The Law of Attraction Page 1

Author: N.M. Silber

Series: Lawyers in Love #1

Genres: Romance , Humorous

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CHAPTER ONE

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY,

PENNSYLVANIA

Commonwealth v. Harris

I stood in front of the jury delivering my closing argument in a shoplifting case that my client had insisted on taking to trial against my advice and despite my begging.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a country where every citizen has a right to trial by his peers. The prosecution must carry its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest legal standard of proof possible in this great country of ours. We are here today because my client is a citizen, and he has a right to a trial if he wants one.”

We lawyers often couldn’t let people know what we were really thinking. I often pictured the things that I would like to say and do, though, and I called those thoughts “inner-Gabrielle,” for lack of a better term. Right now inner-Gabrielle was sighing and rolling her eyes because I was breaking out the old “right to a trial defense” again. It's what we public defenders did when we found ourselves addressing a jury without the one thing that would come in most handy under the circumstances – an actual defense. After all, you had to say something. Technically, my client did have a defense in this case. It was just so stupid that nobody in their right mind would believe it, so I figured what the hell, it never hurt to bring up the Constitution.

“You heard Mr. Harris tell you that he simply made a mistake,” I went on, “one that perhaps you yourself have made. You go into a store, expecting to pick up only one item, and so you don't bother with a shopping basket. Then you see another item that you need. And then another.”

I paused and gave the jurors a friendly smile to show them how very reasonable all of this was. I hoped that it said: “See, citizens of Philadelphia, who have put off your obligations, hired babysitters, and missed work; I’m a nice person, so you shouldn’t hate me or my jackass client for wasting your valuable time.” After all, this was all a big misunderstanding, right?

“Mr. Harris claims that’s what happened to him on that day in May. He went to the store for one item and then saw another that he needed and then another. Rather than go all the way back to the front of the store for a basket, he simply stored some items in his clothing, fully intending to pay for them.”

I looked into each juror's eyes as I slowly paced in front of the jury box. I could see that some of them actually wanted to believe me. That was nice of them. Obviously, not being clinically brain-dead, they didn't believe me, but they wanted to, and it was the thought that counted.

“That's his story ladies and gentlemen, and he has a constitutional right to tell it. If you feel the prosecution has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt you must acquit. Thank you.”

I sat down with as much dignity as I could muster, as a tired-looking, fifty-something, assistant district attorney rose to his feet and addressed the jury. He cleared his throat and I could see that he held a list in his hands. Inner-Gabrielle cringed. Oh shit.

“Mr. Harris had three boxes of Melba toast, a can of smoked oysters, a wheel of Gouda cheese, two bunches of grapes, a package of smoked salmon, a can of sardines, a bottle of sparkling grape juice and a can of cocktail weenies in his pants. I simply ask you to please use common sense. Thank you.”

He sat down again as I just continued to stare straight ahead doing my best, “Did someone say something?” look. (They teach you that one in law school.) The judge charged the jury and they left to deliberate as Mr. Harris went out for a smoke. I stood and gathered my things as the public defenders and the assistant district attorneys working on the next cases set up. I had seen two familiar faces among those waiting, so I was already prepared for the humiliation that I knew would be forthcoming. Adam Roth and Braden Pierce were good-looking young prosecutors – very good-looking. We usually worked the same courtroom these days and both of them liked to tease me. It fact, it seemed to be their favorite pastime. I didn't mind terribly, though, as I was deeply in lust with Mr. Pierce.

“A can of cocktail weenies.” Mr. Roth fired the first shot.

“It would be a shame to have to hurt someone as pretty as you, Mr. Roth.” I straightened my papers and tried to look busy. (They teach you that one in law school too.)

“Sounds like it was going to be quite a party,” Mr. Pierce said.

“Feeling lucky, Mr. Pierce? I’m not afraid to take you down too, you know. I work with two hundred criminal defense lawyers.” I saw him try to contain his laughter as I heard my friend, Jessica's, voice behind me. I turned around, eager to see a sympathetic face.

