The characters are of my own creation. Any similarities to anyone
living or dead are purely coincidental. No part of this story may
be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from
me, the author
If the thought
of two women being romantically involved is not for you, then this
story is one you wont want to read. But seriously if you are
underage and live someplace where that is not allowed move on, literally.
Sit back and
enjoy the story and if you have something wonderful to say about it
write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to
thank my betas for correcting this for me. Jaden, Sue R, Lenore and
Doc, you are all godsends. I bow to your grammatical knowledge.
as always, is dedicated to the woman who is all my leading ladies
rolled into one. When I write about love and everything that comes
with it, I learned all of it from you. Thank God you have taken me
on as a lifelong student.
Let me also
take the opportunity to thank all of you that read these literary
vacations my imagination takes every so often. Your wonderful notes
and words of encouragement mean everything and I appreciate them all.
to Stephanie and the wonderful folks over at The Royal Academy of
Bards for hosting this Halloween special again. Without you, we would
be bards without an audience.
to another dimension.
A dimension not only
of sight and sound, but also of mind.
A journey into a wondrous
land whose boundaries are that of the imagination.
Theres a signpost
up ahead, your next stop.
The Twilight Zone.
The courtroom was packed.
The trial had lasted three weeks and everyone that had been lucky
enough to get a seat in the gallery was listening to the prosecutor
give her closing statement. Even the defendant, who had watched the
tall woman shred the credibility of every one of his witnesses, sat
glued to her next word.
First Assistant District
Attorney, Mordecai Sydney OShea had a reputation for grabbing
the attention of a jury and leading them with the facts to the verdict
she was looking for. Her boss loved the news coverage after every
murder conviction, and with her record, there were plenty of cameras
always hanging around. Mordecai hadnt lost a case since coming
to work for Gilbert Gilespy, the District Attorney, and everyone present
was certain John Rohan wasnt going to be her first.
"Guilt. A one-syllable
word that sometimes carries with it the most costly penalty for those
that fall within its trap. For Mordecai OShea its always
meant victory. One more scumbag off the streets and headed for either
life in prison or the needle, and at age thirty five shes piled
up more than her share of kills for the justice system. But everyone
who knows her is quick to defend her character and tell you about
how noble she is - living life by the same code of honor with which
she treats the law. You dont cheat, you dont steal, you
play by the rules always, and you dont kill."
"Sydney, as her
friends know her, has finally chosen to settle down, and settle is
how some of those closest to her would define it. For two years shes
shared her life and her bed with Kay Millard, an uptown socialite
who captured the Assistant DAs attention at one of the cocktail
parties always being hosted in one of the mansions along St. Charles
Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana. Petite in stature, but not in personality,
Kay put Sydney in her sights much like a lioness with a gazelle thats
fallen behind the herd."
problem is that she doesnt live by the same code or rules that
Sydney has set for herself. After twenty-four months, shes grown
bored with the concept of a committed relationship and with monogamy.
What she hasnt grown bored with is the OShea family money.
As Sydney puts more notches in her gun belt for justice, Kay has started
to accumulate her share of notches on other peoples bedposts."
"So you ask yourself,
is this a story about a love gone wrong where the end is predictable?
Come on, weve read this a million times through history. A lover
scorned and in the clutches of grief kills the one who has broken
their heart. No, this is a different story, one which will explore
the true nature of cruelty and of perseverance. In the end we will
see how far greed will push one woman, and how far the other is willing
to bend her principles in the face of pain. Mordecai is about to learn
the lessons that can only be learned in The Twilight Zone."
"Ladies and gentleman,
I want to first thank you for time and service. Jury duty is always
something you thinks going to happen, well never. You tell yourself
that the day you march down to the courthouse to register to vote
until that summons arrives. Then you take off from work to come down
here and find out its a murder trial, and the cherry on the
Im having a crappy day sundae comes when you hear
the word sequestered." The fourteen people in the box along the
wall sitting in comfortable leather chairs laughed at Sydneys
opening remarks. If they all admitted it, they would have sat through
another three weeks of testimony just to watch the woman in action.
Sydney walked to the
railing that separated the prosecutions table from the jurors,
undid the button of her jacket and put her hands on the old ornate
wood. "Youve been great listening to the facts that help
you decide Mr. Rohans fate, and that is what were asking
you to do, decide this mans fate."
The consummate communicator
looked at all fourteen sets of eyes before she went on, making each
one of the jurors feel like the center of the universe at that one
moment in time. Each of them in return looked into the deep blue eyes;
feeling like they could believe whatever Sydney had to say next. She
turned and pointed toward the defendant, John Rohan.
"The defense will
have you believe that Mr. Rohans wife, Marie Rohan, just decided
to walk out one day and into the arms of another man. Plausible enough
story, this is Louisiana after all. Passions in our nature."
She stopped and turned back toward the chuckling jurors giving them
the killer smile that had made women swoon for years.
review the rest of that story, shall we? Marie finds some hunk to
replace her boring husband, so on a Friday afternoon she drives off
into the sunset with this mystery man for a better life. Shes
so caught up in the rapture of new love she leaves behind not only
her purse and the paycheck shed picked up that morning, but
most importantly she leaves behind Bridget and Mollie, her
two young daughters." Sydney ticked off the list holding up a
finger for each point she mentioned. "Shes so caught up
in the rapture that she doesnt tell anyone. Not her mother,
whom she spoke to every morning, not her children whose lives she
cherished? No, ladies and gentlemen, the only person Marie told was
her husband of ten years, John Rohan." She pointed now to the
defendant and drew the jurys attention back to him.
"She sends John
a Dear John letter." Again the laughter came not
only from the jurors but also from the gallery and the judges
bench as well. "Appropriate in this case I know." She picked
up the letter she had referred to, sealed away for posterity in a
clear plastic evidence bag marked States Exhibit #42.
"Our proverbial red herring in this whole drama, the letter from
Sydney read parts of
it again to strength her argument. "Tell the children I miss
them but Im not ready to come home. Ive grown to hate
you John. Your silence and anger are two things I can no longer live
with. Ive found someone else who fulfills the need in my heart
and in my soul."
"I find it hard
to believe that the one person Marie chose to contact after her departure
in any fashion was John Rohan. The man, if this letters indeed
from her, she herself says she hates. She doesnt write to her
mother or her sister or even her children. What I dont understand
is why the only fingerprints the police and FBI labs were able to
find on this page and on the envelope are Mr. Rohans? Did she
feel such contempt for him that she put on gloves to pen this letter?"
Sydney held the letter up and walked back to the jurors box.
"No, ladies and gentlemen, this letter was written by Mr. Rohan
to cover his tracks. It was hard for Marie to write anything under
three feet of dirt concealed by the rose garden. A garden you could
see from the window of the master bedroom shed shared with her
husband of ten years."
Sydney put the letter
back on the table and picked up a polyester shirt next to it. Everyone
had been amazed that after ten years of being buried, the shirt and
shorts Marie had last been seen wearing were in remarkable shape except
for a little dirt. "This is what really happened that Friday
night. Marie came home from work to find her husband sitting at the
kitchen table. He told her hed found someone new and wanted
to make a life with this girl. An argument ensued in which Marie told
him he was free to go, but the children were staying with her. That
wasnt what John had in mind so he followed the upset woman into
the den, where in a fit of anger he struck her in the back of the
head with the poker from the fireplace. The medical examiner from
LSU testified that was the first blow," said Sydney as she pulled
the sheet back on the gurney that had first been rolled in during
the trial. The staff at LSU had meticulously laid Marie Rohans
bones out after they had been recovered from the Rohans backyard.
Sydney picked up the fractured skull and pointed to the back. The
gasps that had come when the police had first wheeled it in came again.
"But it wasnt the death blow." She put the skull down
and covered the bones as if to give Marie Rohan some of her dignity
The muddied shirt held
the key to the murder they were prosecuting so Sydney picked it up
again. "In a panic from seeing his wife moaning and bleeding
on the floor, John went into a self-preservation mode. He did the
only thing he thought would get him out of the situation, he shot
Marie in the back to put her out of her misery and his." The
back of the shirt showed the hole to support Sydneys story.
She put the props down
and moved back to the people who would decide the case. It was time
to tie up all the loose ends that would erase any doubt and any guilt
that would come from giving John Rohan the punishment he deserved.
"Had he stopped there and called the police, you could define
this as a crime of passion. In the heat of a fight I struck and shot
my wife, Mr. Rohan could have told you, but he didnt. No, this
cold murderous bastard drove around for two days with Marie in the
trunk of his car until he was able to bury her in their yard. Two
days, ladies and gentlemen, think about that. Two days during which
he went to work, visited his girlfriend and future wife, and went
about his business while his wife was stuffed into the trunk of his
Some of the jurors
shivered at the scenario and the rest glared at the seemingly unaffected
John Rohan. The man looked like Sydney was talking about someone else
as she spelled out his own macabre end behind the fences of the Angola
State Penitentiary. "If it hadnt been for Mr. Rohans
arrogance we mightve never heard from Marie again. Selling the
house to someone who installed a new septic system was this sweet
womans chance to speak to you from the grave." The new
owner had found the bones as he leveled his yard after the job was
complete. Part of a jawbone led a team of police on a digging expedition
in the Rohan yard for the rest of Maries bones.
"She spoke to
you in this courtroom as well when you saw her remains, her clothes
and heard about her life. Marie Rohan wasnt somewhere living
it up with a new man. She was dead. Had the defendant given her the
chance she would have given him his divorce. She wouldve been
happy to live out the rest of her life with her family and her children.
This wasnt some loose woman who was out running the streets
and hanging out in bars, this was a woman who did volunteer work for
the church and drove her daughters to dance classes and Bible study.
Go into your deliberations and give Marie what shes asking for,
justice. The defendant, John Rohan is guilty of second-degree murder.
Marie deserves no less than that verdict. Thank you."
Sydney looked at them
for a second longer before turning back to her seat. The defense attorney
didnt have as much to say to explain away all the evidence the
state had accumulated against his client. If the idiot had only
stayed in the house, was his only thought as he sat down when
he was finished.
"Ladies and gentlemen,
you have heard from the defense and from the state. The court will
adjourn giving you the time to weigh the evidence presented by both
sides and we will meet here again when you have reached a decision.
If theres anything I can do from answering questions to providing
anything you need to reach that verdict, please inform the bailiff
outside the door and Ill see to it immediately. Court is in
recess." The judge banged the gavel once and the jurors were
escorted down the hall to their new home until they came to a unanimous
Sydney and her two
assistants watched as the jurors walked out. They stood and smiled
at each person as a way of giving them a virtual pat on the back for
a job well done. Unless the four men and eight women were brain dead
a guilty verdict wouldnt take that long. The two alternates
were on their way back to the hotel in case they were needed.
"Nice job, Ice,"
said Elwood White one of the assistant DAs who had worked on the case.
All the new attorneys on staff wanted to second chair for Sydney.
There was no better teacher with which to cut your teeth within the
criminal judicial system than Sydney OShea. Win after win had
earned her the nickname Ice, the other reason was her take no prisoners
attitude during sentencing.
it was a team effort. I appreciate all the long hours and weekends
you put in. If the jury comes back early, drinks are on me."
Sydney put the rest of her papers into the beat up leather briefcase
as she talked, wanting to go back to the office to get some work done
before heading home. She noticed the blonde sitting in the last row
of the gallery when she turned from the table to go.
"I see Ice strikes
again. Those women were creaming in their pants to give you what you
want, Mordecai." Sydney laughed at the blondes comment
that had no doubt been said to get a rise out of her.
I didnt know you were coming down here today. Whats your
Kay looked up into
the blue eyes and smiled. It was times like this that reminded her
why shed fallen in love with Sydney. The power she exuded was
intoxicating, but the black hair, dark tanned skin, blue eyes and
classic features didnt hurt. At parties and political events
they made a dashing couple. The tall dark idealistic avenger of the
innocent fighting the good fight, and the diminutive fair maiden who
spun words as a local reporter who did anything to get the full story.
Isnt that what you always tell me?" Kay moved to the railing
and leaned over for a kiss. "Are you free for lunch?"
"If we make it
quick and we make it Chinese. The pile of wicked people in need of
a spanking has gotten high on my desk while I was playing with Mr.
"Come on, Captain
Marvel, itll be my treat." The small blonde grabbed the
brown case on the table and handed it to one of the men behind Sydney.
"Deliver this back to the bat cave if you would, Im stealing
her away for an hour."
"Are you just
fishing for an exclusive?" asked Sydney.
"Would I do that,
"Yes, I think
thats the only reason you live with me sometimes."
"You wound me,
lover, but Ill let it slide since I do what I must so New Orleanians
can get the news."
The steps of the courthouse
on Tulane and Broad were crowded with people there for trial, attorneys
looking for new clients and the police officers who kept everyone
in line. One of the men in blue was busy watching the Mercedes roadster
with the top down that was doubled parked. It was a toss up as to
which got more looks, the car or the woman who drove it.
On a reporters
salary alone, Kay probably couldnt have afforded a nice bicycle
much less the pretty import, but she had married well. Sydneys
family had built a shipping company over four generations that was
now worldwide. The OSheas were hard working and had millions
to show for it. As the oldest of four from the fourth generation of
OSheas that had founded the company, Sydneys money had
been invested in blind trusts so there would never be a hint of impropriety
with her job. Her three younger brothers had gone to work for her
father, but the old man talked incessantly to anyone that cared to
listen about his kid the ADA.
I owe you one." Kay hugged the large guy sitting on the hood
of her birthday present.
and you," he pointed to Sydney. "Good job today. The guys
were talking about you holding up that head, Im sorry I missed
Wally. Youll get to read all about it in tomorrows paper,"
said Kay. The second her door shut the phone in her purse rang. "Millard
here, talk to me." She turned away from Wally and Sydney a little
as she recognized the voice on the other end. "Ill be there
in fifteen. Thanks for giving me the heads up."
The nearness of Sydneys voice startled Kay into almost dropping
"You scared me,
baby, and yes, Ive got to go to work. Can you forgive me for
skipping out on lunch?" Sydney just sighed and nodded her head.
Their time together was getting to be a precious commodity. "Youre
the best, Mordecai." Kay drove off in the direction of the docks
without another word or a kiss goodbye.
"Not the shoes,
mama, not yet." Charlie Thompson looked like a little man in
his school uniform. The only thing missing from the navy blue shorts,
shirt and socks were the black shoes the school insisted on to complete
the ensemble. If Charlie got his wish, it would stay that way.
"Yes the shoes,
Charlie, come on were going to be late. Its just orientation
today so I promise you wont have to keep them on long."
The pretty blonde looked down at the little heart breaker and couldnt
blame him. In an effort to speed up the process Blithe Thompson put
on her own shoes.
The excitement of Charlies
first day of preschool was sharing time in her brain with the conversation
Blithe had had with her friend Kay the night before. Even though their
relationship went back to their first day of preschool, the two had
drifted apart over the last few years. There were her responsibilities
with Charlie, and Kays relationship with Sydney and her work.
