Balance of Power, 25

The trip to the small area where Maggie Taylor lived with her husband Craig had taken Sabrina a little less than an hour. The troubled young woman drove purely on automatic, neither noticing nor remembering the journey there.

Sabrina mustered an enthusiastic greeting for her friend, but Maggie's sharp gaze was not fooled. Despite the minimal difference in their ages, Maggie's maternal instincts kicked in and she bustled Sabrina into the house.

They sat on the living room floor and stared at one another. The older woman recognized the angry set of Sabrina's jaw, and though she prodded gently, Sabrina remained silent on the cause of her emotional state.


“Can you get in contact with that lawyer you spoke to?” Sabrina abruptly cut Maggie off. She set down the untouched glass of wine she held. “I need to speak with him.”

“Why?” Maggie countered. “Would you just tell me that?”

“Never mind,” Sabrina responded curtly. “I will get the information myself.”

Maggie stopped Sabrina just as she reached the front door. “Sabrina, wait,” she urged. “I will go and get you his card.”

Sabrina DuMonde took a deep breath. She dropped her keys back into the dish by the front door. Maggie deserved an answer to her questions, but Sabrina was not prepared to provide any information just yet.

What answer could she give anyway? ‘Well, Maggie, your business is in shambles and your life savings are gone because I have a vindictive bastard of a father who is taking out his frustrations with me on you.'

Sabrina wandered restlessly around the living room. She stopped before a tightly packed bookshelf filled with Craig's technical manuals and Maggie's business guides. The couple had put in many hours of preparation in anticipation of opening Craig's computer repair shop. Now they stood to lose it all.

“Here.” Maggie offered up a plain white business card. “There's also a number on the back.”

“Thank you.” Sabrina knew that Maggie expected more than just thanks. But for the moment, it was all that she would receive.

Balance of Power, 26

“Hello. Thomas Hagen here.”

I want to talk to him .”


Sabrina stared in shock at her cellular phone. Suddenly all that greeted her ear was the sound of an impersonal dial tone. It was not what the young woman expected. Her carefully rehearsed conversation was effectively, and abruptly, derailed. Furiously she hit the ‘redial' button.

Did you just hang up on me?

“I suggest,” Thomas Hagen proposed without a trace of emotion in his voice, “that you gather your composure before you call again.”


Once again Sabrina was serenaded by a dial tone. Her mouth snapped shut for only seconds before the young woman let loose a strangled cry of anger and frustration. The Corleone men had been a part of her life only a matter of weeks and already she had reached her limit of patience where they were concerned.

Over the course of her lifetime, very few people had been able to provoke Sabrina's emotions with the ease that her ‘newfound family ‘ could. Cassandra DuMonde had taught and lived by the credo that control of one's emotions was as essential as breathing. It was, she explained frankly, how she managed to move from man to man without the slightest fear of growing attached to any of them. It was, Sabrina's mother said bluntly, how she could allow a man between her legs night after night and not see what they did as anything more than sex.

Sabrina had quickly learned to control her emotions: not because Cassandra wished it so, but because it was the only way that the young girl could shield herself from the harsh reality of her mother's life as a kept woman.

“Sabrina?” Maggie's worried query came from the other side of the guestroom door.

“I am okay, Maggie. Really.” Sabrina regretted causing her friend any concern. But she was also grateful for Maggie's timely interruption. It gave her the opportunity to rein in her quickly rising temper. She would not give Thomas Hagen the satisfaction of knowing that Sabrina was affected by his tactics.

Sabrina waited until she heard Maggie's hesitant footsteps leave the doorway. She took a deep, calming breath and dialed Tom Hagen's number for the third time. “Hello, Mr. Hagen,” Sabrina greeted her uncle calmly. “This is Sabrina DuMonde. I would like to speak with Mister Corleone, please.”

“Contact me again when you arrive in New York.”