Danielle Steel: Journey

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Danielle Steel Journey
  • Название:
    Journey
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Random House, Inc.
  • Жанр:
    Старинная литература / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2001
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    9780440237020
  • Рейтинг книги:
    5 / 5
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Journey: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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He had had the same effect on Madeleine when they met, when she was barely more than a girl in Knoxville. She had had a Tennessee drawl then, she had come to Knoxville from Chattanooga. She'd been a receptionist at the television station where she worked, until a strike forced her into doing first weather, and then news, on camera. She was awkward and shy, but so beautiful that the viewers who saw her sat mesmerized as they stared at her. She looked more like a model or a movie star, but she had a girl-next-door quality about her that everyone loved, and a breathtaking ability to get right to the heart of a story. And Jack was bowled over when he first saw her. Her words as well as her eyes were searing.

“What do you do here, pretty girl? Break all the boys' hearts, I'll bet,” he'd said to her. She didn't look a minute over twenty, though she was nearly five years older. He had stopped to talk to her when she came off the air.

“Not likely,” she laughed. He was negotiating to buy the station. And he had, two months later. And as soon as he did, he made her co-anchor, and sent her to New York to teach her first everything she needed to learn about network news, and then how to do her hair and makeup. And the effect, when he saw her on the air again, was impressive. Within months, her career was off and running.

It was Jack who helped extricate her from the nightmare she had been living, with a husband she'd been married to since she was seventeen, who had committed every possible kind of abuse on her. It was no different from what she had seen happen in Chattanooga as a child, between her parents. Bobby Joe had been her high school sweetheart, and they'd been married for eight years when Jack Hunter bought the cable network in Washington, D.C., and made her an irresistible offer. He wanted her as his prime-time anchor, and promised her that if she came, he'd help her sort her life out, and cover all the most important stories.

He came to Knoxville himself in a limousine. She met him at the Greyhound bus station, with one small Samsonite bag and a look of terror. She got into the car with him without a sound, and they drove all the way to Washington together. It took Bobby Joe months to figure out where she was, and by then she had filed for divorce, with Jack's help, and a year later, they were married. She had been Mrs. Jack Hunter for seven years, and Bobby Joe and his unthinkable abuse on her were a dim nightmare. She was a star now. She led a fairy-tale life. She was known and respected and adored all across the country. And Jack treated her like a princess. As they walked into the White House arm in arm, and stood in the reception line, she looked relaxed and happy. Madeleine Hunter had no worries. She was married to an important, powerful man, who loved her, and she knew it. She knew that nothing bad would ever happen to her again. Jack Hunter wouldn't let it. She was safe now.

The President and First Lady shook hands with them in the East Room, and the President said in an under-voice to Jack that he wanted to catch a private moment with him later. Jack nodded, and smiled at him, as Madeleine chatted with the First Lady. They knew each other well. Maddy had interviewed her several times, and the Hunters were invited to the White House often. And as Madeleine drifted into the room on her husband's arm, heads turned, people smiled and nodded, everyone recognized her. It was a long, long way from Knoxville. She didn't know where Bobby Joe was now, and no longer cared. The life she had known with him seemed entirely unreal now. This was her reality, a world of power and important people, and she was a bright star among them.

They mingled with the other guests, and the French Ambassador chatted with Madeleine amiably and introduced her to his wife, while Jack moved away to speak to a Senator who was the head of the Senate Ethics Committee. There was a matter before them that Jack had been wanting to discuss with him. Madeleine saw them out of the corner of her eye, as the Brazilian Ambassador approached her, with an attractive Congresswoman from Mississippi. It was, as always, an interesting evening.

Her dinner partners, when they moved into the State Dining Room, were a Senator from Illinois and a Congressman from California, both of whom she had met before, and who vied all evening for her attention. Jack was sitting between the First Lady and Barbara Walters. It was late in the evening before he joined his wife again, and they moved smoothly onto the dance floor.

“How was it?” he asked casually, watching several key players as he danced with her. Jack rarely lost track of the people around him, and he usually had an agenda, of those he wanted to see, and meet, and touch base with again, either about a story or a matter of business. He rarely, if ever, missed opportunities, and never simply spent an evening without some plan to what he was doing. He had spent a few minutes in a quiet aside with the President, and then President Armstrong had invited him to Camp David for lunch that weekend to continue the conversation. But Jack was concentrating on his wife now.

“So how was Senator Smith? What did he have to say for himself?”

“The usual. We talked about the new tax bill,” she smiled at her handsome husband. She was a worldly woman now, of considerable sophistication and enormous polish. She was, as Jack liked to say, a creature entirely of his making. He took full credit for how far she had come, and the enormous success she enjoyed on his network, and he loved to tease her about it.

“That sounds pretty sexy,” he said, referring to the tax bill. The Republicans were having a fit over it, but Jack thought the Democrats would win this one, particularly with the President behind them, which he was squarely. “What about Congressman Wooley?”

“He's so cute,” she said, smiling up at Jack again, as always, still a little dazzled by his presence. There was something about her husband's looks, his charisma, the aura that surrounded him, that still impressed her. “He talked about his dog and his grandchildren. He always does.” She liked that about him, and he was crazy about the woman he had been married to for nearly sixty years now.

“It's a wonder he still gets elected,” Jack said as the music ended.

“I think everyone loves him.” The warm heart of the girl next door from Chattanooga hadn't left her, despite her good fortune. She never lost sight of where she'd come from, and there was still a certain ingenuousness about her, unlike her husband, who was sharply honed, and on occasion somewhat abrasive and aggressive. But she liked talking to people about their kids. She had none of her own, and Jack had two sons in college in Texas, though he rarely saw them, but they were fond of Maddy. And despite his vast success, their mother had few good things to say about their father, or Maddy. They had been divorced for fifteen years, and the word she used most often to describe him was ruthless.

“Ready to call it a night?” Jack asked, as he assessed the room again, and decided that he had already touched base with everyone that mattered, and the party was nearly over. The President and First Lady had just left, and their guests were free to go now. Jack saw no reason to stay any longer. And Maddy was happy to go home, she had to be in the newsroom early the next morning.

They left the party quietly, and their driver was waiting for them near the door, as they made a graceful exit. And Maddy settled comfortably into the limousine beside her husband. It was a long way from Bobby Joe's old Chevy truck, the parties they had gone to at the local bar, and the friends they had visited in trailers. Sometimes she still had trouble believing that her two very different lives were part of one lifetime. This was all so different. She moved in the world of Presidents and Kings and Queens, politicians and princes and tycoons like her husband.

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