A few low words were exchanged with the other two gentlemen, then one broke away and followed the guards. After a few minutes, the gray-haired man led Sadie around the opposite side of the glass wall and over to the elevator bank.
They never even glanced in Zach’s direction.
“Thank you again, Ms. Adams, for coming in to give your deposition. I’m very, very sorry for the commotion. I have no idea how Mr. Beddingfield found out you would be here today.”
Sadie shook her head, but Zach could see that her hand remained clasped over the front of her throat. Her arms were pressed close against her torso. “No, it’s not your fault. I just hope I’ve done what I can to make sure y’all know the truth about Zachary Gatlin.”
An electric pulse set Zach on edge as he heard his name on her lips. He knew it shouldn’t affect him—or rather, he shouldn’t let it affect him. But he was a man who’d been in love, after all.
He stood quietly as the two finished their conversation. The lawyer, whom Zach now knew to be Timberlake, delivered her carefully into the elevator, as if worried about any lasting effects from the confrontation. Only as she faced the reception area once more did she glance beyond where the lawyer stood.
Her eyes widened in surprise just as the doors slid closed.
“Pardon me?” The lawyer’s confused look confirmed Zach had spoken out loud, even though he hadn’t intended to.
“Will Sadie be able to support her sister? Or will Beddingfield be able to keep her from getting work?”
The confusion cleared. “Oh, no. He won’t be able to poison future employers against her—I drafted your father’s reference letter for Ms. Adams myself. Plus, she has a good reputation with the people who have visited his home over the years. She’ll be fine, professionally.”
Zach sensed something more. “But?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know of a job in her field that will pay enough to take care of the medical bills.”
Zach knew about that all too well.
Timberlake leaned forward, his expression earnest. After their conversations over the phone, Zach had found him to be someone he felt pretty comfortable with. The man’s motives seemed straightforward.
“I wouldn’t normally say this,” he started, “but I know you’ve met Sadie personally. The deposition she gave is proof of that.”
“Was it now?”
“The contents will be made public in court, but yes, she was very clear about your values, your family and the respect you have from your business associates. She explained in detail her efforts and inability to find any complaints against you or any criminal activity.”
Zach hadn’t realized that she would be so thorough in her report.
The lawyer went on. “I wonder if you know what a gift that is?”
Zach raised his brows in question.
“She didn’t have to do that. She could easily have lied. If she had, she’d have been set for life.”
What? “I don’t understand.”
“She confided to me, when she first came in, that Victor Beddingfield had offered her a quarter of the inheritance if she could find anything that would disqualify you. That money would have more than paid for her sister’s treatments. Sadie would never have had to work again.”
That was the truth. From everything he’d seen, a quarter of the inheritance, even after exorbitant estate taxes, would still be a fortune. A fortune Sadie desperately needed.
“But she never spoke against me?”
Timberlake shook his head. “Not a word.” His gaze met Zach’s directly. “Look, I’m not telling you this because I expect anything. I’m going to connect Sadie with some organizations that might be able to help her with her sister’s treatments from here on out. But once you have that debt, it often can’t be wiped away...at least not in any way that Sadie would accept.”
The lawyer smiled sadly. “I could tell from the way she spoke that Sadie is not neutral in your case.” He raised his hands. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t care. But I think she should at least get credit for trying to do the right thing—in the end.”