This story is a collaboration between the talented Milik Redman and myself. I am happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to write with him.
Philippe gazed at the leather bound documents with a trepidation he had not felt before. Oh, Mon Dieu! What am I doing?
he thought to himself.
He was usually a man of intellect and analytical certainty. The growing conflict between an action he knew to be wrong and the equally irresistible impulse to do just that had set his heart and mind into an unfamiliar civil war. This seemingly innocuous tome had become the symbol of that raging moral struggle. Its very presence on his desk was a breach of his ethics. It was anathema to him, or at least it should have been. Nevertheless, there it sat, taunting him with its presence in the seclusion of his study.
On the surface, there was nothing really unusual about it.
It was a typical Factum, and contained nothing more than the facts; legal references and arguments that would be presented by the Prosecution in the upcoming proceedings. The black leather binding did stand out, but then Philippe knew well that this particular Crown Prosecutor never did anything that was less than perfect. Without even looking, he was certain that the brief inside was every bit as precise and perfectly prepared as was the cover itself.
Philippe removed his reading glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. How could this have happened? What were the odds?
He put his glasses back on, and to his dismay, the names emblazoned on the first page of the Factum remained unchanged. He stalled for time looking through the pile of factums submitted on his cases to find the one from the defence on this case. Ordinarily, they would have been paired by his clerk, but they had gotten scrambled when he dropped the stack on the floor as he carried them into his house. It was just one more sign of how off-balance he felt both figuratively and literally. To The Honourable Philippe G. Rannou, Judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario.
Again, there was nothing odd about that, every brief he received identified him as the Presiding Judge. No, it was the name at the bottom that he was so fixated on: Crown Prosecutor Evelyn Monroe.
Philippe's hand shook slightly as he pulled the crystal stopper from the decanter on his antique desk and he filled the matching crystal tumbler to an inch deep with the amber liquid. The strong, sharp aroma of fine Cognac wafted up and burned into his senses, clearing his stupor before he even wet his lips with the actual liquid.
Philippe normally didn't drink while he reviewed a case, but then again, he wasn't usually having sex with the Crown Prosecutor either. Having sex?
he mused sardonically. That phrase doesn't even begin to do justice to what we are doing. Evelyn, how could I have allowed myself to put us in this position?
He took another sip of his drink and ran his fingers over the pebbled surface of the cover.
"I should recuse myself," he said to himself, and not for the first time. He had offered to do so in fact, when he first learned that Evelyn would be presenting the case, but she had just kissed him and would hear no more of it. He was up for promotion to a higher court and Evelyn would not allow him to risk it by a sudden and unexplained withdrawal from a high profile criminal case. Evelyn, if anything you're more beautiful now than you were ten years ago,
Ten years ago.
That was first time he had ever seen Evelyn. She had been one of his students in the criminal procedure class he was then teaching at the law school. He was a well known criminal defence lawyer at the time and like many other practising lawyers gave back to the profession by teaching a course to the next generation of legal minds. From the first moment he met her he had been attracted to her confident smile, her amazing attention to detail and her intuitive ability to perceive the smallest nuance in legal analysis. Her incisive questions left a lasting impression.
Philippe dropped his glasses on top of the Factum and leaned back into his chair as he remembered how powerful his attraction to her had been even then. Everything about her had struck him deeply at the time. He could tell by the playful look in her eye and the way she kind of bounced on the balls of her feet when they spoke that she had felt it as well. Every time they were alone discussing her term paper it was as if her eyes were begging him to kiss her, and, God forgive him, how he had wanted to.
It was his ethics, he reminded himself. Professional ethics forbade him kissing, hell, forbade him making heated, intense and passionate love to a student. His commitment to those ethics had always been ironclad. He had built his career on the belief that they were inviolate, but nothing had ever tempted him to risk the those ethics more than Evelyn did in those months. As difficult as it had been, when the classes finally ended they parted with nothing more between them than a handshake and a forlorn smile for the opportunity both had known they had lost.
That all changed two months ago.
