Appealed, p.16
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       Appealed, p.16
 

         Part #3 of The Legal Briefs series by Emma Chase
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  “I . . . that’s . . .” she stutters, trying to regain her composure, but Justin’s words roll right over her.

  “I could go to jail for twenty years, or die tomorrow, and it wouldn’t make any difference to anyone.” He looks at Mrs. Potter. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted someone, anyone, to know I’m here.”

  The courtroom is silent except for the sound of Justin crying.

  Kennedy stares at him, a thousand emotions playing out behind her eyes. And probably a thousand memories.

  I hold up my hand. “Recess, Judge?”

  “Granted.” He bangs his gavel and the jury is ushered from the room.

  I walk past Kennedy, who’s standing stock-still, and meet Justin just outside the jury box. He wipes at his eyes and I tap his back.

  “It’s all right, buddy.”

  As we head back toward the defense table, Mrs. Potter glares at Kennedy. “You should be ashamed of yourself! Berating this poor sweet boy like that!”

  “I . . . I didn’t . . .”

  Mrs. Potter pushes forward to hug Justin, patting his back gently. “There, there. Come on now, I have some cookies in my pocketbook. Harold, get this boy a cookie!”

  Since Justin looks like he’s in good hands, I take Kennedy’s unresisting arm and pull her out the door.

  “Conference?”

  I walk her down the hall to one of the small, empty conference rooms. There I gently guide her onto the folding chair at the table.

  “Oh my god,” she says, still stunned.

  “Breathe, Kennedy.”

  “I . . . holy shit . . .”

  “Kennedy.” I say it stronger, gaining her attention. “Breathe.”

  Her eyes go to my face. “He completely fell apart in there.”

  “Yeah.”

  “He’s . . . he’s not a criminal . . . he’s just a lonely little boy.”

  “I know.”

  She rubs her forehead. “Oh my god—and I broke him down.”

  I nod. “Yep. You sure did.”

  “Because it felt good, Brent.” She pats her chest. “It made me feel good. Strong.”

  “Yeah . . . I got that.”

  Her breath comes out quick and shocked. “I didn’t want to ever feel weak again. So I went out of my way to rip into him. Because it made me feel powerful to make him feel bad.”

  “I know,” I tell her softly.

  And her voice rises, with horrible realization. “Brent—I’m the bully!”

  Tears are imminent, and I put my hand on her shoulder. “Kennedy, it’s okay.”

  Her forehead drops to the table, banging it.

  “Hey!” I put my hand on the table so she can’t do it again. “Easy there. I happen to like what’s in that head of yours, so let’s not damage it, okay?”

  Guilty, wet eyes gaze up at me.

  I sit down across from her. “Okay—look—Justin’s a good kid. A lonely kid, yes, but you didn’t break him. He’ll recover, believe me.” I hesitate, gauging just how freaked out she is. “I realize epiphanies are fucking exhausting—I’ve been there myself. But since we’re kind of under the gun, time-wise, how do you feel about discussing a plea deal now?”

  It only takes a moment for Kennedy’s back to straighten and her chin to lift. And Federal Prosecutor K. S. Randolph stares back at me.

  “What are you offering?”

  “A guilty plea that stays on his juvenile record and won’t follow him to adulthood. And a sentence of two years of probation, to be served under the computer tech division of the FBI or Homeland Security. With an agent who recognizes Justin’s talents and wants him to use them for good.”

  She leans back. “That’s a . . . unique arrangement.”

  I shrug. “A friend of mine had a similar setup when he was a young delinquent. It worked out really well for him. This way, Justin won’t grow up into an evil cybergenius who hacks the nuclear codes because Mommy didn’t love him. He’ll have someone keeping an eye on him. He’ll matter, Kennedy—and I think that’s what all this was about in the first place.”

  She taps her fingernail on the table, thinking it over. “Four years. I want him supervised until he’s twenty-one. And no more banking ‘accidents.’ He pulls anything like this again, he goes to prison.”

  I grin. “That vengeful streak is definitely sexy.”

  She smirks at me, then holds out her hand.

  And I shake it. “You’ve got yourself a deal, Counselor.”

  Kennedy moves to stand, but I hold on to her hand—’cause I’m not done yet.

