Page 63 of Rage of Angels

Two interns were wheeling Jennifer out of the operating room and into Intensive Care. A uniformed policeman followed at Jennifer's side. The hospital corridor was a bedlam of policemen, detectives and reporters.

A man walked up to the reception desk and said, "I want to see Jennifer Parker."

"Are you a member of her family?"

"No. I'm a friend."

"I'm sorry. No visitors. She's in Intensive Care."

"I'll wait."

"It could be a long time."

"That doesn't matter," Ken Bailey said.

A side door opened and Adam Warner, gaunt and haggard, entered, flanked by a team of secret service men.

A doctor was waiting to greet him. "This way, Senator Warner." He led Adam into a small office.

"How is she?" Adam asked.

"I'm not optimistic. We removed three bullets from her."

The door opened and District Attorney Robert Di Silva hurried in. He looked at Adam Warner and said, "I'm sure glad you're okay."

Adam said, "I understand I owe my thanks to you. How did you know?"

"Jennifer Parker called me. She told me they were setting you up in New Canaan. I figured it was probably some kind of diversionary ploy, but I couldn't take a chance, so I covered it. Meanwhile, I got hold of the route you were taking and we sent some choppers after you to protect you. My hunch is that Parker tried to set you up."

"No," Adam said. "No."

Robert Di Silva shrugged. "Have it your way, Senator. The important thing is that you're alive." As an afterthought he turned to the doctor. "Is she going to live?"

"Her chances are not very good."

The District Attorney saw the look on Adam Warner's face and misinterpreted it. "Don't worry. If she makes it, we've got her nailed down tight."

He looked at Adam more closely. "You look like hell. Why don't you go home and get some rest?"

"I want to see Jennifer Parker first."

The doctor said, "She's in a coma. She may not come out of it."

"I would like to see her, please."

"Of course, Senator. This way."

The doctor led the way out of the room, with Adam following and Di Silva behind him. They walked a few feet down the corridor to a sign that said INTENSIVE CARE UNIT - KEEP OUT.

The doctor opened the door and held it for the two men. "She's in the first room."

There was a policeman in front of the door, guarding it. He came to attention as he saw the District Attorney.

"No one gets near that room without written authorization from me. You understand?" Di Silva asked.

"Yes, sir."

Adam and Di Silva walked into the room. There were three beds, two of them empty. Jennifer lay in the third, tubes running into her nostrils and wrists. Adam moved close to the bed and stared down at her. Jennifer's face was very pale against the white pillows, and her eyes were closed. In repose, her face seemed younger and softer. Adam was looking at the innocent girl he had met years ago, the girl who had said angrily to him, If anyone had paid me off, do you think I'd be living in a place like this? I don't care what you do. All I want is to be left alone. He remembered her courage and idealism and her vulnerability. She had been on the side of the angels, believing in justice and willing to fight for it. What had gone wrong? He had loved her and he loved her still, and he had made one wrong choice that had poisoned all their lives, and he knew he would never feel free of guilt for as long as he lived.

He turned to the doctor. "Let me know when she - " He could not say the words. " - what happens."

"Of course," the doctor said.

Adam Warner took one long last look at Jennifer and said a silent good-bye. Then he turned and walked out to face the waiting reporters.

Through a dim, misty haze of semiconsciousness, Jennifer heard the men leave. She had not understood what they were saying, for their words were blurred by the pain that gripped her. She thought she had heard Adam's voice, but she knew that could not be. He was dead. She tried to open her eyes, but the effort was too great.

Jennifer's thoughts began to drift...Abraham Wilson came running into the room carrying a box. He stumbled and the box opened and a yellow canary flew out of it...Robert Di Silva was screaming, Catch it! Don't let it get away!...and Michael Moretti was holding it and laughing, and Father Ryan said, Look, everybody! It's a miracle! and Connie Garrett was dancing around the room and everyone applauded...Mrs. Cooper said, I'm going to give you Wyoming...Wyoming...Wyoming...and Adam came in with dozens of red roses and Michael said, They're from me, and Jennifer said, I'll put them in a vase in water, and they shriveled and died and the water spilled onto the floor and became a lake, and she and Adam were sailing, and Michael was chasing them on water skis and he became Joshua and he smiled at Jennifer and waved and started to lose his balance, and she screamed, Don't fall...Don't fall...Don't fall...and an enormous wave swept Joshua into the air and he held out his arms like Jesus and disappeared.

For an instant, Jennifer's mind cleared.

Joshua was gone.

Adam was gone.

Michael was gone.

She was alone. In the end, everyone was alone. Each person had to die his own death. It would be easy to die now.

A feeling of blessed peace began to steal over her. Soon there was no more pain.