When Miss Adell finally came to, I had not the heart to continue. Our discussion of Corbet Adams had clearly distressed her. I would never have brought the subject to light if I could have avoided hurting her. But, my need to warn her of her fiancé‘s character far outweighed the sudden pangs of guilt that tore at me.
I guided her trembling frame to the couch, the same couch where I had been so carefully tended a few days prior. As she sat back, gathering her senses, I reached for the bottle of brandy on the sideboard. I watched the color drain from her face as I brought the glass to her lips. “Easy, now.”
A few sips and the penetrating quality of her eyes had returned. “I must apologize for my weakness.” Except for a slight tremor in her tone, the familiar melody of her voice returned. “I’m afraid that I’ve been a bit overwrought since the news of dear Corbet’s tragedy. So, you will understand that your mention of his name, of course, would have an effect on me.”
“Of course. I do apologize for upsetting you. If I could have spared you such distress, I would have bitten the tongue from my head first.” I choked back a solid knot that had settled in my throat. “But, the fact remains that your safety will be in question every moment that you remain with your fiancé.”
“I don’t understand. How can you believe that Manuel would have anything to do with Corbet’s death?”
The sudden realization that I really had nothing to offer Miss Adell other than a single threatening impression and a suspected arson episode, hit me with such force that I all but lost my voice. Could I really accuse a man I knew nothing about, of murder and attempted murder? Could I really put one man away on the word of another man I barely knew anything about?
“I am sorry, Miss Adell. I do wish I could give you more concrete proofs, but the fact is I can not.” I watched her face as I admitted my lack of details. “But, it was Mr. Cross distinct impression that your fiancé was in some way involved in Corbet Adams’s death.” There was a sudden shift in her expression. It was so complex a shift as to be inscrutable, and I expected any moment to be ushered from the house.
“So, you sit here and accuse my fiancé of murder without so much as a single point of evidence to support your slander?”
“I assure you that I mean no offense. And, if I had the proofs I would most assuredly lay them before you.” Miss Adell finally regained enough of her strength to stand from the couch and move hurriedly across the sitting room. “Please, believe me, Miss Adell. I would not bring such information to you if I didn’t honestly think that your very safety was at risk.”
“You say that Mr. Cross thought Manuel to be involved?” She paced the far side of the sitting room in front of the window.
“Yes, it was his strongest impression.”
Miss Adell stopped her pacing and turned to me, her wild, exotic eyes fixed on me. “I believe, Mr. Martin, the time has come for you to leave.”