Evelyn had moved to Toronto and had been assigned to this region. They had met to talk about old times and so that he could congratulate her on her success. This time that spark between them had been undeniable and not even his vaunted principles could keep him from her bed. Not this time. He remembered how warm her body had felt against his and how strongly she had responded to his touch. Sex with Evelyn had been everything he'd dared dream; everything and more.
He could not avoid it any longer.
He opened the binder and started reading. Philippe made his way through the brief, impressed that it was as every bit as comprehensive as he knew it would be. Then he saw the images of the defendant that had been taken from her own computer. He laughed mirthlessly and shook his head. A sex crimes case. The thought of Evelyn going over every sordid fact in exquisite detail with that knowing glint in her eye sent a jolt of fear through the logical side of his mind. Perfect! I'll be impeached. No longer be a judge. No chance at the Court of Appeal
, he thought grimly, but then smiled as he remembered her scent on his sheets. It might just be worth it. My brilliant career. What irony!
There had already been talk of his one day taking a place on the Supreme Court. He would be risking everything for this dalliance. He was reminded of something his friend and colleague, Ben Silverman, often said, “We plan and God laughs.”
He took another sip of his drink and rubbed his eyes, feeling tired and maybe a bit ashamed. Ashamed not for himself, he regretted nothing. No, his career was his to squander, but Evelyn's... if she were to be disgraced he doubted he would ever forgive himself.
Lit by the single shaded glow of his desk lamp, his study seemed to absorb the light as it passed beyond his desk. It was muted and soft, so much like her room had been that night.
He remembered how she had carried herself as she led him into her most personal sanctuary. She had such incredible poise as she had walked before him with a grace that made his mouth feel suddenly dry. She walked like a dancer. She must have taken ballet when she was young,
he thought. He could sense her excitement. It was a palpable thing but it was tempered by that same playfulness that had attracted him so long ago. She was like a fine wine and the years that passed had only made her all the more sensual and alluring.
At close to two meters, Philippe was a tall man and Evelyn seemed almost tiny in comparison. She was several centimeters shorter, and her slim frame and delicate features gave her an ethereal look that made his pulse race. Her light brown hair was pulled away from her face and pinned up in a way that made it impossible for him to judge its length. Even in the soft light it seemed to shimmer as she moved. Light curling tendrils had escaped and seemed to frame her face like some pre-Raphaelite beauty.
Wordlessly, she turned down the sheets and then turned demurely to face him. Her body almost radiated her arousal but it was tempered by a shyness that pierced him like an arrow flung by a tiny pagan god. He couldn't remember ever being so enchanted and aroused at the same time.
"Philippe, I... I don't usually do this, I mean.." The words drifted away and she seemed to struggle in her need to explain.
He shushed her gently.
"I know Evelyn, there's no need. I've wanted you since that time so long ago. I know you feel that. I can’t find the words to say how happy I am that you want to be with me, too."
He mused that both of them were intelligent, articulate people for whom words were so important, and yet here and now they were both unable to really say what they felt.
She smiled that golden smile and as he approached to embrace her. He couldn’t help but drink in her subtle beauty. The fine spun wool of her business suit felt strangely smooth in his hands as she melted into his arms. He knew he would never forget that moment when his hands slipped around her waist and he felt the firm softness of her body for the very first time. He caught the faintest wisp of sweet citrus mingling with the understated fragrance of lilac. He couldn't resist the urge to kiss her.
Evelyn eagerly accepted his kiss and responded to it. Her lips felt soft and warm, and just pleasantly moist. Then passion overrode his composure and he held her more tightly as her lips parted. Moist flesh met moist flesh, exploring and dancing together until they were overwhelmed by the moment. Finally they parted, leaving just her forehead touching his.
"Hmm, that was some kiss, Philippe," she whispered and barely contained a giggle.
'It was wonderful," he replied. "Would you like to do it again?" Philippe smiled, already knowing the answer and feeling somewhat like a teenager for even asking.
