His phone chimes with an incoming text. He glances at the screen and a goofy smile spreads across his face—the kind of smile I’ve only seen him wear one time before: at his wedding, eight months ago.
I wipe my mouth with my napkin, toss it on the table, and tilt my chair back on two legs. “So . . . how is Kate these days?”
Kate is Drew’s wife.
His extremely beautiful wife.
His extremely beautiful wife whom I danced with—briefly—at their wedding reception. And my buddy didn’t seem to like that one bit.
What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t mess with him about it?
He glances up with a smirk. “Kate’s fantastic. She’s married to me—what else could she possibly be?”
“Did you give her my card?” I prod. “So she can contact me for legal services . . . or any service she may need?”
I grin as he scowls.
“No, I didn’t give her your card. Asshole.” He leans forward, suddenly smug. “Besides, Kate doesn’t like you.”
“Is that what you tell yourself?”
He chuckles. “It’s true—she thinks you’re shady. You’re a defense attorney, Kate’s a mother. She believes you enable child molesters to walk the streets.”
It’s a common misconception, and completely inaccurate. Defense attorneys keep the legal system honest—healthy. We advocate for the individual, the little guy, and we’re all that stands between him and the unconstrained power of the state. But people forget that part—it’s all pedophiles and Wall Street retirement fund thieves.
“I have a daughter,” I argue. “I wouldn’t defend a child molester.”
Drew finds my reasoning lacking. “You’re trying to make partner—you defend who the powers that be tell you to defend.”
I shrug noncommittally.
“Speaking of your daughter,” he segues. “How old is she now? Ten?”
As always, the topic of my baby girl brings an immediate surge of pride to my chest. “She turned eleven last month.” I whip out my phone and pull up the pictures that account for most of the memory. “She just made the competition cheerleading squad. And in the South, cheerleading’s a real sport—none of that ‘rah-rah’ pom-pom horseshit.”
Jenny and Presley still live in Mississippi. After Columbia, while I was going to law school at George Washington University, we talked about them coming to live with me in DC, but Jenny didn’t think the city was any place to raise a child. She wanted our daughter to grow up like we both did—swimming at the river, riding bicycles down dirt roads, running barefoot through the fields, and Sunday barbecues after church.
I agreed with her—I didn’t like it—but I agreed.
Drew lets out an impressed whistle when I show him the most recent shots of her decked out in green and gold team colors. Her long blond hair curled into ringlets and pulled up high, shining sky-blue eyes and a breathtaking pearly white smile.
“She’s a beauty, Shaw. Lucky for her she takes after her mother. Hope you’ve got a baseball bat ready.”
Way ahead of him. “Nah, man, I got a shotgun.”
He nods with approval and slaps my arm.
“Hey, stranger, long time, no see.” My eyes are drawn to the sumptuous form of Sofia Marinda Santos, my co-counsel—among other things—as she walks up to our table.
Clothes don’t just make the man—they make a statement for a woman. They speak particularly rapturously for Sofia. She dresses as she is—impeccable, sharp, classy, yet so damn sexy it makes my mouth water. Her red silk blouse is tastefully buttoned, revealing only a few inches of bronze skin below her collarbone—not even a hint of cleavage. But the material accents the God-given bounty of her ample breasts—full, firm, and fucking gorgeous. A short, gray tweed jacket covers long, elegant arms, and the matching pencil skirt hugs the rounded swell of her hips before revealing toned legs that go on for days.
“Where were you hiding?” I ask, then point to an empty chair. “You want to join us?”
Naturally ruby lips smile back. “Thank you, but no, I just finished having lunch with Brent in the back.”
I gesture while making the introductions. “Drew Evans, this is Sofia Santos, a fellow child molester liberator according to your wife.” Sofia’s dark brow arches slightly at the description, but I continue. “Soph, this is Drew Evans, my old college buddy, my current investment banker, and just an all-around rude bastard.”
Ignoring my dig, he extends his hand. “Nice to meet you, Sofia.”