Fiction Friday: Tough Defense Part 3

Tough Defense Part 1

Tough Defense Part 2

Charlotte exhausted that wave of positivity, riding it straight into her afternoon. Her next meeting, though, was looming in front of her, and she was going to need more confidence than today’s brief interlude with Stuart had allotted her.

“Charlotte?” her intercom crackled.

“I know, Lisa. You can tell Mr. Lester I’m headed to the conference room.”. Lisa, that was it, Charlotte thought, glad she finally remembered someone’s name without having to consult the placard on the desk.

Charlotte took a deep breath and sighed out the window for the second time that day. Without dwelling too much on where she was going or to whom she was going to speak, Charlotte forced herself to the conference room.

As she approached, her stomach began to twist. She could see him lounging in his chair as though waiting for an old friend. The gaudy gold jewelry he wore contrasted sharply with his crisp white linen suit. That, Charlotte thought, is a poorly executed disguise, and it is all you need to know about a man like that. His overwhelming cologne felt like a sucker punch when she walked through the door.

“Ms. Malloy, it’s so good to see you,” Mr. Lester leered. His accent was thick, an amalgamation of languages gleaned around the world. Charlotte tried not to think about how he’d acquired it.

“And you, Mr. Lester. Now, I spoke with the prosecution this morning, and they-”

“Ms. Malloy,” Lester tutted. “So formal. There will be time for business. Life, well, life is too short. I want to talk about more pleasant things. Like you.”

It was this part of the conversation that Charlotte dreaded the most. Despite her novice status as a defense attorney, she understood that no client should know anything more than her name and office location. She’d known Andre Lester long enough to know that she wasn’t about to volunteer anything. He could probably find out for himself if he wanted it badly enough. The thought crossed her mind that he probably had. Suddenly the conference room began to feel smaller. Charlotte tried not to look panicked, but the plate glass separating her from the her colleagues seemed to be getting thicker and thicker until the forms of errand boys and paralegals began to blur.

“Ms. Malloy, is something the matter? You look ill.” Lester appeared concerned, and indeed he was. He needed his defense in top condition. A change in attorneys would disorient the jury, and he couldn’t afford that. Not again. Besides, he hated to see an attractive woman in distress. It never occurred to him that he might be the source.

“Yes, I mean, no, Mr. Lester. I’m perfectly well. Now if we could discuss your case, I have a meeting across town in an hour. And you know the traffic here.” Charlotte faked the confidence she didn’t feel.

“But of course, Ms. Malloy. Fine, we can discuss this, what you call, situation.”

* * * *

To be continued…

Text only ©2011 Jessica Cocita. All Rights Reserved.

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