Except for an occasional lunch and a monthly phone call to catch up,
the two rarely spoke.
It was the absence
of the closeness they had once shared that surprised Blithe about
Kays request. Sitting on her sofa the night before, Blithe had
felt like she was in some twisted episode of the Twilight Zone as
Kay spelled out the favor she was asking of her old friend. The light
of morning still wasnt making it any less surreal.
"Why do I hafta
go, mama? Dont you want me around to play with?" Charlie
cocked his head to the side to work on his mothers sympathies.
to go so you can learn to read. When Im old and youre
taking care of me, I dont want you giving me the wrong medicine
because you wanted to say home and play with your trains instead of
going to school. I promise youre going to love it, Charlie boy."
She grunted when she picked him up to hug him. With any luck hed
be bigger than her five feet three inches. "I love you, buddy,
and Ill be right beside you all afternoon."
I love you too."
The phone rang as Blithe
pulled the older model minivan out of her driveway. A social worker
for childrens services, she was almost always on call.
"Did you think
about what we talked about?" Kay got off the interstate near
the river and headed toward the back end of the garden district.
not to, and I still cant believe you think its going to
be such a prude. Sydney just needs a little push in the right direction
then shell see the light. If Im not the only one guilty
of cheating itll be harder for her to pull that righteous indignation
she does so well."
"And you get to
keep trucking in style too. Isnt that what its all about?"
"I love Sydney,
silly. I dont want to lose her over an itch. This thing will
be over in less than two months, but I still need the security an
affair of her own will give me."
Blithe heard the wind
and engine stop from the other end signaling that Kay had gotten to
wherever she was going. "As a mental health professional I cant
begin to tell you how screwed up your thinking is. Its your
life, Kay, find someone else to help you derail it."
"You owe me."
"Dream on, girl,
I dont owe you anything. Why cant you just be happy that
you found someone who loves you and thinks its a bad thing to
sleep with other people? If you love her this isnt the way to
not even thirty, Blithe. I enjoy sex, but I dont think I should
lose everything because of it. Think about it and Ill call you
later." Kay ended the call before Blithe could put forth any
more rational arguments. Her first caller stepped onto the porch of
the old shotgun with his shirt off. Stuck in with the chest hair was
a mixture of fresh and dried paint flecks from working that morning.
Matt Franklin had gotten
an itch of his own in the middle of a canvas and was certain Kay was
only a phone call away. The aspiring artist smiled when Kay licked
her lips and bumped the car door closed with her shapely behind.
The two had met at
a gallery opening six months before and after an evening of conversation,
figured they had a few things in common. The most important being
an attraction for each other that Kay had wasted no time acing on.
With Sydney working such long hours, finding time with Matt hadnt
been a problem. But it was days like today, when Kay gave her partner
time to put that brilliant analytical mind to work with a sudden departure,
that worried her. Blithe was going to be Kays security ticket
to keeping Sydney and her extra curricular fun.
"Get in here and
get naked, I feel like fucking," said Matt holding the front
when great minds think alike because so do I, baby." Kay moved
to follow him inside never noticing the car across the street. The
pad the man put back into his breast pocket had her license plate
number and the digital camera that was worth more than the piece of
shit he was driving had a series of shots of the kiss the couple had
shared before going inside. His personal favorite as he reviewed them
was the last three when a paint-splattered hand grabbed a hand full
Hugo wasnt the
sharpest pencil in the box, but he knew the lady wasnt there
to look at the guys etchings. With the amount of fucking around
this guy did, it was a wonder he found time to paint.
"I heard Vincent
Carlottis gotten through the feds net again. This is what, the
fourth time theyve tried him and lost?" Nick, the other
assistant assigned to Sydney, came back to the table and put a cup
in front of her and Elwood. The three had escaped from the office
after news of the broken air conditioning system had been high on
everyones priority list of complaints when they got back from
"They need to
pull their heads out of their asses and fry this guy. I mean everyone
knows hes the head of organized crime in the city; its
not a secret. So why cant the feebies figure it out? Vinnys
been off limits to us because all those wiretaps and FBI tails havent
been able to prove murder, but we all know hes doing that too."
Sydney rolled her sleeves up and grabbed the next folder on the stack
they had brought with them as she listened to Elwood complain about
the federal prosecutors inability to close the deal on Carlotti.
The coffee shop was
fairly empty and was far enough away so that the usual legal crowd
that tried to push deals for their clients werent going to be
stopping by the table. If the Rohan verdict came in, three cell phones
were sitting in the middle of the table ready to receive the call.
Larry Smith. Drug possession with intent to distribute and gun possession.
Wasnt this dipshit in court two months ago facing the same charges?
Hes out on bail so he can finish moving his product, fabulous."
Sydney read the folder seeing that Larry had two kilos of coke when
the officer pulled him over for a broken tail light.
"His lawyer called
me and said dear Larrys willing to plead to the drugs and give
up some of his suppliers in exchange for simple possession. Hes
willing to do five to ten," said Elwood after looking at his
notes. "Theres a tape of his arrest by the way."
"How sweet of
him. No deals on this one, Elwood. Mr. Smiths going down to
the farm for life, and its going to be you thats going
to nail his ass there. I already know who his suppliers are, and did
he think Id forget hes on probation for an earlier offense?
Last time I checked the law, gentlemen, carrying a gun while on probations
"Next we have
the State versus Gary Augustern," Nick held up the brown folder.
"Poor guy was having a bad day so he shot and killed four people
at a gas station last night. This ones hot off the presses,
"Was it the crazy
weather that made him do it?" asked Sydney.
"The crack cocaine
hed smoked and the fact they were out of Pringles drove him
to commit multiple homicide."
"Can happen to
the best of us. Did he ask for a cash donation while committing this
"Yes, it was the
least they could do since they were out of the chips he was craving,"
the brief for the grand jury and make sure youre both at the
bail hearing. This guy gets remanded. Dont let some pansy judge
let this one lose on society. Garys going down for first degree
murder and tell his public defender were going for the death
penalty." Sydney broke the pile into four smaller piles and sent
the two men back to the office to hand out assignments. Capital cases
took precedence so some of her colleagues would get the rest of the
cases that had been waiting for her.
She pulled out her
laptop and started looking for the case files that would be needed
to start building a capital case. Behind Sydney the door opened letting
in new customers in search of a chocolate malt to celebrate a successful
first day of school.
"Can you believe
we can make our own paint, mama?" Charlie held up the small container
the teacher had given each child to take home to make a finger painting
for the following Monday. The project had been easy but fun enough
to build excitement in each student to want to come back the next
"And red too.
Thats your favorite color. Now go find us a table and Ill
get us a treat." Blithe moved to the counter to order while keeping
an eye on her son as he climbed into a chair and pulled a sheet of
blank paper out of the new school bag she had bought.
Memories of her school
days came back with a smile. The end of the summer always meant new
pencils, crayons and notebooks. Blithe just hoped Charlie would love
school as much as she had. Her trip down memory lane made Blithe miss
little dexterous fingers open the finger paint and the beginning of
Charlie poured some
of the paint on one of the sheets hed taken out so he could
coat his hands. With that done he pressed them into the middle of
the second sheet, pleased with the result when he lifted them off.
Another coating brought forth another set of handprints, but no room
to put another set. The little boys laughter was drowned out
by the blender the waiter was using to make the two malts. With a
fresh coat of paint on his hands, Charlie looked for a new canvas.
A quick look around the shop found him the perfect spot. It was stark
white, broad and looked like it was in dire need of adornment. Leaving
more than a little bit of paint on his chair when he climbed down,
he lost no time in zeroing in on his target when his legs hit solid
popped up when Blithe yelled, "Charlie, no!" She wondered
why right before a little cyclone ran into her back. The attorney
turned in her chair to find a contrite child holding up red tinted
hands like they were frozen in that position. She guessed that the
rest of the paint she was now on the Egyptian cotton covering her
Thompson, youre in so much trouble, young man." The reprimand
Blithe started with reminded Sydney of her mother and the constant
stream of fussing caused by her four children from hell.
"Are there two
red hand prints on my back?" Sydney asked the little boy who
was still holding his hands up in front of him.
He turned and looked at his mother hoping not to find too mad a face
from the woman still at the counter. In front of him, Sydney reached
into her bag and pulled out a badge.
"I could place
you under arrest for painting up an officer of the law, young man."
The joke backfired on her when the small boys lip started to
tremble with fear. "Im kidding, come on dont cry.
I think you might be in more trouble from your mother than you are
from me." She pointed to the pretty blonde and smiled. Before
there could be any other conversation her phone and pager went off
at the same time. "OShea." Sydney answered the call.
"All right, round up Frick and Frack and tell them Ill
meet them at the courthouse."
"Im so sorry
for my son." Blithe had moved closer to the table in an attempt
to calm any bad feelings down since she saw the woman was getting
ready to leave.
well blame it on his temperamental artist side. Im sorry
to cut this short, but Im due back in court."
Blithe looked at the
good-looking woman and wanted to draw out the conversation. Since
Charlies birth sent her girlfriend packing, no one that had
gotten past asking her name without striking out. This person seemed
nice and didnt seem like some idiot that was just looking for
"Can we make it
up to you?"
all right. Im sure Charles William Thompson didnt mean
it and Im guessing you dont let him play with oil based
enamels so a good run through the heavy duty cycle should get it right
it will but wed still like to make it up to you." Blithe
knelt by Charlie and started to wipe the excess paint off his hands
before he got into any more trouble.
"How about you
two buy me a cup of coffee tomorrow?"
Saturday so if you dont mind waiting until our park play dates
over, well meet you back here at, lets say two."
to do at the park, Charlie?" Sydney asked him so he wouldnt
feel like he was being left out of the conversation.
"Swings are my
favorite but I dont have anybody to push me high like all the
other kids do. Mama tries but Gabriels dad does the best job.
Hes really big and my mamas really not."
Sydney stood up and
looked down at the blonde and her black haired child. She and Kay
had never talked about children but looking at Charlie made her regret
never taking the time to have that conversation. If she ever had a
son it would have been nice to look at such a small person who looked
so much like she did. Charlie looked nothing like his mother with
the black shiny hair and big blue eyes. Sydney shook her head and
chalked her thoughts up to some innate drive to perpetuate her family
Charlie followed her
trip from the chair to her feet and was in awe when the big body finally
unfolded itself. This lady was a lot bigger than Gabriels dad
was, and hed bet she was a champion swing pusher.
"Wow! You sure
Sydney laughed and
knelt down as well to be on the level of the two Thompsons. "Im
hoping you meant that in a good way or I really will bring you and
your mother in for insulting my workout plan."
"I just think
you would be great pushing me on the swing. I could go higher than
Gabriel if you were there to push me," Charlie explained.
rang again before she could comment on his request. "OShea.
Yeah I heard you the first time. Have someone outside waiting because
Im not going to have time to park the car. I shouldve
just stayed in the sauna since I had a feeling they werent going
to be out long."
"Mama, you hafta
get her to come tomorrow. Just once Id like to beat Gabriel
at the swings."
Blithe thought of the
best solution for the both of them. If she talked the woman into coming
to the park, Charlie would be happy and if she got to do the woman
a favor maybe shed feel indebted enough to make her happy too.
"We could give you a ride to wherever youre late for, then
when youre done we could bring you back here for that cup of
coffee. Sound good?"
let you do that, Miss."
letting me when I offer, and please call me Blithe. Youve already
"Well Blithe and
Charlie the law abiding citizens of New Orleans will thank you if
you could do that."
what you mean in the car and now that you know who we are, whats
my name. You just asked me, remember?"
"Last time I checked.
Im also the eldest of four and the subject of my mothers
sense of humor, or maybe it was her love of Seuss. Im still
trying to figure it out."
"What do you mean?"
me youve never read Dr. Seuss. You have a small child, I thought
it was a prerequisite."
Blithe watched as Sydney kept packing her bag looking up only to wave
at the guy behind the counter.
Be your name Buxbaum
or Bixby or Bray
Or Mordecai Ali Van
Youre off to
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
get on your
The voice sounded like
it had run through the lines more than once and it made Blithe and
Charlie laugh. After hearing them they had in fact read the book Sydney
was quoting and it had never occurred to Blithe that someone would
actually name their child for it.
"Oh, the Places
Youll Go! by Dr. Seuss, is that right?"
Ms. Thompson. I have to thank her though, Ive gotten in more
fights because of that name than I care to remember, and because of
that I can hold my own in any situation. To cut down on the teasing
after I turned ten, I go by my middle name."
The café worker
brought out the two malts and gave Sydney a slip to sign. Blithe moved
to pick up all of Charlies things intending to give Sydney a
ride. The busy phone made an appearance again as Sydney dialed her
"Sal, meet me
in front of Judge Roses court with a fresh shirt and please
dont ask what happened to the old one." Sally had been
her executive assistant since she had come to work for Gilbert. The
old woman was an outcast in the District Attorneys office because
of her attitude, but had loved Sydney from the first day they had
been introduced. But just because she loved her didnt mean she
didnt love giving her a hard time.
already, OShea. The only thing you got going for you is that
its after twelve noon, cause you know how much pleasure that
man gets out of hanging people." Sally said referring to the
"Im on my
way, beautiful. If I dont make it in time go on in and let him
make doe eyes at you."
The young man behind
the counter waved Blithe off along with her money. Sydney had put
the two malts on her tab, which surprised him after seeing her shirt.
"Are you going to tell me what your middle name is, or shall
Charlie and I call you Mordecai?"
Only my mother and
father call me that without me putting my fists up, and Kay but her
calling me that is starting to work my last nerve. The thought
went through Sydneys head as she looked at the twinkling green
eyes looking up at her.
tell me, its Ali Van Allen?" Blithe laughed and got a smile
out of Sydney with her joke.
funny lady. I really do have to get going."
Another police officer
was waiting for Sydney outside on the sidewalk, surprised when she
got out of the minivan with peeling paint. Sally was waiting with
him with a fresh shirt under her arm, retrieved from the drawer of
Sydneys desk. Blithe sat behind the wheel and wanted nothing
more than to drive off after getting over the shock of who she had
accidentally run into. After seeing Sydney for the first time, Kays
favor didnt sound like such a gross proposition.
"Thanks for the
ride. If you want you can go. I dont know how long this is going
to take, and I dont want you and the mad painter to be bored."
"How are you going
to get your car?"
someone from my office to bring me back. Thanks for the ride over
Blithe watched as Sally
stepped to the passenger side of her van and held up a new shirt.
In the middle of the commotion of the Tulane and Broad streets corner,
Sydney stepped out and stripped the dirty one off. If anyone headed
up the stairs to the courthouse noticed none of them slowed down to
stare. Blithe found herself unable to look away though. Why Kay would
take any chances on losing the fabulously built Sydney was beyond
comprehension at this point. Not that physical attributes should be
the one deciding factor. Sydney had proved to have a wonderful personality,
but the abdominal muscles she was gawking at were hard to ignore.
