Stipulation, p.1
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       Stipulation, p.1

         Part #2 of Legal Affairs series by Sawyer Bennett  
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Page 1

  “Do you have your pajamas?”

  “Yes,” I say with a smile.

  “And toothpaste?”

  “Yup. ”

  “And everything you need in your briefcase?”

  “Double-checked. ”

  “Finally… and most importantly, did you pack sexy lingerie?”

  My eyebrows shoot upward at Macy while she gives me a lecherous grin. “There is no need for sexy lingerie,” I admonish her. “It’s a business trip, for goodness sake. ”

  “Yeah, but an overnight business trip… two nights to be exact, with sexy, hot, and orgasm-inducing Number 134,” Macy points out.

  “He’s not Number 134,” I snap at her. “He’s Matt Connover, my boss. ”

  Macy sighs in pleasure, assuredly replaying all the sexy details of my encounters with Matt, which I ultimately told her about over two bottles of wine. “He’ll always be Number 134 to me. ”

  “You’re demented,” I tell her. “Demented and sad… but social. ”

  Macy throws a pillow at me, catching me squarely in the face. “Stop quoting 80s’ movies. It freaks me out when you do that. ”

  “I did it just to get you to shut up about Matt. You skeeve me out when you start fantasizing about him based on my experiences. ”

  Snickering, I bend over and zip up my suitcase. I have to meet Matt at the airport in an hour, so I need to get down and get a cab. Pulling out the handle on my overnight and snapping it in place, I start rolling toward the front door. “Will you miss me while I’m gone?”

  “I will totally miss you while you’re gone,” Macy tells me. “You’re my girl. ”

  “I’ll always be your girl,” I tell her, and then amend. “That was Forrest Gump… definitely not an 80s’ movie. ”

  “Much more palatable,” she commends me.

  I give Macy a quick hug, tell her to not get into any trouble while I’m gone, and then head to the airport.

  When I get there, I hustle my way through security and toward my gate. Even though JFK is crowded, I immediately spot Matt. He’s reading a newspaper, a briefcase and carry-on suitcase beside him. He’s wearing another perfectly tailored suit, that probably costs more than a month of my salary, and has one leg crossed over the other. He looks like the height of confidence and sophistication all rolled into one.

  As if sensing I’m there, he lifts his face up and scans the crowd, coming to a firm rest on me. His whiskey eyes trail down me briefly, and then come back up. The look isn’t sensual, but it isn’t businesslike either. In fact, I might categorize it as wistful. Matt gives me a small smile in welcome as I approach.

  I take a seat next to him and ask, “How was your weekend?”

  I ask because I still can’t help the inane jealousy that courses through me when I think about Matt hitting up One Night Only as he said he would. I also ask because I’m a glutton for punishment. Because not knowing is worse than knowing the absolute worst thing he could possibly say to me, which I realize is a confusing and spectacularly tongue-trippy sort of thought had I indeed actually voiced it, but since I used my inside voice, it’s all good.

  Matt doesn’t disappoint. After staring hard at me for a moment, his lips curl up and he says, “I had an amazing weekend. One of the best ever. ”

  Bitter acid swirls in my stomach. His comment is pointed, designed to hurt, and also to make sure I clearly remember what he told me. Our time is over, and he has moved on. He apparently had a great hookup with someone and just like that… I’m forgotten.

  It makes me a little bitchy, so I say, “What a coincidence. Me too. Gotta love that One Night Only. ”

  That tiny muscle in Matt’s jaw pops back and forth as he stares at me, then he smiles at me. Almost evilly. “Definitely love it, although they should rename it Two Nights Only. It was that good of a weekend. ”

  Oh, that pisses me off, and I’m pissed off at myself that it pisses me off. Score one for Matt Connover. That was like a punch in the gut and, even though I have no right to be, my feelings are hurt just a tiny bit.

  Sometimes I hate being a woman and all the things that come with it that make me soft and mushy.

  Pushing those thoughts aside, because they really have no room in my head, I ask Matt to tell me more about the case that is sending us all the way to Chicago for depositions. He makes a smooth transition from gloating over his weekend sexcapades, and spends the next twenty minutes until our flight is ready describing, with mind-numbing detail, about his lawsuit. It’s against a major auto manufacturer that produced a vehicle where the seatbelts were faulty, causing their customers to be ejected from the vehicle during rollovers, or shot through the windshield in head-on collisions. Matt spoke with fervor and righteous indignation over the poor victims, practically sneering when he told me he had proof that they knew the seatbelts were faulty, but didn’t want to spend the money to do a recall. Rather, they rolled the dice and hoped no one made a claim for compensation.

  I have a feeling that they are going to be very sorry for crossing Matt Connover.

  Apparently, we would be doing the depositions of some of the big wigs in the corporation, to see just how high up the ladder the conspiracy to keep the secrets of the faulty seatbelts went. My job would be to sit there and take tedious notes on every question and answer, making sure that I even paid attention to the deponents’ facial reactions in case Matt stumbled on something that they really didn’t want him to know about.

  I’m excited to see Matt in action. Despite the rocky start to our working relationship, I am eager to learn from him. I did some of my own Googling of the illustrious Matt Connover, and found that he is well respected in the legal community. He’s already made quite a name for himself after only ten years of practice.

