After exchanging pleasantries, the matre'd checked the reservation list and directed McCoy to the main dining room. Jack had dined at Maguire's numerous times over the years. The eatery was a beachfront landmark known for its causal elegance and exceptional cuisine. White table cloths contrasted with the dark walnut furnishings. The dining room was warmly lit by the flickering candlelight of the antique lanterns sitting on each of the tables.
While it was not unusual for tourists to dress formally, the local attire leaned more towards in jeans and sweaters. McCoy had opted for the semi casual attire a white dress shirt under his forest sweater, a pair of dress slacks and his leather jacket. He scanned the room. Weaver waved, smiling as she caught his eye.
As he walked towards her, McCoy couldn't help but reflect on the pleasure he'd felt during their unexpected kiss. Even from a distance Weaver beamed with a radiant glow. The black cashmere sweater complimented her svelte figure. The golden hair was pulled away from her face, loosely secured by a shiny black satin ribbon.
"I'm glad you didn't change your mind." she said grinning. "You always looked attractive in your suits, but I must say, you look even better in something more causal."
McCoy raised an eyebrow.
"Prison certainly seems to have affected your perception of me."
She handed him a glass of champagne as he sat down.
"Maybe being a free woman again has made me more generous. I understand you're a scotch drinker, but I hope you'll indulge me. If early release isn't cause for celebration, I don't know what is."
McCoy studied the glass skeptically, shifting his gaze towards the melodic sound of her laughter.
"Would you like the waiter to sample it first? Jack, if I poisoned you here I'd be back in Riker's before breakfast. Please don't be insulted, when I say my freedom is too high a price to pay for a hastily thought out attempt at revenge."
"Ms. Weaver, I doubt anything you attempt is hastily thought out," he said handing the glass to a passing waiter and requesting a double scotch.
"I hope you won't be insulted if I stick with scotch," he said glancing at the label on the chilling bottle. "My tastes are a bit more humble than two hundred dollar a bottle champagne. Besides, I'm sure you understand why I don't view the appellate courts decision as cause for celebration."
"Humble," she said ignoring his sarcasm. She seeming to be turning the word over in her mind. "That's not a word I would have expected you to use to describe yourself, Jack."
"It's foolish to have expectations about a person you really know nothing about, isn't it Ms. Weaver?"
"In prison, it was either 'Weaver' or my number. Please, call me Samantha," she said ignoring his question as she finished her glass of champagne. "I've acquired a new appreciation for things I previously took for granted. Like identity, taking pleasure in a chilled glass of champagne, or simply enjoying the company of an attractive dinner companion. I have you to thank for my new found awareness, Jack."
Simultaneously, they both reached for the bottle resting in the ice bucket.
"I've got it," he said giving her a look as her hand lingered.
She smiled demurely and slowly released his hand .
"Sorry. In Riker's it was pretty much self-serve," she said amused.
McCoy filled the glass, returning the bottle to the ice bucket as he shook his head in bewilderment.
"If you asked me here expecting some sort of an apology, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed."
"You don't take things at face value, ever do you? I suppose that's what makes you so successful professionally. I've found that the most intriguing people I know have been my most aggressive adversaries. Think about it, Jack. If you'd been locked up for months, your brain turning to mush, wouldn't you want to spend your first night home with someone who stimulated you - in a variety of ways ?"
McCoy sighed as he tried to suppress a smirk.
"I've been locked up on contempt charges more times than I can count. Believe me, I've never looked to the person who put me in lock up for 'stimulation' afterwards."
"Yes, but your actions put you in lock up, Jack. Not your lifestyle."
"I prosecuted you based on your actions. Your lifestyle was irrevelvant," he countered.
"I didn't invite you here to attack you, Jack. But, we both know if your case had been solid, you never would have resorted to calling my former employees. I used my library privileges to do some research on you," she tentatively reached for his hand, noticing the slight stiffening of his jaw." That was a stupid thing to say. I didn't mean to alarm you. Any computer an inmate has access to has extremely limiting filters. Even if I had wanted to, there is no way I could access anything that might cause you concern."
"I'm surprised, not alarmed," he said deliberately leaning back in his chair. Determined not to tip his hand, he kept his tone causal, his hand still in hers." I thought researching cases was something you hired your attorney - Tepper - to do."
She nodded, smiling slightly."That little exercise helped to stave off the boredom of confinement. Besides, Tepper's job was to get me out of jail. A job he did quite well.
"I found the West Law website very enlightening. You have one of the highest convictions rates for major felonies in the country. Many of your peers expect you to fill Arthur Branch's seat, when he leaves the DA's office. You make your cases with primary facts - hard evidence. Rarely do you use secondary tactics like character assassination - it's a last resort," she said leaning forward. "Jack, you know that being perceived as a bad person, doesn't prove guilt."
"I also know an appellate court ruling doesn't prove innocence," he said wondering where the hell his scotch was. "If it were my decision, we would be going to trial again, Ms. Weaver."
"If it was your decision," she said with a knowing smile. "I'm still a free woman, whether you think I should be, or not. That's a statement of fact - not arrogance. Isn't it fitting that I spend this night with a man who is clearly above reproach?"
McCoy stood up.
"Maybe it would be more fitting for you to be having dinner with Arthur Branch."
Weaver looked up at him gesturing for him to sit down.
"In spite of your tactics, you made me ask myself some hard questions. Honestly, I did come out here to thank you. "
"How exactly did you know to 'come out here' to find me?"
"Something you said during the trial. You were coming into the courtroom, coming back from lunch with your assistant - Connie? I was conferring with my attorney, not really paying attention, until you mentioned the crawdads at the Mermaid. I was surprised, because I knew the place. From when I spent summers down here, during college. When I missed you at the courthouse today, I remembered the conversation and thought I'd take a chance and come down here. Spur of the moment. Just to see if you turned up. It's not like I had any where else I had to be."
McCoy sat down, giving her the same hard look he had given her on the witness stand. It was possible. McCoy remembered the conversation. He knew Connie loved seafood. He'd been trying for sometime to convince her it would be worth the drive to join him for lunch some weekend. He was usually careful about personal comments in the courtroom, for obvious reasons. Especially after the events of the last year. But, it was possible...coming in from lunch…maybe.
"And if I hadn't turned up?"
Weaver shrugged her shoulders.
"I'm not stalking you, Jack. I would have come by your office or had my attorney try to set up a meeting. I told you, nothing sinister."
Before McCoy could comment, an apologetic waiter joined them, offering to take their order.
"You haven't even opened the menu," Weaver began.
"I've been here before. I know what I want. What about you?"
Weaver ran her tongue slowly across her lips.
"I know exactly what I want, Jack."