Best Laid PlansbySidney SheldonBooks by Sidney SheldonIF TOMORROW COMESMASTER OF THE GAMERAGE OF ANGELSBLOODLINEA STRANGER IN THE MIRROR THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHTTHE NAKED FACE WINDMILLS OF THE GODSTHE SANDS OF TIMEMEMORIES OF MIDNIGHTTHE DOOMSDAY CONSPIRACYTHE STARS SHINE DOWNNOTHING LASTS FOREVERMORNING, NOON & NIGHTSIDNEY SHELDONTHEBEST LAID PLANSHurperCollinsPublishers This novel is entirely a work offiction. Thenames, characters and modems portrayed in it are the workof theauthors imagination Any resemblance to actual persons,living or dead,
events or localities is entirely coincidental.HarperCollinsPuWisfiers77-85 Fulham Palace Road Hammersmith, London W6 8JUPublished byHarperCollinsPuWisfcers 1997 135798642 First published inthe USA byWilliam Morrow & Co. ,997 Copyright 6 The Sidney SheldonFamilyLimited Partnership 1997 The Author asserts the moralright to beidentified as the author of this work A catalogue recordfor this bookis available from the British Library ISBN 0 00 225660 6ISBN 0 00225662 2 (airport tpb) Set in Scala Printed and bound inGreat Britainby Caledonian International Book Manufacturing Ltd,Glasgow All rightsreserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in aretrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by anymeans,electronic, mechanical photocopymg, recording orotherwise, without theprior permission of the publishers. This book isdedicated to you withmy appreciationTHEBEST LAID PLANSOne.The first entry in Leslie Stewarts diary read:Dear Diary: This morning I met the man I am going tomarry.It was a simple, optimistic statement, with not theslightest portentof the dramatic chain of events that was about to occur.It was one of those rare, serendipitous days when nothing
could gowrong, when nothing would dare go wrong. Leslie Stewarthad nointerest in astrology, but that morning, as she wasleafing through theLexington Herald-Leader, a horoscope in an astrologycolumn by Zoltairecaught her eye. It read:FOR LEO (JULY 23RD TO AUGUST 22ND). THE NEWMOON ILLUMINATES YOUR LOVE LIFE. YOU ARE IN YOUR LUNARCYCLE HIGHNOW,AND MUST PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO AN EXCITING NEW EVENT INYOUR LIFE.YOUR COMPATIBLE SIGN IS ViRGO. TODAY WILL BE A RED-LETTERDAY. BEPREPARED TO ENJOY IT.Be prepared to enjoy what? Leslie thought wryly. Todaywas going tobe like every other day. Astrology was nonsense, mindcandy forfools.Leslie Stewart was a public relations and advertisingexecutive at theLexington, Kentucky, firm of Bailey & Tomkins. She hadthree meetingsscheduled for that afternoon, the first with the KentuckyFertilizerCompany, whose executives were excited about the newcampaign she wasworking up for them. They especially liked its beginning:"If you wantto smell the roses...." The second meeting was with theBreeders StudFarm, and the third with the Lexington Coal Company.Red-letter day?
In her late twenties, with a slim, provocative figure,Leslie Stewarthad an exciting, exotic look; gray, sloe eyes, highcheekbones, andsoft, honey-colored hair, which she wore long andelegantly simple. Afriend of Leslies had once told her,"If youre beautiful and have a brain and a vagina, youcan own theworld." Leslie Stewart was beautiful and had an IQ of170, and naturehad taken care of the rest. But she found her looks adisadvantage.Men were constantly pro positioning her or proposing, butfew of thembothered to try really to get to know her. Aside from thetwosecretaries who worked at Bailey & Tomkins, Leslie was theonly womanthere. There were fifteen male employees. It had takenLeslie lessthan a week to learn that she was more intelligent thanany of them. Itwas a discovery she decided to keep to herself. In thebeginning, bothpartners, Jim Bailey, an overweight, soft-spoken man inhis forties,and Al Tomkins, anorexic and hyper, ten years younger thanBailey,individually tried to talk Leslie into going to bed withthem. She hadstopped them very simply. "Ask me once more, and Illquit." That hadput an end to that. Leslie was too valuable an employeeto lose. Herfirst week on the job, during a coffee break, Leslie hadtold herfellow employees a joke. "Three men came across a femalegenie whopromised to grant each one a wish. The first man said, "Iwish I weretwenty-five percent smarter." The genie blinked, and theman said,
"Hey, I feel smarter already." "The second man said, "Iwish I werefifty percent smarter." The genie blinked, and the manexclaimed,"Thats wonderful! I think I know things now that Ididnt knowbefore.""The third man said, "Id like to be one hundred percentsmarter.""So the genie blinked, and the man changed into a woman."Leslie looked expectantly at the men at the table. Theywere allstaring at her, unamused.Point taken.The red-letter day that the astrologer had promised beganat elevenoclock that morning. Jim Bailey walked into Lesliestiny, crampedoffice. "We have a new client," he announced. "I wantyou to takecharge." She was already handling more accounts thananyone else atthe firm, but she knew better than to protest. "Fine,"she said."What is it?" "Its not a what, its a who. Youve heardof OliverRussell, of course?" Everyone had heard of OliverRussell. A localattorney and candidate for governor, he had his face onbillboards allover Kentucky. With his brilliant legal record, he wasconsidered, atthirty-five, the most eligible bachelor in the state. Hewas on allthe talk shows on the major television stations inLexington WDKY,WTVQ, WKYT and on the popular local radio stations, WKQQand WLRO.Strikingly handsome, with black,
unruly hair, dark eyes, an athletic build, and a warmsmile, he had thereputation of having slept with most of the ladies inLexington."Yes, Ive heard of him. What are we going to do forhim?""Were going to try to help turn him into the governor ofKentucky.Hes on his way here now."Oliver Russell arrived a few minutes later. He was evenmoreattractive in person than in his photographs. When he wasintroducedto Leslie, he smiled warmly. "Ive heard a lot about you.Im so gladyoure going to handle my campaign." He was not at allwhat Leslie hadexpected. There was a completely disarming sincerityabout the man.For a moment, Leslie was at a loss for words. "I thankyou. Pleasesit down." Oliver Russell took a seat. "Lets start atthebeginning," Leslie suggested. "Why are you running forgovernor?""Its very simple. Kentuckys a wonderful state. We knowit is,because we live here, and were able to enjoy its magicbut much of thecountry thinks of us as a bunch of hillbillies. I want tochange thatimage. Kentucky has more to offer than a dozen otherstates combined.The history of this country began here. We have one ofthe oldestcapitol buildings in America. Kentucky gave this countrytwopresidents. Its the land ofDaniel Boone and Kit Carson and Judge Roy Bean. We have
the mostbeautiful scenery in the world exciting caves, rivers,bluegrass fieldseverything. I want to open all that up to the rest of theworld."He spoke with a deep conviction, and Leslie found herselfstronglydrawn to him. She thought of the astrology column. "Thenew moonilluminates your love life. Today will be a red-letterday. Beprepared to enjoy it."Oliver Russell was saying, "The campaign wont work unlessyou believein this as strongly as I do.""I do," Leslie said quickly. Too quickly? "Im reallylooking forwardto this." She hesitated a moment. "May I ask you aquestion?""Certainly.""Whats your birth sign?""Virgo."After Oliver Russell left, Leslie went into Jim Baileysoffice. "Ilike him," she said. "Hes sincere. He really cares. Ithink hedmake a fine governor." Jim looked at her thoughtfully."Its notgoing to be easy." She looked at him, puzzled. "Oh?Why?" Baileyshrugged. "Im not sure. Theres something going on thatI cantexplain. Youve seen Russell on all the billboards and ontelevision?""Yes." .f"Well, thats stopped." "I dont understand. Why?" "No
one knows forcertain, but there are a lot of strange rumors. One ofthe rumors isthat someone was backing Russell, putting up all the moneyfor hiscampaign, and then for some reason suddenly dropped him.""In themiddle of a campaign he was winning? That doesnt makesense, Jim.""I know." "Why did he come to us?" "He really wantsthis. I thinkhes ambitious. And he feels he can make a difference.He would likeus to figure out a campaign that wont cost him a lot ofmoney. Hecant afford to buy any more airtime or do muchadvertising. All wecan really do for him is to arrange interviews, plantnewspaperarticles, that sort of thing." He shook his head."Governor Addisonis spending a fortune on his campaign. In the last twoweeks,Russells gone way down in the polls. Its a shame. Hesa goodlawyer. Does a lot of pro bono work. I think hed make agoodgovernor, too." That night Leslie made her first note inher newdiary. Dear Diary: This morning I met the man I am goingto marry.Leslie Stewarts early childhood was idyllic. She was anextraordinarily intelligent child. Her father was anEnglish professorat Lexington Community College and her mother was ahousewife.Leslies father was a handsome man, patrician andintellectual. He wasa caring father, and he saw to it that the family tooktheir vacationstogether and traveled together. Her father adored her."Youre Daddysgirl," he would say. He would tell her how beautiful shelooked and
compliment her on her grades, her behavior, her friends.Leslie coulddo no wrong in his eyes. For her ninth birthday, herfather bought hera beautiful brown velvet dress with lace cuffs. He wouldhave her putthe dress on, and he would show her off to his friendswhen they cameto dinner. "Isnt she a beauty?" he would say. Leslieworshiped him.One morning, a year later, in a split second, Leslieswonderful lifevanished. Her mother, face stained with tears, sat herdown."Darling, your father has ... left us." Leslie did notunderstand atfirst. "When will he be back?" "Hes not coming back."And each wordwas a sharp knife. My mother has driven him away, Lesliethought. Shefelt sorry for her mother because now there would be adivorce and acustody fight. Her father would never let her go. Never.Hell comefor me, Leslie told herself. But weeks passed, and herfather nevercalled. They wont let him come and see me, Lesliedecided. Motherspunishing him. It was Leslies elderly aunt who explainedto the childthat there would be no custody battle. Leslies father hadfallen inlove with a widow who taught at the university and hadmoved in withher, in her house on Limestone Street.One day when they were out shopping, Leslies motherpointed out thehouse. "Thats where they live," she said bitterly.Leslie resolved to visit her father. When he sees me, shethought,hell want to come home.
On a Friday, after school, Leslie went to the house onLimestone Streetand rang the doorbell. The door was opened by a girlLeslies age. Shewas wearing a brown velvet dress with lace cuffs. Lesliestared ather, in shock.The little girl was looking at her curiously. "Who areyou?"Leslie fled.Over the next year, Leslie watched her mother retire intoherself. Shehad lost all interest in life. Leslie had believed that"dying of abroken heart" was an empty phrase, but Leslie helplesslywatched hermother fade away and die, and when people asked her whather mother haddied of, Leslie answered, "She died of a broken heart."And Leslieresolved that no man would ever do that to her. After hermothersdeath, Leslie moved in with her aunt. Leslie attendedBryan StationHigh School and was graduated from the University ofKentucky summa cumlaude. In her final year in college, she was voted beautyqueen, andturned down numerous offers from modeling agencies.Leslie had twobrief affairs, one with a college football hero, and theother with hereconomics professor. They quickly bored her. The factwas that shewas brighter than both of them.Just before Leslie was graduated, her aunt died. Lesliefinishedschool and applied for a job at the advertising and publicrelationsagency of Bailey & Tomkins. Its offices were on Vine
Street in aU-shaped brick building with a copper roof and a fountainin thecourtyard.Jim Bailey, the senior partner, had examined Lesliesresume, andnodded. "Very impressive. Youre in luck. We need asecretary.""A secretary? I hoped ""Yes?""Nothing."Leslie started as a secretary, taking notes at all themeetings, hermind all the while judging and thinking of ways to improvetheadvertising campaigns that were being suggested. Onemorning, anaccount executive was saying, "Ive thought of the perfectlogo for theRancho Beef Chili account. On the label of the can, weshow a pictureof a cowboy roping a cow. It suggests that the beef isfresh, and "Thats a terrible idea, Leslie thought. They were allstaring at her,and to her horror, Leslie realized she had spoken aloud."Would you mind explaining that, young lady?""I..." She wished she were somewhere else. Anywhere.They were all waiting. Leslie took a deep breath. "Whenpeople eatmeat, they dont want to be reminded that theyre eating adeadanimal."There was a heavy silence. Jim Bailey cleared his throat.
"Maybe weshould give this a little more thought."The following week, during a meeting on how to publicize anew beautysoap account, one of the executives said, "Well usebeauty contestwinners.""Excuse me," Leslie said diffidently. "I believe thatsbeen done. Whycouldnt we use lovely flight attendants from around theworld to showthat our beauty soap is universal?"In the meetings after that, the men found themselvesturning to Lesliefor her opinion.A year later, she was a junior copywriter, and two yearsafter that,she became an account executive, handling both advertisingandpublicity.Oliver Russell was the first real challenge that Lesliehad had at theagency. Two weeks after Oliver Russell came to them,Bailey suggestedto Leslie that it might be better to drop him, because hecould notafford to pay their usual agency fee, but Leslie persuadedhim to keepthe account."Call it pro bono," she said.Bailey studied her a moment. "Right."Leslie and Oliver Russell were seated on a bench inTriangle Park. Itwas a cool fall day, with a soft breeze coming from thelake. "I hatepolitics," Oliver Russell said.
Leslie looked at him in surprise. "Then why in the worldare you ?""Because I want to change the system, Leslie. Its beentaken over bylobbyists and corporations that help put the wrong peoplein power andthen control them. There are a lot of things I want todo." His voicewas filled with passion. "The people who are running thecountry haveturned it into an old boys club. They care more aboutthemselves thanthey do about the people. Its not right, and Im goingto try tocorrect that."Leslie listened as Oliver went on, and she was thinking,He could doit. There was such a compelling excitement about him.The truth wasthat she found everything about him exciting. She hadnever felt thisway about a man before, and it was an exhilaratingexperience. She hadno way of knowing how he felt about her. He is always theperfectgentleman, damn him. It seemed to Leslie that every fewminutes peoplewere coming up to the park bench to shake Olivers handand to wish himwell. The women were visually throwing daggers at Leslie.Theyveprobably all been out with him, Leslie thought. Theyveprobably allbeen to bed with him. Well, thats none of my business.She had heard that until recently he had been dating thedaughter of asenator. She wondered what had happened. Thats none ofmy business,either.
There was no way to avoid the fact that Olivers campaignwas goingbadly. Without money to pay his staff, and no television,radio, ornewspaper ads, it was impossible to compete with GovernorGary Addison,whose image seemed to be everywhere. Leslie arranged forOliver toappear at company picnics, at factories, and at dozens ofsocialevents, but she knew these appearances were allminor-league, and itfrustrated her."Have you seen the latest polls?" Jim Bailey askedLeslie. "Your boyis going down the tubes."Not if I can help it, Leslie thought.Leslie and Oliver were having dinner at Cheznous. "Itsnot working,is it?" Oliver asked quietly. "Theres still plenty oftime," Lesliesaid reassuringly. "When the voters get to know you "Oliver shook hishead. "I read the polls, too. I want you to know Iappreciateeverything youve tried to do for me, Leslie. Youve beengreat." Shesat there looking at him across the table, thinking, Hesthe mostwonderful man Ive ever met, and I cant help him. Shewanted to takehim in her arms and hold him and console him. Consolehim? Who am Ikidding? As they got up to leave, a man, a woman, and twosmall girlsapproached the table. "Oliver! How are you?" Thespeaker was in hisforties, an attractive-looking man with a black eye patchthat gave himthe raffish look of an amiable pirate.
Oliver rose and held out his hand. "Hello, Peter. Idlike you tomeet Leslie Stewart. Peter Tager.""Hello, Leslie." Tager nodded toward his family. "Thisis my wife,Betsy, and this is Elizabeth and this is Rebecca." Therewas enormouspride in his voice.Peter Tager turned to Oliver. "Im awfully sorry aboutwhat happened.Its a damned shame. I hated to do it, but I had nochoice.""I understand, Peter.""If there was anything I could have done ""It doesnt matter. Im fine.""You know I wish you only the best of luck."On the way home, Leslie asked, "What was that all about?"Oliver started to say something, then stopped. "Its notimportant."Leslie lived in a neat one-bedroom apartment in theBrandy-wine sectionof Lexington. As they approached the building, Oliversaid hesitantly,"Leslie, I know that your agency is handling me for almostnothing, butfrankly, I think youre wasting your time. It might bebetter if Ijust quit now.""No," she said, and the intensity of her voice surprisedher. "Youcant quit. Well find a way to make it work."Oliver turned to look at her. "You really care, dontyou?"
Am I reading too much into that question? "Yes," she saidquietly. "Ireally care."When they arrived at her apartment, Leslie took a deepbreath. "Wouldyou like to come in?"He looked at her a long time. "Yes."Afterward, she never knew who made the first move. Allshe rememberedwas that they were undressing each other and she was inhis arms andthere was a wild, feral haste in their lovemaking, andafter that, aslow and easy melting, in a rhythm that was timeless andecstatic. Itwas the most wonderful feeling Leslie had everexperienced.They were together the whole night, and it was magical.Oliver wasinsatiable, giving and demanding at the same time, and hewent onforever. He was an animal. And Leslie thought, Oh, myGod, Im one,too.In the morning, over a breakfast of orange juice,scrambled eggs,toast, and bacon, Leslie said, "Theres going to be apicnic at GreenRiver Lake on Friday, Oliver. There will be a lot ofpeople there.Ill arrange for you to make a speech. Well buy radiotime to leteveryone know youre going to be there. Then well ""Leslie," heprotested, "I havent the money to do that." "Oh, dontworry aboutthat," she said airily. "The agency will pay for it."She knew that
there was not the remotest chance that the agency wouldpay for it. Sheintended to do that herself. She would tell Jim Baileythat the moneyhad been donated by a Russell supporter. And it would bethe truth.Ill do anything in the world to help him, she thought.There were two hundred people at the picnic at Green RiverLake, andwhen Oliver addressed the crowd, he was brilliant."Half the people in this country dont vote," he toldthem. "We havethe lowest voting record of any industrial country in theworld lessthan fifty percent. If you want things to change, itsyourresponsibility to make sure they do change. Its morethan aresponsibility, its a privilege. Theres an electioncoming up soon.Whether you vote for me or my opponent, vote. Be there."They cheered him.Leslie arranged for Oliver to appear at as many functionsas possible.He presided at the opening of a childrens clinic,dedicated a bridge,talked to womens groups, labor groups, at charity events,andretirement homes. Still, he kept slipping in the polls.WheneverOliver was not campaigning, he and Leslie found some timeto betogether. They went riding in a horse-drawn carriagethrough TrianglePark, spent a Saturday afternoon at the Antique Market,and had dinnerat A la Lucie. Oliver gave Leslie flowers for GroundhogDay and on theanniversary of the Battle of Bull Run, and left lovingmessages on her
answering machine: "Darling where are you? I miss you,miss you, missyou.""Im madly in love with your answering machine. Do youhave any ideahow sexy it sounds?""I think it must be illegal to be this happy. I loveyou."It didnt matter to Leslie where she and Oliver went: Shejust wantedto be with him.One of the most exciting things they did was to gowhite-water raftingon the Russell Fork River one Sunday. The trip startedinnocently,gently, until the river began to pound its way around thebase of themountains in a giant loop that began a series ofdeafening,breathtaking vertical drops in the rapids: five feet...eight feet...nine feet... only a terrifying raft length apart. Thetrip took threeand a half hours, and when Leslie and Oliver got off theraft, theywere soaking wet and glad to be alive. They could notkeep their handsoff each other. They made love in their cabin, in theback of hisautomobile, in the woods.One early fall evening, Oliver prepared dinner at hishome, a charminghouse in Versailles, a small town near Lexington. Therewere grilledflank steaks marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and herbs,served withbaked potato, salad, and a perfect red wine."Youre a wonderful cook," Leslie told him. She snuggled
up to him."In fact, youre a wonderful everything, sweetheart.""Thank you, mylove." He remembered something. "I have a littlesurprise for youthat I want you to try." He disappeared into the bedroomfor a momentand came out carrying a small bottle with a clear liquidinside. "Hereit is," he said. "What is it?" "Have you heard ofEcstasy?" "Heardof it? Im in it." "I mean the drug Ecstasy. This isliquid Ecstasy.Its supposed to be a great aphrodisiac." Leslie frowned."Darlingyou dont need that. We dont need it. It could bedangerous." Shehesitated. "Do you use it often?" Oliver laughed. "As amatter offact, I dont. Take that look off your face. A friend ofmine gave methis and told me to try it. This would have been thefirst time.""Lets not have a first time," Leslie said. "Will youthrow it away?""Youre right. Of course I will." He went into thebathroom, and amoment later Leslie heard the toilet flush. Oliverreappeared. "Allgone." He grinned. "Who needs Ecstasy in a bottle? Ihave it in abetter package." And he took her in his arms. Leslie hadread thelove stories and had heard the love songs, but nothing hadprepared herfor the incredible reality. She had always thought thatromanticlyrics were sentimental nonsense, wishful dreaming. Sheknew betternow. The world suddenly seemed brighter, more beautiful.Everythingwas touched with magic, and the magic was Oliver Russell.One Saturday morning, Oliver and Leslie were hiking in the
BreaksInterstate Park, enjoying the spectacular scenery thatsurroundedthem."Ive never been on this trail before," Leslie said."I think youre going to enjoy it."They were approaching a sharp curve in the path. As theyrounded it,Leslie stopped, stunned. In the middle of the path was ahand-paintedwooden sign: LESLIE, WILL YOUMARRY ME?Leslies heart began to beat faster. She turned toOliver,speechless.He took her in his arms. "Will you?"How did I get so lucky? Leslie wondered. She hugged himtightly andwhispered, "Yes, darling. Of course I will.""Im afraid I cant promise you that youre going to marrya governor,but Im a pretty good attorney."She snuggled up to him and whispered, "That will donicely."A few nights later, Leslie was getting dressed to meetOliver fordinner when he telephoned."Darling, Im terribly sorry, but Ive bad news. I haveto go to ameeting tonight, and Ill have to cancel our dinner. Willyou forgiveme?"
Leslie smiled and said softly, "Youre forgiven."The following day, Leslie picked up a copy of the StateJournal. Theheadline read: WOMANS BODY FOUND IN KENTUCKY RIVER. Thestory wenton: "Early this morning, the body of a nude woman whoappeared to be inher early twenties was found by police in the KentuckyRiver ten mileseast of Lexington. An autopsy is being performed todetermine thecause of death...."Leslie shuddered as she read the story. To die so young.Did she havea lover? A husband? How thankful I am to be alive and sohappy and soloved.It seemed that all of Lexington was talking about theforthcomingwedding. Lexington was a small town, and Oliver Russellwas a popularfigure. They were a spectacular-looking couple, Oliverdark andhandsome, and Leslie with her lovely face and figure andhoney-blondhair. The news had spread like wildfire. "I hope heknows how luckyhe is," Jim Bailey said. Leslie smiled. "Were bothlucky.""Are you going to elope?""No. Oliver wants to have a formal wedding. Weregetting married atthe Calvary Chapel church.""When does the happy event take place?" "In six weeks."A few days later, a story on the front page of the StateJournal read:"An autopsy has revealed that the woman found in the
Kentucky River,identified as Lisa Burnette, a legal secretary, died of anoverdose ofa dangerous illegal drug known on the streets as liquidEcstasy...."Liquid Ecstasy. Leslie recalled the evening with Oliver.And shethought, How lucky it was that he threw that bottle away.The next few weeks were filled with frantic preparationsfor thewedding. There was so much to do. Invitations went outto two hundredpeople. Leslie chose a maid of honor and selected heroutfit, aballerina-length dress with matching shoes and gloves tocomplement thelength of the sleeves. For herself, Leslie shopped atFayette Mall onNicholasville Road and selected a floor-length gown with afull skirtand a sweep train, shoes to match the gown, and longgloves. Oliverordered a black cutaway coat with striped trousers, graywaistcoat, awing-collared white shirt, and a striped ascot. His bestman was alawyer in his firm."Everything is set," Oliver told Leslie. "Ive made allthearrangements for the reception afterward. Almost everyonehasaccepted."Leslie felt a small shiver go through her. "I cant wait,mydarling."On a Thursday night one week before the wedding, Olivercame toLeslies apartment. "Im afraid something has come up,Leslie. A
client of mine is in trouble. Im going to have to fly toParis tostraighten things out." "Paris? How long will you begone?" "Itshouldnt take more than two or three days, four days atthe most. Illbe back in plenty of time." "Tell the pilot to flysafely." "Ipromise." When Oliver left, Leslie picked up thenewspaper on thetable. Idly, she turned to the horoscope by Zoltaire. Itread: FORLEO (JULY 23RD TO AUGUST 22ND). THIS is NOTA GOOD DAY TO CHANGE PLANS. TAKING RISKS CAN LEAD TOSERIOUSPROBLEMS.Leslie read the horoscope again, disturbed. She wasalmost tempted totelephone Oliver and tell him not to leave. But thatsridiculous, shethought. Its just a stupid horoscope.By Monday, Leslie had not heard from Oliver. Shetelephoned hisoffice, but the staff had no information. There was noword from himTuesday. Leslie was beginning to panic. At four oclockon Wednesdaymorning, she was awakened by the insistent ringing of thetelephone.She sat up in bed and thought: Its Oliver! Thank God.She knew thatshe should be angry with him for not calling her sooner,but that wasunimportant now. She picked up the receiver. "Oliver..." A malevoice said, "Is this Leslie Stewart?" She felt a suddencold chill."Who who is this?" "Al Towers, Associated Press. We havea storygoing out on our wires, Miss Stewart, and we wanted to get
yourreaction." Something terrible had happened. Oliver wasdead. "MissStewart?" "Yes." Her voice was a strangled whisper."Could we get aquote from you?" "A quote?" "About Oliver Russellmarrying SenatorTodd Daviss daughter in Paris." For an instant the roomseemed tospin. "You and Mr. Russell were engaged, werent you?If we couldget a quote ..." She sat there, frozen. "Miss Stewart."She found her voice. "Yes." wish them both well." Shereplaced thereceiver, numb. It was a nightmare. She would awaken ina few minutesand find that she had been dreaming.But this was no dream. She had been abandoned again."Yourfathersnot coming back." She walked into the bathroom and staredat her paleimage in the mirror. "We have a story going out on ourwires." Oliverhad married someone else. Why? What have I done wrong?How have Ifailed him? But deep down she knew that it was Oliver whohad failedher. He was gone. How could she face the future?When Leslie walked into the agency that morning, everyonewas tryinghard not to stare at her. She went into Jim Baileysoffice.He took one look at her pale face and said, "You shouldnthave come intoday, Leslie. Why dont you go home and "She took a deep breath. "No, thank you. Ill be fine."The radio and television newscasts and afternoonnewspapers were filled
with details of the Paris wedding. Senator Todd Davis waswithoutdoubt Kentuckys most influential citizen, and the storyof hisdaughters marriage and of the grooms jilting Leslie wasbig news.The phones in Leslies office never stopped ringing."This is the Courier-Journal, Miss Stewart. Could yougive us astatement about the wedding?""Yes. The only thing I care about is Oliver Russellshappiness.""But you and he were going to be ""It would have been a mistake for us to marry. SenatorDavissdaughter was in his life first. Obviously, he never gotover her. Iwish them both well.""This is the State Journal in Frankfort...."And so it went.It seemed to Leslie that half of Lexington pitied her, andthe otherhalf rejoiced at what had happened to her. WhereverLeslie went, therewere whispers and hastily broken-off conversations. Shewas fiercelydetermined not to show her feelings."How could you let him do this to ?""When you truly love someone," Leslie said firmly, "youwant him to behappy. Oliver Russell is the finest human being Ive everknown. Iwish them both every happiness."
She sent notes of apology to all those who had beeninvited to thewedding and returned their gifts.Leslie had been half hoping for and half dreading the callfrom Oliver.Still, when it came, she was unprepared. She was shakenby thefamiliar sound of his voice. "Leslie ... I dont knowwhat to say.""Its true, isnt it?""Yes.""Then there isnt anything to say.""I just wanted to explain to you how it happened. BeforeI met you,Jan and I were almost engaged. And when I saw her again II knew thatI still loved her.""I understand, Oliver. Goodbye."Five minutes later, Leslies secretary buzzed her."Theres atelephone call for you on line one, Miss Stewart.""I dont want to talk to ""Its Senator Davis."The father of the bride. What does he want with me?Leslie wondered.She picked up the telephone.A deep southern voice said, "Miss Stewart?""Yes.""This is Todd Davis. I think you and I should have alittle talk."
She hesitated. "Senator, I dont know what we ""Ill pick you up in one hour." The line went dead.Exactly one hour later, a limousine pulled up in front ofthe officebuilding where Leslie worked. A chauffeur opened the cardoor forLeslie. Senator Davis was in the backseat. He was adistinguished-looking man with flowing white hair and asmall, neatmustache. He had the face of a patriarch. Even in thefall he wasdressed in his trademark white suit and whitebroad-brimmed leghornhat. He was a classic figure from an earlier century, anold-fashionedsouthern gentleman.As Leslie got into the car, Senator Davis said, "Youre abeautifulyoung woman.""Thank you," she said stiffly.The limousine started off."I didnt mean just physically, Miss Stewart. Ive beenhearing aboutthe manner in which youve been handling this whole sordidmatter. Itmust be very distressing for you. I couldnt believe thenews when Iheard it." His voice filled with anger. "Whateverhappened to goodold-fashioned morality? To tell you the truth, Imdisgusted withOliver for treating you so shabbily. And Im furious withJan formarrying him. In a way, I feel guilty, because shes mydaughter. Theydeserve each other." His voice was choked with emotion.They rode in silence for a while. When Leslie finally
spoke, she said,"I know Oliver. Im sure he didnt mean to hurt me. Whathappened...just happened. I want only the best for him. He deservesthat, and Iwouldnt do anything to stand in his way.""Thats very gracious of you." He studied her a moment."You reallyare a remarkable young lady."The limousine had come to a stop. Leslie looked out thewindow. Theyhad reached Paris Pike, at the Kentucky Horse Center.There were morethan a hundred horse farms in and around Lexington, andthe largest ofthem was owned by Senator Davis. As far as the eye couldsee werewhite plank fences, white paddocks with red trim, androlling Kentuckybluegrass.Leslie and Senator Davis stepped out of the car and walkedover to thefence surrounding the racetrack. They stood there a fewmoments,watching the beautiful animals working out.Senator Davis turned to Leslie. "Im a simple man," hesaid quietly."Oh, I know how that must sound to you, but its thetruth. I was bornhere, and I could spend the rest of my life here. Theresno place inthe world like it. Just look around you, Miss Stewart.This is asclose as we may ever come to heaven. Can you blame me fornot wantingto leave all this? Mark Twain said that when the worldcame to an end,he wanted to be in Kentucky, because its always a goodtwenty yearsbehind. I have to spend half my life in Washington, and I
loatheit.""Then why do you do it?""Because I have a sense of obligation. Our people votedme into theSenate, and until they vote me out, Ill be there tryingto do the bestjob I can." He abruptly changed the subject. "I want youto know howmuch I admire your sentiments and the way youve behaved.If you hadbeen nasty about this, I suppose it could have createdquite a scandal.As it is, well Id like to show my appreciation."Leslie looked at him."I thought that perhaps you would like to get away for awhile, take alittle trip abroad, spend some time traveling. Naturally,Id pick upall the ""Please dont do this.""I was only ""I know. I havent met your daughter, Senator Davis, butif Oliverloves her, she must be very special. I hope theyll behappy."He said awkwardly, "I think you should know theyre comingback here toget married again. In Paris, it was a civil ceremony, butJan wants achurch wedding here."It was a stab in the heart. "I see. All right. Theyhave nothing toworry about."
"Thank you."The wedding took place two weeks later, in the CalvaryChapel churchwhere Leslie and Oliver were to have been married. Thechurch waspacked.Oliver Russell, Jan, and Senator Todd Davis were standingbefore theminister at the altar. Jan Davis was an attractivebrunette, with animposing figure and an aristocratic air.The minister was nearing the end of the ceremony. "Godmeant for manand woman to be united in holy matrimony, and as you gothrough lifetogether..."The church door opened, and Leslie Stewart walked in. Shestood at theback for a moment, listening, then moved to the last pew,where sheremained standing.The minister was saying, "... so if anyone knows why thiscouple shouldnot be united in holy matrimony, let him speak now orforever hold his..." He glanced up and saw Leslie. "... hold his peace."Almost involuntarily, heads began to turn in Lesliesdirection.Whispers began to sweep through the crowd. People sensedthat theywere about to witness a dramatic scene, and the churchfilled withsudden tension.The minister waited a moment, then nervously cleared histhroat. "Then,by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man andwife." There was
a note of deep relief in his voice. "You may kiss thebride."When the minister looked up again, Leslie was gone.The final note in Leslie Stewarts diary read:Dear Diary: It was a beautiful wedding. Olivers bride isvery pretty.She wore a lovely white lace-and-satin wedding gown with ahalter topand a bolero jacket. Oliver looked more handsome thanever. He seemedvery happy. Im pleased.Because before Im finished with him, Im going to makehim wish he hadnever been born.Two.It was Senator Todd Davis who had arranged thereconciliation of OliverRussell and his daughter. Todd Davis was a widower. Amultibillionaire the senator owned tobacco plantations, coalmines, oilfields in Oklahoma and Alaska, and a world-class racingstable. AsSenate majority leader, he was one of the most powerfulmen inWashington, and was serving his fifth term. He was a manwith a simplephilosophy: Never forget a favor, never forgive a slight.He pridedhimself on picking winners, both at the track and inpolitics, andearly on he had spotted Oliver Russell as a comer. Thefact thatOliver might marry his daughter was an unexpected plus,until, ofcourse, Jan foolishly called it off. When the senatorheard the newsof the impending wedding between Oliver Russell and Leslie
Stewart, hefound it disturbing. Very disturbing.Senator Davis had first met Oliver Russell when Oliverhandled a legalmatter for him. Senator Davis was impressed. Oliver wasintelligent,handsome, and articulate, with a boyish charm that drewpeople to him.The senator arranged to have lunch with Oliver on aregular basis, andOliver had no idea how carefully he was being assessed. Amonth aftermeeting Oliver, Senator Davis sent for Peter Tager. "Ithink wevefound our next governor." Tager was an earnest man whohad grown up ina religious family. His father was a history teacher andhis motherwas a housewife, and they were devout churchgoers. WhenPeter Tagerwas eleven, he had been traveling in a car with hisparents and youngerbrother when the brakes of the car failed. There had beena deadlyaccident. The only one who survived was Peter, who lostan eye. Peterbelieved that Goo had spared him so that he could spreadHis word.Peter Tager understood the dynamics of politics betterthan anyoneSenator Davis had ever met. Tager knew where the voteswere and how toget them. He had an uncanny sense of what the publicwanted to hearand what it had gotten tired of hearing. But even moreimportant toSenator Davis was the fact that Peter Tager was a man hecould trust, aman of integrity. People liked him. The black eye patchhe wore gavehim a dashing look. What mattered to Tager more thananything in theworld was his family. The senator had never met a man so
deeply proudof his wife and children.When Senator Davis first met him, Peter Tager had beencontemplatinggoing into the ministry."So many people need help, Senator. I want to do what Ican."But Senator Davis had talked him out of the idea. "Thinkof how manymore people you can help by working for me in the Senateof the UnitedStates." It had been a felicitous choice. Tager knew howto getthings done."The man I have in mind to run for governor is OliverRussell.""The attorney?""Yes. Hes a natural. I have a hunch if we get behindhim, he cantmiss.""Sounds interesting, Senator."The two of them began to discuss it.Senator Davis spoke to Jan about Oliver Russell. "The boyhas a hotfuture, honey." "He has a hot past, too, Father. Hesthe biggestwolf in town." "Now, darling, you mustnt listen togossip. Iveinvited Oliver to dinner here Friday."The dinner Friday evening went well. Oliver was charming,and in spiteof herself, Jan found herself warming to him. The senatorsat at hisplace watching them, asking questions that brought out the
best inOliver.At the end of the evening, Jan invited Oliver to a dinnerparty thefollowing Saturday. "Id be delighted."From that night on, they started seeing only each other."Theyll be getting married soon," the senator predictedto PeterTager. "Its time we got Olivers campaign rolling."Oliver was summoned to a meeting at Senator Davissoffice. "I want toask you a question," the senator said. "How would youlike to be thegovernor of Kentucky?" Oliver looked at him in surprise."I I haventthought about it." "Well, Peter Tager and I have.Theres an electioncoming up next year. That gives us more than enough timeto build youup, let people know who you are. With us behind you, youcant lose."And Oliver knew it was true. Senator Davis was a powerfulman, incontrol of a well-oiled political machine, a machine thatcould createmyths or destroy anyone who got in its way. "Youd haveto be totallycommitted," the senator warned. "I would be.""I have some even better news for you, son. As far as Imconcerned,this is only the first step. You serve a term or two asgovernor, andI promise you well move you into the White House."Oliver swallowed. "Are are you serious?""I dont joke about things like this. I dont have totell you thatthis is the age of television. You have something that
money cant buycharisma. People are drawn to you. You genuinely likepeople, and itshows. Its the same quality Jack Kennedy had.""I I dont know what to say, Todd.""You dont have to say anything. I have to return toWashingtontomorrow, but when I get back, well go to work."A few weeks later, the campaign for the office of governorbegan.Billboards with Olivers picture flooded the state. Heappeared ontelevision and at rallies and political seminars. PeterTager had hisown private polls that showed Olivers popularityincreasing each week."Hes up another five points," he told the senator. "Hesonly tenpoints behind the governor, and weve still got plenty oftime left. Inanother few weeks, they should be neck and neck." SenatorDavisnodded. "Olivers going to win. No question about it."Todd Davis and Jan were having breakfast. "Has our boyproposed to youyet?"Jan smiled. "He hasnt come right out and asked me, buthes beenhinting around.""Well, dont let him hint too long. I want you to bemarried before hebecomes governor. It will play better if the governor hasa wife."Jan put her arms around her father. "Im so glad youbrought him intomy life. Im mad about him."
The senator beamed. "As long as he makes you happy, Imhappy."Everything was going perfectly.The following evening, when Senator Davis came home, Janwas in herroom, packing, her face stained with tears. He looked ather,concerned. "Whats going on, baby?" "Im getting out ofhere. Inever want to see Oliver again as long as I live!" "Whoa!Hold onthere. What are you talking about?" She turned to him."Im talkingabout Oliver." Her tone was bitter. "He spent last nightin a motelwith my best friend. She couldnt wait to call and tellme what awonderful lover he was." The senator stood there inshock. "Couldntshe have been just ?" "No. I called Oliver. He hecouldnt deny it.Ive decided to leave. Im going to Paris.""Are you sure youre doing ?""Im positive."And the next morning Jan was gone.The senator sent for Oliver. "Im disappointed in you,son." Olivertook a deep breath. "Im sorry about what happened, Todd.It was itwas just one of those things. I had a few drinks and thiswoman cameon to me and well, it was hard to say no." "I canunderstand that,"the senator said sympathetically. "After all, youre aman, right?"Oliver smiled in relief. "Right. It wont happen again,I can assure" "Its too bad, though. You would have made a fine
governor." Theblood drained from Olivers face. "What what are yousaying, Todd?""Well, Oliver, it wouldnt look right if I supported younow, would it?I mean, when you think about Jans feelings " "What doesthegovernorship have to do with Jan?" "Ive been tellingeverybody thatthere was a good chance that the next governor was goingto be myson-in-law. But since youre not going to be myson-in-law, well, Illjust have to make new plans, wont I?" "Be reasonable,Todd. Youcant " Senator Daviss smile faded. "Never tell me whatI can orcant do, Oliver. I can make you and I can break you!"He smiledagain. "But dont misunderstand me. No hard feelings. Iwish youonly the best."Oliver sat there, silent for a moment. "I see." He roseto his feet."I Im sorry about all this.""I am, too, Oliver. I really am."When Oliver left, the senator called in Peter Tager."Were droppingthe campaign.""Dropping it? Why? Its in the bag. The latest polls ""Just do as Itell you. Cancel all of Olivers appearances.As far as were concerned, hes out of the race."Two weeks later, the polls began to show a drop in OliverRussellsratings. The billboards started to disappear, and theradio andtelevision ads had been canceled.
