Chapter Sixty-One

The signalman on the ground, wearing oversized earmuffs, waved his two semaphores, guiding the jumbo 747 toward the waiting ramp. The plane pulled up to a fixed circle and, at a signal, the pilot cut the four Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines.

Inside the giant plane a steward's voice came over the loudspeaker, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have just landed at New York's Kennedy Airport. We thank you for flying TWA. Will all passengers please remain in their seats until a further announcement. Thank you."

There were general murmurs of protest. A moment later the doors were opened by the ramp crew. The two FBI agents seated with Jennifer in the front of the plane rose to their feet.

One of them turned to Jennifer and said, "Let's go."

The passengers watched with curiosity as the three people left the plane. A few minutes later the steward's voice came over the loudspeaker again. "Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentlemen. You may now disembark."

A government limousine was waiting at a side entrance to the airport. The first stop was the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 150 Park Row, that connected into the United States Court House at Foley Square.

After Jennifer had been booked, one of the FBI men said, "Sorry, we can't keep you here. We have orders to take you out to Riker's Island."

The ride to Riker's Island was made in silence. Jennifer sat in the back seat between the two FBI men, saying nothing, but her mind was busy. The two men had been uncommunicative during the entire trip across the ocean, so Jennifer had no way of knowing how much trouble she was in. She knew that it was serious, for it was not easy to obtain a warrant of extradition.

She could do nothing to help herself while she was in jail. Her first priority was to get out on bail.

They were crossing the bridge to Riker's Island now, and Jennifer looked out at the familiar view, a view she had seen a hundred times on the way to talk to clients. And now she was a prisoner.

But not for long, Jennifer thought. Michael will get me out.

The two FBI men escorted Jennifer into the reception building and one of the men handed the guard the extradition warrant.

"Jennifer Parker."

The guard glanced at it. "We've been expecting you, Miss Parker. You have a reservation in Detention Cell Three."

"I have the right to one phone call."

The guard nodded toward the telephone on his desk. "Sure."

Jennifer picked it up, silently praying that Michael Moretti was in. She began to dial.

Michael Moretti had been waiting for Jennifer's call. For the last twenty-four hours he had been able to think of nothing else. He had been informed when Jennifer had landed in London, when her plane had left Heathrow, and when she had arrived back in New York. He had sat at his desk, mentally tracking Jennifer on her way to Riker's Island. He had visualized her entering the prison. She would demand to make a phone call before they put her in a cell. She would call him. That was all he asked. He would have her out of there in an hour, and then she would be on her way to him. Michael Moretti was living for the moment when Jennifer Parker walked through the door.

Jennifer had done the unforgivable. She had given her body to the man who was trying to destroy him. And what else had she given him? What secrets had she told him?

Adam Warner was the father of Jennifer's son. Michael was certain of that now. Jennifer had lied to him from the beginning, had told him that Joshua's father was dead. Well, that was a prophecy that will soon be fulfilled, Michael told himself. He was caught in an ironic conflict. On the one hand, he had a powerful weapon he could use to discredit and destroy Adam Warner. He could blackmail Warner with the threat of exposing his relationship with Jennifer; but if he did that, he would be exposing himself. When the Families learned - and they would learn - that Michael's woman was the mistress of the head of the Senate Investigating Committee, Michael would become a laughingstock. He would no longer be able to hold up his head or command his men. A cuckold was not fit to be a don. So the blackmail threat was a double-edged sword and, as tempting as it was, Michael knew that he dare not use it. He would have to destroy his enemies in another way.

Michael looked at the small, crudely drawn map on the desk in front of him. It was Adam Warner's route to where he was going to attend a private fund-raising dinner party that evening. The map had cost Michael Moretti five thousand dollars. It was going to cost Adam Warner his life.

The telephone rang on Michael's desk and he involuntarily started. He picked it up and heard Jennifer's voice on the other end. That voice that had whispered endearments into his ear, that had begged him to make love to her, that -

"Michael - are you there?"

"I'm here. Where are you?"

"They've got me at Riker's Island. They're holding me on a murder charge. Bail hasn't been set yet. When can you - ?"