  “I had something delivered to your house today. It’ll be there when you get home. I want you to wear it tonight, when you come to my place at seven sharp.”

  I squeeze her hand. “Please say yes.”

  She does me one better. She leans over the table and kisses me.

  Then she says yes.

  • • •

  After all the formalities are taken care of, I walk Justin out of the courthouse into the warm, sunny day. He’s got Mrs. Potter’s number in his pocket and a bocce date at the park with Harold this weekend. Since he needs a ride home, we head down the steps toward the corner where Harrison will pick us up.

  Halfway down, Kennedy walks out of the courthouse to head back to her office for the afternoon. Two federal marshals in civilian clothes trail a few feet behind her when she’s approached by a reporter in a yellow pantsuit with a notepad in her hand.

  “Miss Randolph, what are your thoughts on the upcoming retrial of Gino Moriotti?”

  Kennedy’s tone is confident. Cocky.

  It’s pretty hot.

  “Our case is every bit as solid as it was the first time around. I see no reason why the outcome won’t be identical. Conviction on all counts.”

  “And how do you feel about the rumored contract that Mr. Moriotti has put on you? Are you concerned about your safety as the case moves forward?”

  “Gino Moriotti has made a lifelong career of intimidating people, of getting his way through violence and fear. In this case, he should prepare for disappointment.”

  And as I watch the tiny blond badass practically strut away, I think proudly, that’s my girlfriend.

  16

  This time, Kennedy shows up: at seven sharp there’s a knock on the door. I wait in the backyard while Harrison goes to open it. The whole afternoon, my energy level was buzzing even higher than usual. I tried to get some work done, but I kept wondering when Kennedy would get home.

  And what her expression would be when she opened the box I’d had delivered to her—a big white box with a red bow. Large enough for the dress, shoes, and purse that were inside it.

  My mother has a personal shopper she’s worked with for years. With the amount of time my hands have spent on Kennedy’s body, I know her dimensions pretty frigging well. Well enough to describe the perfect dress that’ll fit her like a custom-tailored glove.

  And I’m every bit as good as I thought I was.

  Because when Kennedy steps onto the back patio, she knocks the breath out of me. Her flawless neck and dainty arms are bare in the white strapless dress—practically glistening in the moonlight. The soft, shiny fabric hugs her breasts, pushing them up and together, creating a tasty cleavage line that I want to dip my tongue into. The dress cinches at her tiny waist, then flares just a bit, the gauzy chiffon fluttering slightly with the light breeze, just above her knees.

  The dress is lovely. Sexy but elegant. Something a woman would wear on a special night out . . . or a girl would wear to her prom.

  Her hair falls loose and curled around her delicate shoulders, her lips are shiny with a touch of gloss. And her smile—it’s all hope and wonder and amazement. My heart pounds in my chest—because I was able to give that to her.

  Kennedy looks around the yard, at the twinkling lights strewn through the trees and bushes, at the candles glowing softly on the table set for two. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer plays out of the speakers
—they were a big hit in the nineties. When those stunning eyes fall on me, I know she gets it. She understands what I’m trying to do.

  I shrug. “You didn’t get to go to the senior dance . . . I figured it’s time to rectify that.”

  “Brent . . .” She sighs. “This is . . . wow.”

  I bite my bottom lip with a nod. “Oh, there’s more.” I open the small box on the table and step up to her.

  “You got me a corsage?” There’s laughter in her voice.

  “Yep.” I start to pin on the small red rosebuds. “When I was seventeen, I probably would’ve gotten you a wristlet—because I would’ve been too intimidated to pin this here.” My fingers graze her soft skin beneath the top of her dress. “But I’m all man now, so this corsage is no match for me.” Once it’s on, my hand skims down her arm, making her shiver. “And I got to touch your boob, so—bonus.”

  The sound of her laughter echoes across the yard and warms my blood. Then her head tilts as the song changes. To Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph.” And Kennedy’s smile glows even brighter.

  “I love this song.”

  I lift one shoulder. “I didn’t at first. The radio stations overplay it, make it annoying.” And I look into her eyes. “But lately, I like it a lot more. It reminds me of you. Of us.”

  She nods slowly and takes my hand. “Dance with me, Brent.”

  “I thought you’d never ask.”

