Her eyes open and she sees him still sleeping beside her. Smooth as silk, Angie Tipton quietly lifts herself off the bed and grabs her nearly transparent, white knee-length robe from the carpeted floor next to her bed, tiptoeing toward her bathroom. She eases the door closed with a quiet click.
As she considers herself in the mirror above the sink a touch of sadness and guilt builds. She realizes this situation is hopeless, but she forces a smile and throws some water on her face. After running a brush through her hair, she walks back into the bedroom. Paul Franklin turns to face her as she lifts the two empty wine glasses from the nightstand.
"Good morning. That was amazing. Come over here."
She puts the glasses down, slides on top of him, and leans down to kiss him.
"God I love what you do to me," she sighs.
"I have until about noon." He kisses her and holds her tightly against him. His other hand finds its way down to her thigh. He slides the bottom of her robe up and she immediately feels the cool air on her exposed skin.
"Where are you, supposedly?" Her voice is laced with sarcasm.
"I was at a hearing in Pennsylvania that required me to stay overnight and I'm driving home today by noon, which is mostly true."
"You realize this relationship is pretty toxic." Angie says half-heartedly, leaning away from him.
"What's that mean?"
She climbs off him, and sits in the chaise, still facing him.
"Well, let's see. You're the defense lawyer who fought my boss in the high-profile Hemispheres Airline crash case, which seems a bit unethical. Oh, and you're married."
"I disagree with you about the ethical part. You're a paralegal for the opposing firm, but we never talk about our work. Where’s the violation? Plus, the cases are all over now."
Technically, it’s true that the cases are over, at least for now. But if all goes according to plan, Franklin will be unleashing a hailstorm on Andy Michaels like he has never experienced before. He sure as hell isn’t going to share that with Angie though. He still needs her, and not just on a sexual level.
"Well, you are still married, which makes this is an affair, and your wife could file for divorce, or maybe kill you, or me, and there is this thing some folks call adultery, and also your kids would hate you...there's probably more." She reaches again for the two glasses, plus the empty wine bottle on the nightstand, and walks out of the room.
On her way out she uses her foot to gently push the very handy sex swing they used last night out of the doorway. She smiles thinking of Paul's excitement, as she hovered at the perfect height in the trapeze-like contraption. Tantalizing him, staying ahead of him sexually, is an art form she takes pride in.
Exactly why do they enjoy this? She loves the sexual energy and assumes he does too. He can't fake what they do for each other, she assures herself. She recognizes that he derives some pleasure in bedding down his rival’s paralegal too. Part of her believes Paul wouldn't slash Andy apart in one of their litigation battles, at least not without warning her somehow. She imagines Paul thinks he would get tipped off by her if the proverbial piano was falling toward him from the window as well.
While she is washing a few dishes in the kitchen sink, he walks up behind her wearing nothing but his boxer briefs and reaches inside her robe, caressing her intimately. He leaves his right hand on her breast, swirling two fingers around the nipple.
"Do you think I’m evil for being a corporate defense attorney for companies like Hemispheres?" he says, withdrawing his hand slowly while asking.
"Well, I’d say you're on the wrong side of things, but I believe somewhere inside you is a good soul, or I wouldn't be with you. I thought you said we never talk about our work."
He walks away and sits at the breakfast bar thinking a moment.
"Contrary to what you might think, I do have a conscience."
"What about the way you fight every plaintiff's lawyer who seeks a dime in court? Believe me, I can think of a few notable war stories."
"I'm not a friend of greedy people who want millions for what I consider minor problems, and there is no shortage of fakers. I hate the money-grubbing malingerers."
"Are you suggesting people like the families of the 9/11 Pentagon victims that you fought against in court are fakers? You sound like Ann Coulter. She went after 9/11 widows like they asked to become widowed. Jeez."
"There are exceptions. That might be one of them."
"What about those whose husbands and wives and children were killed in the plane crash that killed Andy’s brother, Ron? Are you saying they were seeking jackpot justice?"
"You know the rules. Can't talk about any of that. Fortunately, we currently aren't on any opposing cases with you guys."
Paul nervously fidgets, moving the salt and pepper shakers in meaningless maneuvers on the table.
"Would you be surprised to learn I’ve tanked cross-exam on some plaintiffs before?"
"Well, everyone feels for people who've lost a spouse or child, and you realize your client is going to be paying, you're just fighting over how much. I've gone soft on my cross on a number of victims, but I'll never tell anyone who they were, including you."
He gets up and paces around the room, looking as if something is on his mind. Figuring the conversation is over, Angie starts to walk out.
"Would you consider coming to work for me? For a much higher salary?"
She stops in her tracks, turns and stares. "I don't think that's a good idea on many levels. You’re joking, right?"
"Not at all. I just want you to think about it. Maybe sometime down the road."
Angie doesn't answer. It's bad enough to be involved in this affair which would infuriate Andy. He would blow a brain synapse if he ever found out. Her leaving his practice to join Paul would cause a mental breakdown.
Paul decides to drop it. "I'm going to take a shower. Any ideas on breakfast?"
"We can't exactly saunter into any of the nearby cafes together, so I guess I'll fix something here. Scrambled eggs, wheat toast, jelly?"
Paul nods in agreement and heads to the bathroom.
As the hot water pelts Franklin, he thinks about his plan. He couldn’t hire her now even if she was willing to make the move. Her access inside Andy Michaels' firm may prove instrumental in the near future. He just has to make sure she doesn't figure out his true intentions.
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