Reasonable Doubt: Volume 3
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“You owe me another f**king suit…” I lowered my voice. “Do you have any idea how much—”
“No.” She cut me off. “Do you have any idea how much you’ve changed? I actually miss when I was Alyssa and you were Thoreau.”
“Back when you were a f**king liar?”
“Back when you treated me better…” She stared into my eyes—giving a look of longing, and my hands went around her waist, pulling her against me.
My mouth was on hers in seconds and we were kissing like we hadn’t seen each other in years—fighting each other for control. I trailed my fingers against the zipper at the back of her dress, feeling my c**k hardening against her thigh.
She pressed herself against my chest and let me slip my tongue deeper into her mouth, but she eventually tore away and pushed me.
Looking absolutely disgusted, she turned away and stormed out of the room.
I straightened my tie before following her into the party room, but she was no longer there.
“Are you going to cut the cake, Andrew?” Mr. Bach called out. “Or do you want Jessica to do it for another year in a row?”
Jessica held up the knife and winked at me.
“Jessica can cut it,” I said. “I’ll be right back.” I stepped out and headed for the interns’ offices—walking straight toward Aubrey’s cubicle.
Her face was beet red and she was stuffing folders into her bag.
“I didn’t give you permission to leave early.” I stepped in front of her.
“I didn’t give you permission to treat me like shit, but you’ve done one hell of a job, haven’t you?”
“You just said that I wasn’t treating you like shit when I thought your name was Alyssa, when I thought you were a f**king lawyer.”
“That makes your current treatment of me acceptable?”
“It makes it justifiable.”
“I can’t do this anymore, Andrew…” She shook her head.
“Does that mean you’ll stop acting like a child in court? Does it mean—”
“Here.” She cut me off and pressed a silver box against my chest. “I bought this for you a few weeks ago, back when Jessica was planning your birthday party.”
“Did you spit in it?”
“I should have.” She picked up her bag and rushed past me, heading for the exit.
A part of me actually wanted to go after her and make her explain what the hell she meant about “not doing this anymore,” but I knew doing so would be pointless. Talking to her for less than three minutes aroused me, and I needed to remember why I ended “us” in the first place.
I returned to the break-room and said thank you to the last of the interns, glancing at the photo HR had pinned on the wall. It was a collage of my professional photos with a birthday hat sticker attached to my head. And they’d written “Happy Birthday, Andrew! GBH Loves You!” in bright blue.
In all actuality, my birthday was months from now—in December, a day I hadn’t celebrated in a very long time. And even though I’d never publicly admit it, I somewhat liked the fact that the people at GBH were willing to celebrate my birthday—real or not.
“How many slices of cake would you like me to wrap up for you, Mr. Hamilton?” Jessica tapped my shoulder.
“Three,” I said. “And I’ll take a cup of lemonade, too.”
“You’re not going to stay for the “Who Knows Mr. Hamilton the Best” game?”
“None of you know me.” I returned to my office and locked the door, setting the new birthday gifts on top of my bookshelf.
The envelope from Mr. Greenwood contained a note that said he appreciated my hard work and dedication to the firm. Beneath his written words was a gift card to his family’s other multimillion dollar entity: A golf course.
The gifts from the interns were all “I.O.U.” letters that begged for extra time on their assignments. I held all of those over my shredder.
Jessica’s black box was next, and as much as I wanted to throw it away and never think of it again, I couldn’t resist knowing what she bought me. I took the top off and removed the paper, pulling out a soft piece of silk and a note:
I overheard that you like to keep these in your pocket… Here are mine. PS—I took them off in the bathroom five minutes ago
I buried her panties at the bottom of my trashcan and crumpled that note.
I stared at Aubrey’s silver box for a while, wondering if I should wait until later to unwrap it, but I couldn’t help peeling off the paper.
Inside of the box was a small black photo frame. It was handcrafted—bordered with iron pressed images of pointe slippers, law scales, and the words “Alyssa” and “Thoreau” in smooth white letters.
The picture in it was one of us, one of her laying against my chest in my bed and smiling at the camera. Her cheeks were flushed red—like they always were after sex, and she was dressed in one of my T-shirts.
I remembered her forcing me to take that photo—insisting that she “wouldn’t share it with anyone” and only wanted it for herself. She even forced me to smile…
I set the frame down and took out the other object in the box—a sparkling silver watch with an inscription etched across its back:
I liked you as “Thoreau,” but I love you as Andrew.
My glass of wine sat untouched at Arbors Restaurant, and the candles in the centerpiece were shedding sheets of their wax onto the table.
I was expecting a date any moment now, but I couldn’t stop staring at the watch Aubrey gave me. She’d clearly thought about each and every part of the design; no element was by mistake.
I noticed two interlocking A’s in the corner of its screen, and earlier, in the sunlight, I’d noticed that my name was etched on the edge of its frame.
“Are you Thoreau?” A woman’s voice interrupted my thoughts, making me look up.
She smiled and took the seat across from me. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’m a regular here and the waitress asked if I’d be having my usual when I arrived. I told her you would have the same.”
“I don’t mind at all.” A small feeling of guilt welled inside my chest, but it wasn’t enough to distract me from pursuing what I needed tonight: Pussy. ASAP.
The waitress placed two steamed dishes in front of us, and I checked the time. I was only giving this woman one hour.
“So, what type of cases do you normally handle?” she asked.
“Corporate for the most part, but I’ve done government and tax as well.”
“Interesting. Have you lived in Durham long?”
“And is this your normal M.O.?” She leaned back in her chair, dragging her nails against her see-through top. “One night stands?”
“Is that a problem for you?”
“It never is.”
I raised my eyebrow and looked her over. She was actually quite appealing—long blond hair, curvy figure, and perky br**sts.
Physical attributes aside, we seemed to have a lot in common. She was a real lawyer in the next county over, she read most of the same books, and from what she’d told me over the phone, we shared a comparable sexual appetite.