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Peter Hathaway, she'd said.
I didn't recognize the name, but Mother assured me that he was the best in the business. She hadn't actually seen him in action, since she sat in Philadelphia and he practiced in New York, but she'd heard plenty about him. She sounded delighted to have an excuse to call him. That made me uneasy.
Then Dad checked him out with his friends the Humphreys who, after making their millions in pharmaceuticals, had hired Peter Hathaway to defend them against charges of falsifying research data. Lovely reference source, the Humphreys. They'd been found guilty and been heavily fined. Still, they'd praised Peter Hathaway to the hilt. That made me even more uneasy.
It didn't help matters when suddenly the whole family was involved in my affairs. I shouldn't have been surprised. It had alwaysbeen that way. But I'd been removed from it for a while, so I was jolted when my brother Ian felt called upon to phone and inform me, in his own inimitably arrogant manner, that Peter Hathaway was serious legal business. Then Ian's wife, Helaine, always the vamp, added - a little too suggestively, I thought - that the lawyer was a lady-killer. My sister Samantha went so far as to say that if she divorced David, which she was seriously considering doing because he hadn't yet begun to recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars he'd lost in the stock market crash of '87, she'd go after Peter Hathaway herself. He had the Midas touch, she said.
I wondered how she knew, but I wasn't about to ask.
In any case, the endorsement was unanimous. It was the first time I could remember my family agreeing on anything - with the exception, of course, of their disapproval of my life-style - and that made me the most uneasy of all.
Peter Hathaway. He was big city, big name, big bucks - everything I'd rejected. And Cooper knew it, which was one of the reasons he was angry. He argued that Adam would never have called in reinforcements from home. Cooper may have been right. But Adam had been dead for six years. And Adam had never been charged with smuggling stolen goods.
It had been nearly a decade since I'd left what my parents considered to be civilization, but that didn't mean I was out of touch. I read the papers. I knew what Cooper would face if he was convicted. So, bad vibes or not, I hired Peter Hathaway sight unseen.
That was on Tuesday. On Friday, I steeled myself for his visit. I prepared myself for a man who was whistle smooth and arrogant, who was direct to the point of curtness and who would very likely cross-examine me even before he got to Cooper. If he ever got to Cooper. I hadn't yet convinced Cooper to agree to be represented.
I hadn't told Peter Hathaway that, of course. I doubt he'd have agreed to come all the way to Maine if the fact of a client had been in doubt. Then again, I'd offered him his own private, shore-front hotel for the weekend, and if that wasn't lure enough, I'd promised that a retainer would be waiting when he got here. I assumed that was adequate incentive. Still, I was going to have some explaining to do - to Peter and Cooper both.
A simple life. That was all I'd ever wanted. How things had suddenly gotten so complex, I didn't know. But then, there were lots of things I didn't know.
Like why Adam had abandoned me.
Like how Elizabeth Taylor could love my work.
Like who put a cache of stolen diamonds on Cooper's boat.
I did know how I got the headache that was building behind my eyes. I got headaches when I agonized over those things I didn't know. Adam's remedy had been a gentle forehead massage, accompanied by soothing songs sung in his soft tenor. Cooper's remedy was a dark, silent room, a comfortable bed, a warm cloth on my eyes.
Given that neither Adam nor Cooper was around, I settled for three aspirin and a cup of strong, hot tea, which I carried to the window. My front yard was looking wild and windblown, understandable since the small stone house in which I lived stood high on a bluff overlooking the ocean. I'd always found the view beyond the poor, misshapen pine to be hypnotic. Wave after wave swelled from the horizon, rolling toward the shore and imminent destruction against the rocks. I couldn't see the crash from where I stood, but its thunder was second nature to me, as was the high spray of sea foam that rose by my bluff.
I loved the ocean. Bleak as it was, particularly now that Columbus Day had come and gone, I was drawn to it. I felt at home here. I could be me. I could pull my hair into a ponytail and wear jeans and a sweater whether I was throwing clay, visiting with friends at Sam's Saloon, or waiting for a hotshot lawyer from Manhattan to arrive.
I would have glanced at my watch if I'd had one, but it had been years since I'd cared whether it was one or two or three. So I concentrated on drinking my tea with a mind toward relaxation.
All too soon the cup held little more than bits of leaves that had escaped the tea bag. They weren't much more than shadows against the porcelain; still, I studied them. I turned the cup, swirled the leaves in the few drops of tea that lingered. I imagined I saw weird configurations, shapes with no patterns, and wondered what a tea reader would say. Better still, I wondered what a psychiatrist would say. Not that it mattered. I was comfortable with myself and my life.
Tipping my head back, I swallowed the lingering drops of tea and with them any configurations of leaves, weird or otherwise. Lowering the cup, I was turning toward the kitchen when a movement at the side window caught my eye. A black car rolled to a halt on the pebbled drive. I hadn't heard a sound; the whip of the wind would have drowned it out even if it had managed to penetrate the thick, double-paned windows of the house. But then, a Jaguar would purr so softly that there would be little to hear.
Uh-huh. A Jaguar. Peter Hathaway - legal eagle, lady-killer, man with the Midas touch - would be the Jaguar type.
For a split second, every one of those bad vibes I'd experienced in the past few days belted my insides, and in that split second I felt utterly insecure. Then I caught myself, took a deep breath, looked around. This was my house, my world. I had no cause to be insecure.
Life was what you made of it. Adam and I had always believed that, and for the most part I still did. Cooper needed help; I was going to see that he got it. To do that, I had to approach this interview with confidence.
Excerpted from Through My Eyes by Barbara Delinsky Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted April 3, 2000
I have just finished reading this and boy! what a chemistry between Jill and Peter!Although it was easy to guess who was responsible for the crime, the story is very entertaining.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.