In the days that followed, anytime Luke and Angelina’s paths crossed he pretended not to notice her. Each time made her more furious than the last and she’d finally reached her breaking point. On a cold, dreary Autumn morning she decided to confront him on his own territory. Climbing the police station’s litter leafed concrete steps one by one, Angelina threw open the glass doors and politely asked to see Detective Bishop. When the young-looking rookie returned, he informed her that Detective Bishop was busy. She then yelled that she wasn’t leaving and that he’d better come out and face her.
“Do you hear me Luke?! Get your hips out here and stand your ground!” She’d shouted more than one expletive and called him a coward. Still there was no sight of him. Police officers tried to call her down, but it was to no avail. Her tirade had gotten so bad that three police officers had to forcefully remove her. They’d told her not to come back unless she had an emergency. Grandma Coco always told her that if a woman ever wanted a hard-headed man to listen to her, go straight to his job and cause a scene no matter how many tries it takes to get a response from him. Round one went to him, but she was far from finished.
On her way from the police station, she was informed via text message that she’d been assigned her very first case and that her boss, Peter Shullman wanted her to come in right away.
“It’s nice of you to drop by!” he chided.
“I have a case?! A real case?!”
“Yes. It’s not a big one, but it’s one you can win. The victim’s mother came to me, she had evidence in tow and I’ve looked over the police file. I’m handing this case over to you. I expect you to make me look good.”
“Pft. Who am I? I’m the best there is, and don’t you forget it.”
Shullman handed her all the information he’d acquired and she looked it over in the privacy of her office. It looked as if a man by the name of Alexander Bishop had stabbed his wife in the chest three times, and slit her throat. He claims he didn’t do it. The file also goes on to say that Mr. Bishop awoke to his wife screaming and by the time he’d made it to their room the attacker burst from the room, knocking Mr. Bishop down then fled the scene. A set of prints were identified to belong to Mr. Bishop. He’d claimed to pull the still lodged kitchen knife from his wife’s chest. And as of now his wife was still alive, but has slipped into a coma. The victim’s mother Vicky claims Mr. Bishop more than once had hit her daughter, that she tried to talk her daughter into divorcing him.
All the evidence seemed to point towards Mr. Bishop. In the days that followed, she interviewed the victim’s mother and she repeated her same beliefs. Angelina reviewed a previous court ordered restraining order but found no new evidence. Every day she tried to look at this case in every way, even turning it upside down. Why would Mr. Bishop attempt to murder his wife then turn around and call an ambulance for her? It didn’t make sense. Angelina decided to try to set up a meeting with the defense, to get Mr. Bishop’s side of the story.
The first three times she tried to set up a meeting with Mr. Bishop’s lawyer was a complete fail. But she wore him down, says that she’d be fair and that all she was looking for was the truth.
“What can you tell me about Mr. Bishop’s case?”
“That he’s innocent of all charges.”
“You have to give me a little more than that Scott.”
“Look, all I can tell you is that my client is innocent. Though Mr. Bishop and his wife has had problems in the past, they have worked things out and everything has been going great for them these last four years. He’s been a model citizen.”
“So who is this supposed intruder that attacked Mrs. Bishop?”
“I don’t know.”
“The file I received stated Mr. Bishop was asleep on the couch in the front room; the attacker came through the front door. How could he could have not heard this supposed intruder enter their home?”
“Maybe he’s a hard sleeper.”
“Well why wasn’t Mr. Bishop attacked?”
“I can’t answer that.”
“You can’t or you won’t?”
“I can’t answer that. I don’t have an answer. Now if you’re finished I have a client to defend. Good day Ms…”
“Ms. Pavilon.” he rounded his desk and opened the door for her to leave when suddenly he commanded her attention. “I hear this is your first case. How well do you think you can hold up?”
“I believe I’ll do just fine. And how did you know this is my very first case?” she inquired.
“People talk.” With that he shut the door to his office and returned his attention back to his work.
When she arrived back at the law firm, majority of her more experienced colleagues looked at her as if she were going to fail. Angelina felt as if she was on trial herself with all the burning glances that was shot her direction. It wasn’t like her to duck into her office like a scared child so she stared right back at each and every one of them until they darted their eyes elsewhere. Upon entering her office, she flipped open the case file again and felt something wasn’t quite right. Once she saw this Mr. Bishop for herself, then and only then would she know if he was guilty or innocent.
Angelina’s office door flew open and the gust of wind hit her in the face. It was none other than the coward himself. He shut the door behind him and loomed over her desk, both hands cupping the corners of her table.
“Drop this case.” he said through clenched teeth.
“You heard me, I said drop this case.”
She rose and matched his pose.
“You don’t barge into my office to tell me how to handle anything.”
“Barge you say? You came to my job causing a scene.”
“Because you wouldn’t listen to me.”
“There’s nothing I need to hear from you. Drop the case.”
“This is my brother’s life that’s hanging in the balance and I won’t let you screw him over! This is your first case, no? It means you’re inexperienced. You’re not even a real lawyer for Christ sake! I’m telling you to drop this case, give it to someone else who knows what they are doing!” He stormed out and all she heard was the slam of the door. Angelina blew out an exasperated breath and sunk into her chair. She couldn’t believe that he’d had so little faith in her abilities. And his brother? How was she to know that his brother was accused of attempted murder? She didn’t even know he had a brother. All her life people mocked her for her dream. This was her first real opportunity to show people that she indeed made it. But when Luke barged in and practically accused her of being incompetent, she felt the sun setting on her dream. Tears stung her eyes as she tried to hold them at bay, but they cascaded from her eyes, down her cheeks and landed on her cream-colored skirt. For the remainder of that day she stayed holed up in her office until she retired to her home.
