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53

Mary peeked through the wired window of the interview room at the Roundhouse and felt her heart wrench in her chest. Jack sat cuffed to a steel chair that was bolted to the floor. A goose egg with broken skin swelled over his right eye and the wound on his cheek gaped. Blood dotted his tourist jacket and he slumped in the chair, in obvious fatigue and pain. Only his eyes had any life in them and they brightened the moment she opened the door.

'Jack!' she said, rushing into the grimy room. She didn't throw her arms around him, but knelt to be eye-level with him and touch his shoulder. She'd given up any pretense of sounding lawyerly, and his expression told her he had decided that he wasn't only a client anymore.

'Can I hire you back?' he asked, with a smile that reached her almost as deeply as a hug. A cut on his lip cracked when he grinned. 'Now that I know you're from a nice family and all.'

'You got it,' she said, flushing with pleasure, then recovered her wits. They were alone in the interview room but it had a two-way mirror with a video camera. The cops and maybe even Davis were on the other side. Mary leaned closer to Jack so they couldn't be overheard. They want to question you. The D.A. is convinced you were the one shooting at Paige. He had the cops looking for you. Let's just lay it out, okay? The whole truth and nothing but.'

'It's about time,' Jack whispered. 'The inheritance has to be why they think I tried to kill Paige. I don't benefit under Honor's will but I do under the trust, if Honor is dead. Get to Whittier. He's the executor in both and the fees are worth millions to him and the firm. That's all I've got to go on.'

'Don't worry.' Mary stood up and faced the mirror, her hand on Jack's shoulder. It was warm and strong beneath her fingertips, or maybe it felt good to acknowledge her feelings for him. 'Olley, olley, oxen free,' she called out, and in the next minute, the door to the interview room opened and in came Detectives Kovich and Donovan.

Kovich took the chair across from Jack, and Donovan stood against the wall. Mary didn't wait for a Q amp; A and laid out the truth about Jack falsely confessing to the murder and about Trevor killing Honor and telling Paige she did it. Jack picked up the story about Trevor's being the one in the ski mask and his theory about Whittier being behind the murder. Mary noticed they both omitted Brinkley, to keep him out of trouble.

Kovich listened intently, but Donovan scowled throughout the account. 'So, Mr Newlin, you want us to believe that one of your partners, William Whittier, was in a conspiracy with Trevor Olanski to kill your wife and daughter?'

'Yes,' Jack said, straightening in his chair with obvious discomfort. 'That's what's going on.'

'Sir, why would a partner in an important law firm conspire with a high school drug dealer?'

'I don't know that, I can't explain that myself. I was going to find out when I was brought here and I still can. Why don't you ask Whittier that question?'

Kovich looked concerned behind his overlarge aviators, but Donovan pursed thin lips. 'We did question Mr Whittier, and the story he told us is very different from yours.'

'What did he say?' Jack's tone turned angry. 'More crap about this supposed blackmail and cocaine scheme?'

'I'm not at liberty to discuss it with you, but we're investigating it. It conflicts directly with what you just told us.'

Tm not surprised, but what I've told you is true.'

'That's what you said at your confession, as I recall. I saw the video.' Donovan shoved his hands deep in the pocket

of his fashionable black pants. 'You said you were telling the truth then, but now you tell me it was all a lie. And your daughter, who went to Captain Walsh and said she was telling the truth, then later said she was lying, too. You put your own daughter up to protect you?'

'Of course not,' Jack snapped. 'We've explained it to you. You don't want to believe us, there's no way we can convince you. Trevor is dead now, so we can't ask him.' He edged forward on the steel chair, his handcuffs pulled tight. 'Let me go and I'll prove it to you.'

'I don't think so. You're here to answer our questions,' Donovan said, though Kovich appeared not to have any. 'Where were you when Paige was shot at? We place the time of the incident at about six o'clock.'

'I was trying to find her. I knew she was in danger from Trevor.'

'Where exactly did you go to find her?' Donovan asked skeptically. 'I assume we can verify who you talked to.'

Mary knew the detective was getting into the time period when Jack was with Brinkley. She wondered if Jack would tell the detectives about him. It would help Jack's cause but put Brinkley on the hook. Taking evidence from a crime scene; interfering with a police investigation. They could charge Brinkley with obstruction of justice.

'Mostly I called around, from my hotel,' Jack answered, and Donovan snorted in derision.

'You were so worried about your daughter that you picked up the phone and made a few calls?'

