' s ar m. " Maybe I wi l l . "
The f ol l owi ng ni ght , Tanner and Pr i ncess wer e al one i n her
apar t ment .
Tanner began, " Pr i ncess, you once asked me t o say t o you
somet hi ng I had never sai d t o a woman bef or e. "
" Yes, dar l i ng?"
" Her e i t i s. I want you t o mar r y me. "
Ther e was a moment ' s hesi t at i on, and she gr i nned and f l ew
i nt o hi s ar ms. " Oh, Tanner ! "
He l ooked i nt o her eyes. " I s t hat a yes?"
" I want t o mar r y you, dar l i ng, but I ' maf r ai d we have a
pr obl em. "
" What pr obl em?"
" I t ol d you. I want t o do somet hi ng i mpor t ant . I want
enough power t o make t hi ngs happent o change t hi ngs. And t he
r oot of t hat i s money. How can we have a f ut ur e t oget her i f
you don' t have a f ut ur e?"
Tanner t ook her hand. " Ther e' s no pr obl em. I own hal f of
an i mpor t ant busi ness, Pr i ncess. One day
I ' mgoi ng t o make enough money t o gi ve you ever yt hi ng you
want . "
She shook her head. " No. Your br ot her , Andr ew, t el l s you
what t o do. I know al l about you t wo.
He won' t l et t he company gr ow, and I need mor e t han you
can gi ve me now. "
" You' r e wr ong. " Tanner r ef l ect ed a moment . " I want you t o
meet Andr ew. "
* * *
THE THREE OF t hemhad l unch t he f ol l owi ng day. Paul a was
char mi ng, and i t was obvi ous t hat Andr ew l i ked her
i mmedi at el y. Andr ew had been wor r i ed about some of t he women
hi s br ot her had
been t aki ng out . Thi s one was di f f er ent . She was
per sonabl e and i nt el l i gent and wi t t y. Andr ew l ooked over at
hi s br ot her , and hi s nod meant " good choi ce. "
Paul a sai d, " I t hi nk t hat what Ki ngsl ey Gr oup i s doi ng i s
wonder f ul , Andr ew, hel pi ng so many peopl e ar ound t he wor l d.
Tanner ' s t ol d me al l about i t . "
" I ' mgr at ef ul t hat we can do i t . And we' r e goi ng t o do
even mor e. "
" You mean t he company' s goi ng t o expand?"
" Not i n t hat sense. I mean t hat we' r e goi ng t o send mor e
peopl e t o mor e count r i es wher e t hey can
be hel pf ul . "
Tanner sai d qui ckl y, " Then we' l l st ar t t o get cont r act s
f or assi gnment s her e and"
Andr ew smi l ed. " Tanner i s so i mpat i ent . Ther e' s no hur r y.
Let ' s do what we wer e meant t o do f i r st , Tanner . Hel p
ot her s. "
Tanner l ooked over at Pr i ncess. Her expr essi on was
noncommi t t al . The next day, Tanner t el ephoned. " Hi , Pr i ncess.
What t i me shoul d I pi ck you up?"
Ther e was a moment of si l ence. " Dar l i ng, I ' mso sor r y. I
can' t keep our dat e t oni ght . "
Tanner was caught by sur pr i se. " I s anyt hi ng wr ong?"
" No. A f r i end of mi ne i s i n t own and I have t o see hi m. "
Hi m? Tanner f el t a pang of j eal ousy.
" I under st and. Then t omor r ow ni ght we' l l "
" No, I can' t t omor r ow. Why don' t we make i t Monday?" She
was goi ng t o spend t he weekend wi t h whoever i t was. Tanner
hung up, wor r i ed and f r ust r at ed.
* * *
MONDAY NI GHT, PRI NCESS apol ogi zed. " I ' msor r y about t he
weekend, dar l i ng. I t ' s j ust t hat t hi s
i s an ol d f r i end who came t o t own t o see me. "
I nt o Tanner ' s mi nd f l ashed a pi ct ur e of Pr i ncess' s
beaut i f ul apar t ment . Ther e was no way she coul d af f or d t hat
on a sal ar y. " Who i s he?"
" I ' msor r y. I can' t t el l you hi s name. He' she' s t oo wel l
known and he doesn' t l i ke publ i ci t y. "
" Ar e you i n l ove wi t h hi m?"
She t ook Tanner ' s hand and sai d sof t l y, " Tanner , I ' mi n
l ove wi t h you. And onl y you. "
" I s he i n l ove wi t h you?"
She hesi t at ed. " Yes. "
Tanner t hought : I have t o f i nd a way t o gi ve her
ever yt hi ng she want s. I can' t l ose her .
* * *
The NEXT DAY, at 4: 58 a. m. , Andr ew Ki ngsl ey was awakened
by t he sound of hi s r i ngi ng t el ephone.
" I have a cal l f or you f r omSweden. Hol d on, pl ease. "
A moment l at er , a voi ce wi t h a sl i ght Swedi sh accent sai d:
" Congr at ul at i ons, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. The Nobel Commi t t ee has
chosen you t o r ecei ve t he Nobel Pr i ze i n Physi cs f or t hi s
year , f or your i nnovat i ve
wor k i n nanot echnol ogy . . . "
The Nobel Pr i ze! When t he conver sat i on was over , Andr ew
hur r i edl y dr essed and went st r ai ght t o hi s of f i ce. The mi nut e
Tanner ar r i ved, Andr ew r ushed t o t el l hi s br ot her t he news.
Tanner t hr ew hi s ar ms ar ound hi m. " The Nobel ! That ' s
wonder f ul , Andr ew! Wonder f ul ! "
And i t was. Because now al l of Tanner ' s pr obl ems wer e
about t o be sol ved.
Fi ve mi nut es l at er , Tanner was t al ki ng t o Pr i ncess. " Do
you see what t hi s means, dar l i ng? Now t hat Ki ngsl ey Gr oup has
a Nobel Pr i ze, we can get al l t he busi ness we can handl e. I ' m
t al ki ng about bi g gover nment cont r act s and huge cor por at i ons.
I ' l l be abl e t o gi ve you t he wor l d. "
" That ' s f abul ous, dar l i ng. "
" Wi l l you mar r y me?"
" Tanner , I want t o mar r y you mor e t han anyt hi ng i n t he
wor l d. "
When Tanner r epl aced t he r ecei ver , he was euphor i c. He
hur r i ed i nt o hi s br ot her ' s of f i ce. " Andr ew,
I ' mget t i ng mar r i ed. "
Andr ew l ooked up and sai d war ml y, " That ' s good news. When
i s t he weddi ng?"
" We' l l set i t up soon. The whol e st af f wi l l be i nvi t ed. "
* * *
WHEN TANNER WENT i nt o hi s of f i ce t he f ol l owi ng mor ni ng,
Andr ew was wai t i ng f or hi m. He
was wear i ng a bout onni er e.
" What ' s t hat f or ?"
Andr ew gr i nned. " I ' mget t i ng r eady f or your weddi ng. I ' m
so happy f or you. "
" Thank you, Andr ew. "
The news spr ead qui ckl y. Si nce t he weddi ng had not been
of f i ci al l y announced, no one sai d anyt hi ng
t o Tanner , but t her e wer e knowi ng l ooks and smi l es.
* * *
TANNER WENT I NTO hi s br ot her ' s of f i ce. " Andr ew, wi t h t he
Nobel , ever ybody wi l l be comi ng t o
us. And wi t h t he pr i ze money"
Andr ew i nt er r upt ed. " Wi t h t he pr i ze money, we can af f or d
t o hi r e mor e peopl e t o send t o Er i t r ea
and Uganda. "
Tanner sai d sl owl y, " But you' r e goi ng t o use t hi s awar d t o
bui l d up t hi s busi ness, ar en' t you?"
Andr ew shook hi s head. " We' r e doi ng j ust what we set out
t o do, Tanner .
Tanner l ooked at hi s br ot her a l ong moment . " I t ' s your
company, Andr ew. "
* * *
TANNER TELEPHONED HER as soon as he had made hi s deci si on.
" Pr i ncess, I have t o go t o Washi ngt on on busi ness. You may
not hear f r omme f or a day or t wo. "
She sai d t easi ngl y, " No bl ondes, br unet t es, or r edheads. "
" No chance. You' r e t he onl y woman i n t he wor l d I ' mi n l ove
wi t h. "
" And I ' mi n l ove wi t h you. "
* * *
THE FOLLOWI NG MORNI NG, Tanner Ki ngsl ey was at t he
Pent agon, meet i ng wi t h t he ar my chi ef
of st af f , Gener al Al an Bar t on.
" I t hought your pr oposal was ver y i nt er est i ng, " Gener al
Bar t on sai d. " We wer e di scussi ng whomwe
wer e goi ng t o use f or t he t est . "
" Your t est i nvol ves mi cr o- nanot echnol ogy, and my br ot her
j ust got a Nobel Pr i ze f or hi s wor k i n i t . "
" We ar e wel l awar e of t hat . "
" He i s so exci t ed about t hi s t hat he woul d l i ke t o do i t
pr o bono. "
" We' r e f l at t er ed, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. We don' t have many Nobel
l aur eat es of f er i ng t hei r ser vi ces. " He l ooked up t o make sur e
t he door was cl osed. " Thi s i s t op secr et . I f i t wor ks, i t ' s
goi ng t o be one of t he most i mpor t ant component s of our
ar mament . Mol ecul ar nano- t echnol ogy can gi ve us cont r ol of
t he physi cal wor l d at t he l evel of i ndi vi dual at oms. Unt i l
now, ef f or t s t o make chi ps even smal l er t han t hey ar e have
been bl ocked by t he el ect r on i nt er f er ence cal l ed ' cr oss
t al k, ' when el ect r ons ar e uncont r ol l ed. I f t hi s exper i ment i s
successf ul , i t wi l l gi ve us si gni f i cant new def ense weapons
and at t ack weapons. "
Tanner sai d, " Ther e' s no danger t o t hi s exper i ment , i s
t her e? I don' t want anyt hi ng t o happen t o my br ot her . "
" You need not wor r y. We wi l l send over al l t he equi pment
you need, i ncl udi ng t he saf e sui t s and t wo
of our sci ent i st s t o wor k wi t h your br ot her . "
" Then we have a go- ahead?"
" You have a go- ahead. "
On hi s way back t o New Yor k, Tanner t hought , Now al l I
have t o do i s convi nce Andr ew.
CHAPTER 17
ANDREWWAS I N hi s of f i ce, l ooki ng at a col or f ul bookl et
t hat t he Nobel Commi t t ee had sent hi m,
al ong wi t h a not e: " We' r e l ooki ng f or war d t o your
ar r i val . " Ther e wer e pi ct ur es of t he huge St ockhol mconcer t
hal l , wi t h t he audi ence appl audi ng a Nobel l aur eat e as he
wal ked acr oss t he st age t o r ecei ve
hi s awar d f r omKi ng Car l XVI Gust av of Sweden. And soon
I ' l l be up t her e, Andr ew t hought .
The door opened and Tanner wal ked i n. " We have t o t al k. "
Andr ew set t he bookl et asi de. " Yes, Tanner ?"
Tanner t ook a deep br eat h. " I ' ve j ust commi t t ed Ki ngsl ey
Gr oup t o assi st t he ar my i n an exper i ment t hey' r e
conduct i ng. "
" You what ?"
" The t est i nvol ves cr yogeni cs. They need your hel p. "
Andr ew shook hi s head. " No. I can' t get i nvol ved i n t hat ,
Tanner . Thi s i sn' t t he sor t of t hi ng we' r e
doi ng her e. "
" Thi s i sn' t about money, Andr ew. Thi s i s about t he def ense
of t he Uni t ed St at es of Amer i ca. I t ' s
ver y i mpor t ant t o t he ar my. You' d be doi ng t hi s f or your
count r y. Pr o bono. They need you. "
Tanner spent anot her hour per suadi ng hi m. Fi nal l y, Andr ew
gave i n. " Al l r i ght . But t hi s i s t he l ast
t i me we get of f t he t r ack, Tanner . Agr eed?"
Tanner smi l ed. " Agr eed. I can' t t el l you how pr oud I amof
you. "
* * *
HE CALLED PRI NCESS and l ef t a message on her voi ce mai l .
" I ' mback, dar l i ng. We have a ver y i mpor t ant exper i ment
comi ng up. I ' l l cal l you when i t ' s over . I l ove you. "
* * *
TWO ARMY TECHNI CI ANS ar r i ved t o br i ef Andr ew on t he
pr ogr ess t hey had made so f ar . Andr ew had been r el uct ant at
f i r st , but as t hey di scussed t he pr oj ect , Andr ew became mor e
and mor e exci t ed.
I f t he pr obl ems coul d be sol ved, i t woul d be a maj or
br eakt hr ough.
An hour l at er , Andr ew wat ched as an ar my t r uck dr ove
t hr ough t he gat es of Ki ngsl ey Gr oup, escor t ed
by t wo ar my st af f car s, car r yi ng ar med sol di er s. He went
out t o meet t he col onel i n char ge of t he cadr e.
" Her e i t i s, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. What do we do wi t h i t ?"
" I ' l l handl e i t f r omher e, " Andr ew sai d. " J ust unl oad i t
and we' l l t ake over . "
" Yes, si r . " The col onel t ur ned t o t wo sol di er s st andi ng at
t he r ear of t he t r uck. " Let ' s unl oad i t . And be car ef ul . I
mean ver y car ef ul . "
The men r eached i nsi de t he t r uck and gi nger l y br ought out
a smal l , heavy- dut y met al l i c car r yi ng case.
Wi t hi n mi nut es, t wo st af f assi st ant s wer e car r yi ng t he
case i nt o a l abor at or y, under Andr ew' s super vi si on.
" On t hat t abl e, " he sai d, " ver y gent l y. " He wat ched as
t hey set i t down. " Fi ne. "
" One of us coul d have car r i ed i t . I t ' s ver y l i ght . "
" You woul dn' t bel i eve how heavy i t i s, " Andr ew t ol d t hem.
The t wo assi st ant s l ooked at hi m, puzzl ed. " What ?"
Andr ew shook hi s head. " Never mi nd. "
Two exper t chemi st s, Per r y St anf or d and Har vey Wal ker , had
been sel ect ed t o wor k on t he pr oj ect
wi t h Andr ew.
The t wo men had al r eady donned t he heavy pr ot ect i ve sui t s
t hat wer e r equi r ed f or t he exper i ment .
" I ' l l get sui t ed up, " Andr ew sai d. " Be r i ght back. "
He wal ked down t he cor r i dor t o a cl osed door and opened
i t . I nsi de wer e r acks hol di ng f ul l chemi cal
gear r esembl i ng space sui t s, al ong wi t h gas masks,
goggl es, speci al shoes, and heavy gl oves.
Andr ew wal ked i nt o t he r oomt o put on hi s sui t , and Tanner
was t her e t o wi sh hi ml uck.
* * *
WHEN ANDREWRETURNED t o t he l abor at or y, St anf or d and
Wal ker wer e wai t i ng. The t hr ee
men met i cul ousl y seal ed t he r oomso t hat i t was ai r t i ght ,
t hen car ef ul l y secur ed t he door . They coul d
al l f eel t he exci t ement i n t he ai r .
" Al l set ?"
St anf or d nodded. " Ready. "
Wal ker sai d, " Ready. "
" Masks. "
They donned t hei r pr ot ect i ve gas masks.
" Let ' s begi n, " Andr ew sai d. He caut i ousl y l i f t ed t he l i d
f r omt he met al l i c box. I nsi de wer e si x smal l
vi al s f i t t ed snugl y i nt o pr ot ect i ve cushi ons. " Be
car ef ul , " he war ned. " These geni es ar e t wo hundr ed t went y- t wo
degr ees bel ow zer o. " Hi s voi ce was muf f l ed by t he gas mask.
St anf or d and Wal ker wat ched as Andr ew gent l y l i f t ed t he
f i r st vi al and opened i t . I t began hi ssi ng,
and st eamr i si ng f r omt he vi al t ur ned i nt o a f r eezi ng
cl oud t hat seemed t o sat ur at e t he r oom.
" Al l r i ght , " Andr ew sai d. " Now, t he f i r st t hi ng we have t o
dot he f i r st t hi ng" Hi s eyes wi dened.
He was choki ng, hi s f ace t ur ni ng chal ky whi t e. He t r i ed t o
speak, but no wor ds came out .
St anf or d and Wal ker wat ched i n hor r or as Andr ew' s body
t umbl ed t o t he f l oor . Wal ker hast i l y capped
t he vi al and cl osed t he case. St anf or d hur r i ed t o t he wal l
and pr essed a but t on t hat act i vat ed a gi ant
f an t hat swept t he f r i gi d gas vapor out of t he l ab.
When t he ai r was cl ear , t he t wo sci ent i st s opened t he door
and hur r i edl y car r i ed Andr ew out si de.
Tanner , wal ki ng down t he hal l way, saw what was happeni ng
and a pani cky l ook came over hi s f ace.
He r an over t o t he t wo men and l ooked down at hi s br ot her .
" What t he hel l i s goi ng on?"
St anf or d sai d, " Ther e' s been an acci dent and"
" What ki nd of acci dent ?" Tanner was scr eami ng l i ke a
madman. " What have you done t o my br ot her ?" Peopl e wer e
st ar t i ng t o gat her ar ound. " Cal l 911. Never mi nd. We haven' t
t i me f or t hat . We' l l get hi m
t o t he hospi t al i n one of our car s. "
* * *
TWENTY MI NUTES LATER, Andr ew was l yi ng on a gur ney i n a
r oomof t he emer gency war d at
St . Vi ncent ' s Hospi t al i n Manhat t an. Ther e was a pul sat i ng
oxygen mask on hi s f ace and an I V i n hi s
ar m. Two doct or s wer e hover i ng over hi m.
Tanner was f r ant i cal l y paci ng up and down. " You' ve got t o
t ake car e of what ever i s wr ong, " he yel l ed. " Now! "
One of t he doct or s sai d, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, I must ask you t o
l eave t he r oom. "
" No, " Tanner shout ed. " I ' mst ayi ng r i ght her e wi t h my
br ot her . " He wal ked over t o t he gur ney wher e Andr ew was
l yi ng, unconsci ous, and t ook hi s hand and squeezed i t . " Come
on, br o. Wake up. We
need you. "
Ther e was no r esponse.
Tear s f i l l ed Tanner ' s eyes. " You' r e goi ng t o be f i ne.
Don' t wor r y. We' r e goi ng t o f l y i n t he best
doct or s i n t he wor l d. You' r e goi ng t o get wel l . " He t ur ned
t o t he doct or s. " I want a pr i vat e sui t e
and t went y- f our - hour pr i vat e nur ses, and I want a cot put
i n hi s r oom. I ' mst ayi ng wi t h hi m. "
" Mr . Ki ngsl ey, we' d l i ke t o f i ni sh our exami nat i on. "
Tanner sai d def i ant l y, " I ' l l be wai t i ng i n t he hal l . "
* * *
ANDREWWAS RUSHED downst ai r s f or a number of MRI and CAT
scans as wel l as ext ensi ve
bl ood wor k. A mor e sophi st i cat ed scan, a PET scan, was
schedul ed. Af t er war d, he was moved t o
a sui t e wher e t hr ee doct or s wer e t endi ng hi m.
Tanner was i n t he hal l way, si t t i ng i n a chai r , wai t i ng.
When one of t he doct or s f i nal l y came out of Andr ew' s r oom,
Tanner l eaped t o hi s f eet . " He' s goi ng t o be al l r i ght , i sn' t
he?"
The doct or hesi t at ed. " We' r e t r ansf er r i ng hi mi mmedi at el y
t o t he Wal t er Reed Ar my Medi cal Cent er ,
i n Washi ngt on, f or f ur t her di agnosi s, but f r ankl y, Mr .
Ki ngsl ey, we don' t have much hope. "
" What t he hel l ar e you t al ki ng about ?" Tanner was yel l i ng.
" Of cour se he' s goi ng t o get wel l . He was
i n t hat l ab onl y a f ew mi nut es. "
The doct or was about t o r epr i mand hi m, but he l ooked up,
and Tanner ' s eyes wer e f i l l ed wi t h t ear s.
Tanner r ode t o Washi ngt on i n t he ambul ance pl ane wi t h hi s
unconsci ous br ot her . He kept r eassur i ng
hi mdur i ng t he ent i r e f l i ght . " The doct or s say you' r e
goi ng t o be f i ne. . . . They' r e goi ng t o gi ve you somet hi ng
t o make you wel l . . . . Al l you need i s a l i t t l e r est . "
Tanner put hi s ar ms ar ound hi s br ot her . " You' ve got t o get
wel l i n t i me f or us t o go t o Sweden t o pi ck up your Nobel
Pr i ze. "
* * *
FOR THE NEXT t hr ee days, Tanner sl ept on a cot i n Andr ew' s
r oomand st ayed by hi s br ot her ' s si de
as much as t he doct or s woul d al l ow i t . Tanner was i n t he
wai t i ng r oomat Wal t er Reed when one of t he at t endi ng doct or s
appr oached hi m.
" How i s he doi ng?" Tanner asked. " I s he?" He saw t he
expr essi on on t he doct or ' s f ace. " What i s i t ?"
" I ' maf r ai d i t ' s ver y bad. Your br ot her i s l ucky t o be
al i ve. What ever t hat exper i ment al gas was, i t was ext r emel y
t oxi c. "
" We can br i ng i n doct or s f r om"
" I t ' s no use. I ' maf r ai d t he t oxi ns have al r eady af f ect ed
your br ot her ' s br ai n cel l s. "
Tanner wi nced. " But i sn' t t her e a cur e f or f or what he
has?"
The doct or sai d caust i cal l y, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, t he ar my
doesn' t even have a name f or i t yet , and you
want t o know i f t her e' s a cur e? No. I ' msor r y. I ' maf r ai d
he' she' s never goi ng t o be hi msel f agai n. "
Tanner st ood t her e, hi s f i st s cl enched, hi s f ace whi t e.
" Your br ot her ' s awake now. You can go i n and see hi m, but
onl y f or a f ew mi nut es. "
When Tanner wal ked i nt o Andr ew' s hospi t al r oom, Andr ew' s
eyes wer e open. He st ar ed at hi s vi si t or ,
a bl ank expr essi on on hi s f ace.
The phone r ang and Tanner moved t o answer i t . I t was
Gener al Bar t on. " I ' mt er r i bl y sor r y about what happened t o"
" You bast ar d! You t ol d me t hat my br ot her woul dn' t be i n
any danger . "
" I don' t know what went wr ong, but I assur e you"
Tanner sl ammed down t he r ecei ver . He hear d hi s br ot her ' s
voi ce and t ur ned.
" Wher ewher e amI ?" Andr ew mumbl ed.
" You' r e at Wal t er Reed hospi t al , i n Washi ngt on. "
" Why? Who' s si ck?"
" You ar e, Andr ew. "
" What happened?"
" Somet hi ng went wr ong wi t h t he exper i ment . "
" I don' t r emember "
" I t ' s al l r i ght . Don' t wor r y. You' l l be t aken car e of .
I ' l l see t o i t . " Tanner wat ched Andr ew' s eyes cl ose.
He t ook one l ast l ook at hi s br ot her l yi ng i n bed and l ef t
t he r oom.
* * *
PRI NCESS SENT FLOWERS t o t he hospi t al . Tanner pl anned t o
cal l her , but hi s secr et ar y sai d,
" Oh, she phoned. She had t o go out of t own. She' l l cal l
you as soon as she r et ur ns. She sai d t o t el l
you t hat she l oves you. "
A week l at er , Andr ew and Tanner wer e back i n New Yor k.
Wor d about what had happened t o Andr ew had r aced t hr ough
Ki ngsl ey Gr oup. Wi t hout hi mi n char ge, woul d t he t hi nk t ank
cont i nue t o exi st ?
When t he news of t he acci dent became publ i c, i t was sur e
t o damage Ki ngsl ey Gr oup' s r eput at i on.
That doesn' t mat t er , Tanner t hought . I ' mgoi ng t o make
t hi s t he bi ggest t hi nk t ank i n t he wor l d. Now
I can gi ve Pr i ncess mor e t han she ever dr eamed of . I n a
f ew year s
Tanner ' s secr et ar y buzzed. " Ther e' s a l i mousi ne dr i ver
her e t o see you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Tanner was puzzl ed. " Send hi mi n. "
A uni f or med chauf f eur wal ked i n, hol di ng an envel ope.
" Tanner Ki ngsl ey?"
" Yes. "
" I was asked t o del i ver t hi s t o you per sonal l y. "
He handed Tanner t he envel ope and l ef t .
Tanner l ooked at i t and gr i nned. He r ecogni zed Pr i ncess' s
handwr i t i ng. She had pl anned some ki nd
of sur pr i se f or hi m. Eager l y, he opened t he envel ope. The
not e r ead:
I t i sn' t goi ng t o wor k, my dear est . Ri ght now I need mor e
t han you can gi ve me, so I ' m
mar r yi ng someone who i s abl e t o do t hat . I l ove you and
al ways wi l l . I know you wi l l f i nd
t hi s har d t o bel i eve, but what I amdoi ng i s f or t he good
of bot h of us.
Tanner ' s f ace had gone pal e. He st ar ed at t he not e f or a
l ong t i me and t hen dr opped i t ner vel essl y
i nt o t he wast ebasket . Hi s t r i umph had come one day t oo
l at e.
CHAPTER 18
THE FOLLOWI NG DAY Tanner was si t t i ng qui et l y at hi s desk
when hi s secr et ar y buzzed.
" Ther e' s a commi t t ee her e t o see you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
" A commi t t ee?" Yes, si r .
" Send t hemi n. "
Super vi sor s f r omsever al Ki ngsl ey Gr oup depar t ment s wal ked
i nt o Tanner ' s of f i ce. " We' d l i ke t o
t al k t o you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
" Si t down. "
They t ook seat s.
" What ' s t he pr obl em?"
One of t he f or emen sai d, " Wel l , we' r e ki nd of wor r i ed.
Af t er what ' s happened t o your br ot her . . .
I s Ki ngsl ey Gr oup goi ng t o st ay i n busi ness?"
Tanner shook hi s head. " I don' t know. At t hi s poi nt I ' m
st i l l i n shock. I can' t bel i eve what ' s happened
t o Andr ew. " He was t hought f ul f or a moment . " I ' l l t el l you
what I ' l l do. I can' t pr edi ct our chances, but I ' mgoi ng t o
make ever y ef f or t t o see i f we can st ay af l oat . That ' s a
pr omi se. I ' l l keep you i nf or med. "
Ther e wer e mur mur s of " Thank you, " and Tanner wat ched t he
men depar t .
* * *
THE DAY THAT Andr ew got out of t he hospi t al , Tanner set
hi mup i n a l i t t l e st af f house on t he pr oper t y, wher e he
coul d be t aken car e of , and gave hi man of f i ce next t o hi s.
The empl oyees wer e st unned t o see what had happened t o
Andr ew. He had changed f r oma br i l l i ant , al er t sci ent i st t o
a
zombi e. Most of t he day Andr ew sat i n hi s chai r , l ooki ng
out t he wi ndow, hal f asl eep, but he seemed happy t o be back
at Ki ngsl ey Gr oup, even t hough he had l i t t l e i dea of what was
goi ng on. Al l t he empl oyees wer e t ouched by how wel l Tanner
t r eat ed hi s br ot her and how sol i ci t ous and car i ng he
was of hi m.
* * *
THE ATMOSPHERE AT Ki ngsl ey Gr oup changed al most over ni ght .
When Andr ew was r unni ng
i t , i t had been casual . Now suddenl y i t had become mor e
f or mal and was bei ng r un as a busi ness
i nst ead of a phi l ant hr opy. Tanner sent out agent s t o si gn
up cl i ent s f or t he company. Busi ness began
t o f l our i sh at an ext r aor di nar y pace, and Tanner changed
t he company name t o Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup, j ust as he
had pl anned.
* * *
WORD ABOUT PRI NCESSS' S good- bye not e had spr ead qui ckl y
t hr ough KI G. The empl oyees
had been pr epar ed f or t he mar r i age, and t hey wonder ed how
Tanner woul d t ake t hi s bl ow. Ther e
was a gr eat deal of specul at i on among t he st af f about what
he woul d do af t er bei ng j i l t ed.
Two days af t er Tanner had r ecei ved t he l et t er , an i t emhad
appear ed i n t he newspaper s announci ng t hat Tanner ' s
br i de- t o- be had mar r i ed Edmond Bar cl ay, a bi l l i onai r e medi a
t ycoon. The onl y changes i n Tanner Ki ngsl ey seemed t o be an
i ncr eased moodi ness and a wor k et hi c t hat was even st r onger
t han i t was bef or e. Ever y mor ni ng he spent t wo hour s al one,
wor ki ng on a pr oj ect t hat was shr ouded i n secr ecy.
* * *
ONE EVENI NG, TANNER was i nvi t ed t o speak at MENSA, t he
hi gh- I Q soci et y. Si nce many of t he empl oyees at KI G wer e
member s, he agr eed t o accept .
When Tanner came i nt o headquar t er s t he f ol l owi ng mor ni ng,
he was accompani ed by one of t he most beaut i f ul women hi s
st af f had ever seen. She was Lat i n l ooki ng, wi t h dar k eyes,
an ol i ve compl exi on,
and a sensat i onal f i gur e.
Tanner i nt r oduced her t o t he st af f . " Thi s i s Sebast i ana
Cor t ez. She spoke at MENSA l ast ni ght . She
was br i l l i ant . "
Tanner ' s whol e at t i t ude suddenl y seemed l i ght er . Tanner
t ook Sebast i ana i nt o hi s of f i ce, and t hey di d
not r eappear f or mor e t han an hour . Af t er t hey came out ,
t hey had l unch i n Tanner ' s pr i vat e di ni ng r oom.
One of t he empl oyees l ooked up Sebast i ana Cor t ez on t he
I nt er net . She was a f or mer Mi ss Ar gent i na, and her home was
i n Ci nci nnat i , wher e she was mar r i ed t o a pr omi nent
busi nessman.
When Sebast i ana and Tanner went back i nt o hi s of f i ce af t er
l unch, Tanner buzzed hi s secr et ar y and
t ol d her t o hol d al l cal l s. Moment s l at er , Tanner ' s voi ce
coul d be hear d i n t he r ecept i on r oomt hr ough
t he i nt er com, whi ch had been l ef t open.
" Don' t wor r y, dar l i ng. We' l l f i nd a way t o make i t wor k. "
The secr et ar i es st ar t ed gat her i ng ar ound t he i nt er com,
eager l y l i st eni ng t o t he conver sat i on.
" We have t o be ver y car ef ul . My husband i s a j eal ous
man. "
" Ther e' s no pr obl em. I ' l l make ar r angement s f or us t o keep
i n t ouch. "
I t di d not t ake a geni us t o f i gur e out what was happeni ng.
The st af f was amazed at how qui ckl y he
had got t en over Pr i ncess. I t was al l t hat t he secr et ar i es
coul d do t o keep f r omgi ggl i ng. " I ' msor r y
you have t o go home j ust now. "
" I am, t oo. I wi sh I coul d st ay, but i t can' t be hel ped. "
* * *
WHEN TANNER AND Sebast i ana l ef t t he of f i ce, t hey wer e t he
pi ct ur e of decor um. The st af f t ook del i ght i n t he i dea t hat
Tanner had no cl ue t hey wer e awar e of what was goi ng on.
The day af t er Sebast i ana depar t ed, Tanner ar r anged f or a
phone, gi l ded i n gol d, t o be i nst al l ed i n hi s of f i ce wi t h a
di gi t al scr ambl er . Hi s secr et ar y and assi st ant s had or der s
never t o answer i t .
Fr omt hat t i me on, Tanner spoke on t he gol d phone al most
ever y day, and at t he end of each mont h,
he went away f or a l ong weekend and came back l ooki ng
r ef r eshed. He never t ol d hi s st af f wher e he
had been, but t hey knew.
Two of Tanner ' s ai des wer e t al ki ng, and one of t hemsai d
t o t he ot her , " Does t he wor d r endezvous
r i ng a bel l ?"
Tanner ' s l ove l i f e had st ar t ed agai n, and t he change i n
hi mwas r emar kabl e. Ever ybody was happy.
CHAPTER 19
THE WORDS KEPT echoi ng t hr ough Di ane St evens' s br ai n: Thi s
i s Ron J ones. I j ust want ed t o l et
you know t hat I r ecei ved your paper wor k and t he change was
made, j ust as you r equest ed. . . . We cr emat ed your husbands
body one hour ago.
How coul d t he mor t uar y have made such a mi st ake? Lost i n
her gr i ef , coul d she have cal l ed and
asked t hemt o cr emat e Ri char d? Never . And she had no
secr et ar y. None of i t made any sense.
Someone at t he mor t uar y had mi sunder st ood, conf used
Ri char d' s name wi t h a si mi l ar name of
anot her body at t he mor t uar y.
They had del i ver ed an ur n wi t h Ri char d' s ashes i n i t .
Di ane st ood, st ar i ng at i t . Was Ri char d r eal l y
i n t her e? . . . Was hi s l aught er i n t her e? . . . The ar ms
t hat had hel d her cl ose . . . t he war ml i ps t hat
had pr essed agai nst her s . . . t he mi nd t hat had been so
br i ght and f unny . . . t he voi ce t hat had sai d,
" I l ove you" . . . wer e al l hi s dr eams and passi ons and a
t housand mor e t hi ngs i n t hat l i t t l e ur n?
Di ane' s t hought s wer e i nt er r upt ed by t he r i ngi ng of t he
t el ephone. " Mr s. St evens?"
" Yes. . . "
" Thi s i s Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s of f i ce. Mr . Ki ngsl ey woul d
appr eci at e i t i f he coul d make an appoi nt ment
f or you t o come and meet wi t h hi m. "
* * *
THAT HAD BEEN t wo days ago, and now Di ane was wal ki ng
t hr ough t he ent r ance of KI G and appr oachi ng t he r ecept i on
desk.
The r ecept i oni st sai d, " May I hel p you?"
" My name i s Di ane St evens. I have an appoi nt ment t o see
Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
" Oh, Mr s. St evens! We' r e al l so sor r y about Mr . St evens.
What a t er r i bl e t hi ng t o happen. Ter r i bl e. "
Di ane swal l owed. " Yes. "
* * *
TANNER WAS TALKI NG t o Ret r a Tyl er . " I have t wo meet i ngs
comi ng up. Let ' s do a compl et e
scan on bot h of t hem. "
" Yes, si r . "
He wat ched hi s assi st ant l eave.
The i nt er combuzzed. " Mr s. St evens i s her e t o see you, Mr .
Ki ngsl ey. "
Tanner pr essed one of t he but t ons on t he el ect r oni c panel
on hi s desk and Di ane St evens appear ed
on a wal l t el evi si on scr een. Her bl onde hai r was t i ed back
i n a knot , and she was wear i ng a whi t e
and navy pi nst r i ped ski r t , and a whi t e bl ouse. She l ooked
pal e.
" Send her i n, pl ease. "
He wat ched Di ane wal k i n t he door and r ose t o gr eet her .
" Thank you f or comi ng, Mr s. St evens. "
Di ane nodded. " Good mor ni ng. "
" Pl ease, si t down. "
Di ane t ook a chai r acr oss f r omhi s desk.
" Needl ess t o say, al l of us wer e shocked by your husband' s
br ut al mur der . You can be sur e t hat
whoever i s r esponsi bl e wi l l be br ought t o j ust i ce as
qui ckl y as possi bl e. "
Ashes. . .
" I f you don' t mi nd, I woul d l i ke t o ask you a f ew
quest i ons. "
" Yes?"
" Di d your husband of t en di scuss hi s wor k wi t h you?"
Di ane shook her head. " Not r eal l y. I t was a separ at e par t
of our l i f e t oget her because i t was
so t echni cal . "
I n t he sur vei l l ance r oomdown t he hal l , Ret r a Tyl er had
t ur ned on a voi ce r ecogni t i on machi ne, a voi ce st r ess
anal yzer , and a t el evi si on r ecor der , and was t api ng t he scene
t aki ng pl ace i n Tanner ' s of f i ce.
" I know how di f f i cul t i t must be f or you t o di scuss t hi s, "
Tanner sai d, " but how much do you know
about your husband' s connect i on wi t h dr ugs?"
Di ane was st ar i ng at hi m, t oo dumbf ounded t o speak.
Fi nal l y, she f ound her voi ce. " What what ar e
you aski ng? Ri char d never woul d have had anyt hi ng t o do
wi t h dr ugs. "
" Mr s. St evens, t he pol i ce f ound a t hr eat eni ng not e f r om
t he Maf i a i n hi s pocket , and"
The i dea of Ri char d bei ng i nvol ved wi t h dr ugs was
unt hi nkabl e. Coul d Ri char d have had a secr et l i f e
t hat she knew not hi ng about ? No, no, no.
Di ane' s hear t began t o pound, and she f el t t he bl ood
r ushi ng t o her f ace. They ki l l ed hi mt o puni sh me. " Mr .
Ki ngsl ey, Ri char d di dn' t "
Tanner ' s t one was sympat het i c, but at t he same t i me
det er mi ned. " I ' mso sor r y t o put you t hr ough t hi s, but I
f ul l y i nt end t o get t o t he bot t omof what happened t o your
husband. "
I ' mt he bot t om, Di ane t hought , mi ser abl y. I ' mt he one
you' r e l ooki ng f or . Ri char d di ed because I
t est i f i ed agai nst Al t i er i . She was begi nni ng t o
hyper vent i l at e.
Tanner Ki ngsl ey was wat chi ng her . He sai d, " I won' t keep
you, Mr s. St evens. I can see how upset you ar e. We' l l t al k
agai n l at er . Per haps t her e' s somet hi ng you' l l r emember . I f
you t hi nk of anyt hi ng t hat mi ght be hel pf ul , I woul d
appr eci at e i t i f you woul d cal l me. " Tanner r eached i nt o a
dr awer and pul l ed out an embossed busi ness car d. " Thi s has my
pr i vat e cel l phone number on i t . You can r each me day or
ni ght . "
Di ane t ook t he car d. Al l t hat was on i t was Tanner ' s name
and a number .
Di ane r ose, her l egs t r embl i ng.
" I apol ogi ze f or havi ng t o put you t hr ough t hi s. I n t he
meant i me, i f t her e i s anyt hi ng t hat I can do f or youanyt hi ng
you need, I amat your ser vi ce. "
Di ane was bar el y abl e t o speak. " Thank you. I t hank you. "
She t ur ned and wal ked out of t he of f i ce, numb.
As Di ane r eached t he r ecept i on r oom, she hear d t he woman
behi nd t he desk speaki ng t o someone el se. " I f I wer e a
super st i t i ous per son, I woul d t hi nk someone had put a cur se
on KI G. And now your
husband, Mr s. Har r i s. We wer e al l so shocked t o hear about
t he dr eadf ul t hi ng t hat happened t o hi m.
To di e l i ke t hat i s j ust awf ul . "
The wor ds sounded omi nousl y f ami l i ar t o Di ane. What had
happened t o t he woman' s husband? Di ane t ur ned t o see whomt he
r ecept i oni st was addr essi ng. I t was a st unni ng- l ooki ng, young
Af r i can- Amer i can woman, dr essed i n bl ack sl acks and a si l k
t ur t l e- neck sweat er . On her f i nger was a l ar ge emer al d r i ng
and a di amond weddi ng r i ng. Di ane had a sudden f eel i ng
t hat i t was i mpor t ant t hat she speak t o her .
As Di ane st ar t ed t o appr oach her , Tanner ' s secr et ar y came
i n. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey wi l l see you now. "
And Di ane wat ched Kel l y Har r i s di sappear i nt o Tanner ' s
of f i ce.
Tanner r ose t o gr eet Kel l y. " Thank you f or comi ng, Mr s.
Har r i s. Di d you have a sat i sf act or y f l i ght ?"
" Yes, t hank you. "
" Woul d you l i ke anyt hi ng? Cof f ee or ?"
Kel l y shook her head.
" I know what a di f f i cul t t i me t hi s must be f or you, Mr s.
Har r i s, but I need t o ask you a f ew quest i ons. "
I n t he sur vei l l ance r oom, Ret r a Tyl er was wat chi ng Kel l y
on t he t el evi si on set and r ecor di ng t he scene.
" Di d you and your husband have a cl ose r el at i onshi p?"
Tanner asked.
" Ver y cl ose. "
" Woul d you say t hat he was honest wi t h you?"
Kel l y l ooked at hi m, puzzl ed. " We had no secr et s. Mar k was
t he most honest , open, human bei ng
I ' ve ever known. He" Kel l y was f i ndi ng i t di f f i cul t t o go
on.
" Di d he of t en di scuss hi s wor k wi t h you?"
" No. What Mar k di d was ver ycompl i cat ed. We di dn' t t al k
much about i t . "
" Di d you and Mar k have many Russi an f r i ends?"
Kel l y l ooked at hi m, conf used. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, I don' t know
what t hese quest i ons"
" Di d your husband t el l you he had a bi g deal comi ng up and
t hat he was goi ng t o make a l ot of money?"
Kel l y was get t i ng upset . " No. I f t hat wer e so, Mar k woul d
have t ol d me. "
" Di d Mar k ever di scuss Ol ga?"
Kel l y was f i l l ed wi t h a sudden f or ebodi ng. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey,
exact l y what i s t hi s al l about ?"
" The Par i s pol i ce f ound a not e i n your husband' s pocket .
I t ment i oned a r ewar d f or some i nf or mat i on
and was si gned ' Love, Ol ga. ' "
Kel l y sat t her e, st unned. " I I don' t know what "
" But you di d say he di scussed ever yt hi ng wi t h you?"
" Yes, but "
" Fr omwhat we have been abl e t o l ear n, your husband was
appar ent l y i nvol ved wi t h t hi s woman and"
" No! " Kel l y was on her f eet . " Thi s i sn' t my Mar k we' r e
t al ki ng about . I t ol d you, we had no secr et s bet ween us. "
" Except what ever secr et i t was t hat caused your husband' s
deat h. "
Kel l y f el t suddenl y f ai nt . " You' l l you' l l have t o excuse
me, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. I ' mnot f eel i ng wel l . "
He was i nst ant l y apol oget i c. " I under st and. I want t o hel p
you i n any way I can. " Tanner handed her
hi s embossed busi ness car d. " You can r each me t hr ough t hi s
number at any t i me, Mr s. Har r i s. "
Kel l y nodded, unabl e t o speak, and bl i ndl y wal ked out of
t he of f i ce.
* * *
KELLY' S MI ND WAS chur ni ng as she exi t ed t he bui l di ng. Who
was Ol ga? And why had Mar k been i nvol ved wi t h Russi ans? Why
woul d he?
" Excuse me. Mr s. Har r i s?"
Kel l y t ur ned. " Yes?"
An at t r act i ve bl onde woman was st andi ng out si de t he
bui l di ng. " My name i s Di ane St evens. I ' d l i ke
t o t al k t o you. Ther e' s a cof f ee shop acr oss t he way and
we"
" Sor r y. I I can' t t al k now. " Kel l y st ar t ed t o move on.
" I t ' s about your husband. "
Kel l y st opped abr upt l y and t ur ned. " Mar k? What about hi m?"
" Can we t al k wher e i t ' s mor e pr i vat e?"
* * *
I N TANNER' S OFFI CE, hi s secr et ar y' s voi ce came over t he
i nt er com. " Mr . Hi ghol t i s her e. "
" Send hi mi n. "
A moment l at er , Tanner was gr eet i ng hi m. " Good af t er noon,
J ohn. "
" Good? I t ' s a hel l of an af t er noon, Tanner . I t seems t hat
ever yone i n our company i s bei ng mur der ed. What t he devi l i s
goi ng on?"
" That ' s what we' r e t r yi ng t o f i nd out . I don' t bel i eve t he
sudden deat hs of t hr ee of our empl oyees ar e
a coi nci dence. Someone i s out t o damage t he r eput at i on of
t hi s company, but t hey' r e goi ng t o be f ound and st opped. The
pol i ce have agr eed t o cooper at e wi t h us, and I have men
t r aci ng t he movement s of
t he empl oyees who wer e ki l l ed. I woul d l i ke you t o l i st en
t o t wo i nt er vi ews t hat I ' ve j ust r ecor ded.
These ar e t he wi dows of Ri char d St evens and Mar k Har r i s.
Ar e you r eady?"
" Go ahead. "
" Thi s i s Di ane St evens. " Tanner pr essed a but t on and hi s
i nt er vi ew wi t h Di ane St evens appear ed on t he scr een. At t he
r i ght - hand cor ner of t he scr een was a gr aph, t r aci ng l i nes up
and down as Di ane spoke.
How much do you know about your husband' s connect i on wi t h
dr ugs?
What what ar e you aski ng? Ri char d never woul d have had
anyt hi ng t o do wi t h dr ugs.
The gr aphi c i mages r emai ned st eady.
Tanner pr essed t he f ast - f or war d but t on. " Thi s i s Mr s. Mar k
Har r i s, whose husband was pushed or
f el l f r omt he t op of t he Ei f f el Tower . "
A pi ct ur e of Kel l y f l ashed on t he t el evi si on scr een.
Di d Mar k ever di scuss Ol ga?
Mr . Ki ngsl ey, exact l y what i s t hi s al l about ?
The Par i s pol i ce f ound a not e i n your husband' s pocket . I t
ment i oned a r ewar d f or some i nf or mat i on and was si gned " Love,
Ol ga. "
I I don' t know what
But you di d say he di scussed ever yt hi ng wi t h you?
Yes, but
Fr omwhat we have been abl e t o l ear n, your husband was
appar ent l y i nvol ved wi t h t hi s woman and
No! Thi s i sn' t my Mar k we ' r e t al ki ng about . I t ol d you,
we had no secr et s bet ween us.
The l i nes on t he voi ce st r ess anal yzer gr aph r emai ned
even. Kel l y' s i mage di sappear ed.
" What was t hat l i ne on t he scr een?" J ohn Hi ghol t asked.
" That ' s a voi ce st r ess anal yzer , a CVSA. I t r egi st er s
mi cr ot r emor s i n t he human voi ce. I f t he subj ect i s l yi ng, t he
modul at i ons of t he audi o f r equenci es i ncr ease. I t ' s st at e of
t he ar t . I t doesn' t r equi r e wi r es,
l i ke a pol ygr aph. I ' mconvi nced t hat bot h women t ol d t he
t r ut h. They must be pr ot ect ed. "
J ohn Hi ghol t f r owned. " What do you mean? Pr ot ect ed f r om
what ?"
" I t hi nk t hey' r e i n danger , t hat subconsci ousl y, t hey have
mor e i nf or mat i on t han t hey r eal i ze. They
wer e bot h cl ose t o t hei r husbands. I ' mconvi nced t hat at
some poi nt , somet hi ng r eveal i ng mi ght have
been sai d t hat sl i pped by t hemat t he t i me, but i s i n
t hei r memor y banks. The chances ar e t hat as t hey st ar t t o
t hi nk about i t , t hey' r e goi ng t o r emember what i t was. The
moment t hey do, t hei r l i ves coul d
be at r i sk, because whoever ki l l ed t hei r husbands coul d be
pl anni ng t o ki l l t hem. I i nt end t o see t hat
no har mcomes t o t hem. "
" You' r e goi ng t o have t hemf ol l owed?"
" That was yest er day, J ohn. Today i t ' s el ect r oni c
equi pment . I ' ve put t he St evens apar t ment under
sur vei l l ancecamer as, t el ephones, mi cr ophonesever yt hi ng.
We' r e usi ng ever y bi t of t echnol ogy
at our di sposal t o guar d t hem. The moment anyone t r i es t o
at t ack her , we' l l know. "
J ohn Hi ghol t was t hought f ul f or a moment . " What about
Kel l y Har r i s?"
" She' s i n a hot el . Unf or t unat el y, we coul dn' t get i nt o her
sui t e t o pr epar e i t . But I have men st aki ng out t he l obby,
and i f i t l ooks as i f t her e mi ght be t r oubl e, t hey' l l handl e
i t . " Tanner hesi t at ed. " I want KI G
t o put up a f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d l eadi ng t o t he
ar r est of "
" Wai t a mi nut e, Tanner , " J ohn Hi ghol t obj ect ed. " That ' s
not necessar y. We' l l get t hi s sol ved and"
" Ver y wel l . I f KI G won' t do i t , I ' l l per sonal l y of f er a
f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d. My name i s i dent i f i ed wi t h t hi s
company. " Hi s voi ce har dened. " I want whoever i s behi nd t hi s
caught . "
CHAPTER 20
I N THE COFFEE shop acr oss t he st r eet f r omKI G
headquar t er s, Di ane St evens and Kel l y Har r i s
wer e seat ed at a cor ner boot h. Kel l y was wai t i ng f or Di ane
t o speak.
Di ane was not sur e how t o begi n. What was t he dr eadf ul
t hi ng t hat happened t o your husband,
Mr s. Har r i s? Had he been mur der ed, l i ke Ri char d?
Kel l y sai d i mpat i ent l y, " Wel l ? You sai d you want ed t o t al k
t o me about my husband. How wel l di d
you know Mar k?"
" I di dn' t know hi m, but "
Kel l y was f ur i ous. " You sai d you"
" I sai d I want ed t o t al k about hi m. "
Kel l y r ose. " I don' t have t i me f or t hi s, l ady. " She
st ar t ed t o wal k away.
" Wai t ! I t hi nk we mi ght bot h have t he same pr obl em, and we
may be abl e t o hel p each ot her . "
Kel l y st opped. " What ar e you t al ki ng about ?"
" Pl ease si t down. "
Rel uct ant l y, Kel l y r et ur ned t o her seat i n t he boot h. " Go
ahead. "
" I want ed t o ask you i f "
A wai t er appr oached t he t abl e wi t h a menu. " What woul d you
l adi es l i ke?"
To be out of her e, Kel l y t hought . " Not hi ng. "
Di ane sai d, " Two cof f ees. "
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane and sai d def i ant l y, " Make mi ne t ea. "
" Yes, ma' am. " The wai t er l ef t .
Di ane sai d, " I t hi nk t hat you and I "
A young gi r l came up t o t he t abl e and sai d t o Kel l y, " Can
I have your aut ogr aph?"
Kel l y l ooked at her . " Do you know who I am?"
