فصل 14

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فصل 14

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CHAPTER FOURTHEEN

A New Life

“I’m thinking about my new life,” I said. And we both smiled.

Early Friday I was happily helping homeless people at the 14th Street Law Center, though not, of course, speaking as a lawyer, when Arthur Jacobs suddenly appeared at my door. I said hello nicely, though I couldn’t imagine what he wanted. He said no to coffee. He just wanted to talk.

Arthur said that the last few weeks had been the most difficult of his fifty-six years as a lawyer. Drake and Sweeney was OK again now, but he still couldn’t sleep. He felt guilty about the deaths of the Burton family and he would never forget it. And he was tired of chasing money. I was too surprised to say much, so I just listened. Arthur was suffering and I felt sorry for him.

He asked about the Law Center and the work we did. How long had the Center been there? How many people worked there? Where did the money come from? This gave me an opportunity and I took it. I told Arthur that because I couldn’t work as a lawyer, I was starting a pro bono program. I was going to use lawyers from the big Washington law companies. These volunteer lawyers would work a few hours a week and I would tell them what to do. We could reach thousands of homeless people.

Arthur liked the idea. As we discussed it, the program grew larger. After a few minutes, he was talking about sending all 400 of his Washington lawyers to do pro bono work for a few hours a week.

“Would 400 lawyers be too many?” Arthur asked.

“No,” I said. “But I’ll need help from inside Drake and Sweeney. I know someone. He’s at the Chicago office, but I’m sure you can get him back.”

As I had guessed, Arthur knew nothing about Hector Palma or how he had helped me get the RiverOaks file. Hector would be back in Washington in a month, working with me.

Arthur stayed in my office for two hours. He was a much happier man when he left. He had a purpose in life. I walked him to his car and then ran to tell Mordecai the good news. We could help as many homeless people as we needed to.


Megan’s uncle owned a house near Fenwick Island, right near the ocean, a perfect place for a weekend break.

We left Washington Friday afternoon. I drove and Megan told me where to go. And Ruby sat in the back seat, eating cookies, excited by the thought of spending a few days outside the city. Megan had told me very clearly that there were three bedrooms in her uncle’s house - one for each of us.

It rained Saturday - a cold shower that blew in from the ocean. Megan and I sat and watched it out of the window, sitting close together on the couch.

“Where’s our client?” I asked.

“Ruby? Watching TV. What are you thinking?” she asked quietly.

Everything and nothing. Thirty-two days earlier I had been married to another woman, living in a different apartment, and doing different work. I didn’t even know the woman whose head was now on my shoulder. How could life change so much in a month?

“I’m thinking about my new life,” I said.

And we both smiled.

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