Chapter 45

"I don't believe we have to go through this just to have some peace and privacy!" Julie cried in helpless exasperation late that afternoon as Ted flipped on the revolving lights and siren on his patrol car and floored it, racing away from her parents' house beneath the banner stretched across Main Street that read WELCOME HOME, JULIE, with the press in hot pursuit. "How am I ever going to teach my classes when I go back to work on Monday? When I went home today, I got mobbed by reporters before I could get inside the house. While I was in there, the phone never stopped ringing. Flossie and Ada Eldridge are in seventh heaven with all the excitement to watch and gossip about next door," she added tiredly.

"You've been back for over twelve hours without making a statement," Ted said, watching the cars that were tailing them in his rearview mirror.

Twelve hours, Julie thought. Twelve hours without a moment to spare to think of Zack, to review the bittersweet memories, to recover her strength, to try to put her mind into some semblance of order. She'd slept badly and when she got out of bed, the FBI agents were already waiting in the living room to question her, and they hadn't finished until two hours ago. Katherine had phoned to suggest Julie come there, and they were on their way now, but she had an uneasy feeling Ted and Carl both intended to ask her questions at Katherine's that they hadn't wanted to ask in front of their parents. "Can't you get rid of those reporters," she said crossly. "There must be a hundred of them, and they're surely violating some sort of city ordinance."

"Mayor Addelson said they're arriving at the courthouse in droves now that word is out that you've returned, and they're demanding a statement from you. They're taking full advantage of their liberties under the first amendment, but they aren't breaking any city ordinances that I know of."

Julie twisted around in her seat and saw that most of the cars tailing them were staying even with Ted. "Pull over and give the whole bunch of them speeding tickets. We're going ninety miles an hour and so are they. Ted," she added, feeling suddenly limp with weariness, "I don't know how I'm going to stay sane if people don't leave me alone for a while so I can think and rest."

"If you're going to spend the night at Katherine's," he said, glancing in the rearview mirror, "you'll have plenty of time to sleep there after Carl and I hear what you have to say."

"If what you and Carl have in mind is another interrogation," Julie said shakily, recoiling from this indication that both brothers wanted more answers than the ones they'd heard at the dining room table last night, "I'm warning you, I'm not up to it."

"You're up to your ears in it, lady!" he said in a sharp tone he'd never used on her before. "I know it and so does Carl. So probably do Ingram and Richardson. I decided to have our talk at Katherine's today because she happens to live in the only house in Keaton with electric gates and a high fence to keep out our friends back there." As he spoke, they rounded a bend in the road, and he hit the brake, swung the steering wheel, and sent the squad car jolting and bumping up the Cahills' private drive, racing between the trees for the gates that were already opening up ahead, controlled from the house where there was a remote camera. Behind them, the cars loaded with reporters sailed passed the turnoff, but Julie was too unnerved by Ted's attitude to feel relieved. Carl's Blazer was already parked in the circular drive in front of the Cahills' sprawling brick mansion, but when Julie started to get out, Ted stopped her with his hand on her arm.

"I think we'd better have part of our conversation now, in private." He turned toward her and stretched his arm across the back of the seat. "As your attorney, I cannot be forced to repeat anything you tell me. Carl doesn't have that immunity and Katherine certainly doesn't."

"Attorney? Did you pass your bar exams?"

"I haven't heard yet," he said curtly. "Let's just assume I did and consider lack of notification as a technicality for now."

Julie felt a chill that had nothing to do with the fact that he'd turned off the car's engine. "I don't need an attorney."

"I think you're going to."

"Why?"

"Because you didn't tell the whole truth last night. You're a lousy liar, Julie, owing no doubt to your inexperience with it. Stop glaring at me. I'm trying to help."

Julie shoved her bare hands inside the sleeves of her fleece-lined jacket to warm them and studied a speck of lint in her lap.

"Let's hear it," he ordered, "the part you didn't tell the FBI."

She'd loved him so well and for so long that she dreaded to see disapproval on his face for the first time in all these years, but she lifted her chin and met his gaze. "Will you give me your solemn word never to tell anyone what I'm going to tell you?"

Her insistence on that made him lean his head back and swear under his breath: "You're in even deeper than I thought, aren't you?"

"I don't know what you thought, Ted. Do I have your word or not."

"Of course you have my word!" he said savagely. "I'd walk through hell for you, Julie, and you know it! So would Carl."

Trying to control the poignant tug on her heart from his words, Julie reminded herself of her vow not to shed any more tears and drew a ragged breath, "Thank you."

"Don't thank me, just talk to me! What lies did you tell to the FBI last night?"

"I wasn't blindfolded. I know how to find the house in Colorado."

She saw the effort it took him to stop his face from betraying any reaction to that. "What else?"

"That's all."

"It's what?"

"That's the only thing I actually lied about."

"Then what did you lie about by omission? What did you leave out?"

"Nothing that's anyone's business but my own."

"Don't play games with your lawyer! What did you leave out? I have to know so that I can either protect you or find an experienced lawyer to do it if it's over my head."

"Are you trying to find out if I slept with him?" Julie snapped back as her exhaustion and tension suddenly erupted in anger. "Because if you are, then don't play the same coy games that Richardson plays with me. Just ask me!"

"Don't knock Richardson," Ted shot back. "He is the only reason that Ingram hasn't read you your Miranda rights already. Ingram knows you're hiding something—maybe a lot of somethings—but Richardson is so dazzled by you that he's letting you wrap him around your finger."


Tags: Judith McNaught Second Opportunities Billionaire Romance
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