'It was my only option. I would have gone to look for her but I didn't know where to start, and I wasn't free to walk around the city, not with the press after me everywhere I went.'

'Got it.' Donovan nodded, and if a nod could be sarcastic, this one was. 'So you sat in your hotel room and called people. Who did you call?'

'Her apartment. A few photographers.'

Jack was making it up as he went along, and even Mary

could see it. He wouldn't betray Brinkley, and though she admired him for it, she considered doing it herself. The choice between Jack and Brinkley wasn't an easy one, but there was no way Donovan would believe them now anyway. Exposing Brinkley wouldn't accomplish anything but hurting him.

'So you made some calls to photographers,' Donovan was saying. 'What did you find out?'

'Nothing. I didn't reach anybody. I left messages everywhere I could.'

'Did you call nine-one-one, like you did after you killed your wife?' Donovan shot back, but Jack kept his cool.

'I told you, I didn't kill my wife. And no, I didn't call nine-one-one about Paige.'

'Why not, if you thought she was in mortal danger?'

'There wasn't time and I thought I could handle it myself.'

'Why would you think that, Mr Newlin? You have police training? Firearms, self-defense, and whatnot?' Donovan cocked a thin eyebrow, and Mary guessed he was trying to learn if Brinkley was involved.

'No training, but she's my daughter. I was the one who put her in jeopardy. I was the one who was going to get her out of it.'

'By making phone calls?' Donovan half smiled. 'That means your phone records at the hotel would back you up.'

'Yes they will,' Jack answered quickly, though Mary knew they wouldn't. It was time to interrupt.

'Detective,' she said, 'you've asked enough questions to make it clear you have no evidence to support a charge of attempted murder against Mr Newlin. It's the middle of the night, and Mr Newlin is exhausted and in need of medical attention. This fishing expedition is over. Release my client.' Mary rose to her feet, but Donovan stepped forward.

'Ms DiNunzio, you don't tell us when we're done, we tell

you. Your client is on bail for a murder charge. Now he's a suspect in an attempted murder of someone who may be a witness at his trial. So we got him on the attempt, obstruction charges, and witness tampering. We can hold him until we check his phone records and we will.'

Mary and Jack exchanged looks. They both knew it was true, and in the morning the D.A. would probably have Jack's bail revoked. He'd be in prison until the trial, unless she could free him. Mary was on her own again, without him. She had come full circle. But it was different now, for lots of reasons. Not the least of which was that she was certain of his innocence and that her attraction to him had become undeniable, maybe even mutual.

'So I agree with you, the interview is over. But you're the one who's leaving, Ms DiNunzio.'

Mary rose to her feet. 'You want to question Mr Newlin further, you call me first. Nobody goes near him without me there. You get him the medical attention he needs. In the morning I'm filing a motion with the court complaining of police harassment.'

'Somehow I knew you would say that,' Donovan shot back, and Kovich got up and opened the door.

Mary noticed he avoided her eye when she walked out.

Dwight Davis stood with Captain Walsh on the other side of the two-way mirror. Davis felt fresh despite the late hour, but Walsh rested an arm wearily against the molding around the mirror, which looked onto the interview room like a window. 'This case is gonna kill me,' the captain said wearily, watching Kovich recuff Newlin through the window. 'I don't work this shift anymore.'

'Lighten up. Cap.' Davis grinned, his legal pad hugged to his chest. He watched the two-way mirror as if it were great TV. 'We caught Newlin in another lie, and as soon as I talk to the Chief, he'll pick up an attempted murder charge. I gotta find a way to get this before a jury. This man is going down big-time.'

'Newlin's not the problem,' Walsh said under his breath, but Davis picked it up.

'Who then?'

'What?'

'Who is the problem?'

Walsh sighed. 'Brinkley.'

'Brinkley?' Davis's neat head snapped from the window. 'You think he's helping them?'

'I can handle it.'

'Shit!' Davis was pissed. The fuckin' cops. From time to time he had to remind them who ran the show. Unlike lots of D.A.s, he didn't kiss up to the department. 'Cap, I'll be straight with you -'

'Hold the lecture, counselor.'

'No. If I find out that Brinkley had anything to do with Newlin or DiNunzio, I'll charge him with aiding and abetting, accessory after the fact, anything I can find. I will not have a rogue cop undermining my prosecution.'

'Brinkley's not a rogue cop, for Christ's sake,' Walsh shot back.

'Get him in line, or I will/ Davis said, and walked out.


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