The office looked strange without Broward’s bald head behind the desk. The office had always been packed with file boxes. That hadn’t changed, but now different prints hung on the walls, and Broward’s family photos had disappeared. New carpet was underfoot. Probably because of the bloodstains.
“Can I help you?” His voice was authoritative, strong, and he looked up at me with clear blue eyes, his skin tan and smooth, his eyes passing briefly over me before they returned to my face.
“I’m Julia Campbell. I was the intern and, starting next week, will be a part-time assistant for this wing. I just wanted to introduce myself.” I gestured awkwardly to the doorway. “My office is adjacent to yours. If you need anything, just call out.”
He stood, and I realized he was Brad’s height, taller than me in my three-inch heels. “Are you in law school, Ms. Campbell?”
“No.” I flushed. “I’m an undergrad. I’m still two semesters from graduation but have already started the process of applying to law schools.”
“And what did you do for Broward?”
I sensed a hint of sexual innuendo in his question, but brushed it off, meeting his eyes with professionalism. “I worked mainly with corporate document prep. Any basic filings, annual reports, meeting minutes, operating agreements, he would send to me. I prepared them and then sent them back for his approval.” A slight exaggeration of my duties.
He nodded, looking pleased. “And you had experience in this previously?”
“No, Broward taught me.” I crossed my fingers behind my back, hoping God would give me some leeway given the situation.
He nodded thoughtfully and then smiled. “Thank you, Julia. I look forward to working with you.” He reached his hand across the desk and I shook it firmly.
“Likewise, sir.” I smiled and left his office, my self-confidence patting my back and smiling broadly. I entered my office and sat down, attacking my work stack with renewed enthusiasm.
* * *
THE SOON-TO-BE EX-MRS. Windthorp sat in Brad’s large office, facing his desk. She was exquisite, born beautiful and enhanced by the city’s top plastic surgeons. She wore a tight white tube top with a cashmere cardigan over it, and had long tan legs barely contained with a black miniskirt. Brad flipped through her file, glancing at her occasionally over the top of it. The file listed her age as thirty-seven, though she didn’t look over twenty-six. Her husband was Brett Windthorp, a silver-spoon trust fund baby who had intelligently quadrupled his family’s wealth. His current net worth was listed at seventy-two million dollars. Married six years, no children. No prenup. Brad closed the folder.
“Mrs. Windthorp, why—”
“Call me Lisa.” A cultured voice, probably from a pageant-queen childhood.
“Fine. Lisa, why do you want a divorce?”
“I’m unhappy.” She folded her arms, enhancing her perfect cle**age in the process. Brad looked away, back at the file.
“We’re going to need more than your unhappiness to go to the judge with. Tell me about Brett.”
“What about him?” She sounded almost petulant in her response.
“Just give me a synopsis.”
She delicately sighed, her br**sts heaving. “He’s boring. All he does is work, and expects me to entertain myself all day. When he’s not working, he’s either playing golf or spending time with his friends, who he wants me to entertain, as well. It’s just not what I expected marriage to be.”
Brad met her gaze, her response verifying all of the reasons why he never wanted to remarry. “Okay, so irreconcilable differences. And what do you want from the settlement?”
She seemed surprised by the statement. “Why, everything, of course. I thought that was what you did.”
Brad flexed his hands under the desk, hating his job at this moment. Being good at it made it even more difficult at times. He leaned forward. “You are not going to get everything. You’ll be lucky to get half. You have no children and have been married less than seven years. You need to take a realistic look at this marriage and reassess your expectations.”
The beautiful blonde uncrossed her legs, flashing Brad an eyeful of red lace, and stood, moving forward and leaning on the desk. She tossed her long hair over a shoulder and stared at him, smiling slightly. “Mr. De Luca, I typically get exactly what I want.”
I bet you do. Brad reclined in his chair and lifted his hands, shrugging. “I’m not the judge, Lisa.”
She sniffed and straightened. Patting her hair into place, she lifted her chin at him. “Then make sure you are friends with the one we get.” She turned, grabbed her purse and walked out. Brad watched her tight ass as it moved out his door, then shook his head. Women.
Reaching forward, he picked up his phone and called Julia’s extension.
“Hey.” There was a muffled sound, and her voice dropped to a whisper. “Let me shut my door.”
Brad said nothing, watching through the glass wall of his office as Mrs. Windthorp—Lisa—conversed with Diana, one of his secretaries. Then Julia was back.
“I met Burge.”
“I think he’s going to keep me on. He seems fine. Not as nice as Broward, but not an ass**le, at least not yet.”
“Good. What are your plans for the evening?”
There was silence for a spell, and then she spoke. “I don’t know. I had assumed that I’d be working.”
“Your slave driver is gone.”
“A fact I feel guilty profiting from.”
“So feel guilty. There’s a concert downtown tonight that Rebecca got us tickets to. Come with me.”
“Well, that would depend on who’s playing.”
“Dave Matthews Band. If that is hip enough for you.”
She giggled, a sound that made his c**k hard. “You are unhip just from use of the word hip. Please, please stop, before you age yourself further.”
“So you’ll come?”
“Yes. What time’s the concert?”
“I’ll be ready by eight.”
“I’ll get a driver and see you then.” He hung up the phone, shaking his head and fighting back a grin.
The concert was insane. Held at a small, hole-in-the wall bar, it was intimate, fifty of us and him—straddling a stool and holding his guitar as if it were an extension of his arm. We dined on finger-size portions of bar food while Dave Matthews told stories, joked around and crooned songs I had committed to memory. In the dim light of the bar, with Brad’s grin and Dave’s lyrics, it was like being in a dream. I reached over, trailing a hand over Brad’s arm, his mouth pressing gently against my neck, strands of sexual harmony floating through the air, a hand sliding up my bare leg.