  My arms wrap around her, pulling her flush against me. I follow her small steps, but mostly we just sway. Kennedy’s cheek rests against the lapel of my tuxedo and I kiss the crown of her head.

  “You look beautiful,” I tell her—although the tent in my pants, pressing against her, probably already gave that away.

  “Thank you.” She lifts her head and looks up at me. “Thank you for doing this. It’s like . . . a dream come true.”

  Before I lean down to kiss her, my thumb strokes her cheek. “Yeah, it really is.”

  • • •

  A week later, Kennedy calls me midmorning at the office. “Hey, you’re coming over tonight, right?”

  She’s never seen the original Escape from New York—a cult classic and favorite movie of mine. But she agreed to let me pop her Snake Plissken cherry tonight.

  I lean back in my chair. “Wild dogs couldn’t keep me away.”

  “Okay, good. I need your lacrosse stick. I need it really bad.”

  It takes me a second before I know how to answer.

  “Is that, like, a code word for my dick?”

  Her laugh tickles my ear through the phone.

  “No—it’s code for there’s a bat in my attic and I need your lacrosse stick to catch it.”

  I sit up so I can fully process such a ridiculous statement. “There’s a bat in your attic?”

  “Yes.”

  “And you think you’re going to catch it with a lacrosse stick?”

  “That’s what I said.”

  “Okay. Kennedy, let me lay it out for you. You are beautiful and brilliant and you’re fucking mind-blowingly talented in the sack. But you suck at lacrosse. I’ve seen you play. You couldn’t catch a basketball with a lacrosse stick if it was anchored to the ground.”

  I practically hear the eye roll.

  “Well, I’m going to have to. I called two exterminators and both of them want to kill it. Bats are harmless creatures, and they eat their weight in bugs every night. I don’t want it dead, I just don’t want it living in my attic.”

  “Then it’s lucky for you I have two lacrosse sticks. We’ll catch it together.”

  That’s code for she’ll swing at the air and I’ll actually do the catching.

  I hear her smile. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

  • • •

  With my sticks in hand, I roll up to Kennedy’s house before dusk so we’ll be in position when the flying rat shows itself. I nod to the marshal stationed in his unmarked car at the curb and walk in her door without knocking.

  We’re past that now.

  I find her on the couch, stretched out on her stomach—giving me a sumptuous view of her tight ass cheeks peeking out beneath tiny running shorts—petting and talking to her cat Jasper. I’m beginning to suspect he’s the demon spawn of Mephisto, evil ruler of hell in the Marvel universe.

  “Who’s a sweet kitty?” she purrs. “Such a pretty pussycat.”

  “His owner’s prettier.” I smirk.

  Kennedy rolls to her side to look at me. “Ha-ha.”

  “Not even kidding.” I lift the sticks. “You ready to do this?”

  She pops off the couch. “Yep.” Then she grabs a Yale football helmet from the table and slips it on her head. “Ready.”

  And she looks so fucking cute my cock lifts for a better view.

  “Nice helmet. Did you date a football player you forgot to tell me about?”

  She smiles. “No. This was a Halloween costume—junior year of college.”

  “Mmm . . .” And I start thinking of outfits. Specifically, Kennedy in all types of outfits—and out of them. “Do you have a cheerleader costume?”

  She shakes her head. “But I was Supergirl the year after.”

  And my mind explodes.

  I bite my fist at the image of her tight, perfect little body wrapped in royal blue spandex and teeny—hopefully crotchless—red bottoms, with a satiny red cape swirling behind her.

  Can’t forget the cape.

  “Why the hell am I just hearing about this now?” I complain. “Do you still have it?”

  Her smile is slow and sultry. “I do. It’s in the attic.”

  After I catch that bat—I’m going to fucking kiss him.

  An hour later, after Kennedy swings a near-miss at my head that would’ve knocked me unconscious, we have the ugly little squatter in a closed cardboard box. We take him to the Tidal Basin after dark and release him into the wild.

  Then we go back to Kennedy’s and I screw Supergirl bent over the arm of the living room couch. Twice.

