Chapter 10

SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: This Chapter contains references to domestic violence. One of the characters, as a teenager, witnesses and is involved in an incident with a neighbor family. There is one scene, very short, that describes the incident and the character’s reaction to it. Neither of the characters’ families are abusive. It is not even remotely graphic. It is important to the development and understanding of one of the characters.

Evin leaned against the door of the elevator, willing it to move faster. Those depositions were so damn boring. She spent most of the time half-listening to one of the newer attorneys in her firm ask inane questions and the other half thinking about Sydney. Well, Moran, at least she called this morning and made sure you had breakfast. That’s gotta count for something doesn’t it? I wonder if I should try and call her. Or do I wait for her to call me? She blinked once, then twice. What the hell is wrong with me? What am I thinking that for? If I want to call her, I’ll call her. The little voice snickered, ‘She sure gets to you, doesn’t she?’ Shut up.

A soft "ding" announced her arrival at the tenth floor. Evin stepped off the elevator and walked towards her office. "Anything going on?"

"Sydney’s in there. She’s sleeping on the couch." Jeffrey nodded towards the office, then asked accusingly, "Did you keep her up late last night?"

Evin narrowed her eyes at him. "How long has she been here?"

"Since two thirty."

"Why the hell didn’t you call me?"

"You were in the depositions. Besides, Sydney said not to disturb you. She’s exhausted." He gave her a disapproving look. "You should take better care of her."

"Hold all my calls." Evin glared at him and walked into her office. I can take care of my girlfriend. She stopped abruptly. My girlfriend? ‘Well, that’s what she is, isn’t she?’ her little voice asked. Yeah, I guess she is. Damn, I have a girlfriend. I wonder if she considers me her girlfriend? Girlfriends? Is that what they’re calling it these days? Hell, it’s probably not even politically correct. Her little voice snorted. ‘Since when did being PC ever worry you?’ It doesn’t. I mean…I don’t know…aw, hell. Shut up. She could have sworn the little voice laughed.

Quietly shutting the door to her office, she took a seat in one of the chairs opposite the couch, resisting the urge to wake the law student. At least she’s here. Be grateful for that. You thought she was walking out on you last night. You’re so fucking arrogant and self-centered, you just assumed that she’d be there. Want to spend every night with you. Did you even once consider that she had a life before you? She’s got her own house, her own friends. You are a piece of work, Moran.

Evin spent a few minutes quietly observing the sleeping form on the couch. Why would you want to be with someone like me? You have so much to offer someone. You need someone who won’t take you for granted. Evin felt as if her chest were going to explode as feelings of tenderness and love filled her heart. She wasn’t even aware of the small smile that graced her face as she got up and leaned over the small form, lightly kissing the top of her head. Sydney Parker. What you make me’s unbelievable.

Settling herself behind her desk, a long finger tapped a key on the keyboard and pulled up her calendar. The rest of the week’s going to be busy. She checked her calls list and decided they could wait until tomorrow, so she grabbed the first file in the stack on her desk and started working. I wonder if Sydney likes the water. Maybe we can go out on the boat Sunday and relax.

Her head popped up as she heard the office door open and saw Andrew’s red hair peek through the opening. He crooked one finger in her direction and beckoned her. Apparently Jeffrey’s warning everyone that Sydney’s sleeping. If I ever break up with her, I’ll have to get new secretaries. Break up with her? Where did that come from? We haven’t even had sex. Can you break up with someone that you’ve never had sex with? Oh God, I am in so much trouble here.

Evin motioned to the conference room door and followed Andrew as he went in.

"Hey, Evin. Sydney okay?"

And hire a new investigator. "She’s okay." I hope. "A little tired. Find anything good?" She could tell by the smile on his face that he had found something.

"Oh, yeah," he said through a big grin. "Three board members of Hynes were major contributors to Stevens’ campaign in ‘94, and every year thereafter."

Interesting, but not earth shattering. Hynes is big business. Big business is conservative. Stevens is conservative. Supporting him makes sense. "How many other directors of major corporations gave contributions?"

"Lots, spoilsport." He smiled and his green eyes twinkled. "But guess whose niece is married to Stevens. Guess whose cousin is on the Gaming Board. Guess who has an interest in the last riverboat casino license. And guess who’s been playing ‘hey, mister, can you check my oil level with your dipstick’ with Stevens."

"I hate guessing." She took the report out of his hands and started scanning it quickly, muttering as she read. "Oil level? God, Andrew. Do you sit at home and think of these charming little euphemisms?"

