Jarred Into Being

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Chapter 44

Eva asked if she could use a phone and Red moved her to the conference room nearest to his office.

“You’ll have completely privacy in here, darling. And, unlike the authorities, I don’t tap my phones—as a general rule, that is.” He winked and closed the door.

Eva knew John Moody’s phone number from memory.

“Moody,” he answered.

“John, this is Eva. I need that tape of the governor that I gave you the other night.”

Silence.

“John? Are you there?” Eva spoke louder, wondering if the connection were faulty.

“Yes,” he said, “I’m here. But I don’t have that tape anymore.”

“Don’t have it! Why not? I asked you to keep it safe.”

“Oh, it’s safe all right,” he chuckled. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

“What do you mean? Where is it?”

“Albert Sr. kept it. After we listened to it he shoved it into his shirt pocket. Frankly, I don’t know what’s become of it.”

Eva frowned. “Thanks, John,” she said politely, hanging up.

Checking the time by the clock on the wall, Eva dialed Albert Sr.’s office number.

“I’m sorry,” the receptionist said, “Mr. Bennett is in a meeting at the moment. May I take a message?”

“Yes, this is Eva Lange calling and it’s terribly important that I speak with Mr. Bennett as soon as possible. It’s an emergency.” She looked at the business card Red had given her and read the number into the phone.

“I’ll give Mr. Bennett the message,” the receptionist said pleasantly. Click.

Eva went to Red’s perky secretary and explained she was waiting for a phone call. The girl smiled and assured her she would put it directly through to the conference room the moment it came in.

Returning to the conference room, Eva sat and put her head in her hands. She had to get that tape. She had to convince Pepper to take the case. If she couldn’t, if she failed, she would be failing Rafael again, just as she had failed him when she abandoned him in the tunnel. I can’t fail. I can’t. I won’t.

The phone jangled and it startled her. She lunged at the receiver.

“Miss Lange,” the girl said, “your phone call is on the line. I’ll put him through.”

“Eva? What’s wrong?” It was Albert Sr., his concern apparent. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine, Albert,” she said, smoothing her hair, “but I need your help.”

“Anything,” he said immediately.

“I hope you mean that,” she said. “I need the tape. John says you have it.”

Eva heard him inhale, his only response.

“Albert?”

“I’m here,” he said finally, his voice unsure.

“I need you to give me that tape as soon as we get back,” she explained.

“Will … why … who will be listening to it?”

“Just Red Pepper.”

“Just Red Pepper!” he yelled. “My God, Eva, you might as well give it to the Dallas-Fort Worth News!”

“It’s not like that, Albert,” she said. “He’s not using it for the case.”

“What then? Is he some kind of a pervert? He just wants to listen to you debase yourself?” Pause–then: “I’m sorry, Eva. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Eva took a deep breath. “I can’t explain why I need it right now, Albert. It’s complicated. I just need it; you have to trust me.”

“I do trust you,” he sputtered, “but Red is an entirely different story. We may be colleagues, but that doesn’t mean I’d trust him with my wife, or my reputation, for that matter.”

Eva sighed. “Albert?”

“Yes?”

“You said you loved me. You said you wanted a second chance, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“This is it,” Eva said sharply. “This is your second chance, Albert. This is the only second chance you’re going to get. I need that tape.”

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