"Governor Addison is beginning to pick up ratings in thepolls. Ifwere going to find a new candidate, wed better hurry,"Peter Tagersaid.The senator was thoughtful. "We have plenty of time.Lets play thisout."It was a few days later that Oliver Russell went to theBailey &Tomkins agency to ask them to handle his campaign. JimBaileyintroduced him to Leslie, and Oliver was immediately takenwith her.She was not only beautiful, she was intelligent andsympathetic andbelieved in him. He had sometimes felt a certainaloofness in Jan, buthe had overlooked it. With Leslie, it was completelydifferent. Shewas warm and sensitive, and it had been natural to fall inlove withher. From time to time, Oliver thought about what he hadlost. "...this is only the first step. You serve a term or two asgovernor, andI promise you well move you into the White House."The hell with it. I can be happy without any of that,Oliver persuadedhimself. But occasionally, he could not help thinkingabout the goodthings he might have accomplished.With Olivers wedding imminent, Senator Davis had sent forTager."Peter, we have a problem. We cant let Oliver Russellthrow away hiscareer by marrying a nobody." Peter Tager frowned. "Idont know whatyou can do about it now, Senator. The wedding is all
set." SenatorDavis was thoughtful for a moment. "The race hasnt beenrun yet, hasit?" He telephoned his daughter in Paris. "Jan, I havesome terriblenews for you. Oliver is getting married." There was along silence."I I heard." "The sad part is that he doesnt love thiswoman. Hetold me hes marrying her on the rebound because you lefthim. Hesstill in love with you." "Did Oliver say that?""Absolutely. Its aterrible thing hes doing to himself.And, in a way, youre forcing him to do it, baby. Whenyou ran out onhim, he just fell apart.""Father, I I had no idea.""Ive never seen a more unhappy man.""I dont know what to say.""Do you still love him?""Ill always love him. I made a terrible mistake.""Well, then, maybe its not too late.""But hes getting married.""Honey, why dont we just wait and see what happens?Maybe hell cometo his senses."When Senator Davis hung up, Peter Tager said, "What areyou up to,Senator?""Me?" Senator Davis said innocently. "Nothing. Justputting a fewpieces back together, where they belong. I think Ill
have a littletalk with Oliver."That afternoon, Oliver Russell was in Senator Davissoffice. "Itsgood to see you, Oliver. Thank you for dropping by.Youre lookingvery well." "Thank you, Todd. So are you." "Well, Imgetting on,but I do the best I can." "You asked to see me, Todd?""Yes, Oliver.Sit down." Oliver took a chair. "I want you to help meout with alegal problem Im having in Paris. One of my companiesover there isin trouble.Theres a stockholders meeting coming up. Id like youto be therefor it." "Ill be glad to. When is the meeting? Illcheck mycalendar and " "Im afraid youd have to leave thisafternoon." Oliverstared at him. "This afternoon?" "I hate to give yousuch shortnotice, but I just heard about it. My planes waiting atthe airport.Can you manage it? Its important to me." Oliver wasthoughtful."Ill try to work it out, somehow." "I appreciate that,Oliver. Iknew I could count on you." He leaned forward. "Im realunhappyabout whats been happening to you. Have you seen thelatest polls?"He sighed. "Im afraid youre way down." "I know." "Iwouldnt mindso much, but..." He stopped. "But ?" "Youd have made afinegovernor. In fact, your future couldnt have beenbrighter. You wouldhave had money... power. Let me tell you something aboutmoney andpower, Oliver. Money doesnt care who owns it. A bum can
win it in alottery, or a dunce can inherit it, or someone can get itby holding upa bank. But power thats something different. To havepower is to ownthe world. If you were governor of this state, you couldaffect thelives of everybody living here. You could get billspassed that wouldhelp the people, and youd have the power to veto billsthat could harmthem. I once promised you that someday you could bePresident of theUnitedStates. Well, I meant it, and you could have been. Andthink aboutthat power, Oliver, to be the most important man in theworld, runningthe most powerful country in the world. Thats somethingworthdreaming about, isnt it? Just think about it." Herepeated slowly,"The most powerful man in the world." Oliver waslistening, wonderingwhere the conversation was leading. As though in answerto Oliversunspoken question, the senator said, "And you let all thatget away,for a piece of pussy. I thought you were smarter thanthat, son."Oliver waited. Senator Davis said casually, "I talked toJan thismorning. Shes in Paris, at the Ritz. When I told heryou weregetting married well, she just broke down and sobbed." "IIm sorry,Todd. I really am." The senator sighed. "Its just ashame that youtwo couldnt get together again." "Todd, Im gettingmarried nextweek." "I know. And I wouldnt interfere with that foranything inthe world. I suppose Im just an old sentimentalist, but
to memarriage is the most sacred thing on earth. You have myblessing,Oliver." "I appreciate that." "I know you do." Thesenator looked athis watch. "Well, youll want to go home and pack. Thebackground anddetails of the meeting will be faxed to you in Paris."Oliver rose."Right. And dont worry. Ill take care of things overthere." "Imsure you will. By the way, Ive booked you in at theRitz."On Senator Daviss luxurious Challenger, flying to Paris,Oliverthought about his conversation with the senator. "Youdhave made afine governor. In fact, your future couldnt have beenbrighter,...Let me tell you something about money and power,Oliver.... To havepower is to own the world. If you were governor of thisstate, youcould affect the lives of everybody living here. Youcould get billspassed that would help the people, and you could vetobills that mightharm them."But I dont need that power, Oliver reassured himself.No. Imgetting married to a wonderful woman. Well make eachother happy.Very happy.When Oliver arrived at the Trans Air Execujet base at LeBourgetAirport in Paris, there was a limousine waiting for him."Where to,Mr. Russell?" the chauffeur asked. "By the way, Ivebooked you in atthe Ritz." Jan was at the Ritz. It would be smarter,
Oliver thought,if I stayed at a different hotel the Plaza-Athen6e or theMeurice. Thechauffeur was looking at him expectantly. "The Ritz,"Oliver said.The least he could do was to apologize to Jan.He telephoned her from the lobby. "Its Oliver. Im inParis.""I know," Jan said. "Father called me.""Im downstairs. Id like to say hello if you ""Come up."When Oliver walked into Jans suite, he was still not surewhat he wasgoing to say.Jan was waiting for him at the door. She stood there amoment,smiling, then threw her arms around him and held himclose. "Fathertold me you were coming here. Im so glad!"Oliver stood there, at a loss. He was going to have totell her aboutLeslie, but he had to find the right words. Im sorryabout whathappened with us.... I never meant to hurt you.... Ivefallen in lovewith someone else.... but Ill always... "I I have to tellyousomething," he said awkwardly. "The fact is ..." And ashe looked atJan, he thought of her fathers words. "I once promisedyou that someday you could be President of the United States. Well, Imeant it....And think about that power, Oliver, to be the mostimportant man in theworld, running the most powerful country in the world.Thats
something worth dreaming about, isnt it?""Yes, darling?"And the words poured out as though they had a life oftheir own. "Imade a terrible mistake, Jan. I was a bloody fool. Ilove you. Iwant to marry you.""Oliver!"AA"Will you marry me?"There was no hesitation. "Yes. Oh, yes, my love!"He picked her up and carried her into the bedroom, andmoments laterthey were in bed, naked, and Jan was saying, "You dontknow how muchIve missed you, darling.""I must have been out of my mind.. .."Jan pressed close to his naked body and moaned. "Oh!This feels sowonderful.""Its because we belong together." Oliver sat up. "Letstell yourfather the news."She looked at him, surprised. "Now?""Yes."And Im going to have to tell Leslie.Fifteen minutes later Jan was speaking to her father."Oliver and Iare going to be married." "Thats wonderful news, Jan. Icouldnt be
more surprised or delighted. By the way, the mayor ofParis is an oldfriend of mine. Hes expecting your call. Hell marryyou there. Illmake sure everythings arranged." "But " "Put Oliver on.""Just aminute, Father." Jan held out the phone to Oliver. "Hewants to talkto you." Oliver picked up the phone. "Todd?" "Well, myboy, youvemade me very happy. Youve done the right thing.""Thank you. I feel the same way.""Im arranging for you and Jan to be married in Paris.And when youcome home, youll have a big church wedding here. At theCalvaryChapel."Oliver frowned. "The Calvary Chapel? I I dont thinkthats a goodidea, Todd. Thats where Leslie and I... Why dont we ?"Senator Daviss voice was cold. "You embarrassed mydaughter, Oliver,and Im sure you want to make up for that. Am I right?"There was a long pause. "Yes, Todd. Of course.""Thank you, Oliver. I look forward to seeing you in a fewdays. Wehave a lot to talk about... governor...."The Paris wedding was a brief civil ceremony in themayors office.When it was over, Jan looked at Oliver and said, "Fatherwants to giveus a church wedding at the Calvary Chapel."Oliver hesitated, thinking about Leslie and what it woulddo to her.But he had come too far to back down now. "Whatever hewants."
Oliver could not get Leslie out of his mind. She had donenothing todeserve what he had done to her. Ill call her andexplain. But eachtime he picked up the telephone, he thought: How can Iexplain? Whatcan I tell her? And he had no answer. He had finallygotten up thenerve to call her, but the press had gotten to her first,and he hadfelt worse afterward.The day after Oliver and Jan returned to Lexington,Olivers electioncampaign went back into high gear. Peter Tager had setall the wheelsin motion, and Oliver became ubiquitous again ontelevision and radioand in the newspapers. He spoke to a large crowd at theKentuckyKingdom Thrill Park and headed a rally at the Toyota MotorPlant inGeorgetown. He spoke at the twenty-thousand-square-footmall inLancaster. And that was only the beginning.Peter Tager arranged for a campaign bus to take Oliveraround thestate. The bus toured from Georgetown down to Stanfordand stopped atFrankfort... Versailles ... Winchester ... Louisville.Oliver spoke atthe Kentucky Fairground and at the Exposition Center. InOlivershonor, they served burgoo, the traditional Kentucky stewmade ofchicken, veal, beef, lamb, pork, and a variety of freshvegetablescooked in a big kettle over an open fire.Olivers ratings kept going up. The only interruption inthe campaignhad been Olivers wedding. He had seen Leslie at the back
of thechurch, and he had had an uneasy feeling. He talked aboutit withPeter Tager. "You dont think Leslie would try to doanything to hurtme, do you?" "Of course not. And even if she wanted to,what couldshe do? Forget her."Oliver knew that Tager was right. Things were movingalongbeautifully. There was no reason to worry. Nothing couldstop himnow. Nothing.On election night, Leslie Stewart sat alone in herapartment in frontof her television set, watching the returns. Precinct byprecinct,Olivers lead kept mounting. Finally, at five minutesbefore midnight,Governor Addison appeared on television to make hisconcession speech.Leslie turned off the set. She stood up and took a deepbreath. Weepno more, my lady, Oh, weep no more today! We will singone song forthe old Kentucky home, For the old Kentucky home far away.It wastime.Three.Senator Todd Davis was having a busy morning. He hadflown intoLouisville from the capital for the day, to attend a saleofThoroughbreds. "You have to keep up the bloodlines," hetold PeterTager, as they sat watching the splendid-looking horsesbeing led inand out of the large arena. "Thats what counts, Peter."A beautifulmare was being led into the center of the ring. "Thats
Sail Away,"Senator Davis said. "I want her." The bidding wasspirited, but tenminutes later, when it was over, Sail Away belonged toSenator Davis.The cellular phone rang. Peter Tager answered it. "Yes?"He listeneda moment, then turned to the senator. "Do you want totalk to LeslieStewart?"Senator Davis frowned. He hesitated a moment, then tookthe phone fromTager. "Miss Stewart?" "Im sorry to bother you, SenatorDavis, but Iwonder if I could see you? I need a favor." "Well, Imflying back toWashington tonight, so " "I could come and meet you. Itsreallyimportant." Senator Davis hesitated a moment. "Well, ifits thatimportant, I can certainly accommodate you, young lady.Ill beleaving for my farm in a few minutes. Do you want to meetme there?""That will be fine." "Ill see you in an hour." "Thankyou." Davispressed the END button and turned to Tager. "I was wrongabout her. Ithought she was smarter than that. She should have askedme for moneybefore Jan and Oliver got married." He was thoughtful fora moment,then his face broke into a slow grin. "Ill be a son of abitch.""What is it, Senator?" "I just figured out what thisurgency is allabout. Miss Stewart has discovered that shes pregnantwith Oliversbaby and shes going to need a little financial help.Its the oldestcon game in the world."One hour later, Leslie was driving onto the grounds of
Dutch Hill, thesenators farm. A guard was waiting outside the mainhouse. "MissStewart?" "Yes." "Senator Davis is expecting you. Thisway, please."He showed Leslie inside, along a wide corridor that led toa largepaneled library crammed with books. Senator Davis was athis desk,thumbing through a volume. He looked up and rose asLeslie entered."Its good to see you, my dear. Sit down, please."Leslie took aseat. The senator held up his book. "This is fascinating.It liststhe name of every Kentucky Derby winner from the firstderby to thelatest. Do you know who the first Kentucky Derby winnerwas?" "No.""Aristides, in 1875. But Im sure you didnt come here todiscusshorses." He put the book down. "You said you wanted afavor." Hewondered how she was going to phrase it. I just found outIm going tohave Olivers baby, and I dont know what to do.... Idont want tocause a scandal, but... Im willing to raise the baby, butI dont haveenough money.... "Do you know Henry Chambers?" Leslieasked. SenatorDavis blinked, caught completely off guard. "Do I Henry?Yes, I do.Why?" "I would appreciate it very much if you would giveme anintroduction to him."Senator Davis looked at her, hastily reorganizing histhoughts. "Isthat the favor? You want to meet Henry Chambers?""Yes.""Im afraid hes not here anymore, Miss Stewart. Hes
living inPhoenix, Arizona.""I know. Im leaving for Phoenix in the morning. Ithought it wouldbe nice if I knew someone there."Senator Davis studied her a moment. His instinct told himthat therewas something going on that he did not understand.He phrased his next question cautiously. "Do you knowanything aboutHenry Chambers?""No. Only that he comes from Kentucky."He sat there, making up his mind. Shes a beautiful lady,he thought.Henry will owe me a favor. "Ill make a call."Five minutes later, he was speaking to Henry Chambers."Henry, its Todd. Youll be sorry to know that I boughtSail Awaythis morning. I know you had your eye on her." Helistened a moment,then laughed. "Ill bet you did. I hear you just gotanother divorce.Too bad. I liked Jessica."Leslie listened as the conversation went on for a few moreminutes.Then Senator Davis said, "Henry, Im going to do you agood turn. Afriend of mine is arriving in Phoenix tomorrow, and shedoesnt know asoul there. I would appreciate it if you would keep aneye on her....What does she look like?" He looked over at Leslie andsmiled. "Shesnot too bad-looking. Just dont get any ideas."He listened a moment, then turned back to Leslie. "What
time does yourplane get in?""At two-fifty. Delta flight 159."The senator repeated the information into the phone. "Hername isLeslie Stewart. Youll thank me for this. You take carenow, Henry.Ill be in touch." He replaced the receiver."Thank you," Leslie said."Is there anything else I can do for you?""No. Thats all I need."Why? What the hell does Leslie Stewart want with HenryChambers?The public fiasco with Oliver Russell had been a hundredtimes worsethan anything Leslie could have imagined. It was anever-endingnightmare. Everywhere Leslie went there were thewhispers: "Shes theone. He practically jilted her at the altar___" "Imsaving my weddinginvitation as a souvenir...." "I wonder what shes goingto do withher wedding gown?..." The public gossip fueled Lesliespain, and thehumiliation was unbearable. She would never trust a managain. Never.Her only consolation was that somehow, someday, she wasgoing to makeOliver Russell pay for the unforgivable thing he had doneto her. Shehad no idea how. With Senator Davis behind him, Oliverwould havemoney and power. Then I have to find a way to have moremoney and morepower, Leslie thought. But how? How?
The inauguration took place in the garden of the statecapitol inFrankfort, near the exquisite thirty-four-foot floralclock.Jan stood at Olivers side, proudly watching her handsomehusband beingsworn in as governor of Kentucky.If Oliver behaved himself, the next stop was the WhiteHouse, herfather had assured her. And Jan intended to do everythingin her powerto see that nothing went wrong. Nothing.After the ceremony, Oliver and his father-in-law wereseated in thepalatial library of the Executive Mansion, a beautifulbuilding modeledafter the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinettes villa near thepalace ofVersailles. Senator Todd Davis looked around theluxurious room andnodded in satisfaction. "Youre going to do fine here,son. Justfine." "I owe it all to you," Oliver said warmly. "Iwont forgetthat." Senator Davis waved a hand in dismissal. "Dontgive it athought, Oliver. Youre here because you deserve to be.Oh, maybe Ihelped push things along a wee bit. But this is just thebeginning.Ive been in politics a long time, son, and there are afew things Ivelearned."He looked over at Oliver, waiting, and Oliver saiddutifully, "Id loveto hear them, Todd." "You see, people have got it wrong.Its not whoyou know," Senator Davis explained, "its what you knowabout who youknow. Everybodys got a little skeleton buried somewhere.
All youhave to do is dig it up, and youll be surprised how gladtheyll be tohelp you with whatever you need. I happen to know thattheres acongressman in Washington who once spent a year in amentalinstitution. A representative from up North served timein a reformschool for stealing. Well, you can see what it would doto theircareers if word ever got out. But its grist for ourmills." Thesenator opened an expensive leather briefcase and took outa sheaf ofpapers and handed them to Oliver. "These are the peopleyoull bedealing with here in Kentucky. Theyre powerful men andwomen, butthey all have Achilles heels." He grinned. "The mayorhas anAchilles high heel. Hes a transvestite." Oliver wasscanning thepapers, wide-eyed. "You keep those locked up, you hear?Thats puregold." "Dont worry, Todd. Ill be careful." "And, sondont put toomuch pressure on those people when you need something fromthem. Dontbreak them just bend them a little." He studied Oliver amoment. "Howare you and Jan getting along?" "Great," Oliver saidquickly. It wastrue, in a sense. As far as Oliver was concerned, it wasa marriage ofconvenience, and he was careful to see that he did nothingto disruptit. He would never forget what his earlier indiscretionhad almostcost him."Thats fine. Jans happiness is very important to me."It was awarning.
"For me, as well," Oliver said."By the way, how do you like Peter Tager?"Oliver said enthusiastically, "I like him a lot. Hesbeen atremendous help to me."Senator Davis nodded. "Im glad to hear that. You wontfind anyonebetter. Im going to lend him to you, Oliver. He cansmooth a lot ofpaths for you."Oliver grinned. "Great. I really appreciate that."Senator Davis rose. "Well, I have to get back toWashington. You letme know if you need anything.""Thanks, Todd. I will."On the Sunday after his meeting with Senator Davis, Olivertried tofind Peter Tager. "Hes in church, Governor." "Right. Iforgot.Ill see him tomorrow." Peter Tager went to church everySunday withhis family, and attended a two-hour prayer meeting threetimes a week.In a way, Oliver envied him. Hes probably the only trulyhappy manIve ever known, he thought. On Monday morning, Tagercame intoOlivers office. "You wanted to see me, Oliver?" "I needa favor.Its personal."Peter nodded. "Anything I can do." "I need anapartment." Tagerglanced around the large room in mock disbelief. "Thisplace is toosmall for you, Governor?" "No." Oliver looked into
Tagers one goodeye. "Sometimes I have private meetings at night. Theyhave to bediscreet. You know what I mean?" There was anuncomfortable pause."Yes." "I want someplace away from the center of town.Can you handlethat for me?" "I guess so." "This is just between us, ofcourse."Peter Tager nodded, unhappily. One hour later, TagertelephonedSenator Davis in Washington. "Oliver asked me to rent anapartment forhim, Senator. Something discreet." "Did he now? Well,hes learning,Peter. Hes learning. Do it. Just make damned sure Jannever hearsabout it." The senator was thoughtful for a moment. "Findhim a placeout in Indian Hills. Someplace with a private entrance.""But itsnot right for him to " "Peter just do it."Four.The solution to Leslies problem had come in two disparateitems in theLexington Herald-Leader. The first was a long, flatteringeditorialpraising Governor Oliver Russell. The last line read,"None of us herein Kentucky who knows him will be surprised when one dayOliver Russellbecomes President of the United States." The item on thenext pageread: "Henry Chambers, a former Lexington resident, whosehorseLightning won the Kentucky Derby five years ago, andJessica, his thirdwife, have divorced. Chambers, who now lives in Phoenix,is the ownerand publisher of the Phoenix Star." The power of thepress. That wasreal power. Katharine Graham and her Washington Post had
destroyed apresident. And that was when the idea jelled.Leslie had spent the next two days doing research on HenryChambers.The Internet had some interesting information on him.Chambers was afifty-five-year-old philanthropist who had inherited atobacco fortuneand had devoted most of his life to giving it away. Butit was not hismoney that interested Leslie. It was the fact that heowned anewspaper and that he had just gotten a divorce.Half an hour after her meeting with Senator Davis, Lesliewalked intoJim Baileys office. "Im leaving, Jim."He looked at her sympathetically. "Of course. You need avacation.When you come back, we can ""Im not coming back.""What? I I dont want you to go, Leslie. Running awaywont solve ""Im not running away.""Youve made up your mind?""Yes.""Were going to hate to lose you. When do you want toleave?""Ive already left."Leslie Stewart had given a lot of thought to the variousways in whichshe could meet Henry Chambers. There were endless finpossibilities,but she discarded them one by one. What she had in mind
had to beplanned very carefully. And then she had thought ofSenator Davis.Davis and Chambers had the same background, traveled inthe samecircles. The two men would certainly know each other.That was whenLeslie had decided to call the senator.When Leslie arrived at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, onan impulse,she walked over to the newsstand in the terminal. Shebought a copy ofthe Phoenix Star and scanned it. No luck. She bought theArizonaRepublic, and then the Phoenix Gazette, and there it was,theastrological column by Zoltaire. Not that I believe inastrology, Immuch too intelligent for that nonsense. But... FOR LEO(JULY 23RD TOAUGUST 22ND). JUPITER is JOINING YOUR SUN. ROMANTICPLANS MADE NOWWILL BE FULFILLED. EXCELLENT PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE.PROCEEDCAUTIOUSLY. There was a chauffeur and limousine waitingfor her at thecurb. "Miss Stewart?" "Yes." "Mr. Chambers sends hisregards andasked me to take you to your hotel." "Thats very kind ofhim."Leslie was disappointed. She had hoped that he would cometo meet herhimself."Mr. Chambers would like to know whether you are free tojoin him fordinner this evening." Better. Much better. "Please tellhim I wouldbe delighted."At eight oclock that evening, Leslie was dining with
Henry Chambers.Chambers was a pleasant-looking man, with an aristocraticface, grayingbrown hair, and an endearing enthusiasm. He was studyingLeslieadmiringly. "Todd really meant it when he said he wasdoing me afavor." Leslie smiled. "Thank you." "What made youdecide to come toPhoenix, Leslie?" You dont really want to know. "Iveheard so muchabout it, I thought I might enjoy living here," "Its agreat place.Youll love it. Arizona has everything the Grand Canyon,desert,mountains. You can find anything you want here." And Ihave, Lesliethought. "Youll need a place to live. Im sure I canhelp you locatesomething." Leslie knew the money she had would last forno more thanthree months. As it turned out, her plan took no morethan twomonths.Bookstores were filled with how-to books for women on howto get a man.The various pop psychologies ranged from "Play hard toget" to "Getthem hooked in bed." Leslie followed none of that advice.She had herown method: She teased Henry Chambers. Not physically,but mentally.Henry had never met anyone like her. He was of the oldschool thatbelieved if a blonde was beautiful, she must be dumb. Itneveroccurred to him that he had always been attracted to womenwho werebeautiful and not overly bright. Leslie was a revelationto him. Shewas intelligent and articulate and knowledgeable about anamazing rangeof subjects.
They talked about philosophy and religion and history, andHenryconfided to a friend, "I think shes reading up on a lotof things soshe can keep up with me."Henry Chambers enjoyed Leslies company tremendously. Heshowed heroff to his friends and wore her on his arm like a trophy.He took herto the Carefree Wine and Fine Art Festival and to theActors Theater.They watched the Phoenix Suns play at the America WestArena. Theyvisited the Lyon Gallery in Scottsdale, the Symphony Hall,and thelittle town of Chandler to see the Doo-dah Parade. Oneevening, theywent to see the Phoenix Roadrunners play hockey. Afterthe hockeygame, Henry said, "I really like you a lot, Leslie. Ithink wed begreat together. Id like to make love with you."She took his hand in hers and said softly, "I like you,too, Henry, butthe answer is no."The following day they had a luncheon date. Henrytelephoned Leslie."Why dont you pick me up at the Star? I want you to seethe place.""Id love to," Leslie said. That was what she had beenwaiting for.There were two other newspapers in Phoenix, the ArizonaRepublic andthe Phoenix Gazette. Henrys paper, the Star, was theonly one losingmoney.The offices and production plant of the Phoenix Star weresmaller than
Leslie had anticipated. Henry took her on a tour, and asLeslie lookedaround, she thought, This isnt going to bring down agovernor or apresident. But it was a stepping-stone. She had plansfor it.Leslie was interested in everything she saw. She keptasking Henryquestions, and he kept referring them to Lyle Bannister,the managingeditor. Leslie was amazed at how little Henry seemed toknow about thenewspaper business and how little he cared. It made herall the moredetermined to learn everything she could.It happened at the Borgata, a restaurant in a castle likeold Italianvillage setting. The dinner was superb. They had enjoyedfi4a lobster bisque, medallions of veal with a saucebearnaise, whiteasparagus vinaigrette, and a Grand Marnier souffle. HenryChambers wascharming and easy to be with, and it had been a beautifulevening. "Ilove Phoenix," Henry was saying. "Its hard to believethat only fiftyyears ago the population here was just sixty-fivethousand. Now itsover a million." Leslie was curious about something."What made youdecide to leave Kentucky and move here, Henry?" Heshrugged. "Itwasnt my decision, really. It was my damned lungs. Thedoctorsdidnt know how long I had to live. They told me Arizonawould be thebest climate for me. So I decided to spend the rest of mylifewhatever that means living it up." He smiled at her."And here we
are." He took her hand in his. "When they told me howgood it wouldbe for me, they had no idea. You dont think Im too oldfor you, doyou?" he asked anxiously. Leslie smiled. "Too young.Much tooyoung." Henry looked at her for a long moment. "Imserious. Willyou marry me?" Leslie closed her eyes for a moment. Shecould see thehand-painted wooden sign on the Breaks Interstate Parktrail: LESLIE,WILL YOU MARRY ME? ... "Im afraid I cant promise youthat youregoing to marry a governor, but Im a pretty goodattorney." Leslieopened her eyes and looked up at Henry. "Yes, I want tomarry you."More than anything in the world. They were married twoweeks later.When the wedding announcement appeared in the LexingtonHerald-Leader,Senator Todd Davis studied it for a long time. "Im sorryto botheryou, Senator, but I wonder if I could see you? I need afavor.... Doyou know Henry Chambers?... Id appreciate it if youdintroduce me tohim."If thats all she was up to, there would be no problem.If thats all she was up to.Leslie and Henry honeymooned in Paris, and wherever theywent, Lesliewondered whether Oliver and Jan had visited those sameplaces, walkedthose streets, dined there, shopped there. She picturedthe two ofthem together, making love, Oliver whispering the samelies into Jansears that he had whispered into hers. Lies that he was
going to paydearly for.Henry sincerely loved her and went out of his way to makeher happy.Under other circumstances, Leslie might have fallen inlove with him,but something deep within her had died. I can never trustany managain.A few days after they returned to Phoenix, Lesliesurprised Henry bysaying, "Henry, Id like to work at the paper." Helaughed. "Why?""I think it would be interesting. I was an executive atan advertisingagency. I could probably help with that part." Heprotested, but inthe end, he gave in.Henry noticed that Leslie read the Lexington Herald-Leaderevery day."Keeping up with the hometown folks?" he teased her."In a way," Leslie smiled. She avidly read every wordthat was writtenabout Oliver. She wanted him to be happy and successful.The biggerthey are ... When Leslie pointed out to Henry that theStar was losingmoney, he laughed. "Honey, its a drop in the bucket.Ive got moneycoming in from places you never even heard of. It doesntmatter."But it mattered to Leslie. It mattered a great deal. Asshe began toget more and more involved in the running of thenewspaper, it seemedto her that the biggest reason it was losing money was theunions. ThePhoenix Stars presses were outdated, but the unionsrefused to let the
newspaper put in new equipment, because they said it wouldcost unionmembers their jobs. They were currently negotiating a newcontractwith the Star. When Leslie discussed the situation withHenry, hesaid, "Why do you want to bother with stuff like that?Lets just havefun." "Im having fun," Leslie assured him.Leslie had a meeting with Craig McAllister, the Starsattorney. "Howare the negotiations going?" "I wish I had better news,Mrs.Chambers, but Im afraid the situation doesnt look good.""Werestill in negotiation, arent we?" "Ostensibly. But JoeRiley, thehead of the printers union, is a stubborn son of a astubborn man. Hewont give an inch. The pressmens contract is up in tendays, andRiley says if the union doesnt have a new contract bythen, theyregoing to walk." "Do you believe him?" "Yes. I dont liketo give into the unions, but the reality is that without them, wehave nonewspaper. They can shut us down. More than onepublication hascollapsed because it tried to buck the unions." "What aretheyasking?" "The usual. Shorter hours, raises, protectionagainst futureautomation...." "Theyre squeezing us, Craig. I dontlike it.""This is not an emotional issue, Mrs. Chambers. This is apracticalissue." "So your advice is to give in?" "I dont think wehave achoice." "Why dont I have a talk with Joe Riley?"The meeting was set for two oclock, and Leslie was latecoming back
from lunch. When she walked into the reception office,Riley waswaiting, chatting with Leslies secretary, Amy, a pretty,dark-hairedyoung woman.Joe Riley was a rugged-looking Irishman in his middleforties. He hadbeen a pressman for more than fifteen years. Three yearsearlier hehad been appointed head of his union and had earned thereputation ofbeing the toughest negotiator in the business. Lesliestood there fora moment, watching him flirting with Amy.Riley was saying, "... and then the man turned to her andsaid, "Thatseasy for you to say, but how will I get back?" "Amy laughed. "Where do you hear those, Joe?""I get around, darling. How about dinner tonight?""Id love it."Riley looked up and saw Leslie. "Afternoon, Mrs.Chambers.""Good afternoon, Mr. Riley. Come in, wont you?"Riley and Leslie were seated in the newspapers conferenceroom. "Wouldyou like some coffee?" Leslie offered."No, thanks.""Anything stronger?"He grinned. "You know its against the rules to drinkduring companyhours, Mrs. Chambers."Leslie took a deep breath. "I wanted the two of us to
have a talkbecause Ive heard that youre a very fair man."fiQ"I try to be," Riley said."I want you to know that Im sympathetic to the union. Ithink yourmen are entitled to something, but what youre asking forisunreasonable. Some of their habits are costing usmillions of dollarsa year.""Could you be more specific?""Ill be glad to. Theyre working fewer hours of straighttime andfinding ways to get on the shifts that pay overtime. Someof them putin three shifts back to back, working the whole weekend.I believethey call it going to the whips." We cant afford thatanymore. Werelosing money because our equipment is outdated. If wecould put in newcold-type production ""Absolutely not! The new equipment you want to put inwould put my menout of work, and I have no intention of letting machinerythrow my menout into the street. Your goddam machines dont have toeat, my mendo." Riley rose to his feet. "Our contract is up nextweek. Weeither get what we want, or we walk."When Leslie mentioned the meeting to Henry that evening,he said, "Whydo you want to get involved in all that? The unions aresomething weall have to live with. Let me give you a piece of advice,
sweetheart.Youre new to all this, and youre a woman. Let the menhandle it.Lets not " He stopped, out of breath. "Are you allright?"He nodded. "I saw my stupid doctor today, and he thinks Ishould getan oxygen tank.""Ill arrange it," Leslie said. "And Im going to get youa nurse sothat when Im not here ""No! I dont need a nurse. Im Im just a little tired.""Come on, Henry. Lets get you into bed."Three days later, when Leslie called an emergency boardmeeting, Henrysaid, "You go, baby. Ill just stay here and take iteasy." Theoxygen tank had helped, but he was feeling weak anddepressed.Leslie telephoned Henrys doctor. "Hes losing too muchweight andhes in pain. There must be something you can do.""Mrs. Chambers, were doing everything we can. Just seethat he getsplenty of rest and stays on the medication."Leslie sat there, watching Henry lying in bed, coughing."Sorry about the meeting," Henry said. "You handle theboard. Theresnothing anyone can do, anyway."She only smiled. Five.The members of the board were gathered around the table intheconference room, sipping coffee and helping themselves to
bagels andcream cheese, waiting for Leslie. When she arrived, shesaid, "Sorryto keep you waiting, ladies and gentlemen. Henry sendshis regards."Things had changed since the first board meeting Lesliehad attended.The board had snubbed her then, and treated her as aninterloper. Butgradually, as Leslie had learned enough about the businessto makevaluable suggestions, she had won their respect. Now, asthe meetingwas about to begin, Leslie turned to Amy, who was servingcoffee. "Amy,I would like you to stay for the meeting." Amy looked ather insurprise. "Im afraid my shorthand isnt very good, Mrs.Chambers.Cynthia can do a better job of ""I dont want you to take minutes of the meeting. Justmake a note ofwhatever resolutions we pass at the end.""Yes, maam." Amy picked up a notebook and pen and sat ina chairagainst the wall.Leslie turned to face the board. "We have a problem. Ourcontractwith the pressmens union is almost up. Weve beennegotiating forthree months now, and we havent been able to reach anagreement. Wehave to make a decision, and we have to make it fast.Youve all seenthe reports I sent you. Id like to have your opinions."She looked at Gene Osborne, a partner in a local law firm."If you ask me, Leslie, I think theyre getting too damnmuch already.Give them what they want now, and tomorrow theyll want
more."Leslie nodded and looked at Aaron Drexel, the owner of alocaldepartment store. "Aaron?""I have to agree. Theres a hell of a lot offeatherbedding going on.If we give them something, we should get something inreturn. In myopinion, we can afford a strike, and they cant."The comments from the others were similar.Leslie said, "I have to disagree with all of you." Theylooked at herin surprise. "I think we should let them have what theywant.""Thats crazy.""Theyll wind up owning the newspaper.""There wont be any stopping them." "You cant give in tothem."Leslie let them speak. When they had finished, she said,"Joe Riley isa fair man. He believes in what hes asking for." Seatedagainst thewall, Amy was following the discussion, astonished. Oneof the womenspoke up. "Im surprised youre taking his side, Leslie.""Im nottaking anyones side. I just think we have to bereasonable aboutthis. Anyway, its not my decision. Lets take a vote."She turned tolook at Amy. "This is what I want you to put in therecord." "Yes,maam." Leslie turned back to the group. "All thoseopposed to theunion demands, raise your hands." Eleven hands went intothe air."Let the record show that I voted yes and that the rest of
thecommittee has voted not to accept the union demands." Amywas writingin her notebook, a thoughtful expression on her face.Leslie said,"Well, thats it then." She rose. "If theres no furtherbusiness..." The others got to their feet. "Thank you all forcoming." Shewatched them leave, then turned to Amy. "Would you typethat up,please?" "Right away, Mrs. Chambers." Leslie headed forheroffice.The telephone call came a short time later."Mr. Riley is on line one," Amy said.Leslie picked up the telephone. "Hello.""Joe Riley. I just wanted to thank you for what you triedto do."Leslie said, "I dont understand ...""The board meeting. I heard what happened."Leslie said, "Im surprised, Mr. Riley. That was aprivatemeeting."Joe Riley chuckled. "Lets just say I have friends in lowplaces.Anyway, I thought what you tried to do was great. Too badit didntwork."There was a brief silence, then Leslie said slowly, "Mr.Riley ...what if I could make it work?""What do you mean?"
"I have an idea. Id rather not discuss it on the phone.Could wemeet somewhere ... discreetly?"There was a pause. "Sure. Where did you have in mind?""Someplace where neither of us will be recognized.""What about meeting at the Golden Cup?""Right. Ill be there in an hour.""Ill see you."The Golden Cup was an infamous cafe in the seedier sectionof Phoenix,near the railroad tracks, an area police warned touriststo stay awayfrom. Joe Riley was seated at a corner booth when Lesliewalked in. Herose as she approached him."Thank you for being here," Leslie said. They sat down."I camebecause you said there might be a way for me to get mycontract.""There is. I think the board is being stupid andshortsighted. Itried to talk to them, but they wouldnt listen." Henodded, "I know.You advised them to give us the new contract." "Thatsright. Theydont realize how important you pressmen are to ournewspaper." He wasstudying her, puzzled. "But if they voted you down, howcan we ... ?""The only reason they voted me down is that theyre nottaking yourunion seriously. If you want to avoid a long strike, andmaybe thedeath of the paper, you have to show them you meanbusiness." "How doyou mean?" Leslie said nervously, "What Im telling youis very
confidential, but its the only way that youre going toget what youwant. The problem is simple. They think youre bluffing.They dontbelieve you mean business. You have to show them that youdo. Yourcontract is up this Friday at midnight." "Yes ...""Theyll expectyou just to quietly walk out." She leaned forward."Dont!" He waslistening intently. "Show them that they cant run theStar withoutyou. Dont just go out like lambs. Do some damage." Hiseyeswidened. "I dont mean anything serious," Leslie saidquickly. "Justenough to show them that you mean business. Cut a fewcables, put apress or two out of commission. Let them learn that theyneed you tooperate them. Everything can be repaired in a day or two,butmeanwhile, youll have scared them into their senses.Theyll finallyknow what theyre dealing with."Joe Riley sat there for a long time, studying Leslie."Youre aremarkable lady.""Not really. I thought it over, and I have a very simplechoice. Youcan cause a little damage that can be easily corrected,and force theboard to deal with you, or you can walk out quietly andresign yourselfto a long strike that the paper may never recover from.All I careabout is protecting the paper."A slow smile lit Rileys face. "Let me buy you a cup ofcoffee, Mrs.Chambers."
"Were striking!" Friday night, at one minute pastmidnight, under JoeRileys direction, the pressmen attacked. They strippedparts from themachines, overturned tables full of equipment, and set twoprintingpresses on fire. A guard who tried to stop them was badlybeaten. Thepressmen, who had started out merely to disable a fewpresses, gotcaught up in the fever of the excitement, and they becamemore and moredestructive. "Lets show the bastards that they cantshove usaround!" one of the men cried. "Theres no paper withoutus!""Were the Star!"Cheers went up. The men attacked harder. The pressroomwas turninginto a shambles.In the midst of the wild excitement, floodlights suddenlyflashed onfrom the four corners of the room. The men stopped,looking around inbewilderment. Near the doors, television cameras wererecording thefiery scene and the destruction. Next to them werereporters from theArizona Republic, the Phoenix Gazette, and several newsservices,covering the havoc. There were at least a dozen policemenandfiremen.Joe Riley was looking around in shock. How the hell hadthey allgotten here so fast? As the police started to close inand the firementurned on their hoses, the answer suddenly came to Riley,and he feltas though someone had kicked him in the stomach. Leslie
Chambers hadset him up! When these pictures of the destruction theunion hadcaused got out, there would be no sympathy for them.Public opinionwould turn against them. The bitch had planned this allalong.... Thetelevision pictures were aired within the hour, and theradio waveswere filled with details of the wanton destruction. Newsservicesaround the world printed the story, and they all carriedthe theme ofthe vicious employees who had turned on the hand that fedthem. It wasa public relations triumph for the Phoenix Star.Leslie had prepared well. Earlier, she had secretly sentsome of theStars executives to Kansas to learn how to run the giantpresses, andto teach nonunion employees cold-type production.Immediately afterthe sabotage incident, two other striking unions, themailers andphotoengravers, came to terms with the Star.With the unions defeated, and the way open to modernizethe paperstechnology, profits began to soar. Overnight,productivity jumped 20percent.The morning after the strike, Amy was fired.On a late Friday afternoon, two years from the date oftheir wedding,Henry had a touch of indigestion. By Saturday morning, ithad becomechest pains, and Leslie called for an ambulance to rushhim to thehospital. On Sunday, Henry Chambers passed away.He left his entire estate to Leslie.
The Monday after the funeral, Craig McAllister came to seeLeslie. "Iwanted to go over some legal matters with you, but if itstoo soon ""No," Leslie said. "Im all right." Henrys death hadaffected Lesliemore than she had expected. He had been a dear, sweetman, and she hadused him because she wanted him to help her get revengeagainstOliver.And somehow, in Leslies mind, Henrys death becameanother reason todestroy Oliver."What do you want to do with the Star?" McAllisterasked. "I dontimagine youll want to spend your time running it.""Thats exactly what I intend to do. Were going toexpand."Leslie sent for a copy of the Managing Editor, the trademagazine thatlists newspaper brokers all over the United States.Leslie selectedDirks, Van Essen and Associates in Santa Fe, New Mexico."This is Mrs. Henry Chambers. Im interested inacquiring anothernewspaper, and I wondered what might be available...."It turned out to be the Sun in Hammond, Oregon."Id like you to fly up there and take a look at it,"Leslie toldMcAllister.Two days later, McAllister telephoned Leslie. "You canforget aboutthe Sun, Mrs. Chambers."
"Whats the problem?""The problem is that Hammond is a two-newspaper town. Thedailycirculation of the Sun is fifteen thousand. The othernewspaper, theHammond Chronicle, has a circulation of twenty-eightthousand, almostdouble. And the owner of the Sun is asking five milliondollars. Thedeal doesnt make any sense."Leslie was thoughtful for a moment. "Wait for me," shesaid. "Im onmy way."Leslie spent the following two days examining thenewspaper andstudying its books."Theres no way the Sun can compete with the Chronicle,"McAllisterassured her. "The Chronicle keeps growing. The Sunscirculation hasgone down every year for the past five years.""I know," Leslie said. "Im going to buy it."He looked at her in surprise. "Youre going to what?""Im going to buy it."The deal was completed in three days. The owner of theSun wasdelighted to get rid of it. "I suckered the lady intomaking a deal,"he crowed. "She paid me the full five million." WaltMeriwether, theowner of the Hammond Chronicle, came to call on Leslie."I understandyoure my new competitor," he said genially. Leslienodded. "Thatsright." "If things dont work out here for you, maybeyoud be
interested in selling the Sun to me." Leslie smiled."And if thingsdo work out, perhaps youd be interested in selling theChronicle tome."Meriwether laughed. "Sure. Lots of luck, Mrs.Chambers."When Meriwether got back to the Chronicle, he saidconfidently, "In sixmonths, were going to own the Sun."Leslie returned to Phoenix and talked to Lyle Bannister,the Starsmanaging editor. "Youre going with me to Hammond,Oregon. I want youto run the newspaper there until it gets on its feet.""I talked to Mr. McAllister," Bannister said. "The paperhas no feet.He said its a disaster waiting to happen."She studied him a moment. "Humor me."In Oregon, Leslie called a staff meeting of the employeesof the Sun."Were going to operate a little differently from now on,"she informedthem. "This is a two-newspaper town, and were going toown themboth." Derek Zornes, the managing editor of the Sun,said, "Excuse me,Mrs. Chambers. Im not sure you understand thesituation. Ourcirculation is way below the Chronicks, and wereslipping everymonth. Theres no way we can ever catch up to it.""Were not onlygoing to catch up to it," Leslie assured him, "were goingto put theChronicle out of business."The men in the room looked at one another and they all had
the samethought: Females and amateurs should stay the hell out ofthe newspaperbusiness."How do you plan to do that?" Zornes asked politely."Have you ever watched a bullfight?" Leslie asked.He blinked. "A bullfight? No ...""Well, when the bull rushes into the ring, the matadordoesnt go forthe kill right away. He bleeds the bull until its weakenough to bekilled."Zornes was trying not to laugh. "And were going to bleedtheChronicle?""Exactly.""How are we going to do that?""Starting Monday, were cutting the price of the Sun fromthirty-fivecents to twenty cents. Were cutting our advertisingrates by thirtypercent. Next week, were starting a giveaway contestwhere ourreaders can win free trips all over the world. Wellbegin publicizingthe contest immediately."When the employees gathered later to discuss the meeting,the consensuswas that their newspaper had been bought by a crazy woman.The bleeding began, but it was the Sun that was beingbled.McAllister asked Leslie, "Do you have any idea how muchmoney the Sun
is losing?""I know exactly how much its losing," Leslie said."How long do you plan to go on with this?""Until we win," Leslie said. "Dont worry. We will."But Leslie was worried. The losses were getting heavierevery week.Circulation continued to dwindle, and advertisersreactions to therate reduction had been lukewarm."Your theorys not working," McAllister said. "Weve gotto cut ourlosses. I suppose you can keep pumping in money, butwhats thepoint?"The following week, the circulation stopped dropping.It took eight weeks for the Sun to begin to rise.The reduction in the price of the newspaper and in thecost ofadvertising was attractive, but what made the circulationof the Sunmove up was the giveaway contest. It ran for twelveweeks, andentrants had to compete every week. The prizes werecruises to theSouth Seas and trips to London and Paris and Rio. As theprizes werehanded out and publicized with front-page photographs ofthe winners,the circulation of the Sun began to explode."You took a hell of a gamble," Craig McAllister saidgrudgingly, "butits working.""It wasnt a gamble," Leslie said. "People cant resistgetting
something for nothing."When Walt Meriwether was handed the latest circulationfigures, he wasfurious. For the first time in years, the Sun was aheadof theChronicle."All right," Meriwether said grimly. "Two can play thatstupid game. Iwant you to cut our advertising rates and start some kindofcontest."But it was too late. Eleven months after Leslie hadbought the Sun,Walt Meriwether came to see her."Im selling out," he said curtly. "Do you want to buytheChronicle?""Yes."The day the contract for the Chronicle was signed, Lesliecalled in herstaff."Starting Monday," she said, "we raise the price of theSun, double ouradvertising rates, and stop the contest."One month later, Leslie said to Craig McAllister, "TheEvening Standardin Detroit is up for sale. It owns a television station,too. I thinkwe should make a deal." McAllister protested. "Mrs.Chambers, wedont know anything about television, and " "Then wellhave to learn,wont we?" The empire Leslie needed was beginning tobuild.Six.
