The Defendant

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Chapter 7. Heart to Heart

I sat at my kitchen island pouring over case files. There were still other cases even though the divorce case was to be my main priority. And it was basically all me. Travis it seemed had decided that he would let me do all the work, and I didn’t doubt for a second that he would take all the credit. He’d seemed very unfazed when I relayed the story Wes had told me.

“What does it matter what he did years ago?”

I looked at him, flabbergasted. “You know as well as I that this will look very bad on him. And Delia will use it in her favor to get what she wants.”

He’d leaned back, tapping his chin. “What I want to know,” he pointed at me, “Is how you know the soon to be former Mrs. Alderman?”

“That is completely irrelevant and none of your business,” I’d huffed crossing my arms. He’d leaned forward, his too wide and creepy smile dominating his thin face.

“Do I need to tell the boss you have a conflict of interest?”

I leaned over his desk, bringing our faces inches apart. “If you say any such thing I will cut you naval to nose and not feel an inch of guilt,” I snarled. He gulped slightly, the smile dropping. “Besides, who would do all the work for you if I wasn’t here?” I gave him a wicked smile before departing his office.

The way he’d just dismissed what had happened, what Wes had done. Were all men so callous about things like that? I’d shivered as I’d returned to my office, more confused than I’d been before I’d gone to see Travis.

I was taking the weekend away from the case. I knew come Monday we would know Delia’s exact intentions and I needed a mental break. I took a gulp of coffee before picking up my pen again. I began crossing out words and sentences when a knock sounded at my door. Glancing at the clock on my kitchen wall I frowned. Who would be here to see me at 10:30 at night?

As I opened the door my eyes settled on a very rumpled looking Wes. His face was covered in dark blonde scruff, his eyes red and blurry. The scent of booze washed over me as I leaned against the door frame. “You really have to stop showing up at my door,” I sighed.

He shot me a lopsided grin, bending so our foreheads were touching. “I can’t seem to stay away from you. Can I come in?”

I looked him in the eye, pulling back so we weren’t touching. “I don’t think that’s a good idea Wes.” He frowned slightly, his eyes stormy and unfocused.

“I’ve had a bit to drink.”

“I can smell that.”

“Can we just talk?”

“Don’t you have guy friends for that?”

He shrugged, “I don’t want to talk to them. I’ve been thinking about you since I left your office a couple of days ago. I know I’ve probably ruined any chance I had with you but I need to try to explain. I have to...” he trailed off, his eyes pleading. I bit my bottom lip slightly, my mind turning.

A big part of me wanted to let him in but there was still a piece of me that knew it was a bad idea. Not only was I his attorney but after the secret he’d exposed I wasn’t sure how I felt anymore. My body tingled slightly as he reached out and ran his fingers up my arm. I could see the pain on his face. Despite my torn thoughts I stepped back, brining the door with me so he could step inside.

I walked to the kitchen and poured him a glass of water. Sliding it across the island I reached up and pulled off my glasses before rubbing my eyes. “You look like a sexy librarian with glasses.”

I couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle. “Flattery will get you nowhere. What did you want to talk about?” I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned against the counter behind me.

Wes took a sip of water before setting the glass down and shuffling it across the counter top from hand to hand. “I just need to know if I’ve ruined it.”

“Ruined what?” I frowned.

He gestured between the two of us. “Us, this.... whatever this is.” He sighed before letting go of the glass to drop his head in his hands. My hands itched to reach out and smooth his rumpled hair but I stayed put. “I really thought I could make it farther with you. That you might be someone I could spend my life with,” he muttered.

When he lifted his head back up he was frowning, his eyes brimming with tears. “I have nightmares sometimes. I’m in the room with her and she’s tied down to the table. She’s screaming for me to help but it’s like I’m frozen. Then a guy in all white steps up and slices her belly open and I scream. But it’s nothing compared to hers. Her screams echo in my ears. Then he reaches in and pulls out a baby. Not a tiny clump of cells but a full on baby. The baby cries and cries and it looks like me.” A sob escaped his mouth as a tear fell down his face. “He’s got a head full of hair and his eyes are open as he screams and he’s mine!”