“I just tried one where my client claimed he was urinating in a back alley. Turns out he was jerking off on a street corner. The prosecution had twenty-one witnesses. They were nuns.” She looked pained.

“I understand,” I said gently, patting her on the back.

“Did you put on the 'my client has a right to a trial defense’ too?” Mr. Roth asked.

“I loved it when she said 'that's his story and he has a constitutional right to tell it.' That was a classic moment in American jurisprudence,” Mr. Pierce added, coming over to the defense table and leaning against it immediately next to where I was standing. I noticed that he had a very nice scent — spicy, with a trace of mint. Mr. Pierce even smelled attractive.

“I'm glad that we amuse you guys. You have no idea what it's like to have to stand there and say that with a straight face.” I turned quickly to face him and my mouth almost popped open. Christ on a cracker! I had been looking at this man across a courtroom for months, and I had even sat across a table from him when negotiating a deal, but I had never been this close to him before. Wow. I realized that I was just staring at him stupidly and I managed to pull myself together. I really had to get laid soon.

“Poor Ms. Ginsberg,” he said and smiled, looking at me curiously.

That smile made my girl parts warm. Mr. Pierce was too attractive for my own good. With him standing right here next to me, I could see that his eyes were a gorgeous sky blue ringed in indigo and his hair wasn’t really blonde, but actually a shade of light brown with golden highlights. I couldn’t help it, I started imagining how he could make me feel better with a nice massage and a warm bath together, maybe a glass of wine and some sexy music… “Yeah well, maybe you should comfort me…” I mumbled distractedly. My eyes widened. Jesus, Gabrielle! “Confront! Maybe you should not… confront me because I can be”… I searched for something… “dangerous.” Huh? I rolled my eyes and felt my face get hot.

“I don’t doubt it,” he said with a cocky grin. “I think that confronting you could be very dangerous.”

“I just hope they threw the grapes away,” Mr. Roth said, completely snapping me out of my lust-fueled reverie. I had finished straightening up my own papers, so I started straightening up everyone else’s papers too. I was tidying up the whole damned courtroom and Mr. Pierce was watching me do it with an extremely amused look on his face. I wondered what he was thinking — probably, “I wonder if she’s off her meds.”

The jury was back in ten minutes. Shockingly, they didn't believe Mr. Harris. I went back to my office in defeat. Inner-Gabrielle went out for a drink.

CHAPTER TWO

I sat there preparing my cases for the next day. I had to figure out a way to convince a six foot five, three hundred pound biker named “Tiny” that nobody was going to believe that he had just “found” 27 thirty-inch HD flat screen televisions in an alley behind his apartment. One had to tread lightly when telling someone like Tiny that even his lawyer thought he was full of shit. I wasn't really looking forward to it, or any of the sixteen other cases I had scheduled. Luckily, that was a light work day.

Jessica finally got back an hour later, looking like she had gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson. It had probably just been Mr. Roth being a dick, though. He did that from time to time. (Daily.) Jess and I had both begun working for the Defender Association at the same time almost a year ago and we had been office-mates from day one. As of a few months ago, we also shared an apartment in a building a few blocks from our office in the upscale Rittenhouse Square District.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really need to have a roommate. My parents were very successful business people, so I guess you could say that I came from a wealthy family. I liked knowing that I could support myself, though, so I mostly tried to live on my own salary. Unfortunately, that worried my parents, but then everything worried my parents. They worried about me working with criminals. They worried about me living in a different city. They worried because I wasn’t good at financial stuff. Most of all, though, they worried that I would eventually end up living alone with a bunch of cats and a couple of million dollars in a shoebox under my bed.

My social life wasn't exactly thriving at the moment. I did go out, but only if I were surrounded by friends because, frankly, I had spent enough nights fending off drunken players at bars and clubs. I didn't want to date anyone from my office, and I wasn't really meeting anyone new, so I hadn't been out with a guy in a few months. That was going to have to change, though, because I couldn't live like this anymore. My job created a lot of tension and I needed an outlet. I had to find a sex partner that didn’t require batteries.