Olivers days were full, and he loved every minute of whathe wasdoing. There were political appointments to be made,legislation to beput forward, appropriations to be approved, meetings andspeeches andpress interviews. The State Journal in Frankfort, theHerald-Leader inLexington, and the Louisville Courier-Journal gave himglowing reports.He was earning the reputation of being a governor who gotthings done.Oliver was swept up in the social life of the superwealthy and he knewthat a large part of that was because he was married tothe daughter ofSenator Todd Davis.Oliver enjoyed living in Frankfort. It was a lovely,historic citynestled in a scenic river valley among the rolling hillsof Kentuckyfabled bluegrass region. He wondered what it would belike to live inWashington, D.C.The busy days merged into weeks, and the weeks merged intomonths.Oliver began the last year of his term.Oliver had made Peter Tager his press secretary. He wasthe perfectchoice. Tager was always forthright with the press, andbecause of thedecent, old-fashioned values he stood for and liked totalk about, hegave the party substance and dignity. Peter Tager and hisblack eyepatch became almost as well recognized as Oliver.Todd Davis made it a point to fly down to Frankfort to seeOliver atleast once a month.
He said to Peter Tager, "When youve got a Thoroughbredrunning, youhave to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesnt losehis timing."On a chilly evening in October, Oliver and Senator Daviswere seated inOlivers study. The two men and Jan had gone out todinner atGabriels and had returned to the Executive Mansion. Janhad left themen to talk. "Jan seems very happy, Oliver. Impleased." "I try tomake her happy, Todd." Senator Davis looked at Oliver andwondered howoften he used the apartment. "She loves you a lot, son.""And I loveher." Oliver sounded very sincere.Senator Davis smiled. "Im glad to hear that. Shesalreadyredecorating the White House." Olivers heart skipped abeat. "I begyour pardon?" "Oh, didnt I tell you? Its begun. Yournamesbecoming a byword in Washington. Were going to begin ourcampaign thefirst of the year." Oliver was almost afraid to ask thenext question."Do you honestly think I have a chance, Todd?" "The wordchanceimplies a gamble, and I dont gamble, son. I wont getinvolved inanything unless I know its a sure thing." Oliver took adeep breath."You can be the most important man in the world." "I wantyou to knowhow very much I appreciate everything youve done for me,Todd." Toddpatted Olivers arm. "Its a mans duty to help hisson-in-law, isntit?" The emphasis on "son-in-law" was not lost on Oliver.The senator
said casually, "By the way, Oliver, I was verydisappointed that yourlegislature passed that tobacco tax bill." "That moneywill take careof the shortfall in our fiscal budget, and " "But ofcourse youregoing to veto it." Oliver stared at him. "Veto it?" Thesenator gavehim a small smile. "Oliver, I want you to know that Imnot thinkingabout myself. But I have a lot of friends who investedtheirhard-earned money in tobacco plantations, and I wouldntwant to seethem get hurt by oppressive new taxes, would you?"There was a silence."Would you, Oliver?""No," Oliver finally said. "I guess it wouldnt be fair.""I appreciate that. I really do."Oliver said, "I had heard that youd sold your tobaccoplantations,Todd."Todd Davis looked at him, surprised. "Why would I want todo that?""Well, the tobacco companies are taking a beating in thecourts. Salesare way down, and ""Youre talking about the United States, son. Theres agreat bigworld out there. Wait until our advertising campaignsstart rolling inChina and Africa and India." He looked at his watch androse. "I haveto head back to Washington. I have a committee meeting.""Have a good flight."
Senator Davis smiled. "Now I will, son. Now I will."Oliver was upset. "What the hell am I going to do, Peter?The tobaccotax is by far the most popular measure the legislature haspassed thisyear. What excuse do I have for vetoing it?" Peter Tagertook severalsheets of paper from his pocket. "All the answers areright here,Oliver. Ive discussed it with the senator. You wonthave anyproblem. Ive set up a press conference for fouroclock." Oliverstudied the papers. Finally, he nodded. "This is good.""Its what I do. Is there anything else you need me for?""No. Thankyou. Ill see you at four." Peter Tager started toleave. "Peter."Tager turned. "Yes?" "Tell me something. Do you think Ireally havea chance of becoming president?" "What does the senatorsay?" "Hesays I do." Tager walked back to the desk. "Ive knownSenator Davisfor many years, Oliver. In all that time, he hasnt beenwrong once.Not once. The man has incredible instincts. If Todd Davissays youregoing to be the next President of the United States, youcan bet thefarm on it." There was a knock at the door. "Come in."The dooropened, and an attractive young secretary walked in,carrying somefaxes. She was in her early twenties, bright and eager."Oh, excuseme, Governor. I didnt know you were in a " "Thats allright,Miriam." Tager smiled. "Hi, Miriam." "Hello, Mr.Tager." Oliversaid, "I dont know what Id do without Miriam. She does
everythingfor me." Miriam blushed. "If theres nothing else " Sheput the faxeson Olivers desk and turned and hurried out of the office."Thats a pretty woman," Tager said. He looked over atOliver."Yes.""Oliver, you are being careful, arent you?""Of course I am. Thats why I had you get that littleapartment forme.""I mean big-time careful. The stakes have gone up. Thenext time youget horny, just stop and think about whether a Miriam orAlice or Karenis worth the Oval Office.""I know what youre saying, Peter, and I appreciate it.But you donthave to worry about me.""Good." Tager looked at his watch. "I have to go. Imtaking Betsyand the kids out to lunch." He smiled. "Did I tell youwhat Rebeccadid this morning? Shes my five-year-old. There was atape of a kidsshow she wanted to watch at eight oclock this morning.Betsy said,"Darling, Ill run it for you after lunch." Rebeccalooked at her andsaid, "Mama, I want lunch now." Pretty smart, huh?"Oliver had to smile at the pride in Tagers voice.At ten oclock that evening, Oliver walked into the denwhere Jan wasreading and said, "Honey, I have to leave. I have aconference to go
to." Jan looked up. "At this time of night?" He sighed."Im afraidso. Theres a budget committee meeting in the morning,and they wantto brief me before the meeting.""Youre working too hard. Try to come home early, willyou, Oliver?"She hesitated a moment. "Youve been out a lot lately."He wondered whether that was intended as a warning. Hewalked over toher, leaned down, and kissed her. "Dont worry, honey.Ill be homeas early as I can."Downstairs Oliver said to his chauffeur, "I wont need youtonight. Imtaking the small car.""Yes, Governor.""Youre late, darling." Miriam was naked.He grinned and walked over to her. "Sorry about that.Im glad youdidnt start without me."She smiled. "Hold me."He took her in his arms and held her close, her warm bodypressedagainst his."Get undressed. Hurry."Afterward, he said, "How would you like to move toWashington, D.C.?"Miriam sat up in bed. "Are you serious?" "Very. I maybe goingthere. I want you to be with me." "If your wife everfound out aboutus ..." "She wont." "Why Washington?"
"I cant tell you that now. All I can say is that itsgoing to bevery exciting." "Ill go anywhere you want me to go, aslong as youlove me." "You know I love you." The words slipped outeasily, asthey had so many times in the past. "Make love to meagain." "Just asecond. I have something for you." He got up and walkedover to thejacket he had flung over a chair. He took a small bottleout of hispocket and poured the contents into a glass. It was aclear liquid."Try this." "What is it?" Miriam asked. "Youll like it.I promise."He lifted the glass and drank half of it. Miriam took asip, thenswallowed the rest of it. She smiled. "Its not bad.""Its going tomake you feel real sexy." "I already feel real sexy.Come back tobed." They were making love again when she gasped andsaid, "I Im notfeeling well." She began to pant. "I cant breathe." Hereyes wereclosing. "Miriam!" There was no response. She fell backon the bed."Miriam!" She lay there, unconscious. Son of a bitch!Why are youdoing this to me? He got up and began to pace. He hadgiven theliquid to a dozen women, and only once had it harmedanyone. He had tobe careful. Unless he handled this right, it was going tobe the end ofeverything. All his dreams, everything he had worked for.He could notlet that happen. He stood at the side of the bed, lookingdown at her.He felt her pulse. She was still breathing, thank God.But he couldnot let her be discovered in this apartment. It would betraced back
to him. He had to leave her somewhere where she would befound and begiven medical help. He could trust her not to reveal hisname.It took him almost half an hour to get her dressed and toremove alltraces of her from his apartment. He opened the door acrack to makesure that the hallway was empty, then picked her up, puther over hisshoulder, and carried her downstairs and put her in thecar. It wasalmost midnight, and the streets were deserted. It wasbeginning torain. He drove to Juniper Hill Park, and when he was surethat no onewas in sight, he lifted Miriam out of the car and gentlylaid her downon a park bench. He hated to leave her there, but he hadno choice.None. His whole future was at stake.There was a public phone booth a few feet away. Hehurried over to itand dialed 911.Jan was waiting up for Oliver when he returned home."Its aftermidnight," she said. "What took you ?" "Im sorry,darling. We gotinto a long, boring discussion on the budget, and well,everyone had adifferent opinion." "You look pale," Jan said. "You mustbeexhausted." "I am a little tired," he admitted.She smiled suggestively. "Lets go to bed." He kissedher on theforehead. "Ive really got to get some sleep, Jan. Thatmeetingknocked me out."The story was on the front page of the State Journal the
followingmorning:GOVERNORS SECRETARY FOUND UNCONSCIOUS IN PARK.At two oclock this morning, police found the unconsciouswoman, MiriamFriedland, lying on the bench in the rain and immediatelycalled for anambulance. She was taken to Memorial Hospital, where hercondition issaid to be critical.As Oliver was reading the story, Peter came hurrying intohis office,carrying a copy of the newspaper."Have you seen this?""Yes. Its its terrible. The press has been calling allmorning.""What do you suppose happened?" Tager asked.Oliver shook his head. "I dont know. I just talked tothe hospital.Shes in a coma. Theyre trying to learn what caused it.The hospitalis going to let me know as soon as they find out."Tager looked at Oliver. "I hope shes going to be allright."Leslie Chambers missed seeing the newspaper stories. Shewas inBrazil, buying a television station.QfiThe telephone call from the hospital came the followingday. "Governor,weve just finished the laboratory tests. Shes ingesteda substancecalled methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as
Ecstasy. Shetook it in liquid form, which is even more lethal.""Whats her condition?""Im afraid its critical. Shes in a coma. She couldwake up or " Hehesitated. "It could go the other way.""Please keep me informed.""Of course. You must be very concerned, Governor.""I am."Oliver Russell was in a conference when a secretarybuzzed. "Excuseme, Governor. Theres a telephone call for you." "I toldyou nointerruptions, Heather." "Its Senator Davis on linethree." "Oh."Oliver turned to the men in the room. "Well finish thislater,gentlemen. If youll excuse me ..." He watched themleave the room,and when the door closed behind them, he picked up thetelephone."Todd?" "Oliver, whats this about a secretary of yoursfound druggedon a park bench?" "Yes," Oliver said. "Its a terriblething, Todd.I " "How terrible?" Senator Davis demanded."What do you mean?" "You know damn well what I mean.""Todd, youdont think I I swear I dont know anything about whathappened." "Ihope not." The senators voice was grim. "You know howfast gossipgets around in Washington, Oliver. Its the smallest townin America.We dont want anything negative linked to you. Weregetting ready tomake our move. Id be very, very upset if you did
anything stupid.""I promise you, Im clean." "Just make sure you keep itthat way.""Of course I will. I " The line went dead. Oliver satthere thinking.Ill have to be more careful. I cant let anything stopme now. Heglanced at his watch, then reached for the remote controlthat turnedon the television set. The news was on. On the screenwas a pictureof a besieged street, with snipers shooting at random frombuildings.The sound of mortar fire could be heard in the background.Anattractive young female reporter, dressed in battlefatigues andholding a microphone, was saying, "The new treaty issupposed to takeeffect at midnight tonight, but regardless of whether itholds, it cannever bring back the peaceful villages in this war-torncountry orrestore the lives of the innocents who have been swept upin theruthless reign of terror." The scene shifted to aclose-up of DanaEvans, a passionate, lovely young woman in a flak jacketand combatboots. "The people here are hungry and tired. They askfor only onething peace. Will it come? Only time will tell. This isDanaEvans reporting from Sarajevo for WTE, Washington TribuneEnterprises."The scene dissolved into a commercial. Dana Evans was aforeigncorrespondent for the Washington Tribune EnterprisesBroadcastingSystem. She reported the news every day, and Oliver triednot to missher broadcasts. She was one of the best reporters on theair. Shes a
great-looking woman, Oliver thought, not for the firsttime. Why thehell would someone that young and attractive want to be inthe middleof a shooting war?Seven.Dana Evans was an army brat, the daughter of a colonel whotraveledfrom base to base as an armaments instructor. By the timeDana waseleven years old, she had lived in five American citiesand in fourforeign countries. She had moved with her father andmother to theAberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, Fort Benning inGeorgia, Fort Hoodin Texas, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and Fort Mon-mouthin New Jersey.She had gone to schools for officers children at CampZama in Japan,Chiemsee in Germany, Camp Darby in Italy, and FortBuchanan in PuertoRico. Dana was an only child, and her friends were thearmy personneland their families who were stationed at the variouspostings. She wasprecocious, cheerful, and outgoing, but her mother worriedabout thefact that Dana was not having a normal childhood."I know that moving every six months must be terribly hardon you,darling," her mother said.Dana looked at her mother, puzzled. "Why?"Whenever Danas father was assigned to a new post, Danawas thrilled."Were going to move again!" she would exclaim.Unfortunately, although Dana enjoyed the constant moving,her mother
hated it.When Dana was thirteen, her mother said, "I cant livelike a gypsy anylonger. I want a divorce."Dana was horrified when she heard the news. Not about thedivorce somuch, but by the fact that she would no longer be able totravel aroundthe world with her father."Where am I going to live?" Dana asked her mother."In Claremont, California. I grew up there. Its abeautiful littletown. Youll love it."Danas mother had been right about Claremonts being abeautiful littletown. She was wrong about Danas loving it. Claremontwas at the baseof the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, with apopulationof about thirty-three thousand. Its streets were linedwith lovelytrees and it had the feel of a quaint college community.Dana hatedit. The change from being a world traveler to settlingdown in a smalltown brought on a severe case of culture shock."Are we going to live here forever?" Dana asked gloomily."Why, darling?""Because its too small for me. I need a bigger town."On Danas first day at school, she came home depressed."Whats thematter? Dont you like your school?" Dana sighed. "Itsall right,but its full of kids." Danas mother laughed. "Theyllget over
that, and so will you."Dana went on to Claremont High School and became areporter for theWoljpacket, the school newspaper. She found that sheenjoyed newspaperwork, but she desperately missed traveling."When I grow up," Dana said, "Im going to go all over theworldagain."When Dana was eighteen, she enrolled in Claremont McKennaCollege,majored in journalism, and became a reporter for thecollege newspaper,the Forum. The following year, she was made editor of thepaper.Students were constantly coming to her for favors. "Oursorority ishaving a dance next week, Dana. Would you mention it inthe paper ...?""The debating club is having a meeting Tuesday....""Could you reviewthe play the drama club is putting on...?""We need to raise funds for the new library...."It was endless, but Dana enjoyed it enormously. She wasin a positionto help people, and she liked that. In her senior year,Dana decidedthat she wanted a newspaper career."Ill be able to interview important people all over theworld," Danatold her mother. "It will be like helping to makehistory."Growing up, whenever young Dana looked in a mirror, shebecame
depressed. Too short, too thin, too flat. Every othergirl wasawesomely beautiful. It was some kind of California law.Im an uglyduckling in a land of swans, she thought. She made it apoint to avoidlooking in mirrors. If Dana had looked, she would haverealized thatat the age of fourteen, her body was beginning to blossom.At the ageof sixteen, she had become very attractive. When she wasseventeen,boys began seriously to pursue her. There was somethingabout hereager, heart-shaped face, large inquisitive eyes, andhusky laugh thatwas both adorable and a challenge.Dana had known since she was twelve how she wanted to losehervirginity. It would be on a beautiful, moon-lit night onsome farawaytropical island, with the waves gently lapping against theshore. Therewould be soft music playing in the background. Ahandsome,sophisticated stranger would approach her and look deeplyinto hereyes, into her soul, and he would take her in his armswithout a wordand suavely carry her to a nearby palm tree. They wouldget undressedand make love and the music in the background would swellto aclimax.She actually lost her virginity in the back of an oldChevrolet, aftera school dance, to a skinny eighteen-year-old redheadnamed RichardDobbins, who worked on the Forum with her. He gave Danahis ring and amonth later, moved to Milwaukee with his parents. Dananever heard
from him again.The month before she was graduated from college with aB.A. injournalism, Dana went down to the local newspaper, theClaremontExaminer, to see about a job as a reporter. A man in thepersonneloffice looked over her resume. "So you were the editor ofthe Forum,eh?" Dana smiled modestly. "Thats right." "Okay.Youre in luck.Were a little short-handed right now. Well give you atry." Danawas thrilled. She had already made a list of thecountries she wantedto cover: Russia ... China ... Africa.... "I know I cantstart as aforeign correspondent," Dana said, "but as soon as ""Right. Youll beworking here as a gofer. Youll see that the editors havecoffee inthe morning. They like it strong, by the way. And youllrun copydown to the printing presses."Dana stared at him in shock. "I cant "He leaned forward, frowning. "You cant what?""I cant tell you how glad I am to have this job."The reporters all complimented Dana on her coffee, and shebecame thebest runner the paper had ever had. She was at work earlyevery dayand made friends with everyone. She was always eager tohelp out. Sheknew that was the way to get ahead.The problem was that at the end of six months, Dana wasstill a gofer.She went to see Bill Crowell, the managing editor.
"I really think Im ready," Dana said earnestly. "If yougive me anassignment, Ill "He did not even look up. "Theres no opening yet. Mycoffeescold."It isnt fair, Dana thought. They wont even give me achance. Danahad heard a line that she firmly believed in. "Ifsomething can stopyou, you might as well let it." Well, nothings going tostop me, Danathought. Nothing. But how am I going to get started?One morning, as Dana was walking through the desertedTeletype room,carrying cups of hot coffee, a police scanner print outwas coming overthe wires. Curious, Dana walked over and read it:ASSOCIATED PRESS CLARE MONT CALIFORNIA. IN CLARE MONTTHIS MORNING,THERE WAS AN ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING. A SIX-YEAR-OLD BOY WASPICKED UPBYA STRANGER AND .. .Dana read the rest of the story, wide-eyed. She took adeep breath,ripped the story from the teletype, and put it in herpocket. No oneelse had seen it.Dana hurried into Bill Crowells office, breathless. "Mr.Crowell,someone tried to kidnap a little boy in Claremont thismorning. Heoffered to take him on a pony ride. The boy wanted somecandy first,and the kidnapper took him to a candy store, where the
owner recognizedthe boy. The owner called the police and the kidnapperfled."Bill Crowell was excited. "There was nothing on thewires. How didyou hear about this?""I I happened to be in the store, and they were talkingabout it and""Ill get a reporter over there right away.""Why dont you let me cover it?" Dana said quickly. "Theowner of thecandy store knows me. Hell talk to me."He studied Dana a moment and said reluctantly, "Allright."Dana interviewed the owner of the candy store, and herstory appearedon the front page of the Claremont Examiner the next dayand was wellreceived."That wasnt a bad job," Bill Crowell told her. "Not badat all.""Thank you."It was almost a week before Dana found herself alone againin theteletype room. There was a story coming in on the wirefrom theAssociated Press:POMONA, CALIFORNIA: FEMALE JUDO INSTRUCTOR CAPTURESWOULD-BE RAPIST.Perfect, Dana decided. She tore off the printout,crumpled it, stuffedit in her pocket, and hurried in to see Bill Crowell. "My
old roommatejust called me," Dana said excitedly. "She was lookingout the windowand saw a woman attack a would-be rapist. Id like tocover it."Crowell looked at her a moment. "Go ahead." Dana droveto Pomona toget an interview with the judo instructor, and again herstory made thefront page. Bill Crowell asked Dana to come into hisoffice. "Howwould you like to have a regular beat?" Dana wasthrilled. "Great!"Its begun, she thought. My career has finally begun.The followingday, the Claremont Examiner was sold to the WashingtonTribune inWashington, D.C.When the news of the sale came out, most of the ClaremontExamineremployees were dismayed. It was inevitable that therewould bedownsizing and that some of them would lose their jobs.Dana did notthink of it that way. I work for the Washington Tribunenow, shethought, and the next logical thought was, Why dont I goto work atits headquarters? She marched into Bill Crowells office."Id like aten-day leave." He looked at her curiously. "Dana, mostof the peoplearound here wont go to the bathroom because theyrescared to deaththat their desks wont be there when they get back.Arent youworried?" "Why should I be? Im the best reporter youhave," she saidconfidently. "Im going to get a job at the WashingtonTribune." "Areyou serious?" He saw her expression. "Youre serious."He sighed."All right. Try to see Matt Baker. Hes in charge of
WashingtonTribune Enterprises newspapers, TV stations, radio,everything." "MattBaker. Right."Eight.Washington, D.C." was a much larger city than Dana badimagined. Thiswas the power center of the world, and Dana could feel theelectricityin the air. This is where I belong, she thought happily.Her firstmove was to check into the Stouffer Renaissance Hotel.She looked upthe address of the Washington Tribune and headed there.The Tribunewas located on 6th Street and took up the entire block.It consistedof four separate buildings that seemed to reach toinfinity. Danafound the main lobby and confidently walked up to theuniformed guardbehind the desk. "Can I help you, miss?" "I work here.That is, Iwork for the Tribune. Im here to see Matt Baker.""Do you have an appointment?" Dana hesitated. "Not yet,but " "Comeback when you have one." He turned his attention toseveral men whohad come up to the desk. "We have an appointment with thehead of thecirculation department," one of the men said. "Just amoment, please."The guard dialed a number. In the background, one of theelevators hadarrived and people were getting out. Dana casually headedfor it. Shestepped inside, praying that it would go up before theguard noticedher. A woman got into the elevator and pressed thebutton, and theystarted up. "Excuse me," Dana said. "What floor is Matt
Baker on?""Third." She looked at Dana. "Youre not wearing apass." "I lostit," Dana said. When the elevator reached the thirdfloor, Dana gotout. She stood there, speechless at the scale of what shewas seeing.She was looking at a sea of cubicles. It seemed as thoughthere werehundreds of them, occupied by thousands of people. Thereweredifferent-colored signs over each cubicle. EDITORIAL .ART .. . METRO.. . SPORTS .. . CALENDAR .. . Dana stopped a man hurryingby. "Excuseme. Wheres Mr. Bakers office?" "Matt Baker?" Hepointed. "Downat the end of the hall to the right, last door." "Thankyou." As Danaturned, she bumped into an unshaven, rumpled-looking mancarrying somepapers. The papers fell to the floor."Oh, Im sorry. I was ""Why dont you look where the hell youre going?" the mansnapped. Hestooped to pick up the papers."It was an accident. Here. Ill help you. I " Danareached down, andas she started to pick up the papers, she knocked severalsheets undera desk.The man stopped to glare at her. "Do me a favor. Donthelp meanymore.""As you like," Dana said icily. "I just hope everyone inWashingtonisnt as rude as you."Haughtily, Dana rose and walked toward Mr. Bakers
office. The legendon the glass window read MATT BAKER." The office wasempty. Danawalked inside and sat down. Looking through the officewindow, shewatched the frenetic activity going on.Its nothing like the Claremont Examiner, she thought.There werethousands of people working here. Down the corridor, thegrumpy,rumpled-looking man was heading toward the office.No! Dana thought. Hes not coming in here. Hes on hisway somewhereelseAnd the man walked in the door. His eyes narrowed. "Whatthe hell areyou doing here?"Dana swallowed. "You must be Mr. Baker," she saidbrightly. "ImDana Evans.""I asked you what youre doing here.""Im a reporter with the Claremont Examiner.""And?""You just bought it.""I did?""I I mean the newspaper bought it. The newspaper boughtthenewspaper." Dana felt it was not going well. "Anyway,Im here for ajob. Of course, I already have a job here. Its morelike a transfer,isnt it?"He was staring at her.
"I can start right away." Dana babbled on. "Thats noproblem."Matt Baker moved toward the desk. "Who the hell let youin here?""I told you. Im a reporter for the Claremont Examinerand ""Go back to Claremont," he snapped. "Try not to knockanyone down onyour way out."Dana rose and said stiffly, "Thank you very much, Mr.Baker. Iappreciate your courtesy." She stormed out of the office.Matt Baker looked after her, shaking his head. The worldwas full ofweirdos.Dana retraced her steps to the huge editorial room, wheredozens ofreporters were typing out stories on their computers.This is whereIm going to work, Dana thought fiercely. Go back toClaremont. Howdare he!As Dana looked up, she saw Matt Baker in the distance,moving in her direction. The damned man was everywhere!Dana quicklystepped behind a cubicle so he could not see her.Baker walked past her to a reporter seated at a desk."Did you get theinterview, Sam?""No luck. I went to the Georgetown Medical Center, andthey saidtheres nobody registered by that name. Tripp Taylorswife isnt a
patient there."Matt Baker said, "I know damn well she is. Theyrecovering somethingup, dammit. I want to know why shes in the hospital.""If she is in there, theres no way to get to her, Matt.""Did you try the flower delivery routine?""Sure. It didnt work."Dana stood there watching Matt Baker and the reporter walkaway. Whatkind of reporter is it, Dana wondered, who doesnt knowhow to get aninterview?Thirty minutes later, Dana was entering the GeorgetownMedical Center.She went into the flower shop. "May I help you?" a clerkasked."Yes. Id like " She hesitated a moment. " fifty dollarsworth offlowers." She almost choked on the word "fifty." When theclerk handedher the flowers, Dana said, "Is there a shop in thehospital that mighthave a little cap of some kind?" "Theres a gift shoparound thecorner.""Thank you."The gift shop was a cornucopia of junk, with a wide arrayof greetingcards, cheaply made toys, balloons and banners, junk-foodracks, andgaudy items of clothing. On a shelf were some souvenircaps. Danabought one that resembled a chauffeurs cap and put it on.Shepurchased a get-well card and scribbled something on theinside.
Her next stop was at the information desk in the hospitallobby. "Ihave flowers here for Mrs. Tripp Taylor."The receptionist shook her head. "Theres no Mrs. TrippTaylorregistered here."Dana sighed. "Really? Thats too bad. These are fromthe VicePresident of the United States." She opened the card andshowed it tothe receptionist. The inscription read, "Get wellquickly." It wassigned, "Arthur Cannon."Dana said, "Guess Ill have to take these back." Sheturned toleave.The receptionist looked after her uncertainly. "Just amoment!"Dana stopped. "Yes?""I can have those flowers delivered to her.""Sorry," Dana said. "Vice President Cannon asked thatthey bedelivered personally." She looked at the receptionist."Could I haveyour name, please? Theyll want to tell Mr. Cannon why Icouldntdeliver the flowers."Panic. "Oh, well. All right. I dont want to cause anyproblems.Take them to Room 615. But as soon as you deliver them,youll have toleave.""Right," Dana said.
Five minutes later, she was talking to the wife of thefamous rock starTripp Taylor.Stacy Taylor was in her middle twenties. It was difficultto tellwhether she was attractive or not, because at the moment,her face wasbadly battered and swollen. She was trying to reach for aglass ofwater on a table near the bed when Dana walked in."Flowers for " Danastopped in shock as she saw the womans face. "Who arethey from?"The words were a mumble. Dana had removed the card."From from anadmirer." The woman was staring at Dana suspiciously."Can you reachthat water for me?" "Of course." Dana put the flowersdown and handedthe glass of water to the woman in bed. "Can I doanything else foryou?" Dana asked. "Sure," she said through swollen lips."You canget me out of this stinking place. My husband wont letme havevisitors. Im sick of seeing all these doctors andnurses." Dana satdown on a chair next to the bed. "What happened to you?"The womansnorted. "Dont you know? I was in an auto accident.""You were?""Yes.""Thats awful," Dana said skeptically. She was filledwith a deepanger, for it was obvious that this woman had been beaten.Forty-five minutes later, Dana emerged with the truestory.When Dana returned to the lobby of the Washington Tribune,a differentguard was there. "Can I help ?"
"Its not my fault," Dana said breathlessly. "Believe me,its thedarned traffic. Tell Mr. Baker Im on my way up. Hesgoing to befurious with me for being late." She hurried toward theelevator andpressed the button. The guard looked after heruncertainly, then begandialing. "Hello. Tell Mr. Baker theres a young womanwho "The elevator arrived. Dana stepped in and pressed three.On the thirdfloor, the activity seemed to have increased, if that waspossible.Reporters were rushing to make their deadlines. Danastood there,looking around frantically. Finally, she saw what shewanted. In acubicle with a green sign that read GARDENING was an emptydesk. Danahurried over to it and sat down. She looked at thecomputer in frontof her, then began typing. She was so engrossed in thestory she waswriting that she lost all track of time. When she wasfinished, sheprinted it and pages began spewing out. She was puttingthem togetherwhen she sensed a shadow over her shoulder."What the hell are you doing?" Matt Baker demanded."Im looking for a job, Mr. Baker. I wrote this story,and I thought" "You thought wrong," Baker exploded. "You dont justwalk in hereand take over someones desk. Now get the hell out beforeI callsecurity and have you arrested." "But " "Out!" Danarose. Summoningall her dignity, she thrust the pages in Matt Bakers handand walked
around the corner to the elevator. Matt Baker shook hishead indisbelief. Jesus! What the hell is the world coming to?There was awastebasket under the desk. As Matt moved toward it, heglanced at thefirst sentence of Danas story: "Stacy Taylor, her facebattered andbruised, claimed from her hospital bed today that she wasthere becauseher famous rock star husband, Tripp Taylor, beat her."Every time Iget pregnant, he beats me up. He doesnt want children."" Mattstarted to read further and stood there rooted. He lookedup, but Danawas gone. Clutching the pages in his hand, Matt racedtoward theelevators, hoping to find her before she disappeared. Ashe ran aroundthe corner, he bumped into her. She was leaning againstthe wall,waiting. "How did you get this story?" he demanded.Dana saidsimply, "I told you. Im a reporter." He took a deepbreath. "Comeon back to my office."They were seated in Matt Bakers office again. "Thats agood job," hesaid grudgingly. "Thank you! I cant tell you how much Iappreciatethis," Dana said excitedly. "Im going to be the bestreporter youever had. Youll see. What I really want is to be aforeigncorrespondent, but Im willing to work my way up to that,even if ittakes a year." She saw the expression on his face. "Ormaybe two.""The Tribune has no job openings, and theres a waitinglist." Shelooked at him in astonishment. "But I assumed " "Holdit." Dana
watched as he picked up a. pen and wrote out the lettersof the word"assume," ASS u ME. He pointed to the word. "When areporter assumessomething, Miss Evans, it makes an oss out of you and me.Do youunderstand?" "Yes, sir." "Good." He was thoughtful fora moment,then came to a decision. "Do you ever watch WTE? TheTribuneEnterprises television station." "No, sir. I cant saythat I ""Well, you will now. Youre in luck. Theres a jobopening there.One of the writers just quit. You can take his place.""Doing what?"Dana asked tentatively. "Writing television copy." Herface fell."Television copy? I dont know anything about " "Itssimple. Theproducer of the news will give you the raw material fromall the newsservices. Youll put it into English and put it on theTelePrompTerfor the anchors to read."Dana sat there, silent."What?""Nothing, its just that Im a reporter.""We have five hundred reporters here, and theyve allspent yearsearning their stripes. Go over to Building Four. Ask forMr. Hawkins.If you have to start somewhere, television isnt bad."Matt Bakerreached for the phone. "Ill give Hawkins a call."Dana sighed. "Right. Thank you, Mr. Baker. If you everneed ""Out."
The WTE television studios took up the entire sixth floorof BuildingFour. Tom Hawkins, the producer of the nightly news, ledDana into hisoffice. "Have you ever worked in television?" "No, sir.Ive workedon newspapers." "Dinosaurs. Theyre the past. Were thepresent.And who knows what the future will be? Let me show youaround." Therewere dozens of people working at desks and monitors. Wirecopy fromhalf a dozen news services was appearing on computers."Heres wherestories and news breaks come in from all over the world,"Hawkinsexplained. "I decide which ones were going with. Theassignment desksends out crews to cover those stories. Our reporters inthe fieldsend in their stories by microwave or transmitters.Besides our wireservices, we have one hundred and sixty police channels,reporters withcell phones, scanners, monitors. Every story is plannedto the second.The writers work with tape editors to get the timingexact. Theaverage news story runs between a minute and a half and aminute andforty-five seconds.""How many writers work here?" Dana asked."Six. Then you have a video coordinator, news tapeeditors, producers,directors, reporters, anchors ..." He stopped. A man andwoman wereapproaching them. "Speaking of anchors, meet JuliaBrinkman andMichael Tate."Julia Brinkman was a stunning woman, with chestnut-colored
hair, tintedcontacts that made her eyes a sultry green, and apracticed, disarmingsmile. Michael Tate was an athletic-looking man with aburs tinglygenial smile and an outgoing manner."Our new writer," Hawkins said. "Donna Evanston.""Dana Evans.""Whatever. Lets get to work."He took Dana back to his office. He nodded toward theassignment boardon the wall. "Those are the stories Ill choose from.Theyre calledslugs. Were on twice a day. We do the noon news fromtwelve to oneand the nightly news from ten to eleven. When I tell youwhich storiesI want to run with, youll put them together and makeeverything soundso exciting that the viewers cant switch channels. Thetape editorwill feed you video clips, and youll work them into thescripts andindicate where the clips go.""Right.""Sometimes theres a breaking story, and then well cutinto ourregular programming with a live feed.""Thats interesting," Dana said.She had no idea that one day it was going to save herlife.The first nights program was a disaster. Dana had putthe news leadsin the middle instead of the beginning, and Julia Brinkmanfound
herself reading Michael Tates stories while Michael wasreading hers.When the broadcast was over, the director said to Dana,"Mr. Hawkinswould like to see you in his office. Now." Hawkins wassitting behindhis desk, grim-faced. "I know," Dana said contritely."It was a newlow in television, and its all my fault." Hawkins satthere watchingher. Dana tried again. "The good news, Tom, is that fromnow on itcan only get better. Right?" He kept staring at her."And it willnever happen again because" she saw the look on his face"Im fired.""No," Hawkins said curtly. "That would be letting you offtoo easily.Youre going to do this until you get it right. And Imtalking aboutthe noon news tomorrow. Am I making myself clear?""Very.""Good. I want you here at eight oclock in the morning.""Right,Tom.""And since were going to be working together you can callme Mr.Hawkins."The noon news the next day went smoothly. Tom Hawkins hadbeen right,Dana decided. It was just a matter of getting used to therhythm. Getyour assignment... write the story ... work with the tapeeditor ...set up the TelePrompTer for the anchors to read.From that point on, it became routine.Danas break came eight months after she had startedworking at WTE.
She had just finished putting the evening news report ontheTelePrompTer at nine forty-five and was preparing toleave. When shewalked into the television studio to say good night, therewas chaos.Everyone was talking at once.Rob Cline, the director, was shouting, "Where the hell isshe?""I dont know.""Hasnt anyone seen her?""No.""Did you phone her apartment?""I got the answering machine.""Wonderful. Were on the air" he looked at his watch "intwelveminutes." "Maybe Julia was in an accident," Michael Tatesaid. "Shecould be dead." "Thats no excuse. She should havephoned." Danasaid, "Excuse me ..." The director turned to herimpatiently. "Yes?""If Julia doesnt show up, I could do the newscast.""Forget it." Heturned back to his assistant. "Call security and see ifshes comeinto the building." The assistant picked up the phone anddialed."Has Julia Brinkman checked in yet... ? Well, when shedoes, tell herto get up here, fast." "Have him hold an elevator forher. Were onthe air in" he looked at his watch again "seven damnedminutes." Danastood there, watching the growing panic. Michael Tatesaid, "I coulddo both parts." "No," the director snapped. "We need two
of you upthere." He looked at his watch again. "Three minutes.Goddammit.How could she do this to us? Were on the air in " Danaspoke up. "Iknow all the words. I wrote them." He gave her a quickglance. "Youhave no makeup on. Youre dressed wrong." A voice camefrom the soundengineers booth. "Two minutes. Take your places,please." MichaelTate shrugged and took his seat on the platform in frontof thecameras."Places, please!"Dana smiled at the director. "Good night, Mr. Cline."She startedtoward the door."Wait a minute!" He was rubbing his hand across hisforehead. "Areyou sure you can do this?""Try me," Dana said."I dont have any choice, do I?" he moaned. "All right.Get upthere. My God! Why didnt I listen to my mother andbecome adoctor?"Dana hurried up to the platform and took the seat next toMichaelTate."Thirty seconds ... twenty... ten ... five ..."The director signaled with his hand, and the red light onthe cameraflashed on."Good evening," Dana said smoothly. "Welcome to the WTE
ten-oclocknews. We have a breaking story for you in Holland. Therewas anexplosion at an Amsterdam school this afternoon and..."The rest of the broadcast went smoothly.The following morning, Rob Cline came into Danas office."Bad news.Julia was in an automobile accident last night. Her faceis" hehesitated "disfigured." "Im sorry," Dana said,concerned. "How badis it?" "Pretty bad." "But today plastic surgery can "He shook his head. "Not this time. She wont be comingback.""Id like to go see her. Where is she?""Theyre taking her back to her family, in Oregon.""Im so sorry.""You win some, you lose some." He studied Dana a moment."You wereokay last night. Well keep you on until we find someonepermanent."Dana went to see Matt Baker. "Did you see the news lastnight?" sheasked."Yes," he grunted. "For Gods sakes, try putting on somemakeup and amore appropriate dress."Dana felt deflated. "Right."As she turned to leave, Matt Baker said grudgingly, "Youwerent bad."Coming from him, it was a high compliment.On the fifth night of the news broadcast, the director
said to Dana,"By the way, the big brass said to keep you on."She wondered if the big brass was Matt Baker.Within six months, Dana became a fixture on the Washingtonscene. Shewas young and attractive and her intelligence shonethrough. At theend of the year, she was given a raise and specialassignments. One ofher shows, Here and Now, interviews with celebrities, hadzoomed to thetop of the ratings.Her interviews were personal and sympathetic, andcelebrities whohesitated to appear on other talk shows asked to be onDanas show.Magazines and newspapers began interviewing Dana. She wasbecoming acelebrity herself.At night, Dana would watch the international news. Sheenvied theforeign correspondents. They were doing somethingimportant. Theywere reporting history, informing the world about theimportant eventsthat were happening around the globe. She feltfrustrated.Danas two-year contract with WTE was nearly up. PhilipCole, thechief of correspondents, called her in."Youre doing a great job, Dana. Were all proud of you.""Thank you, Philip.""Its time for us to be talking about your new contract.First of all"
"Im quitting.""I beg your pardon?""When my contracts up, Im not doing the show anymore."He was looking at her incredulously. "Why would you wantto quit?Dont you like it here?""I like it a lot," Dana said. "I want to be with WTE, butI want to bea foreign correspondent.""Thats a miserable life," he exploded. "Why in Godsname would youwant to do that?" "Because Im tired of hearing whatcelebrities wantto cook for dinner and how they met their fifth husband.There arewars going on, and people are suffering and dying. Theworld doesntgive a damn. I want to make them care." She took a deepbreath. "Imsorry. I cant stay on here." She rose and startedtoward the door."Wait a minute! Are you sure this is what you want todo?" "Its whatIve always wanted to do," Dana said quietly. He wasthoughtful for amoment. "Where do you want to go?" It took her a momentfor theimport of his words to sink in. When Dana found hervoice, she said,"Sarajevo."Nine.Being governor was even more exciting than Oliver Russellhadanticipated. Power was a seductive mistress, and Oliverloved it. Hisdecisions influenced the lives of hundreds of thousands ofpeople. He
became adept at swaying the state legislature, and hisinfluence andreputation kept expanding. I really am making adifference, Oliverthought happily. He remembered Senator Daviss words:"This is just astepping-stone, Oliver. Walk carefully." And he wascareful. He hadnumerous affairs, but they were always handled with thegreatestdiscretion. He knew that they had to be.From time to time, Oliver checked with the hospital aboutMiriamscondition."Shes still in a coma, Governor.""Keep me informed."One of Olivers duties as governor was hosting statedinners. Theguests of honor were supporters, sports figures,entertainers, peoplewith political clout, and visiting dignitaries. Jan was agracioushostess, and Oliver enjoyed the way people reacted to her.One day Jan came to Oliver and said, "I just talked toFather. Hesgiving a party next weekend at his home. He would like usto come.There are some people he wants you to meet."That Saturday, at Senator Daviss sumptuous home inGeorgetown, Oliverfound himself shaking hands with some of the mostimportant wheelersand dealers in Washington. It was a beautiful party, andOliver wasenjoying himself immensely. "Having a good time, Oliver?""Yes. Itsa wonderful party. You couldnt wish for a better one."Peter Tager
said, "Speaking of wishes, that reminds me. The otherday, Elizabeth,my six-year-old, was in a cranky mood and wouldnt getdressed. Betsywas getting desperate. Elizabeth looked at her and said,"Mama, whatare you thinking?" Betsy said, "Honey, I was just wishingthat youwere in a good mood, and that you would get dressed andhave yourbreakfast like a good girl." And Elizabeth said, "Mama,your wish isnot being granted!" Isnt that great? Those kids arefantastic. Seeyou later, Governor."A couple walked in the door and Senator Davis went togreet them.The Italian ambassador, Atilio Picone, was animposing-looking man inhis sixties, with dark, Sicilian features. His wife,Sylva, was one ofthe most beautiful women Oliver had ever seen. She hadbeen an actressbefore she married Atilio and was still popular in Italy.Oliver couldsee why. She had large, sensuous brown eyes, the face ofa Madonna,and the voluptuous body of a Rubens nude. She wastwenty-five yearsyounger than her husband.Senator Davis brought the couple over to Oliver andintroduced them."Im delighted to meet you," Oliver said. He could nottake his eyesoff her.She smiled. "Ive been hearing a great deal about you.""Nothing bad, I hope."