" No, but my mot her says you' r e i mpor t ant . "
Kel l y sai d, " I ' mnot . "
" Oh. " They wat ched t he l i t t l e gi r l l eave.
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y, puzzl ed. " Shoul d I know who you
ar e?"
" No. " Kel l y added poi nt edl y, " And I don' t l i ke busybodi es
pr yi ng i nt o my l i f e. What i s t hi s al l about ,
Mr s. St evens?"
" Di ane, pl ease. I hear d t hat somet hi ng t er r i bl e had
happened t o your husband and"
" Yes, he was ki l l ed. " Di d you and Mar k ever di scuss Ol ga?
" My husband was ki l l ed, t oo. And t hey bot h wor ked f or
KI G. "
Kel l y sai d i mpat i ent l y, " I s t hat i t ? Wel l , so do t housands
of ot her peopl e. I f t wo of t hemcaught col ds, woul d you cal l
i t an epi demi c?"
Di ane l eaned f or war d. " Look, t hi s i s i mpor t ant . Fi r st of
al l "
Kel l y sai d, " Sor r y. I ' mnot i n t he mood t o l i st en t o
t hi s. " She pi cked up her pur se.
" I ' mnot i n t he mood t o t al k about i t , " Di ane snapped,
" but i t coul d be ver y"
Di ane' s voi ce suddenl y echoed t hr ough t he cof f ee shop.
" Ther e wer e f our men i n t he r oom. "
St ar t l ed, Di ane and Kel l y t ur ned t owar d t he sound. Di ane' s
voi ce was comi ng f r oma TV set above
t he count er . She was i n t he cour t r oom, on t he wi t ness
st and.
" One of t hemwas i n a chai r , t i ed up. Mr . Al t i er i seemed
t o be quest i oni ng hi mwhi l e t he t wo ot her
men st ood next t o hi m. Mr . Al t i er i pul l ed out a gun,
yel l ed somet hi ng, and shot t he man i n t he head. "
The anchor man appear ed on t he scr een.
" That was Di ane St evens, t est i f yi ng i n t he mur der t r i al of
accused Maf i a head Ant hony Al t i er i . The
j ur y has j ust br ought i n a ver di ct of not gui l t y. "
Di ane sat t her e, st unned. " Not gui l t y?"
" The mur der t hat t ook pl ace al most t wo year s ago char ged
Ant hony Al t i er i wi t h ki l l i ng one of hi s empl oyees. I n spi t e
of Di ane St evens' s t est i mony, t he j ur y bel i eved ot her
wi t nesses who cont r adi ct ed her . "
Kel l y was st ar i ng at t he set , wi de- eyed. A new wi t ness
appear ed on t he st and.
J ake Rubenst ei n, Al t i er i ' s l awyer , was aski ng:
" Dr . Russel l , do you have a pr act i ce i n New Yor k?"
" No. I ' ml ocat ed onl y i n Bost on. "
" On t he day i n quest i on, di d you t r eat Mr . Al t i er i f or a
hear t pr obl em?"
" Yes. About ni ne A. M. I kept hi munder obser vat i on f or t he
whol e day. "
" So he coul d not have been i n New Yor k on Oct ober
f our t eent h?"
" No. "
Anot her wi t ness appear ed on t he scr een:
" Woul d you t el l us your occupat i on, si r ?"
" I ' mt he manager of t he Bost on Par k Hot el . "
" Wer e you on dut y l ast Oct ober f our t eent h?"
" Yes, I was. "
" Di d anyt hi ng unusual happen t hat day?"
" Yes. I r ecei ved an ur gent phone cal l f r omt he pent house
sui t e t o send a doct or up t her e i mmedi at el y. "
" What happened next ?"
" I cal l ed Dr . J oseph Russel l and he came r i ght over . We
went t o t he pent house sui t e t o check on t he guest , Ant hony
Al t i er i . "
" What di d you see when you got t her e?"
" Mr . Al t i er i , l yi ng on t he f l oor . I t hought he was goi ng
t o di e i n our hot el . "
Di ane had t ur ned pal e. " They' r e l yi ng, " she sai d hoar sel y.
" Bot h of t hem. "
Ant hony Al t i er i was bei ng i nt er vi ewed. He l ooked f r ai l and
si ckl y.
" Do you have any pl ans f or t he i mmedi at e f ut ur e, Mr .
Al t i er i ?"
" Now t hat j ust i ce has been done, I ' mj ust goi ng t o t ake i t
easy f or a whi l e. " Al t i er i smi l ed t hi nl y.
" Maybe cl ean up a f ew ol d debt s. "
Kel l y was dumbst r uck. She t ur ned t o Di ane. " You t est i f i ed
agai nst hi m?"
" Yes. I saw hi mki l l "
Kel l y' s t r embl i ng hands spi l l ed some t ea and knocked over
a sal t - shaker . " I ' mget t i ng out of her e. "
" What ar e you so ner vous about ?"
" What amI ner vous about ? You t r i ed t o have t he head of
t he Maf i a sent t o pr i son and he' s f r ee, and
he' s goi ng t o cl ean up a f ew ol d debt s, and you want t o
know what I ' mner vous about ? You shoul d
be ner vous. " Kel l y r ose and t hr ew some money on t he t abl e.
" I ' l l pi ck up t he check. You' d bet t er
save your money f or t r avel i ng expenses, Mr s. St evens. "
" Wai t ! We haven' t t al ked about our husbands or "
" For get i t . " Kel l y headed f or t he door and Di ane
r el uct ant l y pur sued her .
" I t hi nk you' r e over r eact i ng, " Di ane ar gued. Do you?
As t hey r eached t he exi t , Kel l y sai d, " I don' t under st and
how you coul d be so st upi d as t o"
An el der l y man, ent er i ng on cr ut ches, sl i pped and st ar t ed
t o f al l . For an i nst ant , Kel l y was i n Par i s
and i t was Mar k who was f al l i ng, and she r eached down t o
save hi m, and at t he same t i me, Di ane
moved t o cat ch hi m. At t hat moment , f r omacr oss t he st r eet
t wo l oud shot s r ang out , t he bul l et s
smashi ng i nt o t he wal l wher e t he women had been st andi ng.
The expl osi on br ought Kel l y back t o
i nst ant r eal i t y. She was i n Manhat t an and had j ust had t ea
wi t h a cr azy woman.
" My God! " Di ane excl ai med. " We"
" Thi s i s no t i me t o pr ay. Let ' s get t he hel l out of her e! "
Kel l y pr opel l ed Di ane t o t he cur b wher e Col i n was
st andi ng, next t o t he l i mousi ne. He pul l ed t he car
door open, and Kel l y and Di ane t umbl ed i nt o t he backseat .
" What was t hat noi se?" Col i n asked.
The t wo women sat t her e, huddl ed i n t he seat , t oo unner ved
t o speak.
Fi nal l y, Kel l y sai d, " I t er , must have been a backf i r e. "
She t ur ned t o Di ane, who was f i ght i ng t o
r egai n her composur e. " I hope I ' mnot over r eact i ng, " she
sai d sar cast i cal l y. " I ' l l dr op you of f . Wher e
do you l i ve?"
Di ane t ook a deep br eat h and gave Col i n t he addr ess of her
apar t ment bui l di ng. The t wo women r ode t her e i n st ony
si l ence, shaken by what had j ust happened.
When t he car pul l ed up i n f r ont of her bui l di ng, Di ane
t ur ned t o Kel l y. " Wi l l you come i n? I ' ma l i t t l e j i t t er y. I
have a f eel i ng somet hi ng mor e mi ght happen. "
Kel l y sai d cur t l y, " I have t he same f eel i ngbut i t ' s not
goi ng t o happen t o me. Good- bye, Mr s. St evens. "
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y a moment , st ar t ed t o say somet hi ng,
t hen shook her head and got out of t he car .
Kel l y wat ched as Di ane wal ked i nt o t he f oyer and ent er ed
her apar t ment on t he f i r st f l oor . Kel l y gave
a si gh of r el i ef .
Col i n sai d, " Wher e woul d you l i ke t o go, Mr s. Har r i s?"
" Back t o t he hot el , Col i n, and"
Ther e was a l oud scr eamf r omt he apar t ment . Kel l y
hesi t at ed an i nst ant , t hen opened t he car door and r aced
i nsi de t he bui l di ng. Di ane had l ef t t he door t o her apar t ment
wi de open. She was st andi ng i n t he mi ddl e of t he r oom,
t r embl i ng.
" What happened?"
" Someonesomeone' s br oken i n her e. Ri char d' s br i ef case was
on t hi s t abl e and i t ' s gone. I t was f i l l ed wi t h hi s paper s.
They l ef t hi s weddi ng r i ng i n i t s pl ace. "
Kel l y l ooked ar ound ner vousl y. " You' d bet t er cal l t he
pol i ce. "
" Yes. " Di ane r emember ed t he car d t hat Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g
had l ef t on t he hal l t abl e. She wal ked over t o i t and pi cked
i t up. A mi nut e l at er , she was on t he phone, sayi ng,
" Det ect i ve Ear l Gr eenbur g, pl ease.
Ther e was a br i ef del ay.
" Gr eenbur g. "
" Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g, t hi s i s Di ane St evens. Somet hi ng has
happened her e. I wonder i f you coul d
come by t he apar t ment and . . . t hank you. "
Di ane t ook a deep br eat h and t ur ned t o Kel l y. " He' s
comi ng. I f you don' t mi nd wai t i ng unt i l he"
" I do mi nd. Thi s i s your pr obl em. I don' t want any par t of
i t . And you mi ght ment i on t hat someone
j ust t r i ed t o ki l l you. I ' ml eavi ng f or Par i s. Good- bye,
Mr s. St evens. "
Di ane wat ched as Kel l y wal ked out si de and headed f or t he
l i mousi ne.
" Wher e t o?" Col i n asked.
" Back t o t he hot el , pl ease. "
Wher e she woul d be saf e.
CHAPTER 21
WHEN KELLY RETURNED t o her hot el r oom, she was st i l l
unner ved by what had happened. The exper i ence of comi ng so
cl ose t o bei ng ki l l ed had been t er r i f yi ng. The l ast t hi ng I
need r i ght now i s
some bl onde ai r head t r yi ng t o get me mur der ed.
Kel l y sank down on t he couch t o cal mher sel f and cl osed
her eyes. She t r i ed t o medi t at e and concent r at e on a mant r a,
but i t was no use. She was t oo shaken. Ther e was an empt y,
l onel y f eel i ng deep i nsi de her . Mar k, I mi ss you so much.
Peopl e sai d t hat as t i me went by, I woul d f eel bet t er . I t ' s
not t r ue, my dar l i ng. Ever y day makes i t wor se.
The sound of a f ood car t bei ng wheel ed down t he cor r i dor
made Kel l y r eal i ze t hat she had not eat en
al l day. She was not hungr y, but she knew she had t o keep
up her st r engt h.
She phoned r oomser vi ce. " I ' d l i ke a shr i mp sal ad and some
hot t ea, pl ease. "
" Thank you. I t shoul d be t her e i n t went y- f i ve t o t hi r t y
mi nut es, Mr s. Har r i s. "
" Fi ne. " Kel l y r epl aced t he r ecei ver . She sat t her e,
r epl ayi ng i n her mi nd t he meet i ng wi t h Tanner Ki ngsl ey, and
she f el t as t hough she had been pl unged i nt o a chi l l i ng
ni ght mar e. What was goi ng on?
Why had Mar k never ment i oned Ol ga? Was i t a busi ness
r el at i onshi p? An af f ai r ? Mar k, dar l i ng,
I want you t o know t hat i f you di d have an af f ai r , I
f or gi ve you because I l ove you. I wi l l al ways
l ove you. You t aught me how t o l ove. I was col d and you
war med me. You gave me my pr i de back,
and made me f eel l i ke a woman.
She t hought about Di ane. That busybody put my l i f e at
r i sk. She' s someone t o st ay away f r om. That won' t be
di f f i cul t . Tomor r ow I ' l l be i n Par i s, wi t h Angel .
Her r ever i e was i nt er r upt ed by t he sound of a knock at t he
door . " Roomser vi ce. "
" Comi ng. " As Kel l y st ar t ed t owar d t he door , she st opped,
puzzl ed. She had or der ed j ust a f ew mi nut es ago. I t ' s t oo
soon. " J ust a moment , " she cal l ed.
" Yes, ma' am. "
Kel l y pi cked up t he phone and di al ed r oomser vi ce. " My
or der i s not her e yet . "
" We' r e wor ki ng on i t , Mr s. Har r i s. I t shoul d be t her e i n
f i f t een or t went y mi nut es. "
Kel l y r epl aced t he r ecei ver , her hear t poundi ng. She
di al ed t he oper at or .
" Ther e' st her e' s a man t r yi ng t o get i nt o my r oom. "
" I ' l l send a secur i t y of f i cer r i ght up, Mr s. Har r i s. "
Two mi nut es l at er , she hear d anot her knock. Kel l y wal ked
over t o t he door , war y.
" Who i s i t ?"
" Secur i t y. "
Kel l y l ooked at her wat ch. Too f ast . " I ' l l be r i ght
t her e. " She hur r i ed over t o t he t el ephone and cal l ed
t he oper at or agai n. " I cal l ed down about secur i t y. I s"
" He' s on hi s way up, Mr s. Har r i s. He shoul d be up t her e i n
a mi nut e or t wo. "
" What i s hi s name?" Her voi ce was st r angl ed wi t h f ear .
" Thomas. "
Kel l y coul d hear l ow, l ow whi sper s i n t he hal l . She
pr essed her ear agai nst t he door unt i l t he voi ces
f aded. She st ood t her e, f i l l ed wi t h bl i nd t er r or .
A mi nut e l at er , t her e was a knock at t he door .
" Who i s i t ?"
" Secur i t y. "
" Bi l l ?" Kel l y asked. She hel d her br eat h.
" No, Mr s. Har r i s. I t ' s Thomas. "
Kel l y qui ckl y opened t he door and l et hi mi n.
He r egar ded her a moment and sai d, " What happened?"
" Somesome men t r i ed t o get i n her e. "
" Di d you see t hem?"
" No. I I hear d t hem. Woul d you wal k me out t o a t axi ?"
" Cer t ai nl y, Mr s. Har r i s. "
Kel l y was t r yi ng t o f or ce her sel f t o st ay cal m. Too much
was happeni ng t oo f ast .
Thomas st ayed cl ose by Kel l y' s si de as t hey got i nt o t he
el evat or .
When t hey r eached t he l obby, Kel l y gl anced ar ound, but she
coul d see not hi ng suspi ci ous. Kel l y and
t he secur i t y guar d wal ked out si de, and as t hey r eached t he
t axi st and, Kel l y sai d, " Thank you ver y
much. I appr eci at e i t . "
" I ' l l make sur e t hat ever yt hi ng i s al l r i ght when you come
back. Whoever t r i ed t o br eak i nt o your
r oomi s gone by now. "
Kel l y got i nt o a t axi . As she gl anced out t he r ear wi ndow,
she saw t wo men hur r yi ng i nt o a par ked l i mousi ne.
" Wher e t o?" t he cabdr i ver asked Kel l y.
The l i mousi ne had pul l ed up behi nd t he t axi . Ahead, at t he
cor ner , a pol i ceman was di r ect i ng t r af f i c.
" Go st r ai ght ahead, " Kel l y t ol d hi m.
" Okay. "
As t hey appr oached t he gr een l i ght , Kel l y sai d ur gent l y,
" I want you t o sl ow down and wai t unt i l t he
l i ght changes t o yel l ow, t hen make a qui ck l ef t t ur n. "
The dr i ver gl anced at her i n t he r ear vi ew mi r r or . " What ?"
" Don' t go t hr ough t he gr een l i ght unt i l i t t ur ns yel l ow. "
She saw t he expr essi on on t he dr i ver ' s f ace.
Kel l y f or ced a smi l e. " I ' mt r yi ng t o wi n a bet . "
" Oh. " Cr azy damn passenger s.
As t he l i ght changed f r omgr een t o yel l ow, Kel l y sai d,
" Now! "
The t axi made a f ast l ef t t ur n as t he l i ght t ur ned r ed.
Behi nd t hem, t he oncomi ng t r af f i c was st opped
by t he pol i ceman. The men i n t he l i mousi ne t ur ned t o each
ot her , f r ust r at ed.
When t he t axi had gone a bl ock, Kel l y sai d, " Oh, I f or got
somet hi ng. I ' ve got t o get out her e. "
The dr i ver pul l ed over t o t he cur b and Kel l y got out of
t he cab and handed hi msome money. " Her e. "
He wat ched Kel l y hur r y i nt o t he ent r ance t o a medi cal
bui l di ng. I hope she' s seei ng a psychi at r i st .
At t he cor ner , t he moment t he l i ght t ur ned gr een, t he
l i mousi ne made a l ef t t ur n. The t axi was t wo
bl ocks ahead, and t hey r aced af t er i t .
Fi ve mi nut es l at er , Kel l y was hai l i ng anot her cab.
* * *
I N DI ANE STEVENS' s apar t ment , Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g was
sayi ng,
" Mr s. St evens, di d you get a l ook at t he per son who t ook a
shot at you?
Di ane shook her head. " No, i t happened so f ast . . . . "
" Whoever i t was, was ser i ous. Bal l i st i cs dug t he bul l et s
out of t he wal l . They wer e f or t y- f i ve cal i ber s, capabl e of
pi er ci ng body ar mor . You wer e l ucky. " He hesi t at ed. " We t hi nk
t hat whoever i t was, he
was sent by Tony Al t i er i . "
Di ane swal l owed. I ' mj ust goi ng t o t ake i t easy f or a
whi l e, cl ear up a f ew ol d debt s.
" We' r e checki ng t hat out . "
Di ane nodded.
Gr eenbur g st udi ed her a moment . " About t he br i ef case
t hat ' s mi ssi ng, do you have any i dea what
was i n i t ?"
" I ' mnot sur e. Ri char d usual l y t ook i t t o t he l abor at or y
wi t h hi mmost mor ni ngs and br ought i t home
at ni ght . I saw some of t he paper s once and t hey wer e ver y
t echni cal . "
Gr eenbur g pi cked up t he weddi ng r i ng t hat was on t he
t abl e. " And you sai d t hat your husband never
t ook of f hi s weddi ng r i ng?"
" That ' st hat ' s r i ght . "
" I n t he days bef or e hi s deat h, di d your husband act
di f f er ent l y t han usual , as t hough he mi ght be under some ki nd
of pr essur e, or be wor r i ed about somet hi ng? Do you r emember
anyt hi ng t hat he sai d or di d
on t he l ast ni ght you saw hi m?"
I t was ear l y mor ni ng. They wer e i n bed, naked. Ri char d
gent l y st r oked her t hi ghs and sai d, " I ' m
goi ng t o be wor ki ng l at e t oni ght , but save an hour or t wo
f or me, when I get home, honey. "
She t ouched hi mwher e he l i ked bei ng t ouched and sai d,
" Br aggar t . "
" Mr s. St evens"
Di ane was j ol t ed back t o r eal i t y. " No. Ther e was not hi ng
unusual . "
" I ' l l see t hat you have pr ot ect i on, " Gr eenbur g sai d. " And
i f "
The door bel l r ang.
" Wer e you expect i ng anyone?"
" No. "
Gr eenbur g nodded. " I ' l l get i t . "
He wal ked over t o t he door and opened i t . Kel l y Har r i s
st or med i n and br ushed by hi m.
Kel l y mar ched up t o Di ane. " We need t o t al k. "
Di ane l ooked at her i n sur pr i se. " I t hought you wer e on
your way t o Par i s?"
" I t ook a det our . "
Gr eenbur g had j oi ned t hem. " Thi s i s Det ect i ve Ear l
Gr eenbur g. Kel l y Har r i s. "
Kel l y t ur ned t o Gr eenbur g. " Someone j ust t r i ed t o br eak
i nt o my hot el r oom, Det ect i ve. "
" Di d you r epor t i t t o hot el secur i t y?"
" Yes. The men wer e gone. A guar d escor t ed me out . "
" Do you have any i dea who t hey wer e?"
" No. "
" When you say someone t r i ed t o br eak i n, you mean t hey
t r i ed t o f or ce t he door ?"
" No, t heyt hey j ust st ood out i n t he hal l . They pr et ended
t hey wer e f r omr oomser vi ce. "
" Had you or der ed r oomser vi ce?"
" Yes. "
Di ane sai d, " Then you' r e pr obabl y i magi ni ng t hi ngs because
of what happened t hi s mor ni ng, and"
Kel l y snapped at her . " Li st en, I t ol d you, I don' t want
any par t of t hi s or of you. I ' mgoi ng t o pack
and f l y back t o Par i s t hi s af t er noon. You t el l your Maf i a
f r i ends t o l eave me al one. "
They wat ched Kel l y t ur n and l eave.
" What was t hat al l about ?" Gr eenbur g asked.
" Her husband waswas ki l l ed. He wor ked f or t he same
company Ri char d wor ked f or , Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup. "
* * *
WHEN KELLY RETURNED t o t he l obby of her hot el , she wal ked
over t o t he desk. " I ' mchecki ng
out , " she sai d. " Woul d you pl ease get me a r eser vat i on on
t he next pl ane t o Par i s?"
" Cer t ai nl y, Mr s. Har r i s. Any par t i cul ar ai r l i ne?"
" J ust get me out of her e. "
Kel l y cr ossed t he hot el l obby, st epped i nt o an el evat or ,
and pr essed t he but t on f or t he f our t h f l oor . As
t he el evat or door st ar t ed t o cl ose, t wo men pushed i t open
and got i n. Kel l y st udi ed t heman i nst ant ,
t hen qui ckl y backed out i nt o t he l obby. She wai t ed unt i l
t he el evat or door cl osed, t hen headed f or t he st ai r s and
st ar t ed t o wal k up. No use t aki ng any chances, Kel l y t hought .
As she r eached t he f our t h- f l oor l andi ng, a huge man was
bl ocki ng t he way.
" Excuse me, " Kel l y sai d. She st ar t ed t o move past hi m.
" Shh! " He was poi nt i ng a gun wi t h a si l encer at her .
Kel l y t ur ned pal e. " What ar e you?"
" Shut up. I bet you got exact l y t he r i ght number of hol es,
l ady. Unl ess you want an ext r a one, be
qui et . I meanver y qui et . You and I ar e goi ng downst ai r s. "
The man was smi l i ng, but as Kel l y l ooked cl oser , she saw
t hat a kni f e cr ease on hi s upper l i p had
pul l ed hi s mout h up i nt o a f i xed gr i n. He had t he col dest
eyes Kel l y had ever seen. Let s go.
No! I ' mnot goi ng t o di e because of t hat bi t ch. " Wai t a
mi nut e. You have t he wr ong"
She f el t t he gun smash so har d i nt o her r i bs t hat she
want ed t o scr eam.
" I t ol d you t o shut up! We' l l wal k down. "
He was hol di ng Kel l y' s ar mi n a pai nf ul vi sel i ke gr i p, t he
gun conceal ed i n hi s hand behi nd her back.
Kel l y was f i ght i ng hyst er i a. " Pl ease, " she sai d sof t l y,
" I ' mnot t he" The pai n as he st abbed t he muzzl e of t he gun
agai nst her back was excr uci at i ng. He was squeezi ng her ar m
so har d t hat she coul d f eel t he bl ood dr ai ni ng out .
They st ar t ed down t he st ai r s. They r eached t he l obby. I t
was cr owded, and as Kel l y was debat i ng whet her t o cal l f or
hel p, t he man sai d, " Don' t even t hi nk about i t . "
And t hey wer e out si de. Ther e was an SUV wai t i ng at t he
cur b. Two car s ahead, a pol i ceman was
wr i t i ng a par ki ng t i cket . Kel l y' s capt or l ed her t o t he
back door of t he SUV. " Get i n, " he or der ed.
Kel l y gl anced ahead at t he pol i ceman. " Al l r i ght , " Kel l y
sai d i n a l oud, angr y voi ce, " I ' l l get i n, but I
want t o t el l you somet hi ng. What you want me t o do t o you
wi l l cost an ext r a hundr ed dol l ar s. I
t hi nk i t ' s di sgust i ng. "
The pol i ceman had t ur ned t o wat ch.
The bur l y man was st ar i ng at Kel l y. " What t he hel l ar e
you?"
" I f you won' t pay i t , t hen f or get i t , you cheap bast ar d. "
Kel l y st ar t ed r api dl y wal ki ng t owar d t he pol i ceman. The
man l ooked af t er her . Hi s l i ps wer e smi l i ng,
but hi s eyes wer e deadl y.
Kel l y poi nt ed t o hi m. " That per ver t has been bot her i ng
me. "
She gl anced back t o see t he pol i ceman movi ng t owar d t he
t hug. Kel l y st epped i nt o a wai t i ng t axi .
As t he bur l y man st ar t ed t o get i nt o t he SUV, t he
pol i ceman sai d, " J ust a mi nut e, mi st er . I t ' s agai nst
t he l aw i n t hi s st at e t o sol i ci t pr ost i t ut es. "
" I wasn' t "
" Let me see some i dent i f i cat i on. What ' s your name?"
" Har r y Fl i nt . "
Fl i nt wat ched as Kel l y' s t axi sped away. That whor e! I ' l l
ki l l her . Sl owl y.
CHAPTER 22
KELLY ALI GHTED FROM a t axi i n f r ont of Di ane' s apar t ment
bui l di ng, st or med up t o t he f r ont
door , and pr essed t he bel l har d.
The door was opened by Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g. " Can I ?"
Kel l y saw Di ane i n t he l i vi ng r oomand moved past t he
det ect i ve.
" What ' s goi ng on?" Di ane asked. " You sai d you"
" You t el l me what ' s goi ng on. I t ol d you t o t el l your
Maf i a f r i ends t o l eave me al one. They t r i ed t o
gr ab me agai n. Why ar e your Maf i a buddi es t r yi ng t o ki l l
me?"
" I I have no i dea. They woul dn' t maybe t hey saw us
t oget her and t hought we wer e f r i ends and"
" Wel l we' r e not f r i ends, Mr s. St evens. Get me out of
t hi s. "
" What ar e you t al ki ng about ? How can I ?"
" The same way you got me i nt o i t . I want you t o t el l your
buddy, Al t i er i , t hat you and I j ust met , and
you don' t know me. I ' mnot goi ng t o l et someone mur der me
because of some st upi d t hi ng you di d. "
Di ane sai d, " I can' t "
" Oh, yes, you can. You' r e goi ng t o t al k t o Al t i er i and
you' r e goi ng t o t al k t o hi mnow. I ' mnot l eavi ng
her e unt i l you do. "
Di ane sai d, " What you' r e aski ng i s i mpossi bl e. I ' msor r y
i f I got you i nvol ved i n t hi s, but . . . " She was t hought f ul
f or a l ong moment , t hen t ur ned t o Gr eenbur g. " Do you t hi nk i f
I t al ked t o Al t i er i he mi ght l eave us bot h al one?"
Gr eenbur g sai d, " That ' s an i nt er est i ng quest i on. He mi ght
especi al l y i f he t hi nks we' r e wat chi ng hi m. Woul d you l i ke t o
t al k t o hi mper sonal l y?"
Di ane sai d, " No, I "
Kel l y i nt er r upt ed. " She means yes. "
* * *
ANTHONY ALTI ERI ' S HOME was a cl assi c st one and f r ame
col oni al - st yl e house, i n Hunt er don Count y, New J er sey. The
enor mous house was at t he end of a cul - de- sac, on f i f t een
acr es of l and, sur r ounded by a huge, hi gh, i r on f ence. On t he
gr ounds wer e t al l shade t r ees, ponds, and a col or f ul gar den.
A guar d sat i n a boot h i nsi de t he f r ont gat e. As t he car
wi t h Gr eenbur g, Kel l y, and Di ane dr ove up,
t he guar d wal ked out t o meet i t .
He r ecogni zed Gr eenbur g. " Af t er noon, Li eut enant . "
" Hel l o, Caesar . We want t o see Mr . Al t i er i . "
" Do you have a war r ant ?"
" I t ' s not t hat ki nd of vi si t . Thi s i s a soci al cal l . "
The guar d gl anced at t he t wo women. " Wai t her e. " He wal ked
i nsi de, t o t he boot h. A f ew mi nut es
l at er he came out and opened t he gat e. " You can go i n. "
" Thanks. " Gr eenbur g dr ove up t o t he f r ont of t he house.
As t he t hr ee of t hemgot out of t he car , a second guar d
appear ed. " Fol l ow me. "
He l ed t hemi nsi de. The l ar ge l i vi ng r oomwas an ecl ect i c
combi nat i on of ant i ques and moder n and Fr ench f ur ni t ur e. I n
spi t e of t he f act t hat t he day was war m, t her e was a r oar i ng
f i r e i n t he huge st one f i r epl ace. The t r i o f ol l owed t he guar d
t hr ough t he l i vi ng r oomi nt o a l ar ge dar kened bedr oom.
Ant hony Al t i er i was i n bed, at t ached t o a r espi r at or . He was
pal e and gaunt and seemed t o have aged gr eat l y
si nce t he shor t t i me he had appear ed i n cour t . A pr i est
and a nur se wer e at hi s si de.
Al t i er i l ooked at Di ane, Kel l y, and Gr eenbur g, t hen t ur ned
back t o Di ane. When he spoke, hi s voi ce
was hoar se and r aspy. " What t he hel l do you want ?"
Di ane sai d, " Mr . Al t i er i , I want you t o l eave Mr s. Har r i s
and me al one. Cal l of f your men. I t ' s enough
t hat you ki l l ed my husband and"
Al t i er i cut i n. " What ar e you t al ki ng about ? I never even
hear d of your husband. I r ead about t hat
bul l shi t not e f ound on hi s body. " He sneer ed. " ' He' l l swi m
wi t h t he f i shes' Somebody' s seen The Sopr anos t oo many t i mes.
I ' l l t el l you somet hi ng f or f r ee, l ady. No I t al i an wr ot e
t hat . I ' mnot af t er
you. I don' t gi ve a damn whet her you l i ve or di e. I ' mnot
af t er anybody. I " He wi nced i n pai n.
" I ' mbusy maki ng my peace wi t h God. I " He began t o choke.
The pr i est t ur ned t o Di ane. " I t hi nk i t woul d be bet t er i f
you l ef t now. "
Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g asked, " What i s i t ?"
The pr i est sai d, " Cancer . "
Di ane l ooked at t he man on t he bed. I ' mnot af t er you. I
don' t gi ve a damn whet her you l i ve or
di e. . . . I ' mbusy maki ng my peace wi t h God. He was
t el l i ng t he t r ut h.
And Di ane was f i l l ed wi t h a sudden, bl i ndi ng pani c.
* * *
ON THE DRI VE back f r omAl t i er i ' s, Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g
l ooked wor r i ed. " I have t o t el l you,
I t hi nk Al t i er i meant what he sai d. " Kel l y r el uct ant l y
nodded. " So do I . The man i s dyi ng. "
" Do you know of any r eason why someone woul d t r y t o ki l l
t he t wo of you?"
" No, " Di ane sai d. " I f i t i sn' t Al t i er i " She shook her
head. " I have no i dea. "
Kel l y swal l owed. " Nei t her have I . "
* * *
DETECTI VE GREENBURG ESCORTED Di ane and Kel l y back i nt o
Di ane' s apar t ment . " I ' mgoi ng
t o get t o wor k on t hi s now, " he sai d, " but you' l l be saf e
her e. I n f i f t een mi nut es t her e wi l l be a pol i ce cr ui ser
out si de your apar t ment bui l di ng f or t he next t went y- f our
hour s, and we' l l see what we can
f i nd out by t hen. I f you need me, cal l . "
And he was gone.
* * *
Dl ANE AND KELLY st ar ed at each ot her . Ther e was an awkwar d
si l ence.
" Woul d you l i ke some t ea?" Di ane asked.
Kel l y sai d per ver sel y, " Cof f ee. "
Di ane l ooked at her a moment , i r r i t at ed, and si ghed.
" Ri ght . "
Di ane wal ked i nt o t he ki t chen t o st ar t t he cof f ee. Kel l y
wander ed ar ound t he l i vi ng r oom, l ooki ng
at t he pai nt i ngs on t he wal l s.
When Di ane came out of t he ki t chen, Kel l y was st udyi ng one
of Di ane' s pai nt i ngs. " St evens. " She
t ur ned t o Di ane. " Di d you pai nt t hi s?"
Di ane nodded. " Yes. "
Kel l y sai d i n a di smi ssi ve t one of voi ce, " Pr et t y. "
Di ane' s l i ps t i ght ened. " Oh? Do you know a l ot about ar t ?"
" Not much, Mr s. St evens. "
" Who do you l i ke? Gr andma Moses, I suppose. " one' s
i nt er est i ng.
" And what ot her pr i mi t i ve pai nt er s t ouch your hear t ?"
Kel l y t ur ned t o f ace Di ane. " To be honest , I pr ef er t he
cur vi l i near , nonr epr esent at i onal f or m. Ther e
ar e except i ons, of cour se. For i nst ance, i n Ti t i an' s Venus
of Robi n, t he di agonal sweep of her f or m
i s br eat ht aki ng, and"
Fr omt he ki t chen, t hey coul d hear t he cof f ee per col at i ng.
Di ane sai d cur t l y, " The cof f ee i s r eady. "
* * *
THEY WERE SEATED acr oss f r omeach ot her i n t he di ni ng
r oom, t aci t ur n, l et t i ng t hei r cof f ee get col d.
Di ane br oke t he si l ence. " Can you t hi nk of any r eason why
someone woul d t r y t o ki l l us?"
" No. " Kel l y was si l ent f or a moment . " The onl y connect i on
you and I have i s t hat bot h our husbands wor ked at KI G. Maybe
t hey wer e i nvol ved i n some t op secr et pr oj ect . And whoever
ki l l ed t hemt hi nks t hey mi ght have t ol d us about i t . "
Di ane pal ed. " Yes . . . "
They l ooked at each ot her i n di smay.
* * *
I N HI S OFFI CE, Tanner was wat chi ng t he scene t aki ng pl ace
i n Di ane' s apar t ment , on one of t he
wal l t el evi si on set s. Hi s chi ef secur i t y guar d st ood next
t o hi m.
" No. The onl y connect i on you and I have i s t hat bot h our
husbands wor ked at KI G. Maybe t hey wer e i nvol ved i n some t op
secr et pr oj ect . And whoever ki l l ed t hemt hi nks t hey mi ght
have t ol d us about i t . "
" Yes. . . "
* * *
THE STEVENS APARTMENT had been wi r ed wi t h st at e- of - t he- ar t
t el evi si on and sound. J ust as
Tanner had t ol d hi s par t ner , t he house was f i l l ed wi t h
cut t i ng- edge t echnol ogy. Ther e wer e conceal ed vi deo syst ems
i n ever y r oomof t he apar t ment , wi t h a Web- based camer a t he
si ze of a but t on r est i ng among t he books, bent f i ber - opt i c
wi r es under t he door s, and a wi r el ess pi ct ur e f r ame camer a.
I n t he at t i c, a vi deo ser ver t he si ze of a l apt op comput er
had been i nst al l ed t o ser vi ce si x camer as. At t ached
t o t he ser ver was a wi r el ess modemt hat al l owed t he
equi pment t o f unct i on t hr ough cel l ul ar t echnol ogy.
* * *
AS TANNER LEANED f or war d, wat chi ng t he scr een i nt ent l y,
Di ane sai d, " We have t o f i nd out what
our husbands wer e wor ki ng on. "
" Ri ght . But we' r e goi ng t o need hel p. How do we do t hat ?"
" We' l l cal l Tanner Ki ngsl ey. He' s t he onl y one who can
hel p us, and he' s t r yi ng t o f i nd out who' s
behi nd al l t hi s. "
" Let ' s do i t . "
* * *
DI ANE SAI D, " YOU can spend t he ni ght her e. Wel l be saf e.
Ther e' s a pol i ce car st at i oned out si de. "
She wal ked over t o t he wi ndow and pul l ed t he cur t ai n back.
Ther e was no car .
She st ar ed f or a l ong moment and f el t a sudden chi l l .
" That ' s st r ange, " Di ane sai d. " Ther e was
supposed t o be a pat r ol car her e. Let me make a phone
cal l . "
Di ane t ook Det ect i ve Gr eenber g' s car d f r omher pur se, went
t o t he t el ephone, and cal l ed a number . " Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g,
pl ease. " She l i st ened a moment . " Ar e you sur e? . . . I see.
Then coul d I speak t o Det ect i ve Pr aegi t zer ?" Ther e was
anot her moment of si l ence. " Yes, t hank you. " Di ane sl owl y
r epl aced t he r ecei ver .
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane. " What i s i t ?"
Di ane sai d, " Det ect i ves Gr eenbur g and Pr aegi t zer have been
t r ansf er r ed t o anot her pr eci nct . "
Kel l y swal l owed. " That ' s a r eal coi nci dence, i sn' t i t ?"
Di ane sai d, " And I j ust r emember ed somet hi ng. "
" What ?"
" Det ect i ve Gr eenbur g asked me i f Ri char d had done or sai d
anyt hi ng out of hi s usual r out i ne l at el y.
Ther e was one t hi ng I f or got t o ment i on. Ri char d was goi ng
t o Washi ngt on t o see somebody.
Somet i mes I t r avel wi t h hi m, but t hi s t i me he i nsi st ed i t
woul d be bet t er i f he went al one. "
Kel l y was wat chi ng her wi t h a sur pr i sed expr essi on.
" That ' s st r ange. Mar k t ol d me he had t o go t o Washi ngt on, and
had t o go al one. "
" We have t o f i nd out why. "
Kel l y wal ked over t o t he wi ndow and pul l ed back t he
dr apes. " Ther e' s st i l l no car . " She t ur ned t o
Di ane. " Let ' s get out of her e. "
" Ri ght , " Di ane sai d. " I know a l i t t l e out - of - t he- way hot el
i n Chi nat own cal l ed t he Mandar i n. No one
wi l l ever t hi nk of l ooki ng f or us t her e. We' l l cal l Mr .
Ki ngsl ey f r omt he r oom. "
* * *
" I KNOWA l i t t l e out - of - t he- way hot el i n Chi nat own cal l ed
t he Mandar i n. No one wi l l ever t hi nk
of l ooki ng f or us t her e. We' l l cal l Mr . Ki ngsl ey f r omt he
r oom. "
Tanner t ur ned t o hi s chi ef secur i t y of f i cer , Har r y Fl i nt ,
wi t h t he per pet ual hal f smi l e. " Ki l l t hem. "
CHAPTER 23
HARRY FLI NT WI LL t ake good car e of t he women, Tanner
t hought wi t h sat i sf act i on. Fl i nt had
never f ai l ed hi m.
I t amused Tanner t o t hi nk about how Fl i nt had come i nt o
hi s l i f e. Year s ago hi s br ot her , Andr ew,
post er boy f or t he bl eedi ng hear t s of t he wor l d, had
st ar t ed a hal f way house f or newl y r el eased
pr i soner s, t o hel p t hemadj ust t o ci vi l i an l i f e. Then he
woul d f i nd j obs f or t hem.
Tanner had a mor e usef ul pl an f or ex- f el ons, because he
bel i eved t hat t her e was no such t hi ng as an ex- f el on. Thr ough
hi s pr i vat e sour ces, he woul d get i nsi de i nf or mat i on on t he
backgr ounds of r ecent l y r el eased pr i soner s, and i f t hey had
t he qual i f i cat i ons t hat Tanner needed, t hey went f r omt he
hal f way house t o wor ki ng f or Tanner di r ect l y, doi ng what he
cal l ed " del i cat e pr i vat e t asks. "
He had ar r anged f or an ex- f el on named Vi nce Car bal l o t o
come t o wor k f or KI G. Car bal l o was a huge man wi t h a scr aggl y
bear d and bl ue eyes t hat wer e l i ke dagger s. He had a l ong
pr i son r ecor d. He had
been on t r i al f or mur der . The evi dence agai nst hi mwas
over whel mi ng, but a member of t he j ur y st ubbor nl y hel d out
f or acqui t t al , and i t ended up i n a hung j ur y. Onl y a f ew
peopl e knew t hat t he
j ur or ' s l i t t l e daught er had di sappear ed and a not e was
l ef t behi nd: I f you keep qui et about t hi s, your daught er ' s
f at e wi l l be det er mi ned by t he j ur y' s ver di ct . Car bal l o was
t he ki nd of man Tanner Ki ngsl ey admi r ed.
* * *
TANNER HAD ALSO hear d about an ex- f el on named Har r y Fl i nt .
He had i nvest i gat ed Fl i nt ' s l i f e t hor oughl y and deci ded he
was per f ect f or hi s needs.
Har r y Fl i nt had been bor n i n Det r oi t , i nt o a mi ddl e- cl ass
f ami l y. Hi s f at her was a bi t t er , f ai l ed sal esman who spent
hi s t i me si t t i ng ar ound t he house compl ai ni ng. He was a
sadi st i c mar t i net , and at hi s son' s sl i ght est i nf r act i on, he
enj oyed whi ppi ng hi m, usi ng a r ul er , a bel t , or anyt hi ng el se
t hat was handy, as t hough he want ed t o beat success i nt o hi s
son t o make up f or hi s own i nadequacy.
The boy' s mot her wor ked as a mani cur i st at a bar ber shop.
Whi l e Har r y' s f at her was t yr anni cal , hi s mot her was devot ed
and dot i ng, and as young Har r y gr ew up, he was emot i onal l y
whi psawed bet ween t he t wo.
Doct or s had t ol d Har r y' s mot her t hat she was t oo ol d t o
have a chi l d, so she consi der ed her pr egnancy
a mi r acl e. Af t er Har r y was bor n, she l ovi ngl y f ondl ed hi m
and was const ant l y huggi ng hi m, pat t i ng hi m, and ki ssi ng hi m
unt i l event ual l y Har r y f el t smot her ed by her l ove. As he got
ol der , he l oat hed bei ng t ouched.
* * *
WHEN HARRY FLI NT was f our t een year s ol d, he t r apped a r at
i n t he basement and st omped on i t .
As he st ar ed at t he r at sl owl y, pai nf ul l y dyi ng, Har r y
Fl i nt had an epi phany. He suddenl y r eal i zed he
had t he awesome power t o t ake l i f e, t o ki l l . I t made hi m
f eel l i ke God. He was omni pot ent , al l - power f ul . He needed t o
have t hat f eel i ng agai n, and he began t o st al k smal l ani mal s
ar ound t he nei ghbor hood, and t hey became hi s pr ey. Ther e was
not hi ng per sonal or mal i ci ous about what Fl i nt was doi ng. He
was j ust usi ng hi s God- gi ven t al ent .
Angr y nei ghbor s whose pet s wer e bei ng t or t ur ed and ki l l ed
compl ai ned t o t he aut hor i t i es, and a t r ap was set . The pol i ce
put a Scot t i sh t er r i er on t he f r ont l awn of a house wi t h a
l eash t o keep her f r omr unni ng away. They st aked out t he
si t e, and one ni ght , as t he pol i ce wat ched, Har r y Fl i nt
appr oached t he ani mal . He pr i ed t he dog' s mout h open and
st ar t ed t o i nser t a l i t f i r ecr acker . The pol i ce pounced. When
Har r y Fl i nt was f r i sked, he had a bl oody r ock and a f i ve- i nch
f i l l et kni f e i n hi s pocket .
He was sent t o Chal l enger Memor i al Yout h Cent er f or t wel ve
mont hs.
One week af t er Fl i nt ar r i ved, he at t acked one of t he ot her
boys, mai mi ng hi mbadl y. The psychi at r i st
who exami ned Fl i nt di agnosed hi mas a par anoi d
schi zophr eni c.
" He' s psychot i c, " t he doct or war ned t he guar ds i n char ge.
" Be car ef ul . Keep hi maway f r omt he ot her s. "
When Har r y Fl i nt had ser ved hi s t i me, he was f i f t een year s
ol d and was r el eased on pr obat i on. He r et ur ned t o school .
Sever al of hi s cl assmat es l ooked upon Fl i nt as a her o. They
had become i nvol ved i n pet t y cr i mes such as snat chi ng pur ses,
l i f t i ng wal l et s, and shopl i f t i ng, and Fl i nt soon became t hei r
l eader .
I n an al l ey f i ght one ni ght , a kni f e sl i ced a cor ner of
Fl i nt ' s l i p, gi vi ng hi ma per manent hal f - smi l e.
As t he boys gr ew ol der , t hey t ur ned t o car j acki ng,
bur gl ar y, and r obber y. One of t he r obber i es became vi ol ent ,
and a shopkeeper was ki l l ed. Har r y Fl i nt was convi ct ed of
ar med r obber y and abet t i ng a mur der , and sent enced t o t en
year s i n pr i son. He was t he most vi ci ous pr i soner t he war den
had ever seen.
Ther e was somet hi ng i n Har r y Fl i nt ' s eyes t hat made ot her
pr i soner s l eave hi mal one. He const ant l y t er r or i zed t hem, but
no one dar ed r epor t hi m.
One day, as a guar d passed Har r y Fl i nt ' s cel l , he st ar ed
i nsi de unbel i evi ngl y. Fl i nt ' s cel l mat e was l yi ng
on t he f l oor , i n a pool of bl ood. He had been beat en t o
deat h.
The guar d l ooked at Fl i nt , and t her e was a smi l e of
sat i sf act i on on hi s f ace. " Al l r i ght , you bast ar d.
You won' t get out of t hi s one. We can st ar t war mi ng up t he
chai r f or you. "
Fl i nt gl ar ed at hi mand sl owl y r ai sed hi s l ef t ar m. A
bl oody but cher kni f e was deepl y i mbedded i n i t .
Fl i nt sai d col dl y, " Sel f - def ense. "
The pr i soner i n t he cel l acr oss f r omFl i nt never t ol d
anyone t hat he had seen Fl i nt savagel y beat hi s cel l mat e t o
deat h, t hen pul l out a but cher kni f e f r omunder hi s own
mat t r ess and sl i ce t he kni f e t hr ough t he f l esh of hi s ar m.
* * *
THE CHARACTERI STI C THAT Tanner most admi r ed about Fl i nt
was t hat Fl i nt enj oyed hi s wor k
so much.
Tanner r emember ed t he f i r st t i me t hat Fl i nt had pr oven t o
hi mhow usef ul he coul d be. I t was dur i ng
an emer gency t r i p t o Tokyo . . .
* * *
" TELL THE PI LOT t o war mup t he Chal l enger . We' r e goi ng t o
J apan. Ther e wi l l be t wo of us. "
The news had come at a bad t i me, but i t had t o be t aken
car e of i mmedi at el y, and i t was t oo sensi t i ve
t o ent r ust t o anyone el se. Tanner had ar r anged f or Aki r a
I so t o meet hi mi n Tokyo and t o t ake a r oom
at t he Okur a Hot el .
Whi l e t he pl ane was cr ossi ng t he Paci f i c Ocean, Tanner was
pl anni ng hi s st r at egy. By t he t i me t he
pl ane l anded, he had wor ked out a wi n- wi n si t uat i on.
The dr i ve f r omNar i t a ai r por t t ook one hour , and Tanner
was amazed by how Tokyo never seemed t o change. I n boomt i mes
and i n depr essi ons, t he ci t y al ways seemed t o wear t he same
i mpassi ve f ace.
* * *
AKI RA I SO WAS wai t i ng f or hi mat t he Fumi ki Mashi mo
r est aur ant . I so was i n hi s f i f t i es, wi t h a
spar e f i gur e, gr ay hai r , and br i ght br own eyes. He st ood
up t o gr eet Tanner .
" I t i s an honor t o meet you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. Fr ankl y, I was
sur pr i sed t o hear f r omyou. I cannot i magi ne why you woul d
come al l t hi s way t o meet me. "
Tanner smi l ed. " I ' mt he bear er of good news t hat I t hought
was t oo i mpor t ant t o di scuss on t he
t el ephone. I t hi nk I ' mgoi ng t o make you a ver y happy man,
and a ver y r i ch one. "
Aki r a I so was l ooki ng at hi mcur i ousl y. " Yes?"
A whi t e- j acket ed wai t er had come t o t he t abl e.
" Bef or e we t al k busi ness, why don' t we or der ?"
" As you wi sh, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. Ar e you f ami l i ar wi t h J apanese
di shes or shal l I or der f or you?"
" Thank you. I can or der . Do you l i ke sushi ?" Yes.
Tanner t ur ned t o t he wai t er . " I ' l l have hamachi - t emaki ,
kai bashi r a, and ama- ebi . "
Aki r a I so smi l ed. " That sounds good. " He l ooked at t he
wai t er . " I ' l l have t he same. "
Whi l e t hey wer e eat i ng, Tanner sai d, " You wor k f or a ver y
f i ne company, Tokyo Fi r st I ndust r i al . "
" Thank you. "
" How l ong have you wor ked t her e?"
" Ten year s. "
" That ' s a l ong t i me. " He l ooked Aki r a I so i n t he eye and
sai d, " I n f act , i t mi ght be t i me t o make a change. "
" Why woul d I want t o do t hat , Mr . Ki ngsl ey?"
" Because I ' mgoi ng t o make you an of f er you can' t r ef use.
I don' t know how much money you make,
but I amwi l l i ng t o pay you t wi ce as much t o l eave t hem
and come t o wor k f or KI G. "
" Mr . Ki ngsl ey, t hat i s not possi bl e. "
" Why not ? I f i t ' s because of a cont r act , I can ar r ange"
Aki r a I so put down hi s chopst i cks. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, i n
J apan, when we wor k f or a company, i t i s l i ke a f ami l y. And
when we can no l onger wor k, t hey t ake car e of us. "
" But t he money I ' mof f er i ng you"
" No. Ai sha sei shi n. "
" What ?"
" I t means t hat we put l oyal t y above money. " Aki r a I so
l ooked at hi mcur i ousl y. " Why di d you choose me?"
" Because I ' ve hear d ver y f l at t er i ng t hi ngs about you. "
" I ' maf r ai d you have t aken a l ong t r i p f or not hi ng, Mr .
Ki ngsl ey. I woul d never l eave Tokyo Fi r st I ndust r i al . "
" I t was wor t h a t r y. "
" Ther e ar e no har d f eel i ngs?"