"Mind if we come
in and watch?"
not sure how exciting its going to be, but you and Charlie are
welcome." Sydney made short work of the buttons on the new shirt
before tucking it into her pants. The fine, almost linen, cotton garments
with her initials on the cuffs were gifts from her mother.
full time job was taking care of her family. She still shopped for
all four of her children as well as her husband and joked with her
friends that the five OSheas were under the impression they
had a magic underwear and sock drawer. All of the girlfriends and
then wives knew when it was time to throw in the towel to the small
Italian womans shopping sprees. The one thing the women were
grateful for was that Grace had not added them to her list. The other
thing that was perfectly clear was when you riled the Irish and Italian
ire in Graces children by saying a cross word about her, all
four of them came out swinging first without asking questions. The
two women that had married into the family could only hope to instill
such family loyalty in their future children.
good enough, maybe Charlie can bring you to show and tell."
enough, dont worry about that. If that jury comes back with
a not guilty verdict Ill trade cars with you."
sure about this one. Mr. Rohan has no one to blame for this unfortunate
afternoon but himself. Im a firm believer that everyone is free
to make their choices in life, with that comes the responsibility
of owning up to those choices."
"Spoken like a
expect anything less from myself, maam.
"And polite too.
Go on before I make you any later. Charlie and Ill be right
in as soon as I find a parking spot." Sydney took the permit
Sally was holding up without asking how she knew shed need one,
and handed it over to Blithe.
"Just put this
on the dash and pull up a little." Sydney pointed to the curb
ahead of them. "Good bye, Charlie, Ill see you in a little
while." The attorney walked at a fast pace up the stairs followed
by her staff. Blithe looked at the long legs and groaned.
"Maybe she wont
The bailiff yelled over the din in the large courtroom.
Judge Jude Rose situated
his robe before banging down the gavel. "Be seated. Madame Forewoman,
youve informed my bailiff you have reached a verdict?"
"Yes, sir your
honor." The judge looked over the form his bailiff had taken
from the woman with the tag Juror #3 and read it over.
to be in order, officer, if you would," instructed the judge.
"We the jury,
in the above entitled case find the defendant, John Rohan, guilty
of second degree murder."
Screaming from both
sides of the families involved started the moment the bailiff had
finished, prompting the judge to start banging his gavel from a standing
position. "Sit down and shut up. This is a court of law, people,
not an episode of the Springer Show. One more outburst like that and
Ill have the room cleared." The noise stopped so abruptly
it seemed like someone had flipped a switch.
Sydney was hiding a
smile behind her hand as she sat back down. When the screaming had
started she had stood up and faced the gallery. It was a reaction
shed learned when an unhappy family member in a previous case
had flung a concealed rock at the back of her head. Six stitches had
taught her to be vigilant ever since.
"And, Ms. OShea,
care to tell me why you have two lollipops stuck to the back of your
pants?" asked Jude getting a small laugh out of the court staff.
If there was one thing you could count on from Sydney, aside from
always being prepared, was her immaculate appearance.
Sydney swung around
again to find two sets of innocent Thompson eyes staring back. "I
apologize for my appearance, your honor, it wont happen again."
"Mr. Rohan, Ill
see you in three weeks for sentencing. Bailiff, take Mr. Rohan into
custody please. Were adjourned." The gavel wrapped against
the small block it sat on once again, turning the noise back on when
the judge stood. "Sydney, a moment please."
"I hear you caught
the Augustern case."
"Yes, sir, and
dont worry, no deals on this one. Ill be ready to go to
trial by next month."
"Just like your
father, Mordecai, thats what I love about you. I just wanted
to check my facts. One of the people killed in the convenience store
was a friend of Victorias, so youll have my wife to answer
to if you cut any deals."
Mr. Jude, deals arent in my nature on cases like this."
"Give your parents
my best and tell them well see them at the end of next month
for their anniversary." The old OShea family friend patted
Sydney on the back and headed for his chambers.
"Im so sorry."
Blithe was standing by the railing holding Charlie. "I wanted
to call you back from the car, but you were already running late."
"You saw two suckers
sticking to the back of my leg and you let me come in here like that?"
"I meant that
thing about having people arrested that I told Charlie earlier."
"How about we
take you to dinner to celebrate your victory, then Ill give
you the name of my dry cleaner for all the crimes Charlie and Ive
committed against your clothing?"
"Is there anything
else hiding under your seats?"
"I have a three
year old, Im not making any promises. Whats the matter,
youve never gotten dirty in your life?" Blithe held the
gate open for Sydney hoping she would walk through and accept her
invitation. They had only just met but she was guessing the attorney
was kidding about being mad.
been messy since the early nineties, its not a look I do well.
As for dinner, Ill have to take my chances. Do you mind waiting
while I make a quick phone call?"
"Please take your
time, its early yet." Blithe sat in the first row and watched
the elderly couple wait until Sydney had finished her call. The DA
was frustrated when Kay didnt answer her cell phone and the
newsroom told her they didnt know where she was or that they
were aware that she was working on a story.
The old man got up and helped his wife off the bench seat. They had
sat through the testimony and watched as the charismatic woman defended
the dead Marie Rohans honor. They had waited so long for this
day and could only thank God they had lived to see it.
"Mr. and Mrs.
Bailey, Im so sorry about your daughter. I hope that todays
outcome has brought some sense of closure with all this. That seems
like a trite thing to say in the face of your pain, but Im glad
we could do our part to punish the person responsible for Maries
"You will be in
our familys prayers from this day forth, Ms. OShea. My
Marie deserved better than she got in her life but she couldnt
have found a better champion from the grave." The older woman
stepped forward and hugged Sydney to her as her way of saying thank
you. The simple act showed Blithe the other side of what people suffer
through and what set them on the path of healing. She tried to do
that everyday with the children she saw, but Sydney had done it with
a good case.
"Thank you, maam,
I cant get enough of those."
"Is this your
son?" Mrs. Bailey pointed to Charlie.
hes my friend though, and if you and Mr. Bailey will excuse
us, he and his mom were taking me out to dinner. If theres anything
you need from me, please just call me at home or at the office. You
still have the numbers right?"
"Yes we do, and
you all have a good night."
"Silly, will you
come to push me on the swings?" asked Charlie as they walked
out of the empty courtroom and took the back stairs to avoid the press.
Gilbert and Sydneys two assistants on the case were doing a
good enough job talking to them without her.
"He tried to pronounce
Sydney and it hasnt worked out yet," explained Blithe.
you say Cai?"
faithfully repeated after his new hero.
with that then."
It was after nine before
the three new friends got out of the pizza parlor that Blithe had
driven to from the courthouse. The one thing that struck Sydney as
she carried the sleeping Charlie to the van was that it had been forever
since she had laughed as easily as she had that night. The new shirt
that Sally had brought out to her was now covered in sauce along the
sleeves where the little boy touched every time he wanted to get her
attention, but the neat fanatic didnt seem to mind.
Blithe turned in the
drivers seat when they arrived back at the coffee shop so Sydney
could get her car, and looked at her passenger. She had a feeling
that the exuberant Charlie had broadened the scope of Sydneys
orderly life after just one afternoon.
"Can I confess
something to you?" asked Blithe.
"I know Kay."
heard of me?" Blithe found it hard to believe that one of her
oldest friends hadnt mentioned her or her son to the person
she lived with.
but no. If she had, Id have said something when we met this
afternoon. I cant explain Kays actions, but she likes
to keep her secrets every so often, and Im afraid Im so
busy most of the time I dont take the time to question why."
"I just thought
you should know that we know each other."
Sydney smiled and tried
to decipher what Blithe was talking about. "Ill mention
it to her when we get home if itll make you feel better. Thank
you for dinner and celebrating with me. You and your son were great."
his day if you show up tomorrow to push him on the swing."
Blithe, but I cant make any promises. Ive got a big case
coming up, which means my time is going to be wrapped up in that for
weeks to come."
"If you get a
chance its the park before you get to the university. Id
like it if you came."
"If you know Kay,
then you know that we live together."
your point, counselor?"
you to push my kid on a swing, not sleep with me."
"Sorry, I just
didnt want there to be any misunderstandings if I do show up
The van pulled away
leaving Sydney behind wondering why Kay had never mentioned Blithe.
She disarmed the alarm on the Lexus and popped open the trunk to put
her briefcase and laptop in. On the way home she called Kay again
to see if she needed anything before she drove to the uptown apartment
they shared. Grace had been after Sydney to buy a house, but shed
resisted not yet ready to admit Kay was the one.
Why cant you
stop asking what else is there, counselor? The voice in her head
asked. Whenever she had time to herself, Sydney crossed examined the
part of her brain that had perpetual cold feet in making the final
plunge into commitment. Your mother hasnt put the screws
to you so it must mean, like you, she doesnt think Kays
the one. "Maybe its time to take Kay somewhere and
try to regain those feelings that we seem to keep putting off for
career and other commitments." Sydney addressed the empty car
when the answering machine at home picked up instead of Kay.
"Are you questioning
me, District Attorney OShea?" Kay walked passed the chair
Sydney was sitting in smoking a cigar. "I told you I was working."
smart to keep your phone off when youre working."
"Your honor, I
think the prosecutions being hostile."
curious, Kay, or am I not allowed to ask whats keeping you busy
these days and nights you disappear on me?"
Kay turned on the lamp
next to the chair and looked at the casual outfit Sydney had on. Sweat
pants and a t-shirt replaced the usual pressed expensive suits. Kay
was curious herself when she had stopped finding such a gorgeous creature
"Not when you
ask it in a tone that infers Im doing something wrong. Now how
about we get naked and go to bed, its late."
"I would think
youve had enough for one night."
The statement was delivered
with Sydneys usual calm tone of voice. The same tone she used
in the courtroom when she had a fist full of your short hairs and
was getting ready to start pulling just for the pleasure of hearing
you scream. It made Kay stop moving toward the bedroom and clench
her fists. Had she been facing Sydney, the attorney would have seen
"What in the fucks
that suppose to mean?"
"That you should
put on pajamas and go to bed, darling. All this working youve
been doing has to tire you out." Kay did turn after hearing the
answer, taking a scalpel to it to see if she could dissect an accusation
out of it.
too tired for you."
"I have to work,
Kay, go to bed. In the light of day maybe you can tell me whats
got you so spooked by a few questions. Vulgar answers were never in
your repertoire before, must be a fascinating subject your working."
Sydney couldnt help herself. She pushed Kay a little further
knowing now something was wrong. The only time Kay lashed out was
when she felt trapped by something she wasnt saying.
"Good night, Sydney."
"One more thing."
"I ran into a
friend of yours today. Or should I say her son ran into me."
Kay looked at the ceiling
and fought the feeling of wanting to run out of the room. How did
Sydney know Blithe was a friend of hers? "Really, who?"
and her son Charlie. Ring any bells?"
"Of course, excuse
me." Kay left after that not wanting to sound any more suspicious
than she had already made herself sound. She would have to call Blithe
in the morning and find out how the legal genius had figured it out.
Looking toward the den one more time, Kay saw Sydney blow a smoke
ring in her direction and smile. "Fuck me, she knows." Sydneys
smile got bigger when Kays lips moved mumbling something to
herself before she turned and walked toward their bedroom down the
"You fucking told
her you knew me?"
"Kay, what do
you think she wouldve thought had she found out later? Sydney
seems like a nice person and Charlie hasnt stopped talking about
her all morning. Im not going to seduce her so you can keep
the condo and the car, but I wouldnt mind being her friend.
Count me out of your plans, I dont want any part of it."
Blithe packed a lunch for her and her son in preparation of heading
out to the park to play. The Saturday outings werent her favorites
but the social worker would try anything to get the shy Charlie to
come out of his shell.
"Blithe, you screw
me and Ill make sure your life becomes a nightmare. Dont
think of going to Sydney with this."
"Going to Sydney
with what?" asked the subject of the conversation from behind
On Kays end she
almost smashed the phone into Sydneys face after the woman scared
her. The black Lexus had driven away, she had seen it, since it was
what she was waiting for to dial Blithes number.
"What in the fuck
is the matter with you?" Kay screamed as she disconnected the
"When did the
word fuck become your favorite?" countered Sydney.
"I just saw you
drive away to the office."
"And I forgot
something, I didnt realize it was an offense to return for something
once youve left the house. Just like I didnt know it was
wrong to inquire about why someones talking about me when they
think Im not here."
"Sydney, if you
want to accuse me of something, spit it out. And you dont own
me so my vocabulary is my concern. Try and remember that."
Not in the mood to
fight with Kay, Sydney turned and walked to her study. The files she
had downloaded the night before were on the disk that sat at one corner
of the desk. The two attorneys that would be helping her with the
upcoming capital case were waiting for her at the office. That morning
she had left Kay sleeping when she got up to shower and get dressed.
After the conversation the night before she wasnt anxious to
think too much about what was taking up Kays time. The subject
wasnt going to be forgotten, but Sydney didnt have time
to think about more than one crisis at a time.
You just walk out all the time. Dont you think we need to talk?"
"What would you
like to talk about? If its this irrational anger you pull out
every time I ask you a question, then Im all ears. If not, I
have somewhere to be."
Kay knew if she let
her lover walk out the door it would only add to the gulf that was
building between them. Had she known how hard it was to juggle her
emotions between a live in lover and a part time one, she would have
been content to admire Matt from across the room the night they met.
The sex was incredible, but the man gave new meaning to the term starving
artist. With Sydney, the attorney was predictable between the sheets,
but there was the security her bank account provided.
"If you put as
much priority on us as you do to the scum of this city, wed
be the happiest couple in the country."
"Really? So this
is all my fault because I work too much, is that it?"
The opening she was
looking for came and Kay took it. If she couldnt count on Blithe
to even the score then the next best thing was guilt. "Yes, Sydney.
If you came alive here the same way you do for the juries you pick,
we wouldnt be having these problems. I never know when youll
have the time to spare for just me."
"You know where
I am all the time, Kay. Im just a phone call away and my nights
are spent here, waiting for you lately it seems. All these secret
stories youre working on sound so trite when I read them in
the paper. Your last story was on how wearing white after Labor Day
was now acceptable. What about that took four nights of research?
Is there some underground group waiting to kill people who dare wear
the color after the first Monday in September? Im busy, sweetheart,
not brain dead. If you want to look for someone to blame for whats
happening or not happening at this address, take the day and ponder
what youre doing wrong." Before Kay could dispute the allegations,
the back door had slammed behind Sydney. At the beginning of their
relationship the attorney wouldnt have made it to the corner
before turning the car around and coming back to smooth things over.
Today Kay watched as the Lexus drove down the streets without the
brake lights coming on once.
so easy to get rid of, Sydney."
