Chapter thirty seven
Hands cuffed behind him I look on as he is being dragged away from the courtroom finally giving me the satisfaction that I have succeeded in providing justice for my client.
Checking my wristwatch it was already past 5 P.M I know I was already running late for the dinner so I hurried out of the courthouse and towards the parking area. Seb must be already at my place preparing the dinner, I hope I’ll be able to make it in time to at least help him out even though he insisted on doing everything himself.
As I walked towards my car a hoarse voice called out to me from behind. I stopped in my tracks and turned to face him.
" Mr. Jared Johnson.” Surprised to see him here especially seeking me out this way.
“Miss. Dickens, I need to speak to you.” He demanded walking closer to me standing the same height as me invading my space.
Taking a step back,” About?” My voice indifferent. I knew what he wants to talk about. This man is not here to have a friendly chat with me.
“Tell Linda Banks to drop her case otherwise it won’t be a pleasant ride for her and as for you Miss. Dickens do you want that little firm of yours to be shut down and be out on the streets looking for jobs which I’ll be making sure that no one hires you,” He pauses smiling at me smugly as he lights his cigar taking his time to take a long puff,” You know what be a good little girl and convince her to drop the case.” He casually drops his threats running his fingers through his grey hair.
I clenched my hands into a tight fist, anger boiling inside me with clenched teeth I glared at him,” Threats and threats are it Johnson, how pathetic of you. You and Leonard are greatly mistaken if you think we would back out. If I were you I would not waste my time making pathetic threats and focus on the case instead.”
Throwing cold angry words at him I headed towards the car but stopped in my tracks and turned to face that cold stare,” And just so you know not everyone wants to be a partner in some glitzy firm in Manhattan. You talk about me being in the streets hunting for jobs, well guess what I wouldn’t mind setting up a booth in the street providing legal assistance to people who needs it. Out of my face Johnson, I’ll see you in court.” I unlocked the car and got in.
I was shaking all over, I know his threats were not idle, his client Leonard was a dangerous man. But I cannot and will not back out, I owe it to Linda, I have to fight for her. With a shaky hand I drove out of the parking lot, he was still standing at the spot I left him staring straight at me.
Jared’s record is a perfect one. Harvard Law School Graduate, a partner at one of America’s top law firm Watkins & Sullivan. His career spans more than four decades of experience in the courtroom, he is the top of his game lost only hand full of cases.
Just thinking about it makes me feel slightly at the edge. I need to step up that’s it nothing more nothing less.
Finally reaching my apartment I parked the car and arranging my dark burgundy pencil skirt I stepped out of the car and walked towards the apartment wondering whether Dominic has reached. In all the unpleasant commotions I forgot to call him and tell him I was headed home.
I stepped out of the elevator and rang the doorbell. The door opened with a loud chorus of Happy Birthday from seven familiar faces making me grin from ear to ear despite my foul mood.
“Happy birthday Ell,” Both Jemi and Michael squeezed me into a tight hug followed by Robin and Alex.
Releasing my self from Alex my attention shifted to both of them. Both standing tall. One with the dark brooding look and the other with devil-may-care look. They were both casually dressed, jeans and T-shirt, it was strange but nice in a way because they were the type to be always in suits.
Both of them step up at the same time towards me making me feel slightly awkward. I was hoping so much that the awkwardness between the three of us would die out with time, but I can see that it was still there and I just hope we will be able to keep everything aside just for tonight and have a good time.
Since Dominic stopped in his tracks. Seb instead steps up and give me a tight hug,” Happy birthday Bella,” I muttered a thank you as we released each other,” Not so young anymore huh.” He smirked.
I swat his arm,” Moron. Go back to cