©1999 All rights reserved.
For Disclaimers, See Part 1
A glance at her watch told her it was after six. Sydney turned her gaze back
to the river. This is such a beautiful view, her mind absently offered.
Her eyes followed the Canal Street ferry as it made a mad dash from one bank
of the river to the other, regurgitating its passengers, swallowing more and
repeating the process.
She had been standing at the windows of Evin's office for some time, trying
to order and slow down her thoughts. Classes had ended for the day, and since
she wasn't due to pick Evin up from the airport until after nine, she had driven
to Evin's office to do more research on quashing the subpoena she had been served
with. Her eyes flickered around the office. Definitely more comfortable
than the law library at school.
One hand moved to her shoulder, her fingers kneading the muscles as she
tried to relieve a little of the persistent ache from the tension. Evin
was right. Days that start off with a phone call in the middle of the night
are never good. The phone call had been an inauspicious start to a day
that had rapidly plummeted to the depths of hell as far as Sydney was concerned.
Dealing with Evin's dour mood this morning had quickly become the least of her
After being served with the subpoena, she had called Evin's office to see if
they had been served with any notices of hearings. When the response was negative,
she had placed a call to Dorinda Pratt. The woman hadn't been in her office.
Not long after, the notice of hearing and motion papers had arrived at the clinic.
A Motion for Sanctions! Sydney had looked at Wayne in disbelief.
The glass panes in the windows were rattling by the time she finished reading
the papers. Harwood and Pratt had filed a Motion for Sanctions against Evin,
accusing her of improper tactics and abusing the legal process, and had subpoenaed
Sydney to testify against Evin.
Wayne had observed her quietly . After all, he had reasoned silently,
there's not much you can say when everything she was saying
his mind corrected, was right. You can only say You're right
in so many ways and so many times before you started to irritate the other person,
and he definitely didn't want to irritate Sydney right then. He listened as
she grew angrier and angrier, wincing a few times. Didn't know she knew
Sydney finally received a return phone call an hour later from Scott Harwood.
Upon hearing that it was Harwood, and not Pratt on the line, she had only gotten
angrier. One minion calling another. When he politely told her that
they had filed a Motion for Sanctions against Evin because of her tactics in
the case, Sydney had exploded.
Ripping into Harwood, she asked him how he could represent a company that resorted
to murder and stealing land from people who couldn't defend themselves. He had
adamantly denied the accusations and told her she was nuts. That was the proverbial
straw, she was the camel, and she felt her back break, as well as her temper
snap. So Sydney explained to him, or rather screamed at him, that he
couldn't possibly be so stupid as to think they wouldn't discover the plot behind
Hynes' reacquiring all of the land that they had sold only a few years before.
Harwood had questioned her, disbelieving at first, wanting to know what other
land she was talking about. There had been dead silence on the other end of
the phone when she had finished her explanation. Finally, the man had uttered
a quiet, I wasn't
didn't know. The next thing Sydney had heard
was the dial tone.
The realization of what she had said to Harwood struck as she looked over at
Wayne, whose soft brown eyes were as wide as saucers. A choked Oh no,
then she had let her head fall into her hands as she groaned. The investigation
that Andrew was conducting had been discrete from the onset by design. It was
something that they had all discussed repeatedly during their strategy sessions
how to get the information they needed without raising flags so that
whoever was behind this wouldn't bury the evidence any further. And in one
five-minute phone conversation, Sydney thought, I've managed to blow
that to hell.
The door opened and Jeffrey's sandy blonde head poked in. Hey Syd, you
need anything before I go? He stepped further into the room. You
She blinked a few times, then turned her head and looked at him. Oh, yeah
I'm fine. It's just been a really long day.
Girl, tell me about it. He shook his head in sympathy and made a
face. You'd think with her out of here for a day it would have been at
least a little quieter. No such luck.
I don't think tonight's going to be any better.
I know y'all make the big bucks, but I have to tell you
. I like
to go home at night and not have to worry about any of it.
Sydney chuckled half-heartedly. Oh yeah, big bucks. I'm paying the school
to let me do this.
. Jeffrey said hesitantly. She's so down. Are
you sure there's nothing I can get for you?
No, but I appreciate the offer.
I'll, um, see you later then.
Good night, Jeffrey.
Her gaze returned to the river as she tried to think about nothing for a few
more minutes. Her mind would have none of it, however as thoughts about the
events of the day and her actions invaded. It was a particularly strange feeling,
the anger and frustration, mixed with a certain sense of hopelessness
left her body in turmoil and her mind somewhat numb. It was the hopelessness,
she decided, that was the worst.
A small bit of panic had set in right after she had gotten off the phone with
Harwood. We aren't any closer to figuring anything out. And because I lost
it, it's going to be even harder to find any evidence against them. We're gonna
lose this case.
It certainly hadn't helped any that she hadn't been able to directly speak with
Evin all day. She had left messages on Evin's cellular phone and the attorney
had left messages on Sydney's voice mail at the clinic. Short, clipped messages.
She's not too happy about this. She shouldn't be. I screwed up.