The problem was that the only guy who I was interested in was Mr. Pierce. We’d been working that courtroom together for months now, and while Mr. Roth could be a pain in the ass, Mr. Pierce just did his job. He always offered me fair plea bargains, although sometimes he made me work hard for them, and with him it was always a good clean fight, even if it made me want to be a dirty girl. Battling in court could be pretty stimulating to tell you the truth. Sometimes there’s a fine line between pissed off and turned on.

I thought about him way too much though. I was becoming like a crazy fan girl. I might as well have hung a poster of him over my bed. Unfortunately, I was hardly his only fan. Everybody knew that he was a big time player. I didn’t want a one night stand and I didn’t want to share, so it seemed like Mr. Pierce was off-limits. Now, if someone could just explain that to inner-Gabrielle. And my vagina.

And then, of course, if that wasn’t bad enough, there was also another issue; he reminded me of someone from my past who I didn’t exactly associate with happy memories. That one wasn’t a deal breaker, but it certainly didn’t boost my self-confidence with him. It was a long story, but back in college I managed to lose my virginity in a one-night-stand with another player. I know – brilliant Gabrielle. Right? Wait, it gets even better, I decided to tell him the next day that I wanted to be his girlfriend. Let’s just say he wasn’t really on board with that plan. Can you say humiliation? Anyway, I’m not sure why, but something about Mr. Pierce reminded me of the player who deflowered me.

“Shake it off, Gab, tomorrow's another day,” Jess said, breezing in and dropping a pile of case files that looked like it weighed more than she did.

“Is that supposed to cheer me up?” I asked, clearing a path on the floor so she could get to her desk. I tended to spread out when I worked.

“I would think you would be pretty cheerful already with all the attention a certain prosecutor has been paying you lately.” She threw herself down in her chair, opened her bottom desk drawer and put her feet up. Okay, that got my attention. I hadn’t told anyone about my little infatuation, not even her, but I guess that ogling him and then asking him to comfort me hadn’t exactly been subtle.

“And what prosecutor would that be?” I asked lightly, sitting back on my heels.

“The beautiful blonde Braden Pierce,” she said, smirking.

“Why would Mr. Heavy-hitter be paying attention to me?” I went back to sorting piles on the floor and tried to act nonchalant.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because you’re good-looking and smart and funny?”

“Well, then he’s just looking for a good time. I hear he doesn’t date; he just hooks-up. Anyway, you’re probably wrong. The women he likes look like Playboy bunnies.”

“How do you know?” Oh damn! Caught by my own big mouth.

“He's a senator's son. I Googled him once.”

“Hey wait…”

“Wait what? I know what you’re thinking but I'm not a crazy stalker chick! I was just curious.”

“Not that! The other thing. Screw the Playboy bunnies!”

“I’m sure he did.”

“Like you’re not attractive? Look at you with the golden brown hair and the big hazel eyes. You also have big boobs and a nice ass which tend to be popular features with the male sex. The drunken business boys are on you like a bad rash every time we go out.”

“Thanks, but I’m just saying that he seems to have a type and I’m not a spray tan blonde with a two inch waist like the ones I've seen him with in pictures. Some of them were so Barbie-like I'm not even sure they had bendable legs.”

“Type or no type, I still say that he wants you.” She put her feet back on the floor and started clearing a space in front of her and stacking files.

“Yeah maybe for an extremely short-term relationship, like however long it would take to screw me. I don’t want to have a one night stand with a guy I face in court every day. To tell you the truth, I don’t really want to have a one night stand with anybody, no matter how hot they are.”

“So maybe he’d be willing to invest more than one night for you. We should ask Mark.” Mark Patterson was a fellow public defender who had been friends with Mr. Pierce and Mr. Roth in law school. They had managed to remain close even though they worked on opposite sides of the courtroom now. Together they were probably the three sexiest guys and the three biggest womanizers in the Philadelphia criminal court system, but Mark was still pretty cool just to hang out with, and he and Jess were really good friends.

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