He was witty and charming, but she was armored against his charm. It was not
easy. She found herself smiling at his anecdotes, laughing at his stories.
It won't do him any good, Jennifer told herself. She was not looking for a
fling. The specter of her mother haunted her. There was
a deep passion
within Jennifer that she was afraid to explore, afraid to release.
They were having dessert and Adam still had not said one word that could be
misconstrued. Jennifer had been building up her defenses for nothing,
fending off an attack that had never materialized, and she felt like a
fool. She wondered *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница what Adam would have said if he had known what she had
been thinking all evening. Jennifer smiled at her own vanity.
"I never got a chance to thank you for the clients you sent me," Jennifer
said. "I did telephone you a few times, but----r
"I know." Adam hesitated, then added awkwardly, "I
didn't want to return
your phone calls:" Jennifer looked at him in surprise.
"I was afraid to,"
he said simply.
And there it was. He had taken her by surprise, caught her off guard, but
his meaning was unmistakable. Jennifer knew what was coming next. And she
did not want *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница him to say it. She did not want him to be like all the others,
the married men who pretended they were single. She despised them and she
did not want to despise this man.
Adam said quietly, "Jennifer, I want you to know rm married." She sat there
staring at him, her mouth open.
"I'm sorry. I should have told you sooner." He smiled wryly. "Well, there
really was no sooner, was there?"
Jennifer was filled with a strange confusion. "Why-why did you ask me to
"Because I had to see you again"
Everything began *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница to seem unreal to Jennifer. It was as though she were
being pulled under by some giant tidal
138 RAGE OF ANGELS
wave. She sat there listening to Adam saying all the things he felt, and she
knew that every word was true. She knew because she felt the same way. She
wanted him to stop before he said too much. She wanted him to go on and say
"I hope rm not offending you," Adam said.
There was a sudden shyness about him that shook Jennifer.
He looked at her and even though they had not touched, it was as if she
were in *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница his arms.
Jennifer said shakily, "Tell me about your wife."
"Mary Beth and I have been married fifteen years. We have no children."
"She-we decided not to have any. We were both very young when we got
married. I had known her a long time. Our families were neighbors at a
summer place we had in Maine. When she was eighteen, her parents were
killed in a plane crash. Mary Beth was almost insane with grief. She was
all alone. I-we got married."
He married her out of pity and he's too much of a gentle- man *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница to say so, Jennifer thought.
"She's a wonderful woman. We've always had a very good relationship."
He was telling Jennifer more than she wanted to know, more than she could
handle. Every instinct in her warned her to get away, to flee. In the past
she had easily been able to cope with the married men who had trite to
become involved with her, but Jennifer knew instinctively that this was
different. If she ever let herself fall in love with this man, there would
be no way out. She would have to be insane ever to begin anything with him.
Jennifer spoke *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница carefully. "Adam, I like you very much. I
don't get involved with married men."
He smiled, and his eyes behind the glasses held honesty and warmth. ,rm not
looking for a backstreet affair. I enjoy being
SIDNEY SHELDON 139
with you. rm very proud of you. Td like as to see each other once in a
Jennifer started to say, What good would that do? but the words came out,
"That would be good."
So we'll have lunch once a month, Jennifer thought. It can't hurt
One of Jennifer's first visitors to her new office was
Father Ryan. He
wandered around the *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница three small rooms and said, "Very nice, indeed. We're
getting up in the world, Jennifer."
Jennifer laughed. "This isn't exactly getting up in the world, Father. I
have a long way to go."
He eyed her keenly. "You'll make it. By the way, I went to visit Abraham
Wilson last week:"
"How is he getting along?"
"Fine. They have him working in the prison machine shop. He asked me to
give you his regards."
"I'll have to visit him myself one day soon."
Father Ryan sat in his chair, staring at her, until
Jennifer said, "Is
there something I can *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница do for you, Father?"
He brightened. "Ah, well, I know you must be busy, but now that you've
brought it up, a friend of mine has a bit of a problem. She was in an
accident. I think you're just the one to help her."
SIDNEY SHELDON 141
Automatically Jennifer replied, "Have her come in and see me, Father."
"I think you'll have to go to her. She's a quadruple amputee."
Connie Garrett lived in a small, neat apartment on
Houston Street. The door
was opened for Jennifer by an elderly whitehaired woman wearing an apron.
"I'm *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница Martha Steele, Connie's aunt. I live with Connie. Please come in.
