Trial of Conscience
Cold. The thought appeared somewhere in her mind and floated around in the fog. Reflexively, she burrowed further under the blankets. A faint, repetitive sound drummed slowly in her ears. "Uggh...dont wanna wake up," she mumbled, rolling to her left, searching for the body that usually kept her so warm. An arm went out, finding nothing but empty bed.
A groan. One eye opened slightly, focusing on the red numbers on the alarm clock. Six twenty-seven. The eye shut as her mind protested. What an ungodly hour for a Saturday morning.
"Evin?" She waited for a minute. "Honey?" No response. One day, Im going to get her to stay in bed past seven. For sleep. Stay in bed past seven for sleep. Thats it.
Grabbing Evins pillow, she pulled it to her body and cradled it. A deep inhalation was followed by a sigh, the familiar scents clinging to the pillow warming her. The faint, repetitive noise finally made an impression on her consciousness and she recognized it as evidence of punishment being administered to the heavy bag. Ah, thats where she is. Working out. She hugged the pillow closer. Isnt there some constitutional guarantee of my right to sleep in on a Saturday morning?
She burrowed her head into the pillow and groaned. Youre being lazy, Sydney. You fell asleep at nine oclock last night. Nine and a half hours of sleep is enough. A small smile crossed her face. And that was after she fell asleep. She sighed. She looked so peaceful. At least shes sleeping through the night again, so I guess the nightmares are getting better.
Evin had rebuffed all of Sydneys attempts to get her to discuss the nightmares she was having on an almost nightly basis. I wonder what theyre about. I guess its probably because of the explosion. Hell, Ive had them and I wasnt even involved in it.
The case is going to be over soon, one way or the other. Depositions of those people from Hynes are Thursday, and then theyll move to set the case for trial, which should be about two to three weeks after that. I wonder what its going to be like when this case is over and we get a chance to have normal lives.
Her little voice laughed, Normal? You know what I mean. I dont think its ever going to be dull. I mean the pressure. Id like two weeks of no problems especially between us. Thursday just about killed me. Just going to school, studying, doing defaults and evictions in Clinic, being with Evin that would be perfect. No hospitals, no blood, no people following me, no mention of the words Hynes or foreclosure.
The noise from downstairs had stopped, and the aroma of coffee brewing drifted to her nose. We cant lose this case. Where are Willie and Emma and the kids going to go? I hope she can come up with some legal magic because I certainly have no clue what to do.
Her eyes reluctantly opened as she rolled onto her back and started a languid stretch, concentrating on the feel of her muscles tightening and relaxing. The bedroom in the loft was fairly dark, but she could see small slivers of light peeking through the storm shutter covering the skylight. She put the storm shutter down so the light wouldnt wake me up. Shes so sweet. Sydney chuckled lightly thinking of the scowl her lover had made when she had told the tall woman exactly that a few days ago. That and the low, adamant growl of "I am not sweet."
"Big phony," she mumbled. At least shes working out again. That seems to take some of the edge off. Where does she get all that energy from? Maybe we can go down to the French Quarter today to the flea market. I need some more sunglasses. After the last couple of days, we need to just relax and have some fun.
Time to get up. With a grunt, she pushed herself up and swung her legs over the side of the bed. Bathroom first, then coffee. Start the morning off with a plan. The sound of a spoon clanging in a pot brought her out of the bed to a standing position in a second. Pot? Spoon? Evin Moran? All in one room Id better get downstairs. So much for the plan.
The sun warmed them as they walked up Decatur Street, having just left the flea market. The light breeze carried just a touch of crispness, the cool air chasing away the humidity.
"Im so glad we came down here. The weather is great." Sydney grinned at Evin, who returned the smile.
"Yeah, its really nice." She sidestepped a group of people walking down the middle of the sidewalk and shot an exasperated glance at Sydney. "Hows that drink?"
"Its very good." The law student smiled back tolerantly. "Im really proud of you, you know."
One dark eyebrow rose. "Proud of me? What the hell did I do?"
"You made it through the flea market without killing anybody," she teased. "Although that look you gave to that woman with the baby carriage I think you scared the baby and terrified the mother."
"I was simply urging her, in a non-verbal manner, to reconsider her options," Evin replied indignantly. "She was trying to wedge that thing through a two-inch wide space and blocking the aisle. It wasnt going to fit. She shouldnt have even tried it. And that baby wasnt even looking at me."
A small hand reached out and patted Evins back. "That was still very nice of you doing that non-verbally." I can only imagine what she would have said.
"I dont like people pushing on me that crowd it was beginning to back up behind us." A long arm reached out and settled over her companions shoulders, drawing her closer. "Its a personal space kind of thing no violations allowed."
I guess that rule doesnt apply to me. "The weather must have brought everybody out. It was really crowded." The narrow aisles of the flea market had been jammed with people. Evin finally told Sydney to keep shopping and had waited on a bench for her, out of the way of the crowds.
A couple passing them stared as the woman whispered something to the man. The law student smiled a sweet smile at them and they looked away quickly. "Evin?"
The tall woman glanced down at Sydney. "Hmmm?"
"That doesnt bother you?"
"What? The crowds? Ill deal with it."
She shook her head. "No I never mind."
"Uh, uh, uh, Syd you started, you gotta finish."
"Those people you didnt see them? The look they gave us?"
"Nah. What kind of look?"
"Then they couldnt have been looking at you." Evin smiled easily. "No way you could inspire that look in anybody. Must have been me. My horns arent showing, are they?"
"I think it was because you had your arm around me."
"Fuck em," she stated. In the next instance, her arm came off of Sydneys shoulders as if it were being scalded. Youre an idiot, Moran. "Im sorry I didnt mean to I didnt know you had a problem I thought ."
Sydney reached out and grabbed the hastily removed arm, resettling it over her shoulders. "Relax, terror. I dont have a problem. They do. Ah, this PiŅa Colada is so good." The frozen drink slid down Sydneys throat.
"Thats a beach drink some tropical island, scantily clad native women obsessed with waving palm fronds, a hammock double hammock, for both of us."
Pale eyebrows rose. "Good thing you clarified that, or I might have to...ooooh, look at that." Sydney pointed to a shop window. "Those are great leather jackets. Can we go in there?"
Evin glanced in the direction Sydney was pointing and stopped. "Um, uh, Syd thats, uh, Leather and Skin."
The law student stopped and looked up at the tall attorney. "And that means ?"
Blue eyes twinkled unseen behind sunglasses. "Oh nothing just telling you the name."
"Okay," she said, drawing the word out. "I promise this will be the last place we go into. Then we can go home."
"Sure, baby." Evin smiled indulgently at the small redhead. "I might even be persuaded to buy you a present or two," the low voice drawled.
The shop door opened and a bell tinkled as they walked through. "Ah leather. I love that smell. Its like something just feels right about it."
Evin pulled her sunglasses off as her eyes swept over the shop that was so typical of the French Quarter. Small in size, the room barely twenty feet wide, it was packed to the rafters with merchandise. A leather-clad man sat behind a small counter next to the cash register, thumbing through a magazine. "Theyve got a lot of leather here." And a lot of other things. I cant wait to see how red she turns.
"Whats so funny?"
"Uh nothing." Evin nodded at the clerk who had looked up from his magazine. "Hey."
Sydney glanced at her skeptically as she moved to the first display case and peered down into it. "Wow look at all these leather bracelets. Evin but why are they so small? And look at those multi-colored little bola ties. That wouldnt even fit around my wrist, much less over my head. And that silver bracelet, back there " Her finger tapped the top of the glass display case, pointing to the item in question. "I like that one, but I dont think ." She made a circle with her thumb and index finger trying to approximate the size of it and put it up next to her wrist. "No, it wouldnt fit."
"Um, Syd ." Evin said softly. She is so adorable. "Those arent bracelets. Theyre, um, uh. " How do I put this? "Sexual aids. This is a
leather and sex toy shop." She took a sip from her bottled water.
The young woman stared at Evin, confused. "Sexual aids? Like the ice cubes?"