Tanner l eaned back and l aughed. " Of cour se not . I wi sh al l
my empl oyees wer e as l oyal as you ar e. "
He r emember ed somet hi ng. " By t he way, I br ought you and
your f ami l y a l i t t l e gi f t . An associ at e of
mi ne wi l l br i ng i t t o you. He' l l be at your hot el i n an
hour . Hi s name i s Har r y Fl i nt . "
* * *
A NI GHT MAI D f ound Aki r a I so' s body hangi ng f r oma hook i n
a war dr obe chest . The of f i ci al
ver di ct was sui ci de.
CHAPTER 24
THE MANDARI N HOTEL was a seedy, t wo- st or y bui l di ng i n t he
hear t of Manhat t an' s Chi nat own,
t hr ee bl ocks f r omMot t St r eet .
As Kel l y and Di ane got out of t he t axi , Di ane saw a l ar ge
bi l l boar d acr oss t he st r eet wi t h a pi ct ur e of
Kel l y i n a beaut i f ul eveni ng gown, hol di ng up a bot t l e of
per f ume. Di ane l ooked at i t i n sur pr i se.
" That ' s who you ar e. "
" You' r e wr ong, " Kel l y sai d. " That ' s what I do, Mr s.
St evens. I t ' s not who I am. " She t ur ned and
wal ked i nt o t he l obby, and an exasper at ed Di ane f ol l owed.
A Chi nese cl er k was seat ed behi nd a desk i n t he smal l
hot el l obby, r eadi ng a copy of t he Chi na Post .
" We woul d l i ke a r oomf or t he ni ght , " Di ane sai d.
The cl er k gl anced up at t he t wo el egant l y dr essed women
and al most sai d al oud, Her e? He r ose. " Cer t ai nl y. " He t ook a
cl oser l ook at t hei r desi gner cl ot hes. " That wi l l be a
hundr ed dol l ar s a ni ght . "
Kel l y l ooked at hi m, shocked. " A hun?"
Di ane sai d qui ckl y, " That wi l l be f i ne. "
" I n advance. "
Di ane opened her pur se, t ook out some bi l l s, and gave t hem
t o t he cl er k. He handed her a key.
" Roomt en, st r ai ght down t he hal l , on t he l ef t . Do you
have l uggage?
" I t ' s comi ng, " Di ane t ol d hi m.
" I f you need anyt hi ng, j ust ask f or Li ng. "
Kel l y sai d, " Li ng?"
" Yes. She' s your chamber mai d. "
Kel l y gave hi ma skept i cal l ook. " Ri ght . "
The t wo women st ar t ed down t he dr ear y, di ml y l i t hal l way.
" You pai d t oo much, " Kel l y sai d.
" What ' s a saf e r oof over your head wor t h?"
" I ' mnot so sur e t hi s pl ace i s such a good i dea, " Kel l y
sai d.
" I t wi l l have t o do unt i l we t hi nk of somet hi ng bet t er .
Don' t wor r y. Mr . Ki ngsl ey wi l l t ake car e of us. "
When t hey r eached number t en, Di ane unl ocked t he door and
t hey st epped i nsi de. The smal l r oom
l ooked and smel l ed as t hough i t had been unoccupi ed f or a
l ong t i me. Ther e wer e t wi n beds wi t h
r umpl ed bedcover s and t wo wor n chai r s next t o a scar r ed
desk.
Kel l y l ooked ar ound. " I t may be smal l , but i t sur e i s
ugl y. I ' l l bet i t ' s never been cl eaned. " She t ouched
a cushi on and wat ched t he dust r i se. " I wonder how l ong
ago Li ng passed away. "
" I t ' s onl y f or t oni ght , " Di ane assur ed her . " I ' mgoi ng t o
phone Mr . Ki ngsl ey now. "
Kel l y wat ched as Di ane went t o t he t el ephone and cal l ed
t he number on t he car d t hat Tanner Ki ngsl ey had gi ven her .
The cal l was answer ed i mmedi at el y. " Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
Di ane si ghed i n r el i ef . " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, t hi s i s Di ane
St evens. I ' msor r y t o bot her you, but Kel l y Har r i s and I need
your hel p. Someone i s t r yi ng t o ki l l us and we have no i dea
what ' s goi ng on. We' r e on t he r un. "
" I ' mver y gl ad you cal l ed, Mr s. St evens. You can r el ax. We
j ust f ound out what ' s behi nd al l t hi s. You won' t have any
mor e pr obl ems. I can assur e you t hat f r omnow on, bot h you
and Mr s. Har r i s wi l l be per f ect l y saf e. "
Di ane cl osed her eyes f or an i nst ant . Thank God. " Can you
t el l me who?"
" I ' l l t el l you al l about i t when I see you. St ay wher e you
ar e. I ' l l have someone t her e t o pi ck you up
i n t hi r t y mi nut es. "
" That ' s" The connect i on was br oken. Di ane r epl aced t he
r ecei ver and t ur ned t o Kel l y, gr i nni ng.
" Good news! Our pr obl ems ar e over . "
" What di d he say?"
" He knows what ' s behi nd al l t hi s and he says f r omnow on,
we' r e saf e. "
Kel l y gave a deep si gh. " Gr eat . Now I can go back t o Par i s
and st ar t my l i f e over agai n. "
" He' s sendi ng someone t o pi ck us up i n hal f an hour . "
Kel l y l ooked ar ound t he di ngy r oom. " I t wi l l sur e be har d
t o l eave al l t hi s. "
Di ane t ur ned t o her and sai d wi st f ul l y, " I t ' s goi ng t o be
st r ange. "
" What i s?"
" Goi ng back t o a l i f e wi t hout Ri char d. I can' t i magi ne how
I ' l l be abl e t o"
" Then don' t , " Kel l y snapped. Don' t t ake me t her e, l ady, or
I ' l l f al l apar t . I can' t even t hi nk about i t .
Mar k was my whol e l i f e, my onl y r eason f or l i vi ng. . .
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y' s emot i onl ess expr essi on and
t hought , She' s l i ke a l i f el ess wor k of ar t beaut i f ul and
col d.
* * *
KELLY WAS SEATED on one of t he beds, her back t o Di ane.
She cl osed her eyes agai nst t he pai n i nsi de her and sl owl y .
. . sl owl y . . . sl owl y. . .
* * *
She WAS WALKI NG al ong t he Lef t Bank wi t h Mar k, chat t i ng
about ever yt hi ng and not hi ng. Kel l y
f el t t hat she had never been so compl et el y comf or t abl e
wi t h anyone bef or e.
She sai d t o Mar k, " Tomor r ow eveni ng t her e' s a gal l er y
openi ng i f you' r e i nt er est ed i n"
" Oh, I ' msor r y, Kel l y. Tomor r ow ni ght I ' mbusy. "
Kel l y f el t an unexpect ed st ab of j eal ousy. " Goi ng on
anot her dat e?" She t r i ed t o keep her t one l i ght .
" No. No. I ' mgoi ng al one. I t ' s a banquet " He saw t he l ook
on Kel l y' s f ace. " I I mean i t ' s j ust a
di nner f or sci ent i st s. You' d be bor ed. "
" Woul d I ?"
" I ' maf r ai d so. Ther et her e wi l l be a l ot of wor ds you' ve
pr obabl y never hear d bef or e and"
" I t hi nk I ' ve hear d t hemal l , " Kel l y sai d, pi qued. " Why
don' t you t r y me?"
" Wel l , I don' t r eal l y t hi nk"
" I ' ma bi g gi r l . Go ahead. "
He si ghed. " Al l r i ght . Anat r i psol ogy . . .
mal acost r acol ogy . . . aner oi dogr aph . . . t er mag"
" Oh, " Kel l y sai d, t aken aback. " Those ki nds of wor ds. "
" I knew you woul dn' t be i nt er est ed. I "
" You wer e wr ong. I am. " Because you' r e i nt er est ed.
* * *
THE BANQUET WAS hel d at t he Hot el Pr i nce de Gal l es and
t ur ned out t o be a maj or event . Ther e wer e t hr ee hundr ed
peopl e i n t he bal l r oom, among t hemsome of t he most i mpor t ant
di gni t ar i es of
Fr ance. One of t he guest s at t he f r ont t abl e wher e Kel l y
and Mar k wer e seat ed was an at t r act i ve man
wi t h a war m, engagi ng per sonal i t y.
" I ' mSamMeadows, " he sai d t o Kel l y. " I ' ve hear d a l ot
about you. "
" I ' ve hear d a l ot about you, " Kel l y r epl i ed. " Mar k says
you' r e hi s ment or and best f r i end. "
SamMeadows smi l ed. " I ' mhonor ed t o be hi s f r i end. Mar k i s
a ver y speci al per son. We' ve wor ked t oget her f or a l ong t i me.
He' s t he most dedi cat ed"
Mar k was l i st eni ng, embar r assed. " Woul d you l i ke some
wi ne?" he i nt er r upt ed.
The mast er of cer emoni es appear ed onst age, and t he
speeches began. Mar k had been r i ght about t he eveni ng bei ng
uni nt er est i ng f or Kel l y. Techni cal sci ent i f i c pr i zes wer e
bei ng awar ded, and as f ar as
Kel l y was concer ned, t he speaker s coul d al l have been
t al ki ng i n Swahi l i . But Kel l y wat ched t he ent husi asmon
Mar k' s f ace, and she was gl ad she was t her e.
When t he di nner pl at es had been cl ear ed, t he pr esi dent of
t he Fr ench Academi e des Sci ences appear ed onst age. He began
by pr ai si ng t he sci ent i f i c accompl i shment s t hat Fr ance had
made i n t he past year ,
and i t was not unt i l t he end of hi s speech, when he hel d
up a gol d st at uet t e and cal l ed out Mar k Har r i s' s name, t hat
Kel l y r eal i zed t hat Mar k was t he st ar of t he eveni ng. He had
been t oo modest t o t el l her . That ' s why he t r i ed t o t al k me
out of comi ng. Kel l y wat ched Mar k get up and go onst age as
t he
audi ence war ml y appl auded hi m.
" He never sai d a wor d t o me about t hi s, " Kel l y t ol d Sam
Meadows.
Meadows smi l ed. " That ' s Mar k. " He st udi ed Kel l y a moment .
" You know he' s madl y i n l ove wi t h you. He want s t o mar r y
you. " He paused and sai d poi nt edl y, " I hope he doesn' t get
hur t . "
And as Kel l y l i st ened, she f el t a sudden r ush of gui l t . I
can' t mar r y Mar k. He' s a dear f r i end, but I ' m
not i n l ove wi t h hi m. What have I been doi ng? I don' t want
t o hur t hi m. I t ' s bet t er i f I st op seei ng hi m.
I can never gi ve a man what he woul d expect f r oma woman.
How amI goi ng t o t el l ?
* * *
" HAVE YOU HEARD a wor d I ' ve sai d?"
Di ane' s angr y voi ce shook Kel l y out of her r ever i e. The
beaut i f ul bal l r oomdi sappear ed, and she was
i n a cr ummy hot el r oomwi t h a woman she wi shed she had
never met . " What ?"
Di ane sai d ur gent l y, " Tanner Ki ngsl ey sai d someone' s goi ng
t o pi ck us up her e i n hal f an hour . "
" You t ol d me t hat . So?"
" He di dn' t ask wher e we wer e. "
" He pr obabl y t hi nks we' r e st i l l at your apar t ment . "
" No. I t ol d hi mt hat you and I ar e on t he r un. "
Ther e was a moment of si l ence. Kel l y' s l i ps pur sed i nt o a
l ong, si l ent " Oh. "
They t ur ned t o l ook at t he cl ock on t he bedsi de t abl e.
* * *
THE CHI NESE CLERK gl anced up as Fl i nt ent er ed t he l obby of
t he Mandar i n Hot el .
" Can I hel p you?"
He saw Fl i nt ' s smi l e and r et ur ned i t .
" My wi f e and her f r i end j ust checked i n her e. My wi f e i s a
bl onde. Her f r i end i s a hot bl ack chi ck.
What r oomar e t hey i n?"
" Roomt en, but I ' l l have t o announce you. You' l l have t o
t el eph"
As he pi cked up t he t el ephone, Fl i nt r ai sed a . 45- cal i ber
Ruger pi st ol equi pped wi t h a si l encer and
put a bul l et i n t he cl er k' s f or ehead.
Fl i nt shoved t he body behi nd t he count er and st ar t ed down
t he hal l , t he gun at hi s si de. When he
r eached number t en, he st epped back, t ook t wo st eps
f or war d, shoul der ed t he door open, and
st epped i nt o t he r oom.
The r oomwas empt y, but t hr ough t he cl osed bat hr oomdoor ,
Fl i nt coul d hear t he sound of a shower r unni ng. He wal ked
over t o t he bat hr oomdoor and shoved i t open. The shower was
t ur ned on f ul l
f or ce, and t he cl osed cur t ai ns wer e gent l y swayi ng. Fl i nt
f i r ed f our shot s i nt o t he cur t ai ns, wai t ed a moment , t hen
pul l ed t hemopen.
Ther e was no one t her e.
* * *
I N A DI NER acr oss t he st r eet , Di ane and Kel l y had wat ched
Fl i nt ' s SUV ar r i ve and t hen had seen
hi mgo i nt o t he hot el .
" My God, " Kel l y had sai d, " t hat ' s t he man who t r i ed t o
ki dnap me. "
They wai t ed. When Fl i nt came out a f ew mi nut es l at er , hi s
l i ps wer e smi l i ng, but hi s f ace was a mask
of f ur y.
Kel l y t ur ned t o Di ane. " Ther e goes Godzi l l a. What ' s our
next f al se move?"
" We have t o get out of her e. "
" And go wher e? They' r e goi ng t o be wat chi ng t he ai r por t s,
t r ai n st at i ons, bus depot s. . . . "
Di ane was t hought f ul f or a moment . " I know a pl ace wher e
t hey can' t t ouch us. "
" Let me guess. The spaceshi p t hat br ought you her e. "
CHAPTER 25
ALL THE MORNI NG newspaper s wer e f i l l ed wi t h t he same
st or y. A dr ought i n Ger many had
caused at l east a hundr ed deat hs and had wi ped out
mi l l i ons of dol l ar s' wor t h of cr ops.
Tanner buzzed f or Kat hy. " Send t hi s ar t i cl e t o Senat or Van
Luven, wi t h a not e: ' Anot her gl obal
war mi ng updat e. Si ncer el y
* * *
THE WI LTON HOTEL f or Women was t hi r t y- f i ve mi nut es and a
wor l d away f r omt he Mandar i n.
The Wi l t on was an at t r act i ve, moder n- l ooki ng f i ve- st or y
hot el . An el egant , dar k gr een canopy
awni ng hung over t he wal kway l eadi ng t o i t s ent r ance.
I n t he l obby, Kel l y and Di ane wer e r egi st er i ng under f al se
names. The woman behi nd t he desk
handed Kel l y a key. " Sui t e 424. Do you have l uggage?"
" No, we"
" I t got l ost , " Di ane cut i n. " I t wi l l be her e i n t he
mor ni ng. By t he way, our husbands ar e pi cki ng us
up i n a l i t t l e whi l e. Woul d you send t hemt o our r oom
and"
The cl er k shook her head. " I ' msor r y. Men ar e not al l owed
upst ai r s. "
" Oh?" Di ane gave Kel l y a compl acent smi l e.
" I f you wi sh t o meet t hemdown her e"
" Never mi nd. They' l l j ust have t o suf f er wi t hout us. "
* * *
SUI TE 424 WAS beaut i f ul l y appoi nt ed, wi t h a l i vi ng r oom
cont ai ni ng a couch, chai r s, t abl es, and an ar moi r e, and i n
t he bedr oomt wo comf or t abl e- l ooki ng doubl e beds.
Di ane l ooked ar ound. " Thi s i s pl easant , i sn' t i t ?"
Kel l y sai d aci dl y, " What ar e we doi nggoi ng f or t he
Gui nness Book of Wor l d Recor dsa di f f er ent
hot el ever y hal f hour ?"
" Do you have a bet t er pl an?"
" Thi s i s no pl an, " Kel l y sai d scor nf ul l y. " Thi s i s a game
of cat and mi ce, and we' r e t he mi ce. "
" Ri ght . When you t hi nk about i t , t he head of t he bi ggest
t hi nk t ank i n t he wor l d i s out t o mur der us, " Di ane sai d.
" Then don' t t hi nk about i t . "
" Easi er sai d t han done. Ther e ar e enough eggheads at KI G
t o make an omel et t he si ze of Kansas. "
" Wel l , we' l l j ust have t o out - t hi nk t hem. "
Kel l y f r owned. " We need some ki nd of weapon. Do you know
how t o use a gun?"
" No. "
" Damn. Nei t her do I . "
" I t doesn' t mat t er . We don' t have one. "
" How about kar at e?"
" No, but I was on t he debat i ng t eami n col l ege, " Di ane
sai d dr yl y. " Maybe I can ar gue t hemout of
ki l l i ng us. "
" Sur e. "
Di ane wal ked over t o t he wi ndow and l ooked out at t he
t r af f i c on Thi r t y- f our t h St r eet . Suddenl y,
her eyes wi dened and she gasped, " Oh! "
Kel l y r ushed t o her si de. " What i s i t ? What di d you see?"
Di ane' s t hr oat was dr y. " Aa man wal ked by. He l ooked j ust
l i ke Ri char d. For a moment , I "
She t ur ned away f r omt he wi ndow.
Kel l y sai d cont empt uousl y, " Woul d you l i ke me t o send f or
t he ghost cat cher s?"
Di ane st ar t ed t o r et or t but st opped. What ' s t he use? I ' l l
be r i d of her soon.
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane and t hought : Why don' t you shut up
and go pai nt somet hi ng.
* * *
FLI NT WAS SPEAKI NG on hi s cel l phone t o a f ur i ous Tanner .
" I ' msor r y, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. They
wer en' t i n t hei r r oomat t he Mandar i n. They wer e gone.
They must have known I was comi ng. "
Tanner was apopl ect i c. " Those bi t ches want t o pl ay mi nd
games wi t h me? Wi t h me? I ' l l cal l
you back. " He sl ammed down t he r ecei ver .
* * *
ANDREWWAS LYI NG on t he couch i n hi s of f i ce, and hi s mi nd
dr i f t ed t o t he huge st age of t he St ockhol mconcer t hal l . The
audi ence was cheer i ng ent husi ast i cal l y and shout i ng,
" Andr ew!
Andr ew! " The hal l echoed wi t h t he sound of hi s name.
He coul d hear t he audi ence appl audi ng as he wal ked acr oss
t he st age t o r ecei ve hi s awar d f r omKi ng
Car l XVI Gust av of Sweden. As he r eached f or t he Nobel
Pr i ze, someone st ar t ed cur si ng hi m.
" Andr ew, you son of a bi t chget i n her e. "
The St ockhol mconcer t hal l shi mmer ed away and Andr ew was
i n hi s of f i ce. Tanner was cal l i ng hi m.
He needs me, Andr ew t hought happi l y. He sl owl y r ose and
wal ked i nt o hi s br ot her ' s of f i ce.
" I ' mher e, " Andr ew sai d.
" Yes, I see t hat , " Tanner snapped. " Si t down. "
Andr ew t ook a chai r .
" I have a f ew t hi ngs t o t each you, bi g br ot her . Di vi de and
conquer . " Ther e was a not e of sat i sf act i on
i n Tanner ' s voi ce. " I have Di ane St evens t hi nki ng t hat t he
Maf i a ki l l ed her husband, and Kel l y Har r i s
i s wor r i ed about a nonexi st ent Ol ga. Under st and?"
Andr ew sai d vaguel y, " Yes, Tanner . "
Tanner pat t ed hi s br ot her on t he shoul der . " You' r e a
per f ect soundi ng boar d f or me, Andr ew. Ther e
ar e t hi ngs I want t o t al k about t hat I can' t di scuss wi t h
anyone el se. But I can t el l you anyt hi ng, because you' r e t oo
st upi d t o under st and. " He l ooked i nt o Andr ew' s vacant eyes.
" See no evi l , hear no evi l , speak no evi l . " Tanner was
suddenl y al l - busi ness. " We have a pr obl emt o sol ve. Two women
have di sappear ed. They know we' r e l ooki ng f or t hem, t o ki l l
t hem, and t hey' r e t r yi ng t o st ay out of si ght . Wher e woul d
t hey go t o hi de, Andr ew?"
Andr ew l ooked at hi s br ot her f or a moment . " I I don' t
know. "
" Ther e ar e t wo ways t o f i nd out . Fi r st , we' l l t r y t he
Car t esi an met hod, l ogi c, bui l di ng our sol ut i on one
st ep at a t i me. Let ' s r eason i t out . "
Andr ew l ooked at hi mand sai d vacuousl y, " What ever you
say. . . "
Tanner began t o pace. " They won' t r et ur n t o t he St evens
apar t ment because t hat ' s t oo danger ous
we' r e havi ng i t wat ched. We know t hat Kel l y Har r i s doesn' t
have any cl ose f r i ends i n t he St at es
because she' s l i ved i n Par i s f or so l ong, so she woul dn' t
t r ust anyone her e t o pr ot ect her . " He l ooked
at hi s br ot her . " Ar e you f ol l owi ng me?"
Andr ew bl i nked. " I yes, Tanner . "
" Now, woul d Di ane St evens go t o f r i ends f or hel p? I don' t
t hi nk so. I t mi ght j eopar di ze t hem. Anot her al t er nat i ve i s
f or t hemt o go t o t he pol i ce wi t h t hei r st or y, but t hey know
t hey woul d be l aughed at . So, what coul d t hei r next st ep be?"
He cl osed hi s eyes f or a f ew seconds, t hen went on.
" Obvi ousl y t hey woul d have consi der ed t he ai r por t s and t r ai n
st at i ons and bus st at i ons, but t hey woul d know we' r e
havi ng t hemwat ched. So wher e does t hat l eave us?"
" I I what ever you say, Tanner . "
" I t l eaves us wi t h a hot el , Andr ew. They need a hot el t o
hi de i n. But what ki nd of hot el ? These ar e
t wo t er r i f i ed women r unni ng f or t hei r l i ves. You see, no
mat t er whi ch one t hey choose, t hey' l l f i gur e
we mi ght have connect i ons t her e, and t hey' l l be exposed.
They won' t f eel saf e. Do you r emember
Sonj a Ver br ugge i n Ber l i n? We f i nessed her wi t h t hat
i nst ant message on her comput er . She went t o
t he Ar t emi si a Hot el because i t was f or women onl y, so she
t hought she woul d be saf e. Wel l , I t hi nk Mesdames St evens and
Har r i s woul d f eel t he same way. So wher e woul d t hat l eave
us?"
He t ur ned t o l ook at hi s br ot her agai n. Andr ew' s eyes wer e
cl osed. He was asl eep. Fur i ous, Tanner wal ked over t o hi mand
sl apped hi mhar d acr oss hi s f ace.
Andr ew j er ked awake. " What ?"
" Pay at t ent i on when I ' mt al ki ng t o you, you cr et i n. "
" I I ' msor r y, Tanner . I was j ust "
Tanner t ur ned t o a comput er . " Now, l et ' s see what women' s
hot el s t her e ar e i n Manhat t an. "
Tanner di d a qui ck sear ch on t he I nt er net and pr i nt ed out
t he r esul t s. He r ead t he names al oud.
" The El Car mel o Resi dence on West Four t eent h St r eet . . .
Cent r o Mar i a Resi dence on West
Fi f t y- f our t h St r eet . . . The Par ksi de Evangel i ne on
Gr amer cy Sout h, and t he Wi l t on Hot el f or
Women. " He l ooked up and smi l ed. " That ' s wher e Car t esi an
l ogi c t el l s us t hey mi ght be, Andr ew.
Now l et ' s see what t echnol ogy t el l s us. "
Tanner wal ked over t o t he pai nt i ng of a l andscape on t he
wal l , r eached behi nd i t , and pr essed a
conceal ed but t on. A sect i on of t he wal l sl i d open,
r eveal i ng a t el evi si on scr een wi t h a comput er i zed
map of Manhat t an.
" Do you r emember what t hi s i s, Andr ew? You used t o oper at e
t hi s equi pment . I n f act , you wer e so
good at i t , I was j eal ous of you. I t ' s a Gl obal
Posi t i oni ng Syst em. Wi t h t hi s, we can l ocat e anyone i n
t he wor l d. Remember ?"
Andr ew nodded, f i ght i ng t o st ay awake.
" When t he l adi es l ef t my of f i ce, I gave each of t hemmy
busi ness car d. The car ds have mi cr odot comput er chi ps about
t he si ze of a gr ai n of sand i mbedded i n t hem. That si gnal i s
pi cked up by sat el l i t e, and when t he Gl obal Posi t i oni ng
Syst emi s act i vat ed, i t pi npoi nt s t hei r exact l ocat i on. " He
t ur ned t o hi s br ot her . " Do you under st and?"
Andr ew swal l owed. " I I yes, Tanner . "
Tanner t ur ned back t o t he scr een. He pr essed a second
but t on. Ti ny l i ght s began t o f l ash on t he map
and st ar t ed downwar d. I t sl owed at a smal l ar ea, t hen
f l owed ahead agai n. A movi ng pi npoi nt of r ed
l i ght swept al ong a st r eet , goi ng so sl owl y t hat t he names
of busi nesses wer e cl ear l y vi si bl e.
Tanner poi nt ed. " That ' s West Four t eent h St r eet . " The r ed
l i ght kept movi ng. " Ther e' s t he Tequi l a Rest aur ant . . . a
phar macy. . . Sai nt Vi ncent ' s Hospi t al . . . Banana Republ i c .
. . Our Lady of Guadal upe Chur ch. " The l i ght st opped. A not e
of vi ct or y came i nt o Tanner ' s voi ce. " And t her e' s t he Wi l t on
Hot el
f or Women. That conf i r ms my l ogi c. I was r i ght , you see. "
Andr ew l i cked hi s l i ps. " Yes. You wer e r i ght . . . "
Tanner l ooked at Andr ew. " You may go now. " He pi cked up
hi s cel l phone and di al ed. " Mr . Fl i nt ,
t hey' r e at t he Wi l t on Hot el on West Thi r t y- f our t h St r eet . "
He t ur ned of f t he phone. He l ooked up
and saw Andr ew st andi ng i n t he door way. " What i s i t ?"
Tanner asked i mpat i ent l y.
" Wi l l I be goi ng t oyou knowSweden, t o pi ck up my Nobel
Pr i ze t hey j ust gave me?"
" No, Andr ew. That was seven year s ago. " " Oh. " Andr ew
t ur ned and shuf f l ed back t o hi s of f i ce.
Tanner t hought about hi s own ur gent t r i p t o Sweden, t hr ee
year s ear l i er . . . .
* * *
HE HAD BEEN i nvol ved i n a compl i cat ed l ogi st i cs mi shap
when hi s secr et ar y' s voi ce came over t he i nt er com. " Zur i ch i s
on t he l i ne f or you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
" I ' mt oo busy f or never mi nd. I ' l l t al k t o t hem. " He
pi cked up t he phone. " Yes?" As Tanner l i st ened,
hi s f ace became gr i m. He sai d i mpat i ent l y, " I see. . . .
Ar e you sur e? SheNo, never mi nd. I ' l l handl e t hi s mysel f . "
He pr essed down t he i nt er combut t on. " Mi ss Or donez, t el l
t he pi l ot t o have t he Chal l enger r eady.
We' r e f l yi ng t o Zur i ch. Ther e wi l l be t wo passenger s. "
* * *
MADELEI NE SMI TH WAS seat ed i n a boot h at La Rot onde, one
of t he f i nest r est aur ant s i n Zur i ch.
She was i n her ear l y t hi r t i es, wi t h a l ovel y oval f ace,
bobbed hai r , and a beaut i f ul compl exi on. She was vi si bl y
pr egnant .
Tanner wal ked over t o t he t abl e, and Madel ei ne Smi t h st ood
up.
Tanner Ki ngsl ey hel d out hi s hand. " Pl ease, si t down. " He
sat down opposi t e her .
" I amhappy t o meet you. " She had a l i l t i ng Swi ss accent .
" At f i r st , when I got t he cal l , I t hought i t
was a j oke. "
" Why?"
" Wel l , you ar e such an i mpor t ant man and when t hey sai d
you wer e comi ng t o Zur i ch j ust t o see me,
I coul d not i magi ne"
Tanner smi l ed. " I ' l l t el l you why I ' mher e. Because I ' ve
hear d t hat you ar e a br i l l i ant sci ent i st ,
Madel ei ne. May I cal l you Madel ei ne?"
" Oh, pl ease, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
" At KI G, we t r easur e t al ent . You' r e t he ki nd of per son who
shoul d be wor ki ng f or us, Madel ei ne.
How l ong have you been wi t h Tokyo Fi r st I ndust r i al ?"
" Seven year s. "
" Wel l , seven i s your l ucky number , because I ' mof f er i ng
you a j ob at KI G at t wi ce what you' r e maki ng now, and you' l l
be i n char ge of your own depar t ment and"
" Oh, Mr . Ki ngsl ey! " She was beami ng.
" Ar e you i nt er est ed, Madel ei ne?"
" Oh, yes! I amver y i nt er est ed. Of cour se I coul d not
st ar t r i ght now. "
Tanner ' s expr essi on changed. " What do you mean?"
" Wel l , I amhavi ng a baby and get t i ng mar r i ed. . . . "
Tanner smi l ed. " That ' s no pr obl em. We' l l handl e
ever yt hi ng. "
Madel ei ne Smi t h sai d, " But t her e i s anot her r eason I
cannot l eave r i ght now. I amwor ki ng on a pr oj ect
at our l abor at or y and we ar e j ust get t i ngwe ar e al most at
t he end of i t . "
" Madel ei ne, I don' t know what your pr oj ect i s and I don' t
car e. But t he f act i s t hat t he of f er I j ust made must be
accept ed i mmedi at el y. I n f act , I was hopi ng t o f l y you and
your f i ance" he smi l ed" or
shoul d I say your f ut ur e husbandback t o Amer i ca wi t h me. "
" I coul d come as soon as t he pr oj ect i s f i ni shed. Si x
mont hs, maybe a year . "
Tanner was si l ent f or a moment . " Ar e you sur e t her e i s no
way you can come now?"
" No. I ami n char ge of t hi s pr oj ect . I t woul d be unf ai r
f or me t o wal k out . " She br i ght ened.
" Next year ?"
Tanner smi l ed. " Absol ut el y. "
" I amso sor r y t hat you had t o make t hi s j our ney f or
not hi ng. "
Tanner sai d war ml y, " I t wasn' t f or not hi ng, Madel ei ne. I
got t o meet you. "
She bl ushed. " You ar e ver y ki nd. "
" Oh, by t he way, I br ought you a gi f t . My associ at e wi l l
br i ng i t t o your apar t ment t oni ght at si x o' cl ock. Hi s name
i s Har r y Fl i nt . "
* * *
THE FOLLOWI NG MORNI NG, t he body of Madel ei ne Smi t h was
f ound on her ki t chen f l oor . The
st ove had been l ef t on and t he apar t ment was f i l l ed wi t h
gas.
* * *
TANNER' S THOUGHTS CAME back t o t he pr esent . Fl i nt never
f ai l ed hi m. I n a l i t t l e whi l e, Di ane St evens and Kel l y Har r i s
woul d be di sposed of , and wi t h t hemout of t he way, t he
pr oj ect coul d
ont i nue.
CHAPTER 26
HARRY FLI NT WALKED up t o t he r ecept i on desk of t he Wi l t on
Hot el . " Hel l o. "
" Hel l o. " The cl er k not i ced t he smi l e on hi s f ace. " Can I
hel p you?"
" Yes. My wi f e and her f r i end, an Af r i can- Amer i can, checked
i n her e a l i t t l e whi l e ago. I want t o go
up and sur pr i se t hem. What ' s t hei r r oomnumber ?"
The cl er k sai d, " I ' msor r y. Thi s i s a hot el f or women,
si r . Men ar e not al l owed upst ai r s. I f you' d l i ke
t o phone"
Fl i nt gl anced ar ound t he l obby. Unf or t unat el y, i t was
cr owded. " Never mi nd, " he sai d. " I ' msur e
t hey' l l be down soon. "
Fl i nt wal ked out si de and di al ed hi s cel l phone. " They' r e
upst ai r s i n t hei r r oom, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. I can' t
go up. "
Tanner st ood st i l l a moment , concent r at i ng. " Mr . Fl i nt ,
l ogi c t el l s me t hat t hey wi l l deci de t o separ at e.
I ' msendi ng Car bal l o over t o hel p you.
* * *
UPSTAI RS I N THEI R sui t e, Kel l y t ur ned t he r adi o on t o a
pop st at i on, and t he r oomwas suddenl y
f i l l ed wi t h l oud r ap musi c.
" How can you l i st en t o t hat ?" Di ane asked i r r i t abl y.
" You don' t l i ke r ap musi c?"
" That ' s not musi c. That ' s noi se. "
" You don' t l i ke Emi nem? And what about LL Cool J and R.
Kel l y and Ludacr i s?"
" I s t hat al l you l i st en t o?"
" No, " Kel l y sai d t ar t l y. " I enj oy Ber l i oz' s Symphoni e
Fant ast i que, Chopi n' s et udes, and Handel ' s
Al mi r a. I ' mpar t i cul ar l y f ond of "
Kel l y wat ched Di ane wal k over t o t he r adi o and t ur n i t
of f . " What ar e we goi ng t o do when we r un
out of hot el s, Mr s. St evens? Do you know anyone who can
hel p us?"
Di ane shook her head. " Most of Ri char d' s f r i ends wor ked at
KI G, and our ot her f r i endsI can' t get
any of t hemi nvol ved i n t hi s. " She l ooked at Kel l y. " What
about you?"
Kel l y shr ugged. " Mar k and I l i ved i n Par i s f or t he past
t hr ee year s. I don' t know anyone her e except
t he peopl e at t he model agency, and I have a f eel i ng t hey
woul dn' t be a l ot of hel p. "
" Di d Mar k say why he was goi ng t o Washi ngt on?"
" No. "
" Nei t her di d Ri char d. I have a f eel i ng t hat somehow t hat ' s
t he key t o why t hey wer e mur der ed. "
" Gr eat . We have t he key. Wher e' s t he door ?"
" We' l l f i nd i t . " Di ane was t hought f ul f or a moment , t hen
her f ace l i t up. " Wai t a mi nut e! I know
someone who mi ght be abl e t o hel p us. " She went over t o
t he phone.
" Who ar e you cal l i ng?"
" Ri char d' s secr et ar y. She' l l know what ' s been goi ng on. "
A voi ce at t he ot her end of t he phone sai d, " KI G. "
" I ' d l i ke t o speak t o Bet t y Bar ker , pl ease. "
* * *
I N HI S OFFI CE, Tanner wat ched t he voi ce i dent i f i cat i on
bl ue l i ght f l ash on. He pr essed a swi t ch
and hear d t he oper at or say, " Mi ss Bar ker i s not at her
desk r i ght now. "
" Can you t el l me how t o r each her ?"
" I ' msor r y. I f you' l l gi ve me your name and phone number ,
I ' l l have her "
" Never mi nd. " Di ane r epl aced t he r ecei ver .
The bl ue l i ght went out .
* * *
DI ANE TURNED TO Kel l y. " I have a f eel i ng Bet t y Bar ker
mi ght be t he door we' r e l ooki ng f or .
I have t o f i nd a way t o get t o her . " She f r owned. " I t ' s so
st r ange. "
" What i s?"
" A f or t une- t el l er pr edi ct ed t hi s. She t ol d me she saw
deat h ar ound me, and"
Kel l y excl ai med, " No! And you di dn' t r epor t i t t o t he FBI
and t he CI A?"
Di ane gl ar ed at her a moment . " Never mi nd. " Mor e and mor e,
Kel l y was get t i ng on her ner ves.
" Let ' s have di nner . "
Kel l y sai d, " I have t o make a cal l f i r st . " She pi cked up
t he t el ephone and di al ed t he hot el oper at or .
" I want t o pl ace a cal l t o Par i s. " She gave t he oper at or a
number and wai t ed. Af t er a f ew mi nut es,
Kel l y' s f ace br i ght ened. " Hel l o, Phi l i ppe. How ar e you? .
. . Ever yt hi ng' s f i ne her e. " She gl anced
over at Di ane. " Yes. . . . I shoul d be home i n a day or t wo.
. . . How i s Angel ? . . . Oh, t hat ' s
wonder f ul . Does she mi ss me? . . . Woul d you put her on?"
Her voi ce changed t o t he t one adul t s use when t al ki ng t o a
smal l chi l d. " Angel , how ar e you, dar l i ng? . . . I t ' s your
mama. Phi l i ppe says you
mi ss me. . . . I mi ss you, t oo. I ' l l be home soon, and I ' l l
hol d you and cuddl e you, sweet hear t . "
Di ane had t ur ned t o l i st en, puzzl ed.
" Good- bye, baby. Al l r i ght , Phi l i ppe. . . . Thanks. I ' l l
see you soon. Au r evoi r . "
Kel l y saw Di ane' s bewi l der ed expr essi on. " I was t al ki ng t o
my dog. "
" Ri ght . What di d he have t o say?"
" She. She' s a bi t ch. "
" That f i gur es. "
* * *
I T WAS TI ME f or di nner , but t hey wer e af r ai d t o l eave t he
saf et y of t hei r r oom. They or der ed somet hi ng f r omr oom
ser vi ce.
The t al k was desul t or y. Di ane t r i ed t o make conver sat i on
wi t h Kel l y, but i t was hopel ess.
" So, you' ve been l i vi ng i n Par i s?"
" At . "
" Yes. "
" Was Mar k Fr ench?"
" No. "
" Wer e you mar r i ed l ong?"
" No. "
" How di d you t wo meet ?"
None of your damned busi ness. " I don' t r eal l y r emember .
I ' ve met so many men. "
Di ane st udi ed Kel l y. " Why don' t you get r i d of t hat wal l
you' ve bui l t ar ound your sel f ?"
Kel l y sai d t i ght l y, " Di d anyone ever t el l you t hat wal l s
ar e t o keep peopl e out ?"
" Somet i mes t hey keep peopl e l ocked i n, and"
" Look, Mr s. St evens. Mi nd your own busi ness. I was doi ng
f i ne unt i l I met you. Let ' s dr op i t . "
" Ri ght . " She' s t he col dest per son I ' ve ever met .
* * *
WHEN THEY HAD f i ni shed a si l ent di nner , Kel l y announced,
" I ' mgoi ng t o t ake a shower . "
Di ane di d not r espond.
I n t he bat hr oom, Kel l y shed her cl ot hes, st epped i nt o t he
shower , and t ur ned i t on. The war mwat er agai nst her
nakedness f el t wonder f ul . She cl osed her eyes and l et her
mi nd dr i f t . . . .
She coul d hear SamMeadows' s wor ds. You know, Mar k s madl y
i n l ove wi t h you. He want s t o mar r y you. I hope he doesn' t
get hur t . And Kel l y knew t hat SamMeadows was r i ght . Kel l y
enj oyed bei ng
wi t h Mar k. He was f un, and t hought f ul , and car i ng, and a
gr eat f r i end. That was t he cat ch. I t hi nk of
hi monl y as a f r i end. That ' s not f ai r t o hi m. I must st op
seei ng hi m.
Mar k had cal l ed t he mor ni ng af t er t he banquet . " Hel l o,
Kel l y. What woul d you l i ke t o do t oni ght ?"
Mar k' s voi ce was f i l l ed wi t h ant i ci pat i on. " Di nner and t he
t heat er ? Or t her e ar e some st or es open
at ni ght , and t hen t her e' s"
" I ' msor r y, Mar k. I ' mI ' mbusy t oni ght . "
Ther e was a br i ef si l ence. " Oh. I t hought you and I had
a"
" Wel l , we don' t . " And Kel l y st ood t her e, hat i ng her sel f
f or what she was doi ng t o hi m. I t ' s my f aul t
f or l et t i ng i t go t hi s f ar .
" Oh, al l r i ght . I ' l l cal l you t omor r ow. "
* * *
HE CALLED THE next day. " Kel l y, i f I ' ve of f ended you i n
any way
And Kel l y had t o st eel her sel f t o say, " I ' msor r y, Mar k.
I ' veI ' ve f al l en i n l ove wi t h someone. " She wai t ed. The l ong
si l ence was unbear abl e.
" Oh. " Mar k' s voi ce was shaky. " I under st and. I I shoul d
have r eal i zed t hat weCon
congr at ul at i ons. I r eal l y hope you' l l be happy, Kel l y.
Pl ease say good- bye t o Angel f or me. "
Mar k hung up. Kel l y st ood t her e, hol di ng t he dead phone i n
her hand, f eel i ng mi ser abl e. He' l l f or get
me soon, Kel l y t hought , and f i nd someone who can gi ve hi m
t he happi ness he deser ves.
* * *
KELLY WORKED EVERY day, smi l i ng her way acr oss r unways and
hear i ng t he appl ause of t he cr owds, but i nsi de she was
saddened. Li f e was not t he same wi t hout her f r i end. She was
const ant l y t empt ed t o cal l hi m, but she r esi st ed. I can' t .
I ' ve hur t hi menough.
Sever al weeks went by, and Kel l y di d not hear f r omMar k.
He' s out of my l i f e. He' s pr obabl y f ound someone el se by now.
I ' mgl ad. And she t r i ed t o mean i t .
* * *
ON A SATURDAY af t er noon, Kel l y was wor ki ng a f ashi on show
i n an el egant r oomcr owded wi t h
t he el i t e of Par i s. She wal ked out ont o t he r unway, and as
soon as she appear ed, t her e was t he usual accl ai m. Kel l y was
f ol l owi ng a model wear i ng an af t er noon sui t and car r yi ng a
pai r of gl oves. One of
t he gl oves sl i pped out of her hand and dr opped ont o t he
r unway. When Kel l y saw i t , i t was t oo l at e.
She t r i pped on i t and pl ummet ed t o t he f l oor , f al l i ng on
her f ace. Ther e was a gasp f r omt he audi ence. Kel l y l ay
t her e, humi l i at ed. St eel i ng her sel f not t o cr y, she t ook a
deep, shudder i ng br eat h, r ai sed
her sel f up, and f l ed f r omt he r unway.
When Kel l y r eached t he dr essi ng r oom, t he war dr obe
mi st r ess sai d, " I have t he eveni ng gown r eady
f or you. You had bet t er "
Kel l y was sobbi ng. " No. I I can' t go out t her e i n f r ont of
t hose peopl e. They' l l l augh at me. " She was becomi ng
hyst er i cal . " I ' mt hr ough. I ' mnever goi ng t o go out t her e
agai n. Never ! "
" Of cour se you ar e. "
Kel l y spun ar ound. Mar k was st andi ng i n t he door way.
" Mar k! What what ar e you doi ng her e?"
" Oh, I I ' ve ki nd of been hangi ng ar ound l at el y. "
" Youyou sawwhat happened out t her e?"
Mar k smi l ed. " I t was wonder f ul . I ' mgl ad i t happened. "
Kel l y was st ar i ng at hi m. " Whwhat ?"
He st epped cl ose t o her and t ook out a handker chi ef t o dr y
her t ear s. " Kel l y, bef or e you wal ked out
t her e, t he audi ence t hought you wer e j ust a beaut i f ul ,
unt ouchabl e dr eam, a f ant asy, out of r each.
When you t r i pped and f el l , i t showed t hemt hat you' r e
human, and t hey ador ed you f or i t . Now you
Go back out t her e and make t hemhappy. "
She l ooked i nt o Mar k' s compassi onat e eyes, and t hat was
t he moment Kel l y r eal i zed she was i n l ove
wi t h hi m.
The war dr obe woman was put t i ng t he eveni ng gown back on a
cl ot hes r ack.
" Gi ve me t hat , " Kel l y sai d. She l ooked at Mar k and smi l ed
t hr ough her t ear s.
Fi ve mi nut es l at er , when Kel l y conf i dent l y wal ked out on
t he r unway, t her e was a wave of t hunder ous appl ause and a
st andi ng ovat i on f r omt he audi ence. Kel l y st ood t her e f aci ng
t hem, over whel med by emot i on.
I t was so wonder f ul t o have Mar k i n her l i f e agai n. She
r emember ed how ner vous she had been i n t he begi nni ng. . . .
* * *
KELLY HAD BEEN t ense, wai t i ng f or Mar k t o make a pass at
her , but he was al ways t he per f ect gent l eman. Hi s shyness
made her f eel mor e conf i dent . I t was Kel l y who began most of
t he
conver sat i ons, and no mat t er what t he subj ect was, she
f ound t hat Mar k was knowl edgeabl e and amusi ng.
One eveni ng, Kel l y sai d, " Mar k, t her e' s a gr eat symphony
or chest r a openi ng t omor r ow ni ght . Do
you l i ke cl assi cal musi c?"
He nodded. " I gr ew up wi t h i t . "
" Good. We' l l go. "
* * *
THE CONCERT WAS br i l l i ant , and t he audi ence ent husi ast i c.
On t he way back t o Kel l y' s apar t ment , Mar k sai d, " Kel l y,
I I l i ed t o you. "
I shoul d have known, Kel l y t hought . He' s j ust l i ke t he
r est of t hem. I t ' s over . She st eel ed her sel f f or
hi s answer . " Di d you?"
" Yes. I I don' t r eal l y l i ke cl assi cal musi c. "
Kel l y bi t her l i p t o keep f r ombur st i ng out l aughi ng.
On t hei r next dat e, Kel l y sai d, " I want t o t hank you f or
Angel . She' s gr eat company. " And so ar e you, Kel l y t hought .
Mar k had t he br i ght est bl ue eyes she had ever seen, and an
endear i ng, cr ooked, l i t t l e
smi l e. She enj oyed hi s company t r emendousl y and . . .
* * *
THE WATER WAS get t i ng col d. Kel l y t ur ned of f t he shower ,
t owel ed her sel f of f , put on t he hot el ' s
t er r y cl ot h r obe, and went i nt o t he bedr oom.
" I t s al l your s. "
" Thanks. "
Di ane got up and st epped i nt o t he bat hr oom. I t l ooked l i ke
a st or mhad st r uck. Wat er had spi l l ed ont o
t he f l oor , and t owel s wer e st r ewn al l over t he f l oor .
Angr i l y, Di ane wal ked back i nt o t he bedr oom. " The bat hr oom
i s a mess. Ar e you used t o havi ng peopl e pi ck up af t er you?"
Kel l y smi l ed sweet l y. " Yes, Mr s. St evens. As a mat t er of
f act , I gr ew up wi t h a l ot of mai ds t aki ng car e
of me. "
" Wel l , I ' mnot one of t hem. "
You woul dn' t qual i f y.
Di ane t ook a deep br eat h. " I t hi nk i t woul d be bet t er i f
we"
" Ther e' s no ' we, ' Mr s. St evens. Ther e' s you and t her e' s
me. "
They st ar ed at each ot her f or a l ong moment . Then, wi t hout
anot her wor d, Di ane t ur ned and went
back i nt o t he bat hr oom. Fi f t een mi nut es l at er , when she
emer ged, Kel l y was i n bed. Di ane r eached
f or t he swi t ch t o t ur n of f t he over head l i ght .
" No, don' t t ouch t hat ! " I t was a scr eam.
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y, st ar t l ed. " What ?"
" Leave t he l i ght s on. "
Di ane asked scor nf ul l y, " Ar e you af r ai d of t he dar k?"
" Yes. I ' mI ' maf r ai d of t he dar k. "
Di ane sai d pat r oni zi ngl y, " Why? Di d your par ent s t el l you
scar y bogeyman st or i es when you wer e
a l i t t l e gi r l ?"
Ther e was a l ong si l ence. " That ' s i t . "
Di ane went t o her own bed. She l ay t her e f or a mi nut e,
t hen cl osed her eyes.
Ri char d, dar l i ng, I never bel i eved t hat someone coul d di e
of a br oken hear t . I bel i eve i t now. I need you so much. I
need you t o gui de me. I need your war mt h and your l ove.
You' r e her e somewher e, I know you ar e. I can f eel you. You
' r e a gi f t t hat God l oaned me, but not f or l ong enough. Good
ni ght , my guar di an angel . Pl ease don' t ever l eave me. Pl ease.
I n her bed, Kel l y coul d hear Di ane qui et l y sobbi ng.
Kel l y' s l i ps t i ght ened. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
And t ear s began t o r ol l down her cheeks.
CHAPTER 27
WHEN DI ANE AWAKENED i n t he mor ni ng, Kel l y was si t t i ng i n a
chai r , f aci ng a wal l .
" Mor ni ng, " Di ane sai d. " Di d you get some sl eep?"
Ther e was no r esponse.
" We have t o f i gur e out what our next move i s. We can' t
st ay her e f or ever . "
No r esponse.
Exasper at ed, Di ane sai d l oudl y, " Kel l y, can you hear me?"
Kel l y spun ar ound i n her chai r . " Do you mi nd? I ' mi n t he
mi ddl e of a mant r a. "
" Oh, sor r y. I di dn' t "
" For get i t . " Kel l y r ose. " Di d anyone ever t el l you you
snor e?"
Di ane f el t a smal l shock. She coul d hear Ri char d' s voi ce
sayi ng, on t he f i r st ni ght t hey had sl ept t oget her , Dar l i ng,
di d you know you snor e? Let me put i t anot her way. I t ' s not
r eal l y a snor e. Your nose si ngs
del i ci ous l i t t l e mel odi es t hr ough t he ni ght l i ke t he musi c
of angel s. And he had t aken her i n hi s ar ms and
" Wel l , you do, " Kel l y sai d. She wal ked over t o t he
t el evi si on set and t ur ned i t on. " Let ' s see what ' s happeni ng
i n t he wor l d. " She began t o channel sur f and suddenl y
st opped. A news show was on t he
ai r , and t he host was Ben Rober t s. " I t ' s Ben! " Kel l y
excl ai med.
" Who' s Ben?" Di ane asked i ndi f f er ent l y.
" Ben Rober t s. He does t he news and i nt er vi ew shows. He' s
t he onl y i nt er vi ewer I r eal l y enj oy. He
and Mar k became gr eat f r i ends. One day" She suddenl y
st opped.
