Sunday, May 16, 2004

New Spader Legal Series - When Paul Returns (storyline)

Paul Stewart finds that life in Dedham does not quite return to normal upon his aquittal. His wife files for divorce, taking his children to live in New York. His mother returns to her social duties, dilligently trying to pretend that nothing ever happened. Alan Shore, his best friend, will not even return his calls. He saw that Alan had moved on to his new prestigious firm, saw that Alan won the judgement against his former employer. Teflon Al, thought Paul. Nothing ever stuck to him.

Paul takes fate into his own hands and drives into Boston, locating the impressive offices of Alan's new firm. He asks the receptionist for Alan Shore, and the pretty girl informs him that Mr. Shore would be in court all day.

"Paul" says a lovely English voice. Tara is startled to see Dr. Stewart.

Tara, he tells her, what a wonderful surprise to see you. I did not know that Alan had brought you here with him. Tara hesitates, remembering what Alan had told her that time on her couch, when they were both drunkenly commiserating on being fired. Paul killed that girl. Tara found it hard to accept as she looked at the handsome man in front of her.

It looks like I have missed Alan, he says. Tara, I am in town for the evening on business. Won't you have a drink with me? Tara declines, work to do, but Paul is persuasive and charming.

Tara sips her wine and watches Paul down drink after drink. The conversation turns from the casual to the sad, with Paul telling her that his wife left and he is a pariah in his hometown. Maybe you should start over somewhere else, Tara offers. Perhaps, smiles Paul. Tara says that she has to go. Worknight, you know. Paul gets up and stumbles out to the sidewalk. Tara tries to get a cab for him, but there are none in sight. Paul insists that he can drive, but Tara offers to drive him back to the hotel.

At the hotel, Tara helps the drunken Paul into his room, and walks over to the lamp to turn on a light in the dark room. Paul closes the door, locking it. He begins to rant about how Alan could walk away from his crimes, from sleeping with Paul's mother. Oh, yes, now everyone knew. Alan got to have everything, Paul lost it all. Tara says that she knows that Paul killed that girl, that Alan told her. Paul reaches out to touch Tara's cheek. So what? He tells her. What does that matter? Tara says that she needs to go. Paul asks her if she and Alan were lovers. Tara snaps no, of course not. Not yet? Paul asks. Tara turns to leave, and Paul grabs her arm. Just once, he says, I am going to beat Alan, to get something first that he never had. Tara struggles and tries to run, but Paul backhands her across the bed. Tara is trapped.

Tara awakens on the floor of the hotel room. Her clothing is torn, her lip bruised and bloody. The room is in shambles and Paul is gone. Tara shakily pulls herself up and looks in the bathroom, fearful that Paul is still there. She stares at herself in the bright light in the mirror. Her face is swollen, her body bruised, clothing ripped beyond saving. She slowly walks into the room, sits on the bed, and picks up the phone.

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