They kissed again, and every nuance of her body, the sound of the quick intake of breath, the slight tremble in her body and even the way her fingers lightly tickled the back of his neck were burned indelibly in his mind. Finally, she pulled lightly on his tie, breaking the spell.
"I'm going to... slip out of this suit, okay?" Her eyes blazed as she spoke, but her voice was barely a whisper, soft and deep. Then she glanced briefly at the bed. "Why don't you get comfortable while you wait. I won't be long."
His lips brushed her cheek. "I will. Please, take all the time you need." Letting her walk away took an extraordinary effort and when she turned and looked at him over her shoulder, he smiled and sighed softly.
"I'll just be but a minute," she said and then closed the bathroom door behind her.
Philippe remembered that awkward moment vividly. There was that insidious uncertainty that warned him against taking off his clothes and getting into her bed, even though it was clearly what they both wanted. He shook his head and laughed at himself. Then another thought jumped randomly into his mind. Why do women run into the bathroom at times like this? What, other than undressing, do they do in there?
Evelyn made it to court with a little time to spare despite the downtown traffic. She had put her tabbed shirt and vest on at the office and had carried her robe with her so she did not have to go to the changing room for women lawyers. She had all of her file and reference materials in a couple of banker’s boxes on a wheeled cart which was in the hands of Michael, her articling student, a student lawyer who works for a year with experienced counsel before writing their final Bar examinations.
It was the first trial for Michael and he was both excited and nervous.
She had coached him on how to behave and what she would need him to do, but now she was wishing she were alone. She wanted a few minutes of calm and quiet, a sort of Zen state she used to get herself prepared for battle, for often, that is what a trial was. She spread her materials on the table and repeated her instructions to Michael. She then stood transfixed watching the door through which Philippe would enter.
The defence counsel, Jackson Richards, and his student arrived along with the members of the public, print and television reporters, and family members of the accused and the victim. Witnesses were not permitted to be present and would be called from the waiting area outside the courtroom. The court reporter and security officers arrived along with the court clerk. It became very quiet as the hour approached and the judge was to arrive.
The accused, who had been out on bail, rushed into court and sat with her counsel. She was out of breath and clearly worried about being late. She was tall and a redhead. She had dressed in a navy suit and white shirt. Her hair was pulled back from her face. All that was missing was a pair of glasses for the librarian look. Clearly she had been instructed not to look provocative.
Evelyn's emotions roiled in conflict. Her stomach knotted in anxiety as she went through her preparation ritual. She felt an unmistakable flush of nervous excitement bubbling just under her calm exterior and threatening to burst through her stoic facade. She closed her eyes and forced herself to relax. This is just another case,
she reminded herself again, and she took a deep breath as she put her game face on.
It was a mask she could hide behind, a poker face that would not give away her thought process or any reaction to testimony or the words from opposing counsel. She always remained unemotional and impassive in court. But today that was complicated with the knowledge that Philippe would soon arrive.
She knew the butterflies she felt were not from any anxiety about arguing her case successfully; she was, as always, confident of that, but rather like those of a teenage girl in love. That was what he had done to her and her professional demeanour. She was terribly afraid her voice would wobble or that she would blush, or, God forbid, that she would say his first name rather than referring to him formally and appropriately when she addressed him in court. This affair was dangerous for both of them and had calamitous implications were it to become public knowledge.
Evelyn’s mind drifted to the warm memory of the evening a week earlier.
Philippe had come home with her after they had met for dinner downtown. They had taken a cab from the restaurant to her apartment. Finally alone, they had kissed first slightly tentatively and then more passionately. She withdrew to her bathroom to undress and, to be honest, to give both herself and Philippe a moment to consider what they were about to do. Their attraction to each other had been there since she was a law student, becoming stronger as they spent time alone together in a faculty office discussing her third year thesis on a complicated point of criminal law and its interaction with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the equivalent of the American Constitution). Her paper was brilliant. But it was not the thing that had most impressed him. Their frustration was palpable, but unspoken. Each knew that they could not take that leap then.
