Ego Maniac(8)By: Vi Keeland
“We went to the Y on Eighty-Second Street that has an outdoor pool and hopped the fence. It was so dark when we got undressed, I didn’t even think the guy would be able to see me.”
“So you undressed? What color were your bra and underwear?” Seriously? I was a sick fuck asking these types of questions. But in my twisted imagination, I saw her in a little white thong and matching lacy bra.
She looked momentarily panicked. “Do you really need to know all this? It was ten years ago.”
“I should. The more details the better. It’ll show the judge you remember the night well, and he’ll think you’re remorseful.”
Emerie nibbled on her thumbnail in deep thought. “White! They were white.”
Nice. “G-string or briefs?”
Her cheeks turned pink, and she covered her face with her hands. “G-string. God, this is so embarrassing.”
“It’ll make things easier to flesh it out now.”
“Did you undress yourself or did this guy undress you?”
“I undressed myself.”
“Okay. What happened next? Tell me all the details. Don’t leave anything out. You might not think it’s relevant, but it could help your case.”
She nodded. “After I got undressed, I left my clothes in a pile near the fence we’d climbed. Jared—that’s the guy I was with—he took off his clothes, left them next to mine, went to the high-dive board, and cannonballed in.”
“Then the police came.”
“You weren’t even in the water yet? No fooling around in the pool or anything?”
“Nope. I never even made it into the pool. Right after Jared came up for air, the sirens were flashing.”
I felt like I got ripped off. All that build-up and that’s it? Not even any groping? Before I could ask her any more questions, a court officer rattled off a list of names. I heard him call Rose, so I guided Emerie to where he was standing outside of the courtroom with a clipboard.
“Room 132, down the hall to your right. The ADA will meet you there to discuss your case before you see the judge. Wait outside. She’ll call your name when it’s your turn.”
Knowing where the room was, I walked Emerie down the hall, and we took a seat on the bench outside. She was quiet for a minute before she spoke. Her voice had a little shake to it, like she was fighting back crying.
“I’m so sorry about all of this, Drew. I probably owe you five thousand dollars for all of your time, and I can’t even afford to pay you five hundred.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
She reached out and touched my arm. I’d had my hand on her back as we walked and also helped her out of the back of the police car Sergeant Caruso drove us over in, but it was the first time she’d touched me. I liked it. Damn it. I didn’t know her well, but I knew enough to know Oklahoma was not the type of woman you screwed and screwed over. I needed to get this over with and get out of here.
“I mean it. I’m really sorry, and I can’t thank you enough for coming with me today. I’d be a wreck if I didn’t have you here. I’ll pay you back somehow.”
I can think of a few ways. “It’s fine. Really. Don’t worry about it. This is all going to go smoothly, and we’ll be out of here in twenty minutes.”
Just then, a voice called from behind the door. “Rose. Docket number 18493094. Counsel for Rose?”
I assumed it was the ADA. I didn’t do much criminal work, just the occasional traffic ticket or domestic violence charge for an existing high-net-worth divorce client. But the woman’s voice was vaguely familiar, although I couldn’t place it.
Until I opened the door.
Suddenly it was eminently clear why the yell had sounded familiar.
I’d heard it before.
The last time, she’d been screaming my name as I plowed into her from behind in the office bathroom of a rival law firm.
Of all the lawyers in New York County, Kierra Albright had to be our ADA.
Maybe smooth wasn’t exactly the right word for how things were about to go.
“I don’t understand. What’s going on?” Emerie’s voice was full of panic.