Her body shivered a bit, feeling goose bumps raise on her flesh. It wasn't
that it was cold in Evin's office. It was that feeling of hopelessness that
caused the shiver as her body revolted at the memories it brought back
of the same feeling of hopelessness as a teenager, when no amount of struggle
seemed to make a difference.
Okay, Sydney, at least do something constructive until you've got to go
get her in a couple of hours. She moved behind Evin's desk and took a seat.
More research on quashing the subpoena. That's a good place to start.
Evin sat in the back of the cab as the driver picked his way through the traffic
on the interstate. One hand went to her forehead and massaged it absently. The
muscles in her body screamed for relief from the anger and tension. She didn't
The last thing Evin had expected when she had landed in West Palm Beach was a
voicemail message on her cell phone from Sydney, at least about the Dolese case.
Upon hearing Sydney's voice, she had started to smile. It quickly turned into
a frown as she listened to her lover's angry explanation of what had occurred
that morning. They had then played telephone tag all day, never actually getting
to speak. Each time Evin had called the Law Clinic, Sydney hadn't been there,
which had only added to her frustration. I need to get her a damn cell phone.
With a deep sigh, she tried to shove some of the anger back down deep inside where
she stored it. 'You should have called to let them know you got an earlier
flight,' her little voice scolded. What, and ruin the surprise? Besides,
how would you like for me to have gotten in touch with her? She doesn't have a
God damned cell phone!
The messages from Sydney had only gotten worse. The last one, retrieved when she
was in the Atlanta airport waiting for the last leg of her return flight and describing
Sydney's encounter with Harwood, had sent her over the edge. She had been so angry,
she didn't even bother calling Sydney back. I'm sure Sydney's real anxious
to see me. 'Why would she not want to see you?' Because she's not gonna like the
little discussion we're about to have.
Her right thigh throbbed as she shifted her long frame in the back seat in an
attempt to get more comfortable. How in the hell could Sydney have told Harwood
about our theory of the case? Not that it's really a theory at all. Theories of
the case are usually a little more specific than 'Hey, they're doing something
wrong but we can't figure it out.' Evin's hand braced against the front seat
as the driver slammed on the brakes. I'd like to get there in one piece,
Sorry about that, the driver mumbled as he looked up at the rearview
mirror, only to be met with an icy glare. You going to be in town long?
I get the rocket scientist of cab drivers. I didn't have any luggage when
he picked me up. 'Be nice. Every one is a potential juror,' the little voice
reminded. 'Remember what Hammermill said.'
It had been an amusing anecdote, related by a visiting trial attorney at law school.
He was late for court one morning, with a new trial scheduled to start that day.
In his haste, he cut across three lanes of traffic, spotting a rare parking space
next to the courthouse. His car and an elderly gentleman's had arrived at the
spot at the same time. With an intimidating glare and a finger gesture, he claimed
what was rightfully his. He hurried into the courtroom, and the attorneys and
judge busied themselves with picking a jury. His face dropped when the third group
of potential jurors was brought out and he spotted the elderly gentleman. He was
out of peremptory challenges and the judge wouldn't dismiss the man for cause.
The man ended up on the jury and Hammermill lost the case. He didn't say that
it was the reason he had lost the case, but a well placed You never know,
had been enough to make an impression on Evin.
With our luck, he'd end up on the jury for Dolese, if we ever get that far.
I live here. Hope Hammermill's happy, because I ain't. 'Are
you ever?' Shut the fuck up.
She held her breath for a second, hoping he wouldn't try to continue the conversation.
He didn't. Thank God for small favors.
Traffic started to clear and the car accelerated. She looked out the window, not
really seeing the scenery move by. All right, Moran, think. What are the potential
ramifications of what happened today? She leaned back in the seat and closed
her eyes. 'Like you haven't thought about this all day,' the little voice
chimed in. Shut up.
Best case scenario
none. But then Harwood would have to have had a total
lobotomy and I haven't noticed any scars. He probably broke land speed records
getting to Pratt with the information. What does she know? Probably some, but
not all, of the whole story. Clients never tell you the whole story. So she knew
some of it, but now, they know that we know at least part of it. And what's the
implication of that?
Any halfway decent lawyer would move in for the kill. They've got the perfect
vehicle for it. Just re-set the Motion for Summary Judgment. Force our hand. If
we've got anything at all, we'd have to disclose it to defeat the Motion and go
to trial. And, if we don't, it's the death blow. They win. We lose. Simple as
A surge of anger ran through her, just like it had every time she had thought
about it on the plane. From the onset, there had been a little unsettled feeling
in her gut that there was something terribly wrong with the case. Today, the feeling
had multiplied exponentially. Rule number 3
absolutely nothing is as
it seems. With this case, it ought to become number 1A.
Foreclosures are simple cases, really. You either did or did not meet the
terms of the promissory note and mortgage. About the most difficult thing in a
foreclosure case are the procedural aspects
making sure you dot every i
and cross every t. And Hynes has done that.