She's expecting you."
Jennifer walked into a meagerly furnished living room. Connie Garrett was
propped up with pillows in a large armchair. Jennifer was shocked by her
youth. For some reason, she had expected an older woman. Connie Garrett was
about twenty-four, Jennifer's age. There was a wonderful radiance in her
face, and Jennifer found it obscene that there was only
a torso with no
arms or legs attached to it. She repressed a shudder. Connie Garrett gave her a warm smile and said, "Please sit down, Jennifer.
May I call *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница you Jennifer? Father Ryan has told me so much about you. And, of
course, rve seen you on television. I'm so glad you could come."
Jennifer started to reply, "My pleasure," and realized how inane it would
have sounded. She sat down in a soft comfortable chair opposite the young
"Father Ryan said you were in an accident a few years ago, Do you want to
tell me what happened?"
"It was my fault, rm afraid. I was crossing an intersection and I stepped
off the sidewalk and slipped and fell in front of a truck."
"How long ago was this?"
"Three years ago *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница last December. I was on my way to
Bloomingdale's to do
some Christmas shopping."
"What happened after the truck hit you?"
"I don't remember anything. I woke up in the hospital.
142 RAGE OF ANGELS
They told me that an ambulance brought me there. There was an injury to my
spine. Then they found bone damage and it kept spreading until=' She stopped
and tried to shrug. It was a pitiful gesture. "They tried to fit me with
artificial limbs, but they don't work on me."
"Did you bring suit?"
She looked at Jennifer, puzzled. "Father Ryan didn't tell yourþ
"Tell me *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница what?"
"My lawyer sued the utility company whose truck hit me, and we lost the
case. We appealed and lost the appeal:"
Jennifer said, "He should have mentioned that. If the appellate court
turned you down, I'm afraid there's nothing that can be done."
Connie Garrett nodded. "I didn't really believe there was. I just
thought-well, Father Ryan said you could work miracles."
"That's his territory. I'm only a lawyer."
She was angry with Father Ryan for having given Connie
Garrett false hope.
Grimly, Jennifer decided she would have a talk with him. The older woman *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница was hovering in the background. "Can I offer you something,
Miss Parker? Some tea and cake, perhaps?"
Jennifer suddenly realized she was hungry, for she had had no time for
lunch. But she visualized sitting opposite Connie
Garrett while she was
being fed by hand, and she could not bear the thought.
"No, thanks," Jennifer lied. "I just had lunch." All Jennifer wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible. She
tried to think of some cheering note she could leave on, but there was
nothing. Damn Father Ryan!
"I-rm really sorry. I wish I='
Connie Garrett *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница smiled and said, "Please don't worry about it."
SIDNEY SHELDON 143
It was the smile that did it. Jennifer was sure if she had been in Connie
Garrett's place she would never have been able to smile.
"Who was your lawyer?" Jennifer heard herself asking.
"Melvin Hutcherson. Do you know him?"
"No, but I'll look him up." She went on, without meaning to, "I'll have a
talk with him."
"That would be so nice of you." There was warm appreciation in Connie
Jennifer thought of what the girl's life must be like, sitting there
totally helpless, day after day *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница, month after month, year after year, unable
to do anything for herself.
"I can't promise anything, I'm afraid."
"Of course not. But, do you know something, Jennifer? I
feel better just, because you came."
Jennifer rose to her feet. It was a moment to shake hands, but there was no
hand to shake.
She said awkwardly, "It was nice meeting you, Connie. You'll hear from me."
On the way back to her office, Jennifer thought about
Father Ryan and
resolved that she would never succumb to his blandishments again. There was
nothing anyone could do for that poor crippled girl *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница, and to offer her any
kind of hope was indecent. But she would keep her promise. She would talk
to Melvin Hutcherson.
When Jennifer returned to her office there was a long list of messages for
her. She looked through them quickly, looking for a message from Adam
Warner. There was none.
Melvin Hutcherson was a short, balding man with a tiny button nose and
washed-out pale blue eyes. He had a shabby suite of offices on the West
Side that reeked of poverty. The receptionist's desk was empty.
"Gone to lunch," Melvin Hutcherson explained.
Jennifer wondered if he had a secretary. He ushered *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница her into his private
office, which was no larger than the reception office.
"You told me over the phone you wanted to talk about
He shrugged. "There's not that much to talk about. We sued and we lost.
Believe me, I did a bang-up job for her."