Evin started choking on the water she was trying to swallow. "Um not exactly." She coughed a few more times, trying to clear her lungs as two of the customers in the shop looked her way. "Theyre for men. Youve never talked to Wayne about any of your guy friends?" She noted the blank look on Sydneys face. Uh oh. Im gonna have to explain all this stuff. "Theyre called cock rings." I cant wait until we make it to the back room.
"What?!" the law student spluttered as she looked down to the case and then back to Evin. "I cant imagine Ive seen stuff on the Internet read stories." Of course, they were about women, not something that would require this particular accessory. "You mean they ." She grimaced. "Honey, why would anyone want to do that? That doesnt hurt? Penises are sensitive. How does it work?" She looked back down into the case and stared. "Thats got to hurt."
"In case you havent noticed, I dont have a penis," Evin said dryly, then offered in a low voice, "Of course, we could buy a reasonable facsimile here, if youd like."
"Uh huh," the law student replied absently as she leaned closer to the case, studying the items. "Some of these are adjustable. Go figure. Ill have to ask Wayne about this. I wonder if hes ever used one. Oh my God! That one has spikes on it. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!" She looked at Evin and winced. "Honey, we can buy whatever you want."
Both dark brows shot up. "Do you know what I said, Sydney?"
"Um that you wanted to buy something I think." Her eyes wrinkled as she offered an apologetic smile. "Im sorry. I really wasnt paying attention. That spike thing distracted me. Ow." Green eyes glanced around the small shop. "So this is one of those sex shops. Where are the little booths that you can watch movies in?"
"Its not that kind of sex shop. Just leather and, um, sexual aids."
"Kathy and I went into one in Memphis." Her body shivered in remembrance. "We left after two seconds. It was disgusting. All these creepy looking people . I never did go into one again. This ones really nice."
A dark brow raised at the revelation as an irrational pang of jealousy stabbed at her heart. Control yourself, Moran. Shes not a virgin and neither are you, so get a grip. "Yeah, its not bad." She shrugged as her blue eyes scanned the shop again. "You, um you interested in some of this stuff?"
"You mean, do I want to try something different?" She glanced down at the display case and then back up to her lover. "I when I went with Kathy, I think we were trying desperately to find something anything to make it better. It wasnt because I found any of the stuff we had heard about to be a big turn-on for me. Thinking about using some of those things I dont know. It was grasping at straws...looking for an answer. The only answer was that we didnt belong together."
The dark head nodded. "You want to look around more?"
Sydney glanced to the next case. "Oh, yeah. Im not gonna pass this opportunity up. Ive always wondered about some of this stuff. Do you know a lot about it? I mean have you um, well, are you ."
Uh oh. Blue eyes blinked. The little voice warned, Remember, honesty is the best policy. "I, uh, dont know if I would say that I know a lot about it." Her stomach did a flip. "Ive had some experience."
"Do you like ." Sydneys voice trailed off and her eyes dropped.
Oh, Christ. This has disaster written all over it. How bad are you gonna fuck this little discussion up, Moran? And you thought it would be fun to come in here, exactly why? "Some things can add to the experience on occasion. Its, um, peoples preferences what they like. I, personally, dont well, um, its like when we talk about what feels really good and then whats just good when we make love. I I if you wanted to try something that you thought would enhance the experience, we could do that."
Sydney grinned at Evin. "Ill keep that in mind, terror. But Im not sure Id live through an enhanced experience with you."
Evin could feel an answering grin form on her face. Wow. I didnt fuck that up.
"Dont get too cocky, terror. Ill just make you work really hard later." And with that, she was off to the next display case. "Ah, now these I recognize. Ive seen pictures of these on the internet." Sydney pointed to the contents of the case. "Do you think they really work? There must be a market for em, otherwise why would they keep manufacturing them? Unless the markets composed of nothing but first-time buyers. I mean, I dont think this is an item you could return if you tried it and didnt like it."
Evin stared at the assorted sets of Ben-Wah balls on display. "I I ." Ive been in here with lots of different people and Ive never seen a reaction like this. I have no idea what to say. "No, I wouldnt think thats a returnable item."
"Have you ever used these?"