A deep sigh escaped as she acknowledged the truth. Just some stupidity
on Keller's part has kept us in this thing. Not even any little courtroom tricks
on my part. If it hadn't been for Andrew finding that information out about Keller,
we'd have lost, theatrics or no theatrics. The only option would have been to
file the bankruptcy and stay the foreclosure order.
The cab slowed and she opened her eyes as it made a turn onto Tchoupitoulas
Street, heading towards her office. At least I got Vicki to represent Syd
at the hearing. This is gonna be a three ring circus. Now I get to cross-examine
my lover. That ought to do wonders for our relationship. If Sydney and I manage
to stay together through this case, it will be a miracle. The pounding in
her head increased as the anger bubbled through her veins. Her friend
had been quite unruly today. What the hell is going on with me?
Just stop right here, Evin barked at the cab driver as she threw
a twenty-dollar bill at him. Gotta get out of here. She flung the door
open and climbed out, dragging her briefcase with her.
You need change?
No, she barked as the door slammed. I need to calm down is what
I need to do. She turned and faced the garage entrance to her office.
Time to go find out what the hell happened. She took a deep breath and
walked in, heading for the elevator. The sound of a car drew her attention as
she pressed the button and spotted Andrew pulling into his assigned spot.
He got out, and looked at her, somewhat surprised. You're here
His voice trailed off as she glared at him.
He ignored her sarcastic comment. You weren't supposed to be in until after
Well, today's your lucky day, then, isn't it? she purred. You
get to see me a full three hours before you would have.
. Sydney's in your office.
Good. She can tell me what the fuck happened. The words resembled
machine gun fire as she spit them out. You can come, too, and we'll have
He stopped next to her and stared at the elevator door. This is not going
to be good. The door opened and they stepped in. He watched as she stabbed
at the button marked 10 and the door closed. Sydney was just
We got served with a Motion for Sanctions and Sydney got served with a subpoena
to testify against you.
Tell me something I don't know, like how, exactly, that led Sydney to a
conversation with opposing counsel regarding our theory of the case.
He hazarded a glance in her direction where blazing blue eyes met with his. I
don't know for sure.
It was a stupid mistake.
Can't argue with that one. But not the end of the world.
We'll see about that.
The elevator came to a stop after several moments of silence and the doors opened.
she was just defending you, he offered as they stepped
I can defend myself, Evin growled angrily at him.
He reached a hand out and grabbed her arm, stopping her. Look, she feels
bad enough already. She cares about you. Just
Yanking her arm out of his grip, she turned and stalked towards her office doors.
That went well, Andrew muttered as he followed her into the office.
He paused before he stepped over the threshold. Be brave, Andrew. Gotta go
make sure they don't kill each other.
Sydney was seated in Evin's chair and nearly jumped out of it when the doors
to the office flew open. Oh, wow
you're back early.
She took in the tense, angry look on her lover's face. You knew she'd be angry.
Just take a deep breath and don't overreact.
Her hand clenched around the briefcase handle as Evin choked back a sarcastic
reply. Try and control yourself, Moran. 'Remember what your mom used to say
you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all,' the little
voice reminded her. Then I'd never say anything. Evin stood silently
in front of her desk and looked at Sydney as she took several deep breaths.
'You could at least try to say something nice first,' the little voice offered.
I was just
. Sydney gestured towards Evin's computer.
I was doing some research on quashing that subpoena. How was yours?
It sucked, she stated bluntly.
did you get an early flight back? Stupid, stupid, stupid,
Sydney. Of course she got an early flight back. You were supposed to pick her
up at the airport and she's standing in front of you right now.
Got on standby.
How did the hearing go?
Lost. 'My, but you're eloquent today.'
Sydney glanced over at Andrew, who had taken a seat at the table and now seemed
very interested in the patterns formed by the wood grain. The knot in her stomach
grew even tighter. I knew this wasn't going to go well. I just
so angry. I'm sorry. Was your flight okay?
It seemed ludicrous to Evin that they were standing here, exchanging strained
pleasantries. This nice stuff just isn't working. What the hell
were you thinking of, Sydney?
Green eyes flashed angrily. I was defending you!
I don't need to be defended, the low voice thundered back. And
if I did, it certainly wouldn't involve revealing our theory of the case to opposing
counsel. Whatever possessed you
. Evin threw her hands up in the air
in frustration, then turned and stalked to the couch, ungracefully collapsing
onto it. One pump was removed and thrown across the room, where it impacted the
wooden door of the bookcase. The other pump soon followed. I love that sound,
Sydney could feel herself getting angrier. I
up, Sydney. You screwed up. You let your personal feelings for Evin get in the
way and you made a critical mistake.
Evin closed her eyes and rested her head back against the sofa. One hand came
up and massaged her forehead as the pounding in her skull intensified.
You have a headache, Sydney stated.
A bolt of pain shot through Evin's head as her jaw clamped down in an effort not
to issue an angry reply. Tell me what happened.
Have you taken anything for your headache?
Got a gun? Evin responded sarcastically.
Sydney was around the desk and in front of the couch in an instant. Evin
Moran! Don't even joke about that. It's not funny.
One blue eye popped open. I'm
sorry. What a fucking day.
just tell me what happened.