But now, now Philippe was in her bedroom. They had had a lovely meal and drunk a wonderful Barbaresco, actually finishing two bottles as they talked at length over their meal. She was relaxed but not tipsy and any decision she made now would be one made with no excuse. She wanted him more than she had ever wanted any other man in years. He was everything that she admired and turned her on. Evelyn undressed completely and put on a soft pink silk robe. She put a little more perfume on behind her ears, on her neck and shoulders, between her breasts, and on her wrists - all places she wanted to be kissed, but not only those places. She took a deep breath and readied herself. Just like at court,
she thought, smiling.
She opened the door and went back into her room.
Evelyn found Philippe sitting on the bed. He had taken his jacket off but that was all. She walked over to him and stood between his legs, leaning down to hold and kiss his face and mouth. He held her and she found herself on his lap, unbuttoning his shirt as she continued to kiss him. They stood and both continued to undress him all the while kissing and caressing each other. When he was naked, Philippe tugged on the belt of her robe and opened it. His kisses trailed from her mouth to her ear lobe, neck and shoulders. He cupped her breasts in his hands and felt her nipples stiffen as he returned to kissing her deeply on the mouth. Evelyn felt as if these kisses went from there all the way through her. She could feel her arousal below, a contraction of her muscles there and she knew that she was becoming hot and moist.
They somehow managed to move from vertical to horizontal on the bed without being aware of just how it happened, without ever letting go of each other. Evelyn lay on her back and Philippe straddled her, now staring at her.
“It seems we’ve waited forever for this. But looking at you now and having you like this, it was worth it,” Philippe said hoarsely.
Evelyn could not form words. She just pulled him close with a deep sigh and felt his weight on her as he continued to stroke her body and cover her with kisses. Oh God, I knew that I have wanted him for years, but I did not know until this moment how much,
she thought. She reached for him and felt his arousal. His penis was fully engorged and she could feel the delicious weight of his scrotum in her hand. She heard him groan softly as he responded to her touch.
Judges have to maintain a certain aloofness to preserve their impartiality. They have to be careful in social situations and with all who appear before them. The privilege of reaching the pinnacle of the legal profession came with a price. Philippe was pondering this as he readied himself to start the trial. He was certain that he could be fair in his rulings. He knew he would not favour the Crown Prosecutor as a result of being both in love and infatuated with her. No, the law, this case, were too important to him and no matter his personal feelings for her, she would have to prove her argument on its merits and her own legal powers of persuasion. That thought actually made him smile. But he knew that this was not enough. Any possible bias was impermissible, even if it was a perception, not a reality. That was the immutable principle of the justice system.
He had followed her career of course, but reading court reports was not quite the same as actually hearing them from the bench, and deep down he was looking forward to hearing her arguments in person. She had a presence in a courtroom he had rarely seen, and much like a college frat boy pulling for his favorite center to score the winning goal, he felt almost giddy at the thought of seeing it from 'center ice.'
It was a delightful thought, but he forced the beginnings of a boyish grin off of his face. In regard to his responsibility to the law, he would be as impartial as a rock. What did worry him was that by some word or deed, some look or nuance in his voice, that he might give himself and Evelyn away. He did not want the world and all present to be aware of the electricity that flowed between them whenever they looked at each other. Considering how strong his feelings for her were, he knew his fear was well founded.
This was going to be a high profile case. So much of the law was in flux with the advent of the internet and social media. Philippe knew that there would be a lot of attention, in legal circles and elsewhere, paid to every word he uttered in this case. The accused was a woman in her mid-twenties who had had an affair with a younger man, only seventeen at the time of the alleged crime.
This was not a case of “jail bait” as he was over sixteen, and she was not in a position of authority and trust over him, like a teacher or counsellor or coach which would have brought the age up to eighteen. However, the depiction of anyone under eighteen in sexual activity was an offence in the Criminal Code of Canada. This couple had not only had an offline affair, they had engaged in cybersex on camera and exchanged images of it. The irony was that if they had just been having sex in person, no law would have been broken. That dichotomy grated on him, but his responsibility was to judge the law on its face. Whether or not the law was just was a decision that would eventually be decided at higher court if there were grounds for an appeal of his verdict (which, for the record, he wanted to avoid) or by a change in the Criminal Code by Parliament.