Ben Rober t s was sayi ng:
" . . . and i n a bul l et i n j ust i n, Ant hony Al t i er i , t he
pur por t ed Maf i a head who was r ecent l y acqui t t ed
i n hi s mur der t r i al , di ed t hi s mor ni ng, of cancer . He
was. . "
Kel l y t ur ned t o Di ane. " Di d you hear t hat ? Al t i er i ' s
dead. "
Di ane f el t not hi ng. I t was news f r omanot her wor l d,
anot her t i me.
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y and sai d, " I t hi nk i t woul d be
bet t er i f you and I spl i t up. The t wo of us t oget her
ar e t oo easy t o spot . "
" Ri ght , " Kel l y sai d dr yl y. " We' r e t he same hei ght . "
" I meant "
" I know what you meant . But I coul d put on whi t ef ace and"
Di ane was l ooki ng at her , puzzl ed.
" What ?"
" J ust ki ddi ng, " Kel l y sai d. " Spl i t t i ng up i s a gr eat i dea.
I t ' s al most a pl an, i sn' t i t ?"
" Kel l y"
" I t ' s cer t ai nl y been i nt er est i ng knowi ng you, Mr s.
St evens. " Di ane sai d cur t l y, " Let ' s check out of her e. "
* * *
THE LOBBY was cr owded wi t h a convent i on of women checki ng
i n and hal f a dozen guest s checki ng out . Kel l y and Di ane
wai t ed i n l i ne.
Out on t he st r eet , l ooki ng i nt o t he l obby, Har r y Fl i nt saw
t hemand moved out of si ght . He pi cked up
hi s cel l ul ar phone. " They j ust came down t o t he l obby. "
" Good. Di d Car bal l o get t her e, Mr . Fl i nt ?"
" Yes. "
" Do exact l y as I t ol d you. Cover t he ent r ance t o t he hot el
f r ombot h cor ner s, so t hat no mat t er whi ch
way t hey go, t hey' r e t r apped. I want t hemt o di sappear
wi t hout a t r ace. "
* * *
KELLY AND DI ANE had f i nal l y r eached t he cashi er ' s desk.
The cashi er smi l ed. " I hope you' ve had
a pl easant st ay her e. "
" Ver y pl easant , t hank you, " Di ane sai d. We' r e st i l l al i ve.
* * *
AS THEY WALKED t o t he l obby door , Kel l y asked, " Do you
know wher e you' r e goi ng now,
Mr s. St evens?"
" No. I j ust want t o get away f r omManhat t an. What about
you?"
I j ust want t o get away f r omyou. " Back t o Par i s. "
The t wo of t hemst epped out si de and car ef ul l y l ooked
ar ound. Ther e was t he usual pedest r i an t r af f i c
and ever yt hi ng seemed nor mal .
" Good- bye, Mr s. St evens, " Kel l y sai d, a not e of r el i ef i n
her voi ce.
" Good- bye, Kel l y. "
Kel l y t ur ned t o t he l ef t and st ar t ed wal ki ng t owar d t he
cor ner . Di ane l ooked af t er her a moment , t hen t ur ned t o t he
r i ght and began wal ki ng i n t he ot her di r ect i on. They had
t aken no mor e t han hal f a dozen st eps when Har r y Fl i nt and
Vi nce Car bal l o suddenl y appear ed at opposi t e ends of t he
bl ock. The expr essi on on Car bal l o' s f ace was vi ci ous. Fl i nt ' s
l i ps wer e t ur ned up i n a hal f - smi l e.
The t wo men began cl osi ng i n on t he women, pushi ng t hei r
way t hr ough t he pedest r i ans. Di ane and
Kel l y t ur ned t o l ook at each ot her , pani cky. They had been
ambushed. They bot h hur r i ed back t owar d t he ent r ance of t he
hot el , but t he door way was so cr owded t hat t her e was no way
f or t hemt o get back i nsi de. Ther e was nowher e t o go. The t wo
men wer e get t i ng cl oser .
Kel l y t ur ned t o Di ane, and as she wat ched, st unned, Di ane
smi l ed and waved cheer i l y at Fl i nt and t hen
at Car bal l o.
" Have you gone cr azy?" Kel l y whi sper ed.
Di ane, st i l l smi l i ng, t ook out her cel l phone and spoke
i nt o i t r api dl y. " We' r e i n f r ont of t he hot el
now. . . . Oh, good. You' r e ar ound t he cor ner ?" She
gr i nned and gave a vi ct or y si gn t o Kel l y.
" They' l l be her e i n a mi nut e, " she sai d l oudl y. She l ooked
at Fl i nt and Car bal l o and sai d i nt o t he phone, " No, t her e ar e
onl y t wo of t hem. " Di ane l i st ened and t hen l aughed. " Ri ght . .
. . They' r e her e? Okay. "
As Kel l y and t he t wo men l ooked on, Di ane st epped of f t he
cur b i nt o t he st r eet , scanni ng t he oncomi ng car s. Di ane
st ar t ed si gnal i ng t o an appr oachi ng car i n t he di st ance and
exci t edl y waved i t over . Fl i nt and Car bal l o had st opped,
puzzl ed by what was happeni ng.
Di ane poi nt ed t o t he t wo men. " Over her e, " she shout ed
i nt o t he oncomi ng t r af f i c, wavi ng wi l dl y.
" Over her e. "
Fl i nt and Car bal l o l ooked at each ot her and made a qui ck
deci si on. They t ur ned back t o wher e t hey
had come f r omand di sappear ed ar ound t he cor ner s.
Kel l y was st ar i ng at Di ane, her hear t poundi ng wi l dl y.
" They' r e gone, " she sai d. " Whowho wer e
you t al ki ng t o?"
Di ane t ook a deep br eat h t o st eady her sel f . " Nobody. My
bat t er y i s dead. "
CHAPTER 28
KELLY WAS st ar i ng at Di ane, dumbf ounded. " That was gr eat .
I wi sh I had t hought of t hat . "
Di ane sai d dr yl y, " You wi l l . "
" What ar e you goi ng t o do now?"
" Get out of Manhat t an. "
" How?" Kel l y asked. " They' r e goi ng t o be wat chi ng al l t he
t r ai n st at i onsai r por t s, bus st at i ons,
car r ent al "
Di ane t hought f or a moment . " We can go t o Br ookl yn. They
won' t be l ooki ng t her e. "
" Fi ne, " Kel l y sai d. " Go ahead. "
" What ?"
" I ' mnot goi ng wi t h you. "
Di ane st ar t ed t o say somet hi ng and t hen changed her mi nd.
" Ar e you sur e?"
" Yes, Mr s. St evens. "
Di ane sai d, " Wel l , t hen, weGood- bye. "
" Good- bye. "
Kel l y wat ched as Di ane hai l ed a t axi and st ar t ed t o ent er
i t . Kel l y st ood t her e, hesi t ant , t r yi ng t o make
a deci si on. She was st andi ng al one on an unf ami l i ar
st r eet , wi t h nowher e t o go, and no one t o go t o.
The t axi door cl osed, and t he cab st ar t ed t o move.
" Wai t ! " Kel l y shout ed.
The t axi st opped. Kel l y hur r i ed up t o i t .
Di ane opened t he door , and Kel l y st epped i n and set t l ed
back i n her seat .
" What made you change your mi nd?"
" I j ust r eal i zed I ' ve never seen Br ookl yn. "
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y a moment and shook her head.
The dr i ver asked, " Wher e t o?"
" Take us t o Br ookl yn, pl ease, " Di ane sai d.
The t axi st ar t ed. " Anypl ace speci al ?"
" J ust dr i ve ar ound. "
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane i ncr edul ousl y. " You don' t know wher e
we' r e goi ng?"
" I ' l l know when we get t her e. "
Why di d I come back? Kel l y was aski ng her sel f .
Dur i ng t he r i de, t he t wo of t hemsat si l ent , si de by si de.
I n t went y mi nut es, t hey wer e cr ossi ng t he Br ookl yn Br i dge.
" We' r e l ooki ng f or a hot el , " Di ane t ol d t he dr i ver . " I ' m
not sur e whi ch"
" You want a ni ce hot el , l ady? I know j ust t he one. I t ' s
cal l ed t he Adams. You' l l l i ke i t . "
* * *
THE ADAMS HOTEL was a f i ve- st or y br i ck bui l di ng wi t h a
canopy i n f r ont and a door man i n at t endance.
When t he t axi pul l ed up at t he cur b, t he dr i ver asked,
" Does t hi s l ook okay?"
Di ane sai d, " Thi s l ooks f i ne. "
Kel l y sai d not hi ng.
They got out of t he t axi , and t he door man gr eet ed t hem.
" Good day, l adi es. Ar e you checki ng i n?"
Di ane nodded. " Yes. "
" Do you have l uggage?"
Di ane sai d gl i bl y, " The ai r l i ne l ost our bags. I s t her e
anypl ace ar ound her e wher e we can shop and
pi ck up some cl ot hes?"
" Ther e' s a ver y ni ce l adi es' shop at t he end of t he bl ock.
Per haps you woul d l i ke t o check i n her e f i r st . Then we can
have your t hi ngs sent di r ect l y t o your r oom. "
" Fi ne. Ar e you sur e t hey' l l have a r oomf or us her e?"
" Thi s t i me of t he year , t her e' s no pr obl em. "
* * *
THE CLERK BEHI ND t he hot el desk pr of f er ed r egi st r at i on
f or ms. As Kel l y si gned her s, she sai d
al oud, " Emi l y Br ont e. "
Di ane gl anced at t he cl er k t o see i f t her e was any
r ecogni t i on on hi s f ace. Not hi ng.
Di ane wr ot e: Mar y Cassat t .
The cl er k t ook t hei r r egi st r at i on car ds. " And do you wi sh
t o pay by cr edi t car d?"
" Yes, we"
" No, " Di ane i nt er r upt ed qui ckl y.
Kel l y l ooked at her and r el uct ant l y nodded.
" Luggage?"
" I t ' s comi ng. We' l l be back. "
" You' l l have sui t e 515. "
The cl er k wat ched t hemwal k out t he door . Two r eal
beaut i es. And al one. What a wast e.
* * *
THE FOR MADAME shop was a cor nucopi a. Ther e wer e women' s
cl ot hes of ever y descr i pt i on,
and a l eat her sect i on wi t h handbags and sui t cases.
Kel l y l ooked ar ound and sai d, " I t l ooks l i ke we' ve l ucked
out . "
A sal esl ady wal ked up t o t hem. " May I hel p you?"
" We' r e j ust br owsi ng, " Di ane t ol d her .
The sal esl ady wat ched as t hey st ar t ed wal ki ng t hr ough t he
st or e.
" Look! " sai d Kel l y. " St ocki ngs. " She gr abbed hal f a dozen
pai r s. Di ane f ol l owed sui t .
" Pant y hose . . . " Br as, bl i ps.
Soon t hei r ar ms wer e l aden wi t h l i nger i e.
The sal esl ady hur r i ed over . " Let me hel p you. "
" Thank you. "
The sal eswoman r el i eved t hemof t hei r bur dens.
Di ane and Kel l y began t o move down t he ai sl es.
Kel l y was exami ni ng a r ack of sl acks. She sel ect ed f our
pai r s and t ur ned t o Di ane. " No t el l i ng when
we' r e goi ng t o be abl e t o shop agai n. "
Di ane pi cked out some sl acks and a st r i ped summer dr ess.
" You can' t wear t hat , " Kel l y sai d. " St r i pes wi l l make you
l ook f at . "
Di ane st ar t ed t o put i t back, t hen l ooked at Kel l y and
handed t he dr ess t o t he sal esl ady. " I ' l l t ake t hi s. "
* * *
THE SALESWOMAN WATCHED i n amazement as Kel l y and Di ane
went t hr ough t he r est of t he
r acks. By t he t i me t hey had f i ni shed, t hei r sel ect i ons
f i l l ed f our sui t cases.
Kel l y l ooked at t hemand gr i nned. " That shoul d hol d us f or
a whi l e. "
When t hey went t o t he cashi er , she asked, " Wi l l t hat be
cash or cr edi t car d?"
" Cr edi t "
" Cash, " Di ane sai d.
Kel l y and Di ane opened t hei r pur ses and di vi ded t he bi l l .
They bot h had t he same t hought : Cash i s r unni ng l ow.
Kel l y sai d t o t he cashi er , " We' r e st ayi ng at t he Adams. I
wonder i f you coul d"
" Have your t hi ngs del i ver ed? Cer t ai nl y. Your names?"
Kel l y hesi t at ed a moment . " Char l ot t e Br ont e. "
Di ane l ooked at her and sai d qui ckl y, " Emi l y. Emi l y
Br ont e. "
Kel l y r emember ed. " Ri ght . "
The cashi er was wat chi ng t hem, a conf used expr essi on on
her f ace. She t ur ned t o Di ane. " And your name?"
" I er " Di ane' s mi nd was spi nni ng. What name had she
si gned? Geor gi a O' Keef f e . . . Fr i da
Kahl o . . . J oan Mi t chel l ?
" Her name i s Mar y Cassat t , " Kel l y sai d.
The cashi er swal l owed. " Of cour se. "
* * *
NEXT TO THE For Madame shop was a dr ugst or e. " We' r e i n
l uck agai n. " Di ane smi l ed.
They hur r i ed i nsi de and began a second shoppi ng spr ee.
" Mascar a. "
" Bl ush. "
" Toot hbr ushes. "
" Toot hpast e. "
" Tampons and pant y l i ner s. "
" Li pst i ck. "
" Hai r cl i ps. "
" Powder . "
* * *
BY THE TI ME Di ane and Kel l y ar r i ved back at t hei r hot el ,
t he f our sui t cases had al r eady been
del i ver ed t o t hei r r oom.
Kel l y st ar ed at t hem. " I wonder whi ch ar e your s and whi ch
ar e mi ne?'
" I t doesn' t mat t er , " Di ane assur ed her . " We' r e goi ng t o be
her e f or maybe a week or mor e, so we
mi ght as wel l j ust put ever yt hi ng away. "
" I suppose so. "
They began busi l y hangi ng up dr esses and sl acks, put t i ng
t hei r l i nger i e i n dr awer s, and pl aci ng t hei r
t oi l et ar t i cl es i n t he bat hr oom.
When t he sui t cases wer e empt i ed and ever yt hi ng had been
put i n pl ace, Di ane t ook of f her shoes and dr ess and
gr at ef ul l y sank down on one of t he beds.
" Thi s f eel s wonder f ul . " She si ghed cont ent edl y. " I don' t
know about you, but I ' mhavi ng di nner i n bed. Then I ' mgoi ng
t o t ake a ni ce, l ong, hot bat h. I ' mnot movi ng f r omher e. "
A pl easant - f aced, uni f or med mai d knocked and came i nt o t he
sui t e, car r yi ng an ar mf ul of f r esh t owel s.
Two mi nut es l at er , she emer ged f r omt he bat hr oom. " I f
t her e' s anyt hi ng you need, pl ease r i ng f or me. Have a good
eveni ng. "
" Thank you. " Kel l y wat ched her l eave.
Di ane was br owsi ng t hr ough a house magazi ne she had pi cked
up at her bedsi de. " Do you know what year t hi s hot el was
bui l t ?"
" Get dr essed, " Kel l y sai d. " We' r e l eavi ng. "
" I t was bui l t i n"
" Get dr essed. We' r e get t i ng out of her e. "
Di ane l ooked up at her . " I s t hi s some ki nd of j oke?"
" No. Somet hi ng t er r i bl e i s goi ng t o happen. " Ther e was
pani c i n her voi ce.
Di ane sat up, al ar med. " What ' s goi ng t o happen?"
" I don' t know. But we have t o get out of her e, or we' r e
bot h goi ng t o di e. "
Her f ear was cont agi ous, but i t made no sense.
" Kel l y, you' r e not bei ng r easonabl e. I f "
" I ' mbeggi ng you, Di ane. "
Thi nki ng about i t l at er , Di ane never knew whet her she gave
i n because of t he ur gency i n Kel l y' s voi ce
or because i t was t he f i r st t i me Kel l y had cal l ed her
Di ane.
" Al l r i ght . " Di ane got up. " We' l l pack our cl ot hes and"
" No! Leave ever yt hi ng. "
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y i n di sbel i ef . " Leave ever yt hi ng? We
j ust bought "
" Hur r y! Now! "
" Al l r i ght . " As Di ane was r el uct ant l y dr essi ng, she
t hought , I hope she knows what she' s doi ng. I f
" Qui ck! " I t was a st r angl ed scr eam.
Di ane hur r i edl y f i ni shed dr essi ng.
" Fast er ! "
They gr abbed t hei r pur ses and hur r i ed out t he door .
I must be as cr azy as she i s, Di ane t hought r esent f ul l y.
When t hey r eached t he l obby, Di ane f ound her sel f r unni ng
t o keep up wi t h Kel l y. " Woul d you mi nd t el l i ng me wher e we' r e
goi ng?"
Out si de, Kel l y l ooked ar ound. " Ther e' s a par k acr oss t he
st r eet f r omt he hot el . I I need t o si t down. "
Exasper at ed, Di ane f ol l owed Kel l y i nt o t he par k. They t ook
seat s on a bench.
Di ane sai d, " What ar e we doi ng?"
At t hat i nst ant , t her e was a t r emendous expl osi on i nsi de
t he hot el , and f r omwher e t hey sat , Di ane and Kel l y coul d see
wi ndows bei ng bl own out of t he r oomt hey had been occupyi ng,
wi t h debr i s f l yi ng t hr ough t he ai r .
I n st unned di sbel i ef , Di ane wat ched what was happeni ng.
" That t hat was a bomb" t er r or cr ept i nt o her voi ce" i n our
r oom. " She t ur ned t o Kel l y.
" Howhow di d you know?"
" The mai d. "
Di ane l ooked at her , puzzl ed. " What about her ?"
Kel l y sai d qui et l y, " Hot el mai ds don' t wear
f our - hundr ed- dol l ar Manol o Bl ahni k shoes. "
Di ane was f i ndi ng i t di f f i cul t t o br eat he. " Howhow coul d
t hey have f ound us?"
" I don' t know, " Kel l y sai d. " But r emember who we' r e
deal i ng wi t h. "
They bot h sat t her e, f i l l ed wi t h dr ead.
" Di d Tanner Ki ngsl ey gi ve you anyt hi ng when you wer e i n
hi s of f i ce?" Di ane asked.
Kel l y shook her head. " No. Di d he gi ve you anyt hi ng?"
" No. "
They r eal i zed i t at t he same i nst ant .
" Hi s car d! "
They opened t hei r pur ses and t ook out t he busi ness car ds
Tanner Ki ngsl ey had gi ven t hem.
Di ane t r i ed t o br eak her s i n hal f . I t woul d not bend.
" Ther e' s some ki nd of chi p i nsi de, " she sai d, f ur i ous.
Kel l y t r i ed t o bend her car d. " I n mi ne, t oo. That ' s how
t he bast ar ds have been t r acki ng us. "
Di ane t ook Kel l y' s car d and sai d angr i l y, " Not anymor e. "
Kel l y wat ched as Di ane st epped out ont o t he r oad and t hr ew
t he car ds down on t he st r eet . Wi t hi n mi nut es, t hey had been
r un over by a dozen car s and t r ucks.
I n t he di st ance, t he sounds of appr oachi ng si r ens wer e
f i l l i ng t he ai r .
Kel l y st ood up. " We' d bet t er get away f r omher e, Di ane.
Now t hat t hey can' t t r ack us anymor e,
we' l l be al l r i ght . I ' mgoi ng back t o Par i s. What wi l l you
do?"
" Tr y t o f i gur e out why t hi s i s happeni ng. "
" Be car ef ul . "
" You, t oo. " Di ane hesi t at ed a moment . " Kel l yt hanks. You
saved my l i f e. "
Embar r assed, Kel l y sai d, " I f eel bad about somet hi ng. I
l i ed t o you.
" You di d?"
" You know what I sai d about your pai nt i ng?"
" Yes. "
" I r eal l y l i ked i t a l ot . You' r e good. "
Di ane smi l ed. " Thanks. I ' maf r ai d I ' ve been pr et t y r ude t o
you. "
" Di ane?"
" Yes?"
" I never gr ew up wi t h mai ds. "
Di ane l aughed, and t he t wo of t hemembr aced.
" I ' mgl ad we met , " Di ane sai d war ml y. So amI .
They st ood t her e, l ooki ng at each ot her , f i ndi ng i t
di f f i cul t t o say good- bye.
" I have an i dea, " Di ane sai d. " I f you need me, her e' s my
cel l phone number . " She wr ot e i t on a
pi ece of paper .
" Her e' s mi ne, " Kel l y r epl i ed, and gave i t t o Di ane.
" Wel l , good- bye agai n. "
Di ane sai d hal t i ngl y, " Yeah. I Good- bye, Kel l y. "
Di ane wat ched Kel l y wal k away. At t he cor ner , she t ur ned
and waved. Di ane waved back. As Kel l y di sappear ed, Di ane
l ooked up at t he bl ackened hol e t hat was t o have been t hei r
t omb, and she f el t
a chi l l .
CHAPTER 29
KATHY ORDONEZ WALKED i nt o Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s of f i ce wi t h
t he mor ni ng newspaper s and
sai d, " I t ' s happeni ng agai n. " She handed hi mt he
newspaper s. They al l had banner headl i nes:
FOG DI SRUPTS MAJ OR GERMAN CI TI ES
ALL SWI SS AI RPORTS CLOSED BY FOG
DEATH TOLL RI SES FROM FOG I N ROME
Kat hy sai d, " Shal l I send t hese t o Senat or Van Luven?"
" Yes. Ri ght away, " Tanner sai d gr i ml y. Kat hy hur r i ed out
of hi s of f i ce.
Tanner l ooked at hi s wr i st wat ch and smi l ed. The bomb must
have gone of f by now. The t wo bi t ches
have f i nal l y been di sposed of .
Hi s secr et ar y' s voi ce came over t he i nt er com. " Mr .
Ki ngsl ey, Senat or Van Luven i s on t he l i ne f or
you. Do you wi sh t o t ake i t ?"
" Yes. " Tanner pi cked up t he phone. " Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
" Hel l o, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. Thi s i s Senat or Van Luven. "
" Good af t er noon, Senat or . "
" My assi st ant s and I happen t o be near your headquar t er s,
and I wonder ed i f i t woul d be conveni ent
f or you i f we dr opped i n f or a vi si t . "
" Absol ut el y, " Tanner sai d ent husi ast i cal l y. " I woul d be
ver y happy t o show you ar ound, Senat or . "
" Fi ne. We' l l be t her e shor t l y. "
Tanner pr essed t he i nt er combut t on. " I ' mexpect i ng some
vi si t or s i n a f ew mi nut es. Hol d al l my cal l s. "
He t hought about t he obi t uar y he had seen i n t he
newspaper s a f ew weeks ear l i er . Senat or Van Luven' s husband
had di ed of a hear t at t ack. I ' l l of f er my condol ences.
* * *
FI FTEEN MI NUTES LATER, Senat or Van Luven and her t wo
at t r act i ve young assi st ant s ar r i ved.
Tanner r ose t o gr eet t hem. " I ' mdel i ght ed you deci ded t o
come. "
Senat or Van Luven nodded. " You r emember Cor i nne Mur phy and
Kar ol ee Tr ost . "
Tanner smi l ed. " Yes. I t ' s ni ce t o see you bot h agai n. " He
t ur ned t o t he senat or . " I hear d about your husband' s passi ng
away. I ' mt er r i bl y sor r y. "
Senat or Van Luven nodded. " Thank you. He had been i l l f or
a l ong t i me, and f i nal l y, a f ew weeks
ago . . . " She f or ced a smi l e. " By t he way, t he
i nf or mat i on on gl obal war mi ng t hat you' ve been
sendi ng me i s ver y i mpr essi ve. "
" Thank you. "
" Woul d you l i ke t o show us what you' r e doi ng her e?"
" Of cour se. How much of a t our woul d you l i ke? We have a
f i ve- hour t our , a f our - hour t our , and
an hour - and- a- hal f t our . "
Cor i nne Mur phy gr i nned. " I t woul d be ni ce t o t ake t he
f i ve"
Senat or Van Luven i nt er r upt ed. " We' l l set t l e f or t he
hour - and- a- hal f t our . "
" My pl easur e. "
" How many peopl e wor k at KI G?" Senat or Van Luven asked.
" Appr oxi mat el y t wo t housand. KI G has of f i ces i n a dozen
maj or count r i es al l over t he wor l d. "
Cor i nne Mur phy and Kar ol ee Tr ost l ooked i mpr essed.
" We have f i ve hundr ed empl oyees i n t hese bui l di ngs. The
st af f member s and t he r esear ch f el l ows
have separ at e quar t er s. Ever y sci ent i st empl oyed her e has
a mi ni mumI Q of one hundr ed si xt y. "
Cor i nne Mur phy gushed, " They' r e geni uses. "
Senat or Van Luven gave her a di sappr ovi ng l ook.
" Fol l ow me, pl ease, " Tanner sai d.
* * *
THE SENATOR AND Mur phy and Tr ost f ol l owed Tanner t hr ough a
si de door i nt o one of t he
adj oi ni ng bui l di ngs. He l ed t hemi nt o a r oomcr ammed wi t h
esot er i c- l ooki ng equi pment .
Senat or Van Luven wal ked up t o one of t he odd- l ooki ng
machi nes and asked, " What does t hi s do?"
" That ' s a sound spect r ogr aph, Senat or . I t conver t s t he
sound of a voi ce i nt o a voi cepr i nt . I t can
r ecogni ze t housands of di f f er ent voi ces. "
Tr ost f r owned. " How does i t do t hat ?"
" Thi nk of i t t hi s way. When a f r i end cal l s you on t he
t el ephone, you i nst ant l y r ecogni ze t he voi ce
because t hat sound pat t er n i s et ched i n your br ai n
ci r cui t . We pr ogr amt hi s machi ne t he same way.
An el ect r oni c f i l t er al l ows onl y a cer t ai n band of
f r equenci es t o get t hr ough t o t he r ecor der , so t hat
we have onl y t he di st i ngui shabl e f eat ur es of t hat per son' s
voi ce. "
The r est of t he t our became a f asci nat i ng mont age of gi ant
machi nes and mi ni at ur e el ect r oni c
mi cr oscopes and chemi cal l abor at or i es; r ooms wi t h
bl ackboar ds f i l l ed wi t h myst er i ous symbol s, l abs
wi t h a dozen sci ent i st s wor ki ng t oget her , and of f i ces
wher e a si ngl e sci ent i st was absor bed i n t r yi ng
t o sol ve some ar cane pr obl em.
They passed a r edbr i ck bui l di ng wi t h a doubl e set of l ocks
on t he door .
Senat or Van Luven asked, " What ' s i n t her e?"
" Some secr et gover nment r esear ch. Sor r y, i t ' s out of
bounds, Senat or . "
The t our t ook t wo hour s. When i t was over , Tanner escor t ed
t he t hr ee women back t o hi s of f i ce.
" I hope you enj oyed i t , " Tanner sai d.
Senat or Van Luven nodded. " I t was i nt er est i ng. "
" Ver y i nt er est i ng. " Cor i nne Mur phy smi l ed. Her eyes wer e
on Tanner .
" I l oved i t ! " excl ai med Kar ol ee Tr ost .
Tanner t ur ned t o Senat or Van Luven. " By t he way, have you
had a chance t o di scuss wi t h your col l eagues t he
envi r onment al pr obl emwe t al ked about ?"
The senat or ' s voi ce was noncommi t t al . " Yes. " " Woul d you
t el l me what you t hi nk t he chances ar e, Senat or ?" " Thi s i s
not a guessi ng game, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. Ther e wi l l be mor e
di scussi ons. I ' l l l et you
know when i t ' s been deci ded. "
Tanner managed a smi l e. " Thank you. Thank you al l f or
dr oppi ng by. "
He wat ched t heml eave.
* * *
AS THE DOOR cl osed behi nd t hem, Kat hy Or donez' s voi ce came
over t he i nt er com. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, Sai da Her nandez has been
t r yi ng t o r each you. She sai d i t was ur gent , but you t ol d me
t o hol d your
cal l s. "
" Get her f or me, " Tanner sai d.
Sai da Her nandez was t he woman he had sent t o t he Adams
Hot el t o pl ant t he bomb. Li ne one.
Tanner pi cked up t he phone, ant i ci pat i ng t he good news.
" Al l went wel l , Sai da?"
" No. I ' msor r y, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. " He coul d hear t he f ear i n
her voi ce. " They got away. "
Tanner ' s body went st i f f . " They what ?"
" Yes, si r . They l ef t bef or e t he bomb went of f . A bel l man
saw t hemr ush out of t he hot el l obby. "
Tanner sl ammed t he phone down. He buzzed hi s secr et ar y.
" Send Fl i nt and Car bal l o i n her e. "
A mi nut e l at er , Har r y Fl i nt and Vi nce Car bal l o wal ked i nt o
Tanner ' s of f i ce.
Tanner t ur ned t o t he t wo men. He was i n a t ower i ng r age.
" The bi t ches got away agai n. That ' s t he
l ast t i me I wi l l al l ow t hat t o happen. Do you under st and?
I ' mgoi ng t o t el l you wher e t hey ar e, and
you' r e goi ng t o t ake car e of t hem. Any quest i ons?"
Fl i nt and Car bal l o l ooked at each ot her . " No, si r . "
Tanner pr essed a but t on t hat r eveal ed t he el ect r oni c ci t y
map. " As l ong as t hey have t he car ds t hat
I gave t hem, we can t r ack t hemdown. "
They wat ched t he el ect r oni c l i ght s appear on t he
t el evi si on scr een map. Tanner pr essed a but t on.
The l i ght s di d not move.
Tanner gr i t t ed hi s t eet h. " They' ve got t en r i d of t hei r
car ds. " Hi s f ace got r edder . He t ur ned t o Fl i nt
and Car bal l o. " I want t hemki l l ed t oday. "
Fl i nt l ooked at Tanner , puzzl ed. " I f we don' t know wher e
t hey ar e, how can we?"
Tanner cut i n. " Do you t hi nk I ' d l et a woman out wi t me
t hat easi l y? As l ong as t hey have t hei r cel l phones, t hey' r e
not goi ng anywher e wi t hout t el l i ng us. "
" You coul d get hol d of t hei r cel l phone number s?" Fl i nt
asked, sur pr i sed.
Tanner di d not bot her t o r epl y. He was exami ni ng t he map.
" By now t hey' ve pr obabl y separ at ed. "
He pr essed anot her swi t ch. " Let ' s t r y Di ane St evens
f i r st . " Tanner punched i n a number .
The l i ght s on t he map st ar t ed t o move and began t o sl owl y
f ocus on Manhat t an st r eet s, panni ng
acr oss hot el s, shops, and banks. Fi nal l y, t he movi ng
l i ght s st opped at a bui l di ng wi t h a si gn t hat
r ead NELSON GALLERY.
" Di ane St evens i s i n a gal l er y. " Tanner pr essed anot her
but t on. " Let ' s see wher e Kel l y Har r i s i s. "
Tanner began t o r epeat t he same pr ocedur e. The l i ght s
st ar t ed movi ng agai n, t hi s t i me f ocusi ng
on a di f f er ent par t of t he ci t y.
The men wat ched as t he l i ght ed ar ea nar r owed down t o a
st r eet wi t h a cl ot hi ng st or e, a r est aur ant ,
a dr ugst or e, and a bus st at i on. The l i ght s scanned t he
ar ea and suddenl y st opped i n f r ont of a l ar ge,
open bui l di ng.
" Kel l y Har r i s i s at a bus st at i on. " Tanner ' s voi ce was
gr i m. " We' ve got t o cat ch t hembot h, f ast . "
" How?" Car bal l o asked. " They' r e at opposi t e ends of t own.
By t he t i me we got t her e, t hey' d be gone. "
Tanner t ur ned. " Come wi t h me. " He headed f or an adj oi ni ng
r oom, Fl i nt and Car bal l o cl ose behi nd
hi m. The r oomt hey ent er ed had an ar r ay of moni t or s,
comput er s, and el ect r oni c keyboar ds wi t h col or - coded keys. On
a shel f was a smal l squat machi ne, wi t h dozens of compact
di scs and DVDs. Tanner l ooked t hr ough t hemand sl i pped one
l abel ed di ane st evens i nsi de t he machi ne.
He expl ai ned t o t he men: " Thi s i s a voi ce synt hesi zer . The
voi ces of Di ane St evens and Kel l y Har r i s
wer e di gi t i zed ear l i er .
The pat t er ns of t hei r speech have been r ecor ded and
anal yzed. Wi t h t he pr ess of a but t on, ever y wor d
I say i s cal i br at ed t o dupl i cat e t hei r voi ces. " Tanner
pi cked up a cel l phone and pr essed some number s.
Ther e was a caut i ous " Hel l o?" I t was Kel l y Har r i s' s voi ce.
" Kel l y! I ' mso gl ad I f ound you. " I t was Tanner speaki ng,
but i t was Di ane St evens' s voi ce t hat t hey hear d.
" Di ane! You caught me j ust i n t i me. I ' mon my way out of
her e. "
Fl i nt and Car bal l o wer e l i st eni ng i n wonder .
" Wher e ar e you goi ng, Kel l y?"
" To Chi cago. I ' mt aki ng a pl ane home, out of O' Har e. "
" Kel l y, you can' t l eave now. "
Ther e was a moment of si l ence. " Why?"
" Because I f ound out what ' s r eal l y happeni ng. I know who
ki l l ed our husbands and why. "
" Oh, my God! How di dAr e you sur e?"
" Posi t i ve. I have al l t he pr oof we need. "
" Di ane, t hat ' st hat ' s wonder f ul . "
" I have t he pr oof wi t h me. I ' mat t he Del mont Hot el , i n
pent house A. Fr omher e I ' mgoi ng t o t he FBI .
I want ed you t o go wi t h me, but i f you have t o go home, I
under st and. "
" No, no! I I want t o hel p f i ni sh what Mar k was t r yi ng t o
do. "
Fl i nt and Car bal l o wer e l i st eni ng t o ever y wor d, r i vet ed.
I n t he backgr ound, t hey coul d hear t he st at i on announcement
f or t he bus t o Chi cago.
" I ' l l go wi t h you, Di ane. You sai d t he Del mont Hot el ?"
" Yes, on Ei ght y- si xt h St r eet . Pent house A. "
" I ' mon my way. See you i n a l i t t l e whi l e. "
The connect i on was br oken.
Tanner t ur ned t o Fl i nt and Car bal l o. " Hal f t he pr obl emi s
sol ved. Now we' l l t ake car e of t he ot her hal f . "
Fl i nt and Car bal l o wat ched as Tanner i nser t ed anot her
compact di sc l abel ed kel l y Har r i s i nt o t he synt hesi zer .
Tanner moved a swi t ch on t he phone and pr essed some number s.
Di ane' s voi ce came on al most i mmedi at el y. " Hel l o . . . "
Tanner spoke i nt o t he phone, but i t was Kel l y' s voi ce t hey
hear d.
" Di ane"
" Kel l y! Ar e you al l r i ght ?"
" I ' mwonder f ul . I have some exci t i ng news. I f ound out who
ki l l ed our husbands and why. "
" What ? Whowho?"
" We can' t di scuss t hi s on t he phone, Di ane. I ' mat t he
Del mont Hot el , on Ei ght y- si xt h St r eet ,
pent house A. Can you meet me her e?"
" Of cour se. I ' l l come r i ght over . "
" Wonder f ul , Di ane. I ' l l be wai t i ng. "
Tanner cl i cked of f t he set and t ur ned t o Fl i nt . " You' l l be
wai t i ng. " He handed Fl i nt a key. " Thi s i s t he
key t o pent house A. I t ' s our company sui t e. Get t her e
r i ght away and wai t f or t hem. I want you t o
ki l l t hemas soon as t hey wal k i n t he door . I ' l l see t o i t
t hat t he bodi es ar e t aken car e of . "
Car bal l o and Tanner wat ched Fl i nt t ur n and hur r y out t he
door .
Car bal l o sai d, " What woul d you l i ke me t o do, Mr .
Ki ngsl ey?"
" Take car e of Sai da Her nandez. "
* * *
WAI TI NG I NSI DE PENTHOUSE A, Fl i nt was det er mi ned t hat t hi s
t i me not hi ng woul d go wr ong.
He had hear d of bungl er s t hat Tanner had di sposed of . Not
me, Fl i nt t hought . He t ook out hi s gun, checked t he bar r el ,
and scr ewed on t he si l encer . Al l he had t o do now was wai t .
I n a t axi si x bl ocks f r omt he Del mont Hot el , Kel l y
Har r i s' s mi nd was r aci ng wi t h exci t ement over what Di ane had
t ol d her . I know who ki l l ed our husbands and why. . . . I
have al l t he pr oof we need. Mar k, I ' mgoi ng t o make t hempay
f or what t hey di d t o you.
* * *
DI ANE WAS I N a f ever of i mpat i ence. The ni ght mar e was at
an end. Somehow Kel l y had di scover ed who was behi nd t he pl ot
t o ki l l t hemand she had pr oof . I ' mgoi ng t o make you pr oud
of me, Ri char d.
I f eel you near me, and
Di ane' s t hought s wer e i nt er r upt ed by t he t axi dr i ver .
" We' r e her e, l ady. Del mont Hot el . "
CHAPTER 30
AS DI ANE WALKED t hr ough t he Del mont Hot el l obby, t owar d
t he el evat or s, her hear t began t o
beat f ast er . She coul d not wai t t o hear what Kel l y had
l ear ned.
An el evat or door opened and t he passenger s moved out .
" Goi ng up?"
" Yes. " Di ane st epped i nsi de. " The pent house, pl ease. " Her
mi nd was r aci ng. What pr oj ect coul d our husbands have been
wor ki ng on t hat was so secr et t hat t hey wer e mur der ed? And
how had Kel l y
f ound t he answer ?
Peopl e began t o cr owd i n. The el evat or door cl osed and i t
st ar t ed t o r i se. Di ane had seen Kel l y
onl y a f ew hour s ago, and t o her sur pr i se, she f ound t hat
she mi ssed her .
Fi nal l y, af t er hal f a dozen st ops, t he el evat or oper at or
opened t he door and sai d, " Pent house f l oor . "
* * *
I NSI DE THE LI VI NG r oomof pent house A, Fl i nt wai t ed cl ose
t o t he door , t r yi ng t o l i st en f or sounds
i n t he hal l way. The pr obl emwas t hat t he door was
unusual l y t hi ck, and Fl i nt knew why. I t was not t o keep
sounds out . I t was t o keep t hemi n.
Boar dr oommeet i ngs wer e hel d i n t he pent house sui t e, but
Fl i nt l i ked t o j oke t hat no one was ever
bor ed. Thr ee t i mes a year , Tanner i nvi t ed KI G manager s
f r oma dozen count r i es. When t he busi ness meet i ngs wer e
adj our ned, a bevy of beaut i f ul gi r l s was br ought i n t o
ent er t ai n t he men. Fl i nt had been
a guar d at sever al of t he or gi es, and now, as he st ood
t her e, t hi nki ng about t he sea of naked, nubi l e
bodi es moani ng and t hr ashi ng about on t he beds and
couches, he began t o get an er ect i on. Fl i nt
gr i nned. The l adi es woul d t ake car e of i t soon.
Har r y Fl i nt di d not consi der hi msel f a necr ophi l i ac. He
had never ki l l ed a woman i n or der t o have
sex wi t h her . But i f she wer e al r eady dead . . .
* * *
AS DI ANE STEPPED out of t he el evat or , she asked, " Whi ch
way i s pent house A?"
" I t ' s t o t he l ef t , at t he end of t he cor r i dor . But t her e' s
no one t her e. "
Di ane t ur ned. " What ?"
" That pent house i s onl y used f or boar d meet i ngs, and t he
next one i sn' t unt i l Sept ember . "
Di ane smi l ed. " I ' mnot goi ng t o a boar d meet i ng. I ' m
seei ng a f r i end who' s wai t i ng f or me. "
The el evat or oper at or wat ched as Di ane t ur ned l ef t and
wal ked t owar d pent house A. He shr ugged,
cl osed t he el evat or door , and st ar t ed down.
As Di ane was appr oachi ng t he door t o t he pent house, she
began t o wal k f ast er , her exci t ement
st ar t i ng t o bui l d.
* * *
I NSI DE PENTHOUSE A, Fl i nt was wai t i ng f or t he knock on t he
door . Whi ch one of t hemwi l l get
her e f i r st t he bl onde or t he bl ack chi ck? I t doesn' t
mat t er . I ' mnot pr ej udi ced.
Fl i nt t hought he hear d someone appr oachi ng t he door , and
he t i ght ened hi s gr i p on t he gun.
* * *
KELLY WAS FI GHTI NG t o cont r ol her i mpat i ence. Get t i ng t o
t he Del mont Hot el had been a ser i es
of del ays: t r af f i c . . . r ed l i ght s . . . r oad r epai r s . .
. She was l at e. She hur r i ed t hr ough t he l obby of t he hot el
and got i nt o an el evat or . " Pent house, pl ease. "
* * *
ON THE FI FTI ETH f l oor , as Di ane appr oached pent house A,
t he door t o t he nei ghbor i ng sui t e
opened and a bel l man came out , backi ng i nt o t he cor r i dor ,
pul l i ng a l ar ge car t f i l l ed wi t h l uggage,
bl ocki ng Di ane' s passage.
" I ' l l have t hi s out of your way i n a mi nut e, " he
apol ogi zed.
The bel l man r et ur ned t o t he sui t e and came out wi t h t wo
mor e sui t cases. Di ane t r i ed t o squeeze by,
but t her e was no r oom.
The bel l man sai d, " Al l set . Sor r y f or t he del ay. " He moved
t he l uggage car t out of t he way.
Di ane wal ked over t o pent house A and r ai sed her hand t o
knock on t he door when a voi ce down
t he hal l sai d, " Di ane! "
Di ane t ur ned. Kel l y had j ust st epped out of an el evat or .
" Kel l y! "
Di ane hur r i ed back down t he hal l t o meet her .
* * *
I NSI DE THE PENTHOUSE, Har r y Fl i nt was l i st eni ng. Was
someone out t her e? He coul d have opened t he door t o see, but
t hat woul d have r ui ned t he pl an. Ki l l t hemas soon as t hey
wal k i n t he door .
I n t he cor r i dor , Kel l y and Di ane wer e huggi ng, del i ght ed
t o see each ot her .
Kel l y sai d, " Sor r y I ' ml at e, Di ane, but t he t r af f i c was
t er r i bl e. You caught me j ust as my bus was
l eavi ng f or Chi cago. "
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y, puzzl ed. " I caught you?"
" I was j ust get t i ng on my bus when you cal l ed. "
Ther e was a moment ar y si l ence. " Kel l yI di dn' t cal l you.
You cal l ed me. To t el l me t hat you had
t he evi dence we needed t o" She saw t he st r i cken l ook on
Kel l y' s f ace.
" I di dn' t "
They bot h t ur ned t o l ook at pent house A.
Di ane t ook a deep br eat h. " Let ' s"
" Ri ght . "
They r aced down one f l i ght of st ai r s, got i nt o an
el evat or , and wer e out of t he hot el i n t hr ee mi nut es.
I nsi de t he pent house, Har r y Fl i nt was l ooki ng at hi s
wat ch. What ' s keepi ng t he bi t ches?
* * *
Dl ANE AND KELLY wer e seat ed i n a cr owded subway car .
" I don' t know how t hey di d i t , " Di ane sai d. " I t was your
voi ce. "
" And i t was your voi ce. They' r e not goi ng t o st op unt i l
t hey ki l l us. They' r e l i ke oct opi wi t h a t housand bl oody ar ms
t hat t hey want t o wr ap ar ound our necks. "
" They have t o cat ch us bef or e t hey can ki l l us, " Di ane
sai d.
" How coul d t hey have f ound us t hi s t i me? We got r i d of
Ki ngsl ey' s busi ness car ds, and we have
not hi ng el se t hat t hey"
They l ooked at each ot her , t hen l ooked at t hei r cel l
phones.
Kel l y sai d wonder i ngl y, " But how coul d t hey have f ound out
our phone number s?"
" Don' t ask. Anyway, t hi s i s pr obabl y t he saf est pl ace i n
New Yor k. We can st ay on t he subway
unt i l " Di ane gl anced acr oss t he ai sl e and her f ace pal ed.
" We' r e get t i ng out of her e, " she sai d
ur gent l y. " Next st op. "
" What ? You j ust sai d?"
Kel l y f ol l owed Di ane' s eyes. On t he adver t i si ng st r i p t hat
r an above t he wi ndows was a phot ogr aph
of a smi l i ng Kel l y, hol di ng up a beaut i f ul l adi es' wat ch.
" Oh, my God! "
They r ose and hur r i ed t o t he door , wai t i ng f or t he next
st op. Two uni f or med mar i nes, seat ed near by, wer e ogl i ng t hem.
Kel l y smi l ed at t he men as she t ook Di ane' s cel l phone and
her own and handed one t o each mar i ne. " We' l l cal l you. "
And t he women wer e gone.
* * *
I N PENTHOUSE A, t he t el ephone r ang. Fl i nt snat ched i t up.
Tanner sai d, " I t ' s been over an hour . What ' s goi ng on, Mr .
Fl i nt ?"
" They never showed up. "
" What ?"
" I ' ve been her e al l t he t i me, wai t i ng. "
" Get back t o t he of f i ce. " Tanner sl ammed t he r ecei ver
down.
* * *
I N THE BEGI NNI NG, t hi s had been a r out i ne bi t of busi ness
t hat Tanner had t o di spose of . Now i t
had become per sonal . Tanner pi cked up hi s cel l phone and
di al ed Di ane' s cel l number .
One of t he mar i nes t o whomKel l y had gi ven t hei r cel l
phones answer ed. " Ther e you ar e, baby.
How woul d you t wo l i ke t o have a bi g t r eat t oni ght ?"
The bi t ches have got t en r i d of t hei r phones.
* * *
I T WAS A cheap- l ooki ng boar di nghouse on a smal l st r eet on
t he West Si de. When t he t axi st ar t ed
t o pass i t and Di ane and Kel l y saw t he si gn vacancy, Di ane
sai d, " You can st op her e, dr i ver . "
The women got out and wal ked up t o t he f r ont door of t he
house.
The l andl ady, who opened t he door , was a pl easant ,
mi ddl e- aged woman named Al exandr a Upshaw.
" I can gi ve you a ver y ni ce r oomf or f or t y dol l ar s a
ni ght , wi t h br eakf ast . "
Di ane sai d, " That wi l l be f i ne. " She l ooked at Kel l y' s
expr essi on. " What ' s t he mat t er ?"
" Not hi ng. " Kel l y cl osed her eyes f or an i nst ant . Thi s
boar di ng- house had not hi ng t o do wi t h t he boar di nghouse she
had been br ought up i n, cl eani ng t oi l et s and cooki ng f or
st r anger s and l i st eni ng t o
t he sounds of her dr unken st epf at her beat i ng her mot her .
She managed a smi l e. " I t ' s okay. "
* * *
THE NEXT MORNI NG, Tanner was i n a meet i ng wi t h Fl i nt and
Car bal l o. " They' ve di sposed of my busi ness car ds, " Tanner
sai d, " and t hey' ve got t en r i d of t hei r phones. "
Fl i nt sai d, " So, we' ve l ost t hem. "
Tanner sai d, " No, Mr . Fl i nt , not whi l e I ' mal i ve. We' r e
not goi ng af t er t hem. They' r e comi ng t o us. "
The t wo men l ooked at each ot her , t hen back at Tanner .
" What ?"
" Di ane St evens and Kel l y Har r i s wi l l be her e at KI G Monday
mor ni ng at el even- f i f t een. "
CHAPTER 31
KELLY AND DI ANE awakened at t he same t i me. Kel l y sat up i n
bed and l ooked over at Di ane.
" Good mor ni ng. How di d you sl eep?"
" I had some cr azy dr eams. "
" So di d I . " Di ane hesi t at ed. " Kel l ywhen you got of f t he
el evat or at t he hot el , j ust as I st ar t ed t o
knock at t he door of t he pent housedo you t hi nk t hat was a
coi nci dence?"
" Of cour se. And l ucky f or bot h of us t hat " Kel l y l ooked
at Di ane' s f ace. " What do you mean?"
Di ane sai d car ef ul l y, " We' ve been ver y l ucky so f ar . I
mean, ver y l ucky. I t ' s as t houghas t hough someone, or
somet hi ng, i s hel pi ng us, gui di ng us. "
Kel l y' s eyes wer e f ast ened on her . " You meanl i ke a
guar di an angel ?"
" Yes. "
Kel l y sai d pat i ent l y, " Di ane, I know t hat you bel i eve i n
t hose t hi ngs, but I don' t . I know I don' t have
an angel on my shoul der . "
Di ane sai d, " You j ust don' t see i t yet . "
Kel l y r ol l ed her eyes. " Ri ght . "
" Let ' s get some br eakf ast , " Di ane suggest ed. " I t ' s saf e
her e. I t hi nk we' r e out of danger . "
Kel l y gr unt ed. " I f you t hi nk we' r e out of danger , you
don' t know anyt hi ng about boar di nghouse br eakf ast s. Let ' s get
dr essed and eat out . I t hi nk I saw a di ner at t he cor ner . "
" Al l r i ght . I have t o make a cal l . " Di ane wal ked over t o
t he t el ephone and cal l ed a number .
An oper at or came on. " KI G. "
" I ' d l i ke t o speak t o Bet t y Bar ker . "
" J ust a moment , pl ease. "
Tanner had seen t he bl ue l i ght and was l i st eni ng i n on t he
conf er ence l i ne.
" Mi ss Bar ker i s not at her desk. Can I t ake a message?"
" Oh. No, t hanks. "
Tanner f r owned. Too qui ck t o put out a t r ace.
* * *
DI ANE TURNED TO Kel l y. " Bet t y Bar ker i s st i l l wor ki ng at
KI G, so we' l l j ust have t o f i nd a way
t o get t o her . "
" Maybe her home number i s l i st ed i n t he t el ephone
di r ect or y. "
Di ane sai d, " I t coul d be, and t he l i ne coul d be t apped. "
She pi cked up t he di r ect or y next t o t he
t el ephone and ski mmed t o t he l et t er she was l ooki ng f or .
" She i s l i st ed. "
Di ane di al ed a number , l i st ened, and sl owl y r epl aced t he
r ecei ver .