Not until you take something for your headache.
The other eye opened and a dark eyebrow rose. You're stubborn.
Her hands went to her hips as she cocked her head and regarded her lover. And
I'll get some aspirin.
No, I'll get it, Sydney commanded. Stay there.
Andrew watched Evin dutifully lean back into the couch and close her eyes again
as Sydney headed for the bathroom and the aspirin. It was
he decided. The tension in the air was palpable, yet there was something else
he couldn't quite put a finger on. If it had been anyone else but Sydney,
she would have unloaded both barrels and reloaded by now. It almost made
the clipped, angry words from both of them, said in a caring way,
if that were possible. Pig-headed? Stubborn? Oh, yeah. What a pair. Can't
y'all ever do anything easy?
Two voices responded sharply in unison. Yes!
Coulda fooled me, he mumbled.
I heard that. Sydney's voice echoed out of the bathroom.
Damn, she's got good hearing. He looked over at Evin, whose eyes remained
closed. So what happened in West Palm?
Her eyes opened as she sat up. Seems my cost-conscious uncle lied. Big surprise.
He didn't transfer title to the yacht to the company's name, as he swore this
morning, just changed the address on the title so he wouldn't have to pay taxes.
As I explained to him, when I had the pleasure of waking him up and telling him
his precious little yacht is history, that his only recourse now is to sue the
previous owner. She paused and her lips curled. Remind me, when all
of this Dolese crap is over, to fly to Athens and kill him
after he pays
my fee, of course, which happens to be double whatever the taxes would have been.
It was something about the way she had said the word 'pleasure' and the smile,
if you could call it that, on her face that made him question whether she was
serious about killing him. He stared at her for long seconds before he answered.
Okay. I think.
Sydney walked back in and handed Evin three aspirin and a glass of water,
then stood silently as the tall attorney popped them into her mouth and gulped
them down with a mouthful of water. Thank you for taking the aspirin.
Thank you for getting them for me. There
that was nice.
Settling into a chair opposite Evin, Sydney waited not quite sure what to
Could you just tell me what happened? Evin finally asked, her voice
weary. I need to know where to start the damage control. If it
can be controlled.
Sydney sighed. I
I blew it, huh?
can you just tell me what y'all said? she pleaded.
I was confused
upset about the subpoena. And we hadn't been
served with anything at the clinic, so I called here and Jeffrey and Rachel both
said there was nothing we had been served with. I couldn't imagine what they would
subpoena me for. I mean, I'm counsel on this case. They can't do that! she
said indignantly. So I called Harwood to find out what the subpoena was
for. Actually, I called Dorinda Pratt. Her little lackey returned the call.
And? Evin prompted after a few moments of silence.
Well, before he returned the call, we got served with the Motion for Sanctions
at the Clinic.
And? she prompted again.
When Mr. Lackey called, he said that they had filed the motion against you
for abusing the legal process because of all the motions you filed in the case.
Then he made a comment about you not being fit to be my advisor. At least that's
the way I took it.
The way you took it? Evin stood. Exactly what did he say?
that he hoped I knew that this wasn't the way things were normally
done. He said he wanted to make sure I wouldn't learn any bad habits. Sydney
could feel herself getting angry again as she recalled his words. You should
have heard his tone of voice
all 'holier than thou.' What a sanctimonious
asshole! The outrage was evident on her face.
Syd, the world is filled with sanctimonious assholes. This is what led you
to a discussion of our theory of the case? she asked in disbelief.
yes, sort of. I mean, Evin, how could I let him insult you like
Easy, Evin shrugged. Just let him do it. You think I give a
damn what Scott Harwood thinks of me?
How the hell
. Evin threw her hands up again in frustration and
paced to the center of the room.
I told him that if I were him, I wouldn't be so quick to point fingers.
At least we weren't representing murderers like he was. Then he got really offended
and said that I didn't know what I was talking about. And I told him that he was
full of shit. Then, um, then it got a little out of hand. She looked sheepishly
at Evin, who groaned in response.
Then it got a little out of hand? Oh
Could this day possibly get any worse?
a little. He told me that I was the one who was full
of shit and wanted to know how did I ever get involved with someone with your
took offense to that. So I asked him how could he possibly
get involved with liars and thieves and murderers. He told me I was nuts and that
I was really naïve and didn't have a clue about anything. That's when I,
um, lost it. I told him that he was the one who was naïve and how could he
possibly think that we were that stupid not to see through their little scheme
to get all the land back. Then
well, um, then he asked me what I meant by
that. So I told him that we knew about Hynes getting four of the five pieces of
land back. Sydney stopped and drew breath. I don't think that he knew
about that. He was really quiet and
then he just hung up. He sounded kind
of upset at the end.
Evin stared at Sydney for long seconds, her expression unreadable. She finally
walked behind her desk and sat down, leaning forward on her elbows, her fingers
forming a steeple in front of her face. Breathe, Moran, breathe. Take nice,
deep, calming breaths.
I'm really, really sorry, Evin. I know I shouldn't have done that.