"I Her husband cut in. "Senator Davis speaks very highlyof you."Oliver looked at Sylva and said, "Im nattered."Senator Davis led the couple away. When he returned toOliver, hesaid, "Thats off limits, Governor. Forbidden fruit.Take a bite ofthat, and you can kiss your future goodbye.""Relax, Todd. I wasnt ""Im serious. You can alienate two countries at once."At the end of the evening, when Sylva and her husband wereleaving,Atilio said, "It was nice to meet you.""It was a pleasure."Sylva took Olivers hand in hers and said softly, "We lookforward toseeing you again."Their eyes met. "Yes."And Oliver thought, I must be careful.Two weeks later, back in Frankfort, Oliver was working inhis officewhen his secretary buzzed him."Governor, Senator Davis is here to see you.""Senator Davis is here?""Yes, sir.""Send him in." Oliver knew that his father-in-law wasfighting for animportant bill in Washington, and Oliver wondered what hewas doing inFrankfort. The door opened, and the senator walked in.
Peter Tagerwas with him.Senator Todd Davis smiled and put his arm around Oliver."Governor,its good to see you.""Its great to see you, Todd." He turned to Peter Tager."Morning,Peter.""Morning, Oliver.""Hope Im not disturbing you," Senator Davis said. "No,not at all.Is is anything wrong?" Senator Davis looked at Tager andsmiled. "Oh,I dont think you could say anythings wrong, Oliver. Infact, I wouldsay that everythings just fine." Oliver was studying thetwo of them,puzzled. "I dont understand." "I have some good newsfor you, son.May we sit down?" "Oh, forgive me. What would you like?Coffee?Whiskey ?" "No. Were pretty well stimulated already."Again, Oliverwondered what was going on. "Ive just flown in fromWashington.Theres a pretty influential group there who think youregoing to beour next president." Oliver felt a small thrill gothrough him. "Ireally?" "As a matter of fact, the reason I flew downhere is thatits time for us to start your campaign. The election isless than twoyears away." "Its perfect timing," Peter Tager saidenthusiastically."Before were through, everyone in the world is going toknow who youare." Senator Davis added, "Peter is going to take chargeof yourcampaign. Hell handle everything for you. You know you
wont findanyone better." Oliver looked at Tager and said warmly,"I agree.""Its my pleasure. Were going to have a lot of fun,Oliver."Oliver turned to Senator Davis. "Isnt this going to costa lot?""Dont worry about that. Youll go first-class all theway. Iveconvinced a lot of my good friends that youre the man toput theirmoney on." He leaned forward in his chair. "Dontunderestimateyourself, Oliver. The survey that came out a couple ofmonths agolisted you as the third most effective governor in thecountry. Well,you have something that the other two dont have. I toldyou thisbefore charisma. That is something that money cant buy.People likeyou, and theyre going to vote for you."Oliver was getting more and more excited. "When do we getstarted?""Weve already started," Senator Davis told him. "Weregoing to builda strong campaign team, and were going to start lining updelegatesaround the country.""How realistic are my chances?""In the primaries, youre going to blow everyone away,"Tager replied."As for the general election, President Norton is ridingpretty high.If you had to run against him, hed be pretty tough tobeat. The goodnews, of course, is that since this is his second term, hecant run
again and Vice President Cannon is a pale shadow. Alittle sunshinewill make him disappear."The meeting lasted for four hours. When it was over,Senator Davissaid to Tager, "Peter, would you excuse us for a minute?""Certainly, Senator."They watched him go out the door.Senator Davis said, "I had a talk with Jan this morning."Oliver felt a small fris son of alarm. "Yes?"Senator Davis looked at Oliver and smiled. "Shes veryhappy."Oliver breathed a sigh of relief. "Im glad.""So am I, son. So am I. Just keep the home fires burning.You know what I mean?""Dont worry about that, Todd. I "Senator Daviss smile faded. "I do worry about it,Oliver.I cant fault you for being horny just dont let it turnyou into atoad."As Senator Davis and Peter Tager were walking through thecorridor ofthe state capitol, the senator said, "I want you to startputting astaff together. Dont spare any expense. To begin with,I wantcampaign offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, and SanFrancisco.Primaries begin in twelve months. The convention iseighteen months
away. After that, we should have smooth sailing." Theyhad reachedthe car. "Ride with me to the airport, Peter.""Hell make a wonderful president."Senator Davis nodded. And Ill have him in my pocket, hethought. Hesgoing to be my puppet. Ill pull the strings, and thePresident of theUnited States will speak.The senator pulled a gold cigar case from his pocket. "Cigar?The primaries around the country started well. SenatorDavis had beenright about Peter Tager. He was one of the best politicalmanagers inthe world, and the organization he created was superb.Because Tagerwas a strong family man and a deeply religious churchgoer,he attractedthe religious right. Because he knew what made politicswork, he wasalso able to persuade the liberals to put aside theirdifferences andwork together. Peter Tager was a brilliant campaignmanager, and hisraffish black eye patch became a familiar sight on all thenetworks.Tager knew that if Oliver was to be successful, he wouldhave to gointo the convention with a minimum of two hundred delegatevotes. Heintended to see to it that Oliver got them.The schedule Tager drew up included multiple trips toevery state inthe union.Oliver looked at the program and said, "This this isimpossible,
Peter!""Not the way weve set it up," Tager assured him. "Itsall beencoordinated. The senators lending you his Challenger.There will bepeople to guide you every step of the way, and Ill be atyour side."13itSenator Davis introduced Sirne Lombardo to Oliver.Lombardo was agiant of a man, tall and burly, dark both physically andemotionally, abrooding man who spoke little."How does he fit into the picture?" Oliver asked thesenator when theywere alone.Senator Davis said, "Sime is our problem-solver.Sometimes people needa little persuasion to go along. Sime is veryconvincing."Oliver did not pursue it any further.When the presidential campaign began in earnest, PeterTager gaveOliver detailed briefings on what to say, when to say it,and how tosay it. He saw to it that Oliver made appearances in allthe keyelectoral states. And wherever Oliver went, he said whatpeople wantedto hear.In Pennsylvania: "Manufacturing is the lifeblood of thiscountry. Werenot going to forget that. Were going to open up thefactories againand get America back on the track!"
Cheers.In California: "The aircraft industry is one of Americasmost vitalassets. Theres no reason for a single one of your plantsto be shutdown. Were going to open them up again."13QCheers.In Detroit: "We invented cars, and the Japanese took thetechnologyaway from us. Well, were going to get back our rightfulplace asnumber one. Detroits going to be the automobile centerof the worldagain!"Cheers.At college campuses, it was federally guaranteed studentloans.In speeches at army bases around the country, it waspreparedness.In the beginning, when Oliver was relatively unknown, theodds werestacked against him. As the campaign went on, the pollsshowed himmoving up.The first week in July, more than four thousand delegatesandalternates, along with hundreds of party officials andcandidates,gathered at the convention in Cleveland and turned thecity upside downwith parades and floats and parties. Television camerasfrom all overthe world recorded the spectacle. Peter Tager and SimeLombardo saw to
it that Governor Oliver Russell was always in front of thelenses.There were half a dozen possible nominees in Oliversparty, butSenator Todd Davis had worked behind the scenes to assurethat, one byone, they were eliminated. He ruthlessly called in favorsowed, someas old as twenty years."Toby, its Todd. How are Emma and Suzy?... Good. I wantto talk toyou about your boy, Andrew. Im worried about him, Toby.You know, inmy opinion, hes too liberal. The South will never accepthim. Hereswhat I suggest....""Alfred, its Todd. Hows Roy doing?... No need to thankme. I washappy to help him out. I want to talk to you about yourcandidate,Jerry. In my opinion, hes too right-wing. If we go withhim, welllose the North. Now, heres what I would suggest....""Kenneth Todd. I just wanted to tell you that Im gladthat realestate deal worked out for you. We all did pretty well,didnt we? Bythe way, I think we ought to have a little talk aboutSlater. Hesweak. Hes a loser. We cant afford to back a loser, canwe?..."And so it went, until practically the only viablecandidate left to theparty was Governor Oliver Russell.The nomination process went smoothly. On the firstballot, OliverRussell had seven hundred votes: more than two hundredfrom six
northeastern industrial states, one hundred and fifty fromsix NewEngland states, forty from four southern states, anotherone hundredand eighty from two farm states, and the balance fromthree Pacificstates. Peter Tager was working frantically to make surethe publicitytrain kept rolling. When the final tally was counted,Oliver Russellwas the winner. And with the excitement of the circusatmosphere thathad carefully been created, Oliver Russell was nominatedbyacclamation. The next step was to choose a vicepresident. MelvinWicks was a perfect choice. He was a politically correctCalifornian awealthy entrepreneur, and a personable congressman."Theyll complement each other," Tager said. "Now thereal workbegins. Were going after the magic number two hundredand seventy."The number of electoral votes needed to win thepresidency.Tager told Oliver, "The people want a young leader....Good-looking, alittle humor and a vision.... They want you to tell themhow great theyare and they want to believe it.... Let them know youresmart, butdont be too smart.... If you attack your opponent, keepitimpersonal.... Never look down on a reporter. Treat themas friends,and theyll be your friends.... Try to avoid any show ofpettiness.Remember youre a statesman."The campaign was nonstop. Senator Daviss jet carriedOliver to Texas
for three days, California for a day, Michigan for half aday,Massachusetts for six hours. Every minute was accountedfor. Somedays Oliver would visit as many as ten towns and deliverten speeches.There was a different hotel every night, the Drake inChicago, the St.Regis in Detroit, the Carlyle in New York City, the PlacedAmes in NewOrleans, until, finally, they all seemed to blend intoone. WhereverOliver went, there were police cars leading theprocession, largecrowds, and cheering voters.Jan accompanied Oliver on most of the trips, and he had toadmit thatshe was a great asset. She was attractive andintelligent, and thereporters liked her. From time to time, Oliver read aboutLeslieslatest acquisitions: a newspaper in Madrid, a televisionstation inMexico, a radio station in Kansas. He was happy for hersuccess. Itmade him feel less guilty about what he had done to her.Everywhere Oliver went, the reporters photographed him,interviewedhim, and quoted him. There were more than a hundredcorrespondentscovering his campaign, some of them from countries at thefar ends ofthe earth. As the campaign neared its climax, the pollsshowed thatOliver Russell was the front-runner. But unexpectedly,his opponent,Vice President Cannon, began overtaking him. Peter Tagerbecameworried. "Cannons moving up in the polls. Weve got tostop him."Two television debates between Vice President Cannon andOliver had
been agreed upon. "Cannon is going to discuss theeconomy," Tager toldOliver, "and hell do a good job. We have to fake himout. Heres myplan...."The night of the first debate, in front of the televisioncameras, VicePresident Cannon talked about the economy. "America hasnever beenmore economically sound. Business is flourishing." Hespent the nextten minutes elaborating on his theme, proving his pointswith facts andfigures. When it was Oliver Russells turn at themicrophone, he said,"That was very impressive. Im sure were all pleasedthat bigbusiness is doing so well and that corporate profits havenever beenhigher." He turned to his opponent. "But you forgot tomention thatone of the reasons corporations are doing so well isbecause of what iseuphemistically termed downsizing." To put it bluntly,downsizingsimply means that people are being fired to make way formachines. Morepeople are out of work than ever before. Its the humanside of thepicture we should be examining. I dont happen to shareyour view thatcorporate financial success is more important thanpeople...." And soit went. Where Vice President Cannon had talked aboutbusiness, OliverRussell took a humanitarian approach and talked aboutemotions andopportunities. By the time he was through, Russell hadmanaged to makeCannon sound like a coldblooded politician who carednothing about theAmerican people. The morning after the debate, the pollsshifted,
putting Oliver Russell within three points of the vicepresident. Therewas to be one more national debate.Arthur Cannon had learned his lesson. At the finaldebate, he stoodbefore the microphone and said, "Ours is a land where allpeople musthave equal opportunities. America has been blessed withfreedom, butthat alone is not enough. Our people must have thefreedom to work,and earn a decent living...."He stole Oliver Russells thunder by concentrating on allthe wonderfulplans he had in mind for the welfare of the people. ButPeter Tagerhad anticipated that. When Cannon was finished, OliverRussell steppedto the microphone."That was very touching. Im sure we were all very movedby what youhad to say about the plight of the unemployed, and, as youcalled him,the forgotten man." What disturbs me is that you forgotto say howyou are going to do all those wonderful things for thosepeople." Andfrom then on, where Vice President Cannon had dealt inemotions, OliverRussell talked about issues and his economic plans,leaving the vicepresident hanging high and dry.Oliver, Jan, and Senator Davis were having dinner at thesenatorsmansion in Georgetown. The senator smiled at Jan. "Ivejust seen thelatest polls. I think you can begin redecorating theWhite House."Her face lit up. "Do you really think were going to win,Father?"
"Im wrong about a lot of things, honey, but never aboutpolitics.Thats my lifes blood. In November, were going to havea newpresident, and hes sitting right next to you."Ten.Fasten your seat belts, please." Here we go! Danathought excitedly.She looked over at Benn Albertson and Wally Newman. BennAl-bert sonDanas producer, was a hyperkinetic bearded man in hisforties. He hadproduced some of the top-rated news shows in televisionand was highlyrespected. Wally Newman, the cameraman, was in his earlyfifties. Hewas talented and enthusiastic, and eagerly looking forwardto his newassignment. Dana thought about the adventure that layahead. Theywould land in Paris and then fly to Zagreb, Croatia, andfinally toSarajevo.During her last week in Washington, Dana had been briefedby ShelleyMcGuire, the foreign editor. "Youll need a truck inSarajevo totransmit your stories to the satellite," McGuire told her."We dontown one there so well rent a truck and buy time from theYugoslavcompany that owns the satellite. If things go well, wellget our owntruck later. Youll be operating on two different levels.Somestories youll cover live, but most of them will be taped.BennAlbertson will tell you what he wants, and youll shootthe footage andthen do a sound track in a local studio. Ive given youthe best
producer and cameraman in the business. You shouldnthave anyproblem." Dana was to remember those optimistic wordslater."The day before Dana left, Matt Baker had telephoned."Get over to myoffice." His voice was gruff."Ill be right there." Dana had hung up with a feeling ofApprehension. Hes changed his mind about approving mytransfer ctndhes not going to let me go. How could he do this to me?Well, shethought determinedly, Im going to fight him.Ten minutes later, Dana was marching into Matt Bakersoffice. "I knowwhat youre going to say," she began, "but it "Wont doyou any good.Im going! Ive dreamed about this since I was a littlegirl. I thinkI can do some good over there. youve got to give me achance to try."She took a deep breath. "All right," Dana said defiantly."What didyou want to say?"Matt Baker looked at her and said mildly, "Bon voyage."Dana blinked. "What?""Bon voyage. It means good journey." ""I know what it means. I didnt you send for me to ?""I sent for you because Ive spoken to a few of ourforeigncorrespondents. They gave me some advice to pass on toyou."This gruff bear of a man had taken the time and trouble totalk to someforeign correspondents so that he could help her! "I I
dont know howto ""Then dont," he grunted. "Youre going into a shootingwar. Theresno guarantee you can protect yourself a hundred percent,becausebullets dont give a damn who they kill. But when yourein the middleof action, the adrenaline starts to flow. It can make youreckless,and you do stupid things you wouldnt ordinarily do. Youhave tocontrol that. Always play it safe. Dont wander aroundthe streetsalone. No news story is worth your life. Another thing..."The lecture had gone on for almost an hour. Finally, hesaid, "Well,thats it. Take care of yourself. If you let anythinghappen to you,Im going to be damned mad."Dana had leaned over and kissed him on the cheek."Dont ever do that again," he snapped. He stood up."Its going tobe rough over there, Dana. If you should change your mindwhen you getthere and want to come home, just let me know, and Illarrange it.""I wont change my mind," Dana said confidently.As it turned out, she was wrong.The flight to Paris was uneventful. They landed atCharles de GaulleAirport and the trio took an airport minibus to CroatiaAirlines. Therewas a three-hour delay.At ten oclock that night, the Croatia Airlines plane
landed at ButmirAirport in Sarajevo. The passengers were herded into asecuritybuilding, where their passports were checked by uniformedguards andthey were waved on. As Dana moved toward the exit, ashort,unpleasant-looking man in civilian clothes stepped infront of her,blocking her way. "Passport.""I showed them my ""I am Colonel Gordan Divjak. Your passport."Dana handed her passport to him, along with her presscredentials.He flipped through it. "A journalist?" He looked at hersharply."Whose side are you on?""Im not on anyones side," Dana said evenly."Just be careful what you report," Colonel Divjak warned."We do nottreat espionage lightly."Welcome to Sarajevo.A bulletproof Land Rover was at the airport to meet them.The driverwas a swarthy-looking man in his early twenties. "I amJovan Tolj, foryour pleasure. I will be your driver in Sarajevo." Jovandrove fast,swerving around corners and racing through desertedstreets as thoughthey were being pursued. "Excuse me," Dana saidnervously. "Is thereany special hurry?" "Yes, if you want to get therealive." "But " Inthe distance, Dana heard the sound of rumbling thunder,and it seemed
to be coming closer. What she was hearing was notthunder. In thedarkness, Dana could make out buildings with shatteredfronts,apartments without roofs, stores without windows. Ahead,she could seethe Holiday Inn, where they were staying. The front ofthe hotel wasbadly pockmarked, and a deep hole had been gouged in thedriveway. Thecar sped past it. "Wait! This is our hotel," Dana cried."Where areyou going?" "The front entrance is too dangerous." Jovansaid. Heturned the corner and raced into an alley. "Everyone usesthe backentrance." Danas mouth was suddenly dry. "Oh." Thelobby of theHoliday Inn was filled with people milling about andchatting. Anattractive young Frenchman approached Dana. "Ah, we havebeenexpecting you. You are Dana Evans?" "Yes." "Jean PaulHubert, M6,Metropole Television." "Im happy to meet you. This isBenn Albertsonand Wally Newman." The men shook hands. "Welcome towhats left ofour rapidly disappearing city."Others were approaching the group to welcome them. One byone, theystepped up and introduced themselves. "Steffan Mueller,KabelNetwork." "Roderick Munn, BBC 2." "Marco Benelli, ItaliaI." "AkihiroIshihara, TV Tokyo." "Juan Santos, Channel 6,Guadalajara." "ChunQian, Shanghai Television." It seemed to Dana that everycountry inthe world had a journalist there. The introductionsseemed to go onforever. The last one was a burly Russian with a gleaminggold front
tooth. "Nikolai Petrovich, Gorizont 22." "How manyreporters arehere?" Dana asked Jean Paul. "Over two hundred andfifty. We dontsee many wars as colorful as this one. Is this yourfirst?" He madeit sound as though it were some kind of tennis match."Yes." JeanPaul said, "If I can be of any help, please let me know.""Thank you."She hesitated. "Who is Colonel Gordan Div-jak?" "Youdont want toknow. We all think he is with the Serbian equivalent ofthe Gestapo,but were not sure. I would suggest you stay out of hisway." "Illremember."Later, as Dana got into her bed, there was a sudden loudexplosion fromacross the street, and then another, and the room began toshake. Itwas terrifying, and at the same time exhilarating. Itseemed unreal,something out of a movie. Dana lay awake all night,listening to thesounds of the terrible killing machines and watching theflashes oflight reflected in the grimy hotel windows.In the morning, Dana got dressed jeans, boots, flakjacket. She feltself-conscious, and yet: "Always play it safe.... No newsstory isworth your life."Dana, Benn, and Wally were in the lobby restaurant,talking about theirfamilies."I forgot to tell you the good news," Wally said. "Imgoing to have agrandson next month."
"Thats great!" And Dana thought: Will I ever have achild and agrandchild? Que sera sera."I have an idea," Benn said. "Lets do a general storyfirst on whatshappening here and how the peoples lives have beenaffected. Ill gowith Wally and scout locations. Why dont you get us somesatellitetime, Dana?""Fine."Jovan Tolj was in the alley, in the Land Rover."Dobrojutro. Goodmorning.""Good morning, Jovan. I want to go to the place wherethey rentsatellite time."As they drove, Dana was able to get a clear look atSarajevo for thefirst time. It seemed to her that there was not abuilding that hadbeen untouched. The sound of gunfire was continuous."Dont they ever stop?" Dana asked."They will stop when they run out of ammunition," Jovansaid bitterly."And they will never run out of ammunition."The streets were deserted, except for a few pedestrians,and all thecafes were closed. Pavements were pockmarked with shellcraters. Theypassed the Oslobodjenje building."That is our newspaper," Jovan said proudly. "The Serbskeep trying todestroy it, but they cannot."
A few minutes later, they reached the satellite offices."I will waitfor you," Jovan said.Behind a desk in the lobby, there was a receptionist whoappeared to bein his eighties. "Do you speak English?" Dana asked. Helooked ather wearily. "I speak nine languages, madam. What do youwish?" "Imwith WTE. I want to book some satellite time and arrange" "Thirdfloor."The sign on the door read: YUGOSLAVIA SATELLITE DIVISION.Thereception room was filled with men seated on woodenbenches linedagainst the walls.Dana introduced herself to the young woman at thereception desk. "ImDana Evans, with WTE. I want to book some satellitetime.""Take a seat, please, and wait your turn."Dana looked around the room. "Are all these people hereto booksatellite time?"The woman looked up at her and said, "Of course."Almost two hours later, Dana was ushered into the officeof themanager, a short, squat man with a cigar in his mouth; helooked likethe old cliche prototype of a Hollywood producer. He hada heavyaccent. "How can I help you?" "Im Dana Evans, with WTE.Id like torent one of your trucks and book the satellite for half anhour. Sixoclock in Washington would be a good time. And Ill want
that sametime every day indefinitely." She looked at hisexpression. "Anyproblem?" "One. There are no satellite trucks available.They haveall been booked. I will give you a call if someonecancels." Danalooked at him in dismay. "No ? But I need some satellitetime," shesaid. "Im " "So does everybody else, madam. Except forthose whohave their own trucks, of course."When Dana returned to the reception room, it was full. Ihave to dosomething about this, she thought.When Dana left the satellite office, she said to Jovan,"Id like youto drive me around the city."He turned to look at her, then shrugged. "As you wish."He startedthe car and began to race through the streets."A little slower, please. I need to get a feel of thisplace."Sarajevo was a city under siege. There was no runningwater orelectricity, and more houses were being bombed every hour.The airraid alarm went on so frequently that people ignored it.A miasma offatalism seemed to hang over the city. If the bullet hadyour name onit, there was nowhere to hide.On almost every street corner, men, women, and childrenwere peddlingthe few possessions they had left."They are refugees from Bosnia and Croatia," Jovanexplained, "trying
to get enough money to buy food."Fires were raging everywhere. There were no firemen insight."Isnt there a fire department?" Dana asked.He shrugged. "Yes, but they dont dare come. They maketoo good atarget for Serb snipers."In the beginning, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina hadmade littlesense to Dana. It was not until she had been in Sarajevofor a weekthat she realized that it made no sense at all. No onecould explainit. Someone had mentioned a professor from theuniversity, who was awell-known historian. He had been wounded and wasconfined to hishome. Dana decided to have a talk with him. Jovan droveher to one ofthe old neighborhoods in the city, where the professorlived. ProfessorMladic Staka was a small, gray-haired man, almost etherealinappearance. A bullet had shattered his spine andparalyzed him."Thank you for coming," he said. "I do not get manyvisitors thesedays. You said you needed to talk to me." "Yes. Imsupposed to becovering this war," Dana told him. "But to tell thetruth, Im havingtrouble understanding it." "The reason is very simple, mydear. Thiswar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is beyond understanding.For decades,the Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Muslims lived together inpeace, underTito. They were friends and neighbors. They grew uptogether, workedtogether, went to the same schools, intermarried." "And
now?" "Thesesame friends are torturing and murdering one another.Their hatred hasmade them do things so disgusting that I cannot even speakabout them.""Ive heard some of the stories," Dana said. The storiesshe had heardwere almost beyond belief: a well filled with bloody humantesticles,babies raped and slaughtered, innocent villagers locked inchurchesthat were then set on fire. "Who started this?" Danaasked. He shookhis head. "It depends on whom you ask. During the SecondWorld War,hundreds of thousand of Serbs, who were on the side of theAllies, werewiped out by the Croats, who were on the side of theNazis. Now theSerbs are taking their bloody revenge. They are holdingthe countryhostage, and they are merciless. More than two hundredthousand shellshave fallen on Sarajevo alone. At least ten thousandpeople have beenkilled and more than sixty thousand injured. The Bosniansand Muslimsmust bear the responsibility for their share of thetorture andkilling. Those who do not want war are being forced intoit. No onecan trust anyone. The only thing they have left is hate.What we haveis a conflagration that keeps feeding on itself, and whatfuels thefires is the bodies of the innocent."When Dana returned to her hotel that afternoon, BennAlbert-son waswaiting there to tell her that he had received a messagethat a truckand satellite time would be available to them thefollowing day at 6:00P.M. "I found the ideal place for us to shoot," Wally
Newman told her."Theres a square with a Catholic church, a mosque, aProtestantchurch, and a synagogue, all within a block of oneanother. Theyveall been bombed out. You can write a story aboutequal-opportunityhatred, and what it has done to the people who live here,who dontwant anything to do with the war but are forced to be apart of it."Dana nodded, excited. "Great. Ill see you at dinner.Im going towork." She headed for her room.At six oclock the following evening, Dana and Wally andBenn weregathered in front of the square where the bombed-outchurches andsynagogue were located. Wallys television camera hadbeen set up on atripod, and Benn was waiting for confirmation fromWashington that thesatellite signal was good. Dana could hear sniper fire inthe nearbackground. She was suddenly glad she was wearing herflak jacket.Theres nothing to be afraid of. Theyre not shooting atus. Theyreshooting at one another. They need us to tell the worldtheir story.Dana saw Wally signal. She took a deep breath, lookedinto the cameralens, and began. "The bombed-out churches you see behindme are asymbol of what is happening in this country. There are nowalls forpeople to hide behind anymore, no place that is safe. Inearliertimes, people could find sanctuary in their churches. Buthere, thepast and the present and the future have all blendedtogether and " Atthat second, she heard a shrill approaching whistle,
looked up, and sawWallys head explode into a red melon. Its a trick ofthe light, wasDanas first thought. And then she watched, aghast, asWallys bodyslammed to the pavement. Dana stood there, frozen,unbelieving. Peoplearound her were screaming. The sound of rapid sniper firecame closer,and Dana began to tremble uncontrollably. Hands grabbedher and rushedher down the street. She was fighting them, trying tofree herself.No! We have to go back. We havent used up our tenminutes. Wastenot, want not... it was wrong to waste things. "Finishyour soup,darling. Children in China are starving." You thinkyoure some kindof God up there, sitting on a white cloud? Well, let metell yousomething. Youre a fake. A real God would never, never,never letWattys head be blown off. Wally was expecting his firstgrandson. Areyou listening to me? Are you? Are you?She was in a state of shock, unaware that she was beingled through aback street to the car.When Dana opened her eyes, she was in her bed. BennAl-bert son andJean Paul Hubert were standing over her.Dana looked up into their faces. "It happened, didntit?" Shesqueezed her eyes tightly shut."Im so sorry," Jean Paul said. "Its an awful thing tosee. Yourelucky you werent killed."
The telephone jarred the stillness of the room. Bennpicked it up."Hello." He listened a moment "Yes. Hold on." He turnedto Dana."Its Matt Baker. Are you able to talk to him?""Yes." Dana sat up. After a moment, she rose and walkedover to thetelephone. "Hello." Her throat was dry, and it wasdifficult tospeak.Matt Bakers voice boomed over the line. "I want you tocome home,Dana."Her voice was a whisper. "Yes. I want to come home.""Ill arrange for you to be on the first plane out ofthere.""Thank you." She dropped the telephone.Jean Paul and Benn helped her back into bed. "Im sorry,"Jean Paulsaid, again. "Theres theres nothing anyone can say."Tears wererunning down her cheeks. "Why did they kill him? Henever harmedanyone. Whats happening? People are being slaughteredlike animalsand no one cares. No one cares!" Benn said, "Dana,theres nothing wecan do about " "There has to be!" Danas voice was filledwith fury."We have to make them care. This war isnt aboutbombed-out churchesor buildings or streets. Its about people innocentpeople gettingtheir heads blown off. Those are the stories we should bedoing.Thats the only way to make this war real." She turned toBenn andtook a deep breath. "Im staying, Benn. Im not going to
let themscare me away." He was watching her, concerned. "Dana,are you sureyou ?" "Im sure. I know what I have to do now. Willyou call Mattand tell him?" He said reluctantly, "If thats what youreally want."Dana nodded. "Its what I really want." She watched Bennleave theroom. Jean Paul said, "Well, I had better go and let you" "No." Foran instant, Danas mind was filled with a vision ofWallys headexploding, and his body falling to the ground. "No," Danasaid. Shelooked up at Jean Paul. "Please stay. I need you." JeanPaul satdown on the bed. And Dana took him in her arms and heldhim close toher.The following morning, Dana said to Benn Albertson, "Canyou get holdof a cameraman? Jean Paul told me about an orphanage inKosovo thatsjust been bombed. I want to go there and cover it.""Ill round up someone.""Thanks, Benn. Ill go on ahead and meet you there.""Be careful.""Dont worry."Jovan was waiting for Dana in the alley."Were going to Kosovo," Dana told him.Jovan turned to look at her. "That is dangerous, madam.The only roadthere is through the woods, and ""Weve already had our share of bad luck, Jovan. Well be
allright.""As you wish."They sped through the city, and fifteen minutes later weredrivingthrough a heavily forested area. "How much farther?"Dana asked."Not far. We should be there in " And at that moment, theLand Roverstruck a land mine.Eleven.As election day approached, the presidential race becametoo close tocall. "Weve got to win Ohio," Peter Tager said. "Thatstwenty-oneelectoral votes. Were all right with Alabama thats ninevotes and wehave Floridas twenty-five votes." He held up a chart."Illinois,twenty-two votes ... New York, thirty-three, andCalifornia,forty-four. Its just too damned early to call it."Everyone was concerned except Senator Davis. "Ive got anose," hesaid. "I can smell victory."In a Frankfort hospital, Miriam Friedland was still in acoma.On election day, the first Tuesday in November, Lesliestayed home towatch the returns on television. Oliver Russell won bymore than twomillion popular votes and a huge majority of electoralvotes. OliverRussell was the president now, the biggest target in theworld. No onehad followed the election campaign more closely thanLeslie Stewart
Chambers. She had been busily expanding her empire andhad acquired achain of newspapers and television and radio stationsacross the UnitedStates, as well as in England, Australia, and Brazil."When are yougoing to have enough?" her chief editor, Darin Solana,asked. "Soon,"Leslie said. "Soon." There was one more step she had totake, and thelast piece fell into place at a dinner party inScortsdale. A guestsaid, "I heard confidentially that Margaret Port-man isgetting adivorce." Margaret Portman was the owner of theWashington Tribune, inthe nations capital. Leslie had no comment, but earlythe followingmorning, she was on the telephone with Chad Morton, one ofherattorneys. "I want you to find out if the WashingtonTribune is forsale." The answer came back later that day. "I dontknow how youheard about it, Mrs. Chambers, but it looks as though youcould beright. Mrs. Portman and her husband are quietly gettinga divorce,and theyre dividing up their property. I thinkWashington TribuneEnterprises is going up for sale.""I want to buy it.""Youre talking about a mega deal Washington TribuneEnterprises ownsa newspaper chain, a magazine, a television network, and ""I want it."That afternoon, Leslie and Chad Morton were on their waytoWashington,
D.C.Leslie telephoned Margaret Portman, whom she had metcasually a fewyears earlier. "Im in Washington," Leslie said, "and I ""I know."Word gets around fast, Leslie thought. "I heard that youmight beinterested in selling Tribune Enterprises." "Possibly.""I wonder ifyou would arrange a tour of the paper for me?" "Are youinterested inbuying it, Leslie?" "Possibly." Margaret Portman sentfor Matt Baker."Do you know who Leslie Chambers is?" "The Ice Princess.Sure.""Shell be here in a few minutes. Id like you to takeher on a tourof the plant."Everyone at the Tribune was aware of the impending sale."It would be a mistake to sell the Tribune to LeslieChambers," MattBaker said flatly."What makes you say that?""First of all, I doubt if she really knows a damn thingabout thenewspaper business. Have you looked at what shes done tothe otherpapers she bought? Shes turned respectable newspapersinto cheaptabloids. Shell destroy the Tribune. Shes " He lookedup. LeslieChambers was standing in the doorway, listening.Margaret Portman spoke up. "Leslie! How nice to see you.This isMatt Baker, our editor in chief of Tribune Enterprises."They exchanged cool greetings.
"Matt is going to show you around.""Im looking forward to it."Matt Baker took a deep breath. "Right. Lets getstarted."At the beginning of the tour, Matt Baker saidcondescendingly, "Thestructure is like this: At the top is the editor in chief" "That wouldbe you, Mr. Baker." "Right. And under me, the managingeditor andthe editorial staff. That includes Metro, National,Foreign, Sports,Business, Life and Style, People, Calendar, Books, RealEstate, Travel,Food.... Im probably leaving a few out." "Amazing. Howmanyemployees does Washington Tribune Enterprises have, Mr.Baker?" "Overfive thousand."They passed a copy desk. "Heres where the news editorlays out thepages. Hes the one who decides where the photos aregoing to go andwhich stories appear on which pages. The copy desk writestheheadlines, edits the stories, and then puts them togetherin thecomposing room." "Fascinating." "Are you interested inseeing theprinting plants?" "Oh, yes. Id like to see everything."He mumbledsomething under his breath. "Im sorry?" "I said,"Fine." " Theytook the elevator down and walked over to the nextbuilding. Theprinting plant was four stories high and the size of fourfootballfields. Everything in the huge space was automated. Therewere thirtyrobot carts in the building, carrying enormous rolls of
paper that theydropped off at various stations. Baker explained, "Eachroll of paperweighs about twenty-five hundred pounds. If you unrolledone, it wouldbe eight miles long. The paper goes through the pressesat twenty-onemiles an hour. Some of the bigger carts can carry sixteenrolls atonce." There were six presses, three on each side of theroom. Leslieand Matt Baker stood there and watched as the newspaperswereautomatically assembled, cut, folded, put into bales, anddelivered tothe trucks waiting to carry them off. "In the old days ittook aboutthirty men to do what one man can do today," Matt Bakersaid. "The ageof technology."Leslie looked at him a moment. "The age of downsizing.""I dont knowif youre interested in the economics of the operation?"Matt Bakerasked dryly. "Perhaps youd prefer your lawyer oraccountant to " "Imvery interested, Mr. Baker. Your editorial budget isfifteen milliondollars. Your daily circulation is eight hundred andsixteen thousand,four hundred and seventy-four, and one million, onehundred and fortythousand, four hundred and ninety-eight on Sunday, andyour advertisingis sixty-eight point two." Matt looked at her andblinked. "With theownership of all your newspapers, your daily circulationis over twomillion, with two million four Sunday circulation. Ofcourse, thatsnot the largest paper in the world, is it, Mr. Baker?Two of thelargest newspapers in the world are printed in London.
The Sun is thebiggest, with a circulation of four million daily. TheDaily Mirrorsells over three million." He took a deep breath. "Imsorry. Ididnt realize you " "In Japan, there are over two hundreddailies,including Asahi Shimbun, Mainchi Shimbun, and YomiuriShimbun. Do youfollow me?" "Yes. I apologize if I seemed patronizing.""Accepted,Mr. Baker. Lets go back to Mrs. Portmans office."The next morning, Leslie was in the executive conferenceroom of theWashington Tribune, facing Mrs. Portman and half a dozenattorneys."Lets talk about price," Leslie said. The discussionlasted fourhours, and when it was over, Leslie Stewart Chambers wasthe owner ofWashington Tribune Enterprises.It was more expensive than Leslie had anticipated. It didnotmatter.There was something more important.The day the deal was finalized, Leslie sent for MattBaker. "What areyour plans?" Leslie asked. "Im leaving." She looked athimcuriously. "Why?" "You have quite a reputation. Peopledont likeworking for you. I think the word they use most isruthless." Idont need that. This is a good newspaper, and I hate toleave it, butI have more job offers than I can handle." "How long haveyou workedhere?" "Fifteen years." "And youre going to just throwthat away?"
"Im not throwing anything away, Im " She looked him inthe eye."Listen to me. I think the Tribune is a good newspaper,too, but Iwant it to be a great newspaper. I want you to help me.""No. Idont ""Six months. Try it for six months. Well start bydoubling yoursalary." He studied her for a long moment. Young andbeautiful andintelligent. And yet... He had an uneasy feeling abouther. "Who willbe in charge here?" She smiled. "Youre the editor inchief ofWashington Tribune Enterprises. You will be." And hebelieved her.Twelve.It had been six months since Danas Land Rover had beenblown up. Sheescaped with nothing worse than a concussion, a crackedrib, a brokenwrist, and painful bruises. Jovan suffered a fracturedleg and scrapesand bruises. Matt Baker had telephoned Dana that nightand ordered herto return to Washington, but the incident had made Danamore determinedthan ever to stay. "These people are desperate," Danatold him. "Icant just walk away from this. If you order me home,then I quit.""Are you blackmailing me?" "Yes." "Thats what Ithought," Mattsnapped. "I dont let anyone blackmail me. Do youunderstand?" Danawaited."What about a leave of absence?" he asked."I dont need a leave of absence." She could hear his
sigh over thephone."All right. Stay there. But, Dana ""Yes?""Promise me that youll be careful."From outside the hotel, Dana could hear the sound ofmachine-gun fire."Right."The city had been under heavy attack all night. Dana hadbeen unableto sleep. Each explosion of a mortar landing meantanother buildingdestroyed, another family homeless, or worse, dead. Earlyin themorning, Dana and her crew were out on the street, readyto shoot. BennAlbertson waited for the thunder of a mortar to fade away,then noddedto Dana. "Ten seconds." "Ready," Dana said. Bennpointed a finger,and Dana turned away from the ruins behind her and facedthe televisioncamera. "This is a city that is slowly disappearing fromthe face ofthe earth. With its electricity cut off, its eyes havebeen putout.... Its television and radio stations have been shutdown, and ithas no ears.... All public transportation has come to ahalt, so it haslost its legs...." The camera panned to show a deserted,bombed-outplayground, with the rusty skeletons of swings and slides."In another life, children played here, and the sound oftheir laughterfilled the air." Mortar fire could be heard again in theneardistance. An air raid alarm suddenly sounded. The people
walking thestreets behind Dana continued as though they had heardnothing. "Thesound youre hearing is another air raid alarm. Its thesignal forpeople to run and hide. But the citizens of Sarajevo havefound thatthere is no place to hide, so they walk on in their ownsilence. Thosewho can, flee the country, and give up their apartmentsand all theirpossessions. Too many who stay, die. Its a cruelchoice. There arerumors of peace. Too many rumors, too little peace. Willit come? Andwhen? Will the children come out of their cellars and usethisplayground again one day? Nobody knows. They can onlyhope. This isDana Evans reporting from Sarajevo for WTE." The redlight on thecamera blinked off. "Lets get out of here," Benn said.Andy Casarez,the new cameraman, hurriedly started to pack up his gear.A young boywas standing on the sidewalk, watching Dana. He was astreet urchin,dressed in filthy, ragged clothes and torn shoes. Intensebrown eyesflashed out of a face streaked with dirt. His right armwas missing.Dana watched the boy studying her. Dana smiled. "Hello."There wasno reply. Dana shrugged and turned to Benn. "Lets go."A few minutes later, they were on their way back to theHoliday Inn.The Holiday Inn was filled with newspaper, radio, andtelevisionreporters, and they formed a disparate family. They wererivals, butbecause of the dangerous circumstances they foundthemselves in, they
were always ready to help one another. They coveredbreaking storiestogether:There was a riot in Montenegro.... There was a bombing inVukovar.... Ahospital had been shelled in Petrovo Selo.... Jean PaulHubert wasgone. He had been given another assignment, and Danamissed himterribly.As Dana was leaving the hotel one morning, the little boyshe had seenon the street was standing in the alley. Jovan opened thedoor of thereplacement Land Rover for Dana. "Good morning, madam.""Goodmorning." The boy stood there, staring at Dana. Shewalked over tohim. "Good morning." There was no reply. Dana said toJovan, "How doyou say good morning in Slovene?" The little boyanswered, "Dobrojutro." Dana turned to him. "So you understand English.""Maybe.""Whats your name?""Kemal.""How old are you, Kemal?"He turned and walked away."Hes frightened of strangers," Jovan said.Dana looked after the boy. "I dont blame him. So am I."Four hours later, when the Land Rover returned to thealley in back ofthe Holiday Inn, Kemal was waiting near the entrance.As Dana got out of the car, Kemal said, "Twelve."
"What?" Then Dana remembered. "Oh." He was small forhis age. Shelooked at his empty right shirtsleeve and started to askhim aquestion, then stopped herself. "Where do you live,Kemal? Can wetake you home?" She watched him turn and walk away.Jovan said, "He has no manners."Dana said quietly, "Maybe he lost them when he lost hisarm."That evening in the hotel dining room, the reporters weretalking aboutthe new rumors of an imminent peace. "The UN has finallygotteninvolved," Gabriella Orsi declared. "Its about time.""If you askme, its too late." "Its never too late," Dana saidquietly. Thefollowing morning, two news stories came over the wires.The first onewas about a peace agreement brokered by the United Statesand theUnited Nations. The second story was that Oslobodjenje,Sarajevosnewspaper, had been bombed out of existence."Our Washington bureaus are covering the peace agreement,"Dana toldBenn. "Lets do a story on Oslobodjenje."Dana was standing in front of the demolished building thathad oncehoused Oslobodjenje. The cameras red light was on."People die hereevery day," Dana said into the lens, "and buildings aredestroyed. Butthis building was murdered. It housed the only freenewspaper inSarajevo, Oslobodjenje. It was a newspaper that dared totell thetruth. When it was bombed out of its headquarters, it was
moved intothe basement, to keep the presses alive. When there wereno morenewsstands to sell the papers from, its reporters went outon thestreets to peddle them themselves. They were selling morethannewspapers. They were selling freedom. With the death ofOslobodjenje, another piece of freedom has died here."In his office, Matt Baker was watching the news broadcast."Dammit,shes good!" He turned to his assistant. "I want her tohave her ownsatellite truck. Move on it." "Yes, sir."When Dana returned to her room, there was a visitorwaiting for her.Colonel Gordan Divjak was lounging in a chair when Danawalked in. Shestopped, startled. "They didnt tell me I had a visitor.""This isnot a social visit." His beady black eyes focused on her."I watchedyour broadcast about Oslobodjenje." Dana studied himwarily. "Yes?""You were permitted to come into our country to report,not to makejudgments." "I didnt make any " "Do not interrupt me.Your idea offreedom is not necessarily our idea of freedom. Do youunderstand me?""No. Im afraid I " "Then let me explain it to you, MissEvans. Youare a guest in my country. Perhaps you are a spy for yourgovernment.""I am not a " "Do not interrupt me. I warned you at theairport. Weare not playing games. We are at war. Anyone involved inespionagewill be executed." His words were all the more chillingbecause theywere spoken softly. He got to his feet. "This is yourlast warning."