Kel l y wal ked over t o her . " What ' s t he mat t er ?"
I t t ook Di ane a moment t o answer . " Her phone has been
di sconnect ed. "
Kel l y t ook a deep br eat h. " I t hi nk I want a shower . "
* * *
AS KELLY FI NI SHED her shower and st ar t ed t o l eave t he
bat hr oom, she r eal i zed t hat she had l ef t t owel s on t he f l oor .
She hesi t at ed a moment , t hen pi cked t hemup and put t hem
neat l y on t he r ack.
She wal ked i nt o t he bedr oom. " Al l your s. "
Di ane nodded absent l y. " Thanks. "
The f i r st t hi ng Di ane not i ced when she wal ked i nt o t he
bat hr oomwas t hat al l t he used t owel s had
been pl aced back on t he r ack. Di ane smi l ed.
She st epped i nt o t he shower and l et t he war mwat er soot he
her . She r emember ed how she used t o shower wi t h Ri char d, and
how good t hei r bodi es f el t t ouchi ng each ot her . . . . Never
agai n. But t he memor i es woul d al ways be t her e. Al ways . . .
* * *
THERE WERE THE f l ower s.
" They' r e beaut i f ul , dar l i ng. Thank you. What ar e we
cel ebr at i ng?"
" Sai nt Swi t hi n' s Day. "
And mor e f l ower s.
" Washi ngt on Cr ossi ng t he Del awar e Day. "
" Nat i onal Par akeet Day. "
" Cel er y Lover s' Day. "
When t he not e wi t h t he r oses sai d " Leapi ng Li zar ds' Day, "
Di ane had l aughed and sai d,
" Sweet hear t , l i zar ds don' t l eap. "
And Ri char d had put hi s head i n hi s hands and sai d, " Damn
i t ! I was mi si nf or med. "
And he l oved t o wr i t e l ove poems t o her . When Di ane was
get t i ng dr essed, she woul d f i nd one i n
her shoes, or i n a br a, or i n a j acket . . . .
And t her e was t he t i me he had come home f r omwor k and she
was st andi ng i nsi de t he door , compl et el y naked, except f or a
pai r of hi gh- heel ed shoes. And she had sai d, " Dar l i ng, do you
l i ke t hese shoes?"
And hi s cl ot hes had dr opped t o t he f l oor and di nner was
del ayed. They
Kel l y' s voi ce cal l ed out , " Ar e we goi ng t o have br eakf ast
or di nner ?"
* * *
THEY WERE WALKI NG t o t he r est aur ant . The day was cool and
cl ear , and t he sky was a
t r ansl ucent bl ue.
" Bl ue ski es, " Di ane sai d. " A good omen. "
Kel l y bi t her l i p t o keep f r oml aughi ng. Somehow, Di ane' s
super st i t i ons seemed endear i ng.
A f ew door s f r omt he di ner , Di ane and Kel l y passed a smal l
bout i que. They l ooked at each ot her , gr i nned, and wal ked
i nsi de.
A sal esl ady appr oached t hem. " May I hel p you?"
Kel l y sai d ent husi ast i cal l y, " Yes. "
Di ane war ned, " Let ' s t ake i t easy. Remember what happened
t he l ast t i me. "
" Ri ght . No spr ee. "
The t wo of t hemwent t hr ough t he st or e, pi cki ng out a
modest number of necessi t i es. They l ef t t hei r
ol d cl ot hes i n t he dr essi ng r oom.
" Don' t you want t o t ake t hese?" t he sal esl ady asked.
Di ane smi l ed. " No. Gi ve t hemt o Goodwi l l . "
* * *
ON THE CORNER was a conveni ence st or e. " Look, " Kel l y sai d,
" di sposabl e cel l phones. "
Kel l y and Di ane went i nsi de and pur chased t wo of t hem,
each equi pped wi t h a t housand pr epai d
mi nut es.
Kel l y sai d, " Let ' s exchange phone number s agai n. "
Di ane smi l ed. " Ri ght . " I t onl y t ook a f ew seconds.
On t hei r way out , as Di ane was payi ng t he cashi er , she
l ooked i nt o her pur se. " I ' mr eal l y begi nni ng t o
r un out of cash. "
" So amI , " Kel l y sai d.
" We may have t o st ar t usi ng our cr edi t car ds, " Di ane sai d.
" Not unt i l we f i nd t he magi c r abbi t hol e. "
" What ?"
" Never mi nd. "
* * *
WHEN THEY WERE seat ed at a t abl e i n t he di ner , t he
wai t r ess asked, " What can I get you, l adi es?"
Kel l y t ur ned t o Di ane. " You f i r st . "
" I ' mgoi ng t o have some or ange j ui ce, bacon and eggs, and
t oast and cof f ee. "
The wai t r ess t ur ned t o Kel l y. " And you, mi ss?"
" Hal f a gr apef r ui t . "
" That ' s i t ?" Di ane asked.
" Yes. "
The wai t r ess l ef t .
" You can' t l i ve on hal f a gr apef r ui t . "
" Habi t . I ' ve been on a st r i ct di et f or year s. Some model s
eat Kl eenex t o cur b t hei r appet i t es. "
" Ser i ousl y?"
" Ser i ousl y. But i t doesn' t mat t er anymor e. I ' mnever goi ng
t o model agai n. "
Di ane st udi ed her a moment . " Why not ?"
" I t ' s not i mpor t ant now. Mar k t aught me what ' s r eal l y
i mpor t ant , and" She st opped, f i ght i ng t ear s.
" I wi sh you coul d have met hi m. "
" So do I . But , Kel l y, you have t o st ar t your l i f e agai n. "
Kel l y sai d, " What about you? Ar e you goi ng t o st ar t
pai nt i ng agai n?'
Ther e was a l ong si l ence. " I t r i ed . . . No. "
* * *
WHEN KELLY AND Di ane had f i ni shed t hei r br eakf ast s and
wer e st ar t i ng out t he door , Kel l y
not i ced t hat t he mor ni ng newspaper s wer e bei ng put i nt o
t he news r acks.
Di ane st ar t ed t o wal k on when Kel l y sai d, " Wai t a mi nut e. "
She t ur ned back and pi cked up one
of t he newspaper s. " Look! "
The st or y was an ar t i cl e at t he t op of t he f r ont page.
Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup i s hol di ng a memor i al ser vi ce
t o honor al l t hei r empl oyees
whose r ecent deat hs have been t he cause of much
specul at i on. The t r i but e wi l l t ake pl ace
at KI G headquar t er s, i n Manhat t an, on Monday, at 11: 15
A. M.
" That ' s t omor r ow. " Kel l y l ooked at Di ane f or a moment .
" Why do you t hi nk t hey' r e doi ng t hi s?"
" I t hi nk t hey' r e set t i ng a t r ap f or us. "
Kel l y nodded. " So do I . Does Ki ngsl ey bel i eve we woul d be
st upi d enough t o f al l f or ?" Kel l y
l ooked at Di ane' s expr essi on and sai d wi t h di smay, " We' r e
goi ng?"
Di ane nodded.
" We can' t !
" We have t o. I ' msur e Bet t y Bar ker wi l l be t her e. I must
t al k t o her . "
" I don' t want t o be pi cky, but how do you expect t o get
out of t her e al i ve?"
" I ' l l t hi nk of a way. " She l ooked at Kel l y and smi l ed.
" Tr ust me. "
Kel l y shook her head. " Ther e' s not hi ng t hat makes me mor e
ner vous t han hear i ng someone say ' Tr ust me. ' " She t hought f or
a moment , and her f ace l i t up. " I have an i dea. I know how t o
handl e t hi s. "
" What ' s your i dea?" I t s a sur pr i se.
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y, wor r i ed. " You r eal l y t hi nk you can
get us out of t her e?"
" Tr ust me. "
* * *
WHEN THEY RETURNED t o t he boar di nghouse, Kel l y made a
t el ephone cal l .
They bot h sl ept badl y t hat ni ght . Kel l y was l yi ng i n bed,
wor r yi ng. I f my pl an f ai l s, we' r e bot h goi ng
t o di e. As she was f al l i ng asl eep, she seemed t o see
Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s f ace l ooki ng down on her . He
was gr i nni ng.
Di ane was pr ayi ng, her eyes t i ght l y cl osed. Dar l i ng, t hi s
may be t he l ast t i me I speak t o you. I ' mnot
sur e whet her t o say good- bye or hel l o. Tomor r ow, Kel l y and
I ar e goi ng t o KI G, t o your memor i al .
I don' t t hi nk our chances of get t i ng away ar e ver y good,
but I have t o go, t o t r y t o hel p you. I j ust
want ed t o t el l you once mor e, bef or e i t may be t oo l at e,
t hat I l ove you. Goodni ght , my dear est .
CHAPTER 32
THE MEMORI AL SERVI CE was bei ng hel d i n KI G Par k, an ar ea
t hat had been set asi de i n back
of t he Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup compl ex, as a
r ecr eat i on f aci l i t y f or i t s empl oyees. Ther e wer e
a hundr ed peopl e gat her ed i n t he par k, whi ch was
accessi bl e onl y t hr ough t wo gat ed pat hs l eadi ng
i n and out .
I n t he cent er of t he gr ounds, a dai s had been er ect ed, and
hal f a dozen KI G execut i ves wer e seat ed
t her e. At t he end of t he r ow sat Ri char d St evens' s
secr et ar y, Bet t y Bar ker . She was an at t r act i ve
pat r i ci an- l ooki ng woman i n her t hi r t i es.
Tanner was at t he mi cr ophone. " . . . and t hi s company was
bui l t by t he dedi cat i on and l oyal t y of i t s empl oyees. We
appr eci at e and sal ut e t hem. I have al ways l i ked t o t hi nk of
our company as a f ami l y,
al l wor ki ng t oget her t owar d t he same obj ect i ve. " As Tanner
spoke, he was scanni ng t he cr owd.
" Her e, at KI G, we have sol ved pr obl ems and execut ed i deas
t hat have made t he wor l d a bet t er pl ace
t o l i ve i n, and t her e i s no gr eat er sat i sf act i on t han"
At t he f ar end of t he par k, Di ane and Kel l y had ent er ed.
Tanner gl anced at hi s wat ch. I t was
el even- f or t y. Ther e was a sat i sf i ed smi l e on hi s f ace. He
cont i nued speaki ng: " . . . knowi ng t hat
what ever success t hi s company has had i s due t o you. "
Di ane l ooked up at t he pl at f or mand nudged Kel l y,
exci t edl y. " Ther e' s Bet t y Bar ker . I have t o
get t o her . "
" Be car ef ul . "
Di ane gl anced ar ound and sai d uneasi l y, " Thi s i s t oo
si mpl e. I have a f eel i ng we' ve been" She
t ur ned t o l ook back and gasped. Har r y Fl i nt and t wo of hi s
men had appear ed at one of t he gat es.
Di ane' s eyes t ur ned t owar d t he second gat e. I t was bl ocked
by Car bal l o and t wo mor e men.
" Look! " Di ane' s t hr oat was dr y.
Kel l y t ur ned t o see t he si x men bl ocki ng t he exi t s. " I s
t her e any ot her way out of her e?"
" I don' t t hi nk so. "
Tanner was sayi ng, " Regr et t abl y, r ecent mi sf or t unes have
come t o sever al member s of our f ami l y.
And when a t r agedy bef al l s someone i n t he f ami l y, i t
af f ect s us al l . KI G i s of f er i ng a f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d
t o anyone who can pr ove who or what i s behi nd al l of t hi s. "
" Fi ve mi l l i on dol l ar s f r omone of hi s pocket s i nt o t he
ot her , " Kel l y sai d sof t l y.
Tanner l ooked out over t he cr owd at Kel l y and Di ane, and
hi s eyes wer e col d. " We have t wo ber eaved member s her e t oday,
Mr s. Mar k Har r i s and Mr s. Ri char d St evens. I ' mgoi ng t o ask
t hemt o pl ease
come up her e on t he podi um. "
" We can' t l et hi mget us up t her e, " Kel l y sai d, hor r i f i ed.
" We have t o st ay wi t h t he cr owd. What do
we do now?"
Di ane l ooked at Kel l y, sur pr i sed. " What do you mean?
You' r e t he one who' s goi ng t o get us out of
her e, r emember ? St ar t your pl an. "
Kel l y swal l owed. " I t di dn' t wor k. "
Di ane sai d ner vousl y, " Then go t o pl an B. "
" Di ane . . . "
" Yes?"
" Ther e i s no pl an B. "
Di ane' s eyes wi dened. " You mean youyou got us her e wi t h
no way t o get us out ?"
" I t hought "
Tanner ' s voi ce boomed over t he l oudspeaker . " Woul d Mr s.
St evens and Mr s. Har r i s come up her e
now, pl ease?"
Kel l y t ur ned t o Di ane and sai d mi ser abl y, " I ' mI ' mso
sor r y. "
" I t ' s my f aul t . I shoul d never have l et us come. "
The peopl e i n t he cr owd wer e t ur ni ng t o wat ch t hem. They
wer e t r apped.
" Mr s. St evens and Mr s. Har r i s . . . "
Kel l y whi sper ed, " What ar e we goi ng t o do?"
Di ane sai d, " We have no choi ce. We' r e goi ng up t her e. " She
t ook a deep br eat h. " Let ' s go. "
Rel uct ant l y, t he t wo women st ar t ed sl owl y t owar d t he
podi um.
Di ane was l ooki ng up at Bet t y Bar ker , whose eyes wer e
f ast ened on her , a pani cky l ook on her f ace.
Di ane and Kel l y near ed t he podi um, t hei r hear t s poundi ng.
Di ane was t hi nki ng, Ri char d, dar l i ng, I t r i ed. No mat t er
what happens, I want you t o know t hat I
Ther e was a sudden l oud commot i on at t he back of t he par k.
Peopl e wer e cr ani ng t hei r necks t o see
what was happeni ng.
Ben Rober t s was maki ng an ent r ance, accompani ed by a l ar ge
cr ew of camer amen and assi st ant s.
The t wo women t ur ned t o l ook. Kel l y gr abbed Di ane' s ar m,
beami ng. " Pl an A has ar r i ved!
Ben i s her e. "
And Di ane l ooked up and sai d sof t l y, " Thank you, Ri char d. "
Kel l y sai d, " What ?" She suddenl y r eal i zed what Di ane
meant . She sai d cyni cal l y, " Ri ght . Come on.
Ben i s wai t i ng f or us. "
* * *
TANNER WAS WATCHI NG t he scene, hi s f ace st i f f . He cal l ed
out , " Excuse me. I ' msor r y,
Mr . Rober t s. Thi s i s a pr i vat e memor i al cer emony. I wi l l
have t o ask you and your cr ew t o l eave. "
Ben Rober t s sai d, " Good mor ni ng, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. My show i s
doi ng a t el evi si on segment wi t h
Mr s. Har r i s and Mr s. St evens at t he st udi o, but whi l e we
wer e her e, I t hought you mi ght l i ke t o
have us do a pi ece on t he memor i al ser vi ce. "
Tanner shook hi s head. " No, I can' t per mi t you t o st ay
her e. "
" Too bad. Then I ' l l j ust t ake Mr s. Har r i s and Mr s. St evens
over t o t he st udi o now. "
" You can' t , " Tanner sai d har shl y.
Ben l ooked at hi m. " I can' t what ?"
Tanner was al most t r embl i ng wi t h f ur y. " I I meanyou
not hi ng. "
The women had r eached Ben.
He sai d sof t l y, " Sor r y I ' ml at e. Ther e was a br eaki ng news
st or y about a mur der and"
" Ther e was al most a br eaki ng news st or y about t wo mor e, "
Kel l y sai d. " Let ' s get out of her e. "
Tanner wat ched, f r ust r at ed, as Kel l y, Di ane, Ben Rober t s,
and hi s cr ew pushed past Tanner ' s men
and wal ked out of t he par k.
Har r y Fl i nt l ooked over t o Tanner f or i nst r uct i ons. As
Tanner sl owl y shook hi s head no, he was
t hi nki ng, I t ' s not over yet , bi t ches.
* * *
DI ANE AND KELLY got i nt o t he car wi t h Ben Rober t s. Hi s
cr ew was f ol l owi ng i n t wo vans.
Rober t s l ooked at Kel l y. " Now, can you t el l me what t hat
was al l about ?"
" I wi sh I coul d, Ben. But not yet . I wi l l when I know what
I ' mt al ki ng about . I pr omi se. "
" Kel l y, I ' ma r epor t er . I need t o know"
" Today you came as a f r i end. "
Rober t s si ghed. " Ri ght . Wher e woul d you l i ke me t o t ake
you?"
Di ane sai d, " Woul d you dr op us of f at For t y- second St r eet
and Ti mes Squar e?"
" You ve got i t . "
* * *
TWENTY MI NUTES LATER, Kel l y and Di ane wer e get t i ng out of
t he car .
Kel l y ki ssed Ben Rober t s on t he cheek. " Thanks, Ben. I
won' t f or get t hi s. We' l l st ay i n t ouch. "
" Be saf e. "
They t ur ned t o wave as t hey wal ked away.
Kel l y sai d, " I f eel naked. "
" Why?"
" Di ane, we don' t have any weapons. Not hi ng. I wi sh we had
a gun. "
" We have our br ai ns. "
" I wi sh we had a gun. Why ar e we her e? What ar e we goi ng
t o do now?"
" We' r e goi ng t o st op r unni ng. Fr omnow on, we' r e on t he
of f ensi ve.
Kel l y l ooked at her cur i ousl y. " What does t hat mean?"
" I t means I ' msi ck and t i r ed of us bei ng t he t ar get of t he
day. We' r e goi ng af t er t hem, Kel l y. "
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane a moment . " We' r e goi ng af t er KI G?"
" That ' s r i ght . "
" You' ve been r eadi ng t oo many myst er i es. How do you t hi nk
t he t wo of us can br i ng down t he
bi ggest t hi nk t ank i n t he wor l d?"
" We' r e goi ng t o st ar t by get t i ng t he names of al l t hei r
empl oyees who have di ed i n t he past f ew weeks. "
" What makes you t hi nk t her e wer e mor e t han Mar k and
Ri char d?"
" Because t he newspaper announcement sai d al l t hei r
empl oyees, so t her e wer e mor e t han t wo peopl e. "
" Oh. And who' s goi ng t o gi ve us t hose names?"
" I ' l l show you, " Di ane sai d.
* * *
THE EASY ACCESS I nt er net Caf e was a vast comput er hal l
cont ai ni ng mor e t han a dozen r ows of cubi cl es equi pped wi t h
f our hundr ed per sonal comput er s, near l y al l of t hemi n use.
I t was par t of a
chai n t hat was spr i ngi ng up al l over t he wor l d.
When t hey wal ked i n, Di ane went t o t he car d vendi ng
machi ne, t o pur chase an hour of I nt er net access.
When she came back, Kel l y sai d, " Wher e do we st ar t ?"
" Let ' s ask t he comput er . "
They f ound an empt y cubi cl e and sat down.
Kel l y wat ched as Di ane l ogged on t o t he I nt er net . " What
happens now?"
" Fi r st we do a Googl e sear ch t o f i nd t he names of t he
ot her vi ct i ms who wer e empl oyees of KI G. "
Di ane t yped " www. googl e. com" and t hen t yped i n her sear ch
cr i t er i a: " obi t uar y" and " KI G. "
A l ong l i st of sear ch hi t s appear ed. Di ane l ooked
speci f i cal l y f or i t ems i n newspaper s t hat wer e
avai l abl e onl i ne and f ound sever al . She cl i cked on t hose
l i nks, whi ch l ed her t o a ser i es of r ecent obi t uar i es and
ot her ar t i cl es. One ar t i cl e l ed her t o KI G Ber l i n, and she
accessed i t s Web si t e.
" Thi s i s i nt er est i ng . . . Fr anz Ver br ugge. "
" Who' s he?"
" The quest i on i s, wher e i s he? He seems t o have
di sappear ed. He wor ked f or KI G i n Ber l i n, and
hi s wi f e, Sonj a, di ed myst er i ousl y. "
Di ane cl i cked ont o anot her l i nk. She hesi t at ed and l ooked
up at Kel l y. " I n Fr anceMar k Har r i s. "
Kel l y t ook a deep br eat h and nodded. " Go on. "
Di ane pr essed mor e keys. " Denver , Gar y Reynol ds, and i n
Manhat t an" Di ane' s voi ce br oke" Ri char d. " Di ane st ood up.
" That ' s i t . "
Kel l y sai d, " What now?"
" We' r e goi ng t o f i gur e out how t o put al l t hi s t oget her .
Let ' s go. "
* * *
HALFWAY DOWN THE bl ock, Kel l y and Di ane passed a comput er
st or e.
" J ust a mi nut e, " Kel l y sai d.
Di ane f ol l owed as Kel l y wal ked i nt o t he st or e and
appr oached t he manager .
" Excuse me. My name i s Kel l y Har r i s. I ' mTanner Ki ngsl ey' s
assi st ant . We need t hr ee dozen of your
ver y best and most expensi ve comput er s by t hi s af t er noon.
I s t hat possi bl e?"
The manager beamed. " Whywhy cer t ai nl y, Mr s. Har r i s. For
Mr . Ki ngsl ey, anyt hi ng. We don' t
have t hemal l her e, of cour se, but we' l l get t hemf r omour
war ehouses. I ' l l t ake car e of i t per sonal l y.
Wi l l t hat be cash or char ge?"
" COD, " Kel l y sai d.
As t he manager hur r i ed away, Di ane sai d, " I wi sh I had
t hought of t hat . "
Kel l y gr i nned. " You wi l l . "
* * *
" I THOUGHT YOU woul d l i ke t o see t hese, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Kat hy Or donez handed hi msever al newspaper s. The headl i nes
t ol d t he st or y:
AUSTRALI A HAS FREAK TORNADO
THE FI RST TORNADO TO EVER HI T AUSTRALI A HAS
DESTROYED A DOZEN VI LLAGES. DEATH TOLL I S
UNKNOWN.
METEOROLOGI STS ARE BAFFLED BY NEW
WORLD WEATHER PATTERNS. OZONE LAYER
BLAMED.
Tanner sai d, " Send t hese t o Senat or Van Luven wi t h a not e:
' Dear Senat or Van Luven, I t hi nk t i me
i s r unni ng out . Best wi shes, Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
" Yes, si r . "
Tanner l ooked up at a comput er scr een when he hear d t he
sound t el l i ng hi mhe had r ecei ved an
al er t f r omt he secur i t y di vi si on of hi s I nf or mat i on
Technol ogy depar t ment .
Tanner had ar r anged f or hi s I T depar t ment t o have
" spi der s" i nst al l edhi gh- t ech sof t war e t hat
const ant l y combed t he I nt er net , sear chi ng f or i nf or mat i on.
Tanner had pr i vat el y set t he spi der s t o
l ook f or peopl e sear chi ng f or sensi t i ve i nf or mat i on
r el at i ng t o t he deat hs of Ri char d St evens and
Mar k Har r i s, and he now st ar ed wi t h i nt er est at t he al er t
on t he comput er moni t or .
He pr essed a buzzer . " Andr ew, get i n her e. "
Andr ew was i n hi s of f i ce, daydr eami ng about hi s acci dent ,
and r emember i ng. He was i n t he war dr obe r oomt o get hi s
spacesui t t hat t he ar my had sent . He st ar t ed t o t ake one f r om
t he r ack, but Tanner
was t her e, and Tanner handed hi ma sui t and gas mask. Wear
t hi s one. I t wi l l br i ng you l uck.
Tanner was
" Andr ew! Get i n her e! "
* * *
ANDREWHEARD THE command, got up, and sl owl y wal ked i nt o
Tanner ' s of f i ce.
" Si t down. "
" Yes, Tanner . " He t ook a seat .
" The bi t ches j ust hi t our Web si t e i n Ber l i n. Do you know
what t hat means?"
" Yes. . . I no. "
Tanner ' s secr et ar y buzzed. " The comput er s ar e her e, Mr .
Ki ngsl ey. "
" What comput er s?"
" The ones you or der ed. "
Puzzl ed, Tanner r ose and wal ked out t he door i nt o t he
r ecept i on r oom. Thr ee dozen comput er s
wer e pi l ed up on dol l i es. The st or e manager and t hr ee men
i n over al l s wer e st andi ng next t o t hem.
The manager ' s f ace l i t up when he saw Tanner appr oachi ng.
" I have j ust what you asked f or ,
Mr . Ki ngsl ey. St at e of t he ar t . And we' l l be happy t o hel p
you wi t h any mor e"
Tanner was st ar i ng at t he pi l e of comput er s. " Who or der ed
t hese?"
" Your assi st ant , Kel l y Har r i s. She sai d you needed t hem
r i ght away, so"
" Take t hemback, " Tanner sai d sof t l y. " Wher e she' s goi ng,
t hey won' t be needed. "
He t ur ned and wal ked back i nt o hi s of f i ce. " Andr ew, do you
have any i dea why t hey accessed our
Web si t e? Wel l , I ' l l t el l you. They' r e goi ng t o t r y t o
t r ack down t he vi ct i ms and l ook f or t he mot i ves
behi nd t hei r deat hs. " Tanner sat down. " To do t hat , t hey
woul d have t o go t o Eur ope. Onl y t hey' r e
not goi ng t o get t her e. "
Andr ew sai d sl eepi l y, " No . . . "
" How ar e we goi ng t o st op t hem, Andr ew?"
Andr ew nodded. " St op t hem. . . "
Tanner l ooked at hi s br ot her and sai d cont empt uousl y, " I
wi sh t her e was someone wi t h a br ai n t hat
I coul d t al k t o. "
Andr ew wat ched as Tanner wal ked over t o a comput er and sat
at t he keyboar d. " We' r e goi ng t o st ar t
by wi pi ng out al l t hei r asset s. We have t hei r Soci al
Secur i t y number s. " He kept t ypi ng as he t al ked. " Di ane
St evens. . . , " he mused as he used t he back- door sof t war e
KI G i nst al l ed when t hey wer e
hi r ed t o make Exper i an' s syst ems Y2K- compl i ant . Thi s
back- door sof t war e gave Tanner access t hat
not even t he hi ghest of Exper i an management coul d have.
" Look. Exper i an has al l her bank account i nf or mat i on, an
I RA r et i r ement account , her l i ne of cr edi t
at t he bank. See?"
Andr ew swal l owed. " Yes, Tanner . Yes. "
Tanner t ur ned back t o t he comput er . " We' l l ent er her
cr edi t car ds as st ol en. . . . Now we' r e goi ng t o
do t he same wi t h Kel l y Har r i s. . . . Our next st ep i s
goi ng t o Di ane' s bank' s Web si t e. " He accessed
t he bank' s Web si t e and t hen cl i cked ont o a l i nk t hat sai d
" Manage Your Account s. "
Next , Tanner ent er ed Di ane St evens' s account number and
t he l ast f our di gi t s of her Soci al Secur i t y number and was
gr ant ed access. Once i nsi de, he t r ansf er r ed al l her bal ances
t o t he l i ne of cr edi t ,
t hen r et ur ned t o Exper i an' s cr edi t dat a base and cancel ed
her l i ne of cr edi t under " I n Col l ect i on. "
" Andr ew"
" Yes, Tanner ?"
" Do you see what I ' ve done? I ' ve t r ansf er r ed al l of Di ane
St evens' s asset s as debt s t o be col l ect ed
by t hei r col l ect i on depar t ment . " Hi s t one f i l l ed wi t h
sel f - sat i sf act i on. " Now we' l l do t he same t hi ng
f or Kel l y Har r i s. "
When Tanner was t hr ough, he got up and wal ked over t o
Andr ew. " I t ' s done. They have no money
and no cr edi t . Ther e' s no way t hey can get out of t he
count r y. We have t hemt r apped. What do you
t hi nk of your ki d br ot her ?"
Andr ew nodded. " On t el evi si on l ast ni ght , I saw a movi e
about a"
Fur i ous, Tanner cl enched hi s f i st and sl ammed i t i nt o hi s
br ot her ' s f ace so har d t hat Andr ew f el l out
of t he chai r and cr ashed i nt o a wal l , maki ng a l oud
r acket . " You son of a bi t ch! Li st en t o me when
I ' mt al ki ng t o you. "
The door f l ew open and Tanner ' s secr et ar y, Kat hy Or donez,
r ushed i n. " I s ever yt hi ng al l r i ght ,
Mr . Ki ngsl ey?"
Tanner t ur ned t o her . " Yes. Poor Andr ew f el l down. "
" Oh, dear . "
The t wo of t heml i f t ed Andr ew t o hi s f eet .
" Di d I f al l down?"
Tanner sai d gent l y, " Yes, Andr ew, but you' r e al l r i ght
now. "
Kat hy Or donez whi sper ed, " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, don' t you t hi nk
your br ot her mi ght be bet t er of f i n a home?"
" Of cour se he woul d, " Tanner answer ed. " But i t woul d br eak
hi s hear t . Thi s i s hi s r eal home, and
I can t ake car e of hi mher e. "
Kat hy Or donez l ooked at Tanner admi r i ngl y. " You' r e a
wonder f ul man, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
He shr ugged modest l y. " We al l have t o do what we can. "
* * *
TEN MI NUTES LATER, Tanner ' s secr et ar y was back.
" Good news, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. Thi s f ax j ust came i n f r om
Senat or Van Luven' s of f i ce. "
" Let me see i t . " Tanner snat ched i t f r omher hand.
Dear Mr . Ki ngsl ey:
Thi s i s t o i nf or myou t hat t he Senat e Sel ect Commi t t ee on
t he Envi r onment has deci ded t o
appr opr i at e f unds t o i mmedi at el y i ncr ease our
i nvest i gat i on of gl obal war mi ng and how t o
combat i t .
Si ncer el y, Senat or Van Luven
CHAPTER 33
YOU HAVE a passpor t ?" Di ane asked.
" I al ways car r y i t wi t h me i n a st r ange count r y. " And
Kel l y added, " And l at el y t hi s has become one
hel l of a st r ange count r y. "
Di ane nodded. " My passpor t i s i n a bank vaul t . I ' l l get
i t . And we' l l need some money. "
* * *
WHEN THEY ENTERED t he bank, Di ane went downst ai r s t o t he
vaul t and opened her saf et y-
deposi t box. She r emoved her passpor t , put i t i n her
pur se, and wal ked back upst ai r s t o a t el l er ' s desk.
" I woul d l i ke t o cl ose my account . "
" Cer t ai nl y. Your name, pl ease?"
" Di ane St evens. "
The t el l er nodded. " J ust a moment , pl ease. " He wal ked back
t o a r ow of f i l i ng cabi net s, opened a
dr awer , and st ar t ed r i f f l i ng t hr ough t he car ds. He pul l ed
one out , l ooked at i t a moment , t hen wal ked
back t o Di ane. " Your account has al r eady been cl osed out ,
Mr s. St evens. "
Di ane shook her head. " No. Ther e must be some mi st ake. I
have"
The t el l er put t he car d i n f r ont of Di ane. I t r ead
" Account cl osed. Reason: Deceased. "
Di ane st ar ed at i t unbel i evi ngl y, t hen l ooked up at t he
t el l er . " Do I l ook l i ke I ' mdeceased?"
" Of cour se not . I ' msor r y. I f you' d l i ke me t o cal l t he
manager , can
" No! " She suddenl y r eal i zed what had happened and f el t a
smal l shi ver . " No, t hanks. "
Di ane hur r i ed over t o t he ent r ance, wher e Kel l y was
wai t i ng.
" Di d you get t he passpor t and money?"
" I got t he passpor t . The bast ar ds cl osed my bank account . "
" How coul d t hey?"
" I t ' s ver y si mpl e. They' r e KI G and we' r e not . " Di ane was
t hought f ul f or a moment . " Oh, my God. "
" What now?"
" I have t o make a qui ck phone cal l . " Di ane hur r i ed over t o
a t el ephone cubi cl e, di al ed a number , and pul l ed out a cr edi t
car d. A f ew moment s l at er , she was speaki ng t o a cl er k. " The
account i s under t he name of Di ane St evens. I t ' s a val i d"
" I ' msor r y, Mr s. St evens. Our r ecor ds show t hat your car d
has been r epor t ed st ol en. I f you want t o
make out a r epor t , we can i ssue a new car d t o you i n a day
or t wo and"
Di ane sai d, " Never mi nd. " She sl ammed down t he r ecei ver
and wal ked back t o Kel l y. " They' ve
cancel ed my cr edi t car ds. "
Kel l y t ook a deep br eat h. " Now I ' d bet t er make a cal l or
t wo. "
Kel l y was on t he t el ephone f or al most hal f an hour . When
she came back t o Di ane, she was f ur i ous.
" The oct opus st r i kes agai n. But I st i l l have a bank
account i n Par i s, so I can"
" We don' t have t i me f or t hat , Kel l y. We have t o get out of
her e now. How much money do you
have wi t h you?"
" Enough t o get us back t o Br ookl yn. What about you?"
" I coul d get us t o New J er sey. "
" Then we' r e t r apped. You know why t hey' r e doi ng t hi s,
don' t you? To keep us f r omgoi ng t o Eur ope
and f i ndi ng out t he t r ut h. "
" I t l ooks l i ke t hey' ve succeeded. "
Kel l y sai d t hought f ul l y, " No, t hey haven' t . We' r e goi ng. "
Di ane sai d skept i cal l y, " How? My spaceshi p?"
" Mi ne. "
* * *
J OSEPH BERRY, THE manager of t he Fi f t h Avenue j ewel r y
st or e, wat ched Kel l y and Di ane appr oach and gave t hemhi s
best pr of essi onal smi l e. " May I hel p you?"
Kel l y sai d, " Yes. I ' d l i ke t o sel l my r i ng. I t "
Hi s smi l e f aded. " I ' msor r y. We don' t buy j ewel r y. "
" Oh. That ' s t oo bad. "
J oseph Ber r y st ar t ed t o t ur n away. Kel l y opened her hand.
I n i t was a l ar ge emer al d r i ng.
" Thi s i s a seven- car at emer al d sur r ounded by t hr ee car at s
of di amonds, set i n pl at i num. "
J oseph Ber r y st ar ed at t he r i ng, i mpr essed. He pi cked up a
j ewel er ' s l oupe and put i t t o hi s eye.
" I t ' s r eal l y beaut i f ul , but we have a f i r mr ul e her e
t hat "
" I want t went y t housand dol l ar s f or i t . "
" Di d you say t went y t housand dol l ar s?"
" Yes, i n cash. "
Di ane was st ar i ng at her . " Kel l y"
Ber r y l ooked at t he r i ng agai n and nodded. " I er t hi nk we
can ar r ange t hat . J ust a moment . "
He di sappear ed i nt o t he back of f i ce.
Di ane sai d, " Ar e you cr azy? You' r e bei ng r obbed! "
" AmI ? I f we st ay her e, we' l l be ki l l ed. Tel l me how much
our l i ves ar e wor t h. "
Di ane had no answer .
J oseph Ber r y came out of t he back of f i ce, smi l i ng. " I ' l l
have someone go acr oss t he st r eet t o t he
bank and get t he cash f or you r i ght away. "
Di ane t ur ned t o Kel l y. " I wi sh you woul dn' t do t hi s. "
Kel l y shr ugged. " I t ' s onl y a pi ece of j ewel r y. . . . " She
cl osed her eyes.
* * *
I T' S ONLY A pi ece of j ewel r y. . . .
I t was her bi r t hday. The phone r ang.
" Good mor ni ng, dar l i ng. " I t was Mar k.
" Good mor ni ng. "
She wai t ed f or hi mt o say " Happy bi r t hday. "
I nst ead he sai d, " You' r e not wor ki ng t oday. Do you l i ke
hi ki ng?"
That was not what Kel l y had expect ed t o hear . She f el t a
shar p sense of di sappoi nt ment . They
had t al ked about bi r t hdays a week ear l i er . Mar k had
f or got t en. Yes.
" How woul d you l i ke t o go f or a hi ke t hi s mor ni ng?"
" Al l r i ght . "
" I ' l l pi ck you up i n hal f an hour . "
" I ' l l be r eady. "
* * *
" WHERE ARE WE goi ng?" Kel l y asked, when t hey wer e i n t he
car . They wer e bot h dr essed i n
hi ki ng out f i t s. " Ther e ar e some wonder f ul t r ai l s out si de
of Font ai nebl eau. "
" Oh? Do you go t her e of t en?"
" I used t o go t her e when I want ed t o escape. "
Kel l y l ooked at hi m, puzzl ed. " Escape f r omwhat ?" He
hesi t at ed. " Lonel i ness. I f el t l ess l onel y t her e. "
He gl anced at Kel l y and smi l ed. " I haven' t been t her e
si nce I met you. "
* * *
FONTAI NEBLEAU I S A magni f i cent r oyal pal ace, sur r ounded by
syl van f or est s, l ocat ed sout heast
of Par i s.
As t he beaut i f ul , r egal est at e l oomed up i n t he di st ance,
Mar k sai d, " A l ot of ki ngs named Loui s have
l i ved her e, st ar t i ng wi t h Loui s I V. "
" Oh, r eal l y?" Kel l y l ooked at hi mand t hought , I wonder i f
t hey had bi r t hday car ds i n t hose days.
I wi sh he had gi ven me a bi r t hday car d. I ' mact i ng l i ke a
school gi r l .
They had r eached t he pal ace gr ounds. Mar k pul l ed i nt o one
of t he par ki ng l ot s.
As t hey got out of t he car and headed f or t he woods, Mar k
sai d, " Can you handl e a mi l e?"
Kel l y l aughed. " I handl e mor e t han t hat ever y day on t he
r unway. "
Mar k t ook her hand. " Good. Let ' s go. "
" I ' mwi t h you. "
They passed a ser i es of maj est i c bui l di ngs and st ar t ed
i nt o t he woodl and. They wer e compl et el y al one, wr apped i n a
gr eener y of anci ent f i el ds and st or i ed ol d t r ees. I t was a
sun- ki ssed summer day f i l l ed
wi t h i t sel f . The wi nd was war mand car essi ng, and t her e
was a cl oudl ess sky above.
" I sn' t t hi s beaut i f ul ?" Mar k asked.
" I t ' s l ovel y, Mar k. "
" I ' mgl ad you wer e f r ee. "
Kel l y r emember ed somet hi ng. " Ar en' t you supposed t o be
wor ki ng t oday?"
" I deci ded t o t ake t he day of f . "
" Oh. "
They wer e wal ki ng deeper and deeper i nt o t he myst er i ous
f or est .
Af t er f i f t een mi nut es, Kel l y asked, " How f ar do you want
t o go?"
" Ther e' s a spot up ahead t hat I l i ke. We' r e al most t her e. "
A f ew mi nut es l at er , t hey emer ged i nt o a gl ade wi t h an
enor mous oak t r ee i n t he cent er .
" Her e we ar e, " Mar k sai d.
" I t ' s so peacef ul . "
Ther e seemed t o be somet hi ng l i ght l y car ved on t he t r ee.
Kel l y went up t o i t . I t r ead HAPPY BI RTHDAY, KELLY.
She st ar ed at Mar k a moment , speechl ess. " Oh, Mar k,
dar l i ng. Thank you. "
So he had not f or got t en.
" I t hi nk t her e mi ght be somet hi ng i n t he t r ee. "
" I n t he t r ee?" Kel l y moved cl oser t o i t . Ther e was a
hol l ow pl ace at eye l evel . She put her hand i nsi de
and f el t a smal l package, and pul l ed i t out . I t was a gi f t
box. " What ?" Open i t .
Kel l y opened i t and her eyes wi dened. I n t he box was a
seven- car at emer al d r i ng, sur r ounded by t hr ee car at s of
di amonds, set i n pl at i num. Kel l y st ar ed at i t , unbel i evi ngl y.
She t ur ned and t hr ew her ar ms ar ound Mar k. " Thi s i s much t oo
gener ous. "
" I woul d gi ve you t he moon i f you asked f or i t . Kel l y, I ' m
i n l ove wi t h you. "
She hel d hi mcl ose, l ost i n a euphor i a she had never
known. And t hen she sai d somet hi ng t hat she
t hought she woul d never , ever say. " I ' mi n l ove wi t h you,
dar l i ng. "
He was beami ng. " Let ' s get mar r i ed r i ght away. We"
" No. " I t was l i ke a whi pl ash.
Mar k was l ooki ng at her i n sur pr i se. " Why?"
" We can' t . "
" Kel l ydon' t you bel i eve t hat I ' mi n l ove wi t h you?"
" Yes. "
" Ar e you i n l ove wi t h me?"
" Yes. "
" But you don' t want t o mar r y me?"
" I do want t obut I I can' t . "
" I don' t under st and. What i s i t ?"
He was st udyi ng her , conf used. And Kel l y knew t hat t he
moment she t ol d Mar k about t he t r aumat i c exper i ence she had
had, he woul d never want t o see her agai n. " I I coul d never
be a r eal wi f e t o you. "
" What do you mean?"
Thi s was t he most di f f i cul t t hi ng Kel l y had ever had t o
say. " Mar k, we coul d never have sex t oget her . When I was
ei ght year s ol d, I was r aped. " She was l ooki ng out at t he
uncar i ng t r ees, t el l i ng her sor di d st or y t o t he f i r st man she
had ever l oved. " I ' mnot i nt er est ed i n sex. I ' mdi sgust ed by
t he i dea of i t . I t f r i ght ens me. I ' mI ' mhal f a woman. I ' ma
f r eak. " She was br eat hi ng har d, t r yi ng not t o cr y.
Kel l y f el t Mar k' s hand on her s. " I ' mso sor r y, Kel l y. That
must have been devast at i ng. "
Kel l y was si l ent .
" Sex i s ver y i mpor t ant i n a mar r i age, " Mar k sai d.
Kel l y nodded, bi t i ng her l i p. She knew what he was goi ng
t o say next . " Of cour se. So I under st and
why you woul dn' t want t o"
" But t hat ' s not what mar r i age i s about . Mar r i age i s about
spendi ng your l i f e wi t h someone you l ovehavi ng someone t o
t al k t o, someone t o shar e al l t he good t i mes and t he bad
t i mes. "
She was l i st eni ng, st unned, af r ai d t o bel i eve what she was
hear i ng.
" Sex f i nal l y goes away, Kel l y, but r eal l ove doesn' t . I
l ove you f or your hear t and your soul . I want
t o spend t he r est of my l i f e wi t h you. I can do wi t hout
t he sex. "
Kel l y t r i ed t o keep her voi ce st eady. " No, Mar kI can' t
l et you. "
" Why?"
" Because one day you woul d r egr et i t . You' d f al l i n l ove
wi t h someone el se who coul d gi ve you . . .
what I can' t , and you woul d l eave me . . . and t hat woul d
br eak my hear t . "
Mar k r eached out and t ook Kel l y i n hi s ar ms and hel d her
cl ose. " Do you know why I coul d never
l eave you? Because you' r e t he best par t of me. We' r e
get t i ng mar r i ed. "
Kel l y l ooked i nt o hi s eyes. " Mar kdo you r eal i ze what
you' r e get t i ng i nt o?"
Mar k smi l ed and sai d, " I t hi nk you mi ght r ephr ase t hat . "
Kel l y l aughed and hugged hi m. " Oh, baby, ar e you sur e
you?"
He was beami ng. " I ' msur e. What do you say?"
She f el t t he t ear s on her cheeks. " I say . . . yes. "
Mar k sl i pped t he emer al d r i ng on her f i nger . They hel d
each ot her f or a l ong t i me.
Kel l y sai d, " I want you t o t ake me t o t he sal on t omor r ow
mor ni ng and meet some of t he model s
I wor k wi t h. "
" I t hought t her e was a r ul e agai nst "
" The r ul es have been changed. "
Mar k was beami ng. " I ' l l ar r ange f or a j udge I know t o
mar r y us Sunday. "
* * *
THE NEXT MORNI NG, when Kel l y and Mar k ar r i ved at t he
sal on, Kel l y poi nt ed up t o t he sky.
" I t l ooks l i ke i t ' s goi ng t o r ai n. Ever yone t al ks about
t he weat her , but no one does anyt hi ng about i t . "
Mar k t ur ned and gave her a st r ange l ook.
Kel l y saw t he expr essi on on Mar k' s f ace. " Oh, I ' msor r y.
That ' s a cl i che, i sn' t i t ?"
Mar k di d not answer .
* * *
THERE WERE hal f a dozen model s i n t he dr essi ng r oomwhen
Kel l y wal ked i n.
" I have an announcement t o make. I ' mget t i ng mar r i ed
Sunday, and you' r e al l i nvi t ed. "
The r oomwas i nst ant l y f i l l ed wi t h chat t er .
" I s t hi s t he myst er i ous beau you woul dn' t l et us meet ?"
" Do we know hi m?"
" What does he l ook l i ke?"
Kel l y sai d pr oudl y, " Li ke a young Car y Gr ant . "
" Ooh! When can we meet hi m?"
" Now. He' s her e. " Kel l y opened t he door wi de. " Come i n,
dar l i ng. "
Mar k st epped i nt o t he r oom, and t he r oombecame i nst ant l y
qui et . One of t he model s l ooked at
Mar k and sai d under her br eat h, " I s t hi s some ki nd of
j oke?"
" I t must be. "
Mar k Har r i s was a f oot shor t er t han Kel l y, a pl ai n,
or di nar y- l ooki ng man, wi t h a t hi nni ng mop of
gr ay hai r .
When t he f i r st shock was over , t he model s st epped up t o
congr at ul at e t he soon- t o- be br i de and gr oom.
" That ' s wonder f ul news. "
" We' r e t hr i l l ed f or you. "
" I ' msur e you' l l be ver y happy t oget her . "
When t he congr at ul at i ons wer e over , Kel l y and Mar k l ef t .
As t hey wer e wal ki ng down t he hal l ,
Mar k asked, " Do you t hi nk t hey l i ked me?"
Kel l y smi l ed. " Of cour se t hey di d. How coul d anyone not
l i ke you?" She st opped. " Oh! "
" What i s i t ?"
" I ' mon t he cover of a f ashi on magazi ne t hat j ust came i n.
I want you t o see i t . Be r i ght back. "
Kel l y st ar t ed t owar d t he model s' dr essi ng r oom. As she
r eached t he door , she hear d a voi ce say,
" I s Kel l y r eal l y mar r yi ng hi m?"
Kel l y st opped and l i st ened.
" She must have gone cr azy. "
" I ' ve seen her t ur n down some of t he handsomest men i n t he
wor l d, and t he r i chest . What does
she see i n hi m?"
One of t he model s who had been qui et spoke up. " I t ' s ver y
si mpl e, " she sai d.
" What i s?"
" You' l l l augh. " She hesi t at ed.
" Go ahead. "
" Di d you ever hear t he phr ase ' seei ng someone t hr ough t he
eyes of l ove' ?"
No one l aughed.
* * *
THE WEDDI NG TOOK pl ace at t he Mi ni st r y of J ust i ce, i n
Par i s, and al l t he model s wer e t her e as br i desmai ds. Out si de
on t he st r eet , t her e was a l ar ge cr owd t hat had hear d about
t he mar r i age of t he model Kel l y. The papar azzi wer e t her e i n
f ul l f or ce.
SamMeadows was Mar k' s best man. " Wher e ar e you goi ng on
your honeymoon?" Meadows asked.
Mar k and Kel l y l ooked at each ot her . They had not even
t hought about a honeymoon.
Mar k sai d, " Er " He pi cked a pl ace at r andom. " Sai nt
Mor i t z. "
Kel l y smi l ed uneasi l y. " Yes. Sai nt Mor i t z. "
* * *
NEI THER OF t hemhad been t o Sai nt Mor i t z bef or e, and t he
vi ew was br eat ht aki ng, an endl ess
vi st a of maj est i c mount ai ns and l ush val l eys.
Badr ut t ' s Pal ace Hot el nest ed hi gh on a hi l l . Mar k had
cal l ed ahead f or r eser vat i ons, and when t hey ar r i ved, t he
manager wel comed t hem. " Good af t er noon, Mr . and Mr s. Har r i s.
I have t he honeymoon
sui t e al l r eady f or you. "
Mar k st al l ed f or a moment . " Coul dcoul d we have t wi n beds
put i n t he sui t e?"
The manager asked t onel essl y, " Twi n beds?"
" Er yes, pl ease. "
" Whycer t ai nl y. "
" Thank you. " Mar k t ur ned t o Kel l y. " Ther e ar e a l ot of
i nt er est i ng t hi ngs t o see her e. " He pul l ed a l i st f r omhi s
pocket . " The Engadi ne Museum, t he Dr ui d st one, St . Maur i t i us
f ount ai n, t he l eani ng t ower . . . "
* * *
WHEN MARK AND Kel l y wer e al one i n t hei r sui t e, Mar k sai d,
" Dar l i ng, I don' t want t he si t uat i on t o make you
uncomf or t abl e. We' r e j ust doi ng t hi s t o st op any gossi p.
We' r e goi ng t o spend t he r est of our l i ves t oget her . And what
we' r e goi ng t o shar e i s much mor e i mpor t ant t han anyt hi ng
physi cal . I j ust
want t o be wi t h you and I want you t o be wi t h me. "
Kel l y t hr ew her ar ms ar ound hi mand hugged hi m. " I I don' t
know what t o say. "
Mar k smi l ed. " You don' t have t o say anyt hi ng. "
* * *
THEY HAD DI NNER downst ai r s and t hen went back t o t hei r
sui t e.
Twi n beds had been put i n t he mast er bedr oom. " Shoul d we
t oss a coi n?"
Kel l y smi l ed. " No, you t ake whi chever one you l i ke. " When
Kel l y came out of t he bat hr oomf i f t een mi nut es l at er ,
Mar k was i n bed.
Kel l y wal ked over t o hi mand sat on t he edge of hi s bed.
" Mar k, ar e you sur e t hi s i s goi ng t o wor k
f or you?"
