The Defendant

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Chapter 12. Truth Serum

“Let me tell you, this young man knows some tricks on the grill,” my dad said enthusiastically as he cut another bite of his steak. “This is the best my steak has ever tasted!”

Wes chuckled lightly. “Just some tricks of the trade.” He turned to me and winked. My cheeks turned pink as I focused back on my plate. My mom had plied me with question after question as we’d prepared the side dishes in the kitchen. It had only gotten worse once El had finished Maddie’s diaper change and joined us.

“I’m so glad you brought Wes. Dad and Zane needed some fresh blood.”

I groaned, “Please don’t say blood while I’m trying to make food.”

El grinned before reaching over and popping her finger into the frosting i was currently whipping. She screwed her face slightly. “More sugar.” She turned and began pouring cups of iced tea. “So tell us more about Wes!”

I’d sighed as I did as she asked and poured in more powdered sugar. “You already know about him El.”

“Well I don’t! Fill your mama in,” my mom said with a laugh. And I’d done just that. I’d kept some of the more unsavory details to myself, my sister smiling with a wink each time she knew I’d told a fib.

“It must be so exciting, being a chef,” my mom said with a smile. “We’ve never been to one of your restaurants but if you can make my husbands steak this good then we will definitely have to see what you can do!” My face flushed as I stared at my mom. She’d been full of laughter and compliments since Wes had come in from the deck with the men.

He laughed along with her, squeezing my knee slightly. “Anytime you want, I’ll have a table waiting.” And I knew he would. Wes was just that kind of person. We finished the meal, everyone’s spirits high. I stood and helped clear the table before helping mom slice up the cake for desert.

She leaned against me and whispered, “I like this one baby. You’ll have to bring him by more.” I smiled slightly as my stomach twisted slightly. There were so many things I wanted to tell her right now. I wanted to tell her about his wife and the divorce, how he might be having a baby. I wanted to tell her I was scared because I liked him too. I liked him more than I’d ever liked anyone and that meant trouble. It meant he could hurt me. She patted my back gently. “Take it a day at a time love,” as if she could read my mind.

I nodded, swallowing past the lump in my throat as I followed her to the table. “And then the plumber pulled out a handful of toys that had been jammed down there!” Zane finished his story as we set down plates. Wes was laughing, the sound making my body tingle. I tried to shove away all my doubts. Mom was right, one day at a time.

I sat down next to him and he instantly took my hand in his. It felt so natural and I felt the blood rushing to my face. There was no denying Wes made me happy. And I was finding it harder and harder to remind myself why it’s best to keep him at a distance.

After desert my mom insisted on showing Wes the family photo album. I groaned loudly as I rolled my eyes. “He’s not interested in me wearing jelly sandals mom,” I said. El snorted as she wrapped her arms around me.

“It’s a right of passage sis. Remember when I brought Zane over, heavily pregnant and introduced him as the father of my baby and new fiancé? It can’t get worse than that.” Begrudgingly I agreed as Wes shot me a quick wink before turning back to the pages of the album.

“And there she is with her own personal library as she called it. She’s been reading since she was tiny and practically collected books. And here she is as a baby in the bathtub!”

“Mom!”

“Oh shush I’m sure it’s not something he hasn’t seen before.” At this my sister and Wes roared with laughter and I flushed brightly. Mom continued on with her pictures and stories as if nothing was wrong. I crossed my arms and leaned against the door frame, watching the two of them. Wes was so open, taking in all my moms stories just as I’m sure he’d heard all about next seasons football from my dad. He looked like he was having a good time. In fact, he looked like he belonged.

“I’m glad you brought him sis. He seems like a good guy,” El whispered.

“He really is.”

“Soooo can I cal him your boyfriend now?” With a chuckle I bumped my hip against her.

“Let’s see how the next few weeks play out,” and I walked over to join them on the couch. Wes instantly reaching out to take my hand. My dad, Zane, and the kids ambled in loudly and I couldn’t help but smile. I didn’t come home as often as I should but sitting here, surrounded by laughter and happiness, I vowed I would more. Maybe I’d even bring Wes.

*******************

Come Monday morning I was still walking on cloud nine. The meeting with my family had gone so well. Wes fit in with them perfectly and I could tell my folks liked him. We’d spent the rest of the weekend virtually wrapped up in each other and I’d loved it.

I smiled at Tracy as I headed into my office. “Good morning! Any messages?” I asked cheerfully. She looked at me questioningly. I don’t think I’d ever greeted her so exuberantly.

“You have a meeting with the Mr. Mason at nine. Also the contracts from the Sampson case are on your desk for review. Coffee is there as well.” I smiled as I thanked her and went into my office to settle in for the day.