He smiled smugly. "Yes."

"Figures." She finished scanning the report and looked at him with excited blue eyes. "If you were my type, I’d kiss you for this." She watched a broad grin break out over his freckled face. "You did a really good job with this, Andrew. Thanks."

"You’re welcome, Evin." He was still grinning. "You know how I hate secrets."

"Yeah. I can’t even keep mine from you." She chuckled. "You started pulling everything you can on this gaming license, the niece, the Gaming Board?"

"Yeah. I should have most of it by Friday. I may have to do a Freedom of Information Act request for the license stuff if I can’t find a way in."

"I might be able to get it through discovery, but I don’t know if I want to do that yet." Her brows furrowed slightly. "If you do the FOIA, make sure it’s not traceable back to us."

After all this time, I never get tired of watching her mind work. "Do you think this is related to the Dolese case?"

"I don’t know." She looked down at the report then back at him. "But it’s the first piece of shit that’s floated to the top since we started this thing. Who else knows about this?"

"Just you and me. Why?"

"Keep it that way."

"But… Aren’t you going to tell Sydney?"


He looked at her, puzzled. "Why not?"

Blue eyes turned cold. "I have my reasons."

Judging from the look on her face, Andrew felt it was safer to switch topics. He had pushed his luck with the tall attorney way too much in the last few weeks. "Um, are things going with you two?" Andrew looked everywhere but at Evin.

Frank blue eyes looked at him. "As well as can be expected, considering I’m an arrogant, self-centered bitch who doesn’t give a damn about anyone or anything."

"That’s a little harsh there, pumpkin, don’t you think?"

"Don’t call me pumpkin." The blue eyes narrowed slightly. "And I am not being harsh. I’m being honest."

"Well, the arrogant part, I won’t argue with." He chuckled, knowing that there weren’t too many people who could get away with saying that to her. "But you do give a damn about Sydney and you care about this case."

"I don’t know if I care about the case because of the case, if I care about the case because of Sydney, or if I care about it because someone’s really pissed me off and I want my revenge."

"Does it really matter?"

"Yes, it does," she replied sincerely.


"It just does."


Sydney blinked sleepily and yawned, stretching her length on the sofa.

"You feeling any better?"

The low rich voice wrapped warmly around her. "I can’t believe I fell asleep." Sydney didn’t have to look at those intense blue eyes to know they were focused on her. A jolt of sensation ran from her brain downward and her body involuntarily arched slightly. Oh God, I need her to touch me.

"You must have been tired." Evin’s nostrils flared slightly as she watched Sydney’s movements, imagining how she would feel against her bare skin. Stop it. For three hours you’ve alternated between lascivious thoughts and practicing your apology. Get on with it.

Sydney propped herself up on both elbows and immediately blushed. "Um, hi." Her heart skipped a beat as she looked at the tall woman sitting in one of the chairs opposite the couch. Why didn’t I just stay with her last night?


"My...I...sort of just....I found myself heading this way after school." Sydney was relieved to see that the steel curtain which had appeared last night seemed to be missing from Evin’s eyes.

"I’m glad." Go on, Moran. You’ve rehearsed your little speech two hundred times. "Sydney, I...I wanted to apologize to you."

Pale brows furrowed. What the hell is she talking about? "Evin..."

"No, let me finish." Long fingers ran through the dark hair. "I’m sorry for treating you the way I have., it’s not right. shouldn’t.... Well, you don’t do that to someone means something to you…me." That was so smooth. And to think I practiced that.

Sydney stared into blue eyes that reflected a sincerity and a vulnerability that touched her to her soul. Maybe I’m not quite awake yet. That’s why I’m so confused. That must be it. "Evin...honey," Sydney sat up. "Could you come sit over here please?"

The tall attorney stood and moved to sit next to her on the couch. When she was seated, Sydney turned sideways to face her, taking one hand into both of hers and brought it to her lips. So soft. "You know how I am when I wake up, so can I ask you a couple of questions about what you just told me?"

A soft chuckle, then the low voice answered. "Yeah, I know. I’m sorry. I should have waited."

"No, no, that’s not it. I’m glad you’re talking to me." Elated, surprised, touched. "I’m just not sure why you’re apologizing."

Evin’s eyes dropped to their intertwined hands. "Well...for what I’ve done."

What you’ve done? Sydney reviewed the past few days in her mind. She couldn’t come up with a single thing that would make sense of this conversation. "What do you think you’ve done?"

"Not treated you right."

