Reasonable Doubt: Volume 3
Page 18

 Whitney G.

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My mind was literally counting the seconds I had left in this place.
“Good morning, sir.” The driver grabbed my bag as we approached the car. “I hope you enjoy your stay in New York City.”
I nodded and slipped into the back seat, rolling my eyes when Rebecca sat next to me.
“Could you at least stay for one night and think about this, Liam?”
“What did you just call me?”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Andrew…I mean, Mr. Hamilton. Could you at least think about it?”
“I just did.”
“Fine.” She pulled out her phone, and I looked out the window as the car coasted through the city.
I winced as we passed a billboard where my old firm once held an advertisement, shut my eyes when we passed Emma’s favorite toy store.
“Mr. Hamilton…” Rebecca tapped my shoulder. “As a lawyer, I’m sure you know how much more compelling an oral testimony can be over a written one. I am begging you to reconsider this.”
“And I’m begging you to get over it.” I looked her directly in the eyes. “He and Ava ruined my life and I don’t have shit to gain by sitting in a courtroom full of strangers and explaining how. You want an emotional testimony? Hire a f**king drama student to read my words to the jury.”
“Things have changed. It’s not like it was six years ago.”
“That’s why The New York Times still won’t print my picture?”
“They won’t print your picture because they think you’re an ass**le.” She snapped. “You also won a huge and expensive case against them years ago or have you suddenly forgotten that? Take it as a compliment that they’re even mentioning you in a positive light.” She tossed yesterday’s paper into my lap. “They even ran that piece. Looks pretty damn good to me.”
I picked up the paper and brought it close to my face, and before I could read the article, two words caught my eye: Aubrey Everhart.
Her name was at the bottom of the page, mixed in with several others, in a beautiful black ad:
The New York Ballet Company to Celebrate New Cast Members with Saturday Night Gala.
“I just…” Rebecca was still talking. “I just think you should at least stay for a night, clear your head, and really think about this.”
“I’ll stay until tomorrow.”
“Really?” Her eyes lit up.
“Yes.” I stared at Aubrey’s name again. “Really.”
Harass (v.):
Systematic and/or continual unwanted and annoying pestering, which often includes threats and demands.

The prosecutor shook my hand over coffee and tea the next night, batting her light brown eyes.
“Thank you so much for agreeing to stay for a few weeks, Andrew,” she said. “This is going to be a real help in this case.”
“I’m sure…” I stood up and walked over to the window, looking at the snow covered streets below.
“Your old partner has definitely hired the best lawyers money can buy, and has paid fines and suffered penalties for years, but I think we can finally send him to prison with the new evidence that we have. That, and your testimony, of course.”
I said nothing.
“I’m not sure how you would feel about this, but…” Her voice trailed off, and seconds later she was by my side. “Would you like to catch up on all we’ve missed since you’ve been gone?”
“Excuse me?”
She rubbed my shoulder. “You left New York and you never looked back. You didn’t call anyone or keep in touch…We were such good friends and you—”
“Okay.” I cut her off and grabbed her hand, moving it away. “First of all, no, I do not want to catch up on shit. I don’t give a damn about what I’ve missed.” I looked her up and down. “But from the look of things, it hasn’t been much. Second of all, yes, we were friends. Past tense. You didn’t call or keep in touch with me when everyone in this city was dragging my name through the mud, did you?”
Her cheeks reddened.
“You didn’t even call to ask me if the rumors were f**king true.” I pointed to the door. “So, please don’t think that just because I’ve agreed to help put an ass**le where he belongs, that you and I are, or will ever be friends.”
“I’m so sorry…”
“It’s six years too late for that.” I turned around. “I’ll be in court when I’m needed. You can leave now.”
I waited until I heard the sound of the door close and called the town-car driver. “What time do I need to leave for the gala if I want to be there once it starts?”
“Now, sir.”
I hung up and slipped into my coat, taking the penthouse’s private elevator to the lobby. Rushing through the hotel’s exit doors, I spotted the car across the street and headed over.
“We should be there in about thirty minutes, Mr. Hamilton.” He looked at me through the rearview mirror. “Are you meeting a date at this event tonight?”
“No,” I said. “Why are you asking?”
“Because if you were, I was going to suggest that we stop at the floral stand that’s three blocks down.”
“We can stop.” I looked out the window as he pulled off.
I’d thought about telling Aubrey that I was in town, or “good luck” for her performance tonight, but I didn’t see a point. Besides, last night, in a moment of weakness, I sent her a rather vague email and her rare response didn’t encourage further conversation.
Subject: Happiness.
Are you happy with your current life away from GBH? Are you pursuing your ballet dreams finally?
Subject: Re: Happiness.
Please stop emailing me and delete my number.
Thank you.
“Mr. Hamilton?” The driver held the door open. “We’ve arrived…Do you plan on getting out of the car?”
“Thank you.” I grabbed the bouquet of roses and lilies off the seat and gave him a tip, telling him that I needed him to stay close, that I may be bringing someone else back with me.
The line to enter the venue was wrapped around the block, so I skipped everyone and walked straight through the front door.
“Excuse me, sir?” An usher immediately stepped in front of me. “There’s a line outside for a reason.”
“I don’t like to wait.”
“None of us do sir,” he said, crossing his arms, “but that’s gala policy unless you already have a ticket. Do you have a ticket?”
“I don’t like those either.”
He unclipped a radio from his belt buckle. “Sir, please don’t make me call security. You have to purchase a ticket just like everyone else, and you have to stand in line just like everyone else. Now, I’m going to kindly ask you to—”
He stopped mid-sentence once I handed him a clip of hundred dollar bills. “Did you say your ticket was in the front row, sir?”
“Yes. That’s exactly what my ticket says.”
He smiled and led me down the hall, into a colossal room that featured floor to ceiling windows, glimmering chandeliers, and freshly polished marble floors. Hundreds of tables were dressed in white table cloths—stamped with lavish gold and silver centerpieces, and the letters “NYCB” were etched onto every dinner menu and program.