"Did you handle the appeal?"
"Yep. We lost that, too. I'm afraid you're spinning your wheels." He
regarded her a moment. "Why do you wane to waste your time on something
like this? You're hot. You could be working on big money cases."
SIDNEY SHELDON *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница 145
"I'm doing a friend a favor. Would you mind if I looked at the
"Help yourself," Hutcherson shrugged. "They're public property."
Jennifer spent the evening going over the transcripts of
lawsuit. To Jennifer's surprise, Melvin Hutcherson had told the truth: He
had done a good job. He had named both the city and the
Corporation as co-defendants, and had demanded a trial by jury. The jury
had exonerated both defendants.
The Department of Sanitation had done its best to cope with the snowstorm
that had swept the city that December; all its equipment had been in *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница use.
The city had argued that the storm was an act of God, and that if there was
any negligence, it was on the part of Connie Garrett. Jennifer turned to the charges against the truck company. Three
eyewitnesses had testified that the driver had tried to stop the truck to
avoid hitting the victim, but that he had been unable to brake in time, and
the truck had gone into an unavoidable spin and had hit her. The verdict in
favor of the defendant had been upheld by the Appellate
Division and the
case had been closed.
Jennifer finished reading the transcripts at three o'clock in the *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница morning.
She turned off the lights, unable to sleep. On paper, justice had been
done. But the image of Connie Garrett kept coming into her mind. A girl in
her twenties, without arms or legs. Jennifer visualized the truck hitting
the young girl, the awful agony she must have suffered, the series of
terrible operations that had been performed, each one cutting away parts of
her limbs. Jennifer turned on the light and sat up in bed. She dialed
Melvin Hutcherson's home number.
"'here's nothing in the transcripts about the doctors," Jennifer said into
the telephone. "Did you look into the possibility *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница of malpractice?"
146 RAGE OF ANGELS
A groggy voice said, "Who the fuck is this?"
"Jennifer Parker. Did you='
"For Christ's sake! It's-it's four o'clock in the morning! Don't you have
"This is important. The hospital wasn't named in the suit. What about those
operations that were performed on Connie Garrett? Did you check into them?"
There was a pause while Melvin Hutcherson tried to gather his thoughts. "I
talked to the heads of neurology and orthopedics at the hospital that took
care of her. The operations were necessary to save her life. They were
performed by the top *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница men there and were done properly. That's why the hos-
pital wasn't named in the suit."
Jennifer felt a sharp sense of frustration. "I see."
"Look, I told you before, you're wasting your time on this one. Now why
don't we both get some sleep?"
And the receiver clicked in Jennifer's ear. She turned
out the light and
lay back again. But sleep was farther away than ever. After a while,
Jennifer gave up the struggle, arose and made herself a pot of coffee. She
sat on her sofa drinking it, watching the rising sun paint the Manhattan
skyline *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница, the faint pink gradually turning into a bright, explosive red.
Jennifer was disturbed. For every injustice there was supposed to be a
remedy at law. Had justice been done in Connie Garrett's case? She glanced
at the clock on the wall. It was six-thirty. Jennifer picked up the
telephone again and dialed Melvin Hutcherson's number.
"Did you check out the record of the truck driver?" Jennifer asked.
A sleepy voice said, "Jesus Christ! Are you some kind of crazy? When do you
"The driver of the utility truck. Did you check out his record?"
"Lady, you're *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница beginning to insult me."
"I'm sorry," Jennifer insisted, "but I have to know." SIDNEY SHELDON 147
'The answer is yes. He had a perfect record. This was his first
So that avenue was closed. "I see." Jennifer was thinking hard.
"Miss Parker," Melvin Hutcherson said, "do me a big favor, will you? If
you have any more questions, call me during office hours."
"Sorry," Jennifer said absently. "Go back to sleep."
"Thanks a lot!"
Jennifer replaced the receiver. It was time to get dressed and go to
It had been three weeks since Jennifer had had dinner
with Adam at LutCCe *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница.
She tried to put him out of her mind, but everything reminded her of Adam:
A chance phrase, the back of a stranger's head, a tie similar to the one he
had worn. There were many men who tried to date her. She was propositioned
by clients, by attorneys she had opposed in court and by
judge, but Jennifer wanted none of them. Lawyers invited her out for what
was cynically referred to as "funch," but she was not interested. There was
an independence about her that was -a challenge to men. Ken Bailey was always there, but that fact did nothing
Jennifer *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница's loneliness. There was only one person who could do that, damn
He telephoned on a Monday morning. "I thought I'd take a chance and see if
you happened to be free for lunch today." She was not. She said, "Of course I am."