  I just need to remember to keep my libido in check, my heart on guard, and my work beyond impeccable, and all will be well in my life.

  The first day of depositions are over, and we’ve all met down in the hotel bar/restaurant for drinks, dinner, and then more drinks.

  We’re on the more drinks part now, and there is room to celebrate. Matt killed it today, and it was almost a surreal experience.

  First, we were at the corporate defendant’s law firm, a massive, steel-and-glass structure that dwarfed the rest of the Chicago skyline. The depositions took place in the largest conference room I’ve ever seen. The table was massive and could seat fifty people, although there were only about fifteen in attendance.

  The lawsuit is complex, and there are multiple parties. There are five plaintiffs total, and all of their lawyers had flown in to hear the testimony. Matt had long ago been appointed lead counsel. He was the only one asking the questions—and the man was pure genius.

  I thought the questioning would be contentious but quite the contrary… Matt took the ‘good old boy’ approach. He softened up each deponent with benign questions, carefully poking and prodding. Nodding in commiseration, he gave sympathetic looks over how hard their jobs were. At one point, during the first deposition, I even began to wonder if Matt’s heart was really in it.

  But then, just when he had them practically eating out of his hand, he attacked and went on the offensive. He caught them in lie after lie, and then pulled out reams of documents to shove under their noses, showing how he exposed their lies. I swear he even had one guy in tears after pointing out the multitude of untruths that had been captured by the court reporter, who was recording every single word with a smirk on her face.

  Yes, tonight we are celebrating, even though we have another day’s worth of depositions tomorrow. Matt told me it wouldn’t be so easy during the next round. He told me that, rest assured, the defense would be up all night preparing their witnesses to try
to withstand Matt’s attacks the following day.

  Still, I have an immense level of pride in Matt as I watch the other plaintiffs’ lawyers slap him on the back and repeatedly shake his hand. They are all riding high on the fresh kills today, no doubt seeing the way paved clear for a successful outcome for the victims in this case. Matt is like a bright beacon among a sea of dull and boring people. Everyone wants to be around him, everyone wants to hear what nugget of wisdom or wit will come out of those sexy lips, and everyone wants a piece of him.

  Including me.

  We are into our third round of drinks following dinner, and I mentally tell myself that this is the last one. I need to get to bed and get some sleep, needing to keep my mental processes sharp tomorrow. Matt definitely relied on my notes, often stopping several times in the deposition to lean over and quietly ask me to clarify something that had been said.

  Taking another sip of my wine, I watch Matt standing off to the side, deep in conversation with one of the other attorneys. It should be an absolute sin how good looking the man is, and another pang of longing and regret that we couldn’t have something hits me deep in my chest.

  Someone jostles my barstool, causing some of my wine to spill on my dress. I had changed from my plain black business suit to a jersey wraparound dress in navy blue for dinner, and grimaced when a large splash hit my lap. Turning around to glare, I come face to face with one of the other attorneys that was in the depositions. His name is Brian Something-Or-Other. When Matt introduced me to him earlier today, his eyes immediately dropped to my br**sts and he looked at them continually throughout the day.

  He pushes in toward the bar, knocking into me again. “Might want to have a little more care there,” I tell him testily.

  He turns to me with bleary eyes, and yup… he’s drunk. Looking at me for a moment as if he doesn’t recognize me, his eyes finally focus a bit and a sleazy smile takes over his face. Right on cue, his eyes drop to my cle**age, which is on half display in this dress, and then back up at me. He licks his lips and says, “Hey… you’re Matt’s paralegal, right? You were in the depositions today?”

  And I sat across from you at dinner tonight for two hours, jerk. Good memory.

  “I’m a lawyer,” I tell him firmly.

  “Right,” he says, like a bell just went off in his head. He leans in toward me, wobbling slightly, and pretends that this is just our little secret. “You are one sexy f**king lawyer. ”

  As if this couldn’t get any worse, a little bit of spittle flies from his mouth and hits me on my chest. I look down in distaste, taking the napkin from under my wine glass and dabbing at my skin. This sudden movement apparently lures his gaze back down to my boobs, and he openly leers at them.

  “They don’t talk, you know,” I tell him sarcastically, and he finally has the grace to look back up at me.

  He’s grinning when he says, “Yeah, but I bet I could make them sing if you gave me a go at them. ”

  Okay, that’s it. I’m calling it a night.

  Dropping the napkin on the bar, I grab my purse and try to stand up from my barstool. Apparently, Brian doesn’t understand that he’s just royally pissed me off because he reaches a hand out, completely and utterly oblivious to the fact that he’s in a public place, and actually squeezes my right boob. “Come on, baby… let’s go back to my room and get it on. ”

  Ew, that’s just f**king gross. I’m momentarily shocked that he actually fondled me, but it lasts only a second. I knock his hand off and try to push my way past him, but he has the gall to reach back out and try to grab me again.

  All out of patience, and apparently not concerned myself with the fact that we are in a public place, I c**k my arm back and get ready to punch him square in the snout. Before I can let my hand fly though, another hand reaches out and grabs Brian by the shoulder, slinging him away from me.

  Brian is too drunk to fight against that kind of momentum and he goes sailing across the room, crashing into an empty table and chairs, where he falls to the floor.

  And there’s my knight in shining armor, standing over him with fists clenched and murder in his eyes.
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