She glared at a male customer who was discretely trying to listen to their conversation. "You got a problem?" The man looked up, startled and moved away, his interest suddenly taken by a rack of whips on the opposite wall.
"Easy there, terror." Sydney reached out and stroked her arm. Then her eyes brightened and she smiled. "Hey, you know that could come in handy during Christmas rush at the malls. I could send you out to clear a path through the masses."
A groan. "I dont do malls, Syd."
"Well see. Now answer my question, please."
"What was the question?"
A small nod towards the display case she was tapping a finger on. "You .?"
"Know anybody who has?"
"Did they like em?"
A small hand rested on Evins arm. "You okay, terror?"
"Yeah, yeah, Im fine," Evin muttered with a nod of her head. "Must be hungry or something."
"We can go get something to eat after this, okay?"
"Sure, Syd, sure."
Sydney had already started to wander further into the store. Evin shook her head as she followed and nearly ran into the law student who had stopped dead in her tracks and was pointing at something suspended from the ceiling.
"What the hell is that?"
Thank God, Evin sighed in relief. A question I cant answer. Sort of. At least my answers not based on personal experience or the experience of someone Ive slept with. "Im not really sure. Its well, its some kind of restraint device for BDSM. I dont know the technical term for it." Or even if there is one.
"You mean somebody gets in that thing?" The redhead stared up at the full-length zippered black leather body bag, decorated with studs and spikes. "How do they walk? Move their arms? It doesnt even have an opening for the mouth. I couldnt imagine not being able to talk. That would drive me crazy. Why would someone want to get in that thing?"
"I dont know. It turns them on? Im not really up on BDSM practices. Not something thats ever interested me." Evin shrugged. "Whatever blows your skirt up, Syd. I personally would kill everything and anything in sight if somebody tried to put me in that."
Green eyes gazed at her lover for long seconds. "I bet you would. I dont think I could do it, either. I like the feel of your skin too much. That would be torture."
"I think that might be one of the attractions."
"Oh." Sydney stared at it for a few more seconds and then was off to a display rack, where she stood and stared, finally turning to face Evin. "I never knew there were so many products. Do you have you ."
Why did I agree to come in here? Evin glanced at what seemed to be an infinite variety of anal plugs and other assorted devices. "None of those no." Were gonna need to have a talk. Youd better before your past comes back to bite you in the ass, her little voice warned. Oh God, I want to talk. I am in so much trouble.
"Some of these have weird names. Artillery Shell The Bomb The Bullet. It sounds like youre trying to start a war. These are supposed to be fun, right?"
The tall attorney bit back a grin. This is probably the most unique reaction to this place Ive ever seen. "Thats what they say."
"Theres so many different sizes and colors. I think if I were to use one of these things, Id want a realistic color. Not neon green." The law student slid one of the boxes off the rack, turned it over and pondered the writing she found there. "Easy-grip . You know, these things have amazingly few warnings considering the nature of the device and the potential complications."
Evin started laughing. "Spoken like a true lawyer. Are you sure you havent graduated yet?" she teased.
"No," Sydney chuckled. "Im really surprised about the lack of warnings, though. They have warnings on everything you look at. And some are really stupid, too. Like that one that came on my toaster oven. Do not use oven as headgear. Can you imagine someone trying to put a toaster oven on his head? Youd expect this one to at least have something like Do not stick up your nasal passageway. Now that would hurt. Look at the size of this thing."
"Warnings usually arise as a result of litigation. Im not quite sure there are many people who would be willing to get up in court and testify about how they suffered an injury as a result of the defective nature of that particular product." Were in a leather sex shop and were having a legal discussion. Unbelievable. Im in love with another lawyer. Who would have thought? What, the lawyer part or the love part? her little voice asked. Both.
"Oh, yeah that makes sense." Sydney was already absorbed in reading the back of another package. She put it back on the rack and looked at Evin. "No warnings on that one either. Amazing."