The drive downtown
gave Sydney time to think. Had she settled for Kay because she
had grown tired of the dating scene and the small blonde had been
the easiest solution to that? If she had, she was paying the consequences
now for that laziness. It should have been her first clue that losing
the two-year relationship wasnt upsetting her.
Stopping for a traffic
light, Sydney looked to her left and saw the playground Blithe had
mentioned the night before. The petite blonde was standing in the
standard swing pushing position talking to the husky man next to her.
Charlie had been right, the kid next to him was going much higher
than he was. On impulse, Sydney turned and parked the car.
see her as she walked up from the rear entrance to the park. When
Sydney got closer she noticed Charlie was right about something else,
she was taller than Gabriels father. The first smile of her
morning came when with one good push Charlie shot a little higher
than all the other swings, which was met with a heartfelt laugh from
moping around all morning waiting for you to show up. Thanks for not
disappointing him." Blithe moved to stand a little behind Sydney
so as not to get clipped by the swing now flying over her head on
Charlies return trips.
"Im a public
servant, maam. I just drove by and saw some public in need of
serving." The joke got Blithe to smile, which went unnoticed
by Sydney who had turned her attention back to Charlie.
The tall expert swing
pusher was like a dream come true for Charlie. He had to ask her to
stop instead of her getting tired. When she lifted him out of the
bucket seat Charlie hugged her leg before leading her and his mother
over to one of the benches.
howd I do?"
"That was great,
Cai. Would you play with me?"
want to play with your friends?"
Blithe butted into
their talk before Charlie started stuttering from nerves. "Charlies
working on winning these guys over. Right, Charlie?" The little
boy looked toward the jungle gym before looking at Sydney and nodding.
In every generation there was one kid the others took pleasure in
picking on. For these set of three-year-olds it was Charlie. The nervous
speech impediment had been what had set him apart.
"You know something,
Charlie?" asked Sydney.
"The other thing
Im pretty good at is pulling the merry go round." Sydney
pointed toward the empty piece of playground equipment. She just hoped
she could get some traction going with loafers on. "Want to go
and give it a try?" He held his arms up as his answer and smiled
from his new high perch on the trip over.
"Not too fast,
I get motion sickness." Blithe warned as she sat in the middle
holding her son. The look she got from Sydney was like the gauntlet
of challenge being thrown down. "I mean it. You arent going
to like it if I throw up on that nice cable knit sweater and the chinos
with the creases from hell." Sydney rubbed her hands together
before grabbing onto the bar and started a slow trot. The scream Blithe
let out when she really sped up made everyone in the park look over
just in time to see Sydney jump on with them.
"Are you ok?"
Sydney was starting to feel the cool air through her shirt when shed
had to strip off her sweater. She didnt think the blonde was
serious about getting sick. The one good thing was that Charlie hadnt
gotten caught in the return of Blithes pancakes from that morning.
"Sorry about your
like you didnt warn me. Either that or you and Charlie have
something against someone with a neat appearance. You arent
looking too good. You want to lie down?"
Sydney buckled Charlie
into his seat and Blithe into the passenger side of the van before
driving them to her office. An hour later Charlie was sitting on Sydneys
desk coloring while his mother took a nap on the leather couch at
the back of the room. The attorney would look up from her work to
smile at Charlie every so often liking the company of the quiet child.
Blithe slept through the pizza the other attorneys ordered for lunch,
but Charlie soaked up the attention the adults doled out without hesitation.
At two, Blithe woke
up to a strategy session that concentrated on anticipating all the
motions the defense would most probably file. The sight of a sleeping
Charlie in Sydneys lap made her smile more than the picture
now hanging off the attorneys filing cabinet. She sat still
listening to Sydney call out case numbers from memory complete with
where in the file the assistants would find the arguments needed.
The quick mind was the downfall of more than one defendant when they
reached the trial stage.
It wouldnt be
the last time Blithe spent the afternoon in Sydneys office so
Charlie could spend time with his new best friend. The friendship
between the adult and child grew as the weather grew colder, and Blithe
couldnt help but get swept away by Sydneys generous nature.
Nothing romantic had grown between them, and the social worker wasnt
going to encourage anything for fear that Kay would use it against
Sydney. The problem now was too much time had gone by for Blithe to
confess what Kay had asked her to do, less Sydney shut her and Charlie
out of her life.
Sydney never talked
about Kay during their Saturdays or during the nights they took Charlie
to dinner. A few calls from Kay let Blithe know she was still in the
house but Sydney was growing more suspicious. The itch as Kay had
put it, had grown into a full-grown obsession, and no request from
Matt was refused. The more that happened, the more distant Sydney
"How about hamburgers
tonight, Charlie? Think we can talk your mother into that?" Sydney
looked at the little boy sitting at the small desk next to hers that
Sally had found and set up for him. Blithe sat on the sofa finishing
the mound of paperwork that had accumulated from the fieldwork shed
done. With Sydney not minding sitting with Charlie during some of
her confirmed afternoon office hours, Blithe had been able to take
on a larger caseload. She was saving for a new van since Sydney had
shied away from the current vehicle after the lollipop incident.
Charlie nodded his
head, which wasnt surprising since he was agreeable to anything
Sydney suggested. After five Saturdays on the playground he was the
envy of the other children with his non-tiring playmate. "Sounds
good, Cai. How about you, mama, sound good?"
"Are you letting
me pay?" Blithe asked Sydney.
"Not even if I
asked you real nice?"
not going unless you let me pay. I dont want you to think Charlie
and I are freeloading off of you."
freeloading if I ask you to go. Isnt that what you told me before
you bamboozled me into a ride so you could stick old candy on my suit
"That was different."
"How do you figure?"
asking you to dinner and I offered to have the pants cleaned."
"You offered to
take me to dinner and did you know bubblelicious lollipops tear fabric
when you try to pull them off of fine wool?"
"They did, but
they made the most attractive shorts I own. Only if I try to wear
them in the summer Ill die of heat exhaustion, so, my lovely
friend, you owe it to me to take you and my little buddy out to dinner."
"Since I ruined
your pants, its the least I can do," said Blithe blushing
at the compliment.
then. Pack it in, buddy, Im tired of looking at these walls."
The case she was working
on was finished and Sydney wasnt going to miss working for the
next two weekends. Her parents anniversary party was the next
Saturday, and the whole family was going up on Friday afternoon. The
summer home the elder OSheas had purchased ten years prior was
going to be the location for the family reunion and Sydney was looking
forward to some down time on the beach and on the golf course. Grace
had picked Biloxi, Mississippi as the second homes location
claiming the two hour drive was far enough away to leave job stresses
behind, but not too far to make it a pain in the ass to get to.
this look cozy." Kay stepped in with out knocking wanting to
see if Sydney was free for dinner. She had given the attorney long
enough to calm down and now it was time to reel her back in.
"Hey, Kay, its
nice to see you again." Blithe stood up and put her shoes back
said Kay without any further greeting.
know who the lady was but she was making his mom sad. "Ca..Ca..Cai,
can we g..g..g..go?"
can you and your mom give me and minute? Blithe, why dont you
and Charlie go sit at Sallys desk and Ill be right out.
She has some M&Ms out there special just for Charlie."
Sydney picked up Charlies bag and handed it to Blithe then closed
the door to her office.
"I thought Id
come to the mountain since youre never home anymore." Kay
sat on the corner of Sydneys desk and crossed her arms.
"Pining away for
me at home were you? Funny, if you missed me so much you should have
returned my calls. There were five today alone."
Kay smiled thinking
the cold shoulder shed given her partner was working, and finding
her with Blithe was an extra-added bonus. "Did you miss me, darling?"
called, its time to service the car and they couldnt get
in touch with you. But now that youre here, Id like you
to set aside some time for us to talk. Things cant go on like
this, Kay. Lifes too short to be this miserable."
The small blonde exploded
off the desk and stuck a finger in Sydneys chest. "Funny
you werent so miserable with me before you started fucking your
new little whore."
"What in the hell
are you talking about?"
"Come on, Sydney,
little Blithe with her pathetic little kid. Tell me youre not
done. God, I led you to water and like the predictable ass that you
are, you helped yourself. So much for all those principles you love
to go on about."
think you heard me. Get out." Sydney moved closer to her and
Kay took a step back. "Get your screwed up ideas and get the
hell out of my office. You may think a good offense is to become defensive,
Kay, but dont push me. Since you like the word so much, Ill
fucking make your life miserable if you ever talk about Blithe and
Charlie like that again. Theyre my friends, so dont cheapen
that with your twisted fantasies."
Sydney grabbed her
briefcase and chose to leave instead. Two anxious faces looked up
when she opened the door and she smiled to make them feel more at
ease. The frosted glass panel wasnt the best sound barrier when
she raised her voice. Anything Kay had said was forgotten when she
saw Charlies lip start to tremble. That night was the first
time in weeks Sydney had heard him stutter. Going down on one knee,
Sydney opened her arms and scooped the child up when he ran into them.
"Sorry about that,
little buddy. I didnt mean to yell." Sydney spoke quietly
to the child in her arms but looked at his mother as a way of apologizing
to her as well for what was said.
going to be our friend anymore? I promise t..t..t
to try be
you didnt do anything wrong. Take a deep breath for me. I love
being your friend, Charlie, dont ever think differently."
He held up his little finger the way Sydney had taught him, getting
his mother to smile. Unlike Charlie, shed understood the whole
argument in Sydneys office. The attorney put up her finger and
Charlie wrapped all of his around it and shook.
binding contract, buddy."
Charlie took a nap
in the new childs safety seat in the back of Sydneys car.
Blithe had insisted on the large towel it sat on, saying it would
take her getting a second job if something happened to the leather
seats. They headed to a restaurant Sydney frequented in college, and
the word joint popped into Blithes head when the attorney shifted
the car into park.
"I can smooth
it over with Charlie if were causing you too many problems."
Blithe kept her head forward and tried to sound sincere. If the only
way she could have Sydney in her life was as a friend shed take
it, but not at the expense of the prosecutors piece of mind.
think I could come up with a suitable explanation for not seeing Charlie
again and its what I do for a living. Unless you think Im
doing him and you more harm by being in your life."
found the little boy I knew was always trapped in there. I was only
trying to do the right thing."
"You really have
got to stop doing that. Think of yourself for once and go after the
things or the person thats going to make you happy."
If only you meant
that, thought Blithe as she put on a forced smile and nodded her
head. "I have to tell you that Im pretty happy with my
"Blithe, I cant
promise you and Charlie anything until Ive cleared up the mess
my life has become, but if you give me time
"You take all
the time you need, Mordecai OShea, Im not in a hurry.
Dont you want an explanation on what Kay said earlier? Im
ready for my cross examination."
"I know what Kays
after, sweetheart, I dont need to hear it from you. I spend
my life dealing with people who have perfected the art of lying, which
has made me an excellent judge of finding the truth no matter how
hard people try to hide if from me. Charlie and you cant hide
what you two are, just like you cant fake your feelings because
it would go against your true nature. Mine is to bring the best person
I can into a relationship and give the person Im with the honor
of my word backed by my actions."
ask for more than that, and if you want the truth from me just ask."
Sydney opened the backdoor
and released Charlie from his seat. The restaurants looks didnt
detract diners from filling up most of the tables and the entire bar
section. Fabulous aromas were coming from the kitchen and Blithe was
sure there was an inch of grease on the walls, but she trusted Sydneys
judgment. They seldom ate at the same place twice and all the places
theyd tried had been kid friendly, so what was a little food
poisoning if Charlie was comfortable.
"I know what youre
thinking and I promise the oil they fry everything in is hot enough
to kill the black plague."
that you with a little Mordecai?" The booming voice was coming
from a table toward the back where a big man sat with a young child.
Next to them was a table of four men who watched the door and the
other patrons but didnt have any food in front of them. The
thing that made them seem out of place was they were all wearing suits.
tell me youve gone and taken the plunge? I thought I wouldve
heard a wail coming from the eligible women in the city the day that
happened." Sydney told him when they moved closer.
my little sister, Alicia Carlotti. Alicias named for my fathers
The elder Carlotti
had lost his wife five years prior in a car accident and had taken
another trip down the aisle two years later with a woman that was
younger than his daughter. Sydney hadnt realized the union had
produced more children. Vincent Carlotti III and she had gone to school
together from high school onto to college. The future head of the
Carlotti crime family was smarter than his father, which made Sydney
think he would no more get caught by the feds than the old man.
"Vinny, this is
Blithe and her son Charlie. Blithe, this bum is Vincent Carlotti an
old school pal of mine." Blithe looked at her after the introduction
and thought Sydney had lost her mind. Unless there were a lot of other
people running around the city named Vincent Carlotti, they were talking
to a gangster.
"Nice to meet
you, maam. Dont worry, the feds outside only start looking
into your background if youre seen with me more than two times
in a row," joked Vinny.
you have a sense of humor about it."
"You get so used
to those guys you start to forget theyre there sometimes, only
sometimes though. You heard about the old man?" Vinny asked of
bullet is the story on the street. Tell him to stick to the feds,
Vinny, he shows up on my doorstep Im not going to be so nice."
one thing he thanks God for every night, that you decided to stay
making the chump change down at the zoo on Tulane working for Gilbert.
The day they put federal in front of that prosecutors title
of yours and stripes might be a new family look for us." Vinny
signaled one of the guards who brought over three more chairs. Sydney
waited for Blithes nod before sitting down.
get you no favors if the day should come, Vinny. Tell me about this
dads final masterpiece as he likes to say. This beautiful girl
as you put it, is what makes him want to get out of bed some mornings.
Its my job to take her out to dinner every so often so she can
learn what its like to be a Carlotti. Not to mention she has
me wrapped around her little finger. Im having so much fun I
might just find a girl and have a couple of my own."
her too much. Im glad youre fathers happy. Despite
his colorful past, I always liked him. I used to smile in law school
when we studied old case files and his name came up over and over
again. Made me feel like Id grown up with someone famous. The
media missed the boat passing out the name The Teflon Don
too late. Gotti beat three convictions to your fathers five."
to be sorry he missed being here tonight to listen to you say that.
Im not just blowing smoke, Mordecai, he really likes you. You
three go ahead and order while Alicia and I go and pick out some stuff
on the jukebox."
"I thought only
your mother got to call you Mordecai?" Blithe looked over the
menu written in grease pen on the wall and tried to sound miffed.
in the family business that has a tendency to kill people, I dont
have a problem with whatever they want to call me."
that Vincent Carlotti."
"Yes, and his
fathers even more of that Vincent Carlotti than Vinny is. Vinnys
just learning, his fathers committed more sins than Al Capone
and then some."
fascinating character, Mordecai." Blithe looked at her and arched
a blonde brow daring Sydney to fuss at her for using her given name.
you think so, Ms. Thompson. Might I suggest the swamp burger, its
the best thing up there."
They ate as Vinny told
Blithe about some of their more risqué adventures on campus
when they were in college. At one point Blithe laughed so hard that
coke shot out of her nose making the social worker turn red from the
blush it caused. She waved good bye to Vinny and his little sister
when they all got up to leave and laughed again when Sydney waved
to some of the agents that were sitting across the street watching
the activity around the cars getting ready to depart.
Sydney pulled up to
Blithe and Charlies house promising to come back in the morning
to drive Blithe to her van that was still in the courthouse parking
lot. "I wanted to ask you something before you two went in. You
dont have to answer now, but Id like you and Charlie to
come with me next weekend to my parents anniversary party. We
could stay the weekend if you like or we could just go for the Saturday
night party and come back."
Blithe just looked
at Sydney like the attorney had asked her to walk naked down Canal
Street at noon. In all the time theyd known each other, the
young mother had not met any of the members of Sydneys family.
The only time Sydney had ever rescheduled time with her and Charlie
was when a last minute dinner invitation had come from Grace. But
not ever meeting them and not knowing who they were was ludicrous.
"Are you sure?"
my mom and dads anniversary?"
Blithe hit her in the
arm to make Sydney get serious. "No, that you want me and Charlie
to go with you?"
Sydney thought she
understood some of the hesitation and for the first time put her palm
against Blithes cheek. "Youre a beautiful woman,
Blithe, you should know that without me telling you. If you dont
want to go because you have other commitments Ill understand,
but dont turn me down because you feel like you arent
good enough or you wont fit in."
"Thank you for
saying that, I didnt think you were interested in anything besides
spending time with Charlie. Not that thats a bad thing."
I gave you that impression, I love Charlie, but Ive noticed
his mother too. You promised me time to get my affairs in order. Not
that were having an affair but you know what I mean."
"I know what you
mean. And youll help me by telling me what Ill need to
something even better."
Blithe waited for Sydney
to go on but the attorney just stopped talking but hadnt removed
her hand from her cheek. "What?"
"Go to bed, Blithe,
and take the shrimp with you. What I said will make sense to you tomorrow."
Sydney pulled into
her own driveway after seeing her friends inside their house for the
evening. She sat in the car for ten minutes trying to calm her emotions
down when she saw Kays car in its designated spot.
The clank of Sydneys
keys on the kitchen counter brought Kay to her feet in the living
room. The fight shed started at the DAs office was now,
she realized, pushing Sydney too far. With a few glasses of wine for
company, shed practiced her apology since shed gotten
home. The silk nightgown wasnt lost on Sydney when she walked
into the room; unfortunately for Kay it was too late for reconciliation.
lease is in your name so keep it if you want, same goes for the car.
The movers are coming in the morning for my grandfathers desk
in the study along with the bookcases and cabinets in there that belong
to me. The rest you can keep." Sydney moved to the study and
bolted the lock shed had installed knowing what Kays temper
was capable of.
that easy, Sydney."
"Sure it is. This
isnt a divorce, Kay, its a break up of something we both
dont want anymore. I wouldve loved to have parted as friends
but I dont like you all that much at the moment."
"Who takes care
of me now?"
"The same person
who put the hickey on your neck, lover. If that wasnt a rhetorical
question, my answer is I dont care."
all right for you to run around and screw some pretty thing, but when
I do it I get tossed aside. Is that how it works with the high and
sleeping with Blithe, if thats what youre implying. You
wanted me in a committed relationship and thats what you got,
Kay. The one that stepped out on that arrangement was you, not me."
Sydney moved to the bar and poured herself a scotch from one of the
I asked her to come on to you so Id have some leverage if the
need should arise."
"Smart of you
to do that. Always be prepared, eh? You must have been one hell of
Kay laughed despite
the rising anger that was taking over her reason. "So youre
telling me you fell for the act? The kid was a nice touch the first
time she ran into you. Id just gotten off the phone with her,
so youre being there playing the caped crusader couldnt
have been better timing."
"I live to please,
but thats not important now. What youre saying is you
did all this for me because you love me? You cheated so I should be
given the same opportunity. I must say your sense of fair play boggles
It was Sydneys
calm demeanor that drove the reporter insane. No matter what the situation
Sydney could be counted on to keep a cool head. When the attorney
sat in one of the wingback leather chairs in the room and crossed
her legs, Kay had the urge to rip Sydneys eyes out. The yelling
shed gotten earlier had surprised Kay but this was the Mordecai
she knew, the persona known in the courtroom as Ice.
"I do love you."
Kay stopped when Sydney put up a finger.
"You love the
money more. Sad thing here is, its my money, so when I go it
goes with me. If you wanted to keep the money and me, you should have
kept your panties on. Youre going to blame me Im sure,
but take it from someone who knows guilt, Kay. Youre guilty.
In court it wouldnt have been hard to prove."
of what, you bitch?"
Sydney put her glass down and stood up. She had wasted enough time
playing games with Kay. Looking at the reporter now, there wasnt
anything that remotely reminded Sydney of what had attracted her to
the woman in the beginning.
"Does it matter
to you at all that I planned Blithe coming into your life?"
your plan worked beautifully." Sydney heard the scream and the
shattering of the heavy crystal glass against the door when she stepped
outside. It was done.
on line one. Said hes returning your call." Sally told
her from the outer office.
"Should I have
a pad and pen ready?"
"You know me so
well," Sydney told her accountant and financial manager. "Have
Kays cards cancelled as soon as possible and review all the
financial contracts and make sure that our name doesnt appear
together on anything. Then cut her a check for twenty five thousand
dollars and deposit it in her account. By the time shes run
through that shell be on her own."
done within the hour. Should I send a letter with the money?"
"No, I think we
covered all the bases last night. If you need me Ill be at mom
and dads until I go house hunting. Thanks, George."
holding on line two for you." Sally put the call through as soon
as the top line light blinked off.
"Do you know someone
named Grace OShea?"
"Will I be in
trouble if my answers yes?"
"She just called
me and said shed be by at ten to take me shopping. It seems
that someone forgot to tell me that were attending a formal
dinner on Friday night and a costume party on Saturday. Mrs. OShea
offered to help me pick something out."
"My mother offered
to shop for you?"
the question on if you know her, and yes she did."
"Stay out of the
engagement rings section of whatever store Herbert drives you to."
say anything about bringing someone named Herbert. I thought you said
your fathers name was William? Who names their child Herbert?"
Blithe was babbling since she was a little overwhelmed with the morning.
"The same people
that think Mordecai was a good choice, and no hes not my father.
The other thing is she isnt bringing him. Its more like
hes bringing her. Herberts my mothers driver, God
bless his soul."
"Your mother has
a driver?" Blithe sat on her sofa and felt like if shed
been an adult in the sixties and taken acid this would definitely
qualify as one of those flashbacks the authorities always warned you
"Let me explain
something about Gracelia OShea. Shes barely five feet,
has flaming red hair, which makes no sense since my father is the
Irishman and shes Italian, and she doesnt drive. Shes
never had the inclination nor the desire to learn, so my father hired
a driver. Herbert has been her faithful traveling companion for forty
years and if my mother got some wild hair up her butt to learn now
I think itd break his heart. The most important lesson you must
always remember when you spend any time with Grace is dont believe
anything she tells you about me. The woman got married on Halloween
night, thats always made me question her sanity."
"She told me youre
quite the catch and she does all your shopping. As a matter a fact
she said the last time you were in a mall, Gerald Ford was president."
"How long did
she keep you on the phone?"
"Never mind about
that. Do you want me to find a sitter for Charlie for this weekend?"
"Did you tell
Grace about Charlie?"
"I thought Id
ask you first about the sitter." Blithe got up when she heard
the front bell. The walk and talking to Sydney on the phone was taking
her mind off her nails which shed been chewing since the woman
from her first call of the morning had introduced herself. "Hold
on, someones at the front door."
is that Mordecai on the phone?" Grace walked in and took off
call me Grace. May I please have the phone?" Blithe handed the
phone to the short attractive woman in her living room trying to take
a discreet look at her watch. Grace had said shed be there at
ten and unless shed slipped into a coma, Blithe was sure it
was before nine. Now she looked like an idiot standing there in her
in the process of putting some dreadful person in jail. I expect you
over here in thirty minutes to make proper introductions and take
Blithe and me out to breakfast." Grace pressed the off button
and handed the phone back to Blithe. "Now, dear, before the grumpy
one gets here and turns you against me, Im Grace OShea."
"Nice to meet
you, maam, Im Blithe Thompson. Would you like to make
yourself comfortable while I go and change? If Sydneys going
to be here in a half an hour Id rather not look like something
the cat threw up."
good to keep Mordecai waiting. Shes like her father like that,
the longer the wait the better they think the prize is. And please,
dear, dont call her Sydney."
like the name Sydney?"
"I named her Sydney,
so Im not opposed to it, but her family calls her Mordecai.
Its a status symbol if you like."
a part of Sydneys family."
talked more about you than she did the red bike she wanted when she
was seven. Ive always judged how excited she is about someone
or something against how much she wanted that bike. You, she hasnt
shut up about for six weeks. Funny thing is, I dont think she
realizes shes doing it."
Blithe blushed thinking
about Sydney talking to her mother about her. Not just Charlie, but
her. "She didnt tell me."
Blithe, youve won her heart without the genius figuring it out.
That bloodsucker shes lived with for too long did it with just
the physical aspect of their relationship, if I can speak frankly.
I never have seen the look of adoration that comes over her face when
she talks about you and your son when she talked about her."
Grace couldnt bring herself to say Kays name. "Dont
worry about Mordecai now; Ill help you wrap up the rest of the
package. So where is Charlie, Im dying to meet him."
Blithe walked her to
the little boys room where he was still sleeping after being
up late from the excitement of the upcoming trip with his beloved
Cai. His mother didnt understand Graces tears when the
tiny woman sat on the edge of his bed and pushed a strand of hair
off his face. From her designer purse Grace pulled her wallet out
and turned to a picture of Mordecai when she was the same age as Charlie
was now. To Blithes amazement the faces were almost identical.
"You carry baby
pictures of Mordecai around with you?" Blithe whispered looking
at the photo Grace had handed her smiling at the beautiful little
face captured on the glossy finish.
"I know what she
looks like now. I like to remember them when they werent such
a pain in my ass." Blithe decided then that no matter what happened
with Sydney, she and Grace were going to be great friends.
Sydney walked in earlier
than she was expected and sat in the kitchen to wait with Herbert.
She figured Grace was somewhere in the house with Blithe telling her,
Sydney was sure, some story or another about her younger formative
years. The escape from her office was welcome after fielding a dozen
calls from Kay that morning. She was demanding another meeting with
Sydney at their apartment and was going to keep calling until the
attorney caved. From experience Sydney could tell she was pissed,
like a child that had been deprived of their favorite toy. And
to think she hadnt gone out and try to buy something, thought
Buy something with
the cards that Kay had treated like play money since the bills went
directly to Sydneys accountant. Sydney had never been interested
in what Kay did with them but after Georges report from that
morning she should have kept better tabs on her live-ins spending.
The prosecutor was almost tempted to meet with Kay again to demand
all the art her money had bought over the last six months. None of
which was hanging in the apartment.
The temptation and
anger died when Blithe and her mother walked into the kitchen laughing
and making a fuss over Charlie. Sydney smiled when she realized she
could move on with her life and if she was lucky this woman her mother
was joking with would be willing to share it with her.
Did you heed my warning?" asked Sydney.
Blithe answered as she combed Charlies hair back as he tried
to squirm out of her arms to get to Sydney.
this woman you so readily let into your house."
or Ill have Herbert turn you over his knee." The older
gentleman laughed at his bosss suggestion knowing if he tried
Sydney would wipe the floor with him. "I had to introduce myself,
since you were late, but dont worry, weve been having
a delightful time."
Sydney got up from
the table so that she could give her mother a kiss. "Thank you
for coming over, mama."
"Come on, Charlie,
show me where your coat is and then your Cais taking us out
to eat." Grace led the child and her driver out of the kitchen
leaving the two young women alone.
"You look nice."
Blithe took in the dark suit, perfectly cut for Sydney and felt almost
frumpy in her presence.
"Thank you, you
look beautiful this morning, but instead of talking about the merits
of why I think so, I want to talk about something with you for a minute.
I promise tonight well take as long as you want, but knowing
Grace we have five minutes tops before she gets restless."
"About you and
Charlie?" Blithe nodded yes. "No, I just wanted to tell
you I left Kay last night."
"Because of me?"
"No, because of
me. I expect certain things from the woman I love, Blithe, and I discovered
two things about myself last night."
help it, she moved closer to Sydney wanting to know what her hands
felt like. "What was that?"
"That Kay isnt
the woman Im in love with, I dont think I ever was, and
I dont think I have to expect anything if I choose the woman
I am in love with. Thats because I think shell give without
me asking for the things that I think she wants from me in return."
"What do you think
I want?" Blithe took the chance that it was she Sydney was talking
"To be loved,
to have me come home to you and Charlie, to share my thoughts with
you and to never have to worry if Im sleeping with someone else."
I want too."
what youll get, for as long as you want it."
The motley crew filed
out of the house with Sydney bringing up the rear. Her mother was
holding Charlies hand and from the look on his face, the little
boy was becoming quickly won over by the elder OShea. Sydney
was sure if Grace could get away with it, the attorney would be drawing
up adoption papers over brunch.
Sydney took Blithes
hand when the blonde got a look at her mothers car. Graces
world was about as far removed from the social workers as you
could get and still live in the state. "Yes, mother?"
"Whose van is
that?" Blithe blushed at the sight of the maroon and white jalopy
sitting in her drive way. It was two toned only because much of the
dark red paint had started to flake off. Grace turned to the two women
and noticed Blithes condition. "Dont be embarrassed,
dear, my husband says Im a bull in the china shop of life all
the time. I just cant have my Charlie riding around in something
that looks so unsafe. Mordecai, I trust youll handle this today."
"Would this be
a good time to ask if I can say no?" Blithe looked up at Sydney
wondering when shed lost control of what used to be her life.
"You could, but
she has your phone number and address now."
"That you can
deal with me or the Italian Stallion, your choice. All I can say is,
Im much more amenable to suggestion than Grace." Thus began
the initiation of Blithe and Charlie into the OShea clan. By
lunch time the two had the entire new wardrobe they would need for
the weekend except for the Halloween costumes for the Saturday night
party, which Grace left up to the Thompsons to pick out.
Blithe got all of her
work done by Thursday afternoon so that she and Charlie would be ready
to leave the next morning. The only disappointment was Sydney, or
Mordecai as shed come to refer to her, wouldnt be able
to leave with them. Blithe had offered to wait but when Grace found
out, she informed the young woman she and her husband William would
be by at ten to drive them down. Her argument had been that just because
Mordecai was chained to her job didnt mean Blithe and Charlie
should suffer for it. The explanation made more sense when they drove
through the gates of what Grace kept referring to as their small summer
A deep lawn with a
huge collection of oak trees obscured the house from the road that
separated it from the Gulf of Mexico. The eight-bedroom home was a
beautiful example of an antebellum style structure with a large porch
that wrapped around much of the house with a matching veranda on the
second floor. Blithe counted at least twenty matching rockers, which
made her suddenly crave a mint julep. William explained that in the
backyard Grace had put in a pool for those that didnt care for
the beach, and the seventeenth green of the country clubs golf
course was about twenty yards from their property line.