What on earth is she talking about? "What gave you the idea that you’re not treating me right?"

"Last night."

Last Night? I wasn’t even with her last night. Sydney remembered the steel curtain which had settled over Evin’s eyes when she said she was going to go home. Oh, no...she thinks.... "Evin, what about last night?"

"I know that I’ve been selfish. You have a life, friends, apartment. I didn’t even think about that. I just...assumed...and then last night…" She shrugged slightly, looking everywhere but at Sydney. "I could tell something was wrong. I can...understand why you wouldn’t want to talk to be with me."

Sydney couldn’t decide whether she wanted to laugh or cry. I’m the one who preaches about open and honest communication and I shut down last night without an explanation. She placed her fingers under Evin’s chin and tilted her head back up until their eyes met. "Evin." She decided she wanted to cry when she saw the pain in the blue eyes. She closed her eyes briefly then reopened them. "I did want to be with you last night. I do want to talk to you." Sydney watched the blue eyes fill with confusion as the dark brows furrowed.


"I can try to explain what was going on with me, but I won’t promise it will make any sense." She offered a small smile to Evin. "I had a client yesterday at the clinic. It brought up some old memories for me and I let it get to me. All my heart kept telling me was to run into your arms and let you hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay."

"Why didn’t you?" Long arms wrapped around Sydney and pulled her close. Doesn’t she know I’d give her anything she wants, anything she needs? ‘Why should she? You’ve never told her.

"Every now and then I go into a...." What? A black pit? "Bad space and it takes me a little while to get out of it. I don’t always do what’s best for me then. And what was best for me would have been to tell you what I needed." Sydney rested her head in the crook of Evin’s shoulder and settled closer.

Bad spaces. Now that, I can understand. Hell, I invented ‘em. "Do you still want to talk about it?"

Sydney was so quiet for such a long period of time that Evin didn’t think she was going to answer. "Yeah, I really want to...I need to." Sydney felt the warm, constant pressure of Evin’s arms around her and sighed, nuzzling Evin’s neck. "Can we talk in a little while? I’m really enjoying this right now. Can we just do this for a little while longer?"

"As long as you want." Pale blue eyes closed as a mixture of relief and contentment settled over her. She had no desire to be anywhere else or do anything else but hold the small redhead. That she even felt this way amazed her. She had always had a restless energy, both physical and mental, even as a child. The mind never stopped and the body did only when it had to. It had been an amazing discovery one night last week.

She was sitting at one corner of the couch, her long legs stretched out, Sydney in between them, using Evin’s body as a backrest as she read one of her casebooks. Evin had finished reading the latest Trial Lawyers’ journal and found, much to her surprise, that she had no desire to ‘do’ anything. She was totally relaxed. She felt at peace. Her only thoughts were of the warmth of the small body nestled against her, the scent of Sydney’s shampoo, the soft rustling of pages turning. Her lips had brushed the top of the pale head. Sydney continued reading, but had dropped a hand from the book onto Evin’s thigh and patted it, then squeezed and left it there.

It was a small gesture, but the impact on Evin had been incredible. It felt so right. She felt loved and cared for. Emotions welled in her chest until she thought she would explode. So this is what it’s like to be in love. She realized then, with a sudden clarity, that this was what love was about. And that she wanted Sydney, needed Sydney. She fell willingly the rest of the way down love’s slippery slope. She just couldn’t fight it anymore.

"Hey, where are your crutches?"

Uh oh. "I, um, left them at home."

"What am I gonna do with you?"

"A few things come to mind."

"I bet they do." Sydney chuckled softly and snuggled closer. "Probably the same things that come to my mind, none of which has anything to do with your crutches."


Evin looked down at the petite redhead who tilted her head to watch the tall attorney. They had picked up salads from Frankie’s and gone to Sydney’s house. Then they had assumed what was now Sydney’s favorite position on her couch, Evin’s torso acting as a backrest and the lawyer’s long arms wrapped around Sydney’s waist, acting as a seatbelt.

"I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much stuff on a salad before. Are you sure that there was lettuce in there somewhere?" the small woman teased.

"Yeah, there was plenty enough of that green stuff in there."

"Why do you even bother to get a salad?" She felt Evin shrug her shoulders.

"What else am I going to eat blue cheese dressing with?"

Sydney chuckled. "You could have taken all that meat and cheese and whatever else you had them put on it, put it on some bread, and used the dressing instead of mayonnaise."

"Wouldn’t be the same."