Well, at least shes not asking me how to use em. Evin followed the small woman to the racks against the wall where a myriad assortment of leather pants, jackets, chaps and other items hung. "Oooh, this jacket is so soft." She turned the price tag around. "Holy shit! A thousand dollars? Its a good thing Im not into the leather scene. I couldnt afford it. Can you imagine how frustrating that would be? Wanting to hang out with your leather friends, but having to show up in something else because you couldnt afford it. My dad had an Ultrasuede jacket when I was little. I wonder if they still have that kind of thing. Its probably more affordable. But then, thats not really leather, so it doesnt qualify, I guess."
Evin was trying not to laugh as she watched Sydney move down the racks, reaching out and touching the different garments. She didnt know quite how she expected the law student to react, but having legal discussions about warnings and Sydneys curiosity and comments about the various items were definitely not what she expected. She nearly lost it when she heard Sydney exclaim, "Leather underwear? Wouldnt that chafe? How do you wash it?"
"Wow this bra has no no cups." Sydney grabbed the next item, a pair of panties, and almost screamed when they started vibrating. "Evin! This underwear vibrates."
The tall woman had no idea what to do with herself or how to respond, so she said simply, "I love you, Syd."
The law student cocked her head and smiled sweetly. "I love you, too, baby." Then she was off in another direction, heading for the back room. Evin shook her head and followed. Definitely not how I thought she would react.
"Oh my," Sydney said quietly as a magazine rack laden with hundreds of magazines stared back at her. "I had heard about this kind of stuff but Ive never seen any of it up close and personal." She peered closer at one of the magazines closest to her. "They have an entire magazine on tickling?"
Evin glanced at the rack, spying the magazine in question. "It would seem so."
"Oh, its only a quarterly. I was wondering how they could come up with enough information on tickling to fill a magazine each month."
Evin started laughing. "I never thought of it that way."
Sydneys head started to tilt and kept tilting until it was parallel with the floor as she stared at the cover of another magazine on the rack. "Didnt think that was possible. Did you?"
"Never really thought about that one, Syd," Evin answered as she tilted her head.
"You know, its like reading those stories on the Internet. Sometimes, I try and try to picture what it is that theyre doing, but I just dont see how its possible to get in some of those positions. And if you did get in them, how would you get out of them? Do you really have any more fun does it feel any better because youre standing on your head while balancing on a balcony railing?"
Standing on your head balancing on a balcony railing? What the hell has she been reading? "Syd? You feel like showing me these stories youve been reading?"
"Sure, baby, if youre interested. Would you look at this!" the law student exclaimed as she spotted the wall of vibrators and dildos. "Aw, theyre locked up. I cant read the back of the boxes."
"I could ask the clerk to open em up if youd like," Evin offered. She is so adorable.
"Nah, thats okay. Maybe another time," she replied as her eyes wandered over the shelves. "Who the hell names these things? The Monkey? And thats supposed to do something for me? Id start laughing every time I went to use the thing just thinking of the name." She pointed at a row of boxes. "Evin? Am I supposed to recognize these peoples names?"
"Only if youre into watching triple-X movies."
"Oooh the Rabbit. I thought that girl at school was talking about her pet. No wonder I couldnt figure out that conversation." Green eyes searched the shelves. "That thing has got to be for horses. Its huge." Sydney stood, shaking her head. "You know something, honey?"
She turned and grinned at the tall attorney. "Absolutely nothing can make me feel as good as you do. And you dont require batteries."
I know Ive got the stupidest grin on my face right now. "You, um, ready for some lunch?"
"Yeah, come on, terror. You owe me one for bringing this innocent Southern girl in here and shocking my sensibilities."
"Shocking your sensibilities? It wasnt my idea to come in here," Evin protested. "I I ."
"Yeah, right. I saw that twinkle in your eyes when we were by those ring things. You thought I was going to get embarrassed and turn red." She raised an eyebrow at Evin. "Ill have you know Im not that innocent." Green eyes twinkled mischievously. "This was definitely worthwhile. Ive gotten some pretty good ideas from looking around in here." She leaned forward, brushing against Evins body, a finger tracing the tall womans jaw. "Well have to come back soon." Then she turned and walked towards the door.