Sylvia put you and Charlie in the room adjacent to Mordecais,
dear. Why dont you take some time to take a rest and freshen
up before the mob gets here. That drive up here can be tiring. Please
relax and dont hesitate to ask us if you need anything."
Grace walked up the steps to the front door using her hands to accentuate
what she was saying.
Blithe hung onto Charlie
so he wouldnt break anything in the house she was sure was stocked
with valuables if the one in New Orleans was any indication. After
two dinners there that week with Mordecai, Blithe was starting to
relax around Grace and William. Except for things like the new Sequoia
that had been delivered to Blithes driveway, the OSheas
didnt flaunt their wealth, or make her feel any less because
she wasnt in their tax bracket.
"Thank you, Grace."
get in a good nap because were playing golf tomorrow."
William, Mordecais father, told the child that was trying to
pull out of his mothers death grip. The patriarch of the OShea
family was taller than all his children, but they had all inherited
his looks. Jet-black hair that was graying at the temples, blue eyes
and a big sturdy build made for an overall attractive looking man.
Charlie watched as
Herbert took out a big golf bag from the trunk first before retrieving
a smaller version to put beside it. The small but very real clubs
had been a gift for Charlie from William. The shipping giant was a
fanatical fan of the game and liked to encourage new players along
whenever he got the opportunity. All Charlie had needed to hear was
game and the fact they wanted him to play. In the morning William
would give the little boy the rest of his surprises, including the
smallest golf cleats hed ever seen.
At three in the afternoon
a caravan of cars came up the winding bricked drive, the lead one
blowing the horn to announce the arrival of the OShea boys.
All three worked for the family business and the two oldest boys had
gotten married, leaving Mordecai and the baby Franklin as the only
eligible ones in the bunch.
"Blithe and Charlie,
I want you to meet the rest of our family." Grace had them line
up out by the pool when the blonde and her son had come downstairs
to investigate what all the noise was about. "This is our eldest
son and his wife, William and Nicole. Just call him Will so as to
not confuse him with his father. Next to them are John and his wife
Stella. The forlorn looking one on the end is Franklin, my baby."
Grace pointed to each person as she went along giving them a chance
to shake Blithes hand. "Everyone, this is Mordecais
friend Blithe and her son Charlie."
In New Orleans, Sydney
put the last set of instructions for her staff on the memo she was
drafting. The defendant Augustern facing an un winnable trial had
chosen to plead guilty in hopes he wouldnt get the death penalty.
The district attorneys office wouldnt have to go through
a trial but they still had to prepare for the penalty phase. In between
getting the staff their assignments, Sydney had called all of the
victims families to inform them of the latest developments.
All the fears they had voiced over the telephone of the man getting
off lightly had been put to rest. Sydney didnt make deals with
killers; it went against everything she believed about the law and
The sound of her office
door opening didnt make the prosecutor turn away from her computer
screen since she assumed it was Sally. "Im not taking any
calls, old woman, I dont care who it is. Im already about
four hours late."
take long, I promise." Kay stood in front of her desk with an
apologetic Sally standing behind her.
Sally, pack it in were leaving in a minute," Sydney said
to her assistant. "Unless youre here with pertinent information
for any case were working on, I dont have time,"
she addressed Kay when the door closed again.
"I wanted to catch
you before you went running to mother for the weekend, Mordecai. Thanks
for the down payment on what you owe me. My bank statement arrived
today, but itll take more than that to buy your freedom."
"I am free, Katherine.
Free to not have to see you again, free to love someone else and free
to keep the rest of my money. Isnt America a great place? The
deposit was so you wouldnt be homeless by the end of next month.
Thats the end of my obligations to you." Sydney stood and
packed her briefcase signaling she would walk out when she was done.
One more thing, Im thinking of taking out your gift in ten-dollar
bills and spreading them on Matts bed when I fuck him tonight.
Think about that when youre sitting around Graces big
dining table this evening. Maybe finding out the truth about what
Ive been doing will help you face the fact that youre
about as exciting between the sheets as a dead fish. Youre going
to be the loser in this in more ways than one."
to try and remember that, Kay, but any sexual refreshers I may need
Im sure Blithe will help me out, if Im lucky. On the flip
side, send my luck along to whoever this Matt person is, Im
sure hes going to need it."
the idiot, Sydney, it doesnt suit you. Youve known all
along since someones been watching his studio and not being
overly covert about it."
"Get your facts
straight, lady, or youll never be an investigative reporter.
What in the hell do I care who you were sleeping with? The fact you
were, was the relationship breaker. The outcome wouldve been
the same had I known who it was or not. What would I gain from having
this man watched? Go forth and be slutty with my blessings."
"I want and expect
whats coming to me, Sydney." Kay watched Sydney put on
her coat and grab her briefcase. There would be no response forthcoming
to her prophetic statement.
The house was quiet
when Sydney drove up. Not because shed missed the festivities
but because everyone had retired to their rooms to get ready for the
family traditional anniversary dinner for her parents. Sylvias
husband Michael came and got her golf bag to put with the others but
was waved off by Sydney for the rest of the bags. The older couple
had come with the house and lived there full time. The only bedroom
on the first floor was theirs and Grace, unlike the previous owner,
gave them the run of the house even when the family was in residence.
Some of the OShea guests through the years found it surprising
to find Grace and William sitting in the den with the maid and handyman
enjoying the fire and reading a book.
a little put out with you, Mordecai. You kept Miss Blithe waiting
all day on you." Michael took her car keys to park it once hed
stowed the clubs.
always a little put out with me, so Ive come to accept my fate.
Did Blithe seem overwhelmed today?"
and sisters spent the afternoon talking with her and playing with
Master Charlie, so she looked like she was having a good time. But
I did catch her looking down the drive a few times. I like her."
"Thanks, I like
Grace walked into Sydneys
room, as her daughter was finishing tying off her shoelaces. The room
was the last of her stops to perform the same task. Because of Charlie,
Grace had added another stop to her short visits to the four she made
every year on this night. The task she was there to do was her way
of reaffirming her love for the four greatest and most valuable assets
that had come from her thirty six year marriage to William, her children.
mama." Sydney stood and hugged the petite red head and kissed
her temple so as not to mess up the perfect make up.
"You were my first
angel, Mordecai. The one I learned all my lessons from for the three
that came after. Thank you, baby, for making my life as a parent so
full and so fun. Im proud of you and I hope with Blithe you
find the same love your father and I share."
running to the church just yet. Give me a chance to try and woo the
girl into liking me." Sydney sat down so her mother could fix
her bowtie. Grace went about tying the sixth perfect bow of the evening
just like she had done for William, Will, John, Franklin and Charlie.
When she was done she held up the jacket and brushed it off when Sydney
slipped it on. With a loving pat to the chest the job was done for
one more year.
"Mordecai, I say
this because I love you. The girl in the next room cares deeply for
you so dont screw this up."
Sydney stepped out
to the veranda to find Blithe leaning against one of the pillars with
her eyes closed. The strapless green silk gown she had on was covered
by a matching wrap, which she held closed under her chin to ward off
the cold air coming off the Gulf. The attorney stood motionless so
as not to disturb the other woman. Sydney was certain she had never
seen a more beautiful sight.
"Are you joining
me, or trying to avoid me?"
"I was just admiring
the gorgeous view out here."
Blithe opened her eyes
and looked out toward the water across the road. As the moonlight
reflected off what was visible through the trees she had to agree
that it was beautiful, but when she turned around Sydney wasnt
looking at the water. She was looking at her.
"Would it be all
right if I kissed you?" asked Sydney.
waiting forever to hear you say that." Blithe stood up straight
and opened her arms pulling the wrap away from her body. She didnt
feel the cold when Sydney took her in her arms and held her close.
The first kiss they shared started slow but soon grew passionate enough
that Blithe felt her feet leave the ground.
announcing him before he barreled through the door to join them was
what parted their lips. The smile he was sporting was almost cuter
than the tuxedo he was wearing thought Sydney when she looked down
at him not letting go of his mother.
"Hi, buddy, are
you having a good time?"
"Can we come back
here when its not cold?"
coming here a lot if Miss Grace gets her way, and she always does.
Why do you ask?"
"Uncle Will said
it was too cold to swim in the pool. He said the picture guys
Sydney offered one
hand to Blithe and the other to Charlie. "Then wed better
The rest of the family
was lined up along the staircase being put into position by the professional
photographer that had arrived. The official yearly family portrait
would join the rest of the ones hung along the stairwell walls.
"Charlie and Ill
wait in the den," said Blithe when she realized what was going
"And have the
wrath of Grace on my head, I dont think so. She invited you,
Blithe, that means you and Charlie are in the photo."
down here with us," instructed Grace. He wasnt tall enough
to be seen over the banister if he stood with Blithe and Sydney so
he would stand with her and William at the bottom. When they were
done, Sydney was right; Grace always got what she wanted.
Dinner was, despite
the formal attire, a casual affair with them all sitting around the
largest table Blithe had ever seen. After laughing through all the
funny toasts that the OShea siblings offered for the momentous
occasion, Blithe watched William and Grace walking up the stairs with
Charlie to put him to bed. Shed accepted an invitation from
Sydney to sit on the porch for a drink before retiring so Blithe was
glad her son was so comfortable with the anniversary couple.
asked Blithe as Sylvia set up two glasses of Graces best port
on the small table in between the rockers the girls had picked.
"Just a little,
but its not unbearable. Do you come here often?" Blithe
nodded her thanks to Sylvia who smiled back and headed back into the
"Not as often
as Id like when theres some big trial on my docket, but
in the summer its nice to come and play a round then head over
to the multitude of new casinos that have opened up around here. Maybe
when the weather gets warmer we can bring Charlie back to try out
the pool?" Sydney didnt miss the shiver the blonde let
loose when she picked up her glass as she looked over to see Blithes
reaction to the timeline of the question she had asked.
give me plenty of time to go on a diet before you see me in a bathing
suit, but if you asked him, Charlie would be ready to go with you
a big fan of cold weather swimming and you dont need to go on
a diet. You look great now." The jacket Sydney had on came off
when she stood so that she could drape it over Blithe. The second
her knees hit the floor in front of the blonde, the attorney said
a quick prayer that it wouldnt take losing fifteen pounds on
the blondes part before she could shed her clothes in her presence.
going to get your pants dirty."
"The way Sylvia
cleans this place constantly. Impossible. I just wanted to come over
here and tell you I missed you this evening."
with me all night."
"True, but if
I had done this in front of my family this soon Im thinking
you would not have been too comfortable." Sydney leaned in for
another kiss tasting the strong liquor that Blithe had just taken
a sip of. This time there was no hesitancy and both of them turned
the heat up just a notch.
Blithe ran her fingers
through the straight thick hair that Sydney kept fairly short, enjoying
the texture of the strands. It reminded her a lot of Charlies
hair. "Im not sure why Im here or why it is that
you want me in your life, but Im glad. Are you sure that you
want me in your life?" She pressed her fingers to the lips shed
just kissed knowing there was a protest about to be expelled by Sydney,
but Blithe had to be sure. "Im not saying Im doubting
you, I dont want this to be some fling thatll get you
over Kay. Theres Charlie to consider and if I fall any further,
I wont be able to imagine the pain."
"Two months ago
if someone had told me that Id come to like a child sitting
on my desk most afternoons telling me the merits of finger painting
and swing pushing, I would have laughed. As much as I love that relationship
with Charlie though, had the same person told me I would fall in love
with his mother, the joke wouldve been that much funnier. But
here I am two months later and all thats happened. The only
thing I find funny now is that for someone that makes a living stringing
words together I cant find any that are adequate enough to tell
you how happy you make me. Words that would get across how adorable
you are when you blush, how fast you talk when you get excited about
something, and how flattered I am when I see you looking at me when
you think I dont notice."
Sydney kissed Blithe
again before standing up and pulling the smaller woman out of her
rocker. "This has nothing to do with Kay, my love, but it does
have everything to do with what I feel about you. Today may be the
first day Ive kissed you but that doesnt mean I havent
memorized your lips and everything about you. I look at you and I
see so much of my future, I want the days to come faster so Ill
have just one more memory of you by my side. I look at Charlie and
I see someone I can help you teach and mold so that our memories of
him will only add to the pride and love we feel for him now."
"If you were any
better at expressing your feelings, I wouldve fainted by now.
Thank you for saying all that. I trust you, Mordecai, just as much
as I love you. You really dont mind that Charlie comes as part
of the package?"
"Are you serious?"
asking because I lost a relationship over him even when having him
was a mutual decision. I know you love him, but is that going to hold
when he lives under the same roof with you and all your shirts?"
talk about all this I promise, we dont have to iron out every
detail tonight." Sydney looked at the almost defeated slump that
came to Blithes shoulders. "What I mean is, when the day
comes, and it will be soon, when Charlie you and all my clothes live
at the same address, the fact that you two will be there will out
weigh any damage to my shirts." The answer got Sydney another
kiss and a smile from Blithe.
The next morning Blithe
slept through Sydney coming in to get Charlie ready for their morning
golf game. In an outfit that was very similar to what the OSheas
had on, Charlie climbed into Williams cart ready to begin his
lesson. The game progressed with Charlie teeing off then one of the
siblings helping him out with the next shot to advance it down the
Grace and the girls
were sitting around the breakfast nook enjoying a snack when the golfers
returned. They all laughed when Blithe had to get Charlie to take
deep breaths to get the little boy to calm down when Sydney sat him
on his mothers lap. He was on overload and it was only going
to get worse when he saw his costume for the party that night Sydney
"How about a nap,
Charlie?" Sydney grabbed a juice bottle from the refrigerator
after opening one for the toddler. She loved playing with her father
and brothers, but the six in the morning tee off times were a killer.
wanna sleep, Cai."
"Then how about
you watch me sleep while I take one?" Blithe was amazed when
her son jumped off her lap and started to follow Sydney out of the
kitchen area after her question. The only way she would have gotten
Charlie to sit still would have involved a tranquilizer gun. The two
stopping at the door and looking her way got Blithe up and moving
to follow them to Sydneys room.
just all kinds of perks being with you," said Blithe. Charlie
had taken two seconds to fall asleep between the two of them once
they had settled into Sydneys bed. "Though this isnt
what I had in mind for what wed be doing the first time I got
you into a prone position."
"If you believe
Kay, youre not missing much."
much Id believe Kay on, sweetheart. The ones I do tend to believe
are some of the stories I heard about you before Kay came into your
"Ah, heard some
of my war stories have you?"