Jennifer had sworn to herself that if Adam ever called her
SIDNEY SHELDON 149
again she would be friendly yet distant, and courteous but definitely not
The moment she heard Adam's voice she forgot all those things and said, Of
course 1 am.
The last thing in the world she should have said.
They had lunch *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница at a small, restaurant in Chinatown, and they talked
steadily for two hours that seemed like two minutes. They talked about law
and politics and the theater, and solved all the complex problems of the
world. Adam was brilliant and incisive and fascinating.
He was genuinely
interested in what Jennifer was doing, and took a joyous pride in her
successes. He has a right to, Jennifer thought. If not for him, 1'd be back
in Kelso, Washington.
When Jennifer returned to the office, Ken Bailey was waiting for her.
"Have a good lunch?"
"Yes, thank you."
"Is Adam Warner going to become a client?" His tone was *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница too casual.
"No, Ken. We're just friends." And it was true.
The following week, Adam invited Jennifer to have lunch in the private
dining room of his law firm. Jennifer was impressed with the huge, modern
complex of offices. Adam introduced her to various members of the firm, and
Jennifer felt like a minor celebrity, for they seemed to know all about
her. She met Stewart Needham, the senior partner. He was distantly polite
to Jennifer, and she remembered that Adam was married to his niece.
Adam and Jennifer had lunch in the walnut-paneled dining room run by a chef
and two waiters *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница.
"This is where the partners bring their problems."
150 RAGE OF ANGELS
Jennifer wondered whether he was referring to her.. It was hard for her to concentrate on the meal.
Jennifer thought about Adam all that afternoon. She knew she had to forget
about him, had to stop seeing him. He belonged to another woman.
That night, Jennifer went with Ken Bailey to see Two by
Two, the new
Richard Rodgers show.
As they stepped into the lobby there was an excited buzz from the crowd,
and Jennifer turned to see what was happening. A long, black limousine had
pulled up to the curb *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница and a man and woman were stepping out of the car.
"It's himl" a woman exclaimed, and people began to gather around the car.
The burly chauffeur stepped aside and Jennifer saw
Michael Moretti and his
wife. It was Michael that the crowd focused on. He was a folk hero,
handsome enough to be a movie star, daring enough to have captured
everyone's imagination. Jennifer stood in the lobby watching as Michael
Moretti and his wife made their way through the crowd. Michael passed
within three feet of Jennifer, and for an instant their eyes met. Jennifer
noticed that his eyes *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница were so black that she could not see his pupils. A
moment later he disappeared into the theater. Jennifer was unable to enjoy the show. The sight of Michael Moretti had
brought back a flood -of fiercely humiliating memories. Jennifer asked Ken
to take her home after the first act.
Adam telephoned Jennifer the next day and Jennifer steeled herself to
refuse his invitation. Thank you, Adam, but I'm really very busy.
But all Adam said was, "I have to go out of the country for a while."
It was like a blow to the stomach. "How-how long will you begone *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница? 11
SIDNEY SHELDON 151
"Just a few weeks. Pi give you a call when I get back."
"Fine," Jennifer said brightly. "Have a nice trip."
She felt as though someone had died. She visualized Adam on a beach in Rio,
surrounded by half-naked girls, or in a penthouse in
Mexico City, drinking
margaritas with a nubile, dark-eyed beauty, or in a
Swiss chalet making
love to--Stop it! Jennifer told herself. She should have asked him where he
was going. It was probably a business trip to some dreary place where he
would have no time for women, perhaps the middle of some desert where he
would be working *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница twenty-four hours a day.
She should have broached the subject, very casually, of course. Will you be
taking a long plane trip? Do you speak any foreign languages? If you get to
Paris, bring me back some Vervaine tea. I suppose the shots must be
painful. Are you taking your wife with you? Am 1 losing my mind?
Ken had come into her office and was staring at her.
"You're talking to yourself. Are you okay?"
No! Jennifer wanted to shout. 1 need a doctor. I need a cold shower. I need
She said, "I'm fine. Just a *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница little tired."
"Why don't you get to bed early tonight?"
She wondered whether Adam would be going to bed early.
