Her and Me

Her and Me

A Story by q.d. Kelly-Miller
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A legal story with a twist of romance

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Her and Me

 

                        It was a long day. Two separate sessions of three hour debates made everyone in the court room hot, tired, and hungry. I was warned the country judges were notorious for having short, compressed, court scheduling. Still I wasn’t prepared for just two days of debate for a high profile case such as this. Though like everything, there was some good about the arguments taking as long as they did.  That was the fact that we didn’t have to walk around this boring, dissolute town like some of the other legal aides who came with us. It’s a small wonder why rich men would escape their nice cozy penthouses and drive five hours to come out here and murder. What’s the point? Why can’t they keep it local, easy to go in between my office, flat and the bar on Fifth avenue, not this little, dry and tedious place, one where even the crows find boring, for there is no one around to yell at the them as they crow.  

            Wondering why I’m up here brings me back to the case, brings me back to why my legal team would take the trek up here from the city in the first place.

            At Dawson&Blake, life is relatively run-of-the-mill. You have your tax evaders; you have your bribed judges, your millionaires, your crooks, your art thieves, your Ponzi’s, and worst of all the scheming lawyers who own the place. Capitol is the universal goal of those who cross the threshold of the firm. From the political motivational lunch meetings to gaining millions when you divorce your twenty-years-your-senior husband, the sky is the limit with how you can and will gain that capitol you so desire.

            For me life at Dawson&Blake was both special and unexpected. Being raised by a father who, in his heyday was a wildly respected criminal layer in the public sector, it was no shocker when I entered the same profession in the private practice. And because of this, jaws dropped when I was hired by a very rich firm, promoted rather quickly to the top associate in the criminal defense sector of the firm, and given case after case regarding the rich doing not so good things. Something about getting the rich to walk Scott- Free didn’t go over well around Christmas Dinner where we would always pray for the poor and higher taxes on the rich. Maybe the old man’s influence was starting to get the better of me; my heart was no longer into this dirty work of freeing guilty men, bending the laws to get what I need to make a quick buck, cheating the legal system, it all just kept adding to this black stain on my chest. It was time to get out I swore to myself. And this will be the blackest, dirtiest, most profitable, and last job I do.

            It was a pretty straight forward case. A millionaire, a certain Mr. Brooks Oliver III, a very successful oil baron, was charged with first degree murder of a Ms. Jane Deroe, a small town waitress, who, under some speculation, was a prostitute who went quite annually down state to the City and was a frequent visitor to Mr. Oliver’s estate. The evidence against our client was, as it usually tends to be, quite alarming. And, of course, that is where my law firm and I come in handy; get the men with loads of loot out of their more heinous crimes.

            The case went as follows:

Ms. Deroe was found beaten to death by an unknown object in the back of her 1998 Buick parked three miles north of the outer most reaches of the town. Found three days after her murder, Ms. Deroe was discovered by the owner of the land on which her car was parked. The owner, a farmer, found Ms. Deroe naked with signs of a struggle as well as sexual intercourse. Mr. Oliver became the prime suspect when it was discovered he had he a lack or an alibi for the night in question, he not only took his 2011 Ford Mustang out for a joy ride that, after checking his mileage would be able to take him to the spot of the murder but back to his penthouse in Manhattan, and he was also in possession of a number of her underclothes. It was nothing me, or anyone on my extensive legal team, couldn’t handle.

            Already I felt good, content on the day’s work. The jury seems to be swayed, if ever so slightly by the arguments. The boyfriend, the jealousy, the prostituting, the location of the car by the town, not the city, the somewhat alibi my team could bring up to light, all poked more and more holes into the prosecutors case. Even though it’s dirty work, even though I was almost certain my client was guilty, I still felt a certain pride when the crowd would break out in whispers when the boyfriend admitted his resentment towards Ms. Deroe’s use of selling her body to gain money they both desperately needed. I felt a sense of joy when the gasps from the jury were needed to be quieted by the Judges gavel when it was proved the murderer had to be a man of great strength, for the scene of the murder was an over two miles from the placement of the car and no weak or obsess man such as Mr. Oliver could have dragged the victim from the murder scene to the car. For it was shone that Ms. Deroe wasn’t your number one sized girl.

