“It’s always good around here. Tourists move in and out. Winter’s always slow, but I’m doing fine.”
“Holy fucking shit!” The men all jump from their seats, their arms raised above their heads. “Go! Go! Go!”
“Montgomery’s running the ball!” Zack yells. “Holy fuck, an eighty-yard run for the touchdown!”
“That’s right, baby!” Ty yells, high-fiving everyone, including Seth.
“Did Josh and Zack just bump chests?” Jill asks, as we stare at the spectacle before us.
“Yeah,” I reply, and giggle when Thor begins barking and jumping around the cheering men.
“Montgomery is on fire today!” Josh cries. “Whew!”
“Who is Montgomery?” Jill asks Cara.
“I think he’s the quarterback.”
“Huh,” Jill replies. “Okay.”
Ty glances over with a wide smile and winks at me before settling back on the couch, taking a sip of his beer.
“How does watching football turn normal men into cavemen?” Cara asks. “I expect them to start belching and ordering us to bring them more beer any second.”
Just then, Seth lets loose with a huge belch courtesy of his cola.
“I rest my case.” She laughs.
“Good one,” Zack says, laughing, rather than admonishing him.
“Men are gross,” Jill whispers, and shakes her head.
“They are predictable,” I agree with a laugh. “And I have to admit, mine is sexy.”
“So is mine.” Cara sighs.
“Ugh, okay, I’m changing the subject.” Jill pulls the wings from the oven. “Let’s eat.”
I slip through the courtroom doors late Monday afternoon and find a seat on the aisle, about halfway up to the front of the room. This is one of only four courtrooms in town, and the spectator area is about half-full.
I’m not sure what the trial is about, other than it’s a custody battle. The father is trying to take his kids from his ex-wife, who is Ty’s client.
Brad Hull is currently in the witness chair, and Ty is questioning him. Ty didn’t see me come in, and I’m relieved. I want to watch him when he doesn’t know I’m here.
“When was the last time you were called to Ms. Jones’s home due to Mr. Jones breaking the protection order?” Ty asks.
“One week ago,” Brad responds.
“Can you please tell us what happened when you arrived on scene?”
“Mr. Jones was clearly intoxicated—”
“Objection!” the opposing counsel calls out. “Officer Hull couldn’t possibly know from looking at him if Mr. Jones was intoxicated.”
“Lieutenant Hull is a police officer who has vast experience with intoxicated citizens,” Ty responds, speaking to the judge.
“Did you test Mr. Jones to assess his status?” Judge Wilkins asks Brad.
Brad continues, “The kids were crying, huddled on the front porch, and Mr. Jones was standing over Ms. Jones with his fist cocked back, ready to strike her.”
“To the best of your knowledge,” Ty continues, “had he already struck her before you arrived?”
“I’d had reports that he had hit her. Her eye was already blackened when I got there.”
“What happened next?” Ty leans on the podium in front of him.
“I approached Mr. Jones and tried to speak with him calmly.”
The voices become a monotone in my head as I stare at Ty’s back, watching his economy of movement, marking notes with his pen, flipping papers. He pulls a large photo out of a folder and holds it up for the judge to see, then to Brad, and finally turns to share it with the opposing counsel.
His eyes meet mine for just a brief moment. There’s a flicker of surprise, then they heat before the side of his mouth turns up and he looks away, moving without breaking his stride, unfazed by my presence here.
His demeanor is completely different from anything I’ve seen from him before. I’ve been with the friend, the brother, the lover, but I’ve never witnessed the lawyer, and I have to say, it’s hot as hell.
He’s calm and cool, even when Mr. Jones gets riled up at something Brad says and jumps to his feet, yelling obscenities at his ex-wife.
Geez, and he thinks he’s going to win this case?
Thank God I never went off birth control, despite Jack’s wanting me to. I would never want to put children through anything like this.
Ty doesn’t even flinch as the judge calls for the bailiff to restrain Mr. Jones. I sit in awe for the next hour and watch Ty call two more witnesses. What Jill said is clearly true: he’s a shark in the courtroom. Even the judge values his opinion.
Ty is going to go far in the legal world.
Pride spreads through me, warming my chest and igniting butterflies in my belly, and I find myself grinning from ear to ear. Last night in bed he was so tender, so loving. It’s obvious that he’s in love with me, and as I sit here, watching this complex man in his element, remembering how kind, loyal, and playful he is in other facets of his life, it occurs to me that I’m 100 percent in love with him as well.
The thought of ever being without him fills me with so much grief it’s debilitating.
Now, how do I tell him? Because the thought of that also fills me with absolute fear. I’m not worried that my feelings aren’t reciprocated; it’s just the idea of the whole thing, because I’d decided long ago that I’d never put myself in this situation ever again.
Ty walks across the gallery to his chair, his eyes once again seeking out mine before he sits next to his client.
“I think we’ll wrap things up for the day,” Judge Wilkins announces. “Mr. Jones will remain in custody due to the current charges against him. We should be able to wrap this up tomorrow.”
With that, the judge rises, and everyone else in the courtroom rises and waits for the judge to leave, then the room begins to empty.
I stay seated and wait for Ty to speak with his client, gather his papers into his briefcase, and walk back to me.
“Hey,” he greets me, with soft gray eyes.
“Hi.” I grin and stand. He takes my hand in his as he leads me out of the courthouse. “I hope you didn’t mind that I came to watch.”
“I don’t mind.” He smiles down at me and leads me down the sidewalk toward his office. “What did you think?”