"No, I suppose not." She sighed and rested her head against a soft cheek. "I’m sorry about last night. I should have talked to you instead of going off like I did."

"It’s okay, Syd." She nuzzled Sydney’s hair. "You want to talk about it now?"

Sydney nodded. "This woman came into the clinic yesterday. I knew something was wrong. I could just tell. Do you ever get that feeling? That something’s not right… Where what your client is saying and what they’re doing just don’t seem to match up?"

"Mmmhmm." All the time.

Sydney’s smaller hands rested on top of Evin’s, fingers tangling together. "Anyway, we were going through the interview, and, you know that part where we have to ask about special circumstances," Sydney felt Evin nod. "Well, when I mentioned the spousal abuse, I thought she was going to run out the door. I just knew then that he abused her. I tried, I really tried, to get her to tell me about it, to let me send her some place she could get help. But she wouldn’t talk to me. I slipped some information about the Battered Women’s Shelter into the paperwork I gave her. I don’t think she’ll get any help. She seemed so scared to me. Her eyes...they were full of pain and fear. I...I...felt so useless. I just wanted to make it better for her. Why couldn’t I get through to her? What did I do wrong?"

" didn’t do anything wrong." How could she think she did something wrong? Surely, she’s had clients before who have been abused, who didn’t want help. Where is this coming from? "You offered to help. You gave her the relevant information. It’s her choice."

"But what if they don’t have a choice?"

They? Who’s ‘they?’ Maybe the woman had kids. "Does she have children? Was he hurting the kids?"

"No kids. Just her."

"Sydney?" Evin’s voice was soft in Sydney’s ear. "Who’s they?"

"Jennie...Nathan." Sydney’s voice was distant, sad.

This is definitely not going to be good. "What’s the matter?" Evin felt the small body in her arms start to shake and then she felt Sydney turn and bury her face in Evin’s chest as small arms wrapped around her neck, clinging to her. "Oh, honey...I got you...I got you." She held her as tight as she could as Sydney cried.

As the tears and shaking subsided, Evin asked, "Do you want to tell me about it?" A small nod of the head, accompanied by a sniffle, was her answer.

"When I was thirteen, these people, the Williams, moved in next door. Jennie was my age...and Nathan, he was eight. Her mom was the nicest lady. I don’t know who I had more of a crush on, Jennie or her mom." A sad smile crossed her face as she sat up a little and looked into pale blue eyes. The green eyes then dropped back down and focused on the hand she was holding, giving it a little squeeze.

"Jennie and I… we were best friends. And I never knew, up until a couple of months before they died, what was going on. I don’t know why I didn’t notice. All the signs were there. They always had excuses for everything. I mean, how many times can you trip on a Hot Wheels car left out by your little brother?" Her voice had a touch of anger in it.

The tall attorney could feel the tension building in the small body pressed against her. She willed her own body to relax and stay calm. She needs your support now. She needs you calm, not ready to explode.

"I bought every one of those excuses…hook, line, and sinker. But somehow, deep down, when I looked back on that whole time, I knew something was wrong. I knew it in my gut." She squeezed Evin’s hand. "On my fourteenth birthday, Mom and Dad had given me a party. It wasn’t anything big, really, just some friends from school and the neighborhood. After the party, Jennie asked me to come to her house. We went to her room and she told me she got me something special for my birthday. I couldn’t believe it when she handed me this little package. I didn’t know why she hadn’t given it to me at the party. But then I opened it…and I…I knew why."

A flood of emotions stormed through Evin’s heart as she heard the law student’s voice crack. This is something that was traumatic for her. Calm down. Get control of yourself! Let her get through this before you open your big mouth.

There was a long minute of silence before Sydney spoke again. "Ever since I was first memories...I believed in those fairy tales. I knew that one day, I’d find the person just for me." Green eyes, reflecting a mixture of sadness, pain, hope and love looked into blue. You’re the one for me. Do you know that? Have you figured out yet how much you mean to me? "We used to talk about that. She didn’t believe in happily ever after. I tried and tried to convince her. I don’t think I ever did." Sydney looked down again.

"It was a glass figurine...of a knight on a horse. It was so beautiful. My knight in shining armor. I was so surprised and so happy. I just threw my arms around her and started hugging her. Her dad came in."

Evin felt Sydney’s body tense further as the small hands holding one of her own squeezed harder. She didn’t think Sydney was even aware that she was doing it. Evin kept up her slow rubbing of Sydney’s back with the other hand. Her breathing remained steady, but all she felt inside was turmoil. If this is going where I think it’s going, I’ll hunt that son of a bitch down and kill him with my bare hands.