" I ' ve never been mor e sur e of anyt hi ng i n my l i f e. Good
ni ght , my beaut i f ul dar l i ng. "
" Good ni ght . "
Kel l y got i nt o her bed and l ay t her e, t hi nki ng. Rel i vi ng
t he ni ght t hat had changed her l i f e. Shhh! Don' t make a
sound. . . . I f you t el l your mot her about t hi s, I ' l l come
back and ki l l her . What t hat monst er
had done t o her had t aken over her whol e l i f e. He had
ki l l ed somet hi ng i n her , and made her af r ai d of
t he dar k . . . af r ai d of men . . . af r ai d of l ove. She had
gi ven hi mpower over her . I ' mnot goi ng t o l et
hi m. Not anymor e. Al l t he emot i ons she had r epr essed over
t he year s, al l t he passi on t hat had been bui l di ng up i n her ,
expl oded l i ke a dambur st i ng. Kel l y l ooked over at Mar k and
suddenl y want ed hi mdesper at el y. She t hr ew back t he cover s
and wal ked over t o hi s bed. " Move over , " she whi sper ed.
Mar k sat up, sur pr i sed. " You sai d youyou di dn' t want me
i n your bed, and I "
Kel l y l ooked at hi mand sai d sof t l y, " But I di dn' t say I
coul dn' t be i n your bed. " She wat ched t he
l ook on hi s f ace as she t ook of f her ni ght gown and sl i d
i nt o bed besi de hi m. " Make l ove t o me, "
she whi sper ed.
" Oh, Kel l y! Yes! "
He st ar t ed sof t l y and gent l y. Too sof t l y. Too gent l y. The
f l oodgat es had opened, and Kel l y needed
hi mur gent l y. She made vi ol ent l ove t o hi m, and she had
never f el t anyt hi ng so wonder f ul i n her l i f e.
When t hey wer e l yi ng i n each ot her ' s ar ms, r est i ng, Kel l y
sai d, " You know t hat l i st you showed me?"
" Yes. "
She sai d sof t l y, " You can t hr ow i t away. "
Mar k gr i nned.
" What a f ool I ' ve been, " Kel l y sai d. She hel d Mar k cl ose,
and t hey t al ked, and made l ove agai n, and f i nal l y t hey wer e
bot h exhaust ed.
" I ' l l t ur n out t he l i ght s, " Mar k sai d.
She t ensed and squeezed her eyes shut . She st ar t ed t o say
no, but as she f el t hi s war mbody cl ose
t o her , pr ot ect i ng her , she sai d not hi ng.
When Mar k t ur ned out t he l i ght s, Kel l y opened her eyes.
Kel l y was no l onger af r ai d of t he dar k. She
* * *
" KELLY? KELLY! "
She was j ol t ed out of her r ever i e. She l ooked up, and she
was back i n t he Fi f t h Avenue j ewel r y shop
i n New Yor k, and J oseph Ber r y was hol di ng out a t hi ck
envel ope t o her .
" Her e you ar e. Twent y t housand dol l ar s, i n hundr ed- dol l ar
bi l l s, j ust as you r equest ed. "
I t t ook Kel l y a moment t o get her bear i ngs. " Thank you. "
Kel l y opened t he envel ope, ext r act ed t en t housand dol l ar s,
and handed i t t o Di ane.
Di ane l ooked at her , puzzl ed. " What ' s t hi s?"
" Thi s i s your hal f . "
" For what ? I can' t "
" You can pay me back l at er . " Kel l y shr ugged. " I f we' r e
st i l l ar ound. I f we' r e not ar ound, I won' t
need i t anyway. Now l et ' s see i f we can get out of her e. "
CHAPTER 34
AT LEXI NGTON AVENUE, Di ane hai l ed a cab.
" Wher e ar e we goi ng?"
" To La Guar di a ai r por t . "
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane i n sur pr i se. " Don' t you know t hey' l l
be wat chi ng al l t he ai r por t s?"
" I hope so. "
" What ar e you?" Kel l y gr oaned. " You have a pl an, r i ght ?"
Di ane pat t ed Kel l y' s hand and smi l ed. " Ri ght . "
* * *
AT LA GUARDI A, Kel l y f ol l owed Di ane i nsi de t he t er mi nal t o
t he US Ai r ways t i cket count er .
The agent behi nd t he count er sai d, " Good mor ni ng. Can I
hel p you?"
Di ane smi l ed. " Yes, we' d l i ke t wo coach t i cket s t o Los
Angel es. "
" When woul d you l i ke t o l eave?"
" On t he f i r st avai l abl e f l i ght . Our names ar e Di ane
St evens and Kel l y Har r i s. "
Kel l y wi nced.
The t i cket agent was consul t i ng a schedul e. " The next
pl ane wi l l be boar di ng at t wo- f i f t een. "
" Per f ect . " Di ane l ooked at Kel l y.
Kel l y managed a weak smi l e. " Per f ect . "
" Wi l l t hat be cash or cr edi t car d?"
" Cash. " Di ane handed hi mt he money.
As t hey wal ked away, Kel l y sai d, " Why don' t we j ust put up
a neon si gn t el l i ng Ki ngsl ey wher e
we ar e?"
Di ane sai d, " You wor r y t oo much. "
They st ar t ed t o pass t he Amer i can Ai r l i nes boot h. Di ane
st opped and wal ked up t o t he t i cket agent .
" We' d l i ke t wo coach t i cket s t o Mi ami on t he next f l i ght
out of her e. "
" Cer t ai nl y. " The t i cket agent checked t he schedul e. " That
f l i ght wi l l be boar di ng i n t hr ee hour s. "
" Fi ne. Our names ar e Di ane St evens and Kel l y Har r i s. "
Kel l y cl osed her eyes f or an i nst ant .
" Cr edi t car d or cash?"
" Cash. "
Di ane pai d t he cl er k and he handed her t hei r t i cket s.
Kel l y sai d, " I s t hi s how we' r e goi ng t o out wi t t hese
geni uses? Thi s woul dn' t f ool a t en- year - ol d. "
Di ane st ar t ed wal ki ng t owar d t he ai r por t exi t .
Kel l y hur r i ed af t er her . " Wher e ar e you goi ng?" We r e
goi ng t o
" Never mi nd. I don' t t hi nk I want t o know. "
* * *
THERE WAS A r ow of t axi s i n f r ont of t he ai r por t . When t he
t wo women wal ked out of t he t er mi nal , one of t he t axi s pul l ed
out of l i ne and dr ove up i n f r ont of t he ent r ance. Kel l y and
Di ane got i nt o t he cab.
" Wher e t o, pl ease?"
" Kennedy ai r por t . "
Kel l y sai d, " I don' t know i f t hey' r e goi ng t o be conf used,
but I sur e am. I st i l l wi sh we had some ki nd
of weapon t o pr ot ect our sel ves. "
" I don' t know wher e we coul d f i nd a Howi t zer . "
The t axi went i nt o gear . Di ane l eaned f or war d t o exami ne
t he dr i ver ' s phot o I D: MARI O SI LVA.
" Mr . Si l va, do you t hi nk t hat you can get us t o Kennedy
wi t hout bei ng f ol l owed?"
They coul d see hi s gr i n i n t he mi r r or . " You came t o t he
r i ght par t y, l ady. "
He pr essed down on t he accel er at or and made a sudden
U- t ur n. At t he f i r st cor ner , he dr ove hal f way down t he
st r eet , t hen sped i nt o an al l ey.
The women l ooked t hr ough t he r ear wi ndow. Ther e wer e no
car s behi nd t hem.
Mar i o Si l va' s gr i n wi dened. " Okay?"
" Okay, " Kel l y sai d.
For t he next t hi r t y mi nut es, Mar i o Si l va kept maki ng
unexpect ed t ur ns and goi ng down smal l si de
st r eet s, t o make sur e no one coul d f ol l ow t hem. Fi nal l y,
t he t axi pul l ed up i n f r ont of t he mai n
ent r ance t o Kennedy ai r por t .
" We' r e her e, " Mar i o Si l va announced t r i umphant l y.
Di ane t ook some bi l l s f r omher pur se. " Ther e' s somet hi ng
ext r a f or you. "
The dr i ver t ook t he money and smi l ed. " Thanks. " He sat i n
hi s cab, wat chi ng hi s t wo passenger s wal k i nt o t he Kennedy
t er mi nal . When t hey wer e out of si ght , he pi cked up hi s cel l
phone.
" Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
* * *
AT THE DELTA Ai r l i nes count er , t he t i cket agent gl anced up
at t he boar d. " Yes, we do have t wo
t i cket s avai l abl e on t he f l i ght you want . I t l eaves at
f i ve- f i f t y p. m. Ther e' s a one- hour l ayover i n
Madr i d, and t he pl ane ar r i ves i n Bar cel ona at ni ne- t went y
a. m. "
" That wi l l be f i ne, " Di ane sai d.
" Wi l l t hat be cr edi t car d or cash?"
" Cash. "
Di ane handed t he t i cket agent t he money and t ur ned t o
Kel l y.
" Let ' s wai t i n t he l ounge. "
* * *
THI RTY MI NUTES LATER, Har r y Fl i nt was on hi s cel l phone
t al ki ng t o Tanner .
" I got t he i nf or mat i on you asked f or . They' r e f l yi ng Del t a
t o Bar cel ona. Thei r pl ane l eaves Kennedy
at f i ve- f i f t y t hi s eveni ng, wi t h a one- hour l ayover i n
Madr i d. They' l l ar r i ve i n Bar cel ona at ni ne- t went y
i n t he mor ni ng. "
" Good. You' l l t ake a company j et t o Bar cel ona, Mr . Fl i nt ,
and meet t hemt her e when t hey ar r i ve.
I ' mcount i ng on you t o gi ve t hema war mwel come. "
As Tanner hung up, Andr ew wal ked i n. He was wear i ng a
bou- t onni er e i n hi s l apel . " Her e ar e t he schedul es f or t he"
" What t he hel l i s t hat ?"
Andr ew was conf used. " You asked me t o br i ng"
" I ' mnot t al ki ng about t hose. I ' mt al ki ng about t hat
st upi d f l ower you have on. "
Andr ew' s f ace l i t up. " I ' mwear i ng i t t o your weddi ng. I ' m
your best man. "
Tanner f r owned. " What t he hel l ar e you?" And t he
r eal i zat i on suddenl y st r uck hi m. " That was
seven year s ago, you cr et i n, and t her e was no weddi ng. Now
get your ass out of her e! "
Andr ew st ood t her e, st unned, t r yi ng t o under st and what was
happeni ng.
" Out ! "
Tanner wat ched hi s br ot her l eave t he of f i ce. I shoul d have
put hi maway somewher e, he t hought .
The t i me i s comi ng.
* * *
THE TAKEOFF ON t he f l i ght t o Bar cel ona was smoot h and
unevent f ul .
Kel l y l ooked out t he wi ndow at New Yor k f adi ng i nt o t he
di st ance. " Do you t hi nk we got away
wi t h i t ?"
Di ane shook her head. " No. Sooner or l at er t hey' l l f i nd a
way t o t r ack us down. But at l east we' l l be
over t her e. " She pul l ed t he i ' comput er pr i nt out f r omher
pur se and st udi ed i t . " Sonj a Ver br ugge, i n Ber l i n, who' s dead
and whose husband i s mi ssi ng . . . Gar y Reynol ds, i n Denver .
. . " She hesi t at ed. " Mar k and Ri char d . . . "
Kel l y l ooked at t he pr i nt out . " So, we' r e goi ng t o Par i s,
Ber l i n, Denver , and back t o New Yor k. "
" Ri ght . We' l l cr oss t he bor der i nt o Fr ance at San
Sebast i an. "
* * *
KELLY WAS LOOKI NG f or war d t o get t i ng back t o Par i s. She
want ed t o t al k t o SamMeadows.
She had a f eel i ng he was goi ng t o be hel pf ul . And Angel
woul d be wai t i ng f or her .
" Have you ever been t o Spai n?"
" Mar k t ook me t her e once. I t was t he most " Kel l y was
si l ent f or a l ong t i me. " Do you know t he pr obl emI ' mgoi ng t o
have f or t he r est of my l i f e, Di ane? Ther e' s no one i n t he
whol e wi de wor l d
l i ke Mar k. You know, when you' r e a ki d, you r ead about
peopl e f al l i ng i n l ove, and suddenl y t he
wor l d' s a magi cal pl ace. That ' s t he ki nd of mar r i age Mar k
and I had. " She l ooked at Di ane.
" You pr obabl y f el t t hat way about Ri char d. "
Di ane sai d qui et l y, " Yes. "
" What was Mar k l i ke?" Di ane asked.
Kel l y smi l ed. " Ther e was somet hi ng wonder f ul l y chi l dl i ke
about hi m. I al ways f el t t hat he had t he
mi nd of a chi l d and t he br ai n of a geni us. " She gave a
l i t t l e chuckl e.
" What ?"
" The way he used t o dr ess. On our f i r st dat e, he wor e a
badl y f i t t i ng gr ay sui t , wi t h br own shoes, a
gr een shi r t , and a br i ght r ed t i e. Af t er we wer e mar r i ed,
I saw t o i t t hat he was dr essed pr oper l y. " She
was si l ent . When she spoke, her voi ce was choked. " Do you
know somet hi ng? I woul d gi ve anyt hi ng
t o see Mar k agai n, wear i ng t hat gr ay sui t , wi t h br own
shoes, a gr een shi r t , and a br i ght r ed t i e. " Her
eyes wer e moi st . " Mar k enj oyed sur pr i si ng me wi t h gi f t s.
But hi s gr eat est gi f t was t hat he t aught me
how t o l ove. " She dr i ed her eyes wi t h a handker chi ef .
" Tel l me about Ri char d. "
Di ane smi l ed. " He was a r omant i c. When we got i nt o bed at
ni ght , he woul d say, ' Pr ess my secr et but t on, ' and I woul d
l augh and say, ' I ' mgl ad no one i s t api ng t hi s. ' " She l ooked
at Kel l y and sai d,
" Hi s secr et but t on was t he ' do not di st ur b' key on t he
t el ephone. Ri char d t ol d me t hat we wer e i n a
cast l e, al l al one, and t he key on t he phone was t he moat
t hat kept t he wor l d at bay. " Di ane t hought
of somet hi ng and l aughed. " He was a br i l l i ant sci ent i st
and he enj oyed r epai r i ng t hi ngs ar ound t he
house. He woul d f i x l eaky f aucet s or el ect r i cal shor t s,
and I al ways had t o cal l exper t s i n t o f i x what Ri char d had
r epai r ed. I never t ol d hi m. "
They t al ked unt i l al most mi dni ght .
Di ane r eal i zed t hat i t was t he f i r st t i me t hey had spoken
about t hei r husbands. I t was as t hough
some i nvi si bl e bar r i er bet ween t hemhad evapor at ed.
Kel l y yawned. " We' d bet t er get some sl eep. I have a
f eel i ng t omor r ow' s goi ng t o be an exci t i ng day. "
She had no i dea how exci t i ng.
* * *
HARRY FLI NT ELBOWED hi s way t hr ough t he cr owd at El Pr at
ai r por t i n Bar cel ona and wal ked up
t o t he l ar ge pl at e gl ass wi ndow t hat over l ooked t he
r unway. He t ur ned hi s head t o scan t he boar d t hat l i st ed t he
ar r i val s and depar t ur es. The pl ane f r omNew Yor k was on
schedul e, due t o ar r i ve i n t hi r t y mi nut es. Ever yt hi ng was
movi ng accor di ng t o pl an. Fl i nt sat down and wai t ed.
Hal f an hour l at er t he pl ane l anded and t he New Yor k
f l i ght began t o di sembar k. The passenger s al l seemed
exci t eda t ypi cal pl anel oad of car ef r ee t our i st s, t r avel i ng
sal esmen, chi l dr en, and coupl es on
t hei r honeymoons. Fl i nt was car ef ul t o st ay out of si ght
of t he exi t r amp as he wat ched t he st r eamof t r avel er s pour
i nt o t he t er mi nal , and t hen f i nal l y t r i ckl e t o a st op. He
f r owned. Ther e was no si gn of
Di ane or Kel l y. Fl i nt wai t ed anot her f i ve mi nut es, t hen
st ar t ed t o go t hr ough t he boar di ng gat e.
" Si r , you can' t go t hr ough her e. "
Fl i nt snapped, " FAA. We have nat i onal secur i t y i nf or mat i on
about a package t hat i s hi dden i n t he
l avat or y of t hi s pl ane. I was or der ed t o i nspect i t
i mmedi at el y. "
Fl i nt was al r eady movi ng t owar d t he t ar mac. As he r eached
t he pl ane, t he cr ew was begi nni ng t o depar t .
A f l i ght at t endant asked, " May I hel p you?"
" FAA i nspect i on, " Fl i nt sai d.
He wal ked up t he st eps i nt o t he pl ane. Ther e wer e no
passenger s i n si ght .
The f l i ght at t endant asked, " I s t her e a pr obl em?"
" Yes. A possi bl e bomb. "
She wat ched as Fl i nt st r ode t o t he end of t he cabi n and
pul l ed open t he r est - r oomdoor s. The r ooms
wer e empt y. The women had di sappear ed.
* * *
" THEY WEREN' T ON t he pl ane, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
Tanner ' s voi ce was danger ousl y sof t . " Mr . Fl i nt , di d you
see t hemboar d t he pl ane?"
" Yes, si r . "
" And wer e t hey st i l l aboar d when t he pl ane t ook of f ?"
" Yes, si r . "
" Then I t hi nk we can saf el y r eason t hat t hey ei t her j umped
out i n t he mi ddl e of t he At l ant i c Ocean wi t hout par achut es or
t hat t hey di sembar ked i n Madr i d. Do you agr ee wi t h t hat ?"
" Of cour se, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. But "
" Thank you. So, t hat means t hey i nt end t o go f r omMadr i d
t o Fr ance by way of San Sebast i an. " He paused. " They have
f our choi ces: t hey can t ake a di f f er ent f l i ght t o Bar cel ona
or get t her e by t r ai n,
bus, or car . " Tanner was t hought f ul f or a moment . " They
wi l l pr obabl y f eel t hat buses, pl anes, and
t r ai ns ar e t oo conf i ni ng. Logi c t el l s me t hat t hey wi l l
dr i ve t o t he San Sebast i an bor der t o get i nt o
Fr ance. "
" I f "
" Do not i nt er r upt me, Mr . Fl i nt . I t shoul d t ake t hemabout
f i ve hour s t o dr i ve f r omMadr i d t o San Sebast i an. Her e' s what
I want you t o do. Fl y t o Madr i d. Check al l t he ai r por t
r ent al - car pl aces. Fi nd
out what ki nd of car t hey r ent edcol or , make,
ever yt hi ng. "
" Yes, si r . "
" Then I want you t o f l y back t o Bar cel ona and r ent a car a
l ar ge one. Li e i n wai t f or t hemal ong t he hi ghway t o San
Sebast i an. I don' t want t hemt o r each t he bor der . And Mr .
Fl i nt "
" Yes, si r . "
" Remember make i t l ook l i ke an acci dent . "
CHAPTER 35
DI ANE AND KELLY wer e at Bar aj as, t he Madr i d ai r por t . They
had t hei r choi ce of r ent i ng a car
f r omHer t z, Eur ope Car , Avi s, and ot her s, but t hey chose
Al esa, a mor e obscur e r ent al agency.
" What i s t he qui ckest way t o get t o San Sebast i an?" Di ane
asked.
" I t i s ver y si mpl e, seor a. Take t he N- l t o t he Fr ench
bor der at Hondar r i bi a, t hen r i ght t o San
Sebast i an. I t i s j ust a f our - or f i ve- hour dr i ve. "
" Gr aci as. "
And Kel l y and Di ane wer e on t hei r way.
* * *
WHEN THE KI G pr i vat e j et ar r i ved i n Madr i d, one hour
l at er , Har r y Fl i nt hur r i ed f r omone r ent al
car boot h t o anot her .
" I was supposed t o meet my si st er and her gi r l f r i end her e
t he gi r l f r i end i s a st unni ng Af r i can- Amer i canand I
mi ssed t hem. They ar r i ved on t he Del t a ni ne- t went y f r omNew
Yor k.
Di d t hey r ent a car her e?"
" No, seor . . . . " No, seor . . . .
" No, seor . . . . "
At t he Al esa boot h, Fl i nt was i n l uck.
" Oh, yes, seor . I r emember t hemwel l . They"
" Do you r emember what t hey r ent ed?"
" I t was a Peugeot . "
" What col or ?"
" Red. I t was our onl y"
" Do you have t he number of t he l i cense pl at e?"
" Of cour se. J ust a moment . "
Fl i nt wat ched t he cl er k open a book t o l ook i t up.
He gave Fl i nt t he number . " I hope you f i nd t hem. "
" I wi l l . "
Ten mi nut es l at er , Fl i nt was f l yi ng back t o Bar cel ona. He
woul d r ent a car , wat ch f or t hei r r ed
Peugeot , f ol l ow t hemt o a pl ace i n t he r oad wher e t her e
was no t r af f i c, r un t hemof f t he r oad,
and make cer t ai n t hat t hey wer e dead.
* * *
DI ANE AND KELLY wer e onl y t hi r t y mi nut es away f r omSan
Sebast i an, dr i vi ng al ong i n a
comf or t abl e si l ence. The hi ghway was un- cr owded, and t hey
wer e maki ng good t i me. The
count r ysi de was beaut i f ul . Ri pe f i el ds and or char ds f i l l ed
t he ai r wi t h t he smel l s of pomegr anat e,
apr i cot , and or ange t r ees, and of f t he r oad wer e ol d
houses, wi t h wal l s cover ed wi t h j asmi ne vi nes.
A f ew mi nut es out of t he l i t t l e medi eval t own of Bur gos,
t he scener y began t o er upt i nt o t he f oot hi l l s
of t he Pyr enees.
" We' r e al most t her e, " Di ane sai d. She l ooked ahead,
f r owned, and st ar t ed t o sl amon t he br akes.
Two hundr ed f eet i n f r ont of t hemwas a bur ni ng car wi t h a
cr owd gat her ed ar ound i t . The hi ghway
was bl ocked of f by men i n uni f or m.
Di ane was puzzl ed. " What ' s goi ng on?"
" We' r e i n Basque count r y, " Kel l y sai d. " I t ' s a war . The
Basques have been f i ght i ng t he Spani sh gover nment f or t he
l ast f i f t y year s. "
A man i n a gr een uni f or mwi t h gol d and r ed t r i mand a
bl ack bel t , bl ack shoes, and bl ack ber et
st epped ont o t he hi ghway i n f r ont of t he car and hel d up
hi s hand. He poi nt ed t o t he si de of t he r oad.
Kel l y sai d under her br eat h, " I t ' s t he ETA. We can' t st op,
because God knows how l ong t hey' l l keep
us her e. "
The of f i cer wal ked t o t he si de of t he car and appr oached
t hem. " I amCapt ai n I r adi . You wi l l pl ease
get out of t he car . "
Di ane l ooked at hi mand smi l ed. " I r eal l y woul d l ove t o
hel p you wi t h your war , but we' r e busy
f i ght i ng our own war . " She sl ammed her f oot down on t he
accel er at or , dr ove ar ound t he bur ni ng
car , and sped ahead, t he car weavi ng t hr ough t he scr eami ng
cr owd.
Kel l y' s eyes wer e cl osed. " Di d we hi t anybody yet ?"
" We' r e f i ne. "
As Kel l y opened her eyes, she l ooked i n t he si de- vi ew
mi r r or and f r oze. A bl ack Ci t r oen Ber l i ngo
was behi nd t hemand she coul d see t he man behi nd t he
wheel .
" I t ' s Godzi l l a! " Kel l y gasped. " He' s f ol l owi ng us. "
" What ? How coul d he have f ound us so qui ckl y?" Di ane
pr essed t he accel er at or al l t he way t o t he
f l oor . The Ci t r oen was gai ni ng on t hem. Di ane l ooked at
t he doubl e- f aced speedomet er . One di al
r ead: 175 ki l omet er s an hour . The ot her di al r ead: 110
mi l es an hour .
Ner vousl y, Kel l y sai d, " I ' l l bet you' r e t oo f ast t o dr i ve
at t he I ndi anapol i s r acet r ack. "
A mi l e ahead Di ane saw t he cust oms checkpoi nt bet ween
Spai n and Fr ance.
" Hi t me, " Di ane sai d.
Kel l y l aughed. " I was onl y ki ddi ng, I j ust "
" Hi t me. " Di ane' s voi ce was ur gent .
The Ci t r oen was get t i ng cl oser .
" What ar e you?" Do i t now! "
Rel uct ant l y, Kel l y sl apped Di ane acr oss t he f ace.
" No. Punch me har d. "
Ther e wer e now onl y t wo car s bet ween t hemand t he Ci t r oen.
" Hur r y, " Di ane shout ed.
Wi nci ng, Kel l y punched Di ane on t he cheek.
" Har der . "
Kel l y hi t her agai n. Thi s t i me, her di amond weddi ng r i ng
made a gash i n Di ane' s cheek, and bl ood
st ar t ed f l owi ng.
Kel l y was l ooki ng at Di ane, hor r i f i ed. " I ' mso sor r y,
Di ane. I di dn' t mean t o"
They had r eached t he cust oms checkpoi nt . Di ane br aked t o a
st op.
The bor der guar d appr oached t he car . " Good af t er noon,
l adi es. "
" Good af t er noon. " Di ane t ur ned her head so t hat t he guar d
coul d see t he bl ood r unni ng down her
cheek.
He l ooked at i t , aghast . " Seor a, what happened?"
Di ane bi t her l i p. " I t ' s my ex- husband. He enj oys hi t t i ng
me. I got a r est r ai ni ng or der agai nst hi m,
but I I can' t st op hi m. He keeps f ol l owi ng me. He' s back
t her e now. I know t her e' s no use aski ng
f or your hel p. No one can st op hi m. "
When t he guar d t ur ned ar ound t o scan t he l i ne of
appr oachi ng car s, hi s f ace was gr i m. " Whi ch car
i s he i n?"
" The bl ack Ci t r oen, t wo car s back. I t hi nk he pl ans t o
ki l l me. "
" He does, does he?" t he guar d gr owl ed. " You l adi es go on.
You won' t have t o wor r y about hi manymor e. "
Di ane l ooked at hi mt ear f ul l y and sai d, " Oh, t hank you.
Thank you. "
A moment l at er , t hey had cr ossed t he bor der and wer e
dr i vi ng i nt o Fr ance.
" Di ane"
" Yes?"
Kel l y put her hand on Di ane' s shoul der . " I ' mso sor r y
about " She poi nt ed t o Di ane' s cheek.
Di ane gr i nned. " I t got r i d of Godzi l l a, di dn' t i t ?" She
gl anced at Kel l y. " You' r e cr yi ng. "
" No, I ' mnot . " Kel l y sni f f ed. " I t ' s t he damn mascar a. What
you di d wasyou' r e not j ust a pr et t y
f ace, ar e you?" Kel l y asked as she dabbed at Di ane' s wound
wi t h a t i ssue.
Di ane l ooked i n t he r ear vi ew mi r r or and gr i maced. " Not
anymor e, I ' mnot . "
* * *
WHEN HARRY FLI NT r eached t he bor der checkpoi nt , t he pat r ol
H guar d was wai t i ng.
" St ep out of t he car , pl ease. "
" I haven' t t i me f or t hat , " Fl i nt sai d. " I ' mi n a hur r y. I
have t o"
" St ep out of t he car . "
Fl i nt l ooked at hi m. " Why? What ' s t he pr obl em?"
" We have a r epor t t hat a car wi t h t hi s l i cense number has
been smuggl i ng dr ugs. We' r e goi ng t o have
t o t ake t he car apar t . "
Fl i nt gl ar ed at hi m. " Ar e you cr azy? I t ol d you, I ' mi n a
hur r y. Dr ugs wer e never smuggl ed?" He st opped and smi l ed. " I
get i t . " He r eached i n hi s pocket and handed t he guar d a
hundr ed- dol l ar bi l l .
" Her e you ar e. Take t hi s and f or get about i t . "
The bor der guar d cal l ed out , " J ose! "
A uni f or med capt ai n appr oached. The bor der guar d handed
hi mt he hundr ed- dol l ar bi l l .
" Thi s i s an at t empt ed br i be. "
The capt ai n sai d t o Fl i nt , " Remove your sel f f r omt he car .
You ar e under ar r est f or br i ber y. Pul l
over t o t hat l ot "
" No. You can' t ar r est me now. I ' mi n t he mi ddl e of "
" And r esi st i ng ar r est . " He t ur ned t o t he guar d. " Cal l f or
a backup. "
Fl i nt l ooked ahead at t he hi ghway and t ook a deep br eat h.
The Peugeot was out of si ght .
Fl i nt t ur ned t o t he capt ai n. " I have t o make a phone
cal l . "
* * *
AS DI ANE AND Kel l y sped t hr ough t he Fr ench count r ysi de,
t he f l at cent r al pl at eau of t he Cast i l i an meset a began t o
br eak up i nt o t he f oot hi l l s of t he Pyr enees and t he Si er r a de
Ur basa.
Di ane spoke. " You sai d you had a f r i end i n Par i s?"
" Yes. SamMeadows. He wor ked wi t h Mar k. I have a f eel i ng
he can hel p us. " Kel l y r eached i nt o
her pur se, t ook out her new cel l phone, and di al ed a
number i n Par i s.
An oper at or sai d, " KI G. "
" Coul d I speak t o SamMeadows, pl ease?"
A mi nut e l at er , Kel l y hear d hi s voi ce.
" Hel l o. "
" Sam, i t ' s Kel l y. I ' mon my way t o Par i s. "
" My God! I ' ve been wor r i ed si ck about you. Ar e you al l
r i ght ?"
Kel l y hesi t at ed. " I t hi nk so. "
" Thi s i s a ni ght mar e, " SamMeadows sai d. " I st i l l can' t
bel i eve i t . "
Nei t her can I , Kel l y t hought . " Sam, I have t o t el l you
somet hi ng. I bel i eve Mar k was mur der ed. "
SamMeadows' s answer sent a chi l l t hr ough her . " So do I . "
Kel l y was f i ndi ng i t di f f i cul t t o speak. " I have t o know
what happened. Can you hel p me?"
" I don' t t hi nk i t ' s somet hi ng we shoul d di scuss on t he
phone, Kel l y. " He was t r yi ng t o make hi s
voi ce sound ver y casual .
" I I under st and. "
" Why don' t we t al k about i t t oni ght ? We can have di nner at
my pl ace.
" Fi ne. "
" Seven o' cl ock?"
" I ' l l be t her e, " Kel l y sai d.
Kel l y ended t he cal l . " I ' mgoi ng t o get some answer s
t oni ght . "
" Whi l e you' r e doi ng t hat , I ' mgoi ng t o f l y t o Ber l i n and
t al k t o peopl e who wor ked wi t h
Fr anz Ver br ugge. "
Kel l y was suddenl y si l ent .
Di ane gl anced at her . " What ' s t he mat t er ?"
" Not hi ng. I t ' s j ust t hat we' r ewe' r e such a gr eat t eam. I
hat e f or us t o spl i t up. Why don' t we go
t o Par i s t oget her and t hen?"
Di ane smi l ed. " We' r e not spl i t t i ng up, Kel l y. When you' r e
t hr ough t al ki ng t o SamMeadows, you cal l
me. We can meet i n Ber l i n. I shoul d have some i nf or mat i on
by t hen. We have our cel l phones. We
can st ay i n t ouch. I ' meager t o hear what you' r e goi ng t o
l ear n t oni ght . "
They had r eached Par i s.
Di ane gl anced i n t he r ear vi ew mi r r or . " No Ci t r oen. We' ve
f i nal l y l ost hi m. Wher e do you want me
t o t ake you?"
Kel l y l ooked out t he wi ndow. They wer e near i ng l a Pl ace de
l a Concor de.
" Di ane, why don' t you t ur n t he car i n and be on your way?
I can get a t axi her e. "
" Ar e you sur e, par t ner ?"
" I ' msur e, par t ner . "
" Be car ef ul . " You, t oo.
* * *
TWO MI NUTES LATER, Kel l y was i n a t axi , on t he way t o her
apar t ment , eager l y l ooki ng f or war d
t o goi ng home agai n. I n a shor t whi l e, she woul d meet Sam
Meadows at hi s apar t ment f or di nner .
When t he t axi pul l ed up i n f r ont of Kel l y' s apar t ment
bui l di ng, she f el t a deep sense of r el i ef . She
was home. The door man opened t he door .
Kel l y l ooked up and st ar t ed t o say, " I ' mback, Mar t i n"
and st opped. The door man was a compl et e st r anger .
" Good eveni ng, madame. "
" Good eveni ng. Wher e i s Mar t i n?"
" Mar t i n no l onger wor ks her e. He qui t . "
Kel l y was t aken aback. " Oh. I ' msor r y. "
" Pl ease, madame, al l ow me t o i nt r oduce mysel f . I amJ er ome
Mal o. "
Kel l y nodded.
She wal ked i nt o t he l obby. A t al l , t hi n st r anger was
st andi ng behi nd t he r ecept i on desk, next t o
Ni col e Par adi s.
The st r anger smi l ed. " Good eveni ng, Madame Har r i s. We have
been expect i ng you. I amAl phonse Gi r ouar d, t he conci er ge. "
Kel l y l ooked ar ound, puzzl ed. " Wher e' s Phi l i ppe Cendr e?"
" Ah. Phi l i ppe and hi s f ami l y moved t o somewher e i n Spai n. "
He shr ugged. " Some busi ness deal ,
I bel i eve. "
Kel l y f el t a gr owi ng sudden sense of al ar m. " And t hei r
daught er ?"
" She l ef t wi t h t hem. "
Di d I t el l you t hat my daught er has been accept ed at t he
Sor bonne? I t ' s a dr eamcome t r ue.
Kel l y t r i ed t o keep her voi ce st eady. " When di d t hey
l eave?"
" A f ew days ago, but pl ease, do not wor r y, madame. You
wi l l be t aken good car e of . Your apar t ment
i s al l r eady f or you. "
Ni col e Par adi s, si t t i ng at her desk, l ooked up. " Wel come
home. " But her eyes wer e sayi ng somet hi ng
el se.
" Wher e i s Angel ?"
" Oh, your l i t t l e dog? Phi l i ppe t ook her wi t h hi m. "
Kel l y was f i ght i ng a wave of pani c. She was havi ng t r oubl e
br eat hi ng.
" Shal l we go now, madame? We have a l i t t l e sur pr i se f or
you i n your apar t ment . "
I ' l l bet you have. Kel l y' s mi nd was r aci ng. " Yes, j ust one
mi nut e, " Kel l y sai d. " Ther e' s somet hi ng
I f or got t o pi ck up. "
Bef or e Gi r ouar d coul d say anyt hi ng, Kel l y was out si de,
hur r yi ng down t he st r eet .
J er ome Mal o and Al phonse Gi r ouar d st ood on t he si dewal k,
l ooki ng af t er her . Caught of f guar d,
i t was t oo l at e t o st op her . They wat ched her get i nt o a
t axi .
My God! What have t hey done wi t h Phi l i ppe and hi s f ami l y,
and wi t h Angel ? Kel l y wonder ed.
" Wher e t o, mademoi sel l e?"
" J ust dr i ve! " Toni ght I ' mgoi ng t o f i nd out what ' s behi nd
al l t hi s, Kel l y t hought .
* * *
I N HI S APARTMENT, SamMeadows was f i ni shi ng a phone
conver sat i on. " Yes, I under st and
how i mpor t ant i t i s. I t wi l l be t aken car e of . . . . I ' m
expect i ng her i n a f ew mi nut es f or di nner . . . .
Yes. . . . I ' ve al r eady ar r anged f or someone t o di spose of
her body. . . . Thank you. That ' s ver y
gener ous of you, Mr . Ki ngsl ey. "
As SamMeadows r epl aced t he r ecei ver , he l ooked at hi s
wat ch.
Hi s di nner guest was due t o ar r i ve any mi nut e.
CHAPTER 36
WHEN DI ANE ARRI VED i n Ber l i n at t he Tempel hof ai r por t ,
t her e was a f i f t een- mi nut e wai t i ng
l i ne f or a t axi . Fi nal l y, i t was Di ane' s t ur n.
The dr i ver smi l ed. " Wohi n. "
" Do you speak Engl i sh?"
" Of cour se, f r aul ei n. "
" Kempi nski Hot el , pl ease. "
" J a wohl . "
* * *
TWENTY- FI VE MI NUTES LATER, Di ane was checki ng i nt o t he
hot el . " I woul d l i ke t o hi r e a car
and dr i ver . "
" Cer t ai nl y, f r ul ei n. " He l ooked down. " Your baggage?"
" I t ' s comi ng. "
* * *
WHEN THE CAR ar r i ved, t he dr i ver asked, " Wher e do you wi sh
t o go, f r ul ei n?"
She needed t i me t o t hi nk. " J ust dr i ve ar ound f or a whi l e,
pl ease. "
" Gut . Ther e i s much t o see i n Ber l i n. "
* * *
BERLI N WAS A sur pr i se t o Di ane. She knew t hat i t had been
bombed al most out of exi st ence i n
Wor l d War I I , but what she saw now was a bust l i ng ci t y
wi t h at t r act i ve, moder n bui l di ngs and a
br i sk ai r of success.
The st r eet names seemed so odd t o her : Wi ndschei dst r asse,
Regensbur ger st r asse, Lt zowuf er . . .
As t hey dr ove, t he dr i ver expl ai ned t he hi st or y of t he
par ks and bui l di ngs, but Di ane was not l i st eni ng.
She had t o speak t o t he peopl e wher e Fr au Ver br ugge had
wor ked and f i nd out what t hey knew. Accor di ng t o t he
I nt er net , Fr anz Ver br ugge' s wi f e had been mur der ed and Fr anz
had di sappear ed.
Di ane l eaned f or war d and sai d t o t he dr i ver , " Do you know
wher e a comput er caf e i s?"
" Cer t ai nl y, f r aul ei n. "
" Woul d you t ake me t her e, pl ease?"
" I t i s excel l ent . Ver y popul ar . You can get any
i nf or mat i on you want t her e. "
I hope so, Di ane t hought .
* * *
THE CYBERLI N CAFE was not as l ar ge as i t s count er par t i n
Manhat t an, but i t seemed j ust as busy.
As Di ane wal ked i n t he door , a woman came f r ombehi nd t he
desk. " We wi l l have a comput er
avai l abl e i n t en mi nut es. "
" I want t o speak t o t he manager , " Di ane sai d.
" I amt he manager . "
" Oh. "
" And what di d you want t o see me about ?"
" I want ed t o t al k t o you about Sonj a Ver br ugge. "
The woman shook her head. " Fr au Ver br ugge i s not her e. "
" I know, " Di ane sai d. " She' s dead. I ' mt r yi ng t o f i nd out
how she di ed. "
The woman was r egar di ng Di ane i nt ent l y. " I t was an
acci dent . When t he pol i ce conf i scat ed her
comput er , t hey f ound" A sl y expr essi on came over her
f ace. " I f you wi l l wai t r i ght her e, f r aul ei n,
I wi l l cal l someone who can hel p you. I wi l l r et ur n
qui ckl y. "
As Di ane wat ched her hur r y ar ound t he back, she was f i l l ed
wi t h a sudden sense of unease. When
t he woman was out of si ght , Di ane r ushed out si de and got
i nt o t he car . Ther e was goi ng t o be no
hel p t her e. I have t o t al k t o Fr anz Ver br ugge' s secr et ar y.
At a t el ephone ki osk, Di ane got t he number of KI G and
di al ed.
" KI G Ber l i n. "
Di ane sai d, " Coul d I speak t o Fr anz Ver br ugge' s secr et ar y,
pl ease?"
" Who i s cal l i ng?"
" Thi s i s Susan St r at f or d. "
" One moment , pl ease. "
I n Tanner ' s of f i ce, t he bl ue l i ght had f l ashed on. Tanner
smi l ed at hi s br ot her . " That ' s Di ane St evens cal l i ng. Let ' s
see i f we can hel p her . " He put t he cal l on speaker phone.
The voi ce of t he KI G oper at or sai d, " Hi s secr et ar y i s not
her e. Woul d you l i ke t o speak t o
hi s assi st ant ?"
" Yes, pl ease. "
" J ust a moment . "
A f emal e voi ce came on. " Thi s i s Hei di Fr onk. May I hel p
you?"
Di ane' s hear t began t o beat f ast er . " Thi s i s Susan
St r at f or d. I ' ma r epor t er wi t h t he Wal l St r eet J our nal . We' r e
doi ng a st or y on t he r ecent t r agedi es t hat have happened t o
some empl oyees at KI G. I wonder
i f I coul d have an i nt er vi ew wi t h you?"
" I don' t know"
" J ust f or some backgr ound i nf or mat i on. "
Tanner was l i st eni ng i nt ent l y.
" What about l unch? Ar e you f r ee t oday?"
" I ' msor r y, no. "
" Di nner , t hen. "
Ther e was hesi t at i on i n her voi ce. " Yes, I suppose I coul d
do t hat . "
" Wher e woul d you l i ke t o meet ?"
" Ther e i s a f i ne r est aur ant cal l ed Rockendor f ' s. We coul d
meet t her e. "
" Thank you. "
" Ei ght - t hi r t y?"
" Ei ght - t hi r t y. "
Di ane r epl aced t he r ecei ver , smi l i ng.
Tanner t ur ned t o Andr ew. " I ' ve deci ded t o do what I shoul d
have done i n t he f i r st pl ace. I ' mcal l i ng
Gr eg Hol l i day t o handl e t he mat t er . He' s never f ai l ed me. "
He l ooked at Andr ew. " He has an i nf l at ed
ego. He char ges an ar mand a l eg, but " he smi l ed
t hi nl y" he' l l del i ver an ar mand a l eg. "
CHAPTER 37
AS KELLY APPROACHED t he door of SamMeadows ' s apar t ment
at 14 Rue du Bour g- Ti bour g,
i n t he Four t h Ar - r ondi ssement , she hesi t at ed. Now t hat t he
chase was dr awi ng t o a concl usi on, she
was f i nal l y goi ng t o get some answer s. She f ound her sel f
dr awi ng back, af r ai d t o hear t hem.
Kel l y r ang t he door bel l . The moment t he door opened and
she saw SamMeadows, her f ear s went
away. Al l she f el t was pl easur e and r el i ef at seei ng t hi s
man who had been so cl ose t o Mar k.
" Kel l y! " He cr adl ed her i n a war mbear hug.
" Oh, Sam. "
He t ook her hand. " Come on i n. "
Kel l y st epped i nsi de. I t was a char mi ng t wo- bedr oom
apar t ment , i n a bui l di ng t hat had once bel onged
t o a member of t he Fr ench nobi l i t y.
The dr awi ng r oomwas spaci ous and l uxur i ousl y appoi nt ed
wi t h Fr ench f ur ni t ur e, and i n a smal l
al cove, t her e was a cur i ousl y car ved oak bar . On t he wal l
was a Man Ray, and Adol f Wol f l i dr awi ngs.
" I can' t t el l you how devast at ed I amabout Mar k, " Sam
sai d awkwar dl y.
Kel l y pat t ed hi s ar m. " I know, " she whi sper ed.
" I t ' s unbel i evabl e. "
" I ' mt r yi ng t o f i nd out what happened, " Kel l y sai d.
" That ' s why I ' mher e. I hope you can hel p me. "
She t ook a seat on t he couch, f i l l ed wi t h a sense of
ant i ci pat i on and appr ehensi on.
Sam' s f ace dar kened. " No one seems t o know t he f ul l st or y.
Mar k was wor ki ng on a secr et pr oj ect .
He was appar ent l y col l abor at i ng wi t h t wo or t hr ee ot her
empl oyees at KI G. They say he commi t t ed sui ci de. "
" I don' t bel i eve i t , " Kel l y sai d vehement l y.
" I don' t ei t her . " Hi s voi ce sof t ened. " And do you know t he
mai n r eason? Because of you. "
Kel l y l ooked at Sam, puzzl ed. " I don' t under st and. . . . "
" How coul d Mar k ever l eave someone as l ovel y as you? How
coul d anyone ever l eave someone as
l ovel y as you?" He was movi ng cl oser . " What happened i s a
gr eat t r agedy, Kel l y, but l i f e has t o go
on, doesn' t i t ?" He put her hand i n hi s. " We al l need
someone, don' t we? He' s gone, but I ' mher e.
Your ki nd of woman needs a man. "
" My ki nd of ?"
" Mar k t ol d me how passi onat e you ar e. He says you l ove
i t . "
Kel l y t ur ned t o hi mi n sur pr i se. Mar k woul d never have
sai d t hat . He woul d never have di scussed
her l i ke t hat wi t h anyone.
Samput one ar mar ound her shoul der s. " Yes. Mar k t ol d me
you r eal l y had t o have i t . He used t o
t el l me how gr eat you wer e i n bed. "
Kel l y was suddenl y pani c- st r i cken.
Samsai d, " And Kel l y, i f i t makes you f eel any bet t er ,
Mar k di dn' t suf f er at al l . "
And she l ooked i nt o SamMeadows' s eyes and she knew.
" We' l l be havi ng di nner i n a f ew mi nut es, " Samsai d. " Why
don' t we wor k up an appet i t e i n bed?"
Kel l y f el t suddenl y f ai nt . She managed t o f or ce a smi l e.
" That sounds gr eat . " Her mi nd was wor ki ng f ur i ousl y. He was
t oo bi g f or her t o f i ght , and she had not hi ng t o f i ght hi m
wi t h. He began f ondl i ng
her . " You know you' ve got a gr eat ass, baby. I go f or
t hat , "
Kel l y smi l ed. " Do you?" She sni f f ed. " I ' mhungr y.
Somet hi ng smel l s good. "
" Our di nner . "
Bef or e he coul d st op her , Kel l y got up and moved t owar d
t he ki t chen. As she passed t he di nner
t abl e, she got a shock. The t abl e had been set f or one.
Kel l y t ur ned. I n t he dr awi ng r oom, Samwas wal ki ng over t o
t he door and t ur ni ng t he key i n t he
l ock. She wat ched hi mput t he key i n t he dr awer of an
ar moi r e.
Kel l y l ooked ar ound t he ki t chen f or a weapon. She had no
way of knowi ng whi ch dr awer hel d t he
kni ves. On t he count er was a box of angel hai r past a. On
t he st ove was a pot of boi l i ng wat er , and
next t o i t , a smal l er pot wi t h a r ed sauce t hat was
cooki ng.
Samwal ked i nt o t he ki t chen and put hi s ar ms ar ound Kel l y.
She pr et ended not t o pay any at t ent i on. She l ooked at t he
sauce on t he st ove. " Looks wonder f ul . "
He was st r oki ng her body. " I t i s. What do you l i ke t o do
i n bed, baby?"
Kel l y' s mi nd was r aci ng. She sai d sof t l y, " Ever yt hi ng. I
used t o do somet hi ng ki nky t o Mar k t hat
dr ove hi mcr azy. "
Sam' s f ace l i t up. " What was t hat ?"
" I woul d t ake a war m, wet washcl ot h and" She pi cked up a
sof t cl ot h on t he si nk. " I ' l l show you.
Dr op your pant s. "
SamMeadows gr i nned. " Yeah. " He l oosened hi s t r ouser s and
dr opped t hemt o t he f l oor . He was
wear i ng boxer shor t s.
" Now your shor t s. "
He dr opped hi s shor t s, and hi s or gan was engor ged.
Kel l y sai d admi r i ngl y, " My, my . . . " She pi cked up t he
sof t cl ot h wi t h her l ef t hand and moved t owar d hi m. Wi t h her
r i ght hand, she pi cked up t he pot of boi l i ng wat er and hur l ed
t he cont ent s ont o hi s geni t al s.
Kel l y coul d st i l l hear hi s scr eams as she t ook t he key out
of t he ar moi r e, unl ocked t he door , and f l ed.
CHAPTER 38
ROCKENDORF' S I S ONE of t he out st andi ng r est aur ant s i n
Ger many, i t s ar t nouveau decor l ong
ser vi ng as a symbol of Ber l i n' s pr osper i t y.
When Di ane wal ked i n, she was gr eet ed by t he mai t r e d' .
" May I hel p you?"
" I have a r eser vat i on. St evens. Mi ss Fr onk i s goi ng t o
meet me her e. "
" Thi s way, pl ease. "
The mai t r e d' seat ed her at a cor ner t abl e. Di ane l ooked
ar ound car ef ul l y. Ther e wer e about f or t y cust omer s i n t he
r est aur ant , most of t hembusi nessmen. Acr oss f r omDi ane' s
t abl e, an at t r act i ve wel l - dr essed man was di ni ng al one.
Di ane sat t her e, t hi nki ng about her conver sat i on wi t h
Hei di Fr onk. How much woul d she know?
The wai t er handed Di ane a menu. " Bi t t e. "
" Thank you. "
Di ane gl anced at t he menu. Leber kds, Haxen, Labskaus. . .
She had no i dea what any of t he di shes
wer e. Hei di Fr onk coul d expl ai n t hem.
Di ane gl anced at her wat ch. Hei di was t went y mi nut es l at e.
The wai t er came t o t he t abl e. " Woul d you l i ke t o or der
now, f r ul ei n?"
" No. I ' l l wai t f or my guest . Thank you. "
The mi nut es wer e t i cki ng by. Di ane was begi nni ng t o wonder
whet her somet hi ng had gone wr ong.
Fi f t een mi nut es l at er , t he wai t er came back t o t he t abl e.
" May I br i ng you anyt hi ng?"
" No, t hanks. My guest shoul d be her e any mi nut e. "
At ni ne o' cl ock, Hei di Fr onk st i l l had not appear ed. Wi t h
a si nki ng f eel i ng, Di ane r eal i zed t hat she
was not comi ng.
As Di ane gl anced up, she saw t wo men si t t i ng down at a
t abl e near t he ent r ance. They wer e i l l dr essed and mean
l ooki ng, and t he wor d t hat came t o Di ane' s mi nd was t hugs.
She wat ched as t he wai t er went
t o t hei r t abl e, and t hey r udel y waved hi maway. They wer e
not i nt er est ed i n f ood. They t ur ned back t o st ar e at Di ane,
and wi t h a f eel i ng of di smay, she r eal i zed she had wal ked
i nt o a t r ap. Hei di Fr onk had
set her up. Di ane coul d f eel t he bl ood r ush t o her head.
She l ooked ar ound f or a means of escape.
Ther e was none. She coul d keep si t t i ng t her e, but
event ual l y she was goi ng t o have t o l eave, and t hey woul d
gr ab her . She t hought about usi ng her cel l phone, but t her e
was no one who coul d hel p her .
Di ane t hought desper at el y, I ' ve got t o get out of her e,
but how?