Scanning the briefs, he made note that images of the victim in a compromising state of undress were allegedly discovered on the defendant’s computer. This led to criminal charges being laid against Michelle Du Bois, the defendant in the case. The issue at hand was if she was guilty of making and disseminating pornography featuring a person under the age of 18. Given the sensational subject of the trial, reporters had arrived not just from the city and other provinces, but also from the U.S. and elsewhere.
Philippe knew that there would be interest in media from the local newspapers and television, to the New York Times and The Huffington Post online and, to his chagrin, that shrieking blonde on HLN in the States. It was too juicy for any of them to ignore. He could imagine how much more it would appeal to the tabloids if his relationship with Evelyn were revealed. It would not only end both of their careers, but also any possibility of making a life afterward. They would be fodder for Letterman and Stewart and every other late night host. Siberia would not be far enough to get away from this. He felt the beginnings of a headache.
Pulling off his glasses, Philippe tried to clear his mind again. Time and again he had attempted to focus his thoughts on the trial, but the vivid memories of that first night with Evelyn refused to be brushed aside. After years of walking the narrow line of social and professional reticence, he was so thoroughly besotted with her that he could barely think straight. It really should have annoyed or worried him, but all he could do was smile like the Cheshire Cat.
He remembered the burning flush of embarrassment he felt when Evelyn had walked out of her bathroom wearing nothing more than her robe. In that moment, his effort to remain the gentlemen suddenly felt ridiculously out of place. He had been mortified that she might think she had misunderstood his desire for her. Thankfully, she understood what was happening better than he did. He had been frozen by the overwhelming desire she instilled in him and, if not for the gentle way that she helped him undress, he might have made a terrible fool of himself.
It was not for lack of experience that he had been so tentative. Over the years Philippe had enjoyed the company of many women, but none of them, not even his ex-wife, had ever excited him the way Evelyn did. She made him feel young and foolish and aroused him in the most base yet wonderful way.
Images of that night flickered through his memory like pictures in a folioscope. As with any strong memory, some things stood out more clearly than others. The confident feel of her warm hands pulling on the knot of his tie and her soft caresses on his chest as she unbuttoned his shirt were some of those. More vague were those moments when his clothes fell away during their brief but passionate kisses, but nothing could dim the excitement he felt as he drew the sash open on her robe.
For years Philippe had dreamed of what lay beneath her formal business attire, and he could almost hear the blood rushing in his ears as he recalled the soft material slipping from her lithe body. Her skin was fair and flawlessly beautiful in the soft light, and as she had stood before him, he couldn't resist the urge to trail kisses down over her toned belly.
Her breasts were just larger than his hands could cup and stood firm with pleasantly dark and upturned nipples. Gently, she guided his kisses up her body until he found first one, and then the other of her quickly thickening buds. The taste of her skin was incredibly fresh and that same subtle scent of her perfume burned hotly into his senses. He felt his penis hardening in response until it stood rampant in carnal expectation.
Evelyn smiled in contentment as he gently rolled her nipples between his lips and then she sighed softly as her body relaxed against his. A quiet moan passed through her as she exhaled, signalling to him how much she was enjoying his touch. It was a subtle, feminine sound and Philippe doubted very much she was even aware of making it, but to him it was the deepest validation of her appreciation of him as a man. It was incredibly satisfying and he would have been quite happy to become lost in the pliant softness of her bosom.
Evelyn, however, had more urgent desires and his reverie was broken when he felt the delicate touch of her small hands on his shaft. Philippe sucked in a quick breath as she squeezed him rhythmically and he gazed into her angelic face as she began stroking him. Her blue eyes were bright with her arousal and danced with the same playful glint he had fallen in love with so many years before. The spark that had always drawn them together was transformed to a powerful current of sexual energy that broke through any lingering uncertainty.