            But for the next hour all I wanted on my mind was food. I went, along with Henry my fellow defense attorney, and Gibby, my trusted paralegal, to a downhill, retrograde deli. We went hopefully and hesitantly, for the sign in the front promised us “Te Best Brguers around Twn”. We would have, should have eaten somewhere else, but it was either this or the Kwik Trip, which were the only stores opened after 7. Thankfully from our trip into uncharted seas we did not contract E.coli or any other life threating disease. We did however gain a  number of stares and glares from the local hillbillies and  suburban farmers for not only dressing as if we have a job besides driving a tractor but also bringing in, what might be, the first black man they ever saw.

            “You think they like my kind here, huh?” joked Gibby, taking, like everything else in his life up to this point, as one big joke- a clear sign of his ability to still be happy, after dropping out of law school, divorcing, moving away from his family, and final getting a job at Dawson&Blake. I’ve been with him through a lot of it, and I’d have no one as my trusted paralegal, making sure everything is running smoothly.

            “Yes, a black man entering any place outside of a mile radius of the city makes people become instantly uncomfortable. Remember when we had to go down to the middle of Pennsylvania and the little girl asked if God let you burn in the sun on purpose?” Henry answered, with a slight smile on his face in remembrance of times gone past. Henry, who to others might seem as an obnoxious a*****e who always makes fun of people for their stupid mistakes, is at heart an intelligent man of the law who comes to help in sticky situations- as well as coming in handy when you need a steady wingman.

            “You two, shut up, eat your brguers and hurry up, people are staring and Jonathan wants us back at the hotel in ten minutes.” I barked at the two clowns, both by now where on the floor laughing and trying to think of more racist questions people have said to Gibby (and yes that is quite the list). As I said this, both looked around the restaurant and noticed that what I said had some truth to it, for there was an old couple looking our way. With the old man angrily stabbing at his hot dog and glaring at my party. Another group, an extended family it seems, was whispering and glancing our way every so often. Both Henry and Gibby decided to grow up, if only for a minute, finish their meal, and leave.

The only good thing about the small town was the benefit of one’s own two feet; everything in the town that was worthwhile going to (which wasn’t much to begin with) could be walked to from where we ate. We could see the hardware store, the grocery store, the barber, the deli where Ms. Deroe worked, and the City Hall where the case is being tried. As we walked just two blocks north, past a rundown warehouse and some small but very quaint side houses, we came to our hotel. Where the rest of the team (as well as Mr. Oliver, for the last hour or so) had stayed for some time today after they had seen what they wanted to see at the debates and the crime scene. The rest of our team consistent only of two secretaries and one “mentor”. The secretaries, Ms. Martha and Ms. Estella, were Henry and Is’ sectaries, respectively. Sometimes, or many times, the need for such measures as bringing an entire legal team was unnecessary and too pricey, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Sadly, sectaries were today very much needed. Not only had Mr. Oliver asked for them, but they were also good to have around when we were away from the office. From here they could managed Henry’s and my emails, messages and work, for like all successful and overworked lawyers we had at least three other cases going on parallel to this one

No one predicted today’s arguments, especially after hearing that they would be crammed into two days, would turn so to us so favorably.

But still, Jonathan Locke or our “mentor” needed to see us. Jonathan was a retired criminal defense attorney who spent years running and leading Dawson&Blake LLP to the peak of its dynasty. He and a number of other top lawyers from the golden age have come back recently to help and give advice on a number of top, high profile cases such as this one. He was determined to see it to the finish as, he argued, was his duty no matter how long it took nor where the case would be tried.

. On our way back to the hotel room, we bumped into Mr. Oliver on the elevator. He had rushed out of the court room when we motioned to adjourn and went right back to the hotel. The entire day had stressed the tycoon out too much, or at least that was the reason he gave us. He came back to the hotel, slept, ordered take out and had just gotten more towels from the front desk.

“So don’t ya think the day went pretty good, huh Mr. Crawford?” Oliver said in that Texas ranger voice of his, as he grinned ear to ear. “I think I’ll walk, what do ya fancy lawyers say?”

“If you are asking whether you will be acquitted or not, Mr. Oliver that remains to be seen. Tonight we’ll discuss it more in depth with our partner, Mr. Locke.” I answered the overzealous oil mogul.

“In other words, it’s looking like you’ll walk.” Piped up Gibby in a matter-o-fact way. I glared at him, I’ve told him more than ten times not to give the client hope or joy, and it usually turns into a cockiness that the jury will see in court. But, like nearly everything in life I say, he never listens.