Father Ryan called. "I went to see Connie Garrett. She told me you've
dropped by a few times."
"Yes." The visits were to assuage her feeling of guilt because she was
unable to be of any help. It was frustrating.
Jennifer plunged herself into work, and still the weeks seemed to drag by.
She was in court nearly every day and worked on briefs almost every night.
"Slow down. You're going to kill yourself," Ken advised her.
But Jennifer needed *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница to exhaust herself physically and
152 RAGE Of ANGELS
mentally. She did not want to have time to think. Pm a fool,
she thought. An unadulterated fool.
It was four weeks before Adam called.
"I just got back," he said. The sound of his voice thrilled her. "Can we
meet for lunch somewhere?"
"Yes. rd enjoy that, Adam:" She thought she had carried that off well. A
simple Yes, I'd enjoy that, Adam.
"The Oak Room in the Plaza?"
It was the most businesslike, unromantic dining room in the world, filled
with affluent middle-aged wheelers and dealers, stockbrokers and bankers *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница.
It had long been one of the few remaining bastions of privacy for men, and
its doors had only recently been opened to women. Jennifer arrived early and was seated. A few minutes later, Adam appeared.
Jennifer watched the tall, lean figure moving toward her and her mouth
suddenly went dry. He looked tanned, and Jennifer wondered if her fantasies
about Adam on some girl-ridden beach had been true. He smiled at her and
took her hand, and Jennifer knew in that moment that it did not matter what
logic she used about Adam Warner or married men. She had no control *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница over
herself. It was as though someone else were guiding her, telling her what
she should do, telling her what she must do. She could not explain what was
happening to her, for she had never experienced anything like it. Call it
chemistry, she thought. Call it karma, call it heaven. All Jennifer knew
was that she wanted to be in Adam Warner's arms more than she had ever
wanted anything in her life. Looking at him, she visualized his making love
to her, holding her, his hard body on top of her, inside her, and she felt
her face becoming red.
Adam said apologetically, "Sorry about the short *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница notice.
A client canceled a luncheon date."
Jennifer silently blessed the client. SIDNEY SHELDON 153
"I brought you something," Adam said. It was a lovely green and gold silk
scarf. "It's from Milan."
So that's where he had been. Italian girls. "It's beautiful, Adam. Thank
"Have you ever been to Milan?"
"No. I've seen pictures of the cathedral there. It's lovely."
"I'm not much of a sightseer. My theory is that if you-'ve seen one church,
you've seen them all."
Later, when Jennifer thought about that luncheon, she tried to remember
what *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница they had talked about, what they had eaten, who had stopped by the
table to say hello to Adam, but all she could remember was the nearness of
Adam, his touch, his looks. It was as though he had her in some kind of
spell and she was mesmerized, helpless to break it.
At one point Jennifer thought, l know what to do. I'll make love with him.
Once. It can't be as wonderful as my fantasies. Then
I'll be able to get over him.
When their hands touched accidentally, it was like an electric charge
between them. They sat *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница there talking of everything and nothing, and their
words had no meaning. They sat at the table, locked in an invisible
embrace, caressing each other, making fierce love, naked and wanton.
Neither of them had any idea what they were eating or
what they were
saying. There was a different, more demanding hunger in them and it kept
mounting and mounting, until neither of them could stand it any longer.
In the middle of their luncheon, Adam put his hand over
Jennifer's and said huskily, "Jennifer-
She whispered, "Yes. Let's get out of here."
Jennifer waited in the busy, crowded lobby while Adam registered *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница at the
desk. They were given a room in the old section of the
overlooking 58th Street. They used the back bank of elevators, and it
seemed to Jennifer that it took forever to reach their floor.
If Jennifer was unable to remember anything about the
154 RAGE OF ANGELS
luncheon, she remembered everything about their room. Years later, she could
recall the view, the color of the drapes and carpets, and each picture and
piece of furniture. She could remember the sounds of the city, far below,
that drifted into the room. The images of that afternoon were to stay with
her the rest of *A Stranger in the Mirror The Other Side of Midnight The Naked Face 9 страница her life. It was a magic, multicolored explosion in slow
motion. It was having Adam undress her, it was Adam's strong, lean body in
bed, his roughness and his gentleness. It was laughter and passion. Their
hunger had built to a greed that had to be satisfied. The moment Adam began
to make love to her, the words that flashed into
Jennifer's mind were, I'm lost.
They made love again and again, and each time was an ecstasy that was
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