“That sounds like pro bono work.”

“I’m just saying that we have a lot of power, and instead of stepping on the little people, we could maybe help them. I’ve been there. I know what they suffer.” She eyed him up and down. “I don’t know if you’ve ever really suffered before, but I’m kind of putting myself out there on a limb. Mind helping me off the ledge and agreeing to help?”

“So…what? You want me to spend a few more extra hours at the office to work on cases? Other cases?” he guessed.

She shrugged. “If you still have a job after this, then yeah. Why not?”

Why not? That was the question.

Honestly, when had I ever done anything for anyone but myself?

Helping people wasn’t the reason he’d become a lawyer. He wasn’t a social worker. But maybe helping people would be just the thing he needed. And, for a second, it dulled the ache in his chest and gave him something to think about for a future that had looked so bleak only moments before.

Their meeting ran over with the boss man, and by the end of it, Clay was second-guessing agreeing to help Gigi with more work. It’d been bad at the Supreme Court, and this workload was nearly on that level. He had a ton of cases of his own. Not that he’d ever been put off by having a lot of work to do. He usually just barreled through it with a single-minded madness for it, but he didn’t know when he’d have time to work in anything else.

The best thing about the heavy workload was that he had next to no time to think about Andrea.

He spent the next week in a blind stupor. He and Gigi would be the first ones at the office and the last ones to leave every day. Their relationship was, to his utter surprise, completely platonic.

Ever since they’d reconciled, they’d formed a shaky friendship. It was something strange and new for him—to sit with a woman for hours on end and just talk about work. Of course, he still noticed her clothes…and the fact that she wore less pantsuits. But he wasn’t trying to get under her skirts, and she made no moves toward him.

It was nice.

It was like having a friend.

The second week of silence from Andrea, he started working on other projects Gigi had handed to him now that she kind of trusted him. Cases he rarely would have looked at before—disability cases, domestic violence, housing disputes. But the majority of them were dealing with the orphanage that Cooper & Nielson sponsored ever year at their annual gala event. In some way, these matters took his mind off of his own issues far more easily than big corporate law cases.

But at night was when it got tricky.

The breakup was hitting him much harder than he could have ever imagined. Even harder than that because he’d never once even imagined a breakup. Away from work, the only way he could forget the insanity that was now his life was when alcohol would numb the pain.

“Hey,” Gigi said, sticking her head into his office, “I’m about to head out. You want to get a drink or something?”

“Yes.” He grabbed his coat as he stood. “I most definitely need a drink.”

“Why am I not surprised?” She led the way to the elevator.

“Hey, you invited me. You can’t then insult my drinking habits.”

Gigi raised her eyebrows as the elevator deposited them into the parking garage. “Oh, I definitely can.”

“Whatever. You drink like a fish, too.” He clicked the fob for his Porsche, unlocking the car.

“I never said that I didn’t have a problem,” she said, dumping her purse on the floor of his Porsche and sinking into the passenger seat. “I just said you have a bigger problem.”

He smirked his classic dimple grin at her. It had been harder and harder to find it since Andrea had left. Fuck, it had already been two weeks. He tried to block the thought from his head, but it just reared up without warning.

Gigi and he decided on a place a short distance from the office. Nowhere he used to frequent with the guys. Nowhere that Andrea would show up. Just a regular bar that would be happy to serve him whiskey while Gigi downed vodka like a champ.

“So, tell me what really happened with you and your girlfriend,” she prodded after they were a few drinks in. “You never really said what happened.”

Clay tossed back his whiskey and shot her an exasperated glance. “I was hoping you’d never ask.”

“Well, I’m asking now. So, lay it on me.”

“I don’t know. After we ended up at Yale together, we were in a relationship for ten years. We’d been talking for the five years before that. She has abandonment issues because of her parents’ divorce and I…” He paused, not sure how much he was ready to divulge.


“I have a lot to live up to,” he admitted.

“No shit. Your dad and brother are in Congress. No wonder you work so hard.”

He shrugged. “Whatever. Andrea and I decided we’d have an open relationship. No one would get hurt, but that night when I first met you, I got attacked. I was robbed and beaten to within an inch of my life. I was lucky someone had found me and brought me to the hospital.”

“Fuck,” she groaned. “That’s awful.”

“Yeah. I guess Andrea thought that changed shit.”

“That would definitely change shit.”

“But then she wanted it to mean things I just wasn’t ready for.”

“Like what?”

Clay shrugged. Everything. He hadn’t been ready for anything she was sending his way. She had wanted more than the arrangement they’d had, and he hadn’t been ready to hear that. He knew that now. He’d been spooked. The thought of changing the way things were terrified him. She had gone and changed things anyway.

He knew that he hadn’t been fully with it since leaving the Supreme Court. Too locked in his own head about moving forward with Daddy’s plan for his life that he’d neglected her and himself.

He was damn sure that, if he got that second chance, then he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

“A real relationship. We argued about it, and she thinks I slept with someone else.”

“Did you?” Gigi asked with raised eyebrows.

“No. But I told her I was going to.”

“Why would you do that?” she demanded. “Guys are such idiots.”