Thankfully Henry kept his head for once as he added “Later, Mr. Oliver why don’t you come to our room, we will go over key things for tomorrow that we all have to remember.”

Oliver agreed, and as we got off the elevator and came to his room, he said he would be around in about an hour. When we reached our rooms, the women came out of our rooms as they heard us come up.

“We watched up until Judge Hoffman took you into his chambers Joe” were the first words out of Estella, the younger one of the two’s lips, “What else happened?”

“Nothing really, the Judge wants us to have another two hour debate and then our closing arguments tomorrow. We finished with Mary Schefer, the housemaid of Oliver’s who identified the victim parking her car in Oliver’s parking spot in his downtown apartment parking garage, something we have already prepared for .” I answered her as Gibby, Henry, and I stepped into our room.

“Why did you guys leave anyways?” Gibby asked as he threw off his shoes with a great sigh and undid his tie.

“Mr. Locke was feeling a little….” Estella started then trailed off.

“Tired.” Picked up Martha. “He wasn’t feeling the best”

“And how is he now?” Henry wondered while he took of his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves and threw the jacket on to the bed.

“He said he wanted to see all of you as soon as you got in, he want you to bring everything and everyone, including Oliver and Gibby, so we all can be prepared for tomorrow.” Replied Martha in a softer tone as she noticed the dejected expressions that replaced the happy ones on the faces of Gibby and Henry.

And of course Gibby needed to complain, “Aw but we can just rest, we know what is going on tomorrow right boss man? We’re fine we can just rest.”

“No, if Jonathan wants us he wants us. Hank and Mrs. Helding back at the office will not only seriously reduce our pay but also never give us a major case like this ever again. We need to follow orders until once of us is a partner, then we can start doing what we really want to do.” I replied as I grabbed the brief case with all of our notes and evidence and sent a text to Oliver telling him that we would need him sooner than assumed.

After Henry again tried to plead with me about letting him and Gibby stay, I finally got them and the ladies into the hallway and down to Mr. Jonathan Locke, retired esquire’s room.

There we knocked, and hearing the reply in affirmative, we entered the room. Mr. Locke was propped up by pillows on his bed, with a glass in his hand that, on first glance contained dark liquor but after notice the bottle on the desk it was seen to contain Cherry Coke.

“Gibby and Henry, I want you on the bed over here close to me, you blundering fools cannot be relied on to act like sensible mature men.” Retorted Mr. Locke as soon as he saw those two walk through the door with an air about them that told everyone they wished to be elsewhere at this time. “Ah Mr. Oliver, just the oil billionaire I wanted to see. You can take the chair right there facing me, it is critical I see your face so I can help you master your emotions for tomorrow.”

“Hello Jonathan, I hope you are feeling better, I heard you became tired today in court.” For better or for worse Mr. Locke enjoyed me enough not only to let me call him, someone sixty years my senior, by his first name but also enough to let me sit where I wanted, for I could act like a mature man. I both hate and love this relationship with Mr. Locke; it helped me rise up to a point of promise in the law firm, though getting the ribbing every other day from a number of my immature peers is a little annoying.

“Thank you Joseph, I do feel better. I am better enough to help you on the case.” Replied Mr. Locke obviously happy that I asked how he was. The funny thing is that if Henry or Gibby had asked, Locke would have snapped on him for asking “imprudent questions”.

I sat down on the coach, to the side of Mr. Locke just out of site. I knew what the meeting would be about, Locke droning on to the client of the necessity of being innocent, about how keeping an emotionless face is key in situations like this. Martha took the chair by the desk, absently checking her phone and playing games that, for the whole discussion

Estella came over and glided down on to the coach as I pulled out my laptop and plugged it in. I didn’t notice she was next to me until I almost hit her as I attempted to grab the evidence I needed from my brief case.

“Oh sorry I didn’t see you there!” Dreading that I hurt her or scared her in some way.

“No it’s all ok. Here let me get it for you.” She was laughing as she pulled out the files I desired, the ones about Ms. Deroe and her boyfriends’ (who was living with her at the time of the murder) finical papers. .