"The next thing I knew, I was slamming into a wall and my knight went flying and hit the dresser and shattered. He punched Jennie in the stomach so hard that she collapsed to the floor and passed out. He was screaming and yelling at me that he was going to tell my father that I was a sick little pervert and trying to hurt his daughter...trying to force her to do unnatural things."

No good, rotten bastard. Evin hugged the smaller woman closer and started rocking back and forth slowly, whispering softly. "Oh honey…." I’d do anything to take away your pain.

"He…he raised his hand to hit me and I...I guess I snapped. I kicked him in the balls. I just stood there and watched him collapse to the ground. He hit his head on the nightstand and started bleeding. Then I started yelling at him and told him that I was going to tell my father and that he wasn’t going to get away with it anymore."

That’s my girl. Now wait until I meet you, Mr. Williams. Nobody touches Sydney.

"Mrs. Williams came in the room and took one look at her husband and grabbed me and started shaking me. I couldn’t even understand what she was saying, but she was terrified. I broke away from her and ran downstairs and out the front door to my house. I didn’t know what to do. I was…was scared…upset. I mean my father had never even spanked me. I…it was…. I ran up to my room and locked my door and started crying. I heard the doorbell ring and then I could hear his voice. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but he talked to my dad for about five minutes. My father came upstairs and made me come down and apologize to Mr. Williams."

Evin couldn’t hide the shock and anger she felt anymore. "Apologize for what?" The words exploded from her as an animal growl.

"Mr. Williams told my father that Jennie and I were jumping on the bed and horsing around. That I got mad because Jennie had a glass figurine that I wanted and she wouldn’t give it to me. He said he heard us fighting upstairs and that he came in the room in time to see me hit Jennie and push her off the bed. And that I threw the figurine at him and hit him in the head when I tried to make a run for it. He even told my father that I tripped over his leg when I was trying to run away. He had an explanation for everything…his cut, my bruise, Jennie…"

Green eyes looked up and held blue in an intensely serious gaze. Her voice held a sharp, angry edge. "Never, ever in my life did I lie about anything to my mother and father. I always told the truth. My father made me apologize to that motherfucker and didn’t even ask me what happened. When I tried to tell him what happened, he just told me I was lying to save my hide. I tried to get him to call the authorities. I even went to the school counselor and told him what happened. He talked to Jennie and she denied it."

Evin felt Sydney getting more and more tense. The next thing she knew, Sydney was up off the couch, her arms crossed tight over her chest as she stood. "When my father found out that I talked to the school counselor, he actually spanked me. He spanked me. I…I…."

The small woman hugged herself tightly, her eyes shut. Haunted green eyes opened after several long seconds and she continued. "Fifty-four days after my birthday, Jennie’s father killed them all and shot himself. I was…I was with my family at the dinner table. There were these big bangs. A scream and then more bangs. I...I never understood." Her voice broke. She looked down at the floor then back up at Evin, shaking her head slightly. "I never understood. Any of it. And I didn’t stop it."

Sydney pleaded with Evin silently with her eyes. "All my father said was that it was such a tragedy that a good man like Mr. Williams would snap like that. The man killed his entire family and himself…and my father still didn’t believe I had told him the truth about what happened after the party.

Evin didn’t trust herself to speak. She was torn between consoling Sydney and catching the first plane to Memphis where she envisioned saying hello to a certain Charles Parker, Sr., in a manner that she hoped would cause at least one tenth as much of the pain she saw in Sydney’s eyes. She struggled and shoved her anger down. There was enough palpable anger and pain rolling off of Sydney. Adding hers to the mix wasn’t going to help.

She got up and stood in front of Sydney, gently grasping the smaller woman by the shoulders. "I’m so sorry that happened, Sydney." She drew the law student into her arms and held her. It seemed like minutes passed before the tension started to fade from Sydney’s body. "You didn’t deserve that."

"It took me a long time to realize that. Every now and then I forget it. That client…she just brought it all up again for some reason." Sydney tilted her head back and looked up into Evin’s eyes, placing her hands flat against her chest. "Thanks for listening to me. It means a lot."

"Anytime you need to talk, Sydney, I’ll be here." What the hell do I say to her? She’s in so much pain and...guilt? "Hey, you do know none of that was your fault, don’t you?"

"I know."

So you say, but your eyes tell a different story.