  • • •

  The following week, Kennedy is elbow deep in preparations for the Moriotti mobster retrial. We steal hours together—she slips into my bed after midnight, and I bring dinner, and my cock, to her office. So that Saturday, she agrees to shelve work and drive up to my parents’ place on the Potomac River for the night. They’re spending the weekend at the lake house in Saratoga, so we’ll have the whole estate to ourselves.

  I’m particularly looking forward to having her back in my childhood home to act out every illicit fantasy I had in each of its rooms. And there’s a lot of rooms in that house.

  We drive up in my convertible with the top down, the sun shining, my hand resting on her thigh, and Tom Petty blaring from the radio.

  Henderson, my parents’ butler, greets us both with the warmth of a dear uncle. He takes care of our bags, and we take the boat out onto the river. After cruising for a while we anchor the boat, then swim and fish the afternoon away. The water’s cold as a witch’s tit, but the sun is warm when we climb out on shore. We spread out a blanket on the beach and then, because it’s totally secluded, we warm up . . . in other ways.

  Her skin smells like coconut—beachy suntan oil. The bare flesh around her pussy is smooth and tastes faintly of salt on my tongue. When I spread her with my fingers and dip inside, her knees dig into the sand on either side of my head. Kennedy lies on top of me, her blond head in my crotch, her mouth rising up and down over my dick with perfect suction. I press down on her ass, bringing her closer, giving my roving mouth fuller contact with her cunt. My blood zings through my eardrums like rushing water and I feel slightly drunk. I go to town on her—sucking and kissing, rubbing my face and tongue against her clit. She hums around me and my hips jerk up.

  She’s close. I know it by the way her hips roll wildly—losing all inhibitions—going mindless. Seeking, needing, only caring about that building sensation that’s about to burst free. I squeeze her ass and trace the line between them with one finger—gliding, teas
ing.

  Someday, one day—she’ll take me there. And it’ll be fucking magnificent. But if it’s going to be good, anal requires a little more forethought than I had for this day trip. So instead, I slip one finger into her ass while at the same time I rub flat, tight circles on her clit with my tongue.

  And she goes off like a fucking cherry bomb, with a long, endless moan that reverberates deep in my gut.

  Then she goes slack and weighted on me. And as fantastic as her mouth feels, I don’t come yet. I have other plans.

  I roll us to the side and flip around so my chest is pressed up against her slick back. Pulling her hips against my pelvis, I lift her leg and slide effortlessly inside. Kennedy’s head rests on the blanket as I pump into her—giving my mouth unfettered access to her neck, her shoulder. I suck and kiss and lick that soft skin. I scratch her with my chin and press my teeth against her, stopping just short of biting. And sounds like growls crawl up my throat. With my cock deep inside her, my free hand roams—rubbing her sensitive clit, sliding up her stomach, squeezing her velvet breasts.

  My climax climbs, peaks, and ripples through me. The pleasure so heightened—so intense—I lose control of my movements. And my mouth.

  “So good. Love this . . . Christ, fucking love you . . .”

  When I regain command of my faculties, my forehead rests on Kennedy’s shoulder blade and her weight leans easy against me. But as my heart rate slows, she stiffens. Tightens.

  And pulls away.

  Shit.

  I lift up on an elbow and roll her so she’s on her back, with nowhere to look but up at me. “Hey.”

  She smiles—but it’s forced. “Hey.”

  My voice sounds deeper. Rough. “Are you good?”

  “Yeah.”

  But I don’t believe her.

  She doesn’t say anything for several moments. Then her brows inch closer to one another. “Is it because of how I look now?”

  “What?” I honestly don’t have any idea what the hell she’s talking about.

  “Is that why you want me? Is that why I’m here?”

  A scowl pulls at my face. “No. Of course not.” My eyes wander over her familiar features, remembering her at nine, and thirteen, and every year I’ve known her until now. “You were my best friend—I always thought you were fun. Awesome. And then, when we were older, I thought you were really fucking cute. Even behind your glasses and beneath your bulky sweaters, I thought you were pretty. Once the boners became a regular thing, the idea of your braces scared me a little—but they were never a turnoff.”

  She looks . . . thoughtful. Not happy at my revelation or relieved, like I thought she would be. She sits up and I shift over—leaning my elbows on my bent knees—as my dick lies exhausted against my thigh.

  Kennedy’s eyes peer out over the water. “Do you remember the last week of
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