Unable to stand still anymore I walk around the counter and pull his head to my chest. I stroke his back gently, planting a soft kiss on his unruly head. “It’s hard to move on when dreams haunt you,” I muttered, thinking about the pain he must feel each time he wakes up from that nightmare. It reminds me of the pain of waking up from my own.

“And the doctor, he just tossed him in a bin. And then it’s like I’m free and I run to the bin and look but he’s dead. It’s too late and I killed him.” I could feel his tears dampening my shirt as I held him. His broad shoulders shook and I found my face was growing cold from the rapidly cooling tears falling.

“You made a shit choice Wes and sometimes those choices haunt us. All you can do is live your life knowing better than you did then,” I sound, knowing the words sounded stupid the moment they left my lips.

We stayed like that, I don’t know for how long, clinging for each other. My heart hurt for him. I knew the fear of a reaccuring nightmare. Especially one about a decision that you couldn’t change. Again I dropped a kiss on his head, closing my eyes and breathing him in. Eventually he sat up, wiping his face with his hands.

“I didn’t mean to unload on you like that. This isn’t about me. I just wanted you to know I really like you Liv. And I think we could have something. I know I’ve done shitty things, made some bad choices, but I’ve learned from it. I won’t make the same mistakes I did before. I just need you to see it,” he reached out, taking my hand in both of his. He flipped it over and kissed the inside of my palm instantly making me melt.

My mind was in turmoil. Could I hold the sins of his past against him now? Had he truly changed? As much as I wanted to believe so what did I really know about him? We’d spent a few weeks texting, we’d spent a weekend in bed together. I could tell you his favorite food was medium rare steak but I didn’t know what day he was born.

I pulled his hand and he stood, his eyes wide and puppy dog-ish. He followed me back to my bedroom where he kicked off his shoes and laid down beside me. I tucked us both under the blankets and he wrapped his arm around me as I tucked myself up against him. The room was quiet, he barely breathed as if scared I’d change my mind.

Finally I said, “I have a nightmare, almost every night. I’m trapped in a room filling with water and I can hear my birth mother telling the doctors to get rid of me. No one comes for me, I slowly drown.”

He stayed quiet. I worried I’d shown him too much. Given him this piece of me that not even my sister knew. If I’d told her about my nightmare she would freak. She would think I was unhappy with my life. As much as I loved El she didn’t understand abandonment.

“Have you ever thought about looking for your birth parents?”

I shrugged against him. “Not really. My mom and dad are amazing, I don’t need different ones. Besides, they clearly didn’t want me. I’m sure hunting them down wouldn’t be worth it.”

“It might help to know their reasoning.”

“There’s no peace in knowing you’re not good enough.”

He pulled away slightly, his finger pushing my chin up to his face. I looked in his eyes, clearer than they’d been when he arrived. “It’s got nothing to do with you, why they gave you up, and everything to do with them. You are probably better than their wildest imaginings.” He leaned down, hesitantly. His lips barely brushing mine. “I don’t want to push my luck,” he whispered against me.

Closing my eyes I leaned forward enough to feel the pressure of his kiss. He held me tightly as our mouths leisurely explored each other. His mouth still held the taste of scotch. Against my front I felt him swelling and I fought back a moan at the urge to just sit on it. I pulled back breathlessly. I’d made my rules and intended to stick to it.

“I want to continue to know you. But I just still think we need to keep sex off the table.” I bit my lip as I ran my fingers along his shirt clad chest.

“Can I still stay and hold you?” He asked, his voice rumbling through his chest to my hand.

I nodded and he placed a quick kiss on my forehead before dropping back down onto the pillow. “I’m probably going to regret this in the morning.”

He laughed, “Cause you can hardly resist me?”

I shook my head. “No because you snore and I’ll probably not get much sleep.” I smiled as his laughed shook through me. Once it was over the room again filled with silence but it felt nice, comfortable. I snuggled into his warm side, glad we’d had this chance to talk. Glad he’d come to me and trusted me, even though I was still shaky on how I felt. But as the soft beginning of his snores filled the room I couldn’t help but smile.

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