"Does the name
Camille Lagree sound familiar to you?"
loaded question, Ms. Thompson. If I say yes youll think Im
a dog and by the same token, if I say no youll think the same
with the yes part of that statement, which makes the sex in the back
seat of your car true."
"I was in college
at the time. Everyone should do crazy things like that when theyre
in college. Gives you stuff to talk about when youre trying
to court new women in your thirties and trying to prove your sexual
Blithe laughed and
reached over Charlie to run her fingers through Sydneys hair.
"You forgot to mention it was noon and you where parked in the
deans space at the time."
"You did, but
"It proves your
sexual prowess, to me anyway. I love you and I cant wait to
take you out for a spin. I may not have as many adventures to talk
about, but that doesnt mean Im not willing to add a few."
"For now you can
add a nap to your list. Once my parents friends get going it
always turns out to be a long night." Sydney pushed up and leaned
over to kiss Blithe before closing her eyes to get some rest.
"I trust you got
us something to wear, or am I going as a social worker with a child?"
let us go without a costume, so not to worry, the caped crusader got
her two side kicks all fixed up." It was the only hint Sydney
was willing to give before sleep took over.
Grace smiled and closed
the door softly when she checked on the three twenty minutes later.
Charlie was now lying sprawled on top of Sydney and his mother was
snuggled up and using the unoccupied shoulder as a pillow. Her thought
as she walked to her own room for a nap was it would be a night to
On that Halloween night
the older womans thought manifested into a wish that would indeed
make the night memorable. The call for blood would make it so.
and Robin, thats our costumes?"
Sydney looked down
on the rented suits then back at Blithe. "Whats wrong with
"Are you telling
me you couldnt be a bad girl if you really tried?" Blithe
went willingly when Sydney pushed her down on the bed and covered
her with a long strong body. "All that blonde hair and green
eyes screams all American, but you start to scratch the surface and
theres a hellion waiting to cut loose." To accentuate her
words Sydney ran a finger across Blithes nipple and felt it
stiffen under the shirt and bra.
"What are you
doing, Cai?" Sydneys head snapped up and she found herself
eye to eye with Charlie. Obviously the toys in his and Blithes
room had lost their appeal.
Sydney as she looked from Charlies smiling face to Blithes
you go get mommys hair brush please? Its on the bed next
door." Without questioning why, Charlie walked through the door
that connected the rooms to do his mothers bidding. "Before
you ask, we have children because they will someday be big enough
to cut the grass. And now that my nipples are ready to go to the party,
I do feel a little frisky, Batman."
The anticipation of
having a good time increased when the mask to the costume slipped
into place. With a few extra gadgets attached to the suits belt
the caped figure neared the door.
A frustrated blonde
came to the door after the persistent knocking wouldnt stop.
"Arent you a little old to be trick or treating? Freaks
like you shouldve gone back inside after the kiddies went home.
What or who are you supposed to be anyway?"
The figure standing
before her flicked out the long cape and smiled showing off perfect
white teeth. "Death." The gun resting inside the belt came
out and was pointed at the womans head. "People like you
always seem so surprised to see me. No time to make up for the transgressions
that have marked your life. Wheres your lover?" The blonde
slowly lifted her arm and pointed to the next room. The action made
the robe she was wearing flair open revealing a beautiful and toned
"Such a waste
really," the deep voice said looking at the expanse of flesh
on display. "Its nothing against you, sweetheart. Youre
just here on the wrong night. Move along and please can the begging."
The hand with the gun motioned for her to go into the room where she
The blonde tried begging again since the costume was make believe
but the gun looked very real. "Let me go."
sweetheart, Im going to let you go. Im not here because
of you, so Ill set you free when were done."
"What in the hell?"
the beds other occupant sat up and stared at the 9mm held firmly
in the gloved hand. Its presence prevented any other movement but
to watch the hand motioning the blonde toward the bed.
"On your knees,
bitch. I want to see for myself what all the allures about when
it comes to your fuck buddy here." The woman moved closer to
the person sitting on the bed intent on doing whatever it took to
get out of the situation alive. The first shot roared through the
house when her lips touched skin. Her lips stayed pressed to the body
she knew almost as well as her own despite the fact she could feel
the warm spray of blood on her back. A whimper escaped when the gun
was pressed to the back of her head.
"Please, you said
youd let me go free," begged Kay.
for the misunderstanding, I meant in the spiritual sense would you
gain your freedom." The rich voice uttering those words was the
last the reporter heard before she joined Matt in death. The artists
penis was almost severed by the bullet that came screaming out of
Kays mouth by way of the back of her head. Her purse being at
the scene was the only way the police would be able to identify her.
Dental records would be of no use now.
The killer heard the
approaching sirens but didnt panic. One final look to the bed
was almost savored before the gun went back to its place in the belt.
The blackness of the yard swallowed the self-professed Angel
of Death just barely missing the two patrol cars pulling up
to answer the neighbors call.
"I may give up
my bat ways and turn to a life of crime," said Sydney from the
door. Blithe had filed up the Catwoman suit in the most erotic way.
"Is that a sock
in your cod piece or are you just happy to see me?"
you back to the bat cave later and let you check out the hardware.
For now Im here to introduce you to my side kick and go down
to the party." Sydney moved aside so Blithe cold see Charlie
in his Robin costume pressing his fists into his sides like Sydney
had taught him.
Batman, its the cat lady." Blithe had to fight the smile
that was threatening to take over her face.
"Good job, Robin,
lets go downstairs so you can see why Grace got married on Halloween."
whispered Blithe to Sydney.
"We were going
for holy kitty cat, but my side kick needed more practice time so
I think the fact he remembered holly is all right."
for him, baby."
Sydney smiled at the
endearment. "Just wait till next year when Ive got months
The house was full
of guests when the three descended the stairs. Most of them smiling
when they saw Batman carrying Robin and Catwoman folded under one
side of the long cape. Blithe laughed when she spotted Grace wearing
a wedding dress complete with veil. William was just as dapper in
his top hat and tails following his wife around as she welcomed their
"She gets to be
a bride every year," said Blithe.
"She gets to be
a bride who wears her wedding dress every year. The one she wore the
first time they had a party or should I say reception," corrected
"She can still
fit into her wedding dress?" Blithe saw years of dieting in her
future if Grace was going to be her role model.
"There was talk
that I ruined her figure for months after my birth, but yes she still
fits into her wedding dress. My grandparents certainly got their moneys
worth out of the purchase."
When the bride noticed
them she led them to the front room to pose for another picture. Only
this time it was just the three of them. The new couple stayed for
a couple of hours then retired up stairs when Robin fell asleep on
Batmans shoulder while they were slow dancing with Catwoman.
"Thank you for
asking us to come with you. Your family has been great at making us
feel welcome." Blithe gently stripped Charlie of his costume
being careful not to wake him. Her date for the evening was sitting
on the bed wearing a t-shirt and sweat pants after stripping off the
hot Batman suit.
Piercing blue eyes
looked at Blithe as she went about taking care of her son. For Sydney
it became something she wanted to see more of. This beautiful woman
with her sweet child were starting to fill places in her soul she
had lived a lifetime not knowing were empty. How strange to not
have a craving for this in my life before now. The thought occurred
to the attorney when she saw Blithe kiss Charlies forehead and
pull the blankets up to cover him. It was like the two had answered
questions Sydney had never had the presence of mind to ask.
"I hope this isnt
the last invitation you accept from me to come here."
want the same things, so I dont think you have to worry about
us turning you down for anything." The music from downstairs
was filtering up through the floor enough for Blithe to recognize
one of her favorite songs. "Want to try a dance, just the two
of us?" She laughed when a big hand yanked her off the bed before
the offer could be retracted.
They stood just swaying
together and kissing even after the song ended. Blithe didnt
refuse when Sydney led her to the next room and laid her down. With
the door to the next room open in case Charlie woke up, they kissed
goodnight and went to sleep in a tight embrace. In the morning Grace
found them in the same position as she had the previous afternoon,
with Charlie on top of Sydney and Blithe pressed close to her side.
As much as she didnt want to, Grace shook her daughter awake.
"Honey, the phones
for you, and they said it was important."
Sydney blinked her
eyes open then looked down confused to why Charlie was sleeping with
them. She wasnt coherent enough to ask who would be calling
her on a Sunday morning with an important message.
"If anything this
will teach you to invest in pajamas," teased Grace as she lifted
the baby off Sydney.
dragged out her word not missing the fact it was the first time her
mother had teased her about her sex life. Graces teasing and
sense of humor only appeared around people she liked. Kay and she
had been at odds on just about everything from the moment they were
introduced. Sydney was glad that Blithe and her mother would share
a different type of relationship.
When Sydney moved off
the bed Blithe immediately opened her eyes missing the warmth of the
body next to hers. "Where are you going, its early?"
someone waiting on the line, Ill be right back. Go back to sleep
and keep Charlie company." Sydney had moved out of the way so
her mother could put the still sleeping child back down back next
to his mother.
long," said Blithe.
Sydney moved out into
the hall and picked up the main line to the house. Having phones installed
in all the bedrooms had always been against Graces thinking,
so every house they had ever owned had a phone in the hallway leading
to the bedrooms, in the den and in the kitchen. Her thinking was if
you were trying to relax or sleep the last thing you needed was something
constantly ringing in your ear. It always brought a frown to the petite
womans face when she visited Sydneys apartment and found
not only a phone but also a cell on the nightstand.
"We got him, boss."
The voice of Elwood White one of her assistants came over the
line giving Sydney no clue as to what he was talking about.
he finally committed a crime the state can prosecute and Mr. Gilespy
wanted me to get in touch with you so we can start working the case."
Sydney exhaled thinking
about the tremendous amount of work that awaited her when she drove
back into New Orleans. Damn I hope Blithe is more understanding
when I disappear for the next four months or so than Kay was when
something like this happened. The excitement of wanting to bag
someone like old man Carlotti was taking a back seat to spending time
with Blithe and Charlie. Its a good thing she finds that
sofa in my office so comfortable.
"What did our
mob friend do?" Sydney asked already thinking of her closing
arguments. As much as she liked Carlottis son Vinny, she knew
his father had to finally answer for his crimes.
"Killed two people
last night in cold blood. You arent going to like the next part
of this story, boss."
spit it out. Nothing you can tell me is going to surprise me."
went to the home studio of some guy named Matt Franklin and killed
him and the girl he was with."
"Is this supposed
to mean something to me?"
"I thought you
might recognize the name, but anyway. Matt was naked in bed with Kay,
your Kay, Sydney. Mr. Carlotti obviously didnt like where Kay
had her mouth and shot her through the back of the head blowing this
guy Franklins pecker almost clean off." Elwood stopped
as if realizing who he was talking to and the relationship she had
shared with the woman that was dead.
my Kay anymore, El, and not just because shes dead, but youre
right, Im surprised. What I dont get is why Vincent Carlotti
would take the chance of blowing his freedom on two people he doesnt
know. Why kill Kay or this guy Matt Franklin?"
they pay us the big bucks, boss. Ive called together our top
investigators for a meeting this afternoon at two. I figured it would
give you enough time to drive back into the city, if not let me know
and Ill move it back or keep them entertained until you get
Ill get packed and be at the office in about three hours."
Sydney hung up the phone and turned to face her mother, who at the
moment didnt look all that happy. "Its important,
mama. Vincent Carlottis in custody for a double homicide and
Gilbert threw my team the case."
"Are you taking
Blithe and Charlie with you?"
to offer them a ride unless they want to ride back with you and papa.
If it was anything else Id have said no, trust me."
Grace reached up and
put her palm on Sydneys cheek. "I do trust you, baby, I
just dont want you to work yourself into an early grave. I worry
about you but thats a mothers prerogative."
"Duly noted, Mrs.
"The other Mrs.
OShea awaits your return, Mordecai." Sydney just rolled
her eyes at her mothers persistent nature.
The mother and child
on her bed looked so comfortable under the covers that Sydney couldnt
resist joining them if only for a little while. She moved Charlie
to the other side of Blithe, confidant that he wouldnt fall
off the big bed. Blithe opened her eyes again when the body next to
hers pressed up against her length and then some.
"Hiya, good looking."
to you, beautiful." Blithe snorted at the compliment sure that
her hair was sticking up in a million different directions. "You
do look beautiful, dont argue with me. You keep forgetting that
I could have you arrested if youre a bad girl."
you makes me a bad girl?"
"Most of the time,
so its a good thing for you that I happen to like bad girls."
Sydney kissed her before telling her they had to leave earlier than
planned not wanting to take the chance Blithe would cut her off when
she told her what was waiting for her when they got home.
"I love waking
up with you, Mordecai OShea. Your mom was right naming you that.
You make me feel like Im off to great places and todays
my day when you look at me like that. Its how I felt when I
saw you for the first time in that coffee shop. It seems so trite
to say but I just knew when you didnt scream at Charlie for
messing up your shirt that you were the one for me. I love you."
Sydney kissed her again
and held her tight so that when she rolled onto her back Blithe was
lying on top of her. "I love you too, and had I been a smarter
camper I wouldve gone home and left Kay that night. Then we
wouldnt have wasted two months tap dancing around how we felt."
"Do you think
we have a chance?"
going to make this work. It wont be hard loving you and Charlie,
and I promise Ill try my best to make us a family."
"We already are."
Sydney lifted her head
and stole another kiss before she went on. "You may not think
Ill be pulling my weight when I tell you who was on the phone."
Sydney explained what was going on and why they had to go back. She
did give Blithe the opportunity to stay and have brunch with her family
if she wanted to and just get together later on that night if she
was done at the office.
"Would it bother
you if Charlie and I came and hung out in your office? He loves it
there and I can get a head start on the weeks paperwork. The
bonus is I get to look up and make goo goo eyes at you every chance
I get." An example of goo goo eyes was shot at Sydney making
"How can I pass
up an offer like that?"
Im going to work hard at making you not think about anyone but
me." Blithe teased before caressing Sydneys cheek. "Im
sorry about Kay, sweetheart."
too. Theres no logical explanation as to why he wouldve
killed her. Kay did fluff pieces for the paper so it couldnt
have been that angle. The editors not a guy that would have
moved her from fashion etiquette to the inner workings of the wise
guys society in that short of period of time."
"Well come on,
Batman, the scales of justice await, and if theres anyone that
can find Carlotti guilty its you."
Sydney studied the
crime scene photographs that were spread out over her desk. It was
days like this that she longed for the days when the CSI unit used
black and white film for this kind of stuff. The bright red stains
splattered everywhere in Matt Franklins bedroom was glaring
up at her like some sort of sick art that the late artist had drying
in the other room of his studio. Blithe and Charlie had gone out with
one the investigators for some ice cream for this part of her investigation.
There was no way she wanted Charlie accidentally getting a look at
what she was staring down on.
Kays face was
as unrecognizable as the man that had fallen in a haphazard way on
the bed when the bullet had blown off the back of his head. If Vincent
Carlotti had indeed done the two people in the pictures in, he wanted
to inflict the most amount of damage as he could. No matter what had
happened between she and Kay, Sydney would fight to give her the justice
she deserved for what had happened to her. She would make Carlotti
pay for what hed done, and the price would be a needle in his
arm. The prosecutor just hoped that Vinny would understand she was
doing her job.
"Can I come in?"
Blithe asked from the door. She was alone having left Charlie in the
company of Sydneys staff in the conference room. Her son was
entertaining them with stories about how great his Cai was at pushing
Sydney moved away from
her desk and took a lick of Blithes cone. "Hey did I say
you could have some of my ice cream?" The short blonde asked.
"I thought we
had gotten to the point in our relationship where your cone was my
"You want to ravish
my body then Im game, Mordecai, but my ice cream cone is another
story, bucko." Blithe pushed her toward the sofa and pushed Sydney
down as soon as they were close enough. "You want to talk about
"It was a gruesome
end, he made sure of that. The thing thats puzzling me is what
his connection to Kay or the guy she was sleeping with is. With two
shots he stole not only their lives but their dignity."
"I have confidence
in you, honey, youll figure it out. Help me eat my ice cream
and then Im taking you home." Blithe moved to Sydneys
lap and held the cone up to her lips for a taste. When the tall woman
did Blithe held the cone away and moved in for a kiss. "Now this
is the way to enjoy an ice cream."
When Sydney moved in
for another more intense kiss, Blithe tossed the ice cream in the
trash and pushed Sydney down on her back. "When we get home I
want you to touch me and I cant wait anymore," demanded
Blithe. Sydney covered her mouth and entered her mouth with an insistent
tongue as she pulled Blithe closer by cupping her backside. Blithe
made the prosecutor feel alive, and she needed that after looking
at the pictures of death on her desk for so long. The small blonde
was like a safe haven away from the ugliness that Sydneys job
often was. Only this time the passion for both of them was entwined
with the love they felt for each other.
The buzzer on her desk
was the last thing Sydney expected to hear. "Boss, I hate to
bother you but the jails on line one."
baby, hold that thought until we get back to your place and put Charlie
to bed." Sydney left the frustrated blonde on the sofa to pick
up the phone. "Yes." She listened to the caller and didnt
say anything for the longest time. Blithe watched as she blew out
a frustrated sigh before answering. "Tell him Ill be there
in twenty minutes." The caller must have asked something else
when Sydney stopped talking. "No dont set up the cameras
until tomorrow. Im sure the feds want their chance to observe
my official conversation with him so they can take their chance again
once were done."
"Do you want me
to wait for you?" Blithe knew that Sydney needed to go. She wasnt
going to ask where she was going, but she had a bad feeling about
letting the attorney out of her sight.
but no. Take Charlie home and Ill be there as soon as I can.
Vincent Carlotti asked to speak to me and as a friend I owe him at
least one meeting off the record. After tonight all bets are off."
"Promise me youll
be careful." Blithe moved closer and put her hands on Sydneys
"I promise, baby.
Its a jail, hes not going to kill me."
"I love you, Mordecai."
Blithe said it with such conviction that her eyes filled up with tears.
Sydney cupped Blithes
face and kissed both lids in an effort to keep the tears from falling.
"Its ok, honey, I promise Ill be all right and I
love you too. Having you and Charlie in my life means so much that
I wont do anything to jeopardize that." Sydney kissed her
with the same passion she had put into the kiss on the sofa before
the call. It left both of them wanting more and Blithe hoped it would
make Sydney hurry home. They had a life to get on with.
you for coming."
its been a long time."
The old man looked
distinguished even in his prison orange jumpsuit. He shook Sydneys
hand before waving to the chair across from him. "Please call
me Vincent, Mordecai. I think were passed the formalities that
held you in your youth when we first met. I told my son a long time
ago that you were someone to watch out for. Sit with me and lets
talk awhile." For thirty minutes the mobster talked to her about
her family and his, acting as if they were having lunch at his favorite
restaurant to reminisce about old times. When Sydney was about to
ask what he wanted, there was a knock on the door and the guard let
in another man that looked more like a prisoner than Vincent did.
"Can I help you?"
to deliver something to Mr. Carlotti."
"Hugo, stop being
an ass and introduce yourself," Vincent said with a bite to his
Ms. OShea. Im Hugo Lepski; I work for Mr. Carlotti. These
are all the ones you asked for, sir. Let me know if you need anything
else." Hugo dropped a thick yellow envelope between the two of
them and turned to leave.
an old man. An old man thats committed his share of sins in
this life and Im sure one day Im going to answer for them.
But Im thinking if you listen to my story, that payment to the
piper wont come today."
Sydney looked from
the envelope to him and smiled. "I dont mean to insult
you, Vincent, but theres nothing you can tell me that will explain
what you did. If you admit it in open court I might be willing to
take the death penalty off the table but thats as far as Im
willing to go."
"My wife died
some years back." Vincent continued as if he had not heard her
or had just chosen to ignore her. "I married again because Im
not a man who likes being alone. A year later my new wife gave me
Alicia and I knew joy again, but then I found out something that challenged
my love for my daughter." He stopped and took a deep breath as
though he needed it to calm his emotions.
mine. Not by blood anyway and for so long I got caught up in what
that meant because of my upbringing. I know now that shes mine
in spirit because I love that little girl so much, but Alicia was
sired by Matt Franklin. My wife will pay for her sins soon enough
but not by me. I wont kill my childs mother, but anger
led me to kill the one person that helped her betray me. The fact
your castaway was in his bed when I got there was an unfortunate circumstance,
and now Im asking you to look beyond your honor and understand."
He pulled the envelope closer and moved to open it.
"My son tells
me you fucked more women in college than he did. That tells me you
have in you the understanding of what a woman can do to your senses."
He pulled the first picture out and Sydney looked down to find Kay
standing on the porch of Matts house pressed into his body while
he stuck his hand in the back of her skirt.
the passion that they can stir in you to avenge your honor."
The next picture was obscured some by the blinds but she could see
Kay straddling the artist as he was caught in an upward thrust into
"This scum had
more women than the two of us put together. Im not a man to
be cuckolded, Mordecai, and I dont see you as someone that would
put up with that. Not from someone like this." Vincent tapped
on the next picture that showed Matt standing up and Kay on her knees
in front of him.
Sydney looked at the
picture under Vincents finger and felt her anger rise a notch.
"I didnt put up with it, Vincent. I left the bitch and
Im thinking thats what you should have done too. This
little picture show wont sway me to drop the charges and let
From his pocket he
pulled a tape recorder and pressed the play button. The voice that
filled the integration room was unmistakable. It was Kays.
"She turned me
down, can you believe it? We need Sydneys money, Matt, and Blithes
our ticket to getting it."
"What do you propose
we do?" The male voice, Sydney had to guess, was Matt Franklin.
She watched the wheel of the recorder advance the tape wondering what
in the hell had happened to Kay.
"You, lover, are
going to wait until the two meet and get to know each other. Then
I want you to get that big cock of yours hard and pay a little visit
to Ms. Blithe while shes working in one of those bad neighborhoods
she frequents. I want you to make it last and I want you to enjoy
yourself. The aftershocks of the rape should send Blithe into Sydneys
arms and the pathetic do gooder will fall all over herself to make
her feel better. If that happens, even if Sydney leaves me well
hold our first little plan over Blithes head and the good life
just keeps rolling in."
Vincent turned off
the tape and put it back in his pocket. "Good night, Mordecai.
Ill see you in court tomorrow."
Sydney drove to Blithes
finding the house dark for the night. It was almost a relief not to
have to face the woman she loved and explain what Kay had in store
for her. The next stop was the little house Matt Franklin lived in
and used as a studio. Yellow police tape was still strung up in the
yard sounding like party favors in the wind when she exited the car.
With a quick turn of the key she was in the house standing in the
bedroom where the two coconspirators met their end. The dried blood
looked different from the pictures she had studied that afternoon
and like Vincent had done, Sydney almost savored the stains for what
Sitting in the chair
where Hugos camera had captured Matt sitting in one of the pictures
as Kay put her mouth to good use, the first assistant District Attorney
for Orleans Parish mentally prepared for the next days arraignments.
The longer she stared at the stain, the more Sydney detached so Ice
could take over. It was that part of her personality that was needed
now even if it meant losing everything she held dear and believed
"I missed you
last night." Blithe sat on the big desk right in front of Sydney.
Charlie was happy at the OSheas home playing with William
and Grace for the morning.
it took so long, but you must have been sleeping when I passed by."
The flat tone of Sydneys
voice started to concern Blithe. "You ok?"
"Yeah just waiting
for court." Sydney exhaled and ran her hands down her face. The
evil plan Kay and Matt had worked out kept playing in her head almost
like Vincent had kept pressing the rewind button.
"I wish I could
be there when the judge denies Mr. Carlottis bail. Good luck,
baby, and remember that I love you."
"Of course I do.
I love you and Im going to forever, Mordecai OShea."
"I love you too,
and Im going to hold you to that no matter what."
The intercom going
off stopped Blithe from asking what Sydney meant. She just helped
Sydney on with her coat and kissed her for luck. Sydney gifted her
with one of the smiles she didnt use often making the blondes
knees weak. In those crinkles around Sydneys eyes was where
she would find her future happiness. To make the attorney smile like
that would become a lifes quest.
Jude Rose listened
to the defense attorney drone on about the virtuous Mr. Carlotti and
his ties to the community. The man finished right before the judge
was about to shut him up. He motioned with his gavel for Sydney to
put on the prosecutions objections as to why Vincent should
rot in jail until his trail date.
"Your honor, the
people would move to drop all the charges against Mr. Carlotti."
The motion created complete silence before complete pandemonium broke
"In my chambers
now." Jude slammed the gavel down as Gilbert Gilespy slammed
through the gate in the railing.
"Your honor, theres
no evidence that Mr. Carlotti committed these crimes. There are about
two hundred witnesses that put him at a party from nine that night
until three the next morning. They include people from his wife to
the mayor of the city. The federal officers said the assailant they
saw in the next block from Matt Franklins house was masked and
couldnt say with certainty that it was the defendant. The last
piece that doesnt fit is Mr. Carlotti doesnt have any
connection to the victims. Why would someone who the authorities have
been chasing for years leave a party and kill two people he doesnt
you sure about this?" Jude asked. He looked at her and waited
knowing in his gut she wouldnt lie to him. He tuned out Gilberts
sputtering in the background complaining about the missed press opportunities
this would cost him.
judge. He wasnt the one." She never blinked or changed
youre free to go."
Sydney watched Vincent
walk out of the courtroom with his son and his young daughter. With
him he took every oath shed promised to uphold and every principle
shed believed would never be compromised. She followed them
out and sat at the top of the courthouse steps. Over her head was
carved a likeness of blind justice holding her scales. Sydney knew
now that justice wasnt blind. It could be bought by devils that
lived by their own rules of ethics or lack of them, and shed
lied to help him get away with it.
Vincent loaded his
family in the long black car and turned to look up at Sydney. He walked
up the steps and sat beside her. Across the street the federal authorities
began again with their surveillance and picture taking.
worthy of your guilt, Mordecai."
"Is she worthy
"In a way yes.
Would I change it if I had it to do over? No I wouldnt. There
are people in this world who deserve death and almost embrace it with
every day they live their lives. Funny that it comes as such a surprise
to them when it comes to them holding a big gun."
Sydney just looked
at him not sure as to what to say next. Vincent smiled and patted
her knee leaving the tape he had let her listen to the night before
resting there when he took his hand away.
The attorney looked
at it for a long time before looking back up at Vincent. "A gift?"
"My way of saying
thank you for the time youve given me with my daughter."
"It seems we arent
all that different."
"Why do you think
so?" Vincent cocked his head to the side and smiled.
"I want to thank
you for the time youve given me with my son and his mother without
the pain of what couldve happened hanging over our heads. You
pulled the trigger and Im glad. If I had today to do over again
I wouldnt change the outcome either." Sydney looked down
the street and then at Vincent as he walked back down the stairs to
his car. "Thank you."
A woman that was entering
the building looked at Sydney when she had spoken thinking she was
talking to her, but hadnt heard what the good looking attorney
had said. She stopped walking and looked down at Sydney saying, "Im
sorry," as a way of starting a conversation.
"I said I was
sorry about your shirt. Charlie didnt mean it." Blithe
stood before her holding two malts shed just retrieved from
the counter. Beside her Charlies hands were still frozen in
the air. Red finger paint ran down his arm, or at least the small
amount that hadnt been left on the back of her shirt.
Sydney looked at the
two trying to figure out how shed ended up in the coffee shop.
She had closed her eyes for a moment when Vincents car had driven
away, and found herself back in the coffee shop when shed opened
them again. "Its ok, really. I guess I dozed off and he
startled me." Her laptop was opened to the case she had been
working on. The name at the top was Augustern. To add to her confusion
her phone on the table rang and Sally told her that the Rohan verdict
was in and she was running late.
"Must have been
some dream," said Blithe.
nice. Must be all the caffeine." Sydney didnt know what
had happened so she stood up and went about doing the things she was
sure of. She started packing her briefcase stopping her actions when
she felt those green eyes on her.
but do I know you?"
"Like the Dr.
"One in the same,
only my middle names Sydney, but you can call me Mordecai."
Blithe looked at the
smiling woman and she looked so familiar. The fact the woman was packing
to leave made her wrack her brain to find something to make her stay.
When the two little red hand prints showed up on the white shirt and
the body in the chair whipped around, Blithe was sure if the counter
hadnt been there she would have fallen on the floor after getting
a look at Sydney.
"Can I give you
a ride somewhere to make up for your shirt?"
"You can do better
than that." Sydney finished her packing and turned to face Blithe.
Without fear of being shunned she took the malts out of Blithes
hands pulled her closer and kissed her. "Let me get this trial
finished up and then we can go to dinner. Once we get the formalities
out of the way, we can take Charlie to the park tomorrow." Sydney
let her go and picked up her stuff. "Ready?"
Blithe was the one
looking stunned now but she picked up the malts and followed Sydney
out the door. Later she would have to remember to ask how Sydney knew
so much about her and Charlie. And why the attorney had been so certain
her kiss wouldnt be rejected? When Blithe reached her van to
unlock it she heard the last of Sydneys telephone conversation.
I know about Matt and its over."
"Are you ready?"
Blithe asked her.
comes next." Sydney smiled and put her hand in her pocket to
take out her sunglasses when she felt something there. She pulled
out a small tape that had the words Sincerely Vincent
on the title line. With a quick toss she threw it in the trash and
held her hand out to Blithe. "Im definitely ready for whatever
"What do you do
when the devil offers you a deal? Mordecai OShea found that
she could live with the guilt if it protected those she loved. Because
she was able to so readily admit it, she was given another chance
to do it right."
"How is that possible
you ask? Its just another lesson learned in The Twilight
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