Two Years Later
I climbed out of the taxi, paid the driver, and lugged all my bags with me. It had been a challenging week, as the opinion from the court hadn’t been announced yet. They were behind schedule, so I stayed in town, at the Willard Hotel, instead of returning to Boston for the weekend. What did it matter where I worked? It was just a bed to lay my head on.
The door man helped me gather my things. I had too many bags. My assistant had offered to drive me to the hotel, but I wanted her to get home to her family at a decent hour. I sent her on the two o’clock plane back to Boston. My mind was already ticking off the things I was going to do this evening—a few drinks, dinner in my room, a bath, some work and then sleep. My favorite kind of Friday night at the Willard.
I juggled my purse on my elbow, my suitcase given to the bellhop, and my briefcase shifted onto my other shoulder.
“Ms. Jones, may I take this to your room?” George the ever-present doorman asked.
“Oh, no… it’s okay,” I protested, trying and failing to get all my bags in order.
George frowned at me and took the heavy briefcase that caused me trouble. He disapproved of me carrying my bags at all. It was my attempt at trying to take care of myself. I gave up and handed my burdens to him. My lifesaver.
I smiled. “Thank you, George. Can you put it near my desk?”
“Will do, Ms. Jones. Is that all? Are you heading to the Robin?”
I adjusted my purse and gave him a large, relieved smile. “It’s like you read my mind.”
“I heard they are behind schedule on the opinions. We’re rooting for you.”
I handed him a folded bill, and he took it, placing his other hand on top of mine.
“We’ll win this one. It’s too important.”
He was correct. Civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community was important. I’d worked on this case for a little over two years. Fighting for Obi and the other families’ rights to become foster parents had consumed my life and most of my professional caseload. The Fullerton case was a way to honor my brother and his family, his husband and my two nieces.
Once I had moved to Boston, my workload intensified. Cook retired, thank goodness, and they gave me a senior position with the firm.
You would think I would be happy with that. I was, but, deep down, I hadn’t been able to move beyond Los Angeles, ghosts of my family haunting me, pushing me to do more. Fight harder, leaving little to no room for a personal life. That’s why Brindle and Jackson loved me working for their firm. A single woman with no family distractions, although not necessarily healthy, made for a winning lawyer.
I walked into the bar and took my regular seat. There was a new bartender. I hadn’t seen Jordan in a few months, and I enjoyed talking to him at the bar. He would read my face and he knew what I needed. It always came with a side of water. It was our joke, ‘stay hydrated.’ The new bartender came over, put down a napkin and looked at me.
“Is Jordan coming in today?” I asked.
“Yeah, or Sam. They’re a little late. I need to leave.”
“I’ll just have… I’m not sure what I want. Can you give me a sec?” I picked up the menu of drinks and looked it over. I didn’t know what I wanted without Jordan here. I relied on him for… drinks.
Just then my phone buzzed, and a text came through from my colleagues on the other side of town asking me to go out with them. I rarely went out with them. I was sure it would involve the karaoke bar near the Space Museum at the Holiday Inn. Last month, that’s all they talked about. I declined and told them it would be an early night. Fridays were always a tough night for me. After talking to reporters and preparing briefs for my other cases, I was exhausted.
Another text came from my boss, Chuck Brindle, in New York, congratulating me on a job well done on the Phillips case that came through today in the lower courts.
“Another win for our Ace! Thanks for all your hard work!”the text said. I had worked with the ACLU in to get an undocumented worker out of jail. Notifying defendants of a court date is a thing. Follow the law, people.
“Come up to New York tonight. I’ll take you out with Silvia to celebrate!”
“I’m in New York next week on Wednesday. Let’s do that then,” I countered.
“See you then, Ace. My treat!”
Laughing, I slid my phone back in my bag. A cold, colorful drink was moved in front of me. I pushed it away. “Hey… um… I didn’t order this.” I looked up from the glass. Jordan’s blue eyes held mine. My chest heaved, breathing quickened. He had that effect on me. He was clean shaven and handsome. So handsome.
Jordan stood in front of me, smiling. His broad shoulders filled the room. Tonight he was wearing a dark grey suit jacket and a green button up. Like an actor in one of those romcom movies. “I know. It’s a new drink I’m trying out. Tell me what you think.”
I took a sip, and it was red, sugary, and fruity. “It’s good, but sweet.”