The morning went quickly. Between my meetings, phone calls, and emails I hadn’t even had time for lunch. But my blood was rushing. I felt better than I ever had and I wasn’t sure if it was entirely work related. Something about having Wes around, being a part of my family, made me feel like he was here to stay. My intercom beeped loudly, pulling me from my thoughts.

“Ms. Baser, Mr. Prescott just buzzed that the results for Mr. Alderman’s DNA test are back and they will be meeting in the conference room in 30 minutes.” My stomach swirled with nervous butterflies. Wes and I had talked about the outcome of this test a few times. As much as I didn’t want it to change things I knew it would. His child would come first, as it should.

I quickly finished up the project I was working on, pushing the thoughts of the test out of my mind. What would be, would be. And after the day we’d had with my family I knew my future had to have him in it. Him and his child. With a small smile I gathered my papers and slipped my heels on before heading to the conference room. As soon as the door opened, Wes and I shared secretive smiles that I hope Travis didn’t notice.

In typical Delia fashion, she was not here yet. We’d had the results mailed to our office so we would know they hadn’t been tampered with. Wes reached out under the table and gave my thigh a squeeze. Instantly, my panties dampened and I bit my lip, reminding myself to stay on track. This was an important meeting. These results would determine how the rest of the case went.

“Are you ready Wes?” Travis asked politely. Wes nodded at him.

“I’m glad to have you both here today. I know whatever the results, I’m in good hands.” His hand slid up my thigh causing my breath to catch in my chest. His fingers were warm on my skin and my clit pulsed in time with my heart, desperate for his touch. I shifted slightly, opening my legs slightly in spite of myself. I craved his touch like an addict. A small grin spread over his face as his fingertips trailed along my damp underwear and I closed my eyes.

Just then the door flung open and his touch disappeared. I stood quickly, holding my hand out to Delia’s attorney. He shook it politely before Travis’s and then sat down next to his client. She was dressed in a tailored black dress with sky high heels and bright red lips. I fought to control my face, keeping it neutral instead of glaring. I know why she’d married Wes. She’d wanted his money, his status. She didn’t really care about him and this baby was just a bargaining chip.

She crossed her arms and glared at the three of us. “I still think this is silly. Wes is the father of this baby, I have the dates.” She pouted prettily at him. “Don’t you just want to dismiss this whole silly notion of divorce and be a happy family?”

He shook his head slowly, “We weren’t very happy Delia and you know it.” He gestured to Travis who pulled the envelope out of his briefcase. I was glad they’d given it to him. Considering my current involvement I don’t think I could have waited for the meeting to know the answer. What was in that envelope would just effect Wes and Delia, I was in this now.

With a deft hand he sliced open the top and pulled out a long sheet of paper. He frowned as he read it over. Then with a slight nod he slid it over to Delia and her attorney. Beneath the table, Wes found my hand and squeezed. “As you can see Mrs. Alderman, the DNA results show that the baby is most decidedly not Mr. Alderman’s.” My breath escapes me in a whoosh.

Delia frowned as she picked up the papers, her eyes rapidly moving over the words. “There has to be a mistake,” she cried, her hands trembling slightly. “My dates were right! It has to be Wes’s.”

Wes stood slowly, resting his hands flat on the table as his eyes focused on her face. “We both know you weren’t being faithful Delia. Now, take the offer we’ve given you. It’s the best you’ll get. If this continues I’ll have to change the reason for divorce to infidelity. Imagine how that will look in the papers.”

Her face went white as she looked at him, frozen in place. The room was deadly silent. I glanced over at Travis, his face triumphant, before glancing up at Wes, his face grim and determined. Slowly her attorney rose, buttoning his suit jacket. “I will discuss the terms with my client. I don’t see a problem with the agreement as written. Thank you lady and gentlemen.” He reached out and lifted Delia gently from her seat, her face still shocked.

“You’re making a mistake Wes,” she practically growled. “I was there for you! I know your secrets!”

He shrugged slightly but I could see his knuckles whitening from the pressure he was putting on them. “Everyone has secrets Delia, even you,” his voice was low and menacing and I glanced at him in surprise. Delia drew herself up to her full height, tugging her arm from her lawyers before prancing out the room and hopefully out of all of our lives.

Travis turned and patted Wes on the back. “Looks like this is settled then. We’ll need a few more signatures once the final papers are done but that’s it. Congratulations Mr. Alderman. I’m going to call up to your father and let him have the good news.” Travis practically skipped from the conference room leaving Wes and I alone.

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