Philippe laughed with joy and when he suddenly lifted her featherlight body and rolled her into the soft, crisp Egyptian cotton sheets. She joined him with her own peals of delight. They landed with her reclining on her back and he lying on his side next to her with his arm over her just under her breasts.
They lay there for a time, content to stroke and caress each other as he told her how much he had wanted her all those years ago.
Evelyn just held his gaze; it seemed her confidence failed her. Her silence hung heavily, and he might have worried she was having second thoughts, but for her hand still playing slowly yet teasingly with his erection. She stretched and brought her hand to his upper arm and caressed it with her fingertips. "I had no idea you were so strong, Philippe," she said wistfully, "Those Italian suits you wear don't do you justice."
"Moi!" he replied in mock surprise, happy that she had welcomed him, but needing to lighten the mood. "It is a crime that you hide such a magnificent body under those clothes. Tell me, ma cherie, do you choose to wear lingerie that is more suitable for a beautiful woman?" Philippe could feel his French-Canadian accent thickening with his excitement, and he could only hope she would find it charming.
"Really, Philippe," Evelyn went on, "What gentleman would ask a woman if she wears sexy lingerie under her suits?" she smiled brightly, clearly enjoying the pause the banter allowed and challenging him playfully.
Philippe let his eyes wander down her nude body, taking in her sensuality. "I would not ask if you were wearing any, but neither La Perla nor Aubade could do much to improve what I see."
Evelyn laughed softly. "Yes, good genes and two hours at the gym every day. You are kind to have noticed."
"There is nothing about you that escapes my notice, ma cherie."
He leaned close as he spoke and as the last word faded, his lips found hers and he kissed her hard enough to take her breath away. Evelyn's hands rose to his shoulders as they kissed, and then slid down to his biceps as his mouth traveled to her throat. "I love every centimeter of your body."
Goosebumps rose over her skin as his magical kisses sucked and gently captured the sensitive flesh of her neck between his teeth.
"Oh, Philippe," Evelyn whispered as he continued to move down her body. His warm breath washed over her bare skin, making it tingle as it evaporated the tiny film of moisture that trailed behind his kisses. Down, from the valley of her breasts and over the defined muscles of her core he went. Evelyn trembled slightly as she watched him with open-mouthed anticipation.
When he lifted himself and slipped over her, she parted her legs in open invitation to him. Philippe accepted without hesitation and then lowered himself into the warm comfort of her naked embrace. They opened themselves to each other, gave themselves to each other. It was as magical as it should have been given how long they had waited. Every sense seemed heightened for both of them. It was all somehow in another dimension of time and space, slower than reality, allowing them to savour each second of their coupling longer and more intensely.
Philippe imagined himself a mountain climber having reached the summit of Kilamanjaro, knowing that no matter what happened between them from then on that there would never be another moment like this. Evelyn raised her hips slightly and he found his way inside her, moving with slow determination. He did not want to plunge in all at once. This was a delicious transition from two to one, with both moving, breathing, hearts beating in harmony.
They were silent. No words were necessary as he travelled further into her with each stroke, until, finally he reached her core. He felt her warmth and moisture around him as he leaned in to kiss her mouth and neck. He heard her gasps as her hips moved in unison with his, and the beginning of her contractions inside, pulling him seemingly deeper. He felt the familiar tightening of his balls, but wanted to be certain she was there before he gave in to his climax, and it happened.
Her head back, her eyes closed, and a shudder that told him she was there. He allowed himself his release, one that had been more than ten years in the making. He filled her with stream after stream and then collapsed on top of her, holding her close to him. Their hearts were beating fast, matching their breath, and Evelyn whispered softly, “Je t’adore, Philippe.”
His heart broke and soared at the same time, so profound were his feelings for her. He replied, “I adore you too, Evelyn.”
