She traced a fingernail along a vein in her wrist. Suicide often tempted her, but Amanda knew her death would destroy her sister. Pushing those thoughts aside, she sat on the edge of the metal cot and covered her face with her hands. Images and voices of lawyers swirled in her mind, blending together to become one.
“A lot depends on the judge we get.”
“We can make motions to delay.”
“We can make motions to speed things along.”
“I’ll try to get you out of here, but it’s doubtful they’ll release you.”
Didn’t anyone have something good to say? She raised her head at the sound of keys.
“You’ve got a visitor.” Janice, the only guard who treated her like a human, stood on the other side of the bars.
“Graham Burke, in the flesh. Not a flunky, but the man himself.” Janice swung the jail door open.
“Pardon me for being obtuse, but who is Graham Burke?”
“Only the most famous lawyer in all of Minnesota. You’ve got to get out more.”
“So they tell me.”
“Don’t keep the man waiting.”
Amanda stood, smoothed her baggy orange jumpsuit, and walked beside Janice to a meeting room. The outfit swam on her and she’d had to roll the fabric at her ankles or risk tripping. Maybe she’d be sentenced to life in a cornfield. She’d make a good scarecrow. Janice opened the door and Amanda saw a man seated at a gray table.
He stood and crossed the room. “Ms. Winslow, I’m Graham Burke.”
“I’m at a disadvantage,” Amanda said, shaking his hand. “You know who I am, but your name isn’t familiar.”
Graham motioned toward the table and two chairs. “Why don’t we get better acquainted?”
“Knock when you’re done.” Janice closed the door behind her.
Watching him closely, Amanda moved to the table and sat on one of the chairs. He wore his snowy white shirt, gray suit and red tie with an air of power. His thick platinum hair gleamed. The word ‘dapper’ had been invented for men like him. “Why are you here, Mr. Burke?”
“Graham. May I call you Amanda?” He took the seat across from her.
“Sure, why not? We’re not big on formality here.”
“Your case interests me. Have you hired an attorney yet?”
Amanda shook her head and brushed her bangs out of her eyes. “No one’s given me any reason to. Everyone I’ve talked to seems to think my best bet is to hope for a good judge and have faith in the system. I’d like a little more than that on my side.”
With a nod, Graham said, “It’s your lucky day. I’m here to offer representation.”
Amanda stared at him. “Just like that? No questions? No ‘Did you do it’ or ‘Tell me about that day’?”
“I don’t want to know if you did it. I’ll have to ask you a few things, but too much knowledge may limit my defense. I can’t argue something I know isn’t true. Trust me on this. Trust me on a lot of things.”
“I’ve got to tell you something, Graham. I’m tapped out on trust.”
“Can’t say I blame you. Your case intrigues me, Amanda. I have a few contacts and I’ve learned more than what’s been reported. The prosecution has no motive, no weapon, no evidence, no case.”
“Then why did they arrest me?”
“Process of elimination. It had to be you. That and public pressure. Upscale wives don’t kill their husbands. If they do, they have to be punished. I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.”
“I see. I’m glad you’re confident, Graham, but what if I can’t afford you?”
“We’ll think of something. First, I need to get you out of here.”
Amanda straightened. “You can do that? The other attorneys said it was very unlikely.”
“Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no. I’ll do my best, and when I do my best, I usually get what I want.” He stood and held out his hand again. “Do we have a deal?”
“Once I’m on the sidewalk, we have a deal. I hope you’re as good as you claim.”
Graham moved to the door and knocked, then turned to Amanda. “You want modest, look somewhere else. You want freedom, I’m your man.”
“I have the feeling you’re exactly who I’m looking for. You get me out of here today, and I’ll know for sure.”
Janice opened the door and raised her eyebrows at Amanda. “Done?”
“Done,” Graham answered and strode out of the room.
Drumming her fingers on the table, Amanda felt the first glimmer of hope she’d known in a year, since the day of Michael’s murder. “Janice, I might have a chance.”
“If you’re breathing, you’ve got a chance.”