Dana watched him leave. Im not going to kt him frightenme, shethought defiantly. She was frightened.A care package arrived from Matt Baker. It was anenormous box filledwith candy, granola bars, canned foods, and a dozen othernonperishableitems. Dana took it into the lobby to share it with theotherreporters. They were delighted."Now, thats what I call a boss," Satomi Asaka said."How do I get a job with the Washington Tribune?" JuanSantos joked.Kemal was waiting in the alley again. The frayed, thinjacket he hadon looked as though it was about to fall apart."Good morning, Kemal."He stood there, silent, watching her from underhalf-closed lids."Im going shopping. Would you like to go with me?"No answer."Let me put it another way," Dana said, exasperated. Sheopened theback door of the vehicle. "Get in the car. Now!"The boy stood there a moment, shocked, then slowly movedtoward thecar.Dana and Jovan watched him climb into the backseat.Dana said to Jovan, "Can you find a department store orclothing shopthats open?"
"I know one.""Lets go there."They rode in silence for the first few minutes."Do you have a mother or father, Kemal?"He shook his head."Where do you live?" He shrugged.Dana felt him move closer to her as though to absorb thewarmth of herbody.The clothing store was in the Bascarsija, the old marketof Sarajevo.The front had been bombed out, but the store was open.Dana tookKemals left hand and led him into the store. A clerksaid, "Can Ihelp you?" "Yes. I want to buy a jacket for a friend ofmine." Shelooked at Kemal. "Hes about his size." "This way,please." In theboys section there was a rack of jackets. Dana turned toKemal."Which one do you like?" Kemal stood there, sayingnothing. Dana saidto the clerk, "Well take the brown one." She looked atKemalstrousers. "And I think we need a pair of trousers and somenew shoes."When they left the store half an hour later, Kemal wasdressed in hisnew outfit. He slid into the backseat of the car without aword."Dont you know how to say thank you?" Jovan demandedangrily. Kemalburst into tears. Dana put her arms around him. "Its allright," shesaid. "Its all right." What kind of a world does thisto children?
When they returned to the hotel, Dana watched Kemal turnand walk awaywithout a word."Where does someone like that live?" Dana asked Jovan."On the streets, madam. There are hundreds of orphans inSarajevo likehim. They have no homes, no families....""How do they survive?"He shrugged. "I do not know."The next day, when Dana walked out of the hotel, Kemal waswaiting forher, dressed in his new outfit. He had washed his face.The big news at the luncheon table was the peace treatyand whether itwould work. Dana decided to go back to visit ProfessorMladic Stakaand ask what he thought about it. He looked even morefrail than thelast time she had seen him. "I am happy to see you, MissEvans. Ihear you are doing wonderful broadcasts, but " Heshrugged."Unfortunately, I have no electricity for my televisionset. What canI do for you?" "I wanted to get your opinion of the newpeace treaty,Professor." He leaned back in his chair and saidthoughtfully, "It isinteresting to me that in Dayton, Ohio, they made adecision about whatis going to happen to the future of Sarajevo.""Theyve agreed to a troika, a three-person presidency,composed of aMuslim, a Croat, and a Serb. Do you think it can work,Professor?"
"Only if you believe in miracles." He frowned. "Therewill beeighteen national legislative bodies and another hundredand ninedifferent local governments. It is a Tower of politicalBabel. It iswhat you Americans call a shotgun marriage." None ofthem wants togive up their autonomy. They insist on having their ownflags, theirown license plates, their own currency." He shook hishead. "It is amorning peace. Beware of the night."Dana Evans had gone beyond being a mere reporter and wasbecoming aninternational legend. What came through in her televisionbroadcastswas an intelligent human being filled with passion. Andbecause Danacared, her viewers cared, and shared her feelings.Matt Baker began getting calls from other news outletssaying that theywanted to syndicate Dana Evanss broadcasts. He wasdelighted for her.She went over there to do good, he thought, and shesgoing to wind updoing well.With her own new satellite truck, Dana was busier thanever. She wasno longer at the mercy of the Yugoslav satellite companyShe and Benndecided what stories they wanted to do, and Dana wouldwrite them andbroadcast them. Some of the stories were broadcast live,and otherswere taped. Dana and Benn and Andy would go out on thestreets andphotograph whatever background was needed, then Dana wouldtape hercommentary in an editing room and send it back on the lineto
Washington.At lunchtime, in the hotel dining room, large platters ofsandwicheswere placed in the center of the table. Journalists werebusilyhelping themselves. Roderick Munn, from the BBC, walkedinto the roomwith an AP clipping in his hand. "Listen to this,everybody." He readthe clipping aloud. " "Dana Evans, a foreigncorrespondent for WTE, isnow being syndicated by a dozen news stations. Miss Evanshas beennominated for the coveted Peabody Award...." " The storywent on fromthere. "Arent we lucky to be associated with somebody sofamous?"one of the reporters said sarcastically. At that moment,Dana walkedinto the dining room. "Hi, everybody. I dont have timefor lunchtoday. Im going to take some sandwiches with me." Shescooped upseveral sandwiches and covered them with paper napkins."See youlater." They watched in silence as she left. When Danagot outside,Kemal was there, waiting. "Good afternoon, Kemal." Noresponse."Get into the car."Kemal slid into the backseat. Dana handed him a sandwichand satthere, watching him silently wolf it down. She handed himanothersandwich, and he started to eat it."Slowly," Dana said."Where to?" Jovan asked.Dana turned to Kemal. "Where to?" He looked at her
uncomprehendingly"Were taking you home, Kemal. Where do you live?"He shook his head."I need to know. Where do you live?"Twenty minutes later, the car stopped in front of a largevacant lotnear the banks of the Miljacka. Dozens of big cardboardboxes werescattered around, and the lot was littered with debris ofall kinds.Dana got out of the car and turned to Kemal. "Is thiswhere you live?"He reluctantly nodded. "And other boys live here, too?"He noddedagain. "I want to do a story about this, Kemal." Heshook his head."No." "Why not?" "The police will come and take us away.Dont."Dana studied him a moment. "All right. I promise."The next morning, Dana moved out of her room at theHoliday Inn. Whenshe did not appear at breakfast, Gabriella Orsi from theAltre Stationin Italy asked, "Wheres Dana?"Roderick Munn replied, "Shes gone. Shes rented afarmhouse to livein. She said she wanted to be by herself."Nikolai Petrovich, the Russian from Gorizont 22, said, "Wewould alllike to be by ourselves. So we are not good enough forher?"There was a general feeling of disapproval.The following afternoon, another large care packagearrived for Dana.Nikolai Petrovich said, "Since she is not here, we might
as well enjoyit, eh?"The hotel clerk said, "Im sorry. Miss Evans is having itpickedup."A few minutes later, Kemal arrived. The reporters watchedhim take thepackage and leave."She doesnt even share with us anymore," Juan Santosgrumbled. "Ithink her publicity has gone to her head."During the next week, Dana filed her stories, but she didnot appear atthe hotel again. The resentment against her was growing.Dana and her ego were becoming the main topic ofconversation. A fewdays later, when another huge care package was deliveredto the hotel,Nikolai Petrovich went to the hotel clerk. "Is Miss Evanshaving thispackage picked up?" "Yes, sir." The Russian hurried backinto thedining room. "There is another package," he said."Someone is goingto pick it up. Why dont we follow him and tell MissEvans our opinionof reporters who think theyre too good for everyoneelse?" There wasa chorus of approval. When Kemal arrived to pick up thepackage,Nikolai said to him, "Are you taking that to Miss Evans?"Kemalnodded. "She asked to see us. Well go along with you."Kemal lookedat him a moment, then shrugged. "Well take you in one ofour cars,"Nikolai Petrovich said. "You tell us where to go." Tenminutes later,a caravan of cars was making its way along deserted side
streets. Onthe outskirts of the city, Kemal pointed to an oldbombed-outfarmhouse. The cars came to a stop. "You go ahead andbring her thepackage," Nikolai said. "Were going to surprise her."They watchedKemal walk into the farmhouse. They waited a moment, thenmoved towardthe farmhouse and burst in through the front door. Theystopped, inshock. The room was filled with children of all ages,sizes, andcolors. Most of them were crippled. A dozen army cots hadbeen set upalong the walls. Dana was parceling out the contents ofthe carepackage to the children when the door flew open. Shelooked up inastonishment as the group charged in. "What what are youdoing here?"Roderick Munn looked around, embarrassed. "Im sorry,Dana. We made aa mistake. We thought " Dana turned to face the group. "Isee.Theyre orphans. They have nowhere to go and no one totake care ofthem. Most of them were in a hospital when it was bombed.If thepolice find them, theyll be put in what passes for anorphanage, andtheyll die there. If they stay here, theyll die. Ivebeen trying tofigure out a way to get them out of the country, but sofar, nothinghas worked." She looked at the group pleadingly. "Do youhave anyideas?" Roderick Munn said slowly, "I think I have.Theres a RedCross plane leaving for Paris tonight. The pilot is afriend of mine."Dana asked hopefully, "Would you talk to him?" Munnnodded. "Yes."Nikolai Petrovich said, "Wait! We cant get involved in
anything likethat. Theyll throw us all out of the country." "Youdont have to beinvolved," Munn told him. "Well handle it." "Imagainst it,"Nikolai said stubbornly. "It will place us all in danger.""What aboutthe children?" Dana asked. "Were talking about theirlives."Late in the afternoon, Roderick Munn came to see Dana. "Italked to myfriend. He said he would be happy to take the children toParis, wheretheyll be safe. He has two boys of his own."Dana was thrilled. "Thats wonderful. Thank you somuch."Munn looked at her. "It is we who should thank you."At eight oclock that evening, a van with the Red Crossinsignia on itssides pulled up in front of the farmhouse. The driverblinked thelights, and under the cover of darkness, Dana and thechildren hurriedinto the van. Fifteen minutes later, it was rollingtoward ButmirAirport. The airport had been temporarily closed exceptto the RedCross planes that delivered supplies and took away theseriouslywounded. The drive was the longest ride of Danas life.It seemed totake forever. When she saw the lights of the airportahead, she saidto the children, "Were almost there." Kemal wassqueezing her hand."Youll be fine," Dana assured him. "All of you will betaken careof." And she thought, Im going to miss you. At theairport, a guardwaved the van through, and it drove up to a waiting cargo
plane withthe Red Cross markings painted on the fuselage. The pilotwas standingnext to the plane.He hurried up to Dana. "For Gods sake, youre late! Getthem aboard,fast. We were due to take off twenty minutes ago." Danaherded thechildren up the ramp into the plane. Kemal was the last.He turned toDana, his lips trembling. "Will I see you again?" "Youbet you will,"Dana said. She hugged him and held him close for amoment, saying asilent prayer. "Get aboard now." Moments later, the doorclosed.There was a roar of the engines, and the plane began totaxi down therunway. Dana and Munn stood there, watching. At the endof therunway, the plane soared into the air and speared into theeastern sky,banking north toward Paris. "That was a wonderful thingyou did," thedriver said. "I want you to know " A car screeched to astop behindthem, and they turned. Colonel Gordan Divjak jumped outof the car andglared up at the sky where the plane was disappearing. Athis side wasNikolai Petrovich, the Russian journalist. Colonel Divjakturned toDana. "You are under arrest. I warned you that thepunishment forespionage is death." Dana took a deep breath. "Colonel,if youregoing to put me on trial for espionage " He looked intoDanas eyes andsaid softly, "Who said anything about a trial?"Thirteen.The inaugural celebrations, the parades, and the
swearing-in ceremonieswere over, and Oliver was eager to begin his presidency.Washington,D.C." was probably the only city anywhere completelydevoted to andobsessed with politics. It was the power hub of theworld, and OliverRussell was the center of that hub. It seemed thateveryone wasconnected in one way or another to the federal government.In themetropolitan area of Washington, there were fifteenthousand lobbyistsand more than five thousand journalists, all of themnursing at themothers milk of government. Oliver Russell rememberedJohn Kennedyssly put-down: "Washington, D.C." is a city of southernefficiency andnorthern charm."On the first day of his presidency, Oliver wandered aroundthe WhiteHouse with Jan. They were familiar with its statistics:132 rooms, 32bathrooms, 29 fireplaces, 3 elevators, a swimming pool,putting green,tennis court, jogging track, exercise room, horseshoe pit,bowlingalley, and movie theater, and eighteen acres ofbeautifully tendedgrounds. But actually living in it, being a part of it,wasoverwhelming."Its like a dream, isnt it?" Jan sighed.Oliver took her hand. "Im glad were sharing it,darling." And hemeant it. Jan had become a wonderful companion. She wasalways therefor him, supportive and caring. More and more, he foundthat heenjoyed being with her.
When Oliver returned to the Oval Office, Peter Tager waswaiting to seehim. Olivers first appointment had been to make Tagerhis chief ofstaff.Oliver said, "I still cant believe this, Peter." PeterTager smiled."The people believe it. They voted you in, Mr.President."Oliver looked up at him. "Its still Oliver." "Allright. When werealone. But you have to realize that from this moment on,anything youdo can affect the entire world. Anything you say couldshake up theeconomy or have an impact on a hundred other countriesaround theglobe. You have more power than any other person in theworld."The intercom buzzed. "Mr. President, Senator Davis ishere.""Send him in, Heather." Tager sighed. "Id better getstarted. Mydesk looks like a paper mountain." The door opened andTodd Daviswalked in. "Peter ..." "Senator ..." The two men shookhands. Tagersaid, "Ill see you later, Mr. President." Senator Daviswalked overto Olivers desk and nodded. "That desk fits you justfine, Oliver. Icant tell you what a real thrill it is for me to see yousittingthere." "Thank you, Todd. Im still trying to get usedto it. I meanAdams sat here ... and Lincoln ... and Roosevelt..."Senator Davislaughed. "Dont let that scare you. Before they becamelegends, they
were men just like you, sitting there trying to do theright thing.Putting their asses in that chair terrified them all, inthe beginning.I just left Jan. Shes in seventh heaven. Shes going tomake a greatFirst Lady." "I know she is." "By the way, I have alittle list hereId like to discuss with you, Mr. President." Theemphasis on "Mr.President" was jovial. "Of course, Todd." Senator Davisslid the listacross the desk. "What is this?" "Just a few suggestionsI have foryour cabinet." "Oh. Well, Ive already decided " "Ithought you mightwant to look these over." "But theres no point in ""Look them over,Oliver." The senators voice had cooled.Olivers eyes narrowed. "Todd ..."Senator Davis held up a hand. "Oliver, I dont want youto think forone minute that Im trying to impose my will or my wisheson you. Youwould be wrong. I put together that list because I thinktheyre thebest men who can help you serve your country. Im apatriot, Oliver,and Im not ashamed of it. This country means everythingto me." Therewas a catch in his voice. "Everything. If you think Ihelped put youin this office just because youre my son-in-law, youregravelymistaken. I fought to make sure you got here because Ifirmly believeyoure the man best suited for the job. Thats what Icare mostabout." He tapped a finger on the piece of paper. "Andthese men canhelp you do that job."
Oliver sat there, silent."Ive been in this town for a lot of years, Oliver. Anddo you knowwhat Ive learned? That theres nothing sadder than aone-termpresident. And do you know why? Because during the firstfour years,hes just beginning to get an idea of what he can do tomake thiscountry better. He has all those dreams to fulfill. Andjust whenhes ready to do that just when hes ready to really makea difference"he glanced around the office "someone else moves in here,and thosedreams just vanish. Sad to think about, isnt it? Allthose men withgrand dreams who serve only one term. Did you know thatsince McKinleytook office in 1897, more than half the presidents whofollowed himwere one-term presidents? But you, Oliver Im going tosee to it thatyoure a two-term president. I want you to be able tofulfill all yourdreams. Im going to see to it that youre reelected."Senator Davis looked at his watch and rose. "I have togo. We have aquorum call at the Senate. Ill see you at dinnertonight." He walkedout the door.Oliver looked after him for a long time. Then he reacheddown andpicked up the list Senator Todd Davis had left.In his dream, Miriam Friedland awakened and sat up in bed.A policemanwas at her bedside. He looked down at her and said, "Nowyou can tellus who did this to you."
"Yes."He woke up, soaked in perspiration.Early the following morning, Oliver telephoned thehospital whereMiriam was. "Im afraid theres no change, Mr.President," the chiefof staff told him. "Frankly, it doesnt look good."Oliver saidhesitantly, "She has no family. If you dont think shesgoing to makeit, would it be more humane to take her off thelife-support systems?""I think we should wait a little while longer and see whathappens,"the doctor said. "Sometimes theres a miracle."Jay Perkins, chief of protocol, was briefing thepresident. "There areone hundred and forty-seven diplomatic missions inWashington, Mr.President. The blue book the Diplomatic List lists thename of everyrepresentative of a foreign government and spouse. Thegreen book theSocial List names the top diplomats, Washington residents,and membersof Congress."He handed Oliver several sheets of paper. "This is a listof thepotential foreign ambassadors you will receive."Oliver looked down the list and found the Italianambassador and hiswife: Atilio Picone and Sylva. Sylva. Oliver askedinnocently, "Willthey bring their wives with them?""No. The wives will be introduced later. I would suggestthat youbegin seeing the candidates as quickly as possible."
"Fine."Perkins said, "Ill try to arrange it so that by nextSaturday, all theforeign ambassadors will be accredited. You might want toconsiderhaving a White House dinner to honor them.""Good idea." OliVer glanced again at the list on hisdesk. Atilio andSylva Picone.Saturday evening, the State Dining Room was decorated withflags fromthe various countries represented by the foreignambassadors. Oliverhad spoken with Atilio Picone two days earlier when he hadpresentedhis credence papers. "How is Mrs. Picone?" Oliver hadasked. Therewas a small pause. "My wife is fine. Thank you, Mr.President."The dinner was going beautifully. Oliver went from tableto table,chatting with his guests and charming them all. Some ofthe mostimportant people in the world were gathered in that room.Oliver Russell approached three ladies who were sociallyprominent andmarried to important men. But they were movers andshakers in theirown right. "Leonore ... Delores .. . Carol..."As Oliver was making his way across the room, SylvaPi-cone went up tohim and held out her hand. "This is a moment Ive beenlooking forwardto." Her eyes were sparkling."I, too," Oliver murmured."I knew you were going to be elected." It was almost a
whisper."Can we talk later?"There was no hesitation. "Of course."After dinner, there was dancing in the grand ballroom tothe music ofthe Marine Band. Oliver watched Jan dancing, and hethought: What abeautiful woman. What a great body. The evening was ahuge success.The following week, on the front page of the WashingtonTribune, theheadline blazed out: PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF CAMPAIGN FRAUD.Oliver stared at it in disbelief. It was the worst timingpossible.How could this have happened? And then he suddenlyrealized how it hadhappened. The answer was in front of him on the mastheadof thenewspaper: "Publisher, Leslie Stewart."The following week, a front-page item in the WashingtonTribune read:PRESIDENT TO BE QUESTIONED ABOUT FALSIFIEDKENTUCKY STATE INCOME TAX RETURNS.Two weeks later, another story appeared on the front pageof theTribune: FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT RUSSELL PLANSTO FILE LAWSUIT CHARGING SEXUAL HARASSMENT.The door to the Oval Office flew open and Jan walked in."Have youseen the morning paper?""Yes, I "
"How could you do this to us, Oliver? You ""Wait a minute! Dont you see whats happening, Jan?Leslie Stewartis behind it. Im sure she bribed that woman to do this.Shes tryingto get her revenge because I jilted her for you. Allright. She gotit. Its over."Senator Davis was on the telephone. "Oliver. I wouldlike to see youin one hour." "Ill be here, Todd." Oliver was in thesmall librarywhen Todd Davis arrived. Oliver rose to greet him. "Goodmorning.""Like hell its a good morning." Senator Daviss voicewas filled withfury. "That woman is going to destroy us.""No, shes not. She just " "Everyone reads that damnedgossip rag, andpeople believe what they read." "Todd, this is going toblow over and" "Its not going to blow over. Did you hear theeditorial on WTE thismorning? It was about who our next president is going tobe. You wereat the bottom of the list. Leslie Stewart is out to getyou. You muststop her. Whats the line hell hath no fury ..."?""Theres anotheradage, Todd, about freedom of the press. Theres nothingwe can doabout this." Senator Davis looked at Oliverspeculatively. "But thereis." "What are you talking about?" "Sit down." The twomen sat."The woman is obviously still in love with you, Oliver.This is herway of punishing you for what you did to her. Never arguewith someonewho buys ink by the ton. My advice is to make peace.""How do I do
that?" Senator Davis looked at Olivers groin. "Use yourhead." "Waita minute, Todd! Are you suggesting that I ?" "What Imsuggesting isthat you cool her down. Let her know that youre sorry.Im tellingyou she still loves you. If she didnt, she wouldnt bedoing this.""What exactly do you expect me to do?" "Charm her, myboy. You did itonce, you can do it again. Youve got to win her over.Youre havinga State Department dinner here Friday evening. Inviteher. You mustpersuade her to stop what shes doing.""I dont know how I can ""I dont care how you do it. Perhaps you could take herawaysomewhere, where you can have a quiet chat. I have acountry house inVirginia. Its very private. Im going to Florida forthe weekend,and Ive arranged for Jan to go with me." He took out aslip of paperand some keys and handed them to Oliver. "Here are thedirections andthe keys to the house."Oliver was staring at him. "Jesus! You had this allplanned? What ifLeslie wont what if shes not interested? If she refusesto go?"Senator Davis rose. "Shes interested. Shell go. Illsee youMonday, Oliver. Good luck."Oliver sat there for a long time. And he thought: No. Icant do thisto her again. I wont.That evening as they were getting dressed for dinner, Jan
said,"Oliver, Father asked me to go to Florida with him for theweekend.Hes getting some kind of award, and I think he wants toshow off thepresidents wife. Would you mind very much if I went? Iknow theresa State Department dinner here Friday, so if you want meto stay ...""No, no. You go ahead. Ill miss you." And I am goingto miss her,he thought. As soon as I solve this problem with Leslie,Im going tostart spending more time with Jan.Leslie was on the telephone when her secretary camehurrying in. "MissStewart ""Cant you see Im ""President Russell is on line three."Leslie looked at her a moment, then smiled. "Right." Shesaid intothe phone, "Ill call you back."She pressed the button on line three. "Hello.""Leslie?""Hello, Oliver. Or should I call you Mr. President?""You can call me anything you like." He added lightly,"And have."There was a silence. "Leslie, I want to see you.""Are you sure this is a good idea?""Im very sure.""Youre the president. I cant say no to you, can I?""Not if youre a patriotic American. Theres a State
Department dinnerat the White House Friday night. Please come.""What time?""Eight oclock.""All right. Ill be there."She looked stunning in a long, clinging black knitMandarin-necked St.John gown fastened in front with buttons over-coated intwenty-two-karat gold. There was a revealingfourteen-inch slit on theleft side of the dress.The instant Oliver looked at her, memories came floodingback. "Leslie..."i on"Mr. President."He took her hand, and it was moist. Its a sign, Oliverthought. Butof what? Nervousness? Anger? Old memories? "Im soglad you came,Leslie." "Yes. I am, too." "Well talk later." Hersmile warmedhim. "Yes."Two tables away from where Oliver was seated was a groupof Arabdiplomats. One of them, a swarthy man with sharply etchedfeatures anddark eyes, seemed to be staring intently at Oliver.Oliver leaned over to Peter Tager and nodded toward theArab. "Whosthat?"Tager took a quick look. "Ali al-Fulani. Hes thesecretary at one of
the United Arab Emirates. Why do you ask?""No reason." Oliver looked again. The mans eyes werestill focusedon him.Oliver spent the evening working the room, making hisguests feelcomfortable. Sylva was at one table, Leslie at another.It was notuntil the evening was almost over that Oliver managed toget Lesliealone for a moment. "We need to talk. I have a lot totell you. Canwe meet somewhere?"There was the faintest hesitation in her voice. "Oliver,perhaps itwould be better if we didnt ""I have a house in Manassas, Virginia, about an hour outof Washington.Will you meet me there?"She looked into his eyes. This time there was nohesitation. "If youwant me to."Oliver described the location of the house. "Tomorrownight ateight?"Leslies voice was husky. "Ill be there."At a National Security Council meeting the followingmorning, Directorof Central Intelligence James Frisch dropped a bombshell."Mr.President, we received word this morning that Libya isbuying a varietyof atomic weapons from Iran and China. Theres a strongrumor thattheyre going to be used to attack Israel. It will take aday or two
to get a confirmation." Lou Werner, the secretary ofstate, said, "Idont think we should wait. Lets protest now, in thestrongestpossible terms." Oliver said to Werner, "See whatadditionalinformation you can get." The meeting lasted all morning.From timeto time, Oliver found himself thinking about therendezvous withLeslie. "Charm her, my boy.... Youve got to win herover."On Saturday evening, Oliver was in one of the White Housestaff cars,driven by a trusted Secret Service agent, heading forManassas,Virginia. He was strongly tempted to cancel therendezvous, but it wastoo late. Im worrying for no reason. She probably wonteven showup.At eight oclock, Oliver looked out the window and sawLeslies carpull into the driveway of the senators house. He watchedher get outof the car and move toward the entrance. Oliver openedthe front door.The two of them stood there, silently staring at eachother, and timedisappeared and somehow it was as though they had neverbeen apart.Oliver was the first to find his voice. "My God! Lastnight when Isaw you ... I had almost forgotten how beautiful you are."Oliver tookLeslies hand, and they walked into the living room."What would youlike to drink?" "I dont need anything. Thank you."Oliver sat downnext to her on the couch. "I have to ask you something,Leslie. Doyou hate me?" She shook her head slowly. "No. I thought
I hatedyou." She smiled wryly. "In a way, I suppose thats thereason for mysuccess." "I dont understand." "I wanted to get back atyou, Oliver.I bought newspapers and television stations so that Icould attack you.Youre the only man Ive ever loved. And when you whenyou desertedme, I I didnt think I could stand it." She was fightingback tears.Oliver put his arm around her. "Leslie " And then hislips were onhers, and they were kissing passionately. "Oh, my God,"she said. "Ididnt expect this to happen." And they were in a fierceembrace, andhe took her hand and led her into the bedroom. They beganundressingeach other. "Hurry, my darling," Leslie said. "Hurry..."And theywere in bed, holding each other, their bodies touching,remembering.Their lovemaking was gentle and fierce, as it had been inthebeginning. And this was a new beginning. The two of themlay there,happy, spent. "Its so funny," Leslie said. "What?" "Allthoseterrible things I published about you. I did it to getyourattention." She snuggled closer. "And I did, didnt I?"He grinned."Ill say." Leslie sat up and looked at him. "Im soproud of you,Oliver. The President of the United States." "Im tryingto be a damngood one. Thats whats really important to me. I wantto make adifference." Oliver looked at his watch. "Im afraid Ihave to getback." "Of course. Ill let you leave first." "When amI going tosee you again, Leslie?" "Anytime you want to." "Were
going to haveto be careful." "I know. We will be."Leslie lay there, dreamily watching Oliver as he dressed.When Oliver was ready to leave, he leaned over and said,"Youre mymiracle.""And youre mine. You always have been."He kissed her. "Ill call you tomorrow."Oliver hurried out to the car and was driven back toWashington. Themore things change, the more they stay the same, Oliverthought. Ihave to be careful never to hurt her again. He picked upthe cartelephone and dialed the number in Florida that SenatorDavis had givenhim.The senator answered the phone himself. "Hello.""Its Oliver.""Where are you?""On my way back to Washington. I just called to tell yousome goodnews. We dont have to worry about that problem anymore.Everythingis under control.""I cant tell you how glad I am to hear that." There wasa note ofdeep relief in Senator Daviss voice."I knew you would be, Todd."The following morning, as Oliver was getting dressed, hepicked up acopy of the Washington Tribune. On the front page was a
photograph ofSenator Daviss country home in Manassas The captionunder it read:PRESIDENT RUSSELLS SECRET LOVE NEST.Fourteen.Oliver stared at the paper unbelievingly. How could shehave donethat? He thought about how passionate she had been inbed. And he hadcompletely misread it. It was a passion filled with hate,not love.Theres no way I can ever stop her, Oliver thoughtdespairingly.Senator Todd Davis looked at the front-page story and wasaghast. Heunderstood the power of the press, and he knew how muchthis vendettacould cost him. Ill have to stop her myself, SenatorDavis decided.When he got to his Senate office, he telephoned Leslie."Its been along time," Senator Davis said warmly. "Too long. Ithink about you alot, Miss Stewart.""I think about you, too, Senator Davis. In a way,everything I have Iowe to you." He chuckled. "Not at all. When you had aproblem, I washappy to be able to assist you." "Is there something Ican do for you,Senator?" "No, Miss Stewart. But theres something Idlike to do foryou. Im one of your faithful readers, you know, and Ithink theTribune is a truly fine paper. I just realized that wehavent beendoing any advertising in it, and I want to correct that.Im involvedin several large companies, and they do a lot of
advertising. I mean alot of advertising. I think that a good portion of thatshould go to afine paper like the Tribune." "Im delighted to hearthat, Senator.We can always use more advertising. Whom shall I have myadvertisingmanager talk to?" "Well, before he talks to anyone, Ithink you and Ishould settle a little problem between us." "Whatsthat?" Leslieasked. "It concerns President Russell." "Yes?" "This isa ratherdelicate matter, Miss Stewart. You said a few moments agothat youowed everything you have to me. Now Im asking you to dome a littlefavor." "Ill be happy to, if I can." "In my own smallway, I helpedthe president get elected to office." "I know.""And hes doing a fine job. Of course, it makes it moredifficult forhim when hes attacked by a powerful newspaper like theTribune everytime he turns around.""What are you asking me to do, Senator?""Well, I would greatly appreciate it if those attackswould stop.""And in exchange for that, I can count on gettingadvertising from someof your companies.""A great deal of advertising, Miss Stewart.""Thank you, Senator. Why dont you call me back when youhavesomething more to offer?"And the line went dead.
In his office at the Washington Tribune, Matt Baker wasreading thestory about President Russells secret love nest. "Whothe hellauthorized this?" he snapped at his assistant. "It camefrom theWhite Tower." "Goddammit. Shes not running this paper,I am." Whythe hell do I put up with her? he wondered, not for thefirst time.Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year plusbonuses and stockoptions, he told himself wryly. Every time he was readyto quit, sheseduced him with more money and more power. Besides, hehad to admitto himself that it was fascinating working for one of themost powerfulwomen in the world. There were things about her that hewould neverunderstand.When she had first bought the Tribune, Leslie had said toMatt,"Theres an astrologer I want you to hire. His name isZoltaire.""Hes syndicated by our competition.""I dont care. Hire him."Later that day, Matt Baker told her, "I checked onZoltaire. It wouldbe too expensive to buy out his contract.""Buy it."The following week, Zoltaire, whose real name Matt learnedwas DavidHayworth, came to work for the Washington Tribune. He wasin hisfifties, small and dark and intense.Matt was puzzled. Leslie did not seem like the kind of
woman who wouldhave any interest in astrology. As far as he could see,there was nocontact between Leslie and David Hay-worth.What he did not know was that Hayworth went to visitLeslie at her homewhenever she had an important decision to make.On the first day, Matt had had Leslies name put on themasthead:"Leslie Chambers, Publisher." She had glanced at it andsaid, "Changeit. Its Leslie Stewart." The lady is on an ego trip,Matt hadthought. But he was wrong. Leslie had decided to revertto her maidenname because she wanted Oliver Russell to know exactly whowasresponsible for what was going to happen to him.The day after Leslie took over the newspaper, she said,"Were going tobuy a health magazine." Matt looked at her curiously."Why?""Because the health field is exploding." She had provedto be right.The magazine was an instant success. "Were going tostart expanding,"Leslie told Baker. "Lets get some people looking forpublicationsoverseas." "All right." "And theres too much fat aroundhere. Getrid of the reporters who arent pulling their weight.""Leslie " "Iwant young reporters who are hungry." When an executivepositionbecame open, Leslie insisted on being there for theinterview. Shewould listen to the applicant, and then would ask onequestion: "Whatsyour golf score?" The job would often depend on theanswer. "What thehell kind of question is that?" Matt Baker asked the
first time heheard it. "What difference does a golf score make?" "Idont wantpeople here who are dedicated to golf. If they work here,theyregoing to be dedicated to the Washington Tribune."Leslie Stewarts private life was a subject of endlessdiscussions atthe Tribune. She was a beautiful woman, unattached, andas far asanyone knew, she was not involved with any man and had nopersonallife. She was one of the capitals preeminent hostesses,and importantpeople vied for an invitation to her dinner parties. Butpeoplespeculated about what she did when all the guests had leftand she wasalone. There were rumors that she was an insomniac whospent thenights working, planning new projects for the Stewartempire.There were other rumors, more titillating, but there wasno way ofproving them.Leslie involved herself in everything: editorials, newsstories,advertising. One day, she said to the head of theadvertisingdepartment, "Why arent we getting any ads fromGlea-sons?" anupscale store in Georgetown."Ive tried, but ""I know the owner. Ill give him a call."She called him and said, "Allan, youre not giving theTribune any ads.Why?"
He had laughed and said, "Leslie, your readers are ourshoplifters."Before Leslie went into a conference, she read up oneveryone who wouldbe there. She knew everyones weaknesses and strengths,and she was atough negotiator."Sometimes you can be too tough," Matt Baker warned her."You have toleave them something, Leslie.""Forget it. I believe in the scorched-earth policy."In the course of the next year, Washington TribuneEnterprises acquireda newspaper and radio station in Australia, a televisionstation inDenver, and a newspaper in Hammond, Indiana. Wheneverthere was a newacquisition, its employees were terrified of what wascoming. Lesliesreputation for being ruthless was growing.Leslie Stewart was intensely jealous of Katharine Graham."Shes just lucky," Leslie said. "And she has thereputation of beinga bitch."Matt Baker was tempted to ask Leslie what she thought herownreputation was, but he decided not to.One morning when Leslie arrived at her office, she foundthat someonehad placed a small wooden block with two brass balls onher desk.Matt Baker was upset. "Im sorry," he said. "Ill take ""No. Leave it."
"But ""Leave it."Matt Baker was having a conference in his office whenLeslies voicecame on over the intercom. "Matt, come up here."No "please," no "good morning." Jts going to be abad-hair day, MattBaker thought grimly. The Ice Princess was in one of hermoods."Thats it for now," Matt said. He left his office andwalked throughthe corridors, where hundreds of employees were busily atwork. Hetook the elevator up to the White Tower and entered thesumptuouspublishers office. Half a dozen editors were alreadygathered in theroom. Behind an enormous desk sat Leslie Stewart. Shelooked up asMatt Baker entered. "Lets get started." She had calledan editorialmeeting. Matt Baker remembered her saying, "Youll berunning thenewspaper. Ill keep my hands off." He should have knownbetter. Shehad no business calling meetings like this. That was hisjob. On theother hand, she was the publisher and owner of theWashington Tribune,and she could damn well do anything she pleased. MattBaker said, "Iwant to talk to you about the story about PresidentRussells love nestin Virginia." "Theres nothing to talk about," Lesliesaid. She heldup a copy of The Washington Post, their rival. "Have youseen this?"Matt had seen it. "Yes, its just " "In the old days itwas called ascoop, Matt. Where were you and your reporters when thePost was
getting the news?" The headline in The Washington Postread: SECONDLOBBYIST TO BE INDICTED FOR GIVING ILLEGAL GIFTS TOSECRETARY OFDEFENSE."Why didnt we get that story?" "Because it isntofficial yet. Ichecked on it. Its just " "I dont like being scooped."Matt Bakersighed and sat back in his chair. It was going to be astormy session."Were number one, or were nothing," Leslie Stewartannounced to thegroup. "And if were nothing, there wont be any jobshere for anyone,will there?" Leslie turned to Arnie Cohn, the editor ofthe Sundaymagazine section. "When people wake up Sunday morning, wewant them toread the magazine section. We dont want to put ourreaders back tosleep. The stories we ran last Sunday were boring." Hewas thinking,If you were a man, Id "Sorry," he mumbled. "Ill try todo betternext time." Leslie turned to Jeff Connors, the sportseditor. Connorswas a good-looking man in his mid-thirties, tall, with anathleticbuild, blond hair, intelligent gray eyes. He had the easymanner ofsomeone who knew that he was good at what he did. Matthad heard thatLeslie had made a play for him, and he had turned herdown. "You wrotethat Fielding was going to be traded to the Pirates." "Iwas told ""You were told wrong! The Tribune is guilty of printing astory thatnever happened." "I got it from his manager," Jeff
Connors said,unperturbed. "He told me that " "Next time check out yourstories, andthen check them out again." Leslie turned and pointed toa framed,yellowed newspaper article hanging on the wall. It wasthe front pageof the Chicago Tribune, dated November 3,1948. The bannerheadlineread: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN. "The worst thing a newspapercan do,"Leslie said, "is to get the facts wrong. Were in abusiness where youalways have to get it right." She glanced at her watch."Thats itfor now. Ill expect you all to do a lot better." Asthey rose toleave, Leslie said to Matt Baker, "I want you to stay.""Right." Hesank back into his chair and watched the others depart."Was I roughon them?" she asked. "You got what you wanted. Theyreall suicidal.""Were not here to make friends, were here to put out anewspaper."She looked up again at the framed front page on the wall."Can youimagine what the publisher of that paper must have feltafter thatstory hit the streets and Truman was president? I neverwant to havethat feeling, Matt. Never." "Speaking of getting itwrong," Mattsaid, "that story on page one about President Russell wasmore suitablefor a cheap tabloid publication. Why do you keep ridinghim? Give hima chance."Leslie said enigmatically, "I gave him his chance." Shestood up andbegan to pace. "I got a tip that Russell is going to vetothe newcommunications bill. That means well have to call off
the deal forthe San Diego station and the Omaha station.""Theres nothing we can do about that.""Oh, yes, there is. I want him out of office, Matt.Well help putsomeone else in the White House, someone who knows whathes doing."Matt had no intention of getting into another argumentwith LeslieStewart about the president. She was fanatic on thesubject."Hes not fit to be in that office, and Im going to doeverything Ican to make sure that hes defeated in the next election."Philip Cole, chief of correspondents for WTE, hurried intoMatt Bakersoffice as Matt was ready to leave. There was a worriedexpression onhis face. "We have a problem, Matt." "Can it wait untiltomorrow?Im late for a " "Its about Dana Evans." Matt saidsharply, "Whatabout her?" "Shes been arrested.""Arrested?" Matt asked incredulously. "What for?""Espionage. Doyou want me to ?" "No. Ill handle this." Matt Bakerhurried back tohis desk and dialed the State Department. Fifteen.She was being dragged, naked, out of her cell into a cold,darkcourtyard. She struggled wildly against the two menholding her, butshe was no match for them. There were six soldiers withriflesoutside, waiting for her as she was carried, screaming, toa woodenpost hammered into the ground. Colonel Gordan Divjak
watched his mentie her to the post. "You cant do this to me! Im not aspy!" sheyelled. But she could not make her voice heard above thesounds ofmortar fire in the near distance. Colonel Divjak steppedaway from herand nodded toward the firing squad. "Ready, aim " "Stopthatscreaming!" Rough hands were shaking her. Dana openedher eyes, herheart pounding. She was lying on the cot in her small,dark cell.Colonel Divjak was standing over her.Dana sat up, panicky, trying to blink away the nightmare."What whatare you going to do to me?"Colonel Divjak said coldly, "If there were justice, youwould be shot.Unfortunately, I have been given orders to release you."Danas heart skipped a beat."You will be put on the first plane out of here." ColonelDivjaklooked into her eyes and said, "Dont ever come back."It had taken all the pressure that the State Departmentand thepresident could muster to get Dana Evans released. WhenPeter Tagerheard about the arrest, he had gone in to see thepresident. "I justgot a call from the State Department. Dana Evans has beenarrested oncharges of espionage. Theyre threatening to executeher." "Jesus!Thats terrible. We cant let that happen." "Right. Idlikepermission to use your name." "Youve got it. Dowhatever has to bedone." "Ill work with the State Department. If we can
pull this off,maybe the Tribune will go a little easier on you." Olivershook hishead. "I wouldnt count on it. Lets just get her thehell out ofthere."Dozens of frantic telephone calls later, with pressurefrom the OvalOffice, the secretary of state, and the secretary-generalof the UnitedNations, Danas captors reluctantly agreed to release her.When the news came, Peter Tager hurried in to tell Oliver."Shesfree. Shes on her way home.""Great."He thought about Dana Evans on his way to a meeting thatmorning. Imglad we were able to save her.He had no idea that that action was going to cost him hislife.When Danas plane landed at Dulles International Airport,Mart Bakerand two dozen reporters from newspapers and television andradiostations were waiting to greet her. Dana looked at thecrowd indisbelief. "Whats ?" "This way, Dana. Smile!" "Howwere youtreated? Was there any brutality?" "How does it feel tobe back home?""Lets have a picture." "Do you have any plans to goback?" Theywere all talking at once. Dana stood there, overwhelmed.Matt Bakerhustled Dana into a waiting limousine, and they sped away."Whats whats going on?" Dana asked.