They remained in each other’s arms as Philippe rolled onto his side. They faced each other grinning like two people who had never made love before. Evelyn thought exactly that and told Philippe, who responded that they had a lot of catching up to do. It was all new, and yet there was a comfort between them because of their history that took any trepidation away. This was the culmination of the chemistry that had been there at the law school years before, and it was, if anything, more powerful now. After a few moments of holding and exploring each other as they kissed endlessly. They were ready for more. Philippe said, “I don’t think that I will ever get enough of you, cherie.”
9:00 am. Evelyn watched the clock, wishing she could will it to stop. She knew that any minute now Philippe would enter the Courtroom from his chambers and the court would be called to order. Her nerves were settled though and she felt strangely calm considering the circumstances, but then she always seemed to focus her thoughts when a trial began. She was actually more concerned about Michael than she was about herself. This case had become a media circus and he was obviously feeling the pressure.
"I can't believe the defence rejected your plea offer," Michael said, almost on cue. "Richards must know he can't win this one. He's taking a heck of a risk with Miss Du Bois' future."
Evelyn glanced at the defence. Michelle De Bois sat next to her counsel, fidgeting with her hands as if she wasn't quite sure what to do with them. She was young, just twenty- six, and probably didn't understand how strong the case against her really was. She had put her fate in the hands of an attorney who appeared supremely confident, and who had no doubt convinced her that he could win.
Unfortunately for her, Michelle Du Bois didn't know the difference between confidence and competence. "She's getting bad advice from her counsel," Evelyn replied. "Jackson Richards is a melodramatic grandstander looking to be on television. That kind of thing might work in the States, but it will do him no good here. It would have been better for everyone if he'd kept his practice in Atlanta."
Evelyn felt a growing dislike for the expatriate American, despite his having put in the time to pass the Bar in Ontario. He was admittedly brilliant in his own way and an excellent speaker, but he was also brash and pompous in the extreme. His only possible defense would be to attempt to divert attention away from the facts by framing Miss Du Bois as a victim of circumstance. As a woman who fell in love with a seventeen-year-old and whose actions were a result of her attraction for him rather than her simply being a possessor of child pornography. The argument might even have been true, but the point was almost irrelevant under the law. "If he insists on her entering a not guilty plea, he's going to get that poor girl thrown in jail." Evelyn's contempt for the man simply dripped from the icy tone in her voice.
Her case against the defendant was rock solid and Evelyn had been certain she could reach a plea bargain with the defense. That certainty was, in fact, the only reason she hadn't removed herself from the case. If she had known how pig-headed Jackson was going to be, she would have stepped down weeks ago. The only reason she had stayed on was that she never really believed the case would actually make it to trial. Now that it had though, she found herself faced with a profound decision. Should she carry it through, and risk both her and Philippe's careers, or should she formally request Philippe to remove her from the case? It was a decision she had not seriously thought she would ever have to make, and now she had just seconds to make it. This was the most pressure that she had ever felt in the courtroom.
Clarity of thought left a bitter taste and Philippe grimaced as he stood at the door. In a moment he would pass through and enter his courtroom with more than justice in the balance. He had his future and Evelyn’s on the line. They both were on the cusp of making the biggest decision of their lives, and possibly their biggest mistake.
The professional ethics for lawyers and judges were clear. They could not be involved with each other and have him sit on a case she presented. Even if they had some superhuman ability to remain absolutely objective, the perception of bias was obvious and they both knew should be declared. That fact that they were in love couldn't override that, could it?
If it did, what then about tomorrow? How could they ever be able to openly express their feelings if they went through with this now? Evelyn deserved better from him than a secretive affair and he knew that having to watch him leave each night would weigh on her over time. No, for the sake of both their ethics and their love this couldn't happen.
Philippe stared at the door. The lady or the tiger? He opened it and strode into court. Everyone stood and he scanned the room as he took his seat. Evelyn was looking right at him, but without the tension he expected on her face. She was remarkably calm. Court was called to order and Philippe began. To be continued.
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<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/legal-intrigue-part-one.aspx">Legal Intrigue - Part One</a>