Balance of Power, 12

It had taken an entire day of hiding out in the shelter of her home to make Sabrina's fighting spirit kick back in. Yes, she had been completely floored by the unexpected appearance of Michael Corleone in the dinky little pool hall. He was not just the last person Sabrina had expected to see in Hanover, but Michael Corleone was the last person she had ever expected to make an appearance in her life at all.

Sabrina squared her shoulders and headed down the stone walk to her mailbox. She imagined that any of her neighbors spying her at that moment would be unable to discern just how uncomfortable she was. But anyone bothering to look closely at the young woman would easily be put on alert by her stiff movements and nervous glances.

It was with a sense of surprise that Sabrina retrieved her mail and walked back into her home. She had half expected the young dark-eyed stranger who had first approached her to be waiting in a car outside her door. What had he said? ‘My uncle Michael'… That would make him a cousin, Sabrina realized; another relative from a family connection she never thought she would make.

Years ago, when she had found her mother's letter jammed unobtrusively in the big family Bible, Sabrina immediately set about to learn as much as she could about the man Cassandra DuMonde named as her father. She had frequented the local public library with regularity. The staff there already knew Sabrina, so the head librarian kindly allowed the young woman to freely explore the newspaper archives in relative privacy.

In her letter, Cassandra DuMonde made no secret about the kind of man Michael Corleone was. Still, for Sabrina, scrolling through the reels of microfilm articles about him was an eye opening experience.

Sabrina was not disturbed by Michael Corleone's reputed crime lord status. One of the people who had been kindest to her as a young girl was her neighborhood's largest drug dealer. For the rest of her life, Bobby Texador's unfailing kindness ensured that Sabrina did not hold any preconceived ideas about just who was a good man and who wasn't.

The sound of her own voice drew Sabrina away from her thoughts. She placed the bundle of junk mail atop the counter and stood waiting as the answering machine concluded playing the brief greeting she had recorded.

“Hello, Miss DuMonde.” The unfamiliar masculine voice made her eyes widen in trepidation. “I think that it is past time that you and I became better acquainted…”

Balance of Power, 13

“President Campbell?” After a quick knock, Sabrina stuck her head just inside the open door. “You sent for me?”

“Miss DuMonde, come in. Come in.” William Campbell, president of Dartmouth College, stood and waved the young woman into his office. He waited until she was seated to resume his seat. “How are you?” He gave her a tight smile.

“Just fine, sir.” Sabrina was puzzled about the reason for their meeting. She assumed from his behavior that there was some sort of mix-up regarding graduation. Why else would the president himself want to speak with her?

President Campbell nodded. “Good, good…” He laced his fingers together and placed them over his rounded stomach. He leaned back in his chair and silently considered Sabrina for several minutes.

“Dartmouth College has a rich and storied tradition,” he finally said. “Our students feel like a part of a family while they are here. And our alumni carry that feeling of family with them to whatever successful station in life they achieve.” Dartmouth's current president gazed around the room at the wealth of photographs of successful alumni that decorated his walls. “Nearly every one gives something back to the institution. But those fortunate few who have achieved outstanding success and give accordingly are our very lifeblood.”

Sabrina did not react. She was unsure of just what response President Campbell expected of her. That he expected something, she was sure.

“Your father is one of our most esteemed alumni,” President Campbell continued. “During your time here, his endowments alone have financed several buildings on campus.”

“M-my father's endowments?” Sabrina could barely voice the words. A crushing weight of realization suddenly began to press down upon her.

“Yes.” President Campbell watched her carefully. “Didn't you know that?”


“I assumed that your father's…er, need to maintain a low profile was the reason that you did not mention your filial connection to him when you first arrived here.”

Sabrina heard the note of disdain in his voice that President Campbell no longer attempted to disguise. It angered her that he would accept money from, but then sit in judgment of, Michael Corleone. And it angered her that by extension he sat in judgment of her. “What need would that be, sir?

As if suddenly realizing the dangerous path he tread, President Campbell began to backtrack. “Why,” he simpered, “the notoriety of giving so very generously to the institution, of course. It would be totally understandable if you did not wish to be regarded by others as merely a conduit to your father's wealth.”

Sabrina felt more ill by the moment. She did not understand the reasons behind President Campbell's conversation, but it was obvious that it had served some purpose for him. Shell-shocked though she was, Sabrina had not missed the small smile of satisfaction on the President's face just before he mentioned Michael Corleone's contributions to the school. President Campbell had enjoyed setting her world crashing down about her.