"I'll have you out of there in no time. Just sit tight. Okay?"

"Yes, Michael." He could hear the relief in her voice.

"I'll have Gino pick you up."

A few moments later Michael reached for the telephone and dialed a number. He spoke into the phone for several minutes.

"I don't care how high the bail is. I want her out now."

He replaced the receiver and pressed a button on his desk. Gino Gallo came in.

"Jennifer Parker's at Riker's Island. She should be sprung in an hour or two. Pick her up and bring her here."

"Right, boss."

Michael leaned back in his chair. "Tell her we won't have to worry about Adam Warner after today."

Gino Gallo's face brightened. "No?"

"No. He's on his way to deliver a speech, but he'll never get there. He's going to have an accident at the bridge at New Canaan."

Gino Gallo smiled. "That's great, boss."

Michael gestured toward the door. "Move."

District Attorney Di Silva fought Jennifer's bail with every stratagem at his command. They were appearing before William Bennett, a judge of the Supreme Court of New York.

"Your Honor," Robert Di Silva said, "the defendant is charged with a dozen counts of felony. We had to extradite her from Singapore. If she's granted bail, she'll flee to someplace where there is no extradition. I ask that Your Honor deny bail."

John Lester, a former judge who was representing Jennifer, said, "The District Attorney is guilty of gross distortion, Your Honor. My client did not flee anywhere. She was in Singapore on business. If the government had asked her to return she would have done so voluntarily. She's a reputable attorney with a large practice here. It would be inconceivable that she would run away."

The arguments went on for more than thirty minutes.

At the end of that time, Judge Bennett said, "Bail is granted in the sum of five hundred thousand dollars."

"Thank you, Your Honor," Jennifer's attorney said. "We'll pay the bail."

Fifteen minutes later, Gino Gallo was helping Jennifer into the back of a Mercedes limousine.

"That didn't take long," he said.

Jennifer did not reply. Her mind was on what was happening. She had been completely isolated in Singapore. She had no idea of what had been going on in the United States, but she was certain that her arrest was not an unrelated incident. They would not be after her alone. She badly needed to talk to Michael and find out what had been happening. Di Silva had to be very sure of himself to have had her brought back on a murder charge. He -

Gino Gallo said two words that caught Jennifer's attention.

"...Adam Warner..."

Jennifer had not been listening.

"What did you say?"

"I said we won't have to worry about Adam Warner no more. Mike is havin' him took care of."

Jennifer could feel her heart begin to pound. "He is? When?"

Gino Gallo raised his hand from the wheel to glance at his watch. "In about fifteen minutes. It's set up to look like an accident."

Jennifer's mouth was suddenly dry. "Where - " She could not get the words out. "Where - where is it going to happen?"

"New Canaan. The bridge."

They were passing through Queens. Ahead was a shopping center with a pharmacy.

"Gino, will you pull up in front of that drugstore? I have to get something."

"Sure." He skillfully turned the wheel and swung into the entrance to the shopping center. "Can I help you?"

"No, no. I'll - I'll only be a minute."

Jennifer got out of the car and hurried inside, nerves screaming. There was a telephone booth at the back of the store. Jennifer reached into her purse. She had no change except for some Singapore coins. She hurried over to the cashier and pulled out a dollar.

"Could I have change, please?"

The bored cashier took Jennifer's money and gave her a handful of silver. Jennifer dashed back to the telephone. A stout woman was picking up the receiver and dialing.

Jennifer said, "I have an emergency. I wonder if I could - "

The woman glared at her and kept dialing.

"Hello, Hazel," the woman whooped. "My horoscope was right. I've had the worst day! You know the shoes I was going to pick up at Delman's? Would you believe they sold the only pair they had in my size?"

Jennifer touched the woman's arm and begged, "Please!"

"Get your own phone," the woman hissed. She turned back to the receiver. "Remember the suede ones we saw? Gone! So you know what I did? I said to that clerk..."

Jennifer closed her eyes and stood there, oblivious to everything but the torment inside her. Michael must not kill Adam. She had to do whatever she could to save him.