As she l ooked ar ound t he r oom, her gaze f el l on t he
at t r act i ve man si t t i ng al one at t he t abl e acr oss
f r omher s. He was si ppi ng hi s cof f ee.
Di ane smi l ed at hi mand sai d, " Good eveni ng. "
He l ooked up, sur pr i sed, and sai d pl easant l y, " Good
eveni ng. "
Di ane gave hi ma war m, i nvi t i ng smi l e, pl eased t hat he
spoke Engl i sh. " I see we' r e bot h al one. "
" Yes. "
" Woul d you l i ke t o j oi n me?"
He hesi t at ed a moment and smi l ed. " Cer t ai nl y. " He r ose and
wal ked over t o Di ane' s t abl e.
" I t ' s no f un eat i ng al one, i s i t ?" Di ane sai d l i ght l y.
" You' r e qui t e r i ght . I t ' s not . "
She hel d out a hand. " I ' mDi ane St evens. "
" Gr eg Hol l i day. "
* * *
KELLY HARRI S HAD been st unned by her t er r i f yi ng exper i ence
wi t h SamMeadows. Af t er her
escape, she had spent t he ni ght wal ki ng t he st r eet s of
Mont mar t r e, const ant l y l ooki ng behi nd her ,
i n f ear t hat she was bei ng f ol l owed. But I can' t l eave
Par i s wi t hout f i ndi ng out what ' s goi ng on,
Kel l y t hought .
At dawn, she st opped at a smal l caf e and had a cup of
cof f ee. The answer t o her pr obl emcame t o
her unexpect edl y: Mar k' s secr et ar y. She had ador ed Mar k.
Kel l y was sur e she woul d do anyt hi ng
t o be hel pf ul .
At ni ne o' cl ock, Kel l y made t he cal l f r oma t el ephone
ki osk. She di al ed t he f ami l i ar number , and
a f emal e oper at or wi t h a heavy Fr ench accent sai d,
" Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup. "
" I ' d l i ke t o t al k t o Yvonne Renai s. "
" Un moment , s' i l vouspl ai t . "
A moment l at er , Kel l y hear d Yvonne' s voi ce.
" Yvonne Renai s. May I hel p you?"
" Yvonne, t hi s i s Kel l y Har r i s. "
Ther e was a st ar t l ed excl amat i on. " Oh! Mr s. Har r i s"
I n Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s of f i ce a bl ue l i ght f l ashed.
Tanner pi cked up t he t el ephone. I t was t hr ee a. m. i n New
Yor k, but he had r esol ved not t o l eave hi s of f i ce unt i l t he
t r oubl esome pr obl emwas di sposed of . Now, as Tanner l i st ened
on t he phone, he
hear d t he conver sat i on t hat was t aki ng pl ace i n Par i s.
" I ' mso sor r y about what happened t o Mr . Har r i s. I t was so
awf ul . "
" Thank you, Yvonne. I need t o t al k t o you. Can we meet
somewher e? Ar e you f r ee f or l unch?"
" Yes. "
" Somepl ace publ i c. "
" Do you know Le Ci el de Par i s? I t ' s i n La Tour
Mont par nasse. "
" Yes. "
I n hi s of f i ce, Tanner Ki ngsl ey made a ment al not e.
" Twel ve o' cl ock?"
" That ' s f i ne. I ' l l see you t her e. "
Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s l i ps pucker ed i nt o a t hi n smi l e. Enj oy
your l ast l unch. He unl ocked t he dr awer ,
opened i t , and pi cked up t he gol d t el ephone.
When a voi ce at t he ot her end answer ed, Tanner sai d, " Good
news. I t ' s over . We have t hembot h. "
He l i st ened a moment , t hen nodded. " I know. I t t ook a
l i t t l e l onger t han we expect ed, but we' r e r eady
t o go f or war d now. . . . I f eel t he same way. . . .
Good- bye. "
* * *
LA TOUR MONTPARNASSE i s a 685- f oot t ower , bui l t of st eel
and gl ass. The bui l di ng was abuzz
wi t h act i vi t y. The of f i ces i n t he bui l di ng wer e f ul l y
occupi ed. The bar and r est aur ant wer e l ocat ed
on t he f i f t y- si xt h f l oor .
Kel l y was t he f i r st t o ar r i ve. Yvonne came i n f i f t een
mi nut es l at er , apol ogi zi ng pr of usel y.
Kel l y had onl y met her a f ew t i mes, but she r emember ed her
wel l . Yvonne was a t i ny, sweet - f aced
l ady. Mar k had of t en t ol d Kel l y how ef f i ci ent Yvonne was.
" Thank you f or comi ng, " Kel l y sai d.
" I woul d do anyt hi ng I coul d t oMr . Har r i s was such a
wonder f ul man. Ever yone at t he of f i ce
ador ed hi m. None of us coul d bel i eve what what happened. "
" That ' s what I want ed t o t al k t o you about , Yvonne. You
wer e wi t h my husband f i ve year s?"
" Yes. "
" So you got t o know hi mpr et t y wel l ?"
" Uh, yes. "
" Di d you not i ce anyt hi ng i n t he l ast f ew mont hs t hat
seemed st r ange? I mean, any change i n t he
way he act ed or what he sai d?"
Yvonne avoi ded her eyes. " I ' mnot sur e . . . I mean . . . "
Kel l y sai d ear nest l y, " What ever you say now can' t hur t
hi m. And i t mi ght hel p me under st and what happened. " Kel l y
st eel ed her sel f t o ask t he next quest i on. " Di d he ever t al k
about Ol ga?"
Yvonne l ooked at her , puzzl ed. " Ol ga? No. "
" You don' t know who she was?"
" I have no i dea. "
Kel l y f el t a sense of r el i ef . She l eaned f or war d. " Yvonne,
i s t her e somet hi ng you' r e not t el l i ng me?"
" Wel l . . . "
The wai t er came up t o t hei r t abl e. " Bonj our , mesdames.
Bi envenue au Ci el de Par i s. J e m' appel l e J acques Br i on. Not r e
chef de cui si ne a pr epar e quel ques speci al i t es pour l e
dej euner d' auj our d' hui . Avez- vous f ai t vot r e choi x?"
" Oui , monsi eur . Nous avons choi si l e Chat eaubr i and pour
deux. "
When t he wai t er l ef t , Kel l y l ooked at Yvonne. " You wer e
sayi ng . . . ?"
" Wel l , i n t he l ast f ew days bef or ebef or e he di ed, Mr .
Har r i s seemed ver y ner vous. He asked me
t o get hi ma pl ane t i cket t o Washi ngt on, D. C. "
" I know about t hat . I t hought i t was j ust a r out i ne
busi ness t r i p. "
" No. I t hi nk i t was somet hi ng ver y unusual somet hi ng
ur gent . "
" Do you have any i dea what i t was about ?"
" No. Ever yt hi ng suddenl y became ver y secr et . That ' s al l I
know. "
Kel l y qui zzed Yvonne f or t he next hour , but t her e was
not hi ng Yvonne coul d add.
When t hey had f i ni shed t hei r l unch, Kel l y sai d, " I woul d
l i ke you t o keep t hi s meet i ng conf i dent i al , Yvonne. "
" You don' t have t o wor r y about t hat , Mr s. Har r i s. I won' t
t el l a soul . " Yvonne st ood up. " I have t o
get back t o wor k. " Her l i ps t r embl ed. " But i t won' t be t he
same. "
" Thank you, Yvonne. "
Who was Mar k goi ng t o see i n Washi ngt on? And t her e had
been t he st r ange phone cal l s f r om
Ger many and Denver and New Yor k.
* * *
KELLY TOOK THE el evat or down t o t he l obby. I ' l l gi ve Di ane
a cal l and see what she' s f ound
out . Maybe
As Kel l y r eached t he f r ont ent r ance of t he bui l di ng, she
saw t hem. Ther e wer e t wo l ar ge men, one
on each si de of t he door . They l ooked at her , t hen gr i nned
at each ot her . As f ar as Kel l y knew,
t her e was no ot her near by exi t . Coul d Yvonne have bet r ayed
me?
The men st ar t ed movi ng t owar d Kel l y, r oughl y pushi ng past
t he peopl e comi ng i n and out of t he
bui l di ng.
Kel l y l ooked ar ound f r ant i cal l y and pr essed agai nst t he
wal l . Her ar mwas bumpi ng somet hi ng har d.
She l ooked at i t , and as t he t wo men moved cl oser , Kel l y
pi cked up t he l i t t l e hammer at t ached t o t he
f i r e al ar muni t on t he wal l , br oke t he gl ass, and t he f i r e
al ar mcl anged t hr oughout t he bui l di ng.
Kel l y yel l ed, " Fi r e! Fi r e! "
Ther e was i nst ant pani c. Peopl e came r unni ng out of
of f i ces, shops, and r est aur ant s, headed f or t he exi t door .
Wi t hi n seconds, t he hal l was j ammed, wi t h ever yone f i ght i ng
t o get out . The t wo men wer e t r yi ng t o f i nd Kel l y i n t he
cr owd. When t hey f i nal l y got t o wher e t hey had l ast seen her ,
Kel l y had di sappear ed.
* * *
ROCKENDORF' S RESTAURANT WAS get t i ng cr owded.
" I was wai t i ng f or a f r i end, " Di ane expl ai ned t o Gr eg
Hol l i day, t he at t r act i ve man she had i nvi t ed
t o her t abl e. " I t l ooks l i ke she wasn' t abl e t o make i t . "
" Too bad. Ar e you i n Ber l i n on a vi si t ?" Yes.
" I t i s a beaut i f ul ci t y. I ama happi l y mar r i ed man, or I
woul d of f er t o be your escor t . But t her e ar e
some excel l ent t our s i n Ber l i n t hat I can r ecommend. "
" That woul d be ni ce, " Di ane sai d absent l y. She gl anced
t owar d t he ent r ance. The t wo men wer e
wal ki ng out t he door . They woul d be wai t i ng f or her
out si de. I t was t i me t o make her move.
" As a mat t er of f act , " Di ane sai d, " I ' mher e wi t h a
gr oup. " She l ooked at her wat ch. " They' r e wai t i ng
f or me now. I f you woul dn' t mi nd wal ki ng me out t o a
t axi "
" Not at al l . "
A f ew moment s l at er , t hey wer e headi ng out t he exi t .
Di ane f el t a deep sense of r el i ef . The t wo men mi ght
at t ack her al one, but she di d not t hi nk t hey
woul d at t ack her wi t h a man at her si de. I t woul d at t r act
t oo much at t ent i on.
When Di ane and Gr eg Hol l i day st epped out si de, t he t wo men
wer e nowher e i n si ght . A t axi was i n
f r ont of t he r est aur ant , a Mer cedes par ked behi nd i t .
Di ane sai d, " I t was ni ce meet i ng you, Mr . Hol l i day. I
hope"
Hol l i day smi l ed and t ook her ar m, gr i ppi ng i t so t i ght l y
t hat Di ane f el t an agoni zi ng pai n.
She l ooked at hi m, st ar t l ed. " What ?"
" Why don' t we t ake t he car ?" he sai d sof t l y. He was
pul l i ng Di ane t owar d t he Mer cedes. Hi s gr i p t i ght ened.
" No, I don' t want t o"
As t hey r eached t he car , Di ane saw t he men f r omt he
r est aur ant si t t i ng i nsi de, on t he f r ont seat .
Hor r i f i ed, Di ane suddenl y under st ood how she had been
t r apped, and she was f i l l ed wi t h an over whel mi ng t er r or .
" Pl ease, " she sai d. " Don' t . I " She f el t her sel f bei ng
shoved i nt o t he car .
Gr eg Hol l i day moved i n besi de Di ane and cl osed t he door .
" Schnel l ! "
As t he car pul l ed i nt o t he heavy t r af f i c, Di ane f ound
her sel f becomi ng hyst er i cal . " Pl ease"
Gr eg Hol l i day t ur ned t o her and smi l ed r eassur i ngl y. " You
can r el ax. I amnot goi ng t o hur t you.
I pr omi se you t hat by t omor r ow, you wi l l be on your way
home. "
He r eached i nt o a cl ot h pocket at t ached t o t he back of t he
dr i ver ' s seat and t ook out a hypoder mi c
needl e.
" I ' mgoi ng t o gi ve you a shot . I t ' s har ml ess. I t wi l l put
you t o sl eep f or an hour or t wo. "
He r eached f or Di ane' s wr i st .
" Schei sse! " t he dr i ver yel l ed. A pedest r i an had suddenl y
dar t ed i n f r ont of t he Mer cedes, and t he
dr i ver j ammed on t he br akes t o avoi d hi t t i ng hi m. Caught
unawar e, Hol l i day' s head sl ammed
agai nst t he met al f r amewor k of t he dr i ver ' s headr est .
He t r i ed t o si t up, gr oggy. He yel l ed at t he dr i ver ,
" What ?"
I nst i nct i vel y, Di ane gr abbed Hol l i day' s hand t hat was
hol di ng t he hypoder mi c needl e, t wi st ed hi s
wr i st , and pl unged t he needl e i nt o hi s f l esh.
Hol l i day t ur ned t o her i n shock. " No! " I t was a scr eam.
Wi t h gr owi ng hor r or , Di ane wat ched Hol l i day' s body go i nt o
spasms and t hen st i f f en and col l apse.
He was dead wi t hi n seconds. The t wo men i n t he f r ont seat
t ur ned t o see what was happeni ng.
Di ane was out t he door and seconds l at er i n a t axi , headed
i n t he opposi t e di r ect i on.
CHAPTER 39
THE SOUND OF her cel l phone st ar t l ed her . She pi cked i t up
caut i ousl y. " Hel l o?"
" Hi , Kel l y. "
" Di ane! Wher e ar e you?"
" I n Muni ch. Wher e ar e you?"
" On a t r ai n t o London. "
" How di d your meet i ng wi t h SamMeadows go?"
Kel l y coul d st i l l hear hi s scr eams. " I ' l l t el l you about
i t when we meet . Di d you get any i nf or mat i on?"
" Not much. We have t o deci de what t o do next . We' r e
r unni ng out of opt i ons. Gar y Reynol ds' s
pl ane cr ashed near Denver . I t hi nk we have t o go t her e.
Maybe i t ' s our l ast chance. "
" Al l r i ght . "
" The obi t uar y sai d t hat Reynol ds has a si st er l i vi ng i n
Denver . She mi ght know somet hi ng. Why
don' t we meet i n Denver at t he Br own Pal ace Hot el . I ' m
f l yi ng out of Schoenf el d ai r por t , i n Ber l i n,
i n t hr ee hour s. "
" I ' l l get a pl ane out of Heat hr ow. "
" Good. The r oomwi l l be booked under t he name of Har r i et
Beecher St owe. "
" Kel l y"
" Yes. "
" J ust . . . you know. "
" I know. You, t oo . . . "
* * *
TANNER WAS ALONE i n hi s of f i ce, t al ki ng on t he gol d phone:
" . . . and t hey managed t o escape.
SamMeadows i s not a happy man, and Gr eg Hol l i day i s
dead. " He was si l ent f or a moment , t hi nki ng. " Logi cal l y, t he
onl y pl ace l ef t f or t hemi s Denver . I n f act , t hat ' s pr obabl y
t hei r l ast opt i on. . . . I t l ooks
as t hough I ' mgoi ng t o have t o handl e t hi s per sonal l y.
They' ve won my r espect , so i t ' s onl y f i t t i ng t hat
I t ake car e of t hempr oper l y. " He l i st ened, t hen l aughed.
" Of cour se. Good- bye. "
* * *
ANDREWWAS SEATED i n hi s of f i ce, hi s mi nd f l oat i ng,
cr eat i ng hazy vi si ons. He was l yi ng i n a hospi t al bed and
Tanner was sayi ng, You sur pr i sed me, Andr ew. You wer e
supposed t o di e. Now t he doct or s t el l me you can get out of
her e i n a f ew days. I ' mgi vi ng you an of f i ce at KI G. I want
you t o
see how I ' msavi ng your ass. You j ust woul dn' t l ear n,
woul d you, you i mbeci l e? Wel l , I ' mt ur ni ng
your penny- ant e oper at i on i nt o a gol d mi ne, and you can
si t t her e and wat ch how I do i t . By t he
way, t he f i r st t hi ng I di d was t o cancel al l t he bul l shi t
do- good pr oj ect s you st ar t ed, Andr ew . . . Andr ew . . .
Andr ew . . .
The voi ce was get t i ng l ouder . " Andr ew! Ar e you deaf ?"
Tanner was cal l i ng hi m. Andr ew pul l ed hi msel f t o hi s f eet
and wal ked i nt o hi s br ot her ' s of f i ce.
Tanner l ooked up. " I hope I ' mnot i nt er f er i ng wi t h your
wor k, " Tanner sai d sar cast i cal l y.
" No, I was j ust . . . "
Tanner st udi ed hi s br ot her a moment . " You' r e r eal l y not
good f or anyt hi ng, ar e you, Andr ew? You
don' t r eap, nei t her do you sow. I t ' s good f or me t o have
someone t o t al k t o, but I don' t know how
much l onger I want t o keep you ar ound. "
* * *
KELLY ARRI VED I N Denver ahead of Di ane, and she r egi st er ed
at t he vener abl e Br own
Pal ace Hot el .
" A f r i end of mi ne wi l l be ar r i vi ng t hi s af t er noon. "
" Woul d you l i ke t wo r ooms?"
" No, a doubl e. "
* * *
WHEN DI ANE' S pl ane l anded at Denver I nt er nat i onal Ai r por t ,
she t ook a t axi t o t he hot el . She
wal ked up t o t he f r ont desk and spoke t o t he cl er k.
" Oh, yes. Mr s. St owe i s expect i ng you. She' s i n r oom638. "
I t was a r el i ef t o hear .
Kel l y was wai t i ng. The t wo of t hemexchanged a war mhug.
" I ' ve mi ssed you. "
" I ' ve mi ssed you. How was your t r i p?" Kel l y asked.
" Unevent f ul . Thank God. "
Di ane l ooked at her and sai d, " What happened t o you i n
Par i s?" Kel l y t ook a deep br eat h.
" Tanner Ki ngsl ey. What happened i n Ber l i n?"
Di ane sai d t onel essl y, " Tanner Ki ngsl ey. "
Kel l y wal ked over t o a t abl e, pi cked up a t el ephone
di r ect or y, and br ought i t back t o Di ane.
" Gar y' s si st er , Loi s Reynol ds, i s l i st ed i n t he t el ephone
book. She l i ves on Mar i on St r eet . "
" Good. " Di ane l ooked at her wat ch. " I t ' s t oo l at e t o do
anyt hi ng t oni ght . We' l l go t her e f i r st t hi ng
i n t he mor ni ng. "
* * *
THEY HAD DI NNER i n t he r oomand t al ked unt i l mi dni ght ,
t hen got r eady f or bed.
Di ane sai d, " Good ni ght , " and r eached f or t he l i ght
swi t ch. The bedr oomwas pl unged i nt o dar kness.
Kel l y scr eamed. " No! Tur n on t he l i ght s. "
Di ane qui ckl y t ur ned t hemback on. " I ' mso sor r y, Kel l y. I
f or got . "
" I used t o be af r ai d of t he dar k, unt i l Mar k. And af t er he
was ki l l ed . . . " Kel l y began hyper vent i l at i ng, f i ght i ng t o
cont r ol her pani c. She t ook a deep br eat h. " I wi sh I coul d
get over t hi s. "
" Don' t wor r y about i t . When you' r e f eel i ng ver y secur e,
you wi l l . "
* * *
THE FOLLOWI NG MORNI NG, when Di ane and Kel l y wal ked out of
t he hot el , t her e was a l i ne of
t axi s i n f r ont of t he ent r ance. The t wo women got i nt o
one, and Kel l y gave t he dr i ver t he number of
Loi s Reynol ds' s house on Mar i on St r eet .
Fi f t een mi nut es l at er , t he dr i ver pul l ed up t o t he cur b.
" Her e we ar e. "
Kel l y and Di ane st ar ed out t he wi ndow, aghast . They wer e
l ooki ng at t he char r ed r ubbl e of a house
t hat had bur ned t o t he gr ound. Ther e was not hi ng l ef t but
ashes, bi t s of bur ned wood, and a cr umbl ed concr et e
f oundat i on.
" The bast ar ds ki l l ed her , " Kel l y sai d. She l ooked at Di ane
despai r i ngl y. " Thi s i s t he end of t he r oad. "
Di ane was t hi nki ng. Ther e' s one l ast chance.
* * *
RAY FOWLER, THE acer bi c manager of t he Denver ai r por t ,
scowl ed at Kel l y and Di ane. " Let ' s
see i f I have t hi s st r ai ght . You t wo ar e i nvest i gat i ng a
pl ane cr ash, wi t hout any aut hor i t y, and you
want me t o ar r ange f or you t o quest i on t he ai r t r af f i c
cont r ol l er who was on dut y, so he can gi ve
you some pr i vi l eged i nf or mat i on? Do I have t hat r i ght ?"
Di ane and Kel l y gl anced at each ot her .
Kel l y sai d, " Wel l , we wer e hopi ng"
" You wer e hopi ng what ?"
" That you woul d hel p us. "
" Why woul d I do t hat ?"
" Mr . Fowl er , we j ust want t o make sur e t hat what happened
t o Gar y Reynol ds r eal l y was an acci dent . "
Ray Fowl er was st udyi ng t hemcl osel y. " I t ' s i nt er est i ng, "
he sai d. He sat t her e, bemused, and t hen
spoke. " Thi s has been on my mi nd a l ot . Maybe you shoul d
di scuss t hi s wi t h Howar d Mi l l er . He was
t he ai r t r af f i c cont r ol l er on dut y when t he acci dent
happened. Her e' s hi s addr ess. I ' l l cal l hi mand t el l
hi myou' r e comi ng over . "
" Thank you. That ' s ver y ki nd of you, " Di ane sai d.
Ray Fowl er gr owl ed, " The onl y r eason I ' mdoi ng t hi s i s
because I t hi nk t he FAA cr ash r epor t i s
bul l shi t . We f ound t he r emai ns of t he pl ane, but
i nt er est i ngl y enough, t he bl ack box was mi ssi ng.
I t j ust di sappear ed. "
* * *
HOWARD MI LLER LI VED i n a smal l st ucco house si x mi l es f r om
t he ai r por t . Mi l l er was a smal l , ener get i c man i n hi s
f or t i es. He opened t he door f or Di ane and Kel l y. " Come i n.
Ray Fowl er t ol d
me you wer e comi ng. What i s i t I can do f or you?"
" We' d l i ke t o t al k t o you, Mr . Mi l l er . "
" Si t down. " They sat on t he couch. " Li ke some cof f ee?"
" No, t hanks. "
" You' r e her e about t he Gar y Reynol ds cr ash. "
" Yes. Was i t an acci dent or ?"
Howar d Mi l l er shr ugged. " I honest l y don' t know. I ' ve never
exper i enced anyt hi ng l i ke i t i n al l t he
year s I ' ve been wor ki ng her e. Ever yt hi ng was goi ng
accor di ng t o pr ot ocol . Gar y Reynol ds r adi oed f or per mi ssi on
t o l and, and we cl ear ed hi m. The next t hi ng I know, he was
onl y t wo mi l es away, r epor t i ng
a hur r i cane. A hur r i cane! Our weat her moni t or s wer e cl ear .
Lat er , I checked wi t h t he weat her bur eau. Ther e was no wi nd
at t hat t i me. To t el l you t he t r ut h, I t hought he was dr unk
or on dr ugs. The next
t hi ng we al l knew, he cr ashed i nt o t he si de of a
mount ai n. "
Kel l y sai d, " I under st and t hat t he bl ack box hasn' t been
f ound. "
" That ' s anot her t hi ng, " Howar d Mi l l er comment ed
t hought f ul l y. " We f ound ever yt hi ng el se. What happened t o t he
bl ack box? The damned FAA came i n and t hought we had our
r ecor ds wr ong. They di dn' t bel i eve us when we t ol d t hemwhat
had happened. You know when you can f eel somet hi ng i s
not r i ght ?"
" Yes. "
" I f eel t hat somet hi ng i s not r i ght , but I can' t t el l you
what . I amsor r y I can' t be of mor e hel p. "
Di ane and Kel l y r ose, f r ust r at ed. " Wel l , t hank you ver y
much, Mr . Mi l l er . We appr eci at e your t i me. "
" Not at al l . "
As Mi l l er st ar t ed t o l ead t he t wo women t owar d t he door ,
he sai d, " I hope Gar y' s si st er wi l l be al l r i ght . "
Kel l y st opped. " What ?"
" She' s i n t he hospi t al , you know. Poor t hi ng. Her house
bur ned down i n t he mi ddl e of t he ni ght . They don' t know i f
she' s goi ng t o make i t or not . "
Di ane f r oze. " What happened?"
" The f i r e depar t ment t hi nks i t was caused by an el ect r i cal
shor t . Loi s managed t o cr awl out of t he
f r ont door , ont o t he l awn, but by t he t i me t he
f i r ef i ght er s got t o her , she was i n pr et t y bad shape. "
Di ane t r i ed t o keep her voi ce cal m. " What hospi t al i s she
i n?"
" The Uni ver si t y of Col or ado Hospi t al . She' s i n t he bur n
cent er t her e. "
* * *
THE NURSE AT t he r ecept i on desk at Thr ee Nor t h sai d, " I ' m
sor r y, Mi ss Reynol ds i s not al l owed vi si t or s. "
Kel l y asked, " Can you t el l us what r oomshe' s i n?"
" No, I ' maf r ai d I can' t . "
" Thi s i s an emer gency, " Di ane sai d. " We have t o see her
and"
" No one sees her wi t hout wr i t t en aut hor i zat i on. " Ther e was
a not e of f i nal i t y i n her voi ce.
Di ane and Kel l y l ooked at each ot her .
" Wel l , t hank you. "
The t wo women wal ked away. " What ar e we goi ng t o do?"
Kel l y asked. " Thi s i s our l ast chance. "
" I have a pl an. "
* * *
A UNI FORMED MESSENGER car r yi ng a l ar ge, ber i bboned par cel
appr oached t he r ecept i on desk.
" I have a package her e f or Loi s Reynol ds. "
" I ' l l si gn f or i t , " t he nur se sai d.
The messenger shook hi s head. " Sor r y. My or der s ar e t o
del i ver i t t o her per sonal l y. I t ' s ver y val uabl e. "
The nur se hesi t at ed. " Then I ' l l have t o go wi t h you. "
" That ' s f i ne. "
He f ol l owed t he nur se t o t he end of t he hal l . When t hey
r eached r oom391, t he nur se st ar t ed t o open
t he door and t he messenger handed her t he package. " You
can t ake i t i n t o her , " he sai d.
* * *
One FLI GHT DOWN, t he messenger wal ked over t o t he bench
wher e Di ane and Kel l y wer e wai t i ng.
" Room391, " he t ol d t hem.
" Thanks, " Di ane sai d gr at ef ul l y. She handed hi msome
money.
The t wo women t ook t he st ai r s t o t he t hi r d f l oor , st epped
i nt o t he cor r i dor , and wai t ed unt i l t he nur se
was on t he t el ephone. Her back was t ur ned t o t hem. They
qui ckl y st ar t ed down t he hal l and ent er ed
r oom391.
Loi s Reynol ds was l yi ng i n bed wi t h a spi der web of t ubes
and wi r es at t ached t o her body. She was heavi l y bandaged. Her
eyes wer e cl osed as Kel l y and Di ane appr oached t he bed.
Di ane sai d sof t l y, " Mi ss Reynol ds, I ' mDi ane St evens and
t hi s i s Kel l y Har r i s. Our husbands wor ked
f or KI G. "
Loi s Reynol ds' s eyes sl owl y opened and t r i ed t o f ocus.
When she spoke, her voi ce was a shadow of
a whi sper . " What ?"
Kel l y sai d, " Our husbands wor ked f or KI G. They wer e bot h
ki l l ed. We t hought t hat because of
what happened t o your br ot her , you mi ght be abl e t o hel p
us. "
Loi s Reynol ds t r i ed t o shake her head. " I can' t hel p you.
. . . Gar y i s dead. " Her eyes wel l ed up
wi t h t ear s.
Di ane l eaned cl ose. " Di d your br ot her say anyt hi ng t o you
bef or e t he acci dent ?"
" Gar y was a wonder f ul man. " Her voi ce was sl ow and pai ned.
" He was ki l l ed i n a pl ane cr ash. "
Di ane sai d pat i ent l y, " Di d he say anyt hi ng t o you t hat
mi ght hel p us f i nd out what happened?"
Loi s Reynol ds cl osed her eyes.
" Mi ss Reynol ds, pl ease don' t go t o sl eep yet . Pl ease. Thi s
i s ver y i mpor t ant . Di d your br ot her say anyt hi ng t o you t hat
mi ght hel p us?"
Loi s Reynol ds opened her eyes agai n and l ooked at Di ane,
puzzl ed. " Who ar e you?"
Di ane sai d, " We t hi nk your br ot her was mur der ed. "
Loi s Reynol ds mur mur ed, " I know . . . "
The t wo of t hemf el t a col d chi l l .
" Why?" Kel l y asked.
" Pr i ma . . . " I t was a whi sper .
Kel l y l eaned cl oser . " Pr i ma?"
" Gar y t ol d . . . t ol d me about i t a f ew . . . a f ew days
bef or e he was ki l l ed. Thei r machi ne t hat can
cont r ol . . . cont r ol weat her . Poor Gar y. He . . . he never
got t o Washi ngt on. "
Di ane sai d, " Washi ngt on?"
" Yes . . . They wer e al l goi ng t o . . . al l goi ng t o see
some senat or about . . . about Pr i ma. . . . Gar y
sai d Pr i ma was bad. . . . "
Kel l y asked, " Do you r emember t he senat or ' s name?"
" No. "
" Pl ease t hi nk. "
Loi s Reynol ds was mumbl i ng. " Senat or somebody . . . "
" Senat or who?" Kel l y asked.
" Levi nLuvenVan Luven. He was goi ng t o see her . He was
goi ng t o meet "
The door f l ew open, and a doct or wear i ng a whi t e j acket ,
wi t h a st et hoscope dr aped ar ound hi s neck, st r ode i nt o t he
r oom. He l ooked at Di ane and Kel l y, f ur i ous. " Di dn' t anyone
t el l you no vi si t or s wer e al l owed i n her e?"
Kel l y sai d, " I ' msor r y. We had t ospeak t o"
" Leave, pl ease. "
The t wo women l ooked at Loi s Reynol ds. " Good- bye. Get
wel l . "
The man wat ched t heml eave t he r oom. When t he door cl osed,
he moved t o t he bed, pi cked up
a pi l l ow, and l eaned over Loi s Reynol ds.
CHAPTER 40
KELLY AND DI ANE made t hei r way down t o t he mai n l obby of
t he hospi t al .
Di ane sai d, " That ' s why Ri char d and Mar k wer e goi ng t o
Washi ngt on, t o see Senat or Van Luven. "
" How do we get hol d of her ?"
" Si mpl e. " Di ane t ook out her cel l phone.
Kel l y hel d up a hand t o st op her . " No. Let ' s use a pay
phone. "
They got t he t el ephone number of t he Senat e of f i ce
bui l di ng f r omi nf or mat i on, and Di ane cal l ed
f r oma publ i c phone.
" Senat or Van Luven' s of f i ce. "
" I ' d l i ke t o speak t o t he senat or , pl ease. "
" May I say who' s cal l i ng?"
Di ane sai d, " I t ' s a per sonal mat t er . "
" Your name, pl ease?"
" I can' t j ust t el l her i t ' s ver y i mpor t ant . "
" I ' msor r y, I can' t do t hat . " The l i ne was di sconnect ed.
Di ane t ur ned t o Kel l y. " We can' t use our names. " Di ane
cal l ed t he number agai n.
" Senat or Van Luven' s of f i ce. "
" Pl ease, l i st en t o me. Thi s i s not a cr ank cal l . I need t o
speak t o t he senat or , and I can' t gi ve you
my name. "
" Then I ' maf r ai d I can' t l et you speak t o t he senat or . "
The cal l was di sconnect ed.
Di ane di al ed agai n.
" Senat or Van Luven' s of f i ce. "
" Pl ease don' t hang up. I know you' r e doi ng your j ob, but
t hi s i s a mat t er of l i f e and deat h. I ' mcal l i ng f r oma pay
phone. I ' mgoi ng t o gi ve you t he number . Pl ease have t he
senat or cal l me. " She gave t he secr et ar y t he number and hear d
t he secr et ar y sl amt he phone down.
Kel l y sai d, " What do we do now?" we wai t .
They wai t ed f or t wo hour s, and f i nal l y Di ane sai d, " I t ' s
not goi ng t o wor k. Let ' s"
The phone r ang. Di ane t ook a deep br eat h and r ushed t o
pi ck i t up. " Hel l o?"
An annoyed f emal e voi ce sai d, " Thi s i s Senat or Van Luven.
Who i s t hi s?"
Di ane hel d t he phone t owar d Kel l y, so t hat t hey coul d bot h
hear what t he senat or was sayi ng. Di ane
was so choked up, she coul d har dl y speak. " Senat or , my
name i s Di ane St evens. I ' mher e wi t h Kel l y Har r i s. Do you
know who we ar e?"
" No, I don' t , and I ' maf r ai d I "
" Our husbands wer e mur der ed on t hei r way t o meet wi t h
you. "
Ther e was a gasp. " Oh, my God. Ri char d St evens and Mar k
Har r i s. "
" Yes. "
" Your husbands made an appoi nt ment t o meet wi t h me, but my
secr et ar y r ecei ved a cal l sayi ng t hat
t hey had changed t hei r pl ans. Then t heydi ed. "
" That cal l was not f r omt hem, Senat or , " Di ane sai d. " They
wer e mur der ed t o st op t hemf r omseei ng you. "
" What ?" She sounded i n shock. " Why woul d anyone?"
" They wer e ki l l ed t o pr event t hemf r omt al ki ng t o you.
Kel l y and I woul d l i ke t o come t o Washi ngt on
and t el l you what our husbands wer e t r yi ng t o t el l you. "
Ther e was a br i ef hesi t at i on. " I ' l l meet wi t h you, but not
i n my of f i ce. I t ' s t oo publ i c. I f what you' r e sayi ng i s t r ue,
i t coul d be danger ous. I have a home i n Sout hampt on, Long
I sl and. I can meet you
t her e. Wher e ar e you cal l i ng f r om?"
" Denver . "
" J ust a moment . "
Thr ee mi nut es l at er , t he senat or came back on t he l i ne.
" The next f l i ght out of Denver t o New Yor k
i s a r ed- eye. I t ' s a Uni t ed f l i ght , nonst op t o La Guar di a.
I t l eaves at t wel ve- t went y- f i ve a. m. and
ar r i ves i n New Yor k at si x- oh- ni ne a. m. I f t he f l i ght i s
f ul l , t her e' s one"
" We' l l be on t hat f l i ght . "
Kel l y l ooked at Di ane, sur pr i sed. " Di ane, what i f we can' t
get ?"
Di ane hel d up a r eassur i ng hand. " We' l l be on i t . "
" When you get t o t he ai r por t , a gr ay Li ncol n Town Car wi l l
be wai t i ng f or you. Go r i ght t o t he car .
The dr i ver i s Asi an. Hi s name i s Kuni o, K- U- N- I - O. He' l l
t ake you t o my home. I ' l l be wai t i ng f or
you t her e. "
" Thank you, Senat or . "
Di ane r epl aced t he r ecei ver and t ook a deep br eat h. She
t ur ned t o Kel l y. " We' r e al l set . "
Kel l y sai d, " How do you know we can get on t hat f l i ght ?"
" I have a pl an. "
* * *
THE CONCI ERGE AT t he hot el ar r anged a r ent al car , and i n
f or t y- f i ve mi nut es, Di ane and Kel l y wer e on t hei r way t o t he
ai r por t . Kel l y sai d, " I don' t know whet her I ' mmor e exci t ed
or mor e f r i ght ened. "
" I don' t t hi nk we have anyt hi ng t o be f r i ght ened about
anymor e. "
" I t l ooks l i ke a l ot of peopl e t r i ed t o meet wi t h t he
senat or , but none of t hemmade i t , Di ane. They
wer e al l ki l l ed f i r st . "
" Then we' r e goi ng t o be t he f i r st t o make i t . "
Kel l y sai d, " I wi sh we had"
" I know. A weapon. You sai d t hat . We have our wi t s. "
" Yeah. I wi sh we had a weapon. "
Kel l y l ooked out t he car wi ndow. " Pul l over . "
Di ane pul l ed over t o t he cur b. " What i s i t ?"
" Ther e' s somet hi ng I have t o do. "
They had st opped i n f r ont of a beaut y par l or . Kel l y opened
t he car door .
Di ane sai d, " Wher e ar e you goi ng?"
" I ' mgoi ng t o get a new hai r do. "
Di ane sai d, " You' r e j oki ng. "
" No, I ' mnot . "
" You' r e get t i ng a new hai r do now! Kel l y, we' r e on our way
t o t he ai r por t , t o cat ch a pl ane, and
t her e' s no t i me t o"
" Di ane, you never know what ' s goi ng t o happen. And i n case
I shoul d di e, I want t o l ook pr et t y. "
Di ane sat t her e, speechl ess, as Kel l y wal ked i nt o t he
beaut y par l or .
* * *
TWENTY MI NUTES LATER, Kel l y came out . She was wear i ng a
bl ack wi g t hat was a l uxur i ous
upsweep pi l ed hi gh i n t he back.
" I ' mr eady, " Kel l y sai d. " Let ' s go ki ck some ass. "
CHAPTER 41
Ther e' s a whi t e Lexus f ol l owi ng us, " Kel l y sai d.
" I know. Ther e ar e hal f a dozen men i n i t . "
" Can you l ose t hem?"
" I don' t have t o. "
Kel l y st ar ed at her . " What ?"
" Wat ch. "
They wer e appr oachi ng an ai r por t gat e wi t h a si gn t hat
r ead del i ver i es onl y. The guar d behi nd t he
gat e had opened i t t o admi t t he car .
The men i n t he Lexus wat ched as Kel l y and Di ane got out
and st epped i nt o an of f i ci al ai r por t car
t hat st ar t ed acr oss t he t ar mac.
When t he Lexus r eached t he gat e, t he guar d sai d, " Thi s i s
a pr i vat e ent r ance. "
" But you l et t hat ot her car i n. "
" Thi s i s a pr i vat e ent r ance. " The guar d cl osed t he gat e.
* * *
THE OFFI CI AL AI RPORT car cr ossed t he t ar mac and st opped at
t he si de of a j umbo j et . As Di ane
and Kel l y st epped out , Howar d Mi l l er was wai t i ng. " You got
her e al l r i ght . "
" Yes, " Di ane sai d. " Thanks so much f or maki ng t he
ar r angement s. "
" My pl easur e. " Hi s f ace became gr i m. " I hope some good
comes out of al l of t hi s. "
Kel l y sai d, " Thank Loi s Reynol ds f or us and t el l her "
Howar d Mi l l er ' s expr essi on changed. " Loi s Reynol ds passed
away l ast ni ght . "
The t wo women bot h f el t a sense of shock. I t t ook Kel l y a
moment t o speak. " I ' msor r y. "
" What happened?" Di ane asked.
" I guess her hear t gave out . "
Howar d Mi l l er l ooked over at t he j et . " They' r e r eady t o
go. I ' ve ar r anged seat s f or you near t he door . "
" Thanks agai n. "
* * *
HOWARD MI LLER WATCHED AS Kel l y and Di ane went up t he r amp.
Moment s l at er , t he f l i ght at t endant cl osed t he door , and t he
pl ane began t o t axi .
Kel l y t ur ned t o Di ane and smi l ed. " We' ve made i t . We
out smar t ed al l t hose br ai ni acs. What ar e you
goi ng t o do af t er we t al k t o Senat or Van Luven?"
" I hadn' t r eal l y t hought about i t , " Di ane sai d. " Ar e you
goi ng back t o Par i s?"
" I t depends. Do you t hi nk you' l l be st ayi ng i n New Yor k?"
" Yes. "
Kel l y sai d, " Then maybe I ' l l st i ck ar ound New Yor k f or a
whi l e. "
" Then we mi ght go t o Par i s t oget her . " They sat t her e,
smi l i ng at each ot her .
Di ane sai d, " I was j ust t hi nki ng how pr oud Ri char d and
Mar k woul d be i f t hey knew we' r e goi ng
t o f i ni sh t he j ob t hey st ar t ed. "
" You bet . "
Di ane l ooked out t he wi ndow and up at t he sky, and sai d
sof t l y, " Thank you, Ri char d. "
Kel l y gl anced at Di ane, shook her head, and sai d not hi ng.
Ri char d, I know you can hear me, dar l i ng. We' r e goi ng t o
f i ni sh what you st ar t ed. We' r e goi ng t o
avenge you and your f r i ends. I t won' t br i ng you back, but
i t wi l l hel p a l i t t l e. Do you know what
I mi ss most about you, my l ove? Ever yt hi ng.
* * *
WHEN THE PLANE l anded at La Guar di a ai r por t t hr ee and a
hal f hour s l at er , Di ane and Kel l y wer e
t he f i r st passenger s t o di sembar k. Di ane r emember ed
Senat or Van Luven' s wor ds: When you get t o
t he ai r por t , a gr ay Li ncol n Town Car wi l l be wai t i ng f or
you.
The car was wai t i ng at t he t er mi nal ent r ance. St andi ng
next t o i t was an el der l y J apanese man i n a chauf f eur ' s
uni f or m. He st ood up st r ai ght as Kel l y and Di ane appr oached
hi m.
" Mr s. St evens? Mr s. Har r i s?"
" Yes. "
" I ' mKuni o. " He opened t he door of t he car and t hey
st epped i n.
Moment s l at er , t hey wer e on t hei r way t o Sout hampt on.
" I t i s a t wo- hour dr i ve, " Kuni o sai d. " The scener y i s ver y
beaut i f ul . "
The l ast t hi ng t hey wer e i nt er est ed i n was scener y. Bot h
wer e busi l y t hi nki ng about t he qui ckest
way t o expl ai n t o t he senat or what had happened.
Kel l y sai d t o Di ane, " Do you t hi nk t he senat or wi l l be i n
danger when we t el l her what we know?"
" I ' msur e she' l l have pr ot ect i on. She' l l know how t o
handl e t hi s. "
" I hope so. "
Af t er al most t wo hour s t he Town Car f i nal l y dr ove up t o a
l ar ge l i mest one mansi on wi t h a sl at e
r oof and t al l , sl ender chi mneys, i n t he st yl e of
ei ght eent h- cent ur y Engl and. Ther e wer e ext ensi ve,
mani cur ed gr ounds, and t hey coul d see a separ at e house f or
t he ser vant quar t er s and gar age.
As t he car st opped at t he f r ont door , Kuni o sai d, " I wi l l
be wai t i ng f or you, i f you need me. "
" Thank you. "
The door was opened by a but l er . " Good mor ni ng. Come i n,
pl ease. The senat or i s expect i ng you. "
The t wo women ent er ed. The l i vi ng r oomwas el egant yet
casual , f ur ni shed wi t h an ecl ect i c
assor t ment of ant i ques and comf or t abl e- l ooki ng couches and
chai r s. On t he wal l , above a l ar ge
f i r epl ace wi t h a bar oque mant el , wer e mi r r or ed candl e
sconces.
The but l er sai d, " Thi s way, pl ease. "
Kel l y and Di ane f ol l owed t he but l er i nt o a l ar ge dr awi ng
r oom.
Senat or Van Luven was wai t i ng f or t hem. She was wear i ng a
l i ght bl ue si l k sui t and bl ouse, and her
hai r was hangi ng l oosel y. She was mor e f emi ni ne- l ooki ng
t han Di ane had expect ed.
" I ' mPaul i ne Van Luven. "
" Di ane St evens. "
" Kel l y Har r i s. "
" I ' mgl ad t o see you bot h. I t ' s t aken much t oo l ong. "
Kel l y l ooked at Senat or Van Luven, puzzl ed. " I ' msor r y?"
Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s voi ce behi nd t hemsai d, " She means you
have been ver y l ucky, but your l uck
has j ust r un out . "
Di ane and Kel l y t ur ned. Tanner Ki ngsl ey and Har r y Fl i nt
had come i nt o t he r oom.
Tanner sai d, " Now, Mr . Fl i nt . "
Har r y Fl i nt r ai sed a pi st ol . Wi t hout a wor d, he ai med at
t he women and f i r ed t wi ce. Paul i ne Van Luven and Tanner
Ki ngsl ey wat ched as Kel l y' s and Di ane' s bodi es t umbl ed
backwar d and f el l t o t he f l oor .
Tanner wal ked over t o Senat or Van Luven and hugged her .
" I t ' s f i nal l y over , Pr i ncess. "
CHAPTER 42
FLI NT ASKED, " WHAT do you want me t o do wi t h t he bodi es?"
Tanner di d not hesi t at e. " Ti e some wei ght s ar ound t hei r
ankl es, have t hemf l own out about t wo
hundr ed mi l es, and dr op t hemi nt o t he At l ant i c. "
" No pr obl em. " Fl i nt l ef t t he r oom.
Tanner t ur ned t o Senat or Van Luven. " That ends i t ,
Pr i ncess. We can be on our way. "
She moved up t o hi mand ki ssed hi m. " I ' ve mi ssed you so
much, baby. "
" I ' ve mi ssed you, t oo. "
" Those mont hl y r endezvous wer e f r ust r at i ng because I knew
you had t o l eave. "
Tanner hel d her cl ose. " Fr omnow on, we' r e t oget her . We' l l
wai t a r espect abl e t hr ee or f our mont hs
as an homage t o your dear depar t ed husband and t hen we' l l
get mar r i ed. "
She smi l ed and sai d, " Let s make i t a mont h. "
He nodded. " Sounds good. "
" I r esi gned f r omt he Senat e yest er day. They wer e ver y
under st andi ng about my gr i ef over my
husband' s deat h. "
" Wonder f ul . Now we can be seen t oget her f r eel y. I want you
t o see somet hi ng at KI G t hat I
coul dn' t show you bef or e. "
* * *
TANNER AND PAULI NE had r eached t he r edbr i ck bui l di ng.
Tanner wal ked up t o t he sol i d st eel
door . Ther e was a r ecess i n t he cent er of i t . He was
wear i ng a heavy cameo r i ng wi t h t he f ace of a
Gr eek war r i or on i t .
Paul i ne wat ched as Tanner pr essed t he r i ng har d i nt o t he
r ecess, and t he door began t o open. The
r oomwas enor mous, f i l l ed wi t h huge comput er s and
t el evi si on scr eens. At a f ar wal l wer e gener at or s
and el ect r oni cs, al l l i nked t oget her wi t h a cont r ol panel
i n t he cent er .
Tanner sai d, " Pr i ncess, meet Pr i ma. Thi s i s gr ound zer o.
What you and I have her e i s somet hi ng t hat ' s goi ng t o change
l i ves f or ever . Thi s r oomi s t he command cent er of a sat el l i t e
syst emt hat can cont r ol t he weat her i n any ar ea of t he wor l d.
We can cause st or ms anywher e. We can cr eat e f ami nes by
st oppi ng r ai n. We can f og i n ai r por t s. We can manuf act ur e
hur r i canes and cycl ones t hat woul d st op t he wor l d' s economy. "
He smi l ed. " I ' ve al r eady demonst r at ed some of our power . A
l ot of count r i es have been wor ki ng on weat her cont r ol , but
none of t hemhas sol ved i t yet . "
Tanner pr essed a but t on, and a l ar ge t el evi si on scr een l i t
up. " What you' r e seei ng her e i s a t echni cal advance t hat t he
ar my wi shes i t had. " He t ur ned t o Paul i ne and smi l ed. " The
onl y wi l d car d t hat pr event ed Pr i ma f r omgi vi ng me per f ect
cont r ol was t he gr eenhouse ef f ect , and you t ook car e of t hat
beaut i f ul l y. " He si ghed. " Do you know who cr eat ed t hi s
pr oj ect ? Andr ew. He r eal l y was a geni us. "
Paul i ne was st ar i ng at t he massi ve equi pment . " I don' t
under st and how t hi s can cont r ol t he weat her . "
" Wel l , t he si mpl e ver si on i s t hat war mai r r i ses t owar d
col der ai r , and i f t her e i s moi st ur e i n"
" Don' t pat r oni ze me, dar l i ng. "
" Sor r y, but t he l onger ver si on i s a bi t compl i cat ed, "
Tanner sai d.
" I ' ml i st eni ng. "
" I t ' s a l i t t l e t echni cal , so bear wi t h me. Mi cr owave
l aser s, cr eat ed wi t h t he nano- t echnol ogy my
br ot her pr oduced, when f i r ed i nt o Ear t h' s at mospher e, make
f r ee- f or mi ng oxygen t hat bonds wi t h hydr ogen, t hus pr oduci ng
ozone and wat er . Fr ee oxygen i n t he at mospher e pai r s
upt hat ' s why i t ' s
cal l ed O2and my br ot her di scover ed t hat f i r i ng t hat l aser
f r omspace i nt o t he at mospher e made t he oxygen bond wi t h t wo
hydr ogen at oms i nt o ozoneO, , and wat er H2O. "
" I st i l l don' t under st and how t hat woul d"
" The weat her i s dr i ven by wat er . Andr ew f ound i n
l ar ger - scal e t est s t hat so much wat er was cr eat ed
as a by- pr oduct of hi s exper i ment s t hat wi nds shi f t ed.
Mor e l aser s, mor e wi nd. Cont r ol t he wat er
and t he wi nd, and you cont r ol al l weat her . "
He was t hought f ul f or a moment . " When I f ound out t hat
Aki r a I so i n Tokyo, and l at er , Madel ei ne
Smi t h i n Zur i ch, wer e cl ose t o sol vi ng t he pr obl em, I
of f er ed t hemj obs her e, so I coul d cont r ol t hem.
But t hey t ur ned me down. I coul dn' t af f or d t o l et t hem
f i ni sh what t hey wer e wor ki ng on. " He si ghed.
