Legacy (Page 45)

THERE ARE SOME THINGS ABOUT BEING A VAMPIRE that I've begun to take for granted. For instance, I can leap off a two-story building with perfect confidence that I won't break anything major. It's hard to describe what being airborne feels like-something between hovering like a helicopter and gliding like a bird. Since I have neither rotors nor wings, I don't know how I'm able to defy the laws of gravity. I simply know that I can.

I land on my feet with barely a jolt. I glance up to see if Jason caught my aerodynamic display, but luckily, he's not at the window. I take to the bushes and work my way back to the gate. This time, I don't want to risk opening it so I follow the brick wall until I come to a place that I estimate is close to where I left the Hummer. There's a tree on this side that I shimmy up to survey the road. The Hummer is a half block away. No security car in sight. It's a quick hop to the ground and I'm on my way.

I drive out of Fairbanks Ranch before I pull over to consider what I should do next. My first impulse, to call Detective Harris and tell him about the gun, is stifled by the questions he's bound to ask. Like where I found it, how I knew where to look for it and how I got into the O'Sullivan house in the first place. Questions I'm not willing to answer. I could tell Gloria's lawyer. He could go to the DA's office and ask them to issue a search warrant. Would they, though, with no other evidence except the word of a person who conducted an illegal search?

What if Gloria's fingerprints are on the gun?

What if this is a setup?

I have no answers so I head for town. I'll let Gloria's attorney figure it out.

I remember from his letterhead that his address is in the Darth Vader building. I debate stopping at the hospital to see how Gloria is doing, but logically, getting the gun to the police should be first priority. I have no idea how often Mrs. O'Sullivan goes into her office. She'll notice the broken lock as soon as she does.

It isn't until I'm downtown and stalled in holiday-shopping traffic that I remember. It's Sunday afternoon.


As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I disentangle myself and get off Harbor Drive, heading for Pacific Coast Highway. I'll stop at the office and leave a message for Gloria's lawyer to contact me as soon as possible.

My own telephone message light is blinking when I get to the office. There are two messages: One from David asking me to meet him at the hospital. The second is from my dad.

"Anna," he says. "Take a look at the business section of today's paper. I think you'll find something of interest. Call me if you have any questions."

The paper is still outside; I hadn't bothered to pick it up. Now I retrieve it and spread it open on the desk. I have to sort through all the junk ads and flyers before finding the business section.

Something of interest?

You betcha.

The lead story is about the late Rory O'Sullivan and his aborted foray into the pharmaceutical business.

And the suit being brought against his estate by the officers of Benton Pharmaceuticals, charging that O'Sullivan stole the formula for their HIV cure and sold it to a foreign country.

Stole the formula? I remember what my dad said about O'Sullivan being the financier behind Benton. If that was true, knowing how shrewd a businessman he was, wouldn't the contract have stipulated that the formula belonged to him? I can see how the officers of the company would be enraged by getting cut out of a deal, but would they have legal basis for a lawsuit? And what benefit would O'Sullivan gain by selling such a valuable formula to a foreign entity instead of marketing it here in this country?

It also puts a new slant on what I found hidden in Jason's drawer. The name of the company on the invitation was Pharmaceutique Bouvier Compagnie de la France. Is this the foreign company O'Sullivan is suspected of selling the formula to? It's not named in the newspaper article. Maybe those bringing the suit don't yet know it.

Why would Jason hide that invitation? I'm beginning to suspect Jason's mom isn't the only one trying to steer the investigation in a certain direction. It makes me wonder if he was truthful about what he heard outside his father's den that morning.

I need to talk to my own dad. A glance at my watch shows it's getting close to dinnertime. No way am I going to risk having to decline another of my mom's meal invitations. We parted on friendly terms this morning. I won't push my luck. What I will do is call Dad at his office tomorrow-or maybe drop by in person after seeing Gloria's lawyer.

Which leaves me nothing more to do except head for the hospital. Before I leave, I put that call through to Gloria's lawyer. An answering service picks up, and I leave my name and number.

DAVID IS STANDING OUTSIDE GLORIA'S HOSPITAL room door. He doesn't see me at first. He's leaning against the wall, head down, shoulders slumped. He looks sad and my heart jumps.

I rush up to him. "What's the matter? Is it Gloria?"

He straightens with a sudden jerk. "Where did you come from?"

"You told me to meet you here, remember? Why are you standing outside? Did something happen to Gloria?" I move to look through the window in the door. There are two people standing in my line of sight, their backs to me. A man I recognize dressed in an off-the-rack suit, Harris, and a woman I don't with smooth, shoulder-length black hair who's decked out in a red Versace power suit and Ferragamo pumps. "I can't see Gloria; Harris is in the way. Is she all right?"

David waves a hand. "Slow down. She's fine. She's with her lawyer. Harris arrived a minute ago."

The Versace suit is her lawyer? "That's Jamie Sutherland? Gloria never mentioned that her lawyer was a woman. I assumed-"

"That Jamie was a man. Happens all the time."

I turn away from the window and focus my attention on David. "I'm sorry for dragging you back here. You know I wouldn't have if I'd been able to come up with anyone else. I don't suppose Gloria told you what I've been doing?"

He nods. "She said you're working for her. Trying to prove her innocence. You helping Gloria. A surprising turn of events, wouldn't you say?"

But he's smiling, which makes me smile, too. With relief. "No kidding. When I started the investigation, I didn't really care how it turned out because Gloria and I made a pact. Did she tell you about that, as well?"

He nods, eyes serious once again. "She did. When this is over, she's gone. For good."

I'm not sure how to interpret his expression. Is it relief or sadness? I'm glad Gloria was honest with him for once. "You know, all that aside, I don't think Gloria killed O'Sullivan. I think she's being framed."

David looks past me into the room. "She didn't try to kill herself, either," he says quietly.

Shit. All the good feelings I had for the woman are swallowed up in a rush of anger. My first instincts had been right. "Damn it. You mean she really did fake it? Is that woman stupid or delusional?"

David stops me with an upturned hand. "No. I don't mean she faked it. I mean it wasn't suicide. Somebody tried to kill her."