"Youre a celebrity."She shook her head. "I dont need this, Matt." Sheclosed her eyesfor a moment. "Thanks for getting me out.""You can thank the president and Peter Tager. They pushedall thebuttons. You also have Leslie Stewart to thank."When Matt told Leslie the news, she had said, "Thosebastards! Theycant do that to the Tribune. I want you to see that theyfree her.Pull every string you can and get her out of there."Dana looked out the window of the limousine. People werewalking alongthe street, talking and laughing. There was no sound ofgunfire ormortar shells. It was eerie."Our real estate editor found an apartment for you. Imtaking youthere now. I want you to have some time off as much asyou like. Whenyoure ready, well put you back to work." He took acloser look atDana. "Are you feeling all right? If you want to see adoctor, Illarrange ""Im fine. Our bureau took me to a doctor in Paris."The apartment was on Calvert Street, an attractivelyfurnished placewith one bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath, and smallstudy."Will this do?" Matt asked."This is perfect. Thank you, Matt.""Ive had the refrigerator stocked for you. Youll
probablyOTAwant to go shopping for clothes tomorrow, after you getsome rest.Charge everything to the paper.""Thanks, Matt. Thank you for everything.""Youre going to be debriefed later. Ill set it up foryou."She was on a bridge, listening to the gunfire and watchingbloatedbodies float by, and she woke up, sobbing. It had been soreal. Itwas a dream, but it was happening. At that moment,innocent victimsmen, women, and children were being senselessly andbrutallyslaughtered. She thought of Professor Stakas words."This war inBosnia and Herzegovina is beyond understanding." What wasincredibleto her was that the rest of the world didnt seem to care.She wasafraid to go back to sleep, afraid of the nightmares thatfilled herbrain. She got up and walked over to the window andlooked out at thecity. It was quiet no guns, no people running down thestreet,screaming. It seemed unnatural. She wondered how Kemalwas, andwhether she would ever see him again. Hes probablyforgotten me bynow.Dana spent part of the morning shopping for clothes.Wherever shewent, people stopped to stare at her. She heard whispers:"Thats DanaEvans!" The sales clerks all recognized her. She was
famous. Shehated it.Dana had had no breakfast and no lunch. She was hungry,but she wasunable to eat. She was too tense. It was as though shewere waitingfor some disaster to strike. When she walked down thestreet, sheavoided the eyes of strangers. She was suspicious ofeveryone. Shekept listening for the sound of gunfire. I cant go onlike this, Danathought.At noon, she walked into Matt Bakers office."What are you doing here? Youre supposed to be onvacation.""I need to go back to work, Matt."He looked at her and thought about the young girl who hadcome to him afew years earlier. "Im here for a job. Of course, Ialready have ajob here. Its more like a transfer, isnt it? ... I canstart rightaway...." And she had more than fulfilled her promise.If I ever hada daughter... "Your boss wants to meet you," Matt toldDana.They headed for Leslie Stewarts office.The two women stood there appraising each other. "Welcomeback,Dana.""Thank you.""Sit down." Dana and Matt took chairs opposite Lesliesdesk.
"I want to thank you for getting me out of there," Danasaid."It must have been hell. Im sorry." Leslie looked atMatt. "Whatare we going to do with her now, Matt?"He looked at Dana. "Were about to reassign our WhiteHousecorrespondent. Would you like the job?" It was one ofthe mostprestigious television assignments in the country.Danas face lit up. "Yes. I would."Leslie nodded. "Youve got it."Dana rose. "Well thank you, again.""Good luck."Dana and Matt left the office. "Lets get you settled,"Matt said. Hewalked her over to the television building, where thewhole staff waswaiting to greet her. It took Dana fifteen minutes towork her waythrough the crowd of well-wishers."Meet your new White House correspondent," Matt said toPhilip Cole."Thats great. Ill show you to your office.""Have you had lunch yet?" Matt asked Dana."No, I ""Why dont we get a bite to eat?"The executive dining room was on the fifth floor, aspacious, airy roomwith two dozen tables. Matt led Dana to a table in thecorner, and
they sat down. "Miss Stewart seemed very nice," Danasaid. Mattstarted to say something. "Yeah. Lets order." "Im nothungry.""You havent had lunch?" "No.""Did you have breakfast?""No.""Dana when did you eat last?"She shook her head. "I dont remember. Its notimportant.""Wrong. I cant have our new White House correspondentstarvingherself to death."The waiter came over to the table. "Are you ready toorder, Mr.Baker?""Yes." He scanned the menu. "Well start you off light.Miss Evanswill have a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich." Helooked over atDana. "Pastry or ice cream?""Noth ""Pie a la mode. And Ill have a roast beef sandwich.""Yes, sir."Dana looked around. "All this seems so unreal. Life iswhatshappening over there, Matt. Its horrible. No one herecares.""Dont say that. Of course we care. But we cant run theworld, andwe cant control it. We do the best we can."
"Its not good enough," Dana said fiercely."Dana..." He stopped. She was far away, listening todistant soundsthat he could not hear, seeing grisly sights that he couldnot see.They sat in silence until the waiter arrived with theirfood."Here we are.""Mart, Im not really hung "O 1 A"Youre going to eat," Matt commanded. Jeff Connors wasmaking his wayover to the table. "Hi, Matt." "Jeff." Jeff Connorslooked at Dana."Hello." Mart said, "Dana, this is Jeff Connors. Hesthe Tribunessports editor." Dana nodded. "Im a big fan of yours,Miss Evans.Im glad you got out safely." Dana nodded again. Mattsaid, "Wouldyou like to join us, Jeff?" "Love to." He took a chairand said toDana, "I tried never to miss any of your broadcasts. Ithought theywere brilliant." Dana mumbled, "Thank you." "Jeff hereis one of ourgreat athletes. Hes in the Baseball Hall of Fame."Another smallnod. "If you happen to be free," Jeff said, "on Friday,the Oriolesare playing the Yankees in Baltimore. Its " Dana turnedto look athim for the first time. "That sounds really exciting.The object ofthe game is to hit the ball and then run around the fieldwhile theother side tries to stop you?" He looked at her warily."Well " Danagot to her feet, her voice trembling. "Ive seen people
running arounda field but they were running for their lives becausesomeone wasshooting at them and killing them!" She was nearhysteria. "It wasnta game, and it it wasnt about a stupid baseball."The other people in the room were turning to stare at her."You can go to hell," Dana sobbed. And she fled from theroom.Jeff turned to Matt. "Im terribly sorry. I didnt meanto ""It wasnt your fault. She hasnt come home yet. And Godknows shesentitled to a bad case of nerves."Dana hurried into her office and slammed the door. Shewent to herdesk and sat down, fighting hysteria. Oh, Cod. Ive madea completefool of myself. Theyll fire me, and I deserve it. Whydid I attackthat man? How could I have done anything so awful? Idont belonghere. I dont belong anywhere anymore. She sat therewith her head onthe desk, sobbing. A few minutes later, the door openedand someonecame in. Dana looked up. It was Jeff Connors, carrying atray with abacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and a slice of pie ala mode. "Youforgot your lunch," Jeff said mildly. Dana wiped away hertears,mortified. "I I want to apologize. Im so sorry. I hadno right to ""You had every right," he said quietly. "Anyway, whoneeds to watch adumb old baseball game?" Jeff put the tray on the desk."May I joinyou for lunch?" He sat down. "Im not hungry. Thank
you."He sighed. "Youre putting me in a very difficultposition, MissEvans. Mart says you have to eat. You dont want to getme fired, doyou?"Dana managed a smile. "No." She picked up half of thesandwich andtook a small bite."Bigger."Dana took another small bite."Bigger."She looked up at him. "Youre really going to make me eatthis, arentyou?""You bet I am." He watched her take a larger bite of thesandwich."Thats better. By the way, if youre not doing anythingFriday night,I dont know if I mentioned it, but theres a game betweenthe Oriolesand the Yankees. Would you like to go?"She looked at him and nodded. "Yes."At three oclock that afternoon, when Dana walked into theWhite Houseentrance, the guard said, "Mr. Tager would like to seeyou, MissEvans. Ill have someone take you to his office." A fewminuteslater, one of the guides led Dana down a long corridor toPeter Tagersoffice. He was waiting for her. "Mr. Tager ..." "Ididnt expect tosee you so soon, Miss Evans. Wont your station give youany time
off?" "I didnt want any," Dana said. "I I need towork.""Please sit down." She sat across from him. "Can I offeryouanything?" "No, thanks. I just had lunch." She smiledto herself atthe recollection of Jeff Connors. "Mr. Tager, I want tothank you andPresident Russell so much for rescuing me." Shehesitated. "I knowthe Tribune hasnt been too kind to the president, and I "Peter Tagerraised a hand. "This was something above politics. Therewas nochance that the president was going to let them get awaywith this. Youknow the story of Helen of Troy?" "Yes." He smiled."Well, we mighthave started a war over you. Youre a very importantperson." "Idont feel very important." "I want you to know howpleased both thepresident and I are that youve been assigned to cover theWhiteHouse." "Thank you." He paused for a moment. "Itsunfortunate thatthe Tribune doesnt like President Russell, and theresnothing you cando about it. But in spite of that, on a very personallevel, iftheres anything the president or I can do to help ... weboth have anenormous regard for you." "Thank you. I appreciatethat." The dooropened and Oliver walked in. Dana and Peter Tager stoodup. "Sitdown," Oliver said. He walked over to Dana. "Welcomehome.""Thank you, Mr. President," Dana said. "And I do meanthank you."Oliver smiled. "If you cant save someones life, whats
the point ofbeing president? I want to be frank with you, Miss Evans.None of ushere is a fan of your newspaper. All of us are yourfans.""Thank you.""Peter is going to give you a tour of the White House. Ifyou have anyproblems, were here to help you.""Youre very kind.""If you dont mind, I want you to meet with Mr. Werner,the secretaryof state. Id like to have him get a firsthand briefingfrom you onthe situation in Herzegovina.""Id be happy to do that," Dana said.There were a dozen men seated in the secretary of statesprivateconference room, listening to Dana describe herexperiences. "Most ofthe buildings in Sarajevo have been damaged ordestroyed.... Theres noelectricity, and the people there who still have carsunhook the carbatteries at night to run their television sets.... "Thestreets of thecity are obstructed by the wreckage of bombed automobiles,carts, andbicycles. The main form of transportation is walking...."When theresa storm, people catch the water from the street guttersand put it intobuckets.... "Theres no respect for the Red Cross or forthejournalists there. More than forty correspondents havebeen killedcovering the Bosnian war, and dozens have been wounded....Whether the
present revolt against Slobodan Milosevic is successful ornot, thefeeling is that because of the popular uprising, hisregime has beenbadly damaged...."The meeting went on for two hours. For Dana it was bothtraumatic andcathartic, because as she described what happened, shefound herselfliving the terrible scenes all over again; and at the sametime, shefound it a. relief to be able to talk about it. When shewas finished,she felt drained.The secretary of state said, "I want to thank you, MissEvans. Thishas been very informative." He smiled. "Im glad you gotback heresafely.""So am I, Mr. Secretary."Friday night, Dana was seated next to Jeff Connors in thepress box atCamden Yards, watching the baseball game. And for thefirst time sinceshe had returned, she was able to think about somethingother than thewar. As Dana watched the players on the field, shelistened to theannouncer reporting the game. "... its the top of thesixth inningand Nelson is pitching. Alomar hits a line drive down theleft-fieldline for a double. Palmeiro is approaching the plate.The count istwo and one. Nelson throws a fastball down the middle andPalmeiro isgoing for it. What a hit! It looks like its going toclear the right9-30
field wall. Its over! Palmeiro is rounding the baseswith a two-runhomer that puts the Orioles in the lead...."At the seventh-inning stretch, Jeff stood up and looked atDana. "Areyou enjoying yourself?"Dana looked at him and nodded. "Yes."Back in D.C. after the game, they had supper at BistroTwentyFifteen."I want to apologize again for the way I behaved the otherday," Danasaid. "Its just that Ive been living in a world where "She stopped,not sure how to phrase it. "Where everything is a matterof life anddeath. Everything. Its awful. Because unless someonestops the war,those people have no hope."Jeff said gently, "Dana, you cant put your life on holdbecause ofwhats happening over there. You have to begin livingagain. Here.""I know. Its just... not easy.""Of course it isnt. Id like to help you. Would you letme?"Dana looked at him for a long time. "Please."The next day, Dana had a luncheon date with Jeff Connors."Can youpick me up?" he asked. He gave her the address."Right." Danawondered what Jeff was doing there. It was in a verytroubledinner-city neighborhood. When Dana arrived, she found theanswer.
Jeff was surrounded by two teams of baseball players,ranging in agefrom nine to thirteen, dressed in a creative variety ofbaseballuniforms. Dana parked at the curb to watch."And remember," Jeff was saying, "dont rush. When thepitcher throwsthe ball, imagine that its coming at you very slowly, sothat you haveplenty of time to hit it. Feel your bat smacking theball. Let yourmind help guide your hands so "Jeff looked over and saw Dana. He waved. "All right,fellows. Thatsit for now."One of the boys asked, "Is that your girl, Jeff?""Only if Im lucky." Jeff smiled. "See you later." Hewalked over toDanas car."Thats quite a ball club," Dana said."Theyre good boys. I coach them once a week."She smiled. "I like that." And she wondered how Kemalwas and what hewas doing.As the days went on, Dana found herself coming to likeJeff Connorsmore and more. He was sensitive, intelligent, andamusing. Sheenjoyed being with him. Slowly, the horrible memories ofSarajevo werebeginning to fade. The morning came when she woke upwithout havinghad nightmares. When she told Jeff about it, he took herhand andsaid, "Thats my girl."
And Dana wondered whether she should read a deeper meaninginto it.There was a hand-printed letter waiting for Dana at theoffice. Itread: "miss evans, dont worry about me. im happy, i amnot lonely, idont miss anybody, and i am going to send you back theclothes youbought me because i dont need them, i have my ownclothes, goodbye."It was signed "kemal." The letter was postmarked Paris,and theletterhead read "Xaviers Home for Boys." Dana read theletter twiceand then picked up the phone. It took her four hours toreach Kemal.She heard his voice, a tentative "Hello ..." "Kemal, thisis DanaEvans." There was no response. "I got your letter."Silence. "Ijust wanted to tell you that Im glad youre so happy, andthat yourehaving such a good time." She waited a moment, then wenton, "I wish Iwere as happy as you are. Do you know why Im not?Because I missyou. I think about you a lot." "No, you dont," Kemalsaid. "Youdont care about me." "Youre wrong. How would you liketo come toWashington and live with me?" There was a long silence."Do you doyou mean that?" "You bet I do. Would you like that?" "I" He beganto cry. "Would you, Kemal?" "Yes yes, maam." "Ill makethearrangements.""Miss Evans?""Yes?"
"I love you."Dana and Jeff Connors were walking in West Potomac Park."I think Imgoing to have a roommate," Dana said. "He should be herein the nextfew weeks." Jeff looked at her in surprise. "He?" Danafound herselfpleased at his reaction. "Yes. His name is Kemal. Hestwelve yearsold." She told him the story. "He sounds like a greatkid." "He is.Hes been through hell, Jeff. I want to help him forget."He lookedat Dana and said, "Id like to help, too." That nightthey made lovefor the first time.Sixteen.There are two Washington, D.C."s. One is a city ofinordinate beauty:imposing architecture, world-class museums, statues,monuments to thegiants of the past: Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington... acity of verdantparks, cherry blossoms, and velvet air.The other Washington, D.C." is a citadel of the homeless,a city withone of the highest crime rates in the nation, a labyrinthof muggingsand murders.The Monroe Arms is an elegant boutique hotel discreetlytucked away notfar from the corner of ayth and K streets. It does noadvertising andcaters mainly to its regular clientele.The hotel was built a number of years ago by anenterprising young realestate entrepreneur named Lara Cameron. Jeremy Robinson,the hotels
general manager, had just arrived on his evening shift andwas studyingthe guest register with a perplexed expression on hisface. He checkedthe names of the occupants of the elite Terrace Suitesonce again tomake certain someone had not made a mistake. In Suite325, a fadedactress was rehearsing for a play opening at the NationalTheater.According to a story in The Washington Post, she washoping to make acomeback. In 425, the suite above hers, was a well-knownarms dealerwho visited Washington regularly. The name on the guestregister wasJ. L. Smith, but his looks suggested one of the MiddleEast countries.Mr. Smith was an extraordinarily generous tipper. Suite525 wasregistered to William Quint, a congressman who headed thepowerful drugoversight committee. Above, Suite 625 was occupied by acomputersoftware salesman who visited Washington once a month.Registered inSuite 725 was Pat Murphy, an international lobbyist. Sofar, so good,Jeremy Robinson thought. The guests were all well knownto him. Itwas Suite 825, the Imperial Suite on the top floor, thatwas theenigma. It was the most elegant suite in the hotel, andit was alwaysheld in reserve for the most important VIPs. It occupiedthe entirefloor and was exquisitely decorated with valuablepaintings andantiques. It had its own private elevator leading to thebasementgarage, so that its guests who wished to be anonymouscould arrive anddepart in privacy.
What puzzled Jeremy Robinson was the name on the hotelregister: EugeneGant. Was there actually a person by that name, or hadsomeone whoenjoyed reading Thomas Wolfe selected it as an alias?Carl Gorman, the day clerk who had registered theeponymous Mr. Gant,had left on his vacation a few hours earlier, and wasunreachable.Robinson hated mysteries. Who was Eugene Gant and why hadhe beengiven the Imperial Suite?In Suite 325, on the third floor, Dame Gisella Barrett wasrehearsingfor a play. She was a distinguished-looking woman in herlate sixties,an actress who had once mesmerized audiences and criticsfrom LondonsWest End to Manhattans Broadway. There were still fainttraces ofbeauty in her face, but they were overlaid withbitterness. She hadread the article in The Washington Post that said she hadcome toWashington to make a comeback. A comeback! Dame Barrettthoughtindignantly. How dare they! Ive never been away. True,it had beenmore than twenty years since she had last appearedonstage, but thatwas only because a great actress needed a great part, abrilliantdirector, and an understanding producer. The directorstoday were tooyoung to cope with the grandeur of real Theater, and thegreat Englishproducers H. M. Tenant, Binkie Beaumont, C. B. Cochranwere all gone.Even the reasonably competent American producers, Helburn,Belasco, andGolden, were no longer around. There was no questionabout it: The
current theater was controlled by know-nothing parvenuswith nobackground. The old days had been so wonderful. Therewereplaywrights back then whose pens were dipped in lightning.DameBarrett had starred in the part of Ellie Dunn in ShawsHeartbreakHouse. How the critics raved about me. Poor George. Hehated to becalled George. He preferred Bernard. People thought ofhim as acerbicand bitter, but underneath it all, he was really aromantic Irishman.He used to send me red roses. I think he was too shy togo beyondthat. Perhaps he was afraid I would reject him. She wasabout to makeher return in one of the most powerful roles ever writtenLady Macbeth.It was the perfect choice for her. Dame Barrett placed achair infront of a blank wall, so that she would not be distractedby the viewoutside. She sat down, took a deep breath, and began toget into thecharacter Shakespeare had created. "Come, you spiritsThat tend onmortal thoughts! Unsex me here, And fill me from thecrown to the toetop-full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop upthe access andpassage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings ofnature Shake myfell purpose, nor keep the peace between The effect andit!"".. . For Gods sake, how can they be so stupid? Afterall the yearsI have been staying in this hotel, you would thinkthat..."The voice was booming through the open window, from thesuite above.
In Suite 425, J. L. Smith, the arms dealer, was loudlyberating awaiter from room service. "... they would know by nowthat I orderonly Beluga caviar. Beluga!" He pointed to a plate ofcaviar on theroom-service table. "That is a dish fit for peasants!""Im so sorry, Mr. Smith. Ill go down to the kitchenand ""Never mind." J. L. Smith looked at his diamond-studdedRolex. "Ihave no time. I have an important appointment." He roseand startedtoward the door. He was due at his attorneys office. Aday earlier,a federal grand jury had indicted him on fifteen counts ofgivingillegal gifts to the secretary of defense. If foundguilty, he wasfacing three years in prison and a million-dollar fine.In Suite 525, Congressman William Quint, a member of aprominentthird-generation Washington family, was in conference withthreemembers of his investigating staff. "The drug problem inthis city isgetting completely out of hand," Quint said. "We have toget it backunder control He turned to Dalton Isaak. "Whats yourtake on it?""Its the street gangs. The Brentwood Crew isundercutting theFourteenth Street Crew and the Simple City Crew. Thatsled to fourkillings in the last month.""We cant let this go on," Quint said. "Its bad forbusiness. Ivebeen getting calls from the DEA and the chief of police
asking whatwere planning to do about it.""What did you tell them?""The usual. That were investigating." He turned to hisassistant."Set up a meeting with the Brentwood Crew. Tell them ifthey wantprotection from us, theyre going to have to get theirprices in linewith the others." He turned to another of his assistants."How muchdid we take in last month?""Ten million here, ten million offshore.""Lets bump that up. This city is getting too damnedexpensive."In 625, the suite above, Norman Haff lay naked in the darkin bed,watching a porno film on the hotels closed-circuitchannel. He was apale-skinned man with an enormous beer belly and a flabbybody. Hereached over and stroked the breast of his bed mate."Look whattheyre doing, Irma." His voice was a strangled whisper."Would youlike me to do that to you?" He circled his fingers aroundher belly,his eyes fastened to the screen where a woman was makingpassionatelove to a man. "Does that excite you, baby? It sure getsme hot."He slipped two fingers between Irmas legs. "Im ready,"he groaned.He grabbed the inflated doll, rolled over, and pushedhimself into her.The vagina of the battery-operated doll opened and closedon him,squeezing him tighter and tighter.
"Oh, my God!" he exclaimed. He gave a satisfied groan."Yes! Yes!"He switched off the battery and lay there panting. Hefelt wonderful.He would use Irma again in the morning before he deflatedher and puther in a suitcase.Norman was a salesman, and he was on the road most of thetime instrange towns where he had no companionship. He haddiscovered Irmayears ago, and she was all the female company he needed.His stupidsalesmen friends traveled around the country picking upsluts andprofessional whores, but Norman had the last laugh.Irma would never give him a disease.On the floor above, in Suite 725, Pat Murphys family hadjust comeback from dinner. Tim Murphy, twelve, was standing on thebalconyoverlooking the park. "Tomorrow can we climb up to thetop of themonument, Daddy?" he begged. "Please?" His youngerbrother said,"No. I want to go to the Smithsonian Institute.""Institution," hisfather corrected him."Whatever. I want to go." It was the first time thechildren had beenin the nations capital, although their father spent morethan half ofevery year there. Pat Murphy was a successful lobbyistand had accessto some of the most important people in Washington. Hisfather hadbeen the mayor of a small town in Ohio, and Pat had grownup fascinated
by politics. His best friend had been a boy named Joey.They had gonethrough school together, had gone to the same summercamps, and hadshared everything. They were best friends in the truestsense of thephrase. That had all changed one holiday when Joeysparents were awayand Joey was staying with the Murphys. In the middle ofthe night,Joey had come to Pats room and climbed into his bed."Pat," hewhispered. "Wake up." Pats eyes had flown open. "What?Whats thematter?" "Im lonely," Joey whispered. "I need you."Pat Murphy wasconfused. "What for?" "Dont you understand? I loveyou. I wantyou." And he had kissed Pat on the lips. And thehorrible realizationhad dawned that Joey was a homosexual. Pat was sickenedby it. Herefused ever to speak to Jney again. Pat Murphy loathedhomosexuals.They were freaks, faggots, fairies, cursed by God, tryingto seduceinnocent children. He turned his hatred and disgust intoa lifelongcampaign, voting for anti homosexual candidates andlecturing about theevils and dangers of homosexuality. In the past, he hadalways come toWashington alone, but this time his wife had stubbornlyinsisted thathe bring her and the children."We want to see what your life here is like," she said.And Pat hadfinally given in.He looked at his wife and children now and thought, Itsone of thelast times Ill ever see them. How could I have ever madesuch a
stupid mistake? Well, its almost over now. His familyhad such grandplans for tomorrow. But there would be no tomorrow. Inthe morning,before they were awake, he would be on his way to Brazil.Alan was waiting for him.In Suite 825, the Imperial Suite, there was total silence.Breathe, hetold himself. You must breathe ... slower, slower.... Hewas at theedge of panic. He looked at the slim, naked body of theyoung girl onthe floor and thought, It wasnt my fault. She slipped.Her head hadsplit open where she had fallen against the sharp edge ofthewrought-iron table, and blood was oozing from herforehead. He hadfelt her wrist. There was no pulse. It was incredible.One momentshe had been so alive, and the next moment... Ive got toget out ofhere. Now! He turned away from the body and hurriedlybegan to dress.This would not be just another scandal. This would be ascandal thatrocked the world. They must never trace me to this suite.When hefinished dressing, he went into the bathroom, moistened atowel, andbegan polishing the surfaces of every place he might havetouched.When he was finally sure he had left no fingerprints tomark hispresence, he took one last look around. Her purse! Hepicked up thegirls purse from the couch, and walked to the far end oftheapartment, where the private elevator waited.He stepped inside, trying hard to control his breathing.
He pressed G,and a few seconds later, the elevator door opened and hewas in thegarage. It was deserted. He started toward his car,then, suddenlyremembering, hurried back to the elevator. He took outhishandkerchief and wiped his fingerprints from the elevatorbuttons. Hestood in the shadows, looking around again to make sure hewas stillalone. Finally satisfied, he walked over to his car,opened the door,and sat behind the wheel. After a moment, he turned onthe ignitionand drove out of the garage.It was a Filipina maid who found the dead girls bodysprawled on thefloor. "O Dios ko, kawawa naman iyong babae!" She madethe sign ofthe cross and hurried out of the room, screaming for help.Threeminutes later, Jeremy Robinson and Thorn Peters, thehotels head ofsecurity, were in the Imperial Suite staring down at thenaked body ofthe girl. "Jesus," Thorn said. "She cant be more thansixteen orseventeen years old." He turned to the manager. "Wedbetter call thepolice.""Wait!" Police. Newspapers. Publicity. For one wildmoment,Robinson wondered whether it would be possible to spiritthe girlsbody out of the hotel. "I suppose so," he finally saidreluctantly.Thorn Peters took a handkerchief from his pocket and usedit to pick upthe telephone.
"What are you doing?" Robinson demanded. "This isnt acrime scene.It was an accident.""We dont know that yet, do we?" Peters said.He dialed a number and waited. "Homicide."Detective Nick Reese looked like the paperback version ofastreet-smart cop. He was tall and brawny, with a brokennose that wasa memento from an early boxing career. He had paid hisdues bystarting as an officer in Washingtons Metropolitan PoliceDepartmentand had slowly worked his way through the ranks: MasterPatrol Officer,Sergeant, Lieutenant. He had been promoted from DetectiveDa toDetective Di, and in the past ten years had solved morecases thananyone else in the department. Detective Reese stoodthere quietlystudying the scene. In the suite with him were half adozen men. "Hasanyone touched her?" Robinson shuddered. "No." "Who isshe?" "Idont know."Reese turned to look at the hotel manager. "A young girlis found deadin your Imperial Suite, and you dont have any idea whoshe is? Doesntthis hotel have a guest register?" "Of course, Detective,but in thiscase " He hesitated. "In this case ... ?" "The suite isregistered toa Eugene Gant." "Whos Eugene Gant?" "I have no idea."DetectiveReese was getting impatient. "Look. If someone bookedthis suite, hehad to have paid for it... cash, credit card sheepwhatever. Whoever
checked this Gant in must have gotten a look at him. Whochecked himin?" "Our day clerk, Gorman." "I want to talk to him.""I Im afraidthats impossible." "Oh? Why?" "He left on his vacationtoday.""Call him." Robinson sighed. "He didnt say where he wasgoing.""When will he be back?" "In two weeks." "Ill let you inon a littlesecret. Im not planning to wait two weeks. I want someinformationnow. Somebody must have seen someone entering or leavingthis suite.""Not necessarily," Robinson said apologetically. "Besidesthe regularexit, this suite has a private elevator that goes directlyto thebasement garage.... I dont know what the fuss is allabout. It it wasobviously an accident. She was probably on drugs and tookan overdoseand tripped and fell." Another detective approachedDetective Reese."I checked the closets. Her dress is from the Gap, shoesfrom the WildPair. No help there." "Theres nothing to identify herat all?" "No.If she had a purse, its gone." Detective Reese studiedthe bodyagain. He turned to a police officer standing there."Get me somesoap. Wet it." The police officer was staring at him."Im sorry?""Wet soap." "Yes, sir." He hurried off. Detective Reeseknelt downbeside the body of the girl and studied the ring on herfinger. "Itlooks like a school ring." A minute later, the policeofficer returnedand handed Reese a bar of wet soap. Reese gently rubbedthe soap alongthe girls finger and carefully removed the ring. Heturned it from
side to side, examining it. "Its a class ring fromDenver High.There are initials on it, P.Y." He turned to his partner."Check itout. Call the school and find out who she is. Lets getan ID on heras fast as we can." Detective Ed Nelson, one of thefingerprint men,came up to Detective Reese. "Something damned weird isgoing on, Nick.Were picking up prints all over the place, and yetsomeone took thetrouble to wipe the fingerprints off all the doorknobs.""So someonewas here with her when she died. Why didnt he call adoctor? Why didhe bother wiping out his fingerprints? And what the hellis a youngkid doing in an expensive suite like this?" He turned toRobinson."How was this suite paid for?" "Our records show that itwas paid forin cash. A messenger delivered the envelope. Thereservation was madeover the phone." The coroner spoke up. "Can we move thebody now,Nick?" "Just hold it a minute. Did you find any marks ofviolence?""Only the trauma to the forehead. But of course well doan autopsy.""Any track marks?" "No. Her arms and legs are clean.""Does it looklike shes been raped?" "Well have to check that out."DetectiveReese sighed. "So what we have here is a schoolgirl fromDenver whocomes to Washington and gets herself killed in one of themostexpensive hotels in the city. Someone wipes out hisfingerprints anddisappears. The whole thing stinks. I want to know whorented thissuite." He turned to the coroner. "You can take her outnow." He
looked at Detective Nelson. "Did you check thefingerprints in theprivate elevator?" "Yes. The elevator goes from thissuite directlyto the basement. There are only two buttons. Bothbuttons have beenwiped clean.""You checked the garage?" "Right. Nothing unusual downthere.""Whoever did this went to a hell of a lot of trouble tocover histracks. Hes either someone with a record, or a V.I.Pwhos beenplaying games out of school." He turned to Robinson."Who usuallyrents this suite?" Robinson said reluctantly, "Itsreserved for ourmost important guests. Kings, prime ministers ..." Hehesitated."... Presidents." "Have any telephone calls been placedfrom thisphone in the last twenty-four hours?" "I dont know."Detective Reesewas getting irritated. "But you would have a record ifthere was?""Of course." Detective Reese picked up the telephone."Operator, thisis Detective Nick Reese. I want to know if any calls weremade fromthe Imperial Suite within the last twenty-four hours....Ill wait."He watched as the white-coated coroners men covered thenaked girlwith a sheet and placed her on a gurney. Jesus Christ,Reese thought.She hadnt even begun to live yet. He heard theoperators voice."Detective Reese?" "Yes." "There was one call placedfrom the suiteyesterday. It was a local call." Reese took out anotepad and pencil."What was the number? ...Four-five-six-seven-zero-four-one?..." Reese
started to write the numbers down, then suddenly stopped.He wasstaring at the notepad. "Oh, shit!" "Whats the matter?"DetectiveNelson asked. Reese looked up. "Thats the number of theWhiteHouse."Seventeen.The next morning at breakfast, Jan asked, "Where were youlast night,Oliver?" Olivers heart skipped a beat. But she couldnot possiblyhave known what happened. No one could. No one. "I wasmeeting with" Jan cut him short. "The meeting was called off. Butyou didnt gethome until three oclock in the morning. I tried to reachyou. Wherewere you?" "Well, something came up. Why? Did you need? Wassomething wrong?" "It doesnt matter now," Jan saidwearily. "Oliver,youre not just hurting me, youre hurting yourself.Youve come sofar. I dont want to see you lose it all because becauseyou cant "Her eyes filled with tears.Oliver stood up and walked over to her. He put his armsaround her."Its all right, Jan. Everythings fine. I love you verymuch."And I do, Oliver thought, in my own way. What happenedlast nightwasnt my fault. She was the one who called. I nevershould have goneto meet her. He had taken every possible precaution notto be seen.Im in the clear, Oliver decided.Peter Tager was worried about Oliver. He had learned that
it wasimpossible to control Oliver Russells libido, and he hadfinallyworked out an arrangement with him. On certain nights,Peter Tager setup fictitious meetings for the president to attend, awayfrom the WhiteHouse, and arranged for the Secret Service escort todisappear for afew hours.When Peter Tager had gone to Senator Davis to complainabout what washappening, the senator had said calmly, "Well, after all,Oliver is avery hot-blooded man, Peter. Sometimes its impossible tocontrolpassions like that. I deeply admire your morals, Peter.I know howmuch your family means to you, and how distasteful thepresidentsbehavior must seem to you. But lets not be toojudgmental. You justkeep on seeing that everything is handled as discreetly aspossible."Detective Nick Reese hated going into the forbidding,white-walledautopsy room. It smelled of formaldehyde and death.When he walked in the door, the coroner, Helen Chuan, apetite,attractive woman, was waiting for him. "Morning," Reesesaid. "Haveyou finished with the autopsy?" "I have a preliminaryreport for you,Nick. Jane Doe didnt die from her head injury. Herheart stoppedbefore she hit the table. She died of an overdose ofmethylenedioxymethamphe-tami. He sighed. "Dont do thisto me,Helen." "Sorry. On the streets, its called Ecstasy."She handed hima coroners report. "Heres what we have so far."
AUTOPSY PROTOCOLNAME OF DECEDENT: JANE DOE FILE No: C-Ix6lANATOMIC SUMMARYI. DILATED AND HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHYA. CARDIOMEGALY (750 GM)B. LEFT VENTRICULAR HYPERTROPHY, HEART(2.3 CM)C. CONGESTIVE HEPATOMEGALY (2750 GMD. CONGESTIVE SPLENOMEGALY (350 MG>II. ACUTE OPIATE INTOXICATIONA. ACUTE PASSIVE CONGESTION, ALL VISCERAIII. TOXICOLOGY (SEE SEPARATE REPORT)IV. BRAIN HEMORRHAGE (SEE SEPARATE REPORT) CONCLUSION:(CAUSE OFDEATH)DILATED AND HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY ACUTE OPIATEINTOXICATIONNick Reese looked up. "So if you translated this intoEnglish, shedied of a drug overdose of Ecstasy?" "Yes." "Was shesexuallyassaulted?" Helen Chuan hesitated. "Her hymen had beenbroken, andthere were traces of semen and a little blood along herthighs." "Soshe was raped." "I dont think so." "What do you meanyou dont thinkso?" Reese frowned. "There were no signs of violence."
DetectiveReese was looking at her, puzzled. "What are you saying?""I thinkthat Jane Doe was a virgin. This was her first sexualexperience."Detective Reese stood there, digesting the information.Someone hadbeen able to persuade a virgin to go up to the ImperialSuite and havesex with him. It would have had to be someone she knew.Or someonefamous or powerful. The telephone rang. Helen Chuanpicked it up."Coroners office." She listened a moment, then handedthe phone tothe detective. "Its for you." Nick Reese took thephone. "Reese."His face brightened."Oh, yes, Mrs. Holbrook. Thanks for returning my call.Its a classring from your school with the initials P.Y. on it. Doyou have afemale student with those initials?... Id appreciate it.Thank you.Ill wait." He looked up at the coroner. "Youre sureshe couldnthave been raped?" "I found no signs of violence. None.""Could shehave been penetrated after she died?" "I would say no."Mrs.Holbrooks voice came back on the phone. "DetectiveReese?" "Yes.""According to our computer, we do have a female studentwith theinitials P.Y. Her name is Pauline Young." "Could youdescribe her forme, Mrs. Holbrook?" "Why, yes. Pauline is eighteen.Shes short andstocky, with dark hair...." "I see." Wrong girl. "Andthats theonly one?" "The only female, yes." He picked up on it."You mean youhave a male with those initials? "Yes. Paul Yerby. Hes
a senior.As a matter of fact, Paul happens to be in Washington,D.C." rightnow." Detective Reeses heart began to beat faster. "Heshere?""Yes. A class of students from Denver High is on a tripto Washingtonto visit the White House and Congress and " "And theyreall in thecity now?""Thats right.""Do you happen to know where theyre staying?""At the Hotel Lombardy. They gave us a group rate there.I talkedwith several of the other hotels, but they wouldnt ""Thank you very much, Mrs. Holbrook. I appreciate it."Nick Reese replaced the receiver and turned to thecoroner. "Let meknow when the autopsy is complete, will you, Helen?""Of course. Good luck, Nick."He nodded. "I think Ive just had it."The Hotel Lombardy is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, twoblocks fromWashington Circle and within walking distance of the WhiteHouse, somemonuments, and a subway station. Detective Reese walkedinto theold-fashioned lobby and approached the clerk behind thedesk. "Do youhave a Paul Yerby registered here?" "Im sorry. We dontgive out "Reese flashed his badge. "Im in a big hurry, friend.""Yes, sir."The clerk looked through his guest register. "Theres aMr. Yerby inRoom 315. Shall I ?" "No, Ill surprise him. Stay away
from thephone." Reese took the elevator, got off on the thirdfloor, andwalked down the corridor. He stopped before Room 315. Hecould hearvoices inside. He unfastened the button of his jacket andknocked onthe door. It was opened by a boy in his late teens."Hello." "Paul Yerby?" "No." The boy turned to someonein the room."Paul, someone for you." Nick Reese pushed his way intothe room. Aslim, tousle-haired boy in jeans and a sweater was comingout of thebathroom. "Paul Yerby?" "Yes. Who are you?" Reesepulled out hisbadge. "Detective Nick Reese. Homicide." The boyscomplexion turnedpale. "I what can I do for you?" Nick Reese could smellthe fear. Hetook the dead girls ring from his pocket and held it out."Have youever seen this ring before, Paul?" "No," Yerby saidquickly. "I " "Ithas your initials on it." "It has? Oh. Yeah." Hehesitated. "Iguess it could be mine. I must have lost it somewhere.""Or given itto someone?" The boy licked his lips, "Uh, yeah. I mighthave.""Lets go downtown, Paul." The boy looked at himnervously. "Am Iunder arrest?" "What for?" Detective Reese asked. "Haveyoucommitted a crime?" "Of course not. I..." The wordstrailed off."Then why would I arrest you?""I I dont know. I dont know why you want me to godowntown."He was eyeing the open door. Detective Reese reached out
and took agrip on Pauls arm. "Lets go quietly."The roommate said, "Do you want me to call your mother oranybody,Paul?"Paul Yerby shook his head, miserable. "No. Dont callanyone." Hisvoice was a whisper.The Henry I. Daly Building at 300 Indiana Avenue, NW, indowntownWashington is an unprepossessing six-story gray brickbuilding thatserves as police headquarters for the district. TheHomicide Branchoffice is on the third floor. While Paul Yerby was beingphotographedand fingerprinted, Detective Reese went to see CaptainOtto Miller. "Ithink we got a break in the Monroe Arms case." Millerleaned back inhis chair. "Go on." "I picked up the girls boyfriend.The kidsscared out of his wits. Were going to question him now.Do you wantto sit in?" Captain Miller nodded toward a pile of papersheaped onhis desk. "Im busy for the next few months. Give me areport.""Right." Detective Reese started toward the door. "Nickbe sure toread him his rights."Paul Yerby was brought into an interrogation room. It wassmall, nineby twelve, with a battered desk, four chairs, and a videocamera. Therewas a one-way mirror so that officers could watch theinterrogationfrom the next room.Paul Yerby was facing Nick Reese and two other detectives,
Doug Hoganand Edgar Bernstein. "Youre aware that were videotapingthisconversation?" Detective Reese "Yes, sir." "You have theright to anattorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will beappointed torepresent you." "Would you like to have a lawyerpresent?" DetectiveBernstein "I dont need a lawyer." "All right. You havea right toremain silent. If you waive that right, anything you sayhere can andwill be used against you in a court of law. Is thatclear?" "Yes,sir." "Whats your legal name?" "Paul Yerby." "Youraddress?""Three-twenty Marion Street, Denver, Colorado. Look, Ihavent doneanything wrong.""No one says you have. Were just trying to get someinformation,Paul. Youd like to help us, wouldnt you?" "Sure, but II dont knowwhat its all about." "Dont you have any idea?" "No,sir." "Do youhave any girlfriends, Paul?" "Well, you know..." "No, wedont know.Why dont you tell us?" "Well, sure. I see girls ...""You mean youdate girls? You take girls out?" "Yeah." "Do you dateany oneparticular girl?" There was a silence. "Do you have agirlfriend,Paul?" "Yes." "Whats her name?" Detective Bernstein"Chloe.""Chloe what?" Detective Reese "Chloe Houston." Reesemade a note."Whats her address, Paul?" "Six-oh-two Oak Street,Denver." "Whatare her parents names?" "She lives with her mother.""And her name?""Jackie Houston. Shes the governor of Colorado." The
detectiveslooked at one another. Shit! Thats all we need!Reese held up a ring. "Is this your ring, Paul?" Hestudied it amoment, then said reluctantly, "Yeah." "Did you giveChloe this ring?"He swallowed nervously. "I I guess I did." "Youre notsure?" "Iremember now. Yes, I did." "You came to Washington withsomeclassmates, right? Kind of a school group?" "Thatsright." "WasChloe part of that group?" "Yes, sir." "Wheres Chloenow, Paul?"Detective Bernstein "I I dont know." "When did you lastsee her?"Detective Hogan "I guess a couple of days ago." "Two daysago?"Detective Reese "Yeah." "And where was that?" DetectiveBernstein "Inthe White House." The detectives looked at one another insurprise."She was in the White House?" Reese asked. "Yes, sir.We were all ona private tour. Chloes mother arranged it." "And Chloewas withyou?" Detective Hogan "Yes." "Did anything unusual happenon thetour?" Detective Bernstein"What do you mean?" "Did you meet or talk to anyone onthe tour?"Detective Bernstein "Well, sure, the guide." "And thatsall?"Detective Reese "Thats right." "Was Chloe with the groupall thetime?" Detective Hogan "Yes " Yerby hesitated. "No. Sheslipped awayto go to the ladies room. She was gone about fifteenminutes. Whenshe came back, she " He stopped. "She what?" Reeseasked. "Nothing.She just came back." The boy was obviously lying. "Son,"
DetectiveReese asked, "do you know that Chloe Houston is dead?"They werewatching him closely. "No! My God! How?" The surprisedlook on hisface could have been feigned. "Dont you know?"Detective Bernstein"No! I I cant believe it." "You had nothing to do withher death?"Detective Hogan "Of course not! I love ... I lovedChloe." "Did youever go to bed with her?" Detective Bernstein "No. We wewerewaiting. We were going to get married." "But sometimesyou did drugstogether?" Detective Reese"No! We never did drugs." The door opened and a burlydetective,Harry Carter, came into the room. He walked over to Reeseandwhispered something in his ear. Reese nodded. He satthere staring atPaul Yerby. "When was the last time you saw ChloeHouston?" "I toldyou, in the White House." He shifted uncomfortably in hischair.Detective Reese leaned forward. "Youre in a lot oftrouble, Paul.Your fingerprints are all over the Imperial Suite at theMonroe ArmsHotel. How did they get there?" Paul Yerby sat there,pale-faced."You can quit lying now. Weve got you nailed." "I Ididnt doanything." "Did you book the suite at the Monroe Arms?"DetectiveBernstein "No, I didnt." The emphasis was on the "I."DetectiveReese pounced on it. "But you know who did?" "No." Theanswer cametoo quickly. "You admit you were in the suite?"Detective Hogan "Yes,but but Chloe was alive when I left." "Why did you
leave?" DetectiveHogan "She asked me to. She she was expecting someone.""Come on,Paul. We know you killed her." Detective Bernstein "No!"He wastrembling. "I swear I had nothing to do with it. I Ijust went up tothe suite with her. I only stayed a little while.""Because she was expecting someone?" Detective Reese"Yes. She shewas kind of excited." "Did she tell you who she was goingto meet?"Detective Hogan He was licking his lips. "No." "Yourelying. Shedid tell you." "You said she was excited. What about?"DetectiveReese Paul licked his lips again. "About about the manshe was goingto meet there for dinner." "Who was the man, Paul?"DetectiveBernstein "I cant tell you." "Why not?" Detective Hogan"I promisedChloe I would never tell anyone." "Chloe is dead." PaulYerbys eyesfilled with tears. "I just cant believe it." "Give usthe mansname." Detective Reese "I cant do that. I promised.""Heres whatsgoing to happen to you: Youre going to spend tonight injail. In themorning, if you give us the name of the man she was goingto meet,well let you go. Otherwise, were going to book you formurder one."Detective Reese They waited for him to speak. Silence.Nick Reesenodded to Bernstein. "Take him away."Detective Reese returned to Captain Millers office. "Ihave bad newsand I have worse news." "I havent time for this, Nick.""The badnews is that Im not sure it was the boy who gave her the
drug. Theworse news is that the girls mother is the governor ofColorado.""Oh, God! The papers will love this." Captain Miller tooka deepbreath. "Why dont you think the boys guilty?" "Headmits he was inthe girls suite, but he said she told him to leavebecause she wasexpecting someone. I think the kids too smart to come upwith a storythat stupid. What I do believe is that he knows who ChloeHouston wasexpecting. He wont say who it was." "Do you have anyidea?" "It washer first time in Washington, and they were on a tour ofthe WhiteHouse. She didnt know anyone here. She said she wasgoing to theladies room. There is no public rest room in the WhiteHouse. Shewould have had to go outside to the Visitors Pavilion onthe Ellipseat I5th and E streets or to the White House VisitorCenter. She wasgone about fifteen minutes. What I think happened is thatwhile tryingto find a ladies room, she ran into someone in the WhiteHouse,someone she might have recognized. Maybe someone she sawon TV.Anyway, it must have been somebody important. He led herto a privatewashroom and impressed her enough that she agreed to meethim at theMonroe Arms." Captain Miller was thoughtful. "Id bettercall theWhiteHouse. They asked to be kept up-to-date on this. Dontlet up on thekid. I want that name.""Right."