" I t ol d you t hat I had f our of my t op met eor ol ogi st s
wor ki ng on t he pr oj ect wi t h me. "
" Yes. "
" They wer e good, t oo. Fr anz Ver br ugge i n Ber l i n, Mar k
Har r i s i n Par i s, Gar y Reynol ds i n Vancouver , and Ri char d
St evens i n New Yor k. I had each of t hemt r yi ng t o sol ve a
di f f er ent f acet of weat her
cont r ol , and I t hought t hat because t hey wer e wor ki ng i n
di f f er ent count r i es, t hey woul d never put t he pi eces t oget her
and f i nd out what t he ul t i mat e pur pose of t he pr oj ect was.
But somehow t hey di d.
They came t o see me i n Vi enna, t o ask me what pl ans I had
f or Pr i ma. I t ol d t hemI was goi ng t o gi ve
i t t o our gover nment . I di dn' t t hi nk t hey woul d pur sue t he
mat t er any f ur t her , but j ust t o be saf e, I set
a t r ap. When t hey wer e si t t i ng i n t he r ecept i on r oom, I
put i n a cal l t o your Senat e of f i ce, maki ng sur e t hey coul d
hear me denyi ng t o you t hat I had ever hear d of Pr i ma. The
next mor ni ng, t hey began
cal l i ng you f or appoi nt ment s. That ' s when I knew t hey had
t o be di sposed of . " Tanner smi l ed. " Let
me show you what we have her e. "
On a comput er scr een, a map of t he wor l d appear ed, dot t ed
wi t h l i nes and symbol s. As Tanner
spoke, he moved a swi t ch, and t he f ocus of t he map kept
shi f t i ng unt i l i t hi ghl i ght ed Por t ugal .
Tanner sai d, " The agr i cul t ur al val l eys i n Por t ugal ar e
suppl i ed by r i ver s t hat f l ow t o t he At l ant i c f r omSpai n. J ust
i magi ne what woul d happen t o Por t ugal i f i t cont i nued t o r ai n
unt i l t he agr i cul t ur al val l ey
was dr owned out . "
Tanner pr essed a but t on, and on a huge scr een appear ed a
pi ct ur e of a massi ve pi nk pal ace wi t h cer emoni al guar ds
st andi ng wat ch whi l e i t s l ush, beaut i f ul gar dens gl i mmer ed i n
t he br i ght sunl i ght .
" That ' s t he pr esi dent i al pal ace. "
The pi ct ur e swi t ched t o a di ni ng r oomi nsi de, wher e a
f ami l y was havi ng br eakf ast .
" That ' s t he pr esi dent of Por t ugal and hi s wi f e and t wo
chi l dr en. When t hey speak, i t ' s goi ng t o be i n Por t uguese,
but you' l l hear i t i n Engl i sh. I have dozens of nano- camer as
and mi cr ophones set up i n
t he pal ace. The pr esi dent doesn' t know i t , but hi s head
secur i t y guar d wor ks f or me. "
An ai de was sayi ng t o t he pr esi dent , " At el even o' cl ock
t hi s mor ni ng, you have a meet i ng at t he
embassy, f ol l owed by a l abor uni on speech. At one p. m. ,
l uncheon at t he museum. Thi s eveni ng,
we' r e havi ng a st at e r ecept i on f or "
The phone r ang at t he br eakf ast t abl e. The pr esi dent
pi cked i t up. " Hel l o. "
Then Tanner ' s voi ce, i nst ant aneousl y t r ansl at ed f r om
Engl i sh t o Por t uguese as he spoke, sai d
" Mr . Pr esi dent ?"
The pr esi dent l ooked st ar t l ed. " Who i s t hi s?" he asked as
hi s voi ce was i mmedi at el y t r ansl at ed f r omPor t uguese t o
Engl i sh f or Tanner .
" I ' ma f r i end. "
" Whohow di d you get my pr i vat e number ?"
" That ' s not i mpor t ant . I want you t o l i st en ver y
car ef ul l y. I l ove your count r y, and I woul d not want
t o see i t dest r oyed. I f you don' t want t er r i bl e st or ms t o
wi pe i t of f t he map, you must send me t wo
bi l l i on dol l ar s i n gol d. I f you' r e not i nt er est ed now,
I ' l l cal l you back i n t hr ee days. "
On t he scr een, t hey wat ched t he pr esi dent sl amt he phone
down. He sai d t o hi s wi f e, " Some cr azy
man got my phone number . Sounds l i ke he escaped f r oman
asyl um. "
Tanner t ur ned t o Paul i ne. " That was r ecor ded t hr ee days
ago. Now l et me show you t he conver sat i on
we had yest er day. "
A pi ct ur e of t he massi ve pi nk pal ace and i t s beaut i f ul
gar dens f l ashed on agai n, but t hi s t i me heavy
r ai ns wer e pour i ng down, and t he sky was abl aze wi t h
t hunder and l i ght ni ng.
Tanner pr essed a but t on, and t he scene on t el evi si on moved
i nt o t he pr esi dent ' s of f i ce. He was seat ed
at a conf er ence t abl e, wi t h hal f a dozen assi st ant s al l
t al ki ng at once. The pr esi dent ' s f ace was gr i m.
The t el ephone on hi s desk r ang.
" Now. " Tanner gr i nned.
The pr esi dent pi cked up t he t el ephone appr ehensi vel y.
" Hel l o. "
" Good mor ni ng, Mr . Pr esi dent . How?"
" You ar e dest r oyi ng my count r y! You have r ui ned t he cr ops.
The f i el ds ar e f l ooded. The vi l l ages ar e bei ng" He st opped
and t ook a deep br eat h. " How l ong i s t hi s goi ng t o go on?"
Ther e was hyst er i a
i n t he pr esi dent ' s voi ce.
" Unt i l I r ecei ve t he t wo bi l l i on dol l ar s. "
They wat ched t he pr esi dent gr i t hi s t eet h and cl ose hi s
eyes f or a moment . " And you wi l l st op t he
st or ms, t hen?" Yes.
" How do you want t he money del i ver ed?"
" You see how easy i t i s, Pr i ncess? We al r eady have t he
money. Let me show you what el se Pr i ma
can do. These ar e our ear l i er t est s. "
Tanner pr essed anot her but t on and a pi ct ur e of a r agi ng
hur r i cane appear ed on t he scr een. " Thi s i s
t aki ng pl ace i n J apan, " Tanner sai d. " Real t i me. And t hi s
season f or t hemi s al ways cal mweat her . "
He pr essed a di f f er ent but t on and pi ct ur es of a vi ol ent
hai l st or mappear ed, bat t er i ng a gr ove of ci t r us
f r ui t . " Thi s i s l i ve f r omFl or i da. The t emper at ur e t her e
now i s near zer oi n J une. The cr ops ar e bei ng wi ped out . "
He act i vat ed anot her but t on, and on t he gi ant scr een was a
scene of a t or nado t ear i ng down bui l di ngs. " Thi s i s what ' s
happeni ng i n Br azi l . As you see, " Tanner sai d pr oudl y, " Pr i ma
can do anyt hi ng. "
Paul i ne moved cl oser t o hi mand sai d sof t l y, " Li ke i t s
papa. "
Tanner t ur ned of f t he t el evi si on set . He pi cked up t hr ee
DVDs and showed t hemt o her . " These ar e
t hr ee i nt er est i ng conver sat i ons t hat I had wi t h Per u,
Mexi co, and I t al y. Do you know how t he gol d i s del i ver ed? We
send t r ucks t o t hei r banks and t hey f i l l t hem. And t hen
t her e' s Cat ch Twent y- t wo. I f
t hey make any at t empt t o f i nd out wher e t he gol d i s goi ng,
I pr omi se t hemt hat t he st or mwi l l begi n
agai n and never st op. "
Paul i ne l ooked at hi m, wor r i ed. " Tanner , i s t her e any way
t hey can t r ace your cal l s?"
Tanner l aughed. " I hope t hey do. I f someone t r i es t o t r ace
t hem, t hey' l l r each a r el ay i n a chur ch, t hen
a second r el ay t akes t hemt o a school . The t hi r d r el ay
wi l l set up st or ms t hey' l l wi sh t hey had never
seen. And t he f our t h t i me i t ends up at t he Oval Of f i ce of
t he Whi t e House. "
Paul i ne l aughed.
The door opened and Andr ew wal ked i n.
Tanner t ur ned. " Ah. Her e' s my dear br ot her . "
Andr ew was st ar i ng at Paul i ne, a puzzl ed expr essi on on hi s
f ace. " Don' t I know you?" He l ooked at her f or al most a
mi nut e as he concent r at ed, and t hen hi s f ace l i t up. " Youyou
and Tanner wer egoi ng
t o get mar r i ed. I was t he best man. You' r eyou' r e
Pr i ncess. "
Paul i ne sai d, " Ver y good, Andr ew. "
" But youyou went away. You di dn' t l ove Tanner . "
Tanner spoke up. " Let me st r ai ght en you out . She went away
because she di d l ove me. " He t ook
Paul i ne' s hand. " She t el ephoned me t he day af t er her
weddi ng. She mar r i ed a ver y r i ch, i nf l uent i al
man so she coul d use her husband' s i nf l uence t o get
i mpor t ant cl i ent s f or KI G. That ' s why we wer e
abl e t o gr ow so f ast . " Tanner gave Paul i ne a hug. " We
ar r anged t o meet secr et l y ever y mont h. " He
sai d pr oudl y, " And t hen she got i nt er est ed i n pol i t i cs and
became a senat or . "
Andr ew f r owned. " But but Sebast i anaSebast i ana"
" Sebast i ana Cor t ez. " Tanner l aughed. " She was a decoy, t o
t hr ow peopl e of f t he t r ack. I made
sur e t hat ever yone at t he of f i ce knew about her . Pr i ncess
and I coul dn' t af f or d t o l et anyone
become suspi ci ous. "
Andr ew sai d vaguel y, " Oh, I see. "
" Come over her e, Andr ew. " Tanner l ed hi mt o t he cont r ol
cent er . They st ood i n f r ont of Pr i ma.
Tanner sai d, " Do you r emember t hi s? You hel ped devel op i t .
Now i t ' s f i ni shed. "
Andr ew' s eyes wi dened. " Pr i ma . . . "
Tanner poi nt ed t o a but t on and sai d, " Yes. Weat her
cont r ol . " He poi nt ed t o anot her but t on. " Locat i on. " He l ooked
at hi s br ot her . " See how si mpl e we made i t ?"
Andr ew sai d, under hi s br eat h, " I r emember . . . "
Tanner t ur ned t o Paul i ne. " Thi s i s onl y t he begi nni ng,
Pr i ncess. "
Tanner t ook her i n hi s ar ms. " I ' mr esear chi ng t hi r t y mor e
count r i es.
" You got what you want ed. Power and money. "
Paul i ne sai d happi l y, " A comput er l i ke t hat coul d be
wor t h"
" Two comput er s l i ke t hat , " Tanner sai d. " I have a sur pr i se
f or you. Have you ever hear d of Tamoa I sl and, i n t he Sout h
Paci f i c?"
" No. "
" We j ust bought i t . I t ' s si xt y squar e mi l es and
unbel i evabl y beaut i f ul . I t ' s i n t he Fr ench Pol ynesi an
i sl ands, and i t has a l andi ng st r i p and a yacht har bor . I t
has ever yt hi ng, i ncl udi ng" he paused dr amat i cal l y" Pr i ma I I . "
Paul i ne sai d, " You mean t her e' s anot her ?"
Tanner nodded. " That ' s r i ght . I t ' s under gr ound, wher e no
one can ever f i nd i t . Now t hat t hose t wo
nosy bi t ches ar e f i nal l y out of t he way, t he wor l d i s
our s. "
CHAPTER 43
KELLY WAS THE f i r st t o open her eyes. She was l yi ng on her
back, naked, on t he bar e f l oor of a concr et e basement , her
hands handcuf f ed t o ei ght - i nch chai ns f ast ened t o t he wal l ,
j ust above t he f l oor . Ther e was a smal l , bar r ed wi ndow at t he
f ar end of t he r oom, and a heavy door l eadi ng i nt o t he r oom.
Kel l y t ur ned t o see Di ane next t o her , al so naked and
handcuf f ed. Thei r cl ot hi ng had been t hr own
i nt o a cor ner .
Di ane sai d gr oggi l y, " Wher e ar e we?"
" We' r e i n hel l , par t ner . "
Kel l y t est ed t he handcuf f s. They wer e t i ght and f i r m
ar ound her wr i st s. She coul d l i f t her ar mf our
or f i ve i nches, but t hat was i t . " We wal ked r i ght i nt o
t hei r t r ap, " she sai d bi t t er l y.
" You know what I hat e most about t hi s?"
Kel l y l ooked ar ound t he bar e r oomand sai d, " I can' t
i magi ne. "
" They won. We know why t hey ki l l ed our husbands, and why
t hey' r e goi ng t o ki l l us, but t her e' s
no way we can ever t el l t he wor l d. They' ve got t en away
wi t h i t . Ki ngsl ey was r i ght . Our l uck has
f i nal l y r un out . "
" No, i t hasn' t . " The door had opened, and Har r y Fl i nt was
st andi ng i n t he r oom. Hi s smi l e wi dened.
He l ocked t he door behi nd hi mand put t he key i n hi s
pocket . " I shot you wi t h Xyl ocai ne bul l et s.
I was supposed t o ki l l you, but I t hought we' d al l have a
l i t t l e f un f i r st . " He moved cl oser .
The t wo women exchanged a t er r i f i ed l ook. They wat ched
Fl i nt , gr i nni ng, t ake of f hi s shi r t and
t r ouser s. " Look what I have f or you, " he sai d. He dr opped
hi s shor t s. Hi s member was st i f f and
t ur gi d. Fl i nt l ooked at t he t wo of t hemand moved t owar d
Di ane. " Why don' t I st ar t wi t h you, baby,
and t hen"
Kel l y i nt er r upt ed. " Wai t a mi nut e, handsome. How about
t aki ng me f i r st ? I f eel hor ny. "
Di ane l ooked at her , st unned. " Kel l y"
Fl i nt t ur ned t o Kel l y and smi r ked. " Sur e, baby. You' r e
goi ng t o l ove t hi s. "
Fl i nt r eached down and st ar t ed t o st r et ch out on t op of
Kel l y' s naked body.
" Oh, yes. " Kel l y moaned. " I ' ve r eal l y mi ssed t hi s. "
Di ane had cl osed her eyes. She coul d not bear t o wat ch.
Kel l y st r et ched her l egs apar t , and as Fl i nt st ar t ed t o
ent er her , Kel l y r ai sed her r i ght ar ma f ew i nches
and r eached i nt o her upswept hai r do. When her hand came
down, t her e was a r at - t ai l ed comb wi t h
a st eel t i p f i ve i nches l ong i n i t . I n one qui ck mot i on,
she sl ammed t he st eel t ai l i nt o t he back of Har r y Fl i nt ' s
neck, pushi ng i t s st eel t i p al l t he way t hr ough.
Fl i nt t r i ed t o scr eam, but al l t hat came out was a l oud
gur gl e. Bl ood was pour i ng out of hi s neck.
Di ane opened her eyes, st unned.
Kel l y l ooked over at Di ane. " Youyou can r el ax now. " She
pushed away t he l i mp f i gur e on t op
of her . " He' s dead. "
Di ane' s hear t was beat i ng so f ast i t f el t as t hough i t was
goi ng t o l eap f r omher chest . Her f ace was ghost l y whi t e.
Kel l y was wat chi ng her , al ar med. " Ar e you al l r i ght ?"
" I was af r ai d he was goi ng t o" Her mout h went dr y. She
l ooked at t he bl oody body of Har r y Fl i nt
and shudder ed. " Why di dn' t you t el l me about ?" She
poi nt ed t o t he r at - t ai l ed comb i n hi s neck.
" Because i f i t hadn' t wor ked . . . wel l , I di dn' t want you
t o t hi nk I f ai l ed you. Let ' s get out of her e. "
" How?"
" I ' l l show you. " Kel l y st r et ched out a l ong l eg t o wher e
Fl i nt had dr opped hi s pant s. Her t oes r eached
out t o gr ab hi s t r ouser s. Two i nches t oo f ar away. She
shi f t ed cl oser . One i nch t oo shor t . Then f i nal l y, success.
Kel l y gr i nned. " Voi l a! " Her t oes cl ut ched t he l eg of t he
t r ouser s, and she sl owl y pul l ed t hemcl ose unt i l t hey wer e
near enough t o gr ab wi t h her hands. She was goi ng t hr ough hi s
pocket s, l ooki ng f or t he key
t o t he handcuf f s. She f ound i t . A moment l at er , her hands
wer e f r ee. She hur r i ed t o f r ee Di ane.
" My God, you' r e a mi r acl e, " Di ane sai d.
" Thank my new hai r do. Let ' s get away f r omher e. "
The t wo women pi cked up t hei r cl ot hes f r omt he f l oor and
qui ckl y dr essed. Kel l y t ook t he key t o t he door f r omFl i nt ' s
pocket .
They wal ked over t o t he door and l i st ened a moment .
Si l ence. Kel l y opened t he door . They wer e i n
a l ong, empt y cor r i dor .
" Ther e must be a back way out of her e, " Di ane sai d.
Kel l y nodded. " Al l r i ght . You go t hat way and I ' l l go t he
ot her way and"
" No. Pl ease. Let ' s st ay t oget her , Kel l y. "
Kel l y squeezed Di ane' s ar mand nodded. " Ri ght , par t ner . "
Mi nut es l at er , t he t wo women f ound t hemsel ves i n a gar age.
Ther e was a J aguar and a Toyot a i n i t .
" Take your choi ce, " Kel l y sai d.
" The J aguar i s t oo not i ceabl e. Let ' s t ake t he Toyot a. "
" I hope t he key i s"
I t was. Di ane t ook t he wheel .
" Do you have any i dea wher e we' r e goi ng?" Kel l y asked.
" To Manhat t an. I don' t have a pl an yet . "
" That ' s good news. " Kel l y si ghed.
" We need t o f i nd a pl ace t o sl eep. When Ki ngsl ey f i nds out
we' ve escaped, he' s goi ng t o go cr azy.
We' r e not goi ng t o be saf e anywher e. "
Kel l y was t hi nki ng. " Yes, we ar e. "
Di ane gl anced at her . " What do you mean?"
Kel l y sai d pr oudl y, " I have a pl an. "
CHAPTER 44
THEY DROVE i nt o Whi t e Pl ai ns, t went y- f i ve mi l es nor t h of
Manhat t an, Di ane sai d, " Thi s l ooks
l i ke a ni ce t own. What ar e we doi ng her e?"
" I have a f r i end her e. She' l l t ake car e of us. "
" Tel l me about her . "
Kel l y sai d sl owl y, " My mot her was mar r i ed t o a dr unk who
enj oyed beat i ng her . When I was abl e t o af f or d t o t ake car e
of my mot her , I per suaded her t o l eave hi m. One of t he model s
who had r un away f r oman abusi ve boyf r i end t ol d me about t hi s
pl ace. I t ' s a boar di nghouse r un by an angel of a woman named
Gr ace Sei del . I t ook my mot her t her e t o st ay unt i l I coul d
f i nd an apar t ment f or her . I used t o
vi si t her at Gr ace' s ever y day. My mot her l oved i t and
became f r i ends wi t h some of t he boar der s. I
f i nal l y f ound an apar t ment f or Mot her and went t o pi ck her
up. " She st opped.
Di ane l ooked at her . " What happened?"
" She had gone back t o her husband. "
They had r eached t he boar di nghouse. " We' r e her e. "
* * *
GRACE SEI DEL WAS i n her f i f t i es, a dynami c, mot her l y bal l
of ener gy. When she opened t he door
and saw Kel l y, her f ace l i t up.
" Kel l y! " She t hr ew her ar ms ar ound her . " I ' mso gl ad t o
see you. "
Kel l y sai d, " Thi s i s my f r i end Di ane. "
They exchanged hel l os.
" Your r oomi s al l r eady f or you, " Gr ace sai d. " As a mat t er
of f act , i t was your mot her ' s r oom. I had
an ext r a bed put i n. "
As Gr ace Sei del wal ked t hemt o t hei r bedr oom, t hey passed
t hr ough a comf or t abl e- l ooki ng l i vi ng
r oomwher e a dozen women wer e pl ayi ng car d games or doi ng
var i ous ot her act i vi t i es.
" How l ong wi l l you be st ayi ng?" Gr ace asked.
Kel l y and Di ane l ooked at each ot her . " We' r e not sur e. "
Gr ace Sei del smi l ed. " No pr obl em. The r oomi s your s f or as
l ong as you want i t . "
The r oomwas l ovel yneat and cl ean.
When Gr ace Sei del had l ef t , Kel l y sai d t o Di ane, " We' l l be
saf e her e. And by t he way, I t hi nk we
made t he Gui nness Book of Wor l d Recor ds. Do you know how
many t i mes t hey' ve t r i ed t o ki l l us?"
" Yes. " Di ane was st andi ng by t he wi ndow. Kel l y hear d her
say, " Thank you, Ri char d. "
Kel l y st ar t ed t o speak, t hen t hought , I t ' s no use.
* * *
ANDREW, DOZI NG AT hi s desk, dr eamed t hat he was asl eep i n
a hospi t al bed. I t was t he voi ces
i n t he r oomt hat had awakened hi m. " . . . And l ucki l y, I
di scover ed t hi s when we wer e decont ami nat i ng Andr ew' s saf et y
equi pment . I t hought I shoul d show i t t o you r i ght away. "
" The goddamn ar my t ol d me i t woul d be saf e. "
A man was handi ng Tanner one of t he gas masks f r omt he
ar my- exper i ment .
" I f ound a t i ny hol e at t he base of t he mask. I t l ooks
l i ke someone cut i t . That woul d be enough t o
cause your br ot her ' s condi t i on. "
Tanner l ooked at t he mask and t hunder ed, " Whoever i s
r esponsi bl e f or t hi s i s goi ng t o pay. " He l ooked
at t he man and sai d, " I ' l l l ook i nt o t hi s i mmedi at el y.
Thanks f or br i ngi ng i t t o me. "
Fr omhi s bed, Andr ew gr oggi l y wat ched t he man l eave.
Tanner l ooked at t he mask a moment and t hen wal ked over t o a
cor ner of t he r oomwher e t her e was a l ar ge hospi t al car t
f i l l ed wi t h soi l ed l i nens.
Tanner r eached down i nt o t he bot t omof t he car t and bur i ed
t he gas mask under t he l i nens.
Andr ew t r i ed t o ask hi s br ot her what was happeni ng, but he
was t oo t i r ed. He f el l asl eep.
* * *
TANNER, ANDREW, AND Paul i ne had r et ur ned t o Tanner ' s
of f i ce.
Tanner had asked hi s secr et ar y t o br i ng i n t he mor ni ng
newspaper s. Tanner ski mmed t hr ough t he
f r ont pages. " Look at t hese: ' Sci ent i st s ar e baf f l ed by
f r eak st or ms i n Guat emal a, Per u, Mexi co,
and I t al y. ' " He l ooked at Paul i ne exul t ant l y. " And t hi s
i s onl y t he begi nni ng. They' r e goi ng t o have
a l ot mor e t o be baf f l ed about . "
Vi nce Car bal l o came r unni ng i nt o t he r oom. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey"
" I ' mbusy. What i s i t ?"
" Fl i nt i s dead. "
Tanner ' s j aw dr opped. " What ? What ar e you t al ki ng about ?
What happened?"
" St evens and Har r i s ki l l ed hi m. "
" That ' s i mpossi bl e! "
" He' s dead. They escaped and t ook of f i n t he senat or ' s
car . We r epor t ed i t st ol en. The pol i ce f ound
i t i n Whi t e Pl ai ns. "
Tanner ' s voi ce was gr i m. " Her e' s what I want you t o do. I
want you t o t ake a dozen men and go t o
Whi t e Pl ai ns. Check ever y hot el , boar di nghouse, and
f l ophouseany pl ace wher e t hey coul d be
hi di ng. I ' mgi vi ng a f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d t o anyone
who t ur ns t hemi n. Move i t ! "
" Yes, si r . "
Vi nce Car bal l o hur r i ed out t he door .
* * *
I n t hei r ROOM at Gr ace Sei del ' s boar di nghouse, Di ane sai d,
" I ' msor r y about what happened when
you got t o Par i s. Di d t hey ki l l t he conci er ge?"
" I don' t know. They j ust di sappear ed. "
" What about your dog, Angel ?" Kel l y sai d t i ght l y, " I don' t
want t o t al k about i t . "
" I ' msor r y. Do you know what ' s f r ust r at i ng? We wer e so
cl ose. Now t hat we know what happened, t her e' s no one we can
t el l i t t o. I t woul d be our wor d agai nst KI G' s. They woul d
put us i n an asyl um. "
Kel l y nodded. " You' r e r i ght . Ther e i s no one l ef t t o go
t o. " Ther e was a moment ar y si l ence and Di ane sai d sl owl y, " I
t hi nk t her e i s. "
* * *
Vl NCE CARBALLO' s MEN wer e spr ead al l over t own, checki ng
ever y hot el , boar di nghouse, and f l ophouse. One of hi s men
showed pi ct ur es of Di ane and Kel l y t o t he cl er k at t he
Espl anade Hot el .
" Have you seen ei t her of t hese l adi es? Ther e' s a
f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d f or t hem. "
The cl er k shook hi s head. " I wi sh I knew wher e t hey wer e. "
At t he Renai ssance West chest er Hot el , anot her man was
hol di ng up pi ct ur es of Di ane and Kel l y.
" Fi ve mi l l i on? I wi sh I coul d col l ect t hat . "
At t he Cr owne Pl aza, t he cl er k was sayi ng, " I f I see t hem,
I ' l l sur e l et you know, mi st er . "
Vi nce Car bal l o hi msel f knocked at t he door of Gr ace
Sei del ' s boar di nghouse.
" Good mor ni ng. "
" Good mor ni ng. My name i s Vi nce Car bal l o. " He hel d up a
pi ct ur e of t he t wo women. " Have you
seen t hese women? Ther e' s a f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d f or
t hem. "
Gr ace Sei del ' s f ace l i t up. " Kel l y! "
* * *
I N TANNER' S OFFI CE, Kat hy Or donez was over whel med. Faxes
wer e comi ng i n f ast er t han she
coul d handl e t hem, and her e- mai l i n- box was i nundat ed.
She pi cked up a pi l e of t he paper s and
wal ked i nt o Tanner ' s of f i ce. Tanner and Paul i ne Van Luven
wer e seat ed on a couch, t al ki ng.
Tanner l ooked up as hi s secr et ar y came i n. " What i s i t ?"
She smi l ed. " Good news. You' r e goi ng t o have a ver y
successf ul di nner par t y. "
He f r owned. " What ar e you t al ki ng about ?"
She hel d up t he paper s. " These ar e al l accept ances.
Ever yone' s comi ng. "
Tanner got up. " Comi ng wher e? Let me see t hose. "
Kat hy handed hi mt he paper s and went out t o her desk.
Tanner r ead t he f i r st e- mai l al oud. " ' We woul d be
del i ght ed t o come t o di nner at KI G Headquar t er s on Fr i day t o
see t he unvei l i ng of Pr i ma, your weat her cont r ol machi ne. '
Fr omt he edi t or of Ti me magazi ne. "
Hi s f ace t ur ned whi t e. He l ooked at t he next one. " ' Thank
you f or your i nvi t at i on t o see Pr i ma, your weat her cont r ol
comput er , at KI G Headquar t er s. We l ook f or war d t o bei ng
t her e. ' I t ' s si gned by t he
edi t or of Newsweek. "
He ski mmed t he r est of t hem. " CBS, NBC, CNN, t he Wal l
St r eet J our nal , t he Chi cago Tr i bune, and
t he London Ti mes, al l eager t o see t he unvei l i ng of
Pr i ma. "
Paul i ne sat t her e, speechl ess.
Tanner was so f ur i ous, he coul d har dl y speak. " What t he
hel l i s goi ng on?" He st opped.
" Those bi t ches! "
* * *
AT I RMA' S I NTERNET Caf e, Di ane was busi l y oper at i ng a
comput er . She l ooked up at Kel l y.
" Have we l ef t anyone out ?"
Kel l y sai d, " El l e, Cosmopol i t an, Vani t y Fai r ,
Mademoi sel l e, Reader s Di gest . . . "
Di ane l aughed. " I t hi nk t hi s does i t . I hope Ki ngsl ey has
a good cat er er . He' s goi ng t o have a bi g par t y. "
* * *
Vi nce car bal l o was l ooki ng at Gr ace Sei del exci t edl y. " You
know Kel l y?"
" Oh, yes, " Gr ace sai d. " She' s one of t he most f amous
model s i n t he wor l d. "
Vi nce Car bal l o' s f ace l i t up. " Wher e i s she?"
Gr ace l ooked at hi mi n sur pr i se. " I don' t know. I ' ve never
met her . "
Hi s f ace r eddened. " You sai d you knew her . "
" I meanever ybody knows her . She' s ver y f amous. I sn' t she
beaut i f ul ?"
" You have no i dea wher e she i s?"
Gr ace sai d t hought f ul l y, " I do have ki nd of an i dea. "
" Wher e?"
" I saw a woman who l ooked l i ke her get on a bus t hi s
mor ni ng. She was t r avel i ng wi t h someone"
" What bus was i t ?"
" I t was t he bus t o Ver mont . "
" Thanks. "
Vi nce Car bal l o hur r i ed away.
* * *
TANNER THREWTHE pi l e of f axes and e- mai l s t o t he f l oor
and t ur ned t o Paul i ne. " Do you know
what t hose bi t ches have done? We can' t l et anyone see
Pr i ma. " He was t hought f ul f or a l ong moment .
" I t hi nk Pr i ma wi l l have an acci dent t he day bef or e t he
par t y and bl ow up. "
Paul i ne l ooked at hi ma moment and t hen smi l ed. " Pr i ma
I I . "
Tanner nodded. " That ' s r i ght . We can t r avel ar ound t he
wor l d, and anyt i me we' r e r eady, we' l l go
t o Tamoa and st ar t oper at i ng Pr i ma I I . "
Kat hy Or donez' s voi ce came over t he i nt er com. She sounded
f r ant i c. She buzzed i nt o Tanner ' s of f i ce. " Mr . Ki ngsl ey, t he
phones ar e goi ng cr azy. I have t he New Yor k Ti mes, t he
Washi ngt on Post , and
Lar r y Ki ng, al l hol di ng f or you. "
" Tel l t hemI ' mi n a meet i ng. " Tanner t ur ned t o Paul i ne.
" We have t o get out of her e. " He pat t ed
Andr ew on t he shoul der . " Andr ew, come wi t h us. "
" Yes, Tanner . "
The t hr ee of t hemwal ked over t o t he r edbr i ck bui l di ng. " I
have somet hi ng ver y i mpor t ant f or you
t o do, Andr ew. "
" Anyt hi ng you want , " Andr ew sai d.
* * *
TANNER LED THE way i nt o t he r edbr i ck bui l di ng and wal ked
over t o Pr i ma. Tanner t ur ned t o
Andr ew. " Her e' s what I want you t o do. Pr i ncess and I have
t o l eave now, but at si x o' cl ock, I want
you t o t ur n t hi s comput er of f . I t ' s ver y si mpl e. " He
poi nt ed. " You see t hi s bi g r ed but t on?"
Andr ew nodded. " I see i t . "
" Al l you have t o do i s pr ess i t t hr ee t i mes, at si x
o' cl ock. Thr ee t i mes. Can you r emember t hat ?"
Andr ew sai d, " Yes, Tanner . Si x o' cl ock. Thr ee t i mes. "
" Ri ght . See you l at er . "
Tanner and Paul i ne st ar t ed t o wal k out .
Andr ew l ooked af t er t hem. " You' r e not t aki ng me wi t h you?"
" No. You st ay her e. J ust r emember : si x o' cl ock, t hr ee
t i mes. "
" I ' l l r emember . "
As t hey wal ked out si de, Paul i ne sai d, " What i f he doesn' t
r emember ?"
Tanner l aughed. " I t doesn' t mat t er . I t ' s set t o expl ode
aut omat i cal l y at si x o' cl ock. I j ust want ed t o
make sur e he' s t her e when i t happens. "
CHAPTER 45
AT WAS A per f ect day f or f l yi ng. KI G' s 757 was speedi ng
over t he Paci f i c Ocean under an azur e
bl ue sky. Paul i ne and Tanner wer e snuggl ed t oget her on a
couch i n t he mai n cabi n.
Paul i ne sai d, " Dar l i ng, do you know i t ' s a shame t hat
peopl e wi l l never know how br i l l i ant you ar e?"
" I f t hey ever f ound out , I ' d be i n bi g t r oubl e. "
She l ooked at hi mand sai d, " No pr obl em. We coul d buy a
count r y and pr ocl ai mour sel ves t he r ul er s. Then t hey can' t
t ouch us. "
Tanner l aughed.
Paul i ne st r oked hi s hand. " Di d you know t hat I want ed you
f r omt he f i r st t i me I saw you?"
" No. As I r emember , you wer e ver y i mper t i nent . "
" And i t wor ked, di dn' t i t ? You had t o see me agai n, t o
t each me a l esson. "
Ther e was a l ong, er ot i c ki ss.
Far away, l i ght ni ng f l ashed.
Tanner sai d, " You' l l l ove Tamoa. We' l l spend a week or t wo
t her e and r el ax, and t hen we' l l t r avel
ar ound t he wor l d. We' r e goi ng t o make up f or al l t he l ost
year s when we coul dn' t be t oget her . "
She l ooked up and gr i nned i mpi shl y. " You bet we wi l l . "
" And ever y mont h or so, we' l l come back t o Tamoa and put
Pr i ma I I t o wor k. You and I can pi ck
our t ar get s t oget her . "
Paul i ne sai d, " Wel l , we coul d cr eat e a st or mi n Engl and,
but t hey woul dn' t not i ce. "
Tanner l aughed. " We have t he whol e wor l d t o choose f r om. "
A st ewar d appr oached. " I s t her e anyt hi ng I can get you?"
he asked.
Tanner sai d, " No. We have ever yt hi ng. " And he knew t hat i t
was t r ue.
I n t he di st ant sky, t her e wer e mor e f l ashes of l i ght ni ng.
" I hope t her e i sn' t goi ng t o be a st or m, " Paul i ne sai d.
" I I hat e f l yi ng i n r ough weat her . "
Tanner sai d r eassur i ngl y, " Don' t wor r y, dar l i ng. Ther e' s
not a cl oud i n t he sky. " He t hought of
somet hi ng and smi l ed. " We don' t have t o wor r y about t he
weat her . We cont r ol i t . " He l ooked
at hi s wat ch. " Pr i ma' s about t o bl ow up. "
Sudden dr ops of r ai n began t o pound agai nst t he pl ane.
Tanner hel d Paul i ne cl oser . " I t ' s al l r i ght . I t ' s j ust a
bi t of r ai n. "
And as Tanner sai d i t , t he sky suddenl y began t o dar ken
and t r embl e wi t h l oud peal s of t hunder . The huge pl ane
st ar t ed t o bounce up and down. Tanner was l ooki ng out t he
wi ndow, puzzl ed by what was happeni ng. The r ai n began t o t ur n
i nt o l ar ge hai l st ones.
Tanner sai d, " Look at " The r eal i zat i on suddenl y hi t hi m.
" Pr i ma! " I t was a cr y of exul t at i on, a l ook
of gl or y i n hi s eyes. " We can"
At t hat i nst ant , a hur r i cane hi t t he pl ane, bounci ng i t
ar ound savagel y.
Paul i ne was scr eami ng.
* * *
I N THE REDBRI CK bui l di ng at KI G, Andr ew Ki ngsl ey was
oper at i ng Pr i ma, hi s f i nger s f l ashi ng over t he keys i n
r emembr ance. Wat chi ng hi s t ar get on t he scr een, he coul d see
an i mage of hi s br ot her ' s
pl ane bei ng buf f et ed by t hr ee- hundr ed- mi l e- an- hour
hur r i cane wi nds. He pr essed anot her but t on.
* * *
AT A DOZEN br anch of f i ces of t he Nat i onal Weat her Ser vi ce,
f r omAnchor age, Al aska, t o Mi ami , Fl or i da, met eor ol ogi st s
wer e st ar i ng at t hei r comput er scr eens i n di sbel i ef . What was
happeni ng
seemed i mpossi bl e, but i t was happeni ng.
* * *
WORKI NG I N THE r edbr i ck bui l di ng, Andr ew was gr at ef ul t hat
t her e was st i l l one t hi ng he coul d
do t o hel p make t he wor l d a bet t er pl ace. He car ef ul l y
gui ded an F- 6 t or nado he had cr eat edupuphi gher and
hi gher . . . .
* * *
TANNER WAS LOOKI NG out t he wi ndow of t he wi l dl y t ossi ng
pl ane when he hear d t he t el l t al e
f r ei ght t r ai n sound of t he appr oachi ng t or nado over t he
r oar of t he st or m, t r avel i ng 320 mi l es an hour . Tanner ' s f ace
was f l ushed, and he was t r embl i ng wi t h exci t ement , wat chi ng
t he t or nado spi nni ng up t owar d t he pl ane. He was ecst at i c.
" Look! Ther e' s never been a t or nado t hi s hi gh. Never ! I
cr eat ed i t !
I t ' s a mi r acl e! Onl y God and I coul d"
* * *
I N THE REDBRI CK bui l di ng, Andr ew moved a swi t ch and
wat ched t he scr een as t he pl ane expl oded
and pi eces of wr eckage and bodi es wer e hur l ed i nt o t he
sky.
Then Andr ew Ki ngsl ey pr essed t he r ed but t on t hr ee t i mes.
CHAPTER 46
KELLY AND DI ANE wer e f i ni shi ng get t i ng dr essed when Gr ace
Sei del knocked at t hei r door .
" Br eakf ast i s r eady whenever you ar e. "
" Comi ng, " Kel l y cal l ed out .
Di ane sai d, " I hope our l i t t l e st unt wor ked. Let ' s see i f
Gr ace has a mor ni ng newspaper . "
They st epped out of t hei r r oom. To t he r i ght was t he
r ecr eat i on ar ea. A f ew peopl e wer e gat her ed
ar ound t he t el evi si on set . As Kel l y and Di ane st ar t ed t o
pass i t , t o go t o t he di ni ng r oom, a t el evi si on anchor man was
sayi ng:
" And accor di ng t o r epor t s, t her e wer e no sur vi vor s. Tanner
Ki ngsl ey and f or mer senat or Paul i ne
Van Luven wer e on t he pl ane, al ong wi t h a pi l ot , copi l ot ,
and a st ewar d. "
The t wo women f r oze. They l ooked at each ot her , t ur ned,
and wal ked up t o t he t el evi si on set . On t he scr een wer e
pi ct ur es of t he ext er i or of KI G.
Ki ngsl ey I nt er nat i onal Gr oup const i t ut es t he l ar gest t hi nk
t ank i n t he wor l d, wi t h of f i ces i n t hi r t y count r i es. The
weat her bur eau has r epor t ed an unexpect ed el ect r i cal st or mi n
t he Sout h Paci f i c ar ea wher e Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s pr i vat e pl ane
was f l yi ng. Paul i ne Van Luven was t he f or mer head of t he
Senat e Sel ect Commi t t ee on t he Envi r onment .
Di ane and Kel l y wer e l i st eni ng, f asci nat ed
" . . . . And i n anot her pi ece of t he puzzl e, t her e' s a
myst er y her e t hat t he pol i ce ar e t r yi ng t o sol ve.
The pr ess was i nvi t ed t o a di nner par t y, t o vi si t Pr i ma, a
new weat her cont r ol comput er t hat KI G devel oped, but
yest er day t her e was an expl osi on at KI G and Pr i ma was
compl et el y dest r oyed. The
f i r e depar t ment f ound t he body of Andr ew Ki ngsl ey i n t he
wr eckage and bel i eve he was t he onl y
vi ct i m.
Di ane sai d, " Tanner Ki ngsl ey i s dead. "
" Say t hat agai n. Sl owl y. "
" Tanner Ki ngsl ey i s dead. "
Kel l y br eat hed a deep si gh of r el i ef . She l ooked at Di ane
and smi l ed. " Li f e i s sur e goi ng t o be dul l
af t er t hi s. "
" I hope so, " Di ane r epl i ed. " How woul d you l i ke t o sl eep
at t he Wal dor f - Ast or i a Tower s t oni ght ?"
Kel l y gr i nned. " I woul dn' t mi nd. "
When t hey sai d t hei r good- byes t o Gr ace Sei del , she hugged
Kel l y and sai d, " Anyt i me. "
She never ment i oned t he money t hat she had been of f er ed.
* * *
I N THE PRESI DENTI AL sui t e i n t he Wal dor f Tower s, a wai t er
was set t i ng a t abl e f or di nner .
He t ur ned t o Di ane. " Di d you say you want ed i t set f or
f our ?"
" That ' s r i ght . "
Kel l y l ooked at her and sai d not hi ng.
Di ane knew what she was t hi nki ng. As t hey wer e si t t i ng
down at t he t abl e, Di ane sai d, " Kel l y, I don' t t hi nk we di d
t hi s al one. I t hi nk we had a l i t t l e hel p. " She r ai sed her
gl ass of champagne and sai d t o t he empt y chai r next t o her ,
" Thank you, Ri char d, dar l i ng. I l ove you. "
As she l i f t ed t he gl ass t o her l i ps, Kel l y sai d, " Wai t a
mi nut e. "
Di ane t ur ned t o her .
Kel l y pi cked up her gl ass of champagne and l ooked at t he
empt y chai r next t o her . " Mar k, I l ove you
so much. Thank you. "
They dr ank t hei r t oast s.
Kel l y smi l ed and sai d, " That f el t good. Wel l , what ' s
next ?"
" I ' mgoi ng t o t he FBI i n Washi ngt on and t el l t hemwhat I
know. "
Kel l y cor r ect ed her . " We' r e goi ng t o Washi ngt on and t el l
t hemwhat we know. "
Di ane nodded. " Ri ght . " She sai d t hought f ul l y, " I t hi nk we
di d a good j ob. Our husbands woul d be
pr oud of us. "
" Yeah, " Kel l y sai d. " We' ve sol ved t hi s. And l ook at t he
odds agai nst us. You know what we shoul d
do now?"
" What ?"
" St ar t our own det ect i ve agency. "
Di ane l aughed. " You' r e ki ddi ng. "
Kel l y gave her a l ong, sl ow smi l e. " AmI ?"
* * *
AFTER DI NNER, THEY wat ched t el evi si on, and ever y channel
was car r yi ng t he st or y of Tanner Ki ngsl ey' s deat h. As Kel l y
wat ched, she sai d t hought f ul l y, " You know, when you cut of f a
snake' s
head, t he r est of t he snake di es. "
" What does t hat mean?"
" Let ' s f i nd out . " Kel l y wal ked over t o t he t el ephone. " I
want t o pl ace a cal l t o Par i s. "
Fi ve mi nut es l at er , she hear d t he voi ce of Ni col e Par adi s.
" Kel l y! Kel l y! Kel l y! I ' mso gl ad you cal l ed. "
Kel l y' s hear t sank. She knew what she was goi ng t o hear
next . They had ki l l ed Angel .
" I di dn' t know how t o r each you. "
" You' ve hear d t he news?"
" The whol e wor l d has hear d t he news. J er ome Mal o and
Al phonse Gi r ouar d packed t hei r t hi ngs and
l ef t i n a hur r y. "
" And Phi l i ppe and hi s f ami l y?"
" They ar e r et ur ni ng t omor r ow. "
" That ' s wonder f ul . "
Kel l y was af r ai d t o ask t he next quest i on. " And Angel ?"
" I have Angel i n my apar t ment . They wer e pl anni ng t o use
her as bai t i n case you woul dn' t cooper at e. "
Kel l y f el t a sudden gl ow. " Oh, t hat ' s wonder f ul ! "
" What woul d you l i ke me t o do wi t h her ?"
" Put her on t he next Ai r Fr ance f l i ght t o New Yor k. Let me
know when she' l l ar r i ve and I ' l l pi ck her
up at t he ai r por t . You can cal l me her e at t he Wal dor f
Tower s. "
" I ' l l t ake car e of i t . "
" Thank you. " Kel l y r epl aced t he r ecei ver .
Di ane had been l i st eni ng. " Angel i s al l r i ght ?"
" Yes. "
" Oh, t hat ' s gr eat ! "
" I sn' t i t ? I ' mt hr i l l ed. By t he way, what ar e you goi ng t o
do wi t h your hal f of t he money?"
Di ane l ooked at her . " What ?"
" KI G put up a f i ve- mi l l i on- dol l ar r ewar d. I t hi nk i t ' s
comi ng t o us. "
" But Ki ngsl ey' s dead. "
" I know, but KI G i sn' t . "
They l aughed.
Kel l y asked, " What ' s your pl an af t er we go t o Washi ngt on?
Ar e you goi ng t o st ar t pai nt i ng agai n?"
Di ane was t hought f ul f or a moment . " No. "
Kel l y was wat chi ng her . " Real l y?"
" Wel l , t her e i s a pai nt i ng t hat I want t o do. I t ' s a
pi cni c scene i n Cent r al Par k. " Her voi ce br oke.
" Two l over s havi ng a pi cni c i n t he r ai n. Then . . . we' l l
see. What about you? Ar e you goi ng back
t o model i ng?"
" No, I don' t t hi nk"
Di ane was l ooki ng at her .
" Wel l . . . maybe, because whi l e I ' mon t he r unway, I can
i magi ne Mar k wat chi ng me, and bl owi ng
ki sses. Yes, I t hi nk he woul d want me t o go back t o wor k. "
Di ane smi l ed. " Good. "
They wat ched t el evi si on f or anot her hour , and t hen Di ane
sai d, " I t hi nk i t ' s t i me f or bed. "
Fi f t een mi nut es l at er , t hey wer e undr essed and i n t hei r
queen beds, bot h r el i vi ng t hei r r ecent advent ur es.
Kel l y yawned. " I ' msl eepy, Di ane. Let ' s t ur n out t he
l i ght s. "
AFTERWORD
THE OLD ADAGE t hat ever yone t al ks about t he weat her but no
one does anyt hi ng about i t i s no
l onger val i d. Today, t wo super power s have t he abi l i t y t o
cont r ol weat her ar ound t he wor l d: t he
Uni t ed St at es and Russi a. Ot her count r i es ar e wor ki ng
f ever i shl y t o cat ch up.
The sear ch f or t he mast er y of t he el ement s t hat began wi t h
Ni kol a Tesl a i n t he l at e 1800s, i nvol vi ng
t he t r ansmi ssi on of el ect r i cal ener gy t hr ough space, has
become a r eal i t y.
The consequences ar e monument al . Weat her can be used as a
bl essi ng or as a doomsday weapon.
Al l t he necessar y el ement s ar e i n pl ace.
I n 1969, t he U. S. Pat ent Of f i ce gr ant ed a pat ent f or " a
met hod of i ncr easi ng t he l i kel i hood of
pr eci pi t at i on by t he ar t i f i ci al i nt r oduct i on of sea wat er
vapor i nt o t he at mospher e. "
I n 1971, a pat ent was i ssued t o t he West i nghouse El ect r i c
Cor por at i on f or a syst emf or i r r adi at i on of pl anet sur f ace
ar eas.
I n 1971, a pat ent was i ssued t o t he Nat i onal Sci ence
Foundat i on f or a weat her modi f i cat i on met hod.
I n t he ear l y 1970s, t he U. S. Congr essi onal Commi t t ee on
Oceans and I nt er nal Envi r onment hel d
hear i ngs on our mi l i t ar y r esear ch i nt o weat her and cl i mat e
modi f i cat i on, and f ound t hat t he def ense depar t ment had pl ans
f or cr eat i ng t i dal waves t hr ough t he coor di nat ed use of
nucl ear weapons.
The danger of a devast at i ng conf r ont at i on bet ween t he
Uni t ed St at es and Russi a became so gr eat t hat
i n 1977 a UN t r eat y agai nst weat her modi f i cat i on f or
host i l e pur poses was si gned by t he Uni t ed St at es and Russi a.
That t r eat y di d not si gni f y t he end of weat her
exper i ment at i on. I n 1978, t he Uni t ed St at es l aunched
an exper i ment t hat cr eat ed a downpour of r ai n over si x
count i es i n nor t her n Wi sconsi n. The st or mgener at ed wi nds of
one hundr ed sevent y- f i ve mi l es per hour and caused f i f t y
mi l l i on dol l ar s i n
damages. Russi a, meanwhi l e, has been wor ki ng on i t s own
pr oj ect s.
I n 1992, t he Wal l St r eet J our nal r epor t ed t hat a Russi an
company, El at I nt el l i gence Technol ogi es,
was sel l i ng weat her cont r ol equi pment t ai l or ed t o speci f i c
needs, usi ng t he sl ogan " Weat her Made t o Or der . " Thei r
ser vi ces ar e avai l abl e t o ever y count r y i n t he wor l d.
As t he exper i ment s i n bot h count r i es cont i nued, weat her
pat t er ns began t o change. As ear l y as t he
1980s, st r ange weat her phenomena wer e bei ng r epor t ed.
" A r i dge of hi gh pr essur e has hover ed near l y 800 mi l es of f
t he Cal i f or ni a coast f or t he past t wo
mont hs, bl ocki ng t he usual f l ow of moi st ai r f r omt he
Paci f i c. " Ti me magazi ne, J anuar y 1981.
" . . . t he st agnant hi gh- pr essur e season act ed l i ke a
bar r i er , pr event i ng t he nor mal f l ow of weat her
pat t er ns f r omwest t o east . " New Yor k Ti mes, J ul y 29,
1993.
The weat her cat ast r ophes descr i bed i n t he body of t hi s
novel have al l happened.
Weat her i s t he most power f ul f or ce we know. Whoever
cont r ol s i t can di sr upt wor l d economi es wi t h per pet ual
r ai nst or ms or t or nadoes; wi pe out cr ops i n a dr ought ; cause
ear t hquakes, hur r i canes, and t sunami s; cl ose wor l d ai r por t s;
and cause devast at i on on enemy bat t l ef i el ds.
We coul d al l sl eep bet t er i f a wor l d l eader sai d,
" Ever yone t al ks about t he weat her , but no one does anyt hi ng
about i t . "
And i t was t he t r ut h.
I f you l i ked t hi s book vi si t www.phoenixuser.blogspot.in t o l eave a
r evi ew.