Evin stood staring at the retreating law student, dumbfounded. I have no idea what to say. My little, innocent Sydney Parker doesnt seem to be so innocent. And she wants to come back. I I I . You seem to do that a lot around her, her little voice observed. Do what? "The stuttering. Oh, shut up.
A long arm swiped at the piece of electronics that had the audacity to emit a shrill ringing noise. A muttered curse. "Son of a bitch!" A fair head stirred on her chest as Evin shifted and finally grasped the phone.
"What!" she growled into the phone as she noted the time on the clock. Three fucking thirty in the morning.
"Good afternoon, sunshine." A deep male voice came through the phone.
A hoarse angry whisper. "Afternoon? Its three thirty in the morning here. This had better be good." A soft pat on her side as warm lips kissed her breastbone.
"I have a problem."
"So do I. Its called being disturbed by you. Cant you call my office during normal business hours?"
"Evin, this is normal business hours for me. Im in Athens."
"Good for you. Now what the hell do you want?"
"I need you to represent me."
"And you called me at three thirty in the morning to tell me that? Are you out of your fucking mind, Christos?"
"Ah, ah, ah remember your manners, young lady."
"Im no fucking lady and Ive never had any manners. Call me when Im in my office in about four hours." The receiver slammed down into its cradle.
"Baby?" Sleepy green eyes peered into the darkness, barely making out Evins face. "Who was that?"
"Shhh go back to sleep." Evin kissed the top of her head and tightened her arms around Sydney.
"Uh huh," Sydney murmured, nestling closer. "Warm feels good."
The phone rang again. "Hes gonna die," she muttered, grabbing for the phone as she felt Sydney roll off of her. "Do you not know what the fuck call me at my office means?"
"Evin, theres a court hearing today at one forty five in West Palm Beach...Federal Court."
The low voice crackled with disbelief. "And youre calling me now?"
"Its, um well, I had a local man handling it for me and, its not gone well. I fired him." He grimaced unseen on the other end of the phone as he waited for the explosion.
"Let me get this straight. You hired an attorney to represent you, then you fire the guy before the hearing and call me up at 3:30 in the morning expecting me to walk in and take over the very same day? Are you out of your fucking mind?"
Ignoring her questions, he continued. "Ive made reservations for you on a flight leaving at 7:35 a.m. Youll get there at noon. Open return. Stay at the house for a while enjoy yourself. Katia was asking about you last month. I hear shes not seeing anybody right now."
"You think I care about that? Why the hell did you fire your attorney?"
"He said we were going to lose. I disagreed with him."
"And when did you get your law degree? Maybe hes right. You cant win them all."
"Why not? You do." He took a calming breath. "Come on, Evin. This is family business. I want the best representing our family. Youre the best. My sister, your mother ."
"Dont even go there. Its only family business when its convenient for you." The words came out as a low growl, causing Sydney to sit up. "Youre lucky I dont have any court appearances scheduled today." An exasperated breath hissed out as she sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "This is gonna cost you a lot. Im not interested in staying. I want a flight back tonight."
"Consider it done. Ill fax the papers to you. At home?"
"Yes. Whos suing you?"
"No ones suing me. Im suing the IRS. They screwed up and seized the yacht. I bought it from a guy who owed back taxes and they seized it and sold it to satisfy his tax obligation. Told me they didnt know it wasnt his. Thats bullshit. Its registered in one of my companys names. I didnt get any notice they said they sent it to the house. If they didnt know it was mine, how the hell did they know to notify me at the house?"
Hes suing the IRS. This is gonna be just great. A deep sigh. I hate the IRS. I hate clients. I hate people in general. "Fax the papers now. Ill call you back in a little while."
"Faxing as we speak," he answered then he realized he was speaking into a disconnected line.
Sydney lightly stroked Evins back, feeling the muscles knotted under her fingers. "You gotta get up?"
A softer sigh. "Yeah. Need to catch a flight. Im sorry, Syd. You go back to sleep, okay?"
"Uh uh, terror. Im getting up, making you some coffee and making sure you eat something," she said sleepily as she wiggled over behind Evin, wrapping her arms around her waist. "Besides the nails you seem to have had already," Sydney added, teasing gently.
