Unbreakable(2)By: Emma Scott
Movement out of the windows caught my eye and I spotted Drew in the driveway, dressed in a dark blue suit, bending his six-foot four-inch frame into his silver Porsche 911 Carrera. I couldn’t see the Bluetooth device in his ear, but I could see he was already talking to someone on the phone, his handsome features drawn tight into Business Mode.
I smiled fondly but briefly, falling into my own Business Mode. I sipped my coffee, ate three bites of grapefruit, then took up my briefcase and oversize Fendi bag, both resting at the front entry where I’d left them the night before. I glanced at my watch—a classic David Yurman with diamonds too small for a jury to see. Six thirty-three. Damn. Three minutes behind schedule.
At the Superior Court in downtown, I walked down the hallways, my heels clopping on the floor and echoing through the corridors. At Room 12, where Munro vs. Hutchinson had been held for the last two weeks, I paused at the door and took a sharp inhale and let it out slowly. A sense of excitement or anticipation—not anxiety—filled me, and a slow smile spread over my lips. I got this.
I threw open the door and went in.
The chairs were already full, and as I walked down the aisle, I heard several whispers, of “Shark Lady” and “prodigy.” There was even some press there. I kept my eyes straight ahead, but out of my peripheral vision I could see at least three journalists. Their cameras clicked as I passed.
Don Knight, lead council for the defense was already there, sitting next to his clients: two middle-aged men—the Hutchinson brothers—who shifted in their seats and spoke in hushed voices to one another. They both froze when they saw me, twin expressions of abject fear on their faces.
Don was a bespectacled, dark haired man with a kind face and keen sense of humor. Had we not found ourselves on opposite sides of the aisle so often, I wouldn’t have minded a friendship, but after beating him three cases to none, I was pretty sure he hated me. He sidled up to me as I opened my briefcase at my desk.
“You look chipper, Ms. Gardener. Chipper like a shark smelling blood.”
I affected a smooth smile. If he thought my nickname ‘Shark Lady’ bothered me, he was sorely mistaken. “I do smell blood, as a matter of fact. So kind of you to be chumming the waters with your case.”
He bristled. “Any other attorney, and this would be my slam-dunk.”
“Are you blaming me for doing my job better than you?” I retorted. “If your case was so solid, you should have proven that. Or you could have settled.”
“We could have,” he agreed, “except that would be admitting wrongdoing, of which there was none.”
I quirked an eyebrow. “None?”
He shifted irritably. “Fine, enough to make a case but you and I both know that your client was just as culpable…”
“That’s for the jury to say, not me.”
I couldn’t help noticing his desk was covered in papers, depositions in binders, exhibits tabbed and numbered, and notepads blackened with ink.
I pulled one single yellow legal pad and a pen out of my briefcase and nothing else. “Is there something else I can do for you, Mr. Knight?”
“No, I just came over to say congratulations,” he said bitterly. “You’re going to win today. Make your rich client even richer and destroy a business in the process. Another kill for the Shark Lady. I just hope you’re prepared for that.”
If that was supposed to be a parting shot, I didn’t get it. I was prepared for my win. More than prepared.
Don returned to his messy table and two nervous clients, as Reginald Munro sauntered up to me. I shook off Knight’s words and forced a smile for my client. He craned up to kiss my cheek but I deflected with a handshake. At five-seven—five-nine in my heels—I towered over the hairy little man who never failed to remind me of a possum in an expensive Italian suit.
Munro clapped his hairy-knuckled hands and then rubbed them together in blatant anticipation. A sapphire pinky ring glinted in the light streaming in from the windows. I almost told him to take it off before the jury filed in but changed my mind. Knight’s words gave me an idea, a spark of inspiration, and I quickly jotted down some notes on my legal pad before it could slip away. There had always been one tiny flaw in my case that could possibly trip me up and now, thanks to Don Knight, I’d snipped it off. There was no chance I would lose this case now. None.