Fifty-five

The fifteen minutes that passed from the time Molly’s airphone was cut off until she was on the ground and able to use her cellphone were excruciating.  She closed her eyes and counted to a hundred, she bounced her knees, she worried at the polish that was chipping off of one fingernail until it was gone and plucked at the hair on the nape of her neck until she was sure there had to be a bald patch there.  None of it made the time go any faster.  Neither did the curious stares of nearly everyone else on the plane, whom she imagined could see a black cloud of impotent rage hovering over her head.

As soon as she could, she called Eddie back.  The interruption had cooled the passion of her outburst, at least, so she was prepared to talk to him rationally again.  “It’s me again,” she said without preamble.  “Where were we?”

“You were going off on me.”

“I was, wasn’t I?”  Molly walked quickly though the concourse, one hand pulling her wheeled overnighter behind her, the other holding the phone against her ear.  “Well, I’m past that now.  Tell me what Ian’s going to do to fix this.”

“I don’t think he knows.”

“Good, then tell him to stay the hell out of the way, and you help me fix this.”

“No problem.  Tell me what needs fixing.”

“Why are you so agreeable?” she asked.  “I get the feeling that you’re one of those people I shouldn’t trust when you’re agreeing with me.”

Eddie let loose with a belly laugh.  “Touche, Miss Snow.  I am going to be agreeable because, one, I like Lexi and would like to consider her a friend–“

“Bullshit,” Molly snapped.

“–And two, because I get the feeling that I’d much rather have you as an ally than an enemy.  Even if Ian doesn’t realize this, I know it to be true.  So I’ll work with you.  So, I ask again, what do you need from me?”

“Let me make sure I’ve got the situation straight, first.  Ian was duped into messing up Lexi’s money after he was given representation rights, and he was intentionally led astray by a lawyer connected to the Packards’ pet law firm, yes?”

“That sounds about right.”

“I’ll need a lawyer for Lexi.  Someone on her side this time, preferably.”

“I can do that.  End of the day fine?”

“Do it in two hours.”

“I like the way you work, lady.”

Molly tossed her head as if he could see her.  “Don’t patronize me.  I also need anything Ian’s got that proves this story.  Anything.  He’s probably going to get burned, and I don’t really care if he does, personally.  You’re welcome to help him out any way you can, as long as it doesn’t involve holding back conclusive evidence of this connection.”

“What are you, a reporter or something?”

“Actually, I am.”

“I was being sarcastic,” Eddie said.  “I already knew you were a reporter.”

“Kiss my ass,” Molly snapped.

“Is that something else you need me to do, or was that optional?”

She let that one slide, realizing that to rise to the bait would only encourage him.  “Just get someone to help me.  Preferably in New York.”

“You screamed something earlier about her having a bomb in the car?”

“I don’t know for sure.”  Molly had reached the curb, and stopped just short of stepping in front of a Hertz bus.  She raised her voice to be heard over traffic.  “I’m trying to find out.  If she does, she’s probably going to the Packards’ estate and anything from there on depends on whether she kills herself or not.”  The emotionless, just-the-facts way with which she was able to say that startled even her.  Her stomach felt like someone had dropped a grenade in it, but it didn’t show in her voice.

The seriousness of it wasn’t lost on Eddie, to his credit.  “Do you really think she’ll go that far?” he asked softly.

“I don’t know, Eddie.  I don’t know.  Look, I’m almost to my car.  I’m going to call Glen again–he’s in the car with her–and see where they are, and if he knows anything else.  I’ll be in touch.”

“I’m on it,” Eddie said, and hung up.