Her arms settled on top of Sydneys arms. "Calls in the middle of the night are just never good." Come on, Moran. Get your ass up. Go make some money. "Im going downstairs to get that fax. Please stay in bed and sleep. Ill wake you up before I go. I promise."
"Nope. Im wide awake now." One hand dropped to Evins thigh and started a slow rub.
"Uh huh wide awake," Evin said knowingly.
"Where are you going?"
Evins eyelids fluttered shut. Its gonna kill me to get up. "Nowhere if you keep that up." A swift movement and she had Sydney pinned to the bed, her lips unerringly finding Sydneys. She took her time, kissing the redhead thoroughly. Then she was off the bed and heading for the stairs. "Gotta get that fax."
"You are truly evil, Evin Moran!" Sydney groaned. "Getting me in such a state and then leaving me."
A wicked chuckle could be heard as she moved down the stairs. "You could always take matters into your own hands."
Sydney could feel the heat rising in her cheeks. She is so bad. Gotta fight fire with fire. "I just might have to do that." A bark of laughter threatened to escape as she heard the footsteps on the stairs stop and then come back up. Two can play at this, Evin Moran.
Sydney watched as Evin folded her arms and leaned against the doorframe, her outline barely visible in the dark.
"Sydney Parker," the low voice drawled. "If you decide to take matters into your own hands well, you let me know. Id like to observe your technique just to make sure Im doing it right for you."
"Auuggghhh!" It came out as a frustrated growl. "Either get your damn fax or get back in this bed with me. The things you do to my body...its not fair."
Evin laughed. "Sure its fair, Syd. I just think of you and the same things happen to me. You dont even have to be in the same place as I am."
"Oh." I never thought I mean I guess I wow. "Really?"
"Really." The low voice gentled. "Im Im sorry you didnt know that. I need to get better about telling you things like this."
"You do just fine, honey. Just fine." Sydney threw back the covers and sat up. "Go on. Ill be down in a minute."
"You should " Evin started to protest. "Okay."
A fair head peeked over the cubicle, followed by a hand waving a bag. "Hey, big boy. Brought you breakfast."
Wayne looked up and almost spit his coffee out. "You scared the hell out of me. What in the world are you doing here so early? Its ." He glanced at his watch. "Its eight oclock in the morning."
"Im turning over a new leaf."
He eyed her skeptically. "Who are you and what did they do with the real Sydney Parker?"
"Very funny. Now eat your breakfast, cholesterol boy."
"Oh, good, its from the Egg Carton." He took the offered bag and peeked inside, pulling out the Styrofoam container. "Whatd ya bring me?"
"Grease-laden bacon and a hash brown omelet."
His eyes lit up. "I love those omelets. Thanks. Whatd you get?"
"Same thing. I swear, between you and Evin my arteries are gonna harden just from being around yall, not to mention the incredible danger to my waistline. Ive gained five pounds since I started going out with her." She pulled her chair out and slid it over, resting her breakfast in her lap.
"Good. You could afford to gain a little more weight. Youre too damn thin," he mumbled between bites.
"Gaining weights never been a problem. Neither is losing it when I get stressed."
"Seriously, Syd its unusually early for you. Things okay with you and Evin?"
"Oh, yeah. She just had to catch a flight this morning, so I brought her to the airport." She winced, remembering the glare she received when she made Evin promise not to get cited for contempt in court. "She wasnt too happy about going." Thats an understatement. "But it was for one of her uncles. A last minute thing. Figured Id come straight here." She took a bite of the omelet. "This is so good."
"Did you have a good weekend?"
"Yeah, I didnt do a whole lot. Caught up on reading. Came in here on Saturday for a little while and did some research for my law review article. Nothing much. How was yours?"
"Pretty nice. We went down to the Quarter on Saturday morning. Oh, that reminds me. Have you ever used a cock ring?"
Pieces of egg flew out of Waynes mouth as he started violently coughing.
"Are you okay?" Sydney started clapping him on the back.
He waved his hand as he wiped his mouth with a napkin. "Im " Another cough, then a deep breath. "Im fine. Jesus, you might want to give me a warning before you ask a question like that."
