All rumors eventually got back to the money as the

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Unformatted text preview: ring, the judge granted the restraining order. As an established member of the legal community, the judge was very familiar with the saga of Patrick Lanigan. His wife had been snubbed by Trudy shortly after she took delivery of the red Rolls. As Trudy and Lance pawed each other and schemed with their lawyer, a copy of the restraining order was driven to Mobile and enrolled with the county clerk. Two hours later, as they sipped their first drink on their patio and gazed forlornly across Mobile Bay, a process server intruded long enough to hand Trudy a copy of the lawsuit filed by Northern Case Mutual, a summons to appear in court in Biloxi, and a certified copy of the restraining order. Among its list of prohibitions was an order for her not to write another check until the judge said so. Seven ATTORNEY ETHAN RAPLEY left his dark attic, XXshowered and shaved and poured eyedrops into his bloodshot retinas, and sipped strong coffee as he found a semiclean navy blazer to wear downtown. He hadn't been to the office in sixteen days. Not that he was missed, and he certainly didn't miss anyone there. They faxed him when they needed him, and he faxed them back. He wrote the briefs and memos and motions the firm needed to survive, and he did the research for people he despised. He was occasionally forced to put on a tie and meet a client or attend some hideous conference with his fellow partners. He hated his office; he hated the people, even the ones he barely knew; he hated every book on every shelf and every file on every desk. He hated the photos on his wall, and the smell of everything-the stale coffee in the hall, the chemicals near the copier, the perfume of the secretaries. Everything. Yet, he caught himself almost smiling as he eased through the late afternoon traffic along the Coast. He nodded at an old acquaintance as he walked rather briskly down the Vieux Marche. He actually spoke to the receptionist, a woman he helped pay but whose last name he couldn't recall. In the conference room, a crowd mingled; mostly lawyers from nearby o...
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