The woman hung up and turned to Jennifer. "I should make another call, just to teach you a lesson," she said.

As she walked away, smiling at her little victory, Jennifer made a grab for the phone. She called Adam's office.

"I'm sorry," his secretary said, "but Senator Warner is not in. Do you wish to leave a message?"

"It's urgent," Jennifer said. "Do you know where he can be reached?"

"No, I'm sorry. If you would like to - "

Jennifer hung up. She stood there a moment, thinking, then quickly dialed another number. "Robert Di Silva."

There was an interminable wait and then: "The District Attorney's office."

"I have to speak to Mr. Di Silva. This is Jennifer Parker."

"I'm sorry. Mr. Di Silva is in a conference. He can't be dis - "

"You get him on this telephone. This is an emergency. Hurry!" Jennifer's voice was trembling.

Di Silva's secretary hesitated. "Just a moment."

A minute later, Robert Di Silva was on the telephone. "Yes?" His voice was unfriendly.

"Listen, and listen carefully," Jennifer said. "Adam Warner's going to be killed. It's going to happen in the next ten or fifteen minutes. They're planning to do it at the New Canaan bridge."

She hung up. There was nothing more she could do. A brief vision of Adam's torn body came into her mind and she shuddered. She looked at her watch and silently prayed that Di Silva would be able to get help there in time.

Robert Di Silva replaced the receiver and looked at the halfdozen men in his office. "That was a weird call."

"Who was it?"

"Jennifer Parker. She said they're going to assassinate Senator Warner."

"Why did she call you?"

"Who knows?"

"Do you think it's on the level?"

District Attorney Di Silva said, "Hell, no."

Jennifer walked through the office door and, in spite of himself, Michael could not help reacting to her beauty. It was the same way he felt every time he saw her. Outside, she was the loveliest woman he had ever seen. But inside she was treacherous, deadly. He looked at the lips that had kissed Adam Warner and at the body that had lain in Adam Warner's arms.

She was walking in saying, "Michael, I'm so glad to see you. Thank you for arranging everything so quickly."

"No problem. I've been waiting for you, Jennifer." She would never know how much he meant that.

She sank into an armchair. "Michael, what in God's name is going on? What's happening?"

He studied her, half admiring her. She was responsible for helping to bring his empire crashing down, and she was sitting there innocently asking what was going on!

"Do you know why they brought me back?"

Sure, he thought. So you can sing some more for them. He remembered the little yellow canary with its broken neck. That would be Jennifer soon.

Jennifer looked into his black eyes. "Are you all right?"

"I've never been better." He leaned back in his chair. "In a few minutes, all our problems are going to be over."

"What do you mean?"

"Senator Warner is going to have an accident. That'll cool off the committee pretty good." He looked at the clock on the wall. "I should be getting a phone call any minute."

There was something odd in Michael's manner, something forbidding. Jennifer was filled with a sudden premonition of danger. She knew she had to get out of there.

She stood up. "I haven't had a chance to unpack. I'll go - "

"Sit down." The undertone in Michael's voice sent a chill down her back.

"Michael - "

"Sit down."

She glanced toward the door. Gino Gallo was standing there, his back against it, watching Jennifer with no expression on his face.

"You're not going anywhere," Michael told her.

"I don't under - "

"Don't talk. Don't say another word."

They sat there waiting, staring at each other, and the only sound in the room was the loud ticking of the clock on the wall. Jennifer tried to read Michael's eyes, but they were blank, filled with nothing, giving away nothing.

The sudden ringing of the telephone jarred the stillness of the room. Michael picked up the receiver. "Hello?...Are you sure?...All right. Get out of there." He replaced the receiver and looked up at Jennifer. "The bridge at New Canaan is swarming with cops."

Jennifer could feel the relief flooding through her body. It became a sense of exhilaration. Michael was watching her and she made an effort not to let her emotions show.

Jennifer asked, "What does that mean?"

Michael said slowly, "Nothing. Because that's not where Adam Warner is going to die."

***

***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com

***