"Im sorry. I didnt mean to make you choke. I was just curious."
"You are still a lesbian, right? Theres nothing you need to tell me about Evin, is there?"
Sydney laughed. "Yes, Im still a lesbian and no, theres nothing I need to tell you about Evin. We just went into Leather and Skin and I saw some of those ring thingies and was curious. They had one with spikes on it. That has got to hurt."
Wayne put his fork down. "Im not eating anymore until we move on to a new topic."
"Go ahead and eat before it gets cold." She waved at his food. "I can wait until youre done."
"Thats what I was afraid of." He picked up his fork and took another bite. "You had a really interesting weekend, I take it."
"It was really nice. After the Quarter, we just took it easy for the rest of the day and barbecued. Then I studied on Sunday and Evin did some research for a couple of cases for which she has upcoming trials. Shes got the neatest set-up at the loft Westlaw, Lexis, all these databases online. I can sign on to Westlaw with my student password from there and its just like being here. In fact, the connections faster. Some term she used Im not sure what it was. Shes into all that stuff. The other day, she was telling me all about Audis and the defective brakes they supposedly had."
"Is that some kind of weird lesbian foreplay mechanic talk?"
Sydney rolled her eyes. "Oh yeah, Wayne. I especially love it when women talk about repairing cars. Please she was telling me about one of her first cases. This woman had parked her car in one of the hotel parking lots. She comes back and gives her ticket to the attendant, who goes to get it and crashes it into one of those concrete pole supports, causing three thousand dollars in damage. Evin filed the claim for the woman in small claims court when the parking lot people wouldnt pay for the damage. The next thing she knows, theyre claiming that the accident was Audis fault due to defective brakes. So she had to learn all about the defective brakes so she could win."
"Win? Yeah, she did."
"So why were those brakes defective in those Audis? I remember all that controversy."
"It wasnt the brakes that were defective. What ended up happening was that, as cars got more compact, the interior room got smaller, making the brake move closer to the accelerator. People just hit the wrong pedal. She said it was the hardest five hundred dollars she ever earned. Took the case three years to get to trial."
"Wow. Thats pretty interesting. Another myth debunked." He put his fork down and leaned back in his chair. "That was so good. Thanks. I owe you one."
"No, you dont. That was just a small payback for dealing with an hysterical female last Thursday. I really do appreciate you talking to me, Wayne."
"So tell me about this cock ring thingy."
He gave her an admonishing look. "Wheres my warning?"
"Oops. Sorry," she smiled impishly.
He looked at her for a few seconds. "You really want to know about this?"
"I dont know. Im curious, I guess. I, uh, when I first saw them, I thought they were, um, bracelets."
Wayne covered his face with his hands and tried not to laugh.
"Go ahead. Laugh. Evin was so adorable. I dont think she knew quite how to take me when we were in that place."
Wayne drew a deep breath and tried to compose himself. "Im sorry, Syd. Its just that ."
"Excuse me." A light knock came on the door as a head poked in. "Anybody in here?"
"Yeah, come on in. Is there something we can help you with?" Wayne asked as he watched a man step into the room.
"Im looking for a Sydney Parker. Could you tell me where I might find him?"
Sydney stood. "Im Sydney Parker."
He extended a folded piece of paper towards her. As she grasped it, he said, "Youve been served."
Her eyes opened wide. "For what?"
"I dont know. I just deliver them." He turned and walked out the door.
Sydney unfolded the piece of paper and read the subpoena. "Those bastards!"
Wayne stood and started reading it over her shoulder, letting out a low whistle. "What could they possibly want you to testify about? Youre co-counsel on the case. How can they do that?"
"I have no idea," she said angrily. "We havent gotten served with a notice of anything yet, but whatever it is, its happening next Monday morning. Just who the hell do they think they are?"
Wayne grimaced as he watched the subpoena slam down on her desk with a loud slap. Didnt think a piece of paper could make that much noise.
She reached for the phone and started to dial. "I have to call Evins office. Maybe they got a notice of a hearing or something." Evin is gonna go ballistic when she finds out about this.
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