Angelina felt as if she’d been drained dry by nights end. Curling up in a ball in the middle of her king sized bed, she felt all alone. She couldn’t call either of her parents because they were no longer apart of the land of the living. Her older brothers she could never get a hold of because they were just too busy. And how she wished grandma Coco was still around to speak words of encouragement to her.
Luke knew after those callous words spilled from his lips that he’d dug himself into a deeper hole with Angelina. After work he’d found himself in his basement taking out his frustrations on his punching bag. As his own conscience ate away at him, he tagged the bag harder and harder. He knew he acted out of fear for his brother’s life. Luke knew his little brother better than anyone, though he had issues, he would never attempt to take a life. But Luke’s conscience kept raging on.
You know why you don’t want Angelina anywhere near this case, don’t you?
“Shut up!” he yelled at his conscience.
It’s not that you think she’s incompetent, it’s because you love her.
“I said shut up!” He shook his head to clear the voice that kept talking. “I don’t love her! I can’t love her.” The more his conscience kept mocking him, the harder he hit the punching bag until he gassed out. Falling to his hands and knees, he screamed, rolled on his back and raise his hands over his head in surrender. His conscience had gotten the better of him, wore him down. The simple truth was that he did love and care for her. He’d felt guilty bailing on her the night she’d told him how she felt. Secretly, he’d wanted someone to love and accept him, especially for who he is now. The best and worst day of his life was when he was working on a case trying to track down a missing little girl. It’d turned out that the girl’s father kidnapped her and was willing to kill his own child over the mother’s infidelity. Once he’d located the child in an old abandoned house that the girl father’s family had willed to him, he scooped up the terrified little girl and told her that everything was going to be okay, that he was here to help.
Luke could hear police sirens coming ever closer down the road as he loosen the child’s restrains and helped her up in his truck. Luke then heard a snap of dry stick behind him and felt his skin burning. According to a police report the assailant blew liquor into his face while he flicked the switch to a hand-held lighter. Thankfully police cruisers arrived in time to pin down the suspect, and get him to the hospital immediately. Not many days after, Luke’s wife came to visit him and saw the scarring on his face. She said that she could see him like that and left crying. Luke’s lawyer came to hand him divorce papers at the haste of his wife the next day after. Luke hadn’t even had the chance to heal properly before his wife bailed on him. In marriage you’re suppose to love each other for better or for worse. Luke guessed his wife had forgotten about that part of their vows. After having skin grafts, there still was scarring left but it wasn’t as bad as before, he could live with what he saw in the mirror. Luke liked to think of his scars as a badge of honor, he earned it doing what he did best. He was also happy to find out that the little girl was safely back with her mother.
His fear of being connected to another woman made nervous. He was afraid if something else happened to him that the next woman would leave him just like is ex-wife did. Betrayal was not something he could endure a second time.
Today was the very first day of the trial, her mentor Shullman was there along with a few of her colleagues. She wasn’t at all nervous and she effectively presented her side and the judge adjourned for the day. The trial went on for another three days and by the fourth she was convinced that Mr. Bishop was an innocent man. The only option was to withdraw the case, but she didn’t exactly have any evidence except her gut instinct. She opted to withdraw anyway, she couldn’t be the person who helped put away an innocent man. Angelina was to appear in court in another two days to wrap up the case when she emerged from her work to sate her hunger. Angelina turned as she heard a man calling her name.
“Angelina!” The man came running up to her. “How are you these days?”
“I’m good. What are you doing here Derrick?”
“I heard you were working on your first case.”
“Yeah, seems so.”
“Aren’t you excited?”
“Things have been rather trying.”
“And they always will be. Look, since you’re already out here why don’t I treat you to lunch.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Oh come on. I’m not going to bite you.”
She stood there mulling it over and decided to take him up on his offer. What she didn’t know that Luke had been parked right in front of her office building and saw the whole thing. He had come to apologize for his actions, but at the moment his insides were boiling and twisting into knots. Who was this guy to her and why did he suddenly appear out of no where? He watched them walk off through his rear-view mirror. Luke immediately exited his truck and made his way up to the floor in which her office sat. After stepping off the elevator Luke looked around and caught the sight of Peter Shullman.
Peter turned around and immediately frowned.
“What the hell do you want?”
“I said what the hell do you want?! I don’t know what you said to Angelina the other day, but she hasn’t been the same since.”
“I don’t want to hear any excuses boy! You mess with my employees, you mess with me.” he jabbed his finger into Luke’s chest. “Angelina has always been full of cheer and hope until the day you showed your mug here. You better fix things and fix ’em yesterday! I need her at this law firm. Until you find a way to repair the damage you’ve done, don’t show your face here! Got it?”
Both men had a staring match but Luke was the first to back off, he wasn’t the type to disrespect his elders. And the old man had a valid point, he’d known he messed up big time. As Luke walked out Shullman’s office toward the elevator, he heard a ding as Angelina stepped of with her head hung low. She looked up once she saw shoes enter into her vision. She looked up to find Luke watching her. She turned her head away and treated him as an invisible ghost, just as he had done her. She stepped into her office and closed the door with a soft click. Luke dropped his head as his pride took a blow. He stood at the elevator doors tapping his foot in frustration and made the snap judgment to hash it out with her.
He knocked on the door and entered. She looked up from her work and saw Luke staring down at her. Crossing her arms she glared at him hotly but never spoke a word.
“Who was that guy you left with?”
“Are you kidding me? Are you spying on me?”
“I don’t need to waste time doing that.” Crap, he didn’t mean to start things off like this.
“Get out I have work to do.”
“I said get out. You don’t take orders well, do you? When I tell you to do something, you do it with gladness.”
Burn. She threw his words right back at him. He deserved everything he’d dished out. So he left her office and waited until the next trial date to find out the fate of his brother.