Green eyes peered into pale blue for a long moment. Sydney’s arms moved up and tangled in the dark mane, drawing Evin’s head down. The kiss was soft and tender and gentle. Sydney felt a faint warmth start in her heart and spread throughout her body. She pulled back slightly, breaking the kiss and looking into the pale blue eyes meeting her gaze with such tenderness and warmth. "Thank you."

She looks so tired. "You tired?"

A yawn was the response. "Who would have thought after a three hour nap I’d still be tired."

"Me." Evin chuckled. "Come on. Let’s get you to bed. You’ve had a rough couple of days."

Sleep came to Sydney in what seemed like seconds. Evin lay holding her, the small body sprawled on top of hers, thinking long into the night.


Sydney smiled to herself as she got off the elevator and headed towards Evin’s office. It had been a long day at school and she was glad that they had made plans to meet at Evin’s office, grab a bite to eat and head to the loft. She stopped in the doorway as she reached the office and leaned against the doorframe.

A shiver of pleasure ran through her as she watched the tall woman work on some document on her desk. She was finding it increasingly hard to keep the promise she made to herself not to drag the tall woman to the nearest flat surface and ravage her. And this morning...poor Evin. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a desperate look on someone’s face before.

Evin had awakened at her usual four-thirty a.m. It amazed Sydney how the tall attorney would wake up like clockwork, even when they spent the night at Sydney’s house. She decided to get up with her and they sat on the couch and drank coffee. Evin had been grumpy and edgy in the mornings, her usual routine of working out having been stopped temporarily because of her injuries. Sydney had sought to put her in a better mood by cuddling and kissing, but it had just focused the energy in a different direction. Like it didn’t get you all hot and bothered, too.

The law student had finally moved to the kitchen table to prepare for her morning class, leaving Evin sprawled, frustrated, on the couch. But the distance hadn’t done anything to help cool them off. She’d feel a hot gaze burning into her soul and look up from her book, straight into intense blue eyes. Repeatedly. We really need to talk about this sex thing.

Evin looked up and saw Sydney leaning against the doorframe. A smile crossed her face. "Hey! Whatcha doing?"

"Thinking about how I’m going to seduce you." Where did that come from? Sydney felt her cheeks redden. I say things around her I thought I’d never say aloud to another human being in my life.

Startled blue eyes looked back at Sydney as a jolt of excitement ran from her brain south. "What happened to the ‘when we’re ready’ policy?"

"We need to talk about that." Green eyes flashed and she tilted her head back a bit. "It may be time to reevaluate and amend that policy. We’ve been spending every night together. Not that it hasn’t been wonderful to just sleep with you, but usually you meet, date, have sex, then sleep together."

"Well, we don’t seem to be doing much by the book here."

"I suspect there’s not much you do by the book."

"You’ve got a wicked grin on your face, Sydney Parker." One eyebrow raised as Evin returned the wicked grin. "Law school issue you one a little early?"

"Oh, no, counselor. I learned that from you." I’m going to melt if she keeps looking at me like that.

Evin’s voice dropped an octave and blue eyes twinkled. "You gonna hold up the wall or come over here and kiss me?"

If my knees will work. That voice. As she started walking towards Evin, she replied smoothly, "Can you handle it?" Why did I even say that? she thought as she watched Evin respond.

Blue eyes went dark with desire and Sydney could feel the energy radiating out of the tall woman, causing jolts of electricity to race through her body as Evin purred, "I won’t know ‘til I try." For the first time in my life, I’m not sure I could, but I promise I’ll die trying.

Then Sydney was around the desk and within Evin’s grasp and found herself pulled into the tall woman’s lap, warm soft lips finding hers as a fire ignited in her blood. Shivers ran up and down her spine as the kiss deepened and her lips parted. She marveled at the textures as her hands wound their way around Evin’s neck and settled in thick, silky hair. Her tongue played with Evin’s, dancing, tasting, exploring. How can one person feel this good?

Long arms moved down hers and then onto her back, sliding and creating delicious pressure, pulling her closer into Evin’s body and finally coming to rest on her hips. Insistent pressure from the hands drew her hips closer and she could feel her body arching into Evin’s as Evin’s arched to meet hers. She was fast losing the ability to think rationally.

Evin felt every cell in her body explode with pleasure when she touched Sydney. Finding a warm wet mouth was her only thought and she rapidly satisfied that need. Shuddering as their lips met, her mind blocked out everything else. There was only the feel, the smell, the touch of Sydney existing in her world.

