However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship.

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Ebook "The Whole Truth"
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Tác giả: David Baldacci
Thể loại: Trinh Thám
Nguyên tác: The Whole Truth
Biên tập: Dieu Chau
Upload bìa: Dieu Chau
Language: English
Số chương: 50 - chưa đầy đủ
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Cập nhật: 2016-03-29 17:24:49 +0700
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Chapter 50
HE YELLOW-AND-BLUE EUROSTAR TRAIN left right on time, and once past the suburbs of Paris quickly accelerated to over two hundred kilometers an hour. The rails were designed for high-speed trains and the ride was smooth, with just enough gentle swaying to induce a nice nap if one were so inclined.
Shaw was in first class where he enjoyed a wide comfy chair and a three-course meal complete with wine, professionally presented by a smartly uniformed steward who spoke both English and French. Shaw, however, didn’t eat or drink anything. He just stared moodily out the window.
He rarely thought about the past. But as the train sailed along, he did so if for no other reason than he no longer had a future to ponder. Life had come full circle for him. Abandoned in an orphanage by a woman who was his natural mother but someone he could no longer remember, and then thrown onto the garbage heap of a string of fake families who’d done him no good and much harm, he had constructed his adult life around being a loner. Before he had involuntarily joined Frank’s group he had spent his years going from country to country doing the paid bidding of others. He neither cared about the personal risk nor the moral implications of his actions. He had hurt people and been hurt by them. Some of what he’d done had made the world safer; some of it resulted in added danger for the six billion other people who shared the planet. Yet all of what he had done had been authorized by governments, or organizations acting on behalf of such governments. And that had been the sum total of his existence.
Until Anna had come into his life.
Before he met her he believed his life would end when one of Frank’s missions went seriously awry. And he was perfectly fine with that. You live, you die. Before Anna, Shaw had no reason to draw his life out other than from innate self-preservation. Yet when one is only living half a life even that instinct becomes worn down, dulled over the years. With Anna, he suddenly had a real reason to survive. He prepared harder and harder for each job, because he wanted to come back. To her.
And then he had planned his escape from Frank. And his future life with Anna. And it seemed that he was so close. Even with Frank being Frank, it was still possible, so long as he could stay alive.
And that was the heartless irony that tore at him now.
It had never occurred to him, never even entered his personal equation, that Anna would be the one to die a violent death instead of him. Never.
He stared out the window at the rolling landscape of breathtaking beauty. It meant nothing to him and never would. The only thing of beauty he had ever cared about was currently inside a refrigerator in a London morgue. Her beauty now only existed in Shaw’s mind, in his memories. That should have been a comfort to him, but wasn’t. Eyes open or closed, all he saw was the one person he’d ever allowed himself to love. That image would be with him forever, his penance for thinking he could ever possibly deserve to be normal. Or happy.
He only had one goal now. To kill. After that, he would end his life as he had started it. Alone.
Katie was in another train car one down from Shaw, though she didn’t know it. As the picturesque French countryside raced past, she was focused, despite her new assignment, on the grieving Shaw, and what would happen when he got to London. He would, of course, go to The Phoenix Group building and, with his connections, probably get in somehow. He would also visit Anna’s flat. He would have to go there, she told herself. There would be no way he could avoid it.
So deep in thought was Katie that she didn’t even notice the train passing through Calais and then entering the tunnel, heading downward and eventually making its way underneath the bedrock of the English Channel. With billions of tons of water overhead, she looked out onto the well-lighted tunnel, unconcerned with leaks or walls of water smashing the train flat.
Twenty-five minutes later the train emerged into bright sunshine. They were in England. The whole trip would take about 140 very pleasant minutes and Katie had electricity for her laptop computer and the convenience of her cell phone, though she had no one to call. Indeed, after the episode at the hospital, she had no desire ever to use her cell phone again.
She thought too about Shaw’s words: My life is over. But whoever did this to Anna is going to die. She had no doubt that he meant it. She had doubt at all he would try to kill the person or persons with his bare hands, injured or not.
But after that? What would he do? Or what if he died in the attempt? Someone who could orchestrate the slaughter of nearly thirty people was not someone who could be easily killed.
And she had stories to write now. What would Shaw think if he found out she was reporting on the London murders, earning a living from Anna’s death? But that was what she did. She was a journalist. Still, though, he would be angry. Very angry.
As she was thinking about this, she noticed the small bottle of red wine on her tray that had been served with lunch. She’d kept it when the steward had cleared the tray. Katie kept staring at it as the train rolled on. Twenty minutes later when the Eurostar reached the outer fringes of London and the old dwellings with their unique chimneystacks, she was still gazing at the wine. She unscrewed the top, took a whiff and a quick gulp, and felt immediate gratification followed by crushing, searing guilt. Yet she took another swig. And the guilt grew a thousandfold. She screwed the cap back on, dropped the bottle on her pulldown tray, and muttered, “Shit.”
The fellow next to her heard this, glanced at her and then at the wine. “Bad year?” he asked with a smile.
She gave him a burning stare. “Bad life!”
He quickly went back to his newspaper.
Katie knew she could not do her job this way. She could not help herself as a drunkard. She could not wallow in self-pity, no matter how enticing that might seem right now. When a steward walked by she stopped him and asked him to take the bottle away.
A few minutes later they pulled into St. Pancras Station. Katie detrained and quickly made her way to the cab stand.
Like Shaw she would be staying in the Strand in the West End of the city, but not at digs as nice as the Savoy. London was not cheap at any time, but one could find bargains, and Katie had traveled enough to where she knew them all. If her stay in London was going to be a long one, she hoped, much as she had done in Paris, to crash at the flat of another news correspondent friend of hers who was away more than she was home.
She checked into her cut-rate hotel, dropped her bag in her room and took a cab to The Phoenix Group building. At some point she would probably run into Shaw. If she did, she felt fairly confident of her action plan.
I’ll run like hell.
The Whole Truth The Whole Truth - David Baldacci The Whole Truth