It was stupid and childish. I let him get to me and
She held a hand up and stopped Sydney's speaking. When the law student, complied,
she picked up a pen and idly twirled it. I hate Pinkie Pratt. I hate Scott
Harwood. And I hate Hynes Refining Corporation.
Leaning as far back as she could in the chair, she stretched her legs out and
studied the ceiling for a few minutes as the pen twirled in her left hand.
please. Evin's silence was driving Sydney
The tall attorney straightened in her chair and regarded Sydney soberly. What
do you want me to tell you, Syd? This motion
it's nothing more than a legal
means of getting back at me for causing them a little grief. I cause them grief,
they cause me grief. It's the practice of law, Syd.
. It's so hard to read her sometimes. She observed
her lover, ramrod straight in the chair, no motion except for the steel-colored
Waterman pen she was twirling. What are we going to do about this?
This what? This little incident or the case in general? The words
came out sharper than she intended. It's all so frustrating.
Sydney flinched slightly. The subpoena, for starters. I will not testify
This is gonna go over real well. Evin shrugged. We're
not going to do anything about the subpoena. I've arranged for you to be represented
by Vicki Rosenthal on that.
I can't believe what I'm hearing. What?! You're not
Syd, it's an adversarial proceeding. They want my ass and they're going
to try to use you to get me. Just think about
The law student exploded out of the chair she was in and marched to stand in front
of Evin's desk. So we're enemies now? Is that it?
be reasonable. Oh shit! Wrong thing to say, she
thought as the flashing green eyes glared at her angrily.
I can't believe you won't represent me
that you're shuffling me off
to someone else. The volume of Sydney's voice rose with each word. Is
that how important I am to you? That I don't even rate your representation?
Every wall Evin had constructed in her thirty-one years on the planet reappeared
as Sydney's words sliced into her heart. She stood and leaned on the desk, her
face inches away from her lover's. Her voice was a warning rumble as she spoke.
I'll go wherever the hell I want to go, Evin Moran!
Evin felt the anger start to burn out of control. Gotta get out of here before
I really lose it
before I make this any worse than it already is. Fine.
Do whatever the fuck you want. Long strides carried her from behind the
desk to the office door.
Sydney cringed as the door slammed behind the attorney. Can't you keep your
temper under control? What is wrong with you? She hasn't done a damn thing and
you're taking everything out on her.
She's pretty angry, Andrew offered lamely.
Really? Sydney shot back sarcastically. What is going on with
you, Sydney? You're in the bitch from hell mode today. I'm sorry, Andrew.
She rolled her shoulders and then her head, feeling the tension in her muscles.
S'okay, Syd. He looked over at the law student. You know, Evin's
She bit her lip to stop another sarcastic really from exploding out
of her mouth. Instead, she nodded her head in agreement. Not easy? Try almost
impossible. She shook her head. No, that's not right. What she said was
all true. It's
I'm the one who's being impossible. No
fine. It's me. I need to go find her and apologize.
Sydney? he offered softly. Can I give you a little bit of advice
on our friend?
Give her a little bit of time before you go after her. She's
her, it's just been my experience that if you wait a little while, she's easier
to talk to. Not a lot, but at least you keep your head.
Sydney looked at him intently for a minute. You're probably right. I
need to calm down. She offered him a weak smile. I've been in bitch
from hell mode today.
I don't think she's really mad at you. Well, at least not all of it is because
of you, the investigator clarified.
She should be. God, why did I lose my temper? I shouldn't
have said what I did
to her or to Harwood.
No, you shouldn't have, but
I understand why you did. It's
Please don't try to placate me. We both know I blew it. Now they know exactly
what we've been thinking.
. Andrew stopped and stood, moving closer to Sydney.
It's really hard, Sydney
not to let it get to you
take all of
this personally. I
I know how that is. It's part of the reason I quit law
school. I can't do it. He shrugged lightly. I'm a good investigator,
but part of why I do this, rather than practice law, is because being the investigator
lets me distance myself from all of this. Evin gives me an order. I follow it.
Maybe it's an excuse. I don't think I would have made as good a lawyer as I am
it's just hard. It's a price I'm not willing to
Sydney looked up into his eyes. I think you would have made a very good
We'll never know. He offered her a small smile.
. Sydney fell silent. Grow up! Wishing's not going
to do anything.
He squeezed her shoulder gently. All of this will work out.
God, I hope so. How does she do it?
It's not fair. The Doleses haven't done anything wrong. Two people
have died and
and they get to sit there, all high and mighty and accuse her
of abusing the legal process? Her voice started to rise. He was attacking
her and he's the one that's wrong. How can you not take that personally?
He was silent for a minute. I think
knowing what I know about her
she does take it personally. But not how we take it personally. It's
in terms of fairness
of stuff. She
I think she sees it as a challenge to her skills
a moral sense at all. There's a certain set of rules. The game is played that
way. She'll bend the rules as far as she can, but she plays by the rules and either
does or does not win that way. It's a mindset she has
the way she looks at
things. Everything is judged against one standard
will this help me win or
That's not true, Sydney protested angrily. You make her sound
so mercenary. She's not like that. She's kind and caring and
Andrew waved his hands. Whoa
whoa. On a personal level, I won't disagree
with you, Sydney. Evin's
very special to me. I
owe her a lot, on a lot
of different levels. But we aren't talking about personal relationships here.