An intense desire to possess the law student filled her and she gave into it. Her mouth commanded Sydney’s as her tongue entered, exploring, seeking, demanding. Her hands moved down Sydney’s arms, delighting in the feel of the soft, warm skin then over the back, feeling each muscle and bone, finally coming to rest on gently curving hips. Her hands drew the smaller woman closer, her body arching involuntarily into the other, seeking contact at all possible points.

Sydney felt Evin’s hands move to the back of her shirt and pull it out from her jeans. Then strong soft hands were on her skin. A low moan came from somewhere deep inside Evin and rumbled through her. Small hands gripped Evin’s head tighter and pulled her closer, crushing their lips together. A vague thought floated through Sydney’s mind. Our first time’s going to be in her office. What the hell. Not the conference room, but close enough.

Evin lifted the small woman slightly and Sydney moved her leg to straddle Evin’s thighs. A vague awareness of pain crept through Evin’s mind. They broke the kiss, Sydney pulling Evin’s head to her chest. Large hands worked down her hips and around, kneading and pulling her into electrifying contact with Evin’s stomach. Breaths were interspersed with moans, bodies crying out for as much contact as possible. Evin’s hands moved up the law student’s back drawing her even closer. Then she felt Sydney freeze.

"Sydney?" Evin’s voice was hoarse with need. As she looked up, Evin saw the mortified expression on Sydney’s face. "Sweetheart, what’s wrong?" Oh Christ, I’ve fucked up and moved too fast. Then she noticed Sydney was staring at the door. A twist of her head and she spotted a figure standing in her office doorway.

"Jesus Christ, Andrew, don’t you know how to fucking knock?" Evin growled.

"The door was open. I didn’t expect...that is, I thought...." Andrew was turning red. "I’m sorry, I...." He held up some papers in his hand and waved them. Sydney’s face was the deepest crimson he thought he had ever seen and imagined that his wasn’t too far behind. He winced unconsciously at Evin’s expression. Premeditated murder appeared to be first and foremost on her mind.

Just shoot me now and put me out of my misery. "Is there anybody else left in the building we should invite to this little party?" Evin asked sarcastically as Sydney scrambled off of her lap and stood by her side. Evin’s arm wrapped around her waist. "What do you need, Andrew?"

"I, um, have some more information on Angela Battiste."

Jesus H. Christ. I’m gonna explode. "It couldn’t have waited?"

"Yeah...I just didn’t know...." She is definitely going to kill me.

Sydney found her voice. "Andrew, have you had dinner yet?"


Sydney glanced down at Evin. "Why don’t we all get a bite to eat? We can discuss the case then. I need to get caught up."

Evin glanced up at Sydney, trying to get a feel for how she was doing. "You sure?"

The law student nodded.

Evin sighed again. This is definitely not what I thought we would end up doing. She looked at Andrew. "You up for a little dinner?"

Andrew grinned. "Long as you’re buying."

Evin sighed again. "Where do y’all want to go?"

"Greek sound good?" Andrew offered.

"Zissis’ over on Metairie Road okay?" Evin countered as she stood up.

Andrew and Sydney nodded in unison.

"I’ll meet y’all there." Andrew turned and practically ran out of the office.

Evin looked at Sydney apologetically. "I’m so sorry. I didn’t know...I would never put you in a position..."

A finger on Evin’s lips silenced her. "It’s okay. I liked that position." What has come over me? "I mean, this was, uh, exciting and I’d definitely like to try it sometime," she said with a sparkle of green eyes and a blush coloring her face. "With the door locked. But I’d rather get you into a bed for our first time."

"I can arrange that."

Sydney looked into the smoldering blue eyes. "I’m counting on it. Come on. Let’s go before we get started again."

"Um, Sydney?"


Pale blue eyes twinkled. "You might want to tuck your shirt in."

Evin grinned broadly as Sydney turned red once again.


They were seated at a table in the corner, reading their menus. Evin smiled as she watched Sydney study the menu seriously, her brows furrowed. "Sydney, you have any questions?"

"Yeah, why can’t I have four stomachs like a cow? All of it looks so good."

Evin laughed. "I’d need to take a loan out if you had four stomachs."

"You should have seen how much she ate in the hospital cafeteria." Andrew chuckled and then made a face. "And it was hospital food."

"It wasn’t that bad," Sydney countered. "A little bland, but most of it was easily recognizable."

"Andrew, what did you find out on Battiste?"