As I looked and read over the documents, I could here in the distant background Mr. Locke talking to Oliver about the right conduct in court. He was having both Gibby and Henry act out court, questioning Oliver while Locke tells them if the answer Oliver gave was correct, and whether face portrayed the right emotion. But all of this was just the background music to my beating heart and her breathing.

Sitting there, I could barely read through the papers, all that kept registering in my mind was that she was casually sitting next to me, just looking through the photos of Ms. Deroe that were taking on the scene of the crime. Moving her fingers back and forth out of the corner of my eye, turning her head this way and that, to look at the pictures better, every time her head moved her black, silky hair brushed against my shoulder.

“Don’t you find these more interesting than all of those stupid papers you have?’ She as she turned towards me. “You’re like my dad, he loves watching the boring money and bank stuff on TV, I use to get so annoyed.”

“I can’t help it, even if I wanted to. Not only am I just your dull boring person, I need to do a little work before I can forget about the important papers and focus in on things that are ‘more interesting’” I answered. Though I did put away the documents and took the pictures she was looking at and studied them a little bit more closely.

“Look, don’t you think all the blows were landed weird?” She pointed to spots on the picture, especially to the head area where most of the damage was done.

“Yes…. I can see what you’re getting at.” Though truth be told what I was focused on right now was the fact that she leaning into me to look at the picture, and I could hardly focus on anything but the way her torso felt pressed against mine- all be it this was all felt through my shirt, suit jacket, her sweater and her shirt. “But will it win me a case?” I asked back, absently checking my phone, the personnel one, the one she doesn’t confiscate when I’m in court.  

“Maybe, maybe not, but it does seem interesting, and fun to look at.” She took back the photos and stared at them some more as I went back to more interesting things, such as Deroe’s tax returns and my phone. “Always texting aren’t you!” She said teasingly as she took away my phone and started to check my messages, as she does on my work phone. I let her of course, the people I was talking to were some friends, people who she knew as well, and I cared about neither of them as much as I cared for her. As long as she was having fun, as long as I could see that smile on her face as she sat so close to me, I was happy, I was overjoyed.

We were there for maybe an hour, she periodically texting, me attempting to study the evidence and pay attention to what Locke was telling Oliver, but really all I was doing was studying her.

From the way she looked at my phone, as it lighted up to show a text just came in to her smile as read it, showing off her big dimples. Noticing her eyes, as she read the text, or as she stared at the interrogations going on across the room, those big dark brown eyes, as they shone with a new light every time they discovered something. Even as she kept moving around, how she would move ever so slightly close into me, then jump up in to a straight backed position. She would notice me looking at her, give me a sideways glance every now and then, and smiled.

We didn’t talk, we didn’t flirt, we didn’t really touch or look at each other much. We just sat there while she listened into the conversation going on at the bed, where Mr. Locke was yelling at Henry and Gibby to “be mature for the life of you!” and she responded to my messages on my phone, both work (whereas she did it with a grunt) and personnel (whereas she did with a smile on her face every time).

“Alright, if all of this doesn’t help you get acquitted, nothing will.” Mr. Locke seemed to groan finally, after a grueling hour of prepping Oliver for the jury and the prosecutor’s questions, they were finally done. Henry and Gibby both ran out the room as soon as Locke finished his sentence, saying something along the lines of there being a game they could still catch. Martha causally left, picking up Estella on the way out. I left as well, telling Mr. Locke to have a good night. I went back to my room and shut the door, happy, a feeling of calmness in my chest. I heard a knocking and opened it, to my surprise I found Estella again.

“Sorry I forgot this” She handed me my phone, after all that I forgot one simple object that attached Estella and I  for a little more than an hour.

“Thank you” I smiled and began to turn away when she opened her arms, and I hugged her. She whispered into my ear “I know you’ll do well tomorrow, but just in case, good luck.” She closed the door, I turned and went back into my room where Henry and Gibby were yelling and screaming about the game, and lied down on my bed, content, happy, and ready for to

© 2012 q.d. Kelly-Miller



Author's Note

q.d. Kelly-Miller
As the first real short story I have ever written, I would love feed back, especially negative, on any and all aspects of this piece.

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Added on May 13, 2012
Last Updated on May 13, 2012
Tags: Legal, romance, young adult

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q.d. Kelly-Miller
q.d. Kelly-Miller

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Every since I was three, I've been a reader. Now, I'd like to try my hand at writing, see how well I can imitate my favorite writers. more..