Would you just look at all these lawyers. The glare from all that dental work is worse than the TV lights I've been staring into lately. I'm glad I remembered my sunglasses. Lawyers. You'd think this case was going to set off a litigation frenzy the way they're swarming.
I just hope none of them gets a good look at me. I swear, if one more photographer wants a copy of my face, I'll take his in trade. It's gotten so bad lately that I've even started to avoid looking at mirrors.
Crap. Now what? Hey, wasn't that the chatty brunette I passed on the stairs? Well, maybe I can keep out of sight until the doors open. I'll duck between these two knots of high-priced lawyers and lay low for a while.
Great. Now she's right behind me. "Yes?" What is that, a grimace or a smile?
"I was hoping to get a few words with you before the proceedings get underway."
"About what? I must have repeated the same boring story to a thousand reporters by now. What can they possibly have missed?"
She flashed one of those 'now I've got you' smiles. "Plenty. I've been following the whole sordid affair for months now, and every one of the interviews you've given has focused on the details of the scandal. They grilled you on names, dates, places and even account numbers, but the one thing they all seemed to have overlooked was the astonishing precedent that this case will set."
I'd been unconsciously averting my eyes since she first started talking, but by the time she was through, she might just as well have been the only other person in the hallway. "Precedent?"
"Then I have your attention?"
"Sure, unless you didn't really mean that."
"Oh, I meant it, all right." She grimaced again, and glanced over her shoulder. "Look, can we go somewhere a bit quieter? There's a bench around the corner."
Without waiting for an answer, she turned and strode confidently into the gabbling crowd, disappearing behind a pair of preening prosecutors.
I hate being manipulated. Still, at least her passive aggressive thing isn't as bad as the overt browbeating I got at Consolidated Communications. Oh well. I mean, what are the odds? It's probably safe. What the heck, I might as well go see whjat she wants.
She watched me approach, and waited until I sat down beside her before opening her mouth. But before she had a chance to say anything, the hallway resonated with a low moan as the bailiffs opened the big double doors and started herding people in.