"Gary finally got a hold of her best friend out in Hahnville. She’s a waitress in a little bar out there. Seems she can also drink quite a lot, so don’t be pissed when you see the expense report he turned in." He looked at Evin, seeing her ‘get to the point’ look. "To make a long story short, she said that Battiste was scared of somebody over at Hynes. She didn’t know a name, but she thought that it was one of the plant workers."

"Did she know what happened to make her scared?" Sydney asked.

"No, Battiste just told her she was scared of him."

"Great," Evin muttered disgustedly. "Now we have to consider the possibility of a psycho suitor blowing her up. How many employees does Hynes have?"

"Close to a thousand. Add all the contractors and subs going in and out of there, it’s probably closer to thirteen hundred." Andrew looked dejected.

"Do you really think someone else is involved?" Sydney asked Evin, hoping that she would say yes. Maybe the explosion wasn’t related to the case. Just a bizarre set of circumstances.

"No, but we still have to consider the possibility." It’s so damn frustrating.

The rest of the evening was spent discussing the case. Sydney sensed Evin’s frustration level building and found her own keeping pace. While they were having coffee and dessert, a large hand grasped hers, the thumb idly stroking the back of her hand. She didn’t think that Evin was even aware that she had done it. It touched her so deeply it almost hurt.


Sydney glanced over at Evin while they were stopped at a red light. "Want to talk about what’s bothering you?" Evin was silent for so long, Sydney didn’t think she was going to get an answer.

"I’m a lot of areas."

"What areas, baby?" The light changed green and Sydney accelerated smoothly, taking them to the boathouse.

A large hand covered hers. "I...the case. We’re no closer and now we’ve got a whole new set of circumstances to consider. I haven’t been able to work out...I feel like I’m about to jump out of my skin. Physical therapy’s going so damn slow…." Evin sighed. "And, well...I’m wondering where I’m going to have to take you to in order to get away from everything and everyone that seems to keep getting in the way of our spending time together." A squeeze of the hand. "I’m considering somewhere in the Antarctic as the most likely candidate. What’s...going on with you?" Sydney had become unusually quiet towards the end of dinner.

Sydney smiled at the offering, which for Evin was tantamount to a week’s worth of information without the benefit of the cross-examination she usually had to do. "I’m worried about the case and I’m worried about you." And I know one thing I can do to help. "Do you have any plans for this weekend?" Help? Confess, Sydney. You just can’t take it anymore.

"No...I thought...uh, no." You thought. You are such an idiot, Moran. You just assumed she would be spending the weekend with you. In fact, you’ve just assumed she’d be there every night and you were proven wrong on that count. "No plans."

"Good, because I’m taking you somewhere this weekend." She glanced sideways at Evin as the thumb that had been stroking the back of her hand stopped. "Is that okay? I mean...I didn’t mean to assume that...."

"It’s perfect, Sydney." She assumed the same thing. That feels...good. Really good. " of assumed the same thing myself." She paused, enjoying the feeling of Sydney’s hand in hers. "But you don’t need to take me anywhere."

"I’m worried about you. You got so tired tonight towards the end of dinner. I know you’d like to think that you’ve recuperated from your injuries, but you haven’t. Just indulge me in this, okay?"

Evin yawned, her body agreeing with Sydney’s assessment even though her mind didn’t want to. "Okay. Where are we going to go?"

"Not far. Just out of the city."

"Mmmm. That sounds good. Where exactly?"

"This little place across the lake, near Mandeville. It’s on that river that I can’t ever say the name of."

"The Tchefuncte?"

"Yes. That’s it."

Evin smiled and leaned her head back against the headrest. I’m tired. My leg hurts like a son of a bitch. I’m frustrated. But I feel good. Go figure. "It’ll be good for you, too. I know none of this has been easy...and with school.…" She turned to look at Sydney, taking in the profile that flickered in the shadows as they passed under streetlights. She whispered softly to the profile, "Thank you," as she picked up the hand she was holding and gently kissed the palm.

"For what?" Sydney asked as she shivered slightly at the light kiss.

"For caring...being"

"You’re welcome." The car rolled to a stop in front of the boathouse. "I…I care for you a lot, Evin. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be."

The low voice asked, "How about lying on the couch with me and watching a little TV?"

"Oooh, I think Emeril should be on by now." The car door shut as Sydney stood outside the car grinning impishly at the still seated Evin. "What are you waiting for?"

"A cooking show." She opened the door, muttering under her breath as she got out. "And I don’t care." A slight shake of the dark-maned head. "You’ve got it bad, Moran."

Part 11

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