As Detective Reese walked out the door, Captain Millerreached for thetelephone and dialed a number. A few minutes later, hewas saying,"Yes, sir. We have a material witness in custody. Hesin a holdingcell at the Indiana Avenue police station.... We wont,sir. I thinkthe boy will give us the mans name tomorrow.... Yes, sir.Iunderstand." The line went dead.Captain Miller sighed and went back to the pile of paperson hisdesk.At eight oclock the following morning, when DetectiveNick Reese wentto Paul Yerbys cell, Yerbys body was hanging from one ofthe topbars.Eighteen.DEAD 16-YEAR-OLD IDENTIFIED AS DAUGHTER OF COLORADOGOVERNORBOYFRIENDIN POLICE CUSTODY HANGS HIMSELF POLICE HUNT MYSTERYWITNESSHe stared at the headlines and felt suddenly faint.Sixteen years old.She had looked older than that. What was he guilty of?Murder?Manslaughter, maybe. Plus statutory rape. He had watchedher come outof the bathroom of the suite, wearing only a shy smile."Ive neverdone this before." And he had put his arms around her andstroked her."Im glad the first time is with me, honey." Earlier, hehad shared a
glass of liquid Ecstasy with her. "Drink this. It willmake you feelgood." They had made love, and afterward she hadcomplained about notfeeling well. She had gotten out of bed, stumbled, andhit her headagainst the table. An accident. Of course, the policewould not seeit that way. But theres nothing to connect me with her.Nothing.The whole episode had an air of unreality, a nightmarethat hadhappened to someone else. Somehow, seeing it in printmade it real.Through the walls of the office, he could hear the soundof traffic onPennsylvania Avenue, outside the White House, and hebecame aware againof his surroundings. A cabinet meeting was scheduled tobegin in a fewminutes. He took a deep breath. Pull yourself together.In the Oval Office were gathered Vice President MelvinWicks, SimeLombardo, and Peter Tager. Oliver walked in and satbehind his desk."Good morning, gentlemen." There were general greetings.Peter Tagersaid, "Have you seen the Tribune, Mr. President?" "No.""Theyveidentified the girl who died at the Monroe Arms Hotel.Im afraid itsbad news." Oliver unconsciously stiffened in his chair."Yes?" "Hername is Chloe Houston. Shes the daughter of JackieHouston.""Oh, my God!" The words barely escaped the presidentslips. Theywere staring at him, surprised at his reaction. Herecovered quickly."I I knew Jackie Houston ... a long time ago. This this
is terriblenews. Terrible." Sime Lombardo said, "Even thoughWashington crime isnot our responsibility, the Tribune is going to hammer uson this."Melvin Wicks spoke up. "Is there any way we can shutLeslie Stewartup?" Oliver thought of the passionate evening he had spentwith her."No," Oliver said. "Freedom of the press, gentlemen."Peter Tagerturned to the president. "About the governor ... ?""Ill handle it."He flicked down an intercom key. "Get me Governor Houstonin Denver.""Weve got to start some damage control," Peter Tager wassaying. "Illget together statistics on how much crime has gone down inthiscountry, youve asked Congress for more money for ourpolicedepartments, et cetera." The words sounded hollow even tohis ownears. "This is terrible timing," Melvin Wicks said. Theintercombuzzed. Oliver picked up the telephone. "Yes?" Helistened a moment,then replaced the receiver. "The governor is on her waytoWashington." He looked at Peter Tager. "Find out whatplane shes on,Peter. Meet her and bring her here.""Right. Theres an editorial in the Tribune. Its prettyrough."Peter Tager handed Oliver the editorial page of thenewspaper.PRESIDENT UNABLE TO CONTROL CRIME IN THE CAPITAL. "Itgoes on fromthere.""Leslie Stewart is a bitch," Sime Lombardo said quietly."Someoneshould have a little talk with her."
In his office at the Washington Tribune, Matt Baker wasrereading theeditorial attacking the president for being soft on crimewhen FrankLonergan walked in. Lonergan was in his early forties, abright,street-smart journalist who had at one time worked on thepolice force.He was one of the best investigative journalists in thebusiness."You wrote this editorial, Frank?""Yes," he said."This paragraph about crime going down twenty-five percentinMinnesota, thats still bothering me. Why did you justtalk aboutMinnesota?"Lonergan said, "It was a suggestion from the IcePrincess.""Thats ridiculous," Matt Baker snapped. "Ill talk toher."Leslie Stewart was on the telephone when Matt Baker walkedinto heroffice. "Ill leave it to you to arrange the details, butI want us toraise as much money for him as we can. As a matter offact,Senator Embry of Minnesota is stopping by for lunch today,and Ill geta list of names from him. Thank you." She replaced thereceiver."Matt." Matt Baker walked over to her desk. "I want totalk to youabout this editorial." "Its good, isnt it?" "Itstinks, Leslie.Its propaganda. The presidents not responsible for
controlling crimein Washington, D.C. We have a mayor whos supposed to dothat, and apolice force. And whats this crap about crime going downtwenty-fivepercent in Minnesota? Where did you come up with thosestatistics?"Leslie Stewart leaned back and said calmly, "Matt, this ismy paper,fll say anything I want to say. Oliver Russell is alousy president,and Gregory Embry would make a great one. Were going tohelp him getinto the White House." She saw the expression on Martsface andsoftened. "Come on, Matt. The Tribune is going to be onthe side ofthe winner. Embry will be good for us. Hes on his wayhere now.Would you like to join us for lunch?" "No. I dont likepeople whoeat with their hands out." He turned and left the office.In thecorridor outside, Matt Baker ran into Senator Embry. Thesenator wasin his fifties, a self-important politician. "Oh,Senator!Congratulations." Senator Embry looked at him, puzzled,"Thank you. Erfor what?""For bringing crime down twenty-five percent in yourstate." And MattBaker walked away, leaving the senator looking after himwith a blankexpression on his face.Lunch was in Leslie Stewarts antique-furnished diningroom. A chefwas working in the kitchen preparing lunch as Leslie andSenator Embrywalked in. The captain hurried up to greet them."Luncheon is readywhenever you wish, Miss Stewart. Would you care for a
drink?" "Notfor me," Leslie said. "Senator?" "Well, I dont usuallydrink duringthe day, but Ill have a martini." Leslie Stewart wasaware thatSenator Embry drank a lot during the day. She had acomplete file onhim. He had a wife and five children and kept a Japanesemistress.His hobby was secretly funding a paramilitary group in hishome state.None of this was important to Leslie. What mattered wasthat GregoryEmbry was a man who believed in letting big business aloneandWashington Tribune Enterprises was big business. Leslieintended tomake it bigger, and when Embry was president, he was goingto help her.They were seated at the dining table. Senator Embry tooka sip of hissecond martini. "I want to thank you for the fundraiser,Leslie.Thats a nice gesture." She smiled warmly. "Its mypleasure. Ill doeverything I can to help you beat Oliver Russell.""Well, I think I stand a pretty good chance.""I think so, too. The people are getting tired of him andhisscandals. My guess is that if theres one more scandalbetween now andelection, theyll throw him out."Senator Embry studied her a moment. "Do you think therewill be?"Leslie nodded and said softly, "I wouldnt be surprised."The lunch was delicious.The call came from Antonio Valdez, an assistant in thecoroners
office. "Miss Stewart, you said you wanted me to keep youinformedabout the Chloe Houston case?" "Yes ..." "The cops askedus to keep alid on it, but since youve been such a good friend, Ithought " "Dontworry. Youll be taken care of. Tell me about theautopsy." "Yes,maam. The cause of death was a drug called Ecstasy.""What?""Ecstasy. She took it in liquid form." "I have a littlesurprise foryou that I want you to try.... This is liquid Ecstasy....A friend ofmine gave me this...." And the woman who had been foundin theKentucky River had died of an overdose of liquid Ecstasy.Leslie satthere motionless, her heart pounding. There is a God.Leslie sent for Frank Lonergan, "I want you to follow upon the deathof Chloe Houston. I think the president is involved."Frank Lonergan was staring at her incredulously. "Thepresident?""Theres a cover-up going on. Im convinced of it. Thatboy theyarrested, who conveniently committed suicide ... dig intothat. And Iwant you to check on the presidents movements theafternoon andevening of her death. I want this to be a privateinvestigation. Veryprivate. Youll report only to me."Frank Lonergan took a deep breath. "You know what thiscould mean?""Get started. And Frank?""Yes?"
"Check the Internet for a drug called Ecstasy. And lookfor aconnection with Oliver Russell."In a medical Internet site devoted to the hazards of thedrug, Lonerganfound the story of Miriam Friedland, the former secretaryto OliverRussell. She was in a hospital in Frankfort, Kentucky.Lonergantelephoned to inquire about her. A doctor said, "MissFriedland passedaway two days ago. She never recovered from her coma."Frank Lonergan put in a telephone call to the office ofGovernorHouston."Im sorry," her secretary told him, "Governor Houston ison her way toWashington."Ten minutes later, Frank Lonergan was on his way toNational Airport.He was too late.As the passengers descended from the plane, Lonergan sawPeter Tagerapproach an attractive blonde in her forties and greether. The two ofthem talked for a moment, and then Tager led her to awaitinglimousine.Watching in the distance, Lonergan thought, Ive got totalk to thatlady. He headed back toward town and began making callson his carphone. On the third call, he learned that GovernorHouston wasexpected at the Four Seasons Hotel.When Jackie Houston was ushered into the private studynext to the Oval
Office, Oliver Russell was waiting for her. He took herhands in hisand said, "Im so terribly sorry, Jackie. There are nowords." It hadbeen almost seventeen years since he had last seen her.They had metat a lawyers convention in Chicago. She had just gottenout of lawschool. She was young and attractive and eager, and theyhad had abrief, torrid affair. Seventeen years ago. And Chloe wassixteenyears old.He dared not ask Jackie the question in his mind. I dontwant toknow. They looked at each other in silence, and for amoment Oliverthought she was going to speak of the past. He lookedaway. JackieHouston said, "The police think Paul Yerby had somethingto do withChloes death." "Thats right." "No." "No?" "Paul wasin love withChloe. He never would have harmed her." Her voice broke."They theywere going to get married one day." "According to myinformation,Jackie, they found the boys fingerprints in the hotelroom where shewas killed." Jackie Houston said, "The newspapers saidthat it... thatit happened in the Imperial Suite at the Monroe Arms.""Yes.""Oliver, Chloe was on a small allowance. Pauls fatherwas a retiredclerk. Where did Chloe get the money for the ImperialSuite?" "I Idont know." "Someone has to find out. I wont leaveuntil I know whois responsible for the death of my daughter." Shefrowned. "Chloe hadan appointment to see you that afternoon. Did you seeher?" There was
a brief hesitation. "No. I wish I had. Unfortunately,an emergencycame up, and I had to cancel our appointment."In an apartment at the other end of town, lying in bed,their nakedbodies spooned together, he could feel the tension in her."Are youokay, Jo Ann?" "Im fine, Alex." "You seem far away,baby. What areyou thinking about?" "Nothing," JoAnn McGrath said."Nothing?""Well, to tell the truth, I was thinking about that poorlittle girlwho was murdered at the hotel." "Yeah, I read about it.She was somegovernors daughter." "Yes." "Do the police know who shewas with?""No. They were all over the hotel questioning everybody.""You, too?""Yeah. All I could tell them was about the telephonecall." "Whattelephone call?" "The one someone in that suite made tothe WhiteHouse." He was suddenly still. He said casually, "Thatdoesnt meananything. Everybody gets a kick out of calling the WhiteHouse. Dothat to me again, baby. Got any more maple syrup?"Frank Lonergan had just returned to his office from theairport whenthe phone rang. "Lonergan.""Hello, Mr. Lonergan. This is Shallow Throat." AlexCooper, asmall-time parasite who fancied himself a Watergate-classtipster. Itwas his idea of a joke. "Are you still paying for hottips?""Depends on how hot.""This one will burn your ass. I want five thousand
dollars for it.""Goodbye.""Wait a minute. Dont hang up. Its about that girl whowas murderedat the Monroe Arms."Frank Lonergan was suddenly interested. "What about her?""Can you and me meet somewhere?""Ill see you at Riccos in half an hour."At two oclock, Frank Lonergan and Alex Cooper were in abooth atRiccos. Alex Cooper was a thin weasel of a man, andLonergan hateddoing business with him. Lonergan wasnt sure whereCooper got hisinformation, but he had been very helpful in the past. "Ihope yourenot wasting my time," Lonergan said. "Oh, I dont thinkits a wasteof time. How would you feel if I told you theres a WhiteHouseconnection to the girls murder?" There was a smug smileon hisface.Frank Lonergan managed to conceal his excitement. "Goon.""Five thousand dollars?""One thousand.""Two.""You have a deal. Talk.""My girlfriends a telephone operator at the Monroe Arms.""Whats her name?"
"JoAnn McGrath."Lonergan made a note. "So?""Someone in the Imperial Suite made a telephone call tothe White Houseduring the time the girl was there.""I think the president is involved," Leslie Stewart hadsaid. "Are yousure about this?""Horses mouth.""Ill check it out. If its true, youll get your money.Have youmentioned this to anyone else?""Nope.""Good. Dont." Lonergan rose. "Well keep in touch.""Theres one more thing," Cooper said.Lonergan stopped. "Yes?""Youve got to keep me out of this. I dont want JoAnn toknow that Italked to anyone about it.""No problem."And Alex Cooper was alone, thinking about how he was goingto spend thetwo thousand dollars without JoAnns knowing about it.T7OThe Monroe Arms switchboard was in a cubicle behind thelobby receptiondesk. When Lonergan walked in carrying a clipboard, JoAnnMcGrath wason duty. She was saying into the mouthpiece, "Im ringing
for you."She connected a call and turned to Lonergan. "Can I helpyou?""Telephone Company," Lonergan said. He flashed someidentification."We have a problem here." JoAnn McGrath looked at him,surprised."What kind of problem?" "Someone reported that theyrebeing chargedfor calls they didnt make." He pretended to consult theclipboard."October fifteenth. They were charged for a call toGermany, and theydont even know anyone in Germany. Theyre pretty teedoff." "Well, Idont know anything about that," JoAnn said indignantly."I dont evenremember placing any calls to Germany in the last month.""Do you havea record of the fifteenth?" "Of course." "Id like tosee it." "Verywell." She found a folder under a pile of papers andhanded it to him.The switchboard was buzzing. While she attended to thecalls, Lonerganquickly went through the folder. October I2th ... i3th... i4th ...i6th ... The page for the fifteenth was missing.Frank Lonergan was waiting in the lobby of the FourSeasons when JackieHouston returned from the White House. "GovernorHouston?" Sheturned. "Yes?" "Frank Lonergan. Im with the WashingtonTribune. Iwant to tell you how sorry all of us are, Governor.""Thank you." "Iwonder if I could talk to you for a minute?" "Im reallynot in the ""I might be able to be helpful." He nodded toward thelounge off themain lobby. "Could we go in there for a moment?" She tooka deepbreath. "All right." They walked into the lounge and sat
down. "Iunderstand that your daughter went on a tour of the WhiteHouse the dayshe..." He couldnt bring himself to finish the sentence."Yes. Sheshe was on a tour with her school friends. She was veryexcited aboutmeeting the president." Lonergan kept his voice casual."She wasgoing to see President Russell?" "Yes. I arranged it.Were oldfriends." "And did she see him, Governor Houston?" "No.He wasntable to see her." Her voice was choked. "Theres onething Im sureof." "Yes, maam.""Paul Yerby didnt kill her. They were in love with eachother.""But the police said ""I dont care what they said. They arrested an innocentboy, and he hewas so upset that he hanged himself. Its awful."Frank Lonergan studied her for a moment. "If Paul Yerbydidnt killyour daughter, do you have any idea who might have? Imean, did shesay anything about meeting anyone in Washington?""No. She didnt know a soul here. She was so lookingforward to ...to ..." Her eyes brimmed with tears. "Im sorry. Youllhave toexcuse me.""Of course. Thanks for your time, Governor Houston."Lonergans next stop was at the morgue. Helen Chuan wasjust comingout of the autopsy room. "Well, look whos here." "Hi,Doc." "What
brings you down here, Frank?" "I wanted to talk to youabout PaulYerby." Helen Chuan sighed. "Its a damn shame. Thosekids were bothso young." "Why would a boy like that commit suicide?"Helen Chuanshrugged. "Who knows?" "I mean are you sure he committedsuicide?""If he didnt, he gave a great imitation. His belt waswrapped aroundhis neck so tightly that they had to cut it in half tobring himdown.""There were no other marks or anything on his body thatmight havesuggested foul play?"She looked at him, curious. "No."Lonergan nodded. "Okay. Thanks. You dont want to keepyour patientswaiting.""Very funny."There was a phone booth in the outside corridor. From theDenverinformation operator, Lonergan got the number of PaulYerbys parents.Mrs. Yerby answered the phone. Her voice sounded weary."Hello.""Mrs. Yerby?" "Yes." "Im sorry to bother you. This isFrankLonergan. Im with the Washington Tribune. I wanted to ""I cant..."A moment later, Mr. Yerby was on the line. "Im sorry.My wife is... Newspapers have been bothering us all morning. Wedont want to ""This will only take a minute, Mr. Yerby. There are somepeople inWashington who dont believe your son killed ChloeHouston." "Of
course he didnt!" His voice suddenly became stronger."Paul couldnever, never have done anything like that.""Did Paul have any friends in Washington, Mr. Yerby?""No. He didntknow anyone there." "I see. Well, if theres anything Ican do ...""There is something you can do for us, Mr. Lonergan.Weve arrangedto have Pauls body shipped back here, but Im not surehow to get hispossessions. Wed like to have whatever he ... If youcould tell mewho to talk to ..." "I can handle that for you." "Wedappreciate it.Thank you."In the Homicide Branch office, the sergeant on duty wasopening acarton containing Paul Yerbys personal effects. "Theresnot much init," he said. "Just the kids clothes and a camera."Lonergan reached into the box and picked up a blackleather belt.It was uncut.When Frank Lonergan walked into the office of PresidentRussellsappointments secretary, Deborah Kanner, she was gettingready to leavefor lunch. "What can I do for you, Frank?" "Ive got aproblem,Deborah." "What else is new?" Frank Lonergan pretendedto look atsome notes. "I have information that on October fifteenththepresident had a secret meeting here with an emissary fromChina to talkabout Tibet.""I dont know of any such meeting."
"Could you just check it out for me?""What did you say the date was?""October fifteenth." Loriergan watched as Deborah pulledanappointment book from a drawer and skimmed through it."October fifteenth? What time was this meeting supposedto be?""Ten P.M." here in the Oval Office."She shook her head. "Nope. At ten oclock that night thepresidentwas in a meeting with General Whitman."Lonergan frowned. "Thats not what I heard. Could I havea look atthat book?""Sorry. Its confidential, Frank.""Maybe I got a bum steer. Thanks, Deborah." He left.Thirty minutes later, Frank Lonergan was talking toGeneral SteveWhitman. "General, the Tribune would like to do somecoverage on themeeting you had with the president on October fifteenth.I understandsome important points were discussed." The general shookhis head. "Idont know where you get your information, Mr. Lonergan.That meetingwas called off. The president had another appointment.""Are yousure?""Yes. Were going to reschedule it." "Thank you,General."Frank Lonergan returned to the White House. He walked
into DeborahKanners office again. "What is it this time, Frank?""Same thing,"Lonergan said ruefully. "My informant swears that at tenoclock onthe night of October fifteenth the president was here in ameeting witha Chinese emissary to discuss Tibet." She looked at him,exasperated."How many times do I have to tell you that there was nosuch meeting?"Lonergan sighed. "Frankly, I dont know what to do. Myboss reallywants to run that story. Its big news. I guess welljust have to gowith it." He started toward the door. "Wait a minute!"He turned."Yes?" "You cant run that story. Its not true. Thepresident willbe furious." "Its not my decision." Deborah hesitated."If I canprove to you that he was meeting with General Whitman,will you forgetabout it?" "Sure. I dont want to cause any problems."Lonerganwatched Deborah pull the appointment book out again andflip the pages."Heres a list of the presidents appointments for thatdate. Look.October fifteenth." There were two pages of listings.Deborah pointedto a 10:00 P.M. entry. "There it is, in black and white.""Youreright," Lonergan said. He was busy scanning the page.There was anentry at three oclock. Chloe Houston.Nineteen.The hastily called meeting in the Oval Office had beengoing on foronly a few minutes and the air was already crackling withdissension.The secretary of defense was saying, "If we delay any
longer, thesituation is going to get completely out of control. Itwill be toolate to stop it." "We cant rush into this." GeneralStephen Gossardturned to the head of the CIA. "How hard is yourinformation?" "Itsdifficult to say. Were fairly certain that Libya isbuying a varietyof weapons from Iran and China." Oliver turned to thesecretary ofstate. "Libya denies it?" "Of course. So do China andIran." Oliverasked, "What about the other Arab states?"The CIA chief responded. "From the information I have,Mr. President,if a serious attack is launched on Israel, I think itsgoing to be theexcuse that all the other Arab states have been waitingfor. Theylljoin in to wipe Israel out."They were all looking at Oliver expectantly. "Do you havereliableassets in Libya?" he asked."Yes, sir.""I want an update. Keep me informed. If there are signsof an attack,we have no choice but to move."The meeting was adjourned.Olivers secretarys voice came over the intercom. "Mr.Tager wouldlike to see you, Mr. President.""Have him come in.""How did the meeting go?" Peter Tager asked. "Oh, it wasjust youraverage meeting," Oliver said bitterly, "about whether I
want to starta war now or later." Tager said sympathetically, "It goeswith theterritory." "Right." "Something of interest has comeup." "Sitdown." Peter Tager took a seat. "What do you know aboutthe UnitedArab Emirates?" "Not a lot," Oliver said. "Five or sixArab statesgot together twenty years ago or so and formed acoalition." "Seven ofthem. They joined together in 1971. Abu Dhabi, Fujaira,Dubai,Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwan, andAjman. When they started out, they werent very strong,but theEmirates have been incredibly well run. Today they haveone of theworlds highest standards of living. Their gross domesticproduct lastyear was over thirty-nine billion dollars."Oliver said impatiently, "I assume theres a point tothis, Peter?""Yes, sir. The head of the council of the United ArabEmirates wantsto meet with you.""All right. Ill have the secretary of defense ""Today. In private.""Are you serious? I couldnt possibly ""Oliver, the Majus their council is one of the mostimportant Arabinfluences in the world. It has the respect of everyother Arabnation. This could be an important breakthrough. I knowthis isunorthodox, but I think you should meet with them."
"State would have a fit if I ""Ill make the arrangements."There was a long silence. "Where do they want to meet?""They have a yacht anchored in Chesapeake Bay, nearAnnapolis. I canget you there quietly."Oliver sat there, studying the ceiling. Finally, heleaned forward andpressed down the intercom switch. "Cancel my appointmentsfor thisafternoon."The yacht, a 212-foot Feadship, was moored at the dock.They werewaiting for him. All the crew members were Arabs."Welcome, Mr. President." It was Ali al-Fulani, thesecretary at oneof the United Arab Emirates. "Please come aboard."Oliver steppedaboard and Ali al-Fulani signaled to one of the men. Afew momentslater, the yacht was underway. "Shall we go below?"Right. Where Ican be killed or kidnapped. This is the stupidest thing Ihave everdone, Oliver decided. Maybe they brought me here so theycan begintheir attack on Israel, and I wont be able to give orderstoretaliate. Why the hell did I let Tager talk me intothis? Oliverfollowed Ali al-Fulani downstairs into the sumptuous mainsaloon, whichwas decorated in Middle Eastern style. There were fourmuscular Arabsstanding on guard in the saloon. An imposing-looking manseated on thecouch rose as Oliver came in. Ali al-Fulani said, "Mr.President, His
Majesty King Hamad of Ajman." The two men shook hands."YourMajesty." "Thank you for coming, Mr. President. Wouldyou care forsome tea?" "No, thank you." "I believe you will find thisvisit wellworth your while." King Hamad began to pace. "Mr.President, overthe centuries, it has been difficult, if not impossible,to bridge theproblems that divide us philosophical, linguistic,religious, cultural.Those are the reasons there have been so many wars in ourpart of theworld. If Jews confiscate the land of Palestinians, noone in Omaha orKansas is affected. Their lives go on the same. If asynagogue inJerusalem is bombed, the Italians in Rome and Venice payno attention."Oliver wondered where this was heading. Was it a warningof a comingwar? "There is only one part of the world that suffersfrom all thewars and bloodshed in the Middle East. And that is theMiddle East."He sat down across from Oliver. "It is time for us to puta stop tothis madness." Here it comes, Oliver thought. "The headsof the Arabstates and the Majlis have authorized me to make you anoffer." "Whatkind of an offer?" "An offer of peace." Oliver blinked."Peace?""We want to make peace with your ally, Israel. Yourembargoes againstIran and other Arab countries have cost us untold billionsof dollars.We want to put an end to that. If the United States willact as asponsor, the Arab countries including Iran, Libya, andSyria haveagreed to sit down and negotiate a permanent peace treatywith Israel."
Oliver was stunned. When he found his voice, he said,"Youre doingthis because " "I assure you it is not out of love for theIsraelis orfor the Americans. It is in our own interests. Too manyof our sonshave been killed in this madness. We want it to end. Itis enough. Wewant to be free to sell all our oil to the world again.We areprepared to go to war if necessary, but we would preferpeace."Oliver took a deep breath. "I think I would like sometea.""I wish you had been there," Oliver said to Peter Tager."It wasincredible. Theyre ready to go to war, but they dontwant to.Theyre pragmatists. They want to sell their oil to theworld, so theywant peace.""Thats fantastic," Tager said enthusiastically. "Whenthis gets out,youre going to be a hero.""And I can do this on my own," Oliver told him. "Itdoesnt have to gothrough Congress. Ill have a talk with the PrimeMinister of Israel.Well help him make a deal with the Arab countries." Helooked atTager and said ruefully, "For a few minutes there, Ithought I wasgoing to be kidnapped.""No chance," Peter Tager assured him. "I had a boat and ahelicopterfollowing you.""Senator Davis is here to see you, Mr. President. He hasno
appointment, but he says its urgent.""Hold up my next appointment and send the senator in."The door openedand Todd Davis walked into the OvalOffice."This is a nice surprise, Todd. Is everything all right?"SenatorDavis took a seat. "Fine, Oliver. I just thought you andI shouldhave a little chat."9Q4Oliver smiled. "I have a pretty full schedule today, butfor you ""This will take only a few minutes. I ran into PeterTager. He toldme about your meeting with the Arabs." Oliver grinned."Isnt thatwonderful? It looks like were finally going to havepeace in theMiddle East." He slammed a fist on the desk. "After allthesedecades! Thats what my administration is going to beremembered for,Todd." Senator Davis asked quietly, "Have you thoughtthis through,Oliver?" Oliver frowned. "What? What do you mean?""Peace is asimple word, but it has a lot of ramifications. Peacedoesnt have anyfinancial benefits. When theres a war, countries buybillions ofdollars worth of armaments that are made here in theUnited States. Inpeacetime, they dont need any. Because Iran cant sellits oil, oilprices are up, and the United States gets the benefit ofthat." Oliverwas listening to him unbelievingly. "Todd this is theopportunity of a
lifetime!" "Dont be naive, Oliver. If we had reallywanted to makepeace between Israel and the Arab countries, we could havedone it longago. Israel is a tiny country. Any one of the lasthalf-dozenpresidents could have forced them to make a deal with theArabs, butthey preferred to keep things as they were. Dontmisunderstand me.Jews are fine people. I work with some of them in theSenate." "Idont believe that you can " "Believe what you like,Oliver. A peacetreaty now would not be in the best interest of thiscountry. I dontwant you to go ahead with it.""I have to go ahead with it.""Dont tell me what you have to do, Oliver." SenatorDavis leanedforward. "Ill tell you. Dont forget who put you inthat chair."Oliver said quietly, "Todd, you may not respect me, butyou mustrespect this office. Regardless of who put me here, Imthepresident."Senator Davis got to his feet. "The president? Youre afuckingblow-up toy! Youre my dummy, Oliver. You take orders,you dont givethem."Oliver looked at him for a long moment. "How many oilfields do youand your friends own, Todd?""Thats none of your goddam business. If you go throughwith this,youre finished. Do you hear me? Im giving you
twenty-four hours tocome to your senses."At dinner that evening, Jan said, "Father asked me to talkto you,Oliver. Hes very upset." He looked across the table athis wife andthought, Im going to have to fight you, too. "He told mewhat washappening." "Did he?" "Yes." She leaned across thetable. "And Ithink what youre going to do is wonderful."It took a moment for Oliver to understand. "But yourfathers againstit.""I know. And hes wrong. If theyre willing to makepeace you have tohelp."Oliver sat there listening to Jans words, studying her.He thoughtabout how well she had handled herself as the First Lady.She hadbecome involved in important charities and had been anadvocate for ahalf-dozen major causes. She was lovely and intelligentand caring andit was as though Oliver were seeing her for the firsttime. Why have Ibeen running around? Oliver thought. I have everything Ineed righthere."Will it be a long meeting tonight?""No," Oliver said slowly. "Im going to cancel it. Imstayinghome."That evening, Oliver made love to Jan for the first timein weeks, andit was wonderful. And in the morning, he thought, Im
going to havePeter get rid of the apartment.The note was on his desk the next morning. I want you toknow that Iam a real fan of yours, and I would not do anything toharm you. I wasin the garage of the Monroe Arms on the iph, and I wasvery surprisedto see you there. The next day when I read about themurder of thatyoung girl, I knew why you went back to wipe yourfingerprints off theelevator but tons. Im sure that all the newspapers wouldbeinterested in my story and would pay me a lot of money.But like Isaid, Im a fan of yours. I certainly would not want todo anything tohurt you. I could use some financial help, and if you areinterested,this will be just between us. I will get in touch withyou in a fewdays while you think about it.Sincerely, A friend"Jesus," Sime Lombardo said softly. "This is incredible.How was itdelivered?""It was mailed," Peter Tager told him. "Addressed to thepresident,"Personal." "Sime Lombardo said, "It could be some nut whos justtrying to ""We cant take a chance, Sime. I dont believe for aminute that itstrue, but if even a whisper of this gets out, it woulddestroy thepresident. We must protect him."
"How do we do that?""First, we have to find out who sent this."Peter Tager was at the Federal Bureau of Investigationheadquarters atloth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, talking to SpecialAgent ClayJacobs. "You said it was urgent, Peter?" "Yes." PeterTager opened abriefcase and took out a single sheet of paper. He slidit across thedesk. Clay Jacobs picked it up and read it aloud:" "I want you to know that Im a real fan of yours.... Iwill get intouch with you in a few days while you think about it." "Everything in between had been whited out.Jacobs looked up. "What is this?""It involves the highest security," Peter Tager said."The presidentasked me to try to find out who sent it. He would likeyou to check itfor fingerprints."Clay Jacobs studied the paper again, frowning. "This ishighlyunusual, Peter.""Why?""It just smells wrong.""All the president wants is for you to give him the nameof theindividual who wrote it.""Assuming his fingerprints are on it."Peter Tager nodded. "Assuming his fingerprints are onit."
"Wait here." Jacobs rose and left the office.Peter Tager sat there looking out the window, thinkingabout the letterand its possible terrible consequences.Exactly seven minutes later, Clay Jacobs returned."Youre in luck," he said.Peter Tagers heart began to race. "You found something?""Yes." Jacobs handed Tager a slip of paper. "The manyoure lookingfor was involved in a traffic accident about a year ago.His name isCarl Gorman. He works as a clerk at the Monroe Arms." Hestood therea moment, studying Tager. "Is there anything else youdlike to tellme about this?" "No," Peter Tager said sincerely. "Thereisnt.""Frank Lonergan is on line three, Miss Stewart. He saysitsurgent.""Ill take it." Leslie picked up the telephone andpressed a button."Frank?""Are you alone?""Yes."She heard him take a deep breath. "Okay. Here we go."He spoke forthe next ten minutes without interruption.Leslie Stewart hurried into Matt Bakers office. "We haveto talk,Matt." She sat down across from his desk. "What if Itold you that
Oliver Russell is involved in the murder of ChloeHouston?" "Foropeners, Id say you are paranoid and that youve goneover the edge.""Frank Lonergan just phoned in. He talked to GovernorHouston, whodoesnt believe that Paul Yerby killed her daughter. Hetalked to PaulYerbys parents. They dont believe it either." "Iwouldnt expectthem to," Matt Baker said. "If thats the only " "Thatsjust thebeginning. Frank went down to the morgue and spoke to thecoroner. Shetold him that the kids belt was so tight that they had tocut it awayfrom his throat." He was listening more intently now."And ?" "Frankwent down to pick up Yerbys belongings. His belt wasthere. Intact."Matt Baker drew a deep breath. "Youre telling me that hewas murderedin prison and that there was a cover-up?" "Im nottelling youanything. Im just reporting the facts. Oliver Russelltried to getme to use Ecstasy once. When he was running for governor,a woman whowas a legal secretary died from Ecstasy. While he wasgovernor, hissecretary was found in a park in an Ecstasy-induced coma.Lonerganlearned that Oliver called the hospital and suggested theytake her offlife-support systems." Leslie leaned forward. "There wasa telephonecall from the Imperial Suite to the White House the nightChloe Houstonwas murdered. Frank checked the hotel telephone records.The page forthe fifteenth was missing. The presidents appointmentssecretary toldLonergan that the president had a meeting with GeneralWhitman that
night. There was no meeting. Frank spoke to GovernorHouston, and shesaid that Chloe was on a tour of the White House and thatshe hadarranged for her daughter to meet the president." Therewas a longsilence. "Wheres Frank Lonergan now?" Matt Baker asked."Hestracking down Carl Gorman, the hotel clerk who booked theImperialSuite."Jeremy Robinson was saying, "Im sorry. We dont give outpersonalinformation about our employees." Frank Lonergan said,"All Im askingfor is his home address so I can " "It wouldnt do you anygood. Mr.Gorman is on vacation." Lonergan sighed. "Thats toobad. I washoping he could fill in a few blank spots." "Blankspots?" "Yes.Were doing a big story on the death of Governor Houstonsdaughter inyour hotel. Well, Ill just have to piece it togetherwithout Gorman."He took out a pad and a pen. "How long has this hotelbeen here? Iwant to know all about its background, its clientele, its" JeremyRobinson frowned. "Wait a minute! Surely thats notnecessary. Imean she could have died anywhere." Frank Lonergan saidsympathetically, "I know, but it happened here. Yourhotel is going tobecome as famous as Watergate." "Mr. ?" "Lonergan.""Mr. Lonergan,I would appreciate it if you could I mean this kind ofpublicity isvery bad. Isnt there some way ?" Lonergan wasthoughtful for amoment. "Well, if I spoke to Mr. Gorman, I suppose Icould find adifferent angle." "I would really appreciate that. Let
me get you hisaddress."Frank Lonergan was becoming nervous. As the outline ofevents began totake shape, it became clear that there was a murderconspiracy and acover-up at the highest level. Before he went to see thehotel clerk,he decided to stop at his apartment house. His wife,Rita, was in thekitchen preparing dinner. She was a petite redhead withsparklinggreen eyes and a fair complexion. She turned in surpriseas herhusband walked in. "Frank, what are you doing home in themiddle ofthe day?" "Just thought Id drop in and say hello." Shelooked at hisface. "No. Theres something going on. What is it?" Hehesitated."How long has it been since youve seen your mother?" "Isaw her lastweek. Why?" "Why dont you go visit her again, honey?""Is anythingwrong?" He grinned. "Wrong?" He walked over to themantel. "Youdbetter start dusting this off. Were going to put aPulitzer Prizehere and a Peabody Award here." "What are you talkingabout?" "Im onto something thats going to blow everybody away and Imean people inhigh places. Its the most exciting story Ive ever beeninvolvedin.""Why do you want me to go see my mother?"He shrugged. "Theres just an outside chance that thiscould get to bea little dangerous. There are some people who dont wantthis story toget out. Id feel better if you were away for a few days,
just untilthis breaks.""But if youre in danger ""Im not in any danger.""Youre sure nothings going to happen to you?""Positive. Pack a few things, and Ill call you tonight.""All right," Rita said reluctantly.Lonergan looked at his watch. "Ill drive you to thetrain station."One hour later, Lonergan stopped in front of a modestbrick house inthe Wheaton area. He got out of the car, walked to thefront door, andrang the bell. There was no answer. He rang again andwaited. Thedoor suddenly swung open and a heavyset middle-aged womanstood in thedoorway, regarding him suspiciously. "Yes?" "Im withthe InternalRevenue Service," Lonergan said. He flashed a piece ofidentification."I want to see Carl Gorman." "My brothers not here.""Do you knowwhere he is?" "No." Too fast. Lonergan nodded. "Thatsa shame.Well, you might as well start packing up his things. Illhave thedepartment send over the vans." Lonergan started backdown thedriveway toward his car. "Wait a minute! What vans?What are youtalking about?" Lonergan stopped and turned. "Didntyour brothertell you?" "Tell me what?" Lonergan took a few stepsback toward thehouse. "Hes in trouble." She looked at him anxiously."What kind of
trouble?" "Im afraid Im not at liberty to discuss it."He shook hishead. "He seems like a nice guy, too." "He is," she saidfervently."Carl is a wonderful person." Lonergan nodded. "That wasmy feelingwhen we were questioning him down at the bureau." She waspanicky."Questioning him about what?" "Cheating on his incometax. Its toobad. I wanted to tell him about a loophole that couldhave helped himout, but " He shrugged. "If hes not here..." He turnedto go again."Wait! Hes hes at a fishing lodge. I Im not supposedto tellanybody." He shrugged. "Thats okay with me." "No ...but this isdifferent. Its the Sunshine Fishing Lodge on the lake inRichmond,Virginia." "Fine. Ill contact him there." "That wouldbe wonderful.Youre sure hell be all right?" "Absolutely," Lonergansaid. "Illsee that hes taken care of."Lonergan took 1-95, heading south. Richmond was a littleover ahundred miles away. On a vacation, years ago, Lonerganhad fished thelake, and he had been lucky.He hoped he would be as lucky this time.It was drizzling, but Carl Gorman did not mind. Thatswhen the fishwere supposed to bite. He was fishing for striped bass,using largeminnows on slip bobbers, far out behind the row-boat. Thewaves lappedagainst the small boat in the middle of the lake, and thebait driftedbehind the boat, untouched. The fish were in no hurry.It did not
matter. Neither was he. He had never been happier. Hewas going tobe rich beyond his wildest dreams. It had been sheerluck. You haveto be at the right place at the right time. He hadreturned to theMonroe Arms to pick up a jacket he had forgotten and wasabout to leavethe garage when the private elevator door opened. When hesaw who gotout, he had sat in his car, stunned. He had watched theman return,wipe off his fingerprints, then drive away. It was notuntil he readabout the murder the following day that he had put it alltogether. Ina way, he felt sorry for the man. I really am a fan ofhis. Thetrouble is, when youre that famous, you can never hide.Wherever yougo, the world knows you. Hell pay me to be quiet. Hehas no choice.Ill start with a hundred thousand. Once he pays that,hell have tokeep paying.Maybe Ill buy a chateau in France or a chalet inSwitzerland.He felt a tug at the end of his line and snapped the rodtoward him. Hecould feel the fish trying to get away. Youre not goinganywhere.Ive got you hooked.In the distance, he heard a large speedboat approaching.Theyshouldnt allow power boats on the lake. Theyll scareall the fishaway. The speedboat was bearing down on him."Dont get too close," Carl shouted.The speedboat seemed to be heading right toward him.
