Home > Egomaniac(6)

Egomaniac(6)
Author: Vi Keeland

“Room 132, down the hall to your right. The ADA will meet you there to discuss your case before you see the judge. Wait outside. She’ll call your name when it’s your turn.”

Knowing where the room was, I walked Emerie down the hall, and we took a seat on the bench outside. She was quiet for a minute before she spoke. Her voice had a little shake to it, like she was fighting back crying.

“I’m so sorry about all of this, Drew. I probably owe you five thousand dollars for all of your time, and I can’t even afford to pay you five hundred.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

She reached out and touched my arm. I’d had my hand on her back as we walked and also helped her out of the back of the police car Sergeant Caruso drove us over in, but it was the first time she’d touched me. I liked it. Damn it. I didn’t know her well, but I knew enough to know Oklahoma was not the type of woman you screwed and screwed over. I needed to get this over with and get out of here.

“I mean it. I’m really sorry, and I can’t thank you enough for coming with me today. I’d be a wreck if I didn’t have you here. I’ll pay you back somehow.”

I can think of a few ways. “It’s fine. Really. Don’t worry about it. This is all going to go smoothly, and we’ll be out of here in twenty minutes.”

Just then, a voice called from behind the door. “Rose. Docket number 18493094. Counsel for Rose?”

I assumed it was the ADA. I didn’t do much criminal work, just the occasional traffic ticket or domestic violence charge for an existing high-net-worth divorce client. But the woman’s voice was vaguely familiar, although I couldn’t place it.

Until I opened the door.

Suddenly it was eminently clear why the yell had sounded familiar.

I’d heard it before.

The last time, she’d been screaming my name as I plowed into her from behind in the office bathroom of a rival law firm.

Of all the lawyers in New York County, Kierra Albright had to be our ADA.

Maybe smooth wasn’t exactly the right word for how things were about to go.

 

 

Chapter 4

 

 

Drew

 

Fuck.

“I don’t understand. What’s going on?” Emerie’s voice was full of panic.

And I couldn’t blame her. Everyone knows cobras, tigers, and sharks are dangerous. But the bottlenose dolphin? So sweet looking and loveable, their whistle plays harmony when you pet them on the top of the head. But accidentally injure one and they will attack. It’s true. My hobby, other than fucking and working, is watching the National Geographic channel.

Kierra Albright is a bottlenose dolphin. She’d just recommended thirty days in jail to the judge, rather than the fine she’d told us she would offer less than a half-hour ago.

“Give me a minute. Take a seat in the galley, and I’ll come get you in a few. I need to have a word with the ADA. Alone.”

Emerie nodded, even though she looked like she was on the verge of tears, and I took a moment to let her compose herself. Then I opened the gate that separates the spectators from the players in the courtroom and led her to an empty row in the back. As I started to walk away, I saw a tear roll down her face, and it stopped me in my tracks.

Without thinking, I lifted her chin so our eyes met. “Trust me. You’re going home tonight. Okay? Just trust me.”

 

***

 

My voice startled Kierra in the ladies’ room across from the courtroom.

“What the hell was that all about?” I locked the door as she turned to face me.

“You can’t come in here.”

“If anyone asks, I’m identifying with my feminine side today.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“I’m an asshole? What the hell was with all that ‘Nice to see you, Drew,’ crap? ‘I’ll recommend a fifty-dollar fine, and you’ll be out of here in time to play golf.’”

She turned away from me and walked to the mirror. Slipping a lipstick from her suit jacket pocket, she leaned in and lined her lips in blood red, saying nothing until she was done. Then she gave me the widest, brightest smile I’d ever seen.

“Figured your new plaything needed to get used to being told one thing and then having another happen when she least expects it.”

“She’s not my plaything. She’s a…friend I’m helping out.”

“I saw the way you looked at her, the way you had your hand on her back. If you aren’t screwing her already, you will be soon. Maybe she needs a night in county lockup because you can’t handle yourself in the courtroom. Might sour her to your charm. Come to think of it, I’m doing the woman a service. She should thank me.”

“You’re out of your mind if you think I’m going to let you get away with this. Emerie has nothing to do with what went down between the two of us. I’ll ask Judge Hawkins to recuse himself if I have to.”

“Recuse himself? On what grounds?”

“On the grounds that your father plays golf with him every Friday, and you yourself have told me he gives you whatever you want. Did you forget how much you liked to talk shop after I fucked you?”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

I had been standing at a distance—ten feet away in front of the locked door—but I walked slowly to where she was standing, getting nice and close.

“Try me.”

She held my stare for a long moment. “Fine. But let’s do this the way adversaries are supposed to. Not threatening below the belt. We’ll make a deal.”

I shook my head. “What do you want, Kierra?”

“You want your client home tonight. I want something in return.”

“Fine. What do you want?”

Her tongue glossed over her top lip like she was starving and looking at a juicy steak. “You. And not in a bathroom or the back seat of an Uber. I want you—a proper date where you take me out and wine me and dine me before you sixty-nine me.”

 

***

 

“Oh my God. I can’t thank you enough.”

“Let’s just pay the fine and get out of here.”

As I sped her out of the courtroom, Emerie seemed to interpret my rush to be about her taking up too much of my day. But it wasn’t that at all. I’d almost made it out when Kierra called after us.

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