Friday, August 12, 2011

And Justice For All - Chapter 1

 And Justice For All

By Heather Hughes



Patrick sat at his desk and just stared at the picture in his hand. It arrived with the letter that was clear and to the point. Drop the case. Keep your Family. He looked at the picture of his family again and felt a tightening in his chest. Claire held their twin boys while Sara, their daughter, sat on the ground smiling at the camera.

“Mr. O’Donnell, your three o’clock is here.”  His assistant’s voice came through the speakerphone announcing that Alysia Kanelos was here. “Please send her in, Elizabeth.” Patrick put the letter and the photo in his desk drawer and rose to greet the petite woman entering his office.

Alysia Kanelos had her blond hair wrapped into a bun today showing off the sparkling diamonds in her ears. The pale blue of her business suit only added to the appeal and made her look like a Greek Princess. “Alysia, please come in and have a seat. Would you care for some coffee or tea?”

“Just some water, please.” she softly replied.

“Elizabeth, a sparkling water for Mrs. Kanelos, pleaseHold my calls, as well.” Patrick walked back over to his desk and sat back down in his chair. A few moments later, Elizabeth walked into the office with a glass of ice and a bottle of Pellegrino. Once they were alone he turned and looked at Alysia. “Thank you for coming. I’m glad you were able to make it on such short notice.”

Crossing her legs, she lifted her head and looked at him with distress in her eyes. “You’re going to tell me that you’re no longer able to handle the divorce aren’t you?”

Patrick felt like he was slicing the woman’s heart. “I’m sorry, really, I am. I wish I didn’t have to tell you this. I just don’t think I am best…”

“He threatened you and your family, didn’t he?” Alysia asked. Patrick said nothing as a tear rolled down her cheek. “He threatened my first three lawyers too. It’s how he’s preventing the divorce.” Digging in her purse she pulled out her handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. “What am I going to do? No one will help me because of him.”

Patrick rubbed his face and shook his head. He couldn’t stay on the case, but damn it if his bleeding Irish heart didn’t make it hard to walk away. Picking up his smart phone, he scrolled to the name he wanted. Quickly, he wrote it and the contact number down on the sticky pad before tearing the sheet off and giving it to Alysia.

“I can’t risk the lives of my children. Please understand; here is the name and number of someone who can help you. She’s handled cases like this before. I trust her. I’ll contact her in advance and transfer the file over. I wish I could do more.”

Gripping the note like her life depended on it, she nodded before rising. “Thank you, Mr. O’Donnell. Thank you so much.” Gathering her purse she rose and headed out the door.

“Elizabeth, I need to have Mrs. Kanelos’ file messengered to Buckley and Monroe, ASAP. Call the service now so the files will be there by 3pm.” Hanging the phone up, Patrick hit talk on his phone. “Max? It’s Pat O’Donnell. Yeah, it’s been a while. Listen, I’m sending you over some files and a client. She’s going to need all the help you can give her.”

Chapter 1

“Charlie, I need you to pull the Martinelli file.” Max stretched behind her desk and looked down at the file again. Alysia Kanelos was petitioning for divorce from Doran Kanelos. The man was a multimillionaire who, it was said, made most of his millions doing very illegal things.  Importing cars, drugs, weapons, and sometimes people illegally into the country and then he’ll sell them to the highest bidder.

Four months ago is when she got the phone call from Patrick O’Donnell. He had recommended her because of the way she handled the Martinelli divorce. From what Pat had said, Mrs. Kanelos had gone through four lawyers – including him. She was now officially number five and the lone attorney to last longer than three weeks. For Maximina Soteris high profile divorces and the trouble they brought were second nature. “So how is the Kanelos divorce coming along, Max?”

Looking up at Peter Monroe, Max smiled at him and tilted her head. “It’s going just as expected. He’s contesting it, of course. Every Monday I get my weekly anonymous letter telling me to drop the case or I’ll regret it.” Closing the file and putting it in her briefcase before standing up. “This is going to be a long one.”

