Overruled
Author:Emma Chase

Does that make you wet?

 

It’s inappropriate, totally unprofessional—but that’s why it’s so damn fun. The fact that our dickhead client or anyone sitting front row in the gallery behind us could glance over and see what I’ve written just adds to the thrill. Like fingering a woman under the table at a crowded restaurant—also fun—the potential for discovery makes it all the more dangerous and hot.

 

A mischievous sparkle lights her hazel eyes as she scribbles:

 

You had me wet at “Ladies and gentlemen.” Now stop.

 

I scribble back:

 

Stop? Or save it for later?

 

I’m rewarded with a simple, subtle smirk. But it’s enough.

 

Later works.

 

? ? ?

 

After the rebuttal and an hour’s worth of instructions from the judge, the jury filed into the guarded back room for deliberations and court was recessed. Which gave me the opportunity to meet up for lunch with a certain old fraternity brother at a local watering hole that serves the best sandwiches in the city. Between demanding work schedules and family, we only have time to get together once or twice a year—when we happen to land in each other’s cities on business.

 

Drew Evans hasn’t changed all that much from our days at Columbia. Same scathing wit, same arrogance that draws women to him like moths to a blue-eyed bug light. The only difference between then and now is Drew doesn’t notice the flurry of female attention that follows him. Or, if he does notice, he doesn’t reciprocate.

 

“Are you sure you wouldn’t like anything else? Anything at all?” the twentysomething waitress asks hopefully—for the third time in fifteen minutes.

 

He takes a drink of his beer, then dismisses her with, “Nope. Still good—thanks.”

 

Shoulders hunched, she scurries away.

 

Drew is an investment banker at his father’s New York City firm. He’s also my investment banker—the reason two years of Presley’s college tuition is already sitting pretty in a 529 fund. Mixing money and friendship may not seem like a smart move, but when your friends are as talented at making money as mine are, it’s brilliant.

 

His phone chimes with an incoming text. He glances at the screen and a goofy smile spreads across his face—the kind of smile I’ve only seen him wear one time before: at his wedding, eight months ago.

 

I wipe my mouth with my napkin, toss it on the table, and tilt my chair back on two legs. “So . . . how is Kate these days?”

 

Kate is Drew’s wife.

 

His extremely beautiful wife.

 

His extremely beautiful wife whom I danced with—briefly—at their wedding reception. And my buddy didn’t seem to like that one bit.

 

What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t mess with him about it?

 

He glances up with a smirk. “Kate’s fantastic. She’s married to me—what else could she possibly be?”

 

“Did you give her my card?” I prod. “So she can contact me for legal services . . . or any service she may need?”

 

I grin as he scowls.

 

“No, I didn’t give her your card. Asshole.” He leans forward, suddenly smug. “Besides, Kate doesn’t like you.”

 

“Is that what you tell yourself?”

 

He chuckles. “It’s true—she thinks you’re shady. You’re a defense attorney, Kate’s a mother. She believes you enable child molesters to walk the streets.”

 

It’s a common misconception, and completely inaccurate. Defense attorneys keep the legal system honest—healthy. We advocate for the individual, the little guy, and we’re all that stands between him and the unconstrained power of the state. But people forget that part—it’s all pedophiles and Wall Street retirement fund thieves.

 

“I have a daughter,” I argue. “I wouldn’t defend a child molester.”

 

Drew finds my reasoning lacking. “You’re trying to make partner—you defend who the powers that be tell you to defend.”

 

I shrug noncommittally.

 

“Speaking of your daughter,” he segues. “How old is she now? Ten?”

 

As always, the topic of my baby girl brings an immediate surge of pride to my chest. “She turned eleven last month.” I whip out my phone and pull up the pictures that account for most of the memory. “She just made the competition cheerleading squad. And in the South, cheerleading’s a real sport—none of that ‘rah-rah’ pom-pom horseshit.”

 

Jenny and Presley still live in Mississippi. After Columbia, while I was going to law school at George Washington University, we talked about them coming to live with me in DC, but Jenny didn’t think the city was any place to raise a child. She wanted our daughter to grow up like we both did—swimming at the river, riding bicycles down dirt roads, running barefoot through the fields, and Sunday barbecues after church.

 

I agreed with her—I didn’t like it—but I agreed.

 

Drew lets out an impressed whistle when I show him the most recent shots of her decked out in green and gold team colors. Her long blond hair curled into ringlets and pulled up high, shining sky-blue eyes and a breathtaking pearly white smile.