"Hey! Be careful. Watch where youre going. For Godssake "The speedboat plowed into the rowboat, cutting it in half,the watersucking Gorman under.Damn drunken fool! He was gasping for air. He managed toget his headabove water. The speedboat had circled and was headingstraight forhim again. And the last thing Carl Gorman felt before theboat smashedinto his skull was the tug of the fish on his line.When Frank Lonergan arrived, the area was crowded withpolice cars, afire engine, and an ambulance. The ambulance was justpulling away.Frank Lonergan got out of his car and said to a bystander,"Whats allthe excitement?" "Some poor guy was in an accident on thelake.Theres not much left of him." And Lonergan knew.At midnight, Frank Lonergan was working at his computer,alone in hisapartment, writing the story that was going to destroy thePresident ofthe United States. It was a story that would earn him aPulitzerPrize. There was no doubt about it in his mind. This wasgoing tomake him more famous than Woodward and Bernstein. It wasthe story ofthe century. He was interrupted by the sound of thedoorbell. He gotup and walked over to the front door. "Who is it?" "Apackage fromLeslie Stewart." Shes found some new information. Heopened thedoor. There was a glint of metal, and an unbearable paintore his chest
apart. Then nothing.Twenty.Frank Lonergans living room looked as if it had beenstruck by aminiature hurricane. All the drawers and cabinets hadbeen pulled openand their contents had been scattered over the floor.Nick Reesewatched Frank Lonergans body being removed. He turned toDetectiveSteve Brown. "Any sign of the murder weapon?" "No.""Have you talkedto the neighbors?" "Yeah. The apartment building is azoo, full ofmonkeys. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Nada.Mrs.Lonergan is on her way back here. She heard the news onthe radio.There have been a couple other robberies here in the lastsix months,and ""Im not so sure this was a robbery.""What do you mean?""Lonergan was down at headquarters the other day to checkon PaulYerbys things. Id like to know what story Lonergan wasworking on.No papers in the drawers?""Nope.""No notes?""Nothing.""So either he was very neat, or someone took the troubleto cleaneverything out." Reese walked over to the work table.There was a
cable dangling off the table, connected to nothing. Reeseheld it up."Whats this?"Detective Brown walked over. "Its a power cable for acomputer. Theremust have been one here. That means there could bebackupssomewhere.""They may have taken the computer, but Lonergan might havesaved copiesof his files. Lets check it out."They found the backup disk in a briefcase in Lonergansautomobile.Reese handed it to Brown. "I want you to take this downtoheadquarters. Theres probably a password to get into it.Have ChrisColby look at it. Hes an expert." The front door of theapartmentopened and Rita Lonergan walked in. She looked pale anddistraught.She stopped when she saw the men. "Mrs. Lonergan?""Who are ?""Detective Nick Reese, Homicide. This is DetectiveBrown."Rita Lonergan looked around. "Where is ?""We had your husbands body taken away, Mrs. Lonergan.Im terriblysorry. I know its a bad time, but Id like to ask you afewquestions."She looked at him, and her eyes suddenly filled with fear.The lastreaction Reese had expected. What was she afraid of?"Your husband was working on a story, wasnt he?"
His voice echoed in her mind. "Im on to something thatsgoing toblow everybody away and I mean people in high places.Its the mostexciting story Ive ever been involved in.""Mrs. Lonergan?""I I dont know anything,""You dont know what assignment he was working on?""No. Frank never discussed his work with me."She was obviously lying."You have no idea who might have killed him?"She looked around at the open drawers and cabinets. "Itit must havebeen a burglar."Detective Reese and Detective Brown looked at each other."If you dont mind, Id Id like to be alone. This hasbeen a terribleshock.""Of course. Is there anything we can do for you?""No. Just... just leave.""Well be back," Nick Reese promised.When Detective Reese returned to police headquarters, hetelephonedMatt Baker. "Im investigating the Frank Lonerganmurder," Reese said."Can you tell me what he was working on?""Yes. Frank was investigating the Chloe Houston killing.""I see. Did he file a story?"
"No. We were waiting for it, when " He stopped."Right. Thank you, Mr. Baker.""If you get any information, will you let me know?""Youll be the first," Reese assured him.The following morning, Dana Evans went into Tom Hawkinssoffice. "Iwant to do a story on Franks death. Id like to go seehis widow.""Good idea. Ill arrange for a camera crew."Late that afternoon, Dana and her camera crew pulled up infront ofFrank Lonergans apartment building. With the crewfollowing her, Danaapproached Lonergans apartment door and rang the bell.This was thekind of interview Dana dreaded. It was bad enough to showontelevision the victims of horrible crimes, but to intrudeon the griefof the stricken families seemed even worse to her.The door opened and Rita Lonergan stood there. "What doyou ?" "Imsorry to bother you, Mrs. Lonergan. Im Dana Evans, withWTE. Wedlike to get your reaction to " Rita Lonergan froze for amoment, andthen screamed, "You murderers!" She turned and ran insidetheapartment. Dana looked at the cameraman, shocked. "Waithere." Shewent inside and found Rita Lonergan in the bedroom. "Mrs.Lonergan ""Get out! You killed my husband!" Dana was puzzled."What are youtalking about?" "Your people gave him an assignment sodangerous that
he made me leave town because he... he was afraid for mylife." Danalooked at her, appalled. "What what story was he workingon?" "Frankwouldnt tell me." She was fighting hysteria. "He saidit was too toodangerous. It was something big. He talked about thePulitzer Prizeand the " She started to cry. Dana went over to her andput her armsaround her. "Im so sorry. Did he say anything else?""No. He saidI should get out, and he drove me to the train station.He was on hisway to see some some hotel clerk." "Where?" "At theMonroe Arms.""I dont know why youre here, Miss Evans," JeremyRobinson protested."Lonergan promised me that if I cooperated, there would beno badpublicity about the hotel.""Mr. Robinson, Mr. Lonergan is dead. All I want is someinformation."Jeremy Robinson shook his head. "I dont know anything.""What did you tell Mr. Lonergan?"Robinson sighed. "He asked for the address of CarlGorman, my hotelclerk. I gave it to him.""Did Mr. Lonergan go to see him?""I have no idea.""Id like to have that address."Jeremy looked at her a moment and sighed again. "Verywell. He liveswith his sister."
A few minutes later, Dana had the address in her hands.Robinsonwatched her leave the hotel, and then he picked up thephone and dialedthe White House.He wondered why they were so interested in the case.Chris Colby, the departments computer expert, walked intoDetectiveReeses office holding a floppy disk. He was almosttrembling withexcitement. "What did you get?" Detective Reese asked.Chris Colbytook a deep breath. "This is going to blow your mind.Heres aprintout of whats on this disk."Detective Reese started to read it and an incredulousexpression cameover his face. "Mother of God," he said. "Ive got toshow this toCaptain Miller."When Captain Otto Miller finished reading the printout, helooked up atDetective Reese. "I Ive never seen anything like this.""Theres never been anything like this," Detective Reesesaid. "Whatthe hell do we do with it?"Captain Miller said slowly, "I think we have to turn itover to theU.S. attorney general."They were gathered in the office of Attorney GeneralBarbara Gatlin.With her in the room were Scott Brandon, director of theFBI; DeanBergstrom, the Washington chief of police; James Frisch,director ofCentral Intelligence, and Edgar Graves, Chief Justice ofthe Supreme
Court. Barbara Gatlin said, "I asked you gentlemen herebecause I needyour advice. Frankly, I dont know how to proceed. Wehave asituation thats unique. Frank Lonergan was a reporterfor theWashington Tribune. When he was killed, he was in themiddle of aninvestigation into the murder of Chloe Houston. Im goingto read youa transcript of what the police found on a disk inLonergans car." Shelooked at the printout in her hand and started to readaloud:" "I have reason to believe that the President of theUnited States hascommitted at least one murder and is involved in four more" "What?"Scott Brandon exclaimed. "Let me go on." She started toread again." "I obtained the following information from varioussources. LeslieStewart, the owner and publisher of the WashingtonTribune, is willingto swear that at one time, Oliver Russell tried topersuade her to takean illegal drug called liquid Ecstasy. " "When OliverRussell wasrunning for governor of Kentucky, Lisa Burnette, a legalsecretary whoworked in the state capitol building, threatened to suehim for sexualharassment. Russell told a colleague that he would have atalk withher. The next day, Lisa Burnettes body was found in theKentuckyRiver. She had died of an overdose of liquid Ecstasy. ""Then-Governor Oliver Russells secretary, MiriamFriedland, was foundunconscious on a park bench late at night. She was in acoma inducedby liquid Ecstasy. The police were waiting for her tocome out of it
so that they could find out who had given it to her.Oliver Russelltelephoned the hospital and suggested they take her offlife support.Miriam Fried-land passed away without coming out of thecoma. " "ChloeHouston was killed by an overdose of liquid Ecstasy. Ilearned that onthe night of her death, there was a phone call from thehotel suite tothe White House. When I looked at the hotel telephonerecords to checkit, the page for that day was missing." "I was told that the president was at a meeting thatnight, but Idiscovered that the meeting had been canceled. No oneknows thepresidents whereabouts that night. " "Paul Yerby wasdetained as asuspect in Chloe Houstons murder. Captain Otto Millertold the WhiteHouse where Yerby was being held. The following morningYerby wasfound hanging in his cell. He was supposed to have hangedhimself withhis belt, but when I looked through his effects at thepolice station,his belt was there, intact. " "Through a friend at theFBI, I learnedthat a blackmail letter had been sent to the White House.PresidentRussell asked the FBI to check it for fingerprints. Mostof the letterhad been whited out, but with the aid of an infra scopethe FBI wasable to decipher it. " "The fingerprints on the letterwere identifiedas belonging to Carl Gorman, a clerk at the Monroe ArmsHotel, probablythe only one who might have known the identity of theperson who bookedthe suite where the girl was killed. He was away at afishing camp,
but his name had been revealed to the White House. When Iarrived atthe camp, Gorman had been killed in what appeared to be anaccident. ""There are too many connections for these killings to be acoincidence.I am going ahead with the investigation, but frankly, Imfrightened.At least I have this on the record, in case anythingshould happen tome. More later." " "My God," James Frisch exclaimed."This is ...horrible." "I cant believe it." Attorney General Gatlinsaid,"Lonergan believed it, and he was probably killed to stopthisinformation from getting out.""What do we do now?" Chief Justice Graves asked. "How doyou ask thePresident of the United States if hes killed half a dozenpeople?""Thats a good question. Impeach him? Arrest him? Throwhim injail?""Before we do anything," Attorney General Gatlin said, "Ithink we haveto present this transcript to the president himself andgive him anopportunity to comment."There were murmurs of agreement."In the meantime, Ill have a warrant for his arrest drawnup. Just incase its necessary."One of the men in the room was thinking, Ive got toinform PeterTager.Peter Tager put the telephone down and sat there for a
long time,thinking about what he had just been told. He rose andwalked down thecorridor to Deborah Kanners office. "I have to see thepresident.""Hes in a meeting. If you can " "I have to see him now,Deborah. Itsurgent." She saw the look on his face. "Just a moment."She pickedup the telephone and pressed a button. "Im sorry tointerrupt you,Mr. President. Mr. Tager is here, and he said he mustsee you." Shelistened a moment. "Thank you." She replaced thereceiver and turnedto Tager. "Five minutes."Five minutes later, Peter Tager was alone in the OvalOffice withPresident Russell."Whats so important, Peter?"Tager took a deep breath. "The Attorney General and theFBI thinkyoure involved in six murders."Oliver smiled. "This is some kind of joke....""Is it? Theyre on their way here now. They believe youkilled ChloeHouston and "Oliver had gone pale. "What?""I know its crazy. From what I was told, all theevidence iscircumstantial. Im sure you can explain where you werethe night thegirl died."Oliver was silent.Peter Tager was waiting. "Oliver, you can explain, cant
you?"Oliver swallowed. "No. I cant.""You have to!"Oliver said heavily, "Peter, I need to be alone."Peter Tager went to see Senator Davis in the Capitol."What is itthats so urgent, Peter?" "Its its about thepresident." "Yes?""The attorney general and the FBI think that Oliver is amurderer."Senator Davis sat there staring at Tager. "What the hellare youtalking about?""Theyre convinced Olivers committed several murders. Igot a tipfrom a friend at the FBI."Tager told Senator Davis about the evidence.When Tager was through, Senator Davis said slowly, "Thatdumb son of abitch! Do you know what this means?""Yes, sir. It means that Oliver ""Fuck Oliver. Ive spent years putting him where I wanthim. I dontcare what happens to him. Im in control now, Peter. Ihave thepower. Im not going to let Olivers stupidity take itaway from me.Im not going to let anyone take it away from me!""I dont see what you can ""You said the evidence was all circumstantial?""Thats right. I was told they have no hard proof. But
he has noalibi.""Where is the president now?""In the Oval Office.""Ive got some good news for him," Senator Todd Davissaid.Senator Davis was facing Oliver in the Oval Office. "Ivebeen hearingsome very disturbing things, Oliver. Its insane, ofcourse. I dontknow how anyone could possibly think you " "I dont,either. I haventdone anything wrong, Todd.""Im sure you havent. But if word got out that you wereevensuspected of horrible crimes like these well, you can seehow thiswould affect the office, cant you?" "Of course, but ""Youre tooimportant to let anything like this happen to you. Thisofficecontrols the world, Oliver. You dont want to give thisup." "ToddIm not guilty of anything." "But they think you are.Im told youhave no alibi for the evening of Chloe Houstons murder?"There was amomentary silence. "No." Senator Davis smiled. "Whathappened toyour memory, son? You were with me that evening. Wespent the wholeevening together." Oliver was looking at him, confused."What?""Thats right. Im your alibi. No ones going to questionmy word. Noone. Im going to save you, Oliver." There was a longsilence.Oliver said, "What do you want in return, Todd?" SenatorDavis nodded.
"Well start with the Middle Eastern peace conference.Youll callthat off. After that, well talk. I have great plans forus. Werenot going to let anything spoil them." Oliver said, "Imgoing aheadwith the peace conference." Senator Daviss eyesnarrowed. "What didyou say?" "Ive decided to go ahead with it. You see,whatsimportant is not how long a president stays in thisoffice, Todd, butwhat he does when hes in it."Senator Daviss face was turning red. "Do you know whatyoure doing?""Yes." The senator leaned across the desk. "I dontthink you do.Theyre on their way here to accuse you of murder, Oliver.Where areyou going to make your goddam deals from the penitentiary?Youve justthrown your whole life away, you stupid " A voice cameover theintercom. "Mr. President, there are some people here tosee you.Attorney General Gatlin, Mr. Brandon from the FBI, ChiefJusticeGraves, and " "Send them in." Senator Davis saidsavagely, "It lookslike I should stick to judging horseflesh. I made a bigmistake withyou, Oliver. But you just made the biggest mistake ofyour life. Imgoing to destroy you." The door opened and AttorneyGeneral Gatlinentered, followed by Brandon, Justice Graves, andBergstrom. JusticeGraves said, "Senator Davis ..." Todd Davis nodded curtlyand strodeout of the room. Barbara Gatlin closed the door behindhim. Shewalked up to the desk. "Mr. President, this is highlyembarrassing,
but I hope you will understand. We have to ask you somequestions."Oliver faced them. "Ive been told why youre here. Ofcourse, I hadnothing to do with any of those deaths." "Im sure wereall relievedto hear that, Mr. President," Scott Brandon said, "and Iassure youthat none of us really believes that you could beinvolved. But anaccusation has been made, and we have no choice but topursue it.""I understand.""Mr. President, have you ever taken the drug Ecstasy?""No."The group looked at one another."Mr. President, if you could tell us where you were onOctoberfifteenth, the evening of Chloe Houstons death ..."There was a silence."Mr. President?""Im sorry. I cant.""But surely you can remember where you were, or what youwere doing onthat evening?"Silence."Mr. President?""I I cant think right now. Id like you to come backlater.""How much later?" Bergstrom asked.
"Eight oclock."Oliver watched them leave. He got up and slowly walkedinto the smallsitting room where Jan was working at a desk. She lookedup as Oliverentered.He took a deep breath and said, "Jan, I I have aconfession to make."Senator Davis was in an icy rage. How could I have beenso stupid? Ipicked the wrong man. Hes trying to destroy everythingIve worked for. Ill teach him what happens to peoplewho try todouble-cross me. The Senator sat at his desk for a longtime, decidingwhat he was going to do. Then he picked up a telephoneand dialed."Miss Stewart, you told me to call you when I hadsomething more foryou.""Yes, Senator?""Let me tell you what I want. From now on, Ill expectthe fullsupport of the Tribune campaign contributions, glowingeditorials, theworks.""And what do I get in exchange for all this?" Leslieasked."The President of the United States. The attorney generalhas justsworn out a warrant for his arrest for a series ofmurders."There was a sharp intake of breath. "Keep talking."
Leslie Stewart was speaking so fast that Matt Baker couldnotunderstand a word. "For Gods sake, calm down," he said."What areyou trying to say?" "The president! Weve got him, Matt!I justtalked to Senator Todd Davis. The chief justice of theSupreme Court,the chief of police, the director of the FBI, and the U.S.attorneygeneral are in the presidents office now with a warrantfor his arreston charges of murder. Theres a pile of evidence againsthim, Matt,and he has no alibi. Its the story of the goddamcentury!""You cant print it." She looked at him in surprise."What do youmean?" "Leslie, a story like this is too big to just Imean the factshave to be checked and rechecked " "And rechecked againuntil itbecomes a headline in The Washington Post? No, thank you.Im notgoing to lose this one." "You cant accuse the Presidentof the UnitedStates of murder without " Leslie smiled. "Im not goingto, Matt. Allwe have to do is print the fact that there is a warrantfor his arrest.Thats enough to destroy him." "Senator Davis " " isturning in hisown son-in-law. He believes the president is guilty. Hetold me so.""Thats not enough. Well verify it first, and " "Withwhom KatharineGraham? Are you out of your mind? We run this right now,or we loseit." "I cant let you do this, not without verifyingeverything that ""Who do you think youre talking to? This is my paper,and Ill doanything I like with it." Matt Baker rose. "This is
irresponsible. Iwont let any of my people write this story." "They donthave to.Ill write it myself." "Leslie, if you do this, Imleaving. Forgood." "No, youre not, Matt. You and I are going toshare aPulitzer Prize." She watched him turn and walk out of theoffice."Youll be back."Leslie pressed down the intercom button. "Have Zoltairecome inhere."She looked at him and said, "I want to know my horoscopefor the nexttwenty-four hours." "Yes, Miss Stewart. Ill be happy todo that."From his pocket, Zoltaire took a small ephemeris, theastrologicalbible, and opened it. He studied the positions of thestars and theplanets for a moment, and his eyes widened. "What is it?"Zoltairelooked up. "I something very important seems to behappening." Hepointed to the ephemeris. "Look. Transiting Mars isgoing over yourninth house Pluto for three days, setting off a square toyour " "Nevermind that," Leslie said impatiently. "Cut to the chase."He blinked."The chase? Ah, yes." He looked at the book again."There is somekind of major event happening. You are in the middle ofit. Youregoing to be even more famous than you are now, MissStewart. The wholeworld is going to know your name." Leslie was filled witha feeling ofintense euphoria. The whole world was going to know hername. She was
at the awards ceremonies and the speaker was saying, "Andnow, therecipient of this years Pulitzer Prize for the mostimportant story innewspaper history. I give you Miss Leslie Stewart."There was astanding ovation, and the roar was deafening."Miss Stewart..."Leslie shook away the dream."Will there be anything else?"No," Leslie said. "Thank you, Zoltaire. Thats enough."At seven oclock that evening, Leslie was looking at aproof of thestory she had written. The headline read: MURDER WARRANTSERVED ON PRESIDENT RUSSELL. PRESIDENT ALSO TO BEQUESTIONED ININVESTIGATION OF SIX DEATHS.Leslie skimmed her story under it and turned to LyleBannister, hermanaging editor. "Run it," she said. "Put it out as anextra. I wantit to hit the streets in an hour, and WTE can broadcastthe story atthe same time."Lyle Bannister hesitated. "You dont think Matt Bakershould take alook at ?""This isnt his paper, its mine. Run it. Now.""Yes, maam." He reached for the telephone on Lesliesdesk and dialeda number. "Were going with it."At seven-thirty that evening, Barbara Gatlin and the
others in thegroup were preparing to return to the White House.Barbara Gatlin saidheavily, "I hope to God it isnt going to be necessary touse it, butjust to be prepared, Im bringing the warrant for thepresidentsarrest."Thirty minutes later, Olivers secretary said, "AttorneyGeneral Gatlinand the others are here." "Send them in." Oliverwatched, pale-faced,as they walked into the Oval Office. Jan was at his side,holding hishand tightly. Barbara Gatlin said, "Are you prepared toanswer ourquestions now, Mr. President?" Oliver nodded. "I am.""Mr.President, did Chloe Houston have an appointment to seeyou on Octoberfifteenth?" "She did." "And did you see her?" "No. Ihad tocancel." The call had come in just before three oclock."Darling,its me. Im lonely for you. Im at the lodge inMaryland. Imsitting by the pool, naked." "Well have to do somethingabout that.""When can you get away?" "Ill be there in an hour."Oliver turned toface the group. "If what Im about to tell you should everleave thisoffice, it would do irreparable damage to the presidencyand to ourrelations with another country.Im doing this with the greatest reluctance, but you leaveme nochoice." As the group watched in wonder, Oliver walkedover to a sidedoor leading to a den and opened it. Sylva Picone steppedinto theroom. "This is Sylva Picone, the wife of the Italian
ambassador. Onthe fifteenth, Mrs. Picone and I were together at herlodge inMaryland from four oclock in the afternoon until twooclock in themorning. I know absolutely nothing about the murder ofChloe Houston,or any of the other deaths."Twenty-One.Dana walked into Tom Hawkinss office. "Tom, Im on tosomethinginteresting. Before Frank Lonergan was murdered, he wentto the homeof Carl Gorman, a clerk who worked at the Monroe Arms.Gorman waskilled in a supposed boating accident. He lived with hissister. Idlike to take a crew over there to do a taped segment fortheten-oclock news tonight." "You dont think it was aboatingaccident?" "No. Too many coincidences." Tom Hawkins wasthoughtfulfor a moment. "Okay. Ill set it up." "Thanks. Heresthe address.Ill meet the camera crew there. Im going home tochange."When Dana walked into her apartment, she had a suddenfeeling thatsomething was wrong. It was a sense she had developed inSarajevo, awarning of danger. Somebody had been here. She walkedthrough theapartment slowly, warily checking the closets. Nothingwas amiss. Itsmy imagination, Dana told herself. But she did notbelieve it.When Dana arrived at the house that Carl Gormans sisterlived in, theelectronic news-gathering vehicle had arrived and was
parked down thestreet. The ENG was an enormous van with a large antennaon the roofand sophisticated electronic equipment inside. Waitingfor Dana wereAndrew Wright, the sound man and Vernon Mills, thecameraman. "Whereare we doing the interview?" Mills asked. "I want to doit inside thehouse. Ill call you when were ready." "Right." Danawent up to thefront door and knocked. Marianne Gorman opened the door."Yes?" "Im" "Oh! I know who you are. Ive seen you on television.""Right,"Dana said. "Could we talk for a minute?" Marianne Gormanhesitated."Yes. Come in." Dana followed her into the living room.Marianne Gorman offered Dana a chair. "Its about mybrother, isntit? He was murdered. I know it." "Who killed him?"Marianne Gormanlooked away. "I dont know." "Did Frank Longergan comehere to seeyou?" The womans eyes narrowed. "He tricked me. I toldhim where hecould find my brother and " Her eyes filled with tears."Now Carl isdead." "What did Lonergan want to talk to your brotherabout?" "Hesaid he was from the IRS." Dana sat there watching her."Would youmind if I did a brief television interview with you? Youcan just saya few words about your brothers murder and how you feelabout thecrime in this city." Marianne Gorman nodded. "I guessthat will beall right." "Thank you." Dana went to the front door,opened it, andwaved to Vernon Mills. He picked up his camera equipmentand startedtoward the house, followed by Andrew Wright. "Ive never
done thiskind of thing before," Marianne said. "Theres nothing tobe nervousabout. It will only take a few minutes." Vernon enteredthe livingroom with the camera. "Where do you want to shoot this?""Well do ithere, in the living room." She nodded toward a corner."You can putthe camera there." Vernon placed the camera, then walkedback to Dana.He pinned a lavaliere microphone on each womans jacket."You canturn it on whenever youre ready." He set it down on atable.Marianne Gorman said, "No! Wait a minute! Im sorry. II cant dothis." "Why?" Dana asked. "Its ... its dangerous.Could could Italk to you alone?" "Yes." Dana looked at Vernon andWright. "Leavethe camera where it is. Ill call you." Vernon nodded,"Well be inthe van." Dana turned to Marianne Gorman. "Why is itdangerous for youto be on television?" Marianne said reluctantly, "I dontwant them tosee me." "You dont want who to see you?" Marianneswallowed. "Carldid something he... he shouldnt have done. He was killedbecause ofit. And the men who killed him will try to kill me." Shewastrembling. "What did Carl do?" "Oh, my God," Mariannemoaned. "Ibegged him not to." "Not to what?" Dana persisted. "Hehe wrote ablackmail letter." Dana looked at her in surprise. "Ablackmailletter?" "Yes. Believe me, Carl was a good man. Itsjust that heliked he had expensive tastes, and on his salary, hecouldnt afford tolive the way he wanted to. I couldnt stop him. He was
murderedbecause of that letter. I know it. They found him, andnow they knowwhere I am. Im going to be killed." She was sobbing."I I dontknow what to do.""Tell me about the letter." Marianne Gorman took a deepbreath. "Mybrother was going away on a vacation. He had forgotten ajacket thathe wanted to take with him, and he went back to the hotel.He got hisjacket and was back in his car in the garage when theprivate elevatordoor to the Imperial Suite opened. Carl told me he saw aman get out.He was surprised to see him there. He was even moresurprised when theman walked back to the elevator and wiped off hisfingerprints. Carlcouldnt figure out what was going on. Then the the nextday, he readabout that poor girls murder, and he knew that this manhad killedher." She hesitated. "Thats when he sent the letter tothe WhiteHouse." Dana said slowly, "The White House?" "Yes.""Who did he sendthe letter to?" "The man he saw in the garage. You knowthe one withthe eye patch. Peter Tager."Twenty-Two.Through the walls of the office, he could hear the soundof traffic onPennsylvania Avenue, outside the White House, and hebecame aware againof his surroundings. He reviewed everything that washappening, and hewas satisfied that he was safe. Oliver Russell was goingto bearrested for murders he hadnt committed, and Melvin
Wicks, the vicepresident, would become president. Senator Davis wouldhave no problemcontrolling Vice President Wicks. And theres nothing tolink me toany of the deaths, Tager thought. There was a prayermeeting thatevening, and Peter Tager was looking forward to it. Thegroup enjoyedhearing him talk about religion and power.Peter Tager had become interested in girls when he wasfourteen. Godhad given him an extraordinarily strong libido, and Peterhad thoughtthat the loss of his eye would make him unattractive tothe oppositesex. Instead, girls found his eye patch intriguing. Inaddition, Godhad given Peter the gift of persuasion, and he was able tocharmdiffident young girls into the backseats of cars, intobarns, and intobeds. Unfortunately, he had gotten one of them pregnantand had beenforced to marry her. She bore him two children. Hisfamily could havebecome an onerous burden, tying him down. But it turnedout to be amarvelous cover for his extracurricular activities. Hehad seriouslythought of going into the ministry, but then he had metSenator ToddDavis, and his life had changed. He had found a new andbigger forum.Politics.In the beginning, there had been no problems with hissecretrelationships. Then a friend had given him a drug calledEcstasy, andPeter had shared it with Lisa Burnette, a fellow churchmember inFrankfort. Something had gone wrong, and she had died.
They found herbody in the Kentucky River. The next unfortunate incidenthad occurredwhen Miriam Friedland, Oliver Russells secretary, had hada badreaction and lapsed into a coma. Not my fault, PeterTager thought. Ithad not harmed him. Miriam had obviously been on too manyother drugs.Then, of course, there was poor Chloe Houston. He had runinto her ina corridor of the White House where she was looking for arest room.She had recognized him instantly and was impressed."Youre PeterTager! I see you on television all the time." "Well, Imdelighted.Can I help you with something?" "I was looking for aladies room."She was young and very pretty. "There are no public restrooms in theWhite House, miss." "Oh, dear." He saidconspiratorially, "I think Ican help you out. Come with me." He had led her upstairsto a privatebathroom and waited outside for her. When she came out, heasked, "Areyou just visiting Washington?" "Yes." "Why dont you letme show youthe real Washington? Would you like that?" He could feelthat she wasattracted to him. "I I certainly would if it isnt toomuch trouble.""For someone as pretty as you? No trouble at all. Wellstart withdinner tonight." She smiled. "That sounds exciting." "Ipromise youit will be. Now, you mustnt tell anyone were meeting.Its oursecret." "I wont. I promise." "I have a high-levelmeeting with theRussian government at the Monroe Arms Hotel tonight." Hecould seethat she was impressed. "We can have dinner at the
Imperial Suitethere,afterward. Why dont you meet me there about sevenoclock?" Shelooked at him and nodded excitedly. "All right." He hadexplained toher what she had to do to get inside the suite. "Therewont be anyproblem. Just call me to let me know youre there." Andshe had.In the beginning, Chloe Houston had been reluctant. WhenPeter tookher in his arms, she said, "Dont. I Im a virgin." Thatmade him allthe more excited. "I dont want you to do anything youdont want todo," he assured her. "Well just sit and talk." "Are youdisappointed?" He squeezed her hand. "Not at all, mydear." He tookout a bottle of liquid Ecstasy and poured some into twoglasses. "Whatis that?" Chloe asked. "Its an energy booster.Cheers." He raisedhis glass in a toast and watched as she finished theliquid in herglass. "Its good," Chloe said. They had spent the nexthalf hourtalking, and Peter had waited as the drug began to work.Finally, hemoved next to Chloe and put his arms around her, and thistime therewas no resistance. "Get undressed," he said. "Yes."Peters eyes followed her into the bathroom, and he beganto undress.Chloe came out a few minutes later, naked, and he becameexcited at thesight of her young, nubile body. She was beautiful.Chloe got intobed beside him, and they made love. She wasinexperienced, but thefact that she was a virgin gave Peter the extra excitement
that heneeded. In the middle of a sentence, Chloe had sat up inbed, suddenlydizzy. "Are you all right, my dear?" "I Im fine. Ijust feel alittle " She held on to the side of the bed for a moment."Ill beright back." She got up. And as Peter watched, Chloestumbled, fell,and smashed her head against the sharp corner of the irontable."Chloe!" He leaped out of bed and hurried to her side."Chloe!" Hecould feel no pulse. Oh, God, he thought. How could youdo this tome? It wasnt my fault. She slipped. He looked around.They mustnttrace me to this suite. He had quickly gotten dressed,gone into thebathroom, moistened a towel, and begun polishing thesurfaces of everyplace he might have touched. He picked up Chloes purse,looked aroundto make sure there were no signs that he had been there,and took theelevator down to the garage. The last thing he had donewas to wipehis fingerprints off the elevator buttons. When PaulYerby hadsurfaced as a threat, Tager had used his connections todispose of him.There was no way anyone could connect Tager to Chloesdeath.And then the blackmail letter had come. Carl Gorman, thehotel clerk,had seen him. Peter had sent Sime to get rid of Gorman,telling himthat it was to protect the president. That should havebeen the end ofthe problem. But Frank Lonergan had started askingquestions, and ithad been necessary to dispose of him, too. Now there wasanother nosy
reporter to deal with. So there were only two threatsleft: MarianneGorman and Dana Evans. And Sime was on his way to killthem both.Twenty-Three.Marianne Gorman repeated, "You know the one with the eyepatch. PeterTager." Dana was stunned. "Are you sure?" "Well, itshard not torecognize someone who looks like that, isnt it?" "I needto use yourphone." Dana hurried over to the telephone and dialedMatt Bakersnumber. His secretary answered. "Mr. Bakers office.""Its Dana.I have to talk to him. Its urgent." "Hold on, please."A momentlater, Matt Baker was on the line. "Dana is anythingwrong?"She took a deep breath. "Matt, I just found out who waswith ChloeHouston when she died." "We know who it was. It was ""Peter Tager.""What?" It was a shout. "Im with the sister of CarlGorman, thehotel clerk who was murdered. Carl Gorman saw Tagerwiping hisfingerprints off the elevator in the hotel garage thenight ChloeHouston died. Gorman sent Tager a blackmail letter, and Ithink Tagerhad him murdered. I have a camera crew here. Do you wantme to go onthe air with this?" "Dont do anything right now!" Mattordered."Ill handle it. Call me back in ten minutes." Heslammed down thereceiver and headed for the White Tower. Leslie was inher office."Leslie, you cant print " She turned and held up themock-up of the
headline: MURDER WARRANT SERVED ON PRESIDENT RUSSELL."Look at this,Matt." Her voice was filled with exaltation. "Leslie Ihave news foryou. Theres " "This is all the news I need." She noddedsmugly. "Itold you youd come back. You couldnt stay away, couldyou? This wasjust too big to walk away from, wasnt it, Matt? You needme. Youllalways need me." He stood there, looking at her,wondering: Whathappened to turn her into this kind of woman? Its stillnot too lateto save her. "Leslie ""Dont be embarrassed because you made a mistake," Lesliesaidcomplacently. "What did you want to say?" Matt Bakerlooked at herfor a long time. "I wanted to say goodbye, Leslie." Shewatched himturn and walk out the door.Twenty-Three.Wlats going to happen to me?" Marianne Gorman asked."Dont worry,"Dana told her. "Youll be protected." She made a quickdecision."Marianne, were going to do a live interview, and Illturn the tapeof it over to the FBI. As soon as we finish theinterview, Ill getyou away from here." Outside, there was the sound of acar screamingto a stop. Marianne hurried over to the window. "Oh, myGod!" Danamoved to her side. "What is it?" Sime Lombardo wasgetting out of thecar. He looked at the house, then headed toward the door.Mariannestammered, "Thats the the other man who was here askingabout Carl,
the day Carl was killed. Im sure he had something to dowith hismurder."Dana picked up the phone and hastily dialed a number."Mr. Hawkinss office.""Nadine, I have to talk to him right away.""Hes not in. He should be back in about ""Let me talk to Nate Erickson."Nate Erickson, Hawkinss assistant, came on the phone."Dana?""Nate I need help fast. I have a breaking news story. Iwant you toput me on live, immediately.""I cant do that," Erickson protested. "Tom would have toauthorizeit.""Theres no time for that," Dana exploded.Outside the window, Dana saw Sime Lombardo moving towardthe frontdoor.In the news van, Vernon Mills looked at his watch. "Arewe going to dothis interview or not? I have a date."Inside the house, Dana was saying, "Its a matter of lifeand death,Nate. Youve got to put me on live. For Gods sake, doit now!" Sheslammed the receiver down, stepped over to the televisionset, andturned it on Channel Six. A soap opera was in progress.An older manwas talking to a young woman.
"You never really understood me, did you, Kristen?" "Thetruth is thatI understand you too well. Thats why I want a divorce,George." "Isthere someone else?" Dana hurried into the bedroom andturned on theset there. Sime Lombardo was at the front door. Heknocked. "Dontopen it," Dana warned Marianne. Dana checked to make surethat hermicrophone was live. The knocking at the door becamelouder. "Letsget out of here," Marianne whispered. "The back " At thatmoment, thefront door splintered open and Sime charged into the room.He closedthe door behind him and looked at the two women. "Ladies.I see thatI have both of you." Desperately, Dana glanced toward thetelevisionset. "If there is someone else, its your fault, George.""Perhaps Iam at fault, Kristen." Sime Lombardo took a .22 calibersemiautomaticpistol out of his pocket and started screwing a silenceronto thebarrel. "No!" Dana said. "You cant " Sime raised thegun. "Shutup. Into the bedroom go on." Marianne mumbled, "Oh, myGod!" "Listen..." Dana said. "We can " "I told you to shut up. Nowmove." Danalooked at the television set."Ive always believed in second chances, Kristen. I dontwant to losewhat we had what we could have again." The same voicesechoed from thetelevision set in the bedroom. Sime commanded, "I toldyou two tomove! Lets get this over with." As the two panicky womentook atentative step toward the bedroom, the red light on the
camera in thecorner suddenly turned on. The images of Kristen andGeorge faded fromthe screen and an announcers voice said, "We interruptthis program totake you now live to a breaking story in the Whea-tonarea." As thesoap opera faded, the Gorman living room suddenly appearedon thescreen. Dana and Marianne were in the foreground, Sime inthebackground. Sime stopped, confused, as he saw himself onthetelevision set. "What what the hell is this?" In thevan, thetechnicians watched the new image flash on the screen."My God,"Vernon Mills said. "Were live!" Dana glanced at thescreen andbreathed a silent prayer. She turned to face the camera."This isDana Evans coming to you live from the home of CarlGorman, who wasmurdered a few days ago. Were interviewing a man who hassomeinformation about his murder." She turned to face him."So would youlike to tell us exactly what happened?" Lombardo stoodthere,paralyzed, watching himself on the screen, licking hislips. "Hey!"From the television set, he heard himself say, "Hey!"and he saw his image move, as he swung toward Dana. "Whatwhat thehell are you doing? What kind of trick is this?""Its not a trick. Were on the air, live. There are twomillionpeople watching us."Lombardo saw his image on the screen and hastily put thegun back intohis pocket.
Dana glanced at Marianne Gorman, then looked Sime Lombardosquare inthe eye. "Peter Tager is behind the murder of CarlGorman, isnthe?"In the Daly Building, Nick Reese was in his office when anassistantrushed in. "Quick! Take a look at this! Theyre atGormans house."He turned the television set to Channel Six, and thepicture flashed onthe screen."Did Peter Tager tell you to kill Carl Gorman?""I dont know what youre talking about. Turn that damnedtelevisionset off before I ""Before you what? Are you going to kill us in front oftwo millionpeople?""Jesus!" Nick Reese shouted. "Get some patrol cars outthere,fast!"In the Blue Room in the White House, Oliver and Jan werewatchingstation WTE, stunned. "Peter?" Oliver said slowly. "Icant believeit!"Peter Tagers secretary hurried into his office. "Mr.Tager, I thinkyou had better turn on Channel Six." She gave him anervous look andhurried out again. Peter Tager looked after her, puzzled.He pickedup the remote and pressed a button, and the television setcame tolife.
Dana was saying, "... and was Peter Tager also responsiblefor thedeath of Chloe Houston?""I dont know anything about that. Youll have to askTager."Peter Tager looked at the television set unbelievingly.This cant behappening! God wouldnt do this to me! He sprang to hisfeet andhurried toward the door. Im not going to let them getme. Ill hide!And then he stopped. Where? Where can I hide? He walkedslowly backto his desk and sank into a chair. Waiting.In her office, Leslie Stewart was watching the interview,in shock.Peter Tager? No! No! No! No! Leslie snatched up thephone andpressed a number. "Lyle, stop that story! It must not goout! Do youhear me? It " Over the phone she heard him say, "MissStewart, thepapers hit the streets half an hour ago. You said..."Slowly, Lesliereplaced the receiver. She looked at the headline of theWashingtonTribune: MURDER WARRANT SERVEDON PRESIDENT RUSSELL.Then she looked up at the framed front page on the wall:DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN."Youre going to be even more famous than you are now,Miss Stewart.The whole world is going to know your name."Tomorrow she would be the laughingstock of the world.
At the Gorman home, Sime Lombardo took one last, franticlook athimself on the television screen and said, "Im gettingout of here."He hurried to the front door and opened it. Half a dozensquad carswere screaming to a stop outside.Twenty-Four.Jeff Connors was at Dulles International Airport withDana, waiting forKemals plane to arrive. "Hes been through hell," Danaexplainednervously. "He hes not like other little boys. I meandont besurprised if he doesnt show any emotion." Shedesperately wanted Jeffto like Kemal. Jeff sensed her anxiety. "Dont worry,darling. Imsure hes a wonderful boy." "Here it comes!" They lookedup andwatched the small speck in the sky grow larger and largeruntil itbecame a shining 747. Dana squeezed Jeffs hand tightly."Heshere."The passengers were deplaning. Dana watched anxiously asthey exitedone by one. "Wheres ?"And there he was. He was dressed in the outfit that Danahad boughthim in Sarajevo, and his face was freshly washed. He camedown theramp slowly, and when he saw Dana, he stopped. The two ofthem stoodthere, motionless, staring at each other. And then theywere runningtoward each other, and Dana was holding him, and his goodarm wassqueezing her tightly, and they were both crying.
When Dana found her voice, she said, "Welcome to America,Kemal."He nodded. He could not speak."Kemal, I want you to meet my friend. This is JeffConnors."Jeff leaned down. "Hello, Kemal. Ive been hearing a lotaboutyou."Kemal clung to Dana fiercely."Youll be coming to live with me," Dana said. "Would youlikethat?"Kemal nodded. He would not let go of her.Dana looked at her watch. "We have to leave. Imcovering a speech atthe White House."It was a perfect day. The sky was a deep, clear blue, anda coolingbreeze was blowing in from the Potomac River. They stoodin the RoseGarden, with three dozen other television and newspaperreporters.Danas camera was focused on the president, who stood on apodium withJan at his side. President Oliver Russell was saying, "Ihave animportant announcement to make. At this moment, there isa meeting ofthe heads of state of the United Arab Emirates, Libya,Iran, and Syria,to discuss a lasting peace treaty with Israel. I receivedword thismorning that the meeting is going extremely well and thatthe treatyshould be signed within the next day or two. It is of theutmost
importance that the Congress of the United States solidlysupport us inhelping this vital effort." Oliver turned to the manstanding next tohim. "Senator Todd Davis." Senator Davis stepped up tothemicrophone, wearing his trademark white suit and white,broad-brimmedleghorn hat, beaming at the crowd. "This is truly ahistoric moment inthe history of our great country. For many years, as youknow, I havebeen striving to bring about peace between Israel and theArabcountries. It has been a long and difficult task, but now,at last,with the help and guidance of our wonderful president, Iam happy tosay that our efforts are finally coming to fruition." Heturned toOliver. "We should all congratulate our great presidenton themagnificent part he has played in helping us to bring thisabout...."Dana was thinking, One war is coming to an end. Perhapsthis is abeginning. Maybe one day well have a world where adultslearn tosettle their probkms with love instead of hate, a worldwhere childrencan grow up without ever hearing the obscene sounds ofbombs andmachine-gunfire, without fear of their limbs being tornapart byfaceless strangers. She turned to look at Kemal, who wasexcitedlywhispering to Jeff. Dana smiled. Jeff had proposed toher. Kemalwould have a father. They were going to be a family. Howdid I get solucky? Dana wondered. The speeches were winding down.The cameramanswung the camera away from the podium and moved into aclose-up of
Dana. She looked into the lens. "This is Dana Evans,reporting forWTE, Washington, D.C."SIDNEY SHELDON is the author of The Other Side ofMidnight, A Strangerin the Mirror, Bloodline, Rage of Angels, Master of theGame, IfTomorrow Comes, Windmills of the Gods, The Sands of Time,Memories ofMidnight, The Doomsday Conspiracy, The Stars Shine Down,Nothing LastsForever and Morning, Noon & Night, all internationalbestsellers. Hisfirst book, The Naked Face, was acclaimed by the New YorkTimes as thebest first mystery novel of the year. Mr. Sheldon haswon a TonyAward for Broadways Redhead and an Academy Award for TheBachelor andthe Bobby Soxer. Most of his number one bestsellers havebeen madeinto highly successful theatrical films or television miniseries.He has written the screenplays for twenty-three motionpictures,including Easter Parade (with Judy Garland) and Annie GetYour Gun. Healso created four long-running television series,including Hart toHart and I Dream ofJeannie, which he produced. In 1993 hewas awardedthe Prix Litteraire de Deauville, from the Deauville FilmFestival, andhe is now in the Guinness Book of Records as "The MostTranslatedAuthor. Mr. Sheldon and his wife live in southernCalifornia.http://www.esnips.com/web/eb00ks