She accepts that this is the way things have to be. It's something I could never
accept and that's why I'm an investigator. It's something you need to
accept my friend, or this life will be very hard for you. Do you see what I'm
trying to say?
I refuse to believe that it has to be that way, Sydney stated
as she pushed off from the desk. I'm going to find her.
Andrew watched her walk out the room. I hope, for your sake, you can come
to terms with this soon. Otherwise
The distant sounds of the street far below rose to her ears. Long fingers gripped
the railing of the balcony like vises as she could feel the angry energy humming
through her. God damn it! The angry words escaped her lips into the
cool night air. Rule number sixteen. Days that start off with a phone call
at three-thirty in the morning never get better.
Hell of a homecoming. I couldn't have walked in like a normal person
and kissed her hello and told her I loved her before we started fighting. No,
that would be too easy, she berated herself. Small wonder she thinks
she's not important to me. A hand slammed against the railing. God damn
me! What the hell does she see in me?
She took a deep breath and blew it out forcefully. Why am I so damn angry?
What the hell is wrong with me? I've been overreacting to everything today. 'You
know you're not the most sane, functional human being in this world.' No shit,
. 'But what?' I
Something had been burrowing its way through her subconscious since she had received
the second voicemail from Sydney relating her blow-up with Harwood. Nothing
good, that's for sure. She had wrestled with it all day, but couldn't seem
to bring whatever it was
a thought, a feeling
to light. It was unsettling,
and seemed to fuel the anger.
The sound of the door creaking as it opened stopped her thoughts. Shake it
off, Moran. Get yourself under control before you say something to Sydney you're
really gonna regret. She stared out into the night sky as she heard the soft
footsteps bringing Sydney closer, finally catching sight of her in her peripheral
vision. She felt the warmth of the law student's body as she settled next to her,
leaning back into the railing.
They stood next to each other for a few minutes, neither saying anything.
Why are you getting Vicki Rosenthal to represent me? Sydney finally
Because you're my enemy now. The words left her mouth before she could
I deserve that, Sydney said quietly as she looked up at the profile
of her lover.
you didn't. I'm
sorry. 'My, my
in one night,' the little voice crooned. 'You've achieved a new level
of emotional maturity.' Shut up.
A small hand gently rubbed the tall attorney's arm. Baby
for what I said in your office. I didn't mean that. Seems I can't keep my mouth
Apparently I can't keep mine shut either. It's okay, Syd.
No, Evin, it's not okay. I'm acting like a child.
And I'm not? She turned and faced Sydney. Damn it! I don't want
to do this. I don't want to fight with you.
This day's sucked, hasn't it?
A wry chuckle. Oh, yeah. The big one.
Want to start again? Sydney looked expectantly into shadowed blue
Couldn't hurt, she offered with a small shrug.
One hand reached out, long fingers gently brushing Sydney's cheek. Hey,
Been a long, long day. Green eyes fluttered and closed as she leaned
into the touch. Could you hold me?
Come here, Evin mumbled as her long arms settled around Sydney, pulling
her closer as her lips brushed the top of her head
Long, silent minutes passed as they stood together on the balcony, each lost in
their own thoughts.
A fair head tipped back as she captured her companion's gaze. How badly
did I screw up today?
Nothing fatal. My guess is, you've made some people nervous. Hope
you made their night suck. Worst case scenario, they'll reset the Motion
for Summary Judgment. Go for the quick kill.
Sydney flinched at the words. Quick kill.
Evin rested her head against Sydney's. I probably should wait to talk to her
about the case until after the hearing on Monday in case Vicki can't get the subpoena
quashed. 'You haven't acted prudently all day and you pick now to start?
' the little voice asked in disbelief. You're right
fuck it. It's
not like they weren't going to do that all along, Syd. We
managed to buy
some time by scheduling the depositions. And me purposefully not filing
the Order for Transfer. But after that
A small smile crossed Sydney's face, unseen. I believe that you, Counselor,
are just trying to make me feel better.
Finally said something right. First time all day. If the truth
makes you feel better
I can't help that.
Why won't you represent me in quashing the subpoena?
I am going to attempt to quash the subpoena. It's
Her mind searched for the words to explain. Getting on that witness stand
Just call it me being the anal retentive lawyer and the overprotective lover.
You need to have counsel. Two against one. Better odds.
What could I possibly say that I would need a lawyer for?
How do I answer this one? Tell her that if it was me calling her as a witness,
that I'd rip her to shreds before I had a chance to take a breath? I
trust them. And I don't trust me.
Sydney looked up into the blue eyes and said softly. Do you trust me?
Yes, I do trust you. Her eyes searched the horizon. It's not
about trusting you. I expect you to get up there and tell the truth, whatever
the consequences may be. It's not
have you ever been a witness
in anything, Syd?
Evin pulled Sydney closer. It's not always a pleasant experience.