Pete nodded and watched Max pack up. “Well, luckily, you have a three day weekend; and normally that means not working while you’re away.”

Max shook her head. “I’m just going to finish this tonight and drop it off at the court house on my way up to my parents place. It’s the renewal of the restraining order and a request to increase the distance to 1000 yards. Plus, I promised Mom I wouldn’t work this weekend and we both know there is nothing scarier than my mother when she’s angry.”

Pete burst out laughing and nodded. “That I have to agree with. Your mother frightens even me. Especially when she starts yelling in Greek.”

Charlie came in with the Martinelli file and a wrapped box. “Mailroom sent this up. They said it was dropped for you at the front desk an hour ago.” Taking the file and box, Max set both down on her desk. “There’s no note, and it’s not Monday, so I am assuming it must be safe to open.” She laughed softly while un-wrapping the package before opening the lid. “Oh, my god,” she whispered. Pete and Charlie came over and were shocked at what they saw.

“That poor cat.” Was all Charlie could say.

Peter looked at her and sighed, rubbing his eyes. “Max, this is getting ridiculous. I’m calling the police.”

She closed the lid and shook her head. “We don’t even know that it came from him. There’s no note.”

“Damn it, Max. We all know it’s from him. I’m calling the police.” Pete left the room and Max heard him on the phone seconds later.

“Charlie. Please, get this out of here. Take it somewhere else.” Picking up the box and holding it at arm’s length, Charlie headed out of Max’s office.

“They’re sending someone over to look at the box.” Pete said as he walked back in.

Max sat at her desk shaking her head. “How could someone do that to an innocent animal? It’s horrible and cruel.” Crossing the room, Pete sat down on the edge of the desk and looked down at her.

“You need to drop this case, Max. Between the phone calls, emails, the letters, and now with this gutted and decapitated cat? You need to drop the case. Let it go. Someone else can handle the divorce for her.”

Max pushed back from the desk and shook her head. “That’s just the problem, Pete. Everyone else has said the same thing. Let it go and someone else can handle it for her. Well, not me. He’s not going to scare me. Someone needs to be there for Alysia and help rescue her from this evil man.”  Pete rubbed his hand through his short, white blond hair. Looking over at Max, he sighed. “Someone needs to be there for you too, Max.”

Nodding, Max stood up and sighed. “I know, and that’s why I have you Pete.”

Three hours later, Max sat in her car and on her way back home. They had officially filed a complaint against Mr. Kanelos. They didn’t have any real proof the box came from him but, it was added it to the list of complaints building against him.

Heading into her townhouse, she waved to the police officer sitting out in front. Extra protection. Something Pete made an absolute must for her if she was going to remain on the case. Once inside, Max kicked off her heels and peeled off her jacket before climbing onto the couch. Laying her head back against the pillow, she sighed and just let the silence of her house wash over her.

Hearing her cell phone ring Max reached over and sighed before opening it. “Hello?”

“Hey baby, Dad and I just wanted to double check that you were still planning on being up here in time for dinner.”  Max smiled at the sound of her mom’s voice.

“Yes, Mom. I just got back to my place. I’m going to change, grab my suitcase and head right out. I should be up there in about two hours or so.”

“Good. Can you please stop by Thanos’s shop and get some of his olives? I’m all out and I wanted to have some for the meal.”

Max smirked and nodded. “Yes, Mayam. I’ll stop by and pick some up. Is there anything else you need while I’m there?”

“No, just the olives. Call and let me know when you’re finally on the road, okay?”

“I will. Love you.” She ended the call and stood up. So much for relaxing before I leave.

Rolling her shoulders, Max headed upstairs to change. A weekend with the family was happening whether she was ready for it or not.

Come back on October 12th for Chapter 2 of And Justice for All.

Heather Hughes
Contemporary Romance and Romantic Mystery Author
Wildcat * And Justice For All *An Apple A Day

Copyright © 2011 Heather Hughes

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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