Jack McCoy had been called many things during his tenure with the district attorney's office. A good loser was not among those things; particularly when the loss in question was on an appeal he had viewed a slam dunk for the DA's office.
An overturned jury verdict was a kin to a fowl being declared in sports. It was a victory snatched away because of a technical error, not because the defendant was any less guilty.
Such were McCoy's thoughts as he skillfully wove his Yamaha though the Friday evening traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. The drive out to the island was a distraction from the unsettling news of Samantha Weaver's release. McCoy was more than ready to take another crack at the corporate icon who had murdered to protect her secret relationship with a call girl.
McCoy was certain he could gain another conviction. Even with out the testimony that had damned her character the first time. That's what made D A Arthur Branch's decision so hard to accept.
Jack, drop it. Cut your losses - or rather - cut mine, Branch had ordered. This one is too much of a hot potato.
McCoy understood the unspoken meaning of Branch's words. Branch wanted to silence the very vocal outcry from the feminist community. An out cry that was creating problems with the D A's re- elections plans. Being a conservative was one thing. The accusations of 'targeting' corporate giants like Weaver was another. Those accusations smacked of endorsing gender bias in the workplace. Something even the most conservative of women wouldn't stand for at the polls.
So a murderer goes free? McCoy was still pondering the question hours later. He stared out at the ocean, finishing the last of his scotch at the Island Mermaid. It was McCoy's habit to stop at the popular bar beside the Ocean Beach pier whenever he stayed on the island. He was grateful this was his weekend to use the beach house. The solitude was a welcome change from the hustle of Centre Street. A change he craved after a loss like the Weaver case.
McCoy and his fist wife had bought a small beach house years ago, before the real estate market had taken off. The settlement agreement had left the house in both their names. Set up like a timeshare, the Fire Island house would eventually pass from the surviving spouse to their daughter. The house being one of the few assets left unscrathed by his second divorce settlement.
He was about to order another scotch, when the bartender set a fresh drink in front of him.
"Complements of the lady at the end of the bar."
McCoy looked across the bar and did a double take.
"Send it back," he said pushing the glass away as he stood, tossing some cash on the bar.
McCoy was half way down the pier when the willowy blond breathlessly caught up with him.
"Mr. McCoy, please wait-"
McCoy turned, the woman taking a step back, seeing the fury his eyes held.
"Ms. Weaver you won't have your freedom long, stalking a public-"
The young woman shook her head.
"You don't understand, Mr. McCoy. I have no sinister intentions. I, well, I tried to catch you in at the courthouse. But, by the time the paperwork was completed-"
"Ms. Weaver why are you here," he demanded intently searching the dark eyes. The time she had served in prison awaiting her appeal had made Weaver slightly thinner. The face paler, but none the less striking . The sharp, unflinching gaze he had become accustomed to during her trial, remained.
"I wanted to thank you."
McCoy laughed a harsh, humorless laugh as he continued towards the end of the pier.
"It wasn't my intention to use evidence that would lead to a reversal. Or is that your way of gloating?"
"If I wanted to gloat, I'd be talking to The Ledger about prosecutorial misconduct or planning a law suit against the city and you," she said matching his sarcasm.
"Both actions I'd expect you to savor," he shot back.
"I'd savor this much more," she said suddenly reaching upward. Taken off guard, McCoy found a hand on his shoulder, steadying Weaver as her other hand reached to bring his head forward and down. Instinctively, he responded to the inviting lips pressed against his mouth.
"What the hell was that," he growled, breaking the embrace as suspicion replaced shock.
Weaver smiled seductively up at him.
"You're well aware women find you attractive, Jack. Why would I be any different?"
"I'm not your type," he retorted ignoring her use of his first name. "Have you forgotten Julia Veoso?"
Her smile deepen. "I've been locked up with nothing but women for months. Besides, you're an interesting man. An attractive one, as well. Is it really so surprising I'd notice?"
McCoy shifted his gaze away from Weaver to blindly scare out at the Atlantic while cursing himself for the physical reaction he couldn't ignore.
He felt her rest her hand on his as she said softly, "don't worry - you of all people should know, I'm not stupid. I lived like a nun in prison."
McCoy shook his head, feeling like he had somehow entered an alternate universe. The universe of the absurd.
"You said you wanted to thank me. Why?"
"Because this whole thing has been a wake up call for me. Granted, I didn't see it that way at first. But, all that time away from the corporate world gave me a chance to see that, even though you were wrong about me, my life wasn't as it should have been. I was absorbed with my career, nothing else mattered… I can see why you thought I would want Charles Dillon dead."
"You're saying you didn't?"
"The trials over, Jack. You're not refiling the charges. I can be honest. I may have wanted him dead - that doesn't mean I made it happen."
"You're right. The trial is over. You shouldn't give a damn about what I think. Why do you?"
Weaver started run her hands over her upper arms. The sun was all but gone, the ocean breeze becoming intense. McCoy could see the goose bumps forming around the cleveage revealed by the light sweater. He resisted the gentlemanly urge to offer her his jacket.
"Honestly, I don't. During the trial I sensed... well, I sensed what kind of man you are. I sensed we have a lot in common. I'm intrigued by that."
" A lot in common? Like what?"
"Have dinner with me and find out."
McCoy sighed as they started back towards the boardwalk. He didn't trust Samantha Weaver anymore than any other defendant - less in fact - since she had been able to successfully manipulate the system. But he was curious. He had questions of his own. They were in a public place. It was unlikely she was going to suddenly shoot him with witnesses everywhere. Especially her first night out of prison.
She could see the hesitation in his face and grinned with triumph.
"Maguire's. Eight o'clock," said she moving away from him. "Oh, and Jack - I'd offer to buy, but I know a public official can't receive gifts. So will make it Dutch treat."
McCoy smiled in spite of himself and nodded as she blended into the crowd. By the end of the night, McCoy planned to know exactly what Samantha Weaver was really after.