I know first-hand. She closed her eyes and rubbed her cheek against the
strawberry blonde hair, shoving down the memories of being fifteen, sitting in
the witness stand in Federal Court and fighting back tears
be asking you questions on cross-examination. It's
you need someone to
Protect you from me. An objective third party. Her lips brushed
the soft hair. As much as I want to
represent you, I need to
need to consider the possibility that we may end up having opposing interests
at the hearing. I want you to be represented. She added, softly. Please
don't fight me on this.
The law student buried her head deeper into Evin's shoulder. This sucks,
Evin. I hate it.
Welcome to the practice of law, Syd. Another soft kiss to the top
of the law student's head. I'm
Evin? The fair head tilted back as she regarded her lover. I'm
don't know what's wrong with me today. I
I don't know why I lost it with
Harwood. And what I told you
The dark head nodded. It's okay, Syd. We'll deal with it.
Do you think that
we could deal with it in the morning?
Sure, baby. Come on. Evin withdrew from the embrace and captured a
hand. Smiling sheepishly at the law student, she said, Didn't even think
about putting my shoes back on in that little temper tantrum I threw. She
looked down at her feet, wiggled her toes and sighed. Let's get my shoes,
shut the place down and then we can get something to eat
some place quiet.
I feel like having somebody wait on us. Then we can go home.
A small smile crossed Sydney's face. Sounds like an excellent plan.
Shhhh. Sleep, baby
sleep. The low voice whispered the soothing
words in response to an incoherent murmur as her long fingers scratched Sydney's
Evin stared out the skylight as she held the young woman. They had stopped at
Frankie's for a quick bite to eat before collapsing, exhausted, into the bed.
Only Evin hadn't been able to go to sleep. It was taking all her considerable
willpower to lie still in the bed and not go downstairs to pace while the thoughts
in her mind did their impression of a tornado. Or better yet, beat the hell
out of the heavy bag.
She had tried to extract herself from her lover's grip, but Sydney had almost
awakened each time, causing her to cease her movements. She could feel the exhaustion
deep in her bones, but the restless energy humming through her body was fighting
it back, and winning. What is going on with me? If I don't relax,
I'm gonna wake her up.
She lay there for a few more minutes, listening, as Sydney's breathing deepened
and slowed. The law student finally rolled over, releasing her grip and snuggling
back into Evin with a contented sigh.
Maybe I can get up now, figure out what's going on, and then get some sleep.
For a long moment, she indulged herself in the feel of Sydney's skin against
hers before she slowly rolled out of the bed and headed downstairs. She padded
through the kitchen and flipped the light on in the laundry room, looking for
a t-shirt and a pair of boxers.
Aha! There you are, she muttered as she spotted the boxers. Christ,
what is wrong with me? I'm talking to the laundry. Tugging them on, she turned
and headed for her office as she slipped the t-shirt over her head . Maybe
I'll sit in front of the computer for a little while and kill stuff. Quake 2.
That ought to work. Maximum carnage.
She moved back through the kitchen, grabbing a bottled-water on the way and settled
in front of the computer. Donning the headphones, she muted the volume, and started
the game. Lady Death. A low wicked sounding laugh escaped her lips as
the modified main character came up on the screen . Wonder if I can find anybody
to make a Pinkie Pratt for this. I'd love to annihilate an army of those. And
a few Lackey Harwoods.
An hour passed as she destroyed anything that moved on the computer screen. She
finally pushed away from the computer. Well, that was fun, but it didn't work.
Can't beat on the heavy bag. That'd wake Sydney up. She glanced around the
office, trying to come up with something to do that would stop the thoughts.
Just think it out, Moran. It will come to you. It's nearly two o'clock. You've
got to get some rest.
She rose with a sigh and headed into the living room, switching on a small lamp
next to the couch. She took a swig from the water bottle and began her pacing.
The case from hell
I can't wait until this is over and we can lead a
normal life. 'Normal?' the little voice snickered. Shut up. You know
what I mean. It's
I don't like fighting with her. Working together has been
. 'But what?' I'm not the easiest person to get along with on a
personal basis, much less a work basis. How much do you think Sydney can take
of me being an asshole? And this case
it's so important to Syd. 'Well, you
Shut up. Please. I need to figure out what's bothering me so I can get some sleep.
Okay, just think, Moran. Syd screwed up. Not fatal. What's the worse that can
happen? We lose. It's not like you haven't lost before. Hell, it happened today.
Yesterday. Whatever the fuck day it was. Syd made 'em nervous. They'll go for
the kill. There's no chance to win with what we have now.
She stopped her pacing so abruptly that water sloshed out the top of the
bottle. Her body stiffened in reaction as the realization of what had been bothering
her for most of the day finally hit home. When these people get nervous, they
kill the people who make them nervous. And Syd made 'em nervous. The conclusion
her mind drew twisted into her gut like a knife. No one else dies for this
case. Especially not Sydney.
'You don't really think they'd try anything, do you?' the little voice
questioned. Are you crazy? They shot at me. Killed those two kids.
'But go after Sydney? You?' I'm not gonna take that chance with Sydney.
God damn it! From the beginning of this damned case I've done
nothing but act like an asshole
violated every rule in my book
mistake after mistake after mistake.
'And what mistakes are those?' the little voice asked.
Should have just put them into bankruptcy. The simple, clean solution. But
the great Evin Moran can't do that. I get two kids killed, me nearly blown
up, put Sydney through God knows how much grief, and now she could be in their
sights. What for? So I can prove that I've still got it?
'And what, exactly, is it ?' the little voice questioned.
How the fuck should I know? Doesn't matter. Whatever it is,
it was never there in the first place. Moot point.
All thoughts of sleep vanished as her mind whirled furiously, considering her
options. Whatever I decide, Sydney's not going to pay for my mistakes. She's
gonna be off this case, and they're gonna know she doesn't know a thing. Now,
I just have to figure out how to accomplish that.
The first thing she noticed was the coolness of the sheets next to her. Green
eyes opened and looked around the dark room. She listened intently for a moment,
but no sounds came to her ears. Where the hell could she be? She threw
back the covers and went into the bathroom, grabbing a robe, then headed down
When she got to the foot of the stairs, she stopped, seeing Evin sitting on the
couch. The dim light hid her face in shadows. Evin, what are you doing up?
It's nearly four.
Evin looked up at her disheveled lover. Couldn't sleep.
Sydney moved to the couch and settled next to her lover. Honey, what's wrong?
she asked as she saw the lines of exhaustion etched into Evin's face . She
didn't look like this when she had been up for forty-eight hours, and she's only
working on twenty-four.
Evin started, then stopped. She had put the brilliant
mind to work and could only come up with one solution. I can't undo what's
been done, but I can take this case out of Sydney's hands, and hopefully, out
of harm's way. Of course, she's going to hate me for it, but she will not die
because of a piece of land. I've made a decision about the case. I'm
going to file the bankruptcy papers.
It must be the lack of sleep, because I thought I heard you say that you
were going to put the Doleses into bankruptcy.
I did say that, she responded as her eyes dropped to study her hands.
You can't do that, Sydney protested, incredulous. What about
It's what should have been done in the first place, Sydney.
A nod of the dark head.
Look at me and tell me you're serious.
Evin turned her head and looked Sydney squarely in the eyes. I'm serious.
The coldness in the blue startled Sydney. Oh my God, she is serious.
Why? Is it because of what happened? Have I really blown it?
No, you didn't blow it. That wasn't a fatal error. My decision to file the
bankruptcy has nothing to do with that. It's what I should have done in the first
place. Instead of trying to be some egotistical knight in shining armor
and getting people killed.
You can't be serious, Evin. Her hand gripped the attorney's arm. You
can't do that.
A dark eyebrow arched. And why not?
not right. What about those people...what they've done? Trying
to defraud the Doleses
killing two people
So you want revenge?
No, I want
someone has to stand up for the Doleses
so that people
can't just walk all over them. Somebody needs to stop these people so they can't
do it to anyone else. It's
And what about what your clients want? What about what's best for them?
Bankruptcy will let them keep their land. And get you off the case,
her mind added silently. We go to trial right now and we lose.
Is that what they want? Is that what you want
for the Doleses to lose their
. Sydney's head was spinning. What the hell is
going on here?
Our job is simple
save the Dolese farm. Bankruptcy will do that.
Is it really that simple? Do you just walk away from the rest of it? Can I
do that? Can she do that? I don't understand
With no results. At least nothing we can use in court.
Green eyes searched Evin's face intently. Nothing. Sydney felt stunned.
I need some time to think. Figure out what's going on. This
make any sense. There's not even a date set for trial. Why would she decide to
do this now? Or
is it me not wanting to face facts? I
have time. There's no date set for trial and they haven't reset the summary judgment.
There's got to be something we can do
some more depositions
If this is about the hearing on Monday, I'd rather be in contempt and refuse to
please, Evin. There's got to be a way to win this thing.
It's not about the hearing on Monday, Syd.
The law student studied her tall lover silently. There's something going on
here she's not telling me about. The Evin Moran I know wouldn't do this.
Are you sure there's no other way?
I've made up my mind.
Remember, Sydney. Look at what she says. She didn't say there wasn't any other
way. Just that she'd made a decision. And you know her well enough to know that
butting heads directly with her on this isn't the best way to go. You've just
got to convince her that the other way would be better. I need some time to plan
my strategy and figure out what's wrong. Can we go back to bed now?
I'm still exhausted.
The blue eyes blinked once, then twice, then warmed as Sydney watched. That
was way too easy. Um, okay. Whatever you want, beautiful.
Whatever I want? Hmmm
. Can we talk about this some more tomorrow,
before we met with the Doleses?
Evin's body tensed. What good
. Relax, Moran. Talking about
it some more isn't going to kill you. You file it Wednesday or you file it Thursday.
What difference is it going to make? Sure, Syd.
Sydney stood and extended a hand. Evin wrapped hers around it and rose. Together,
they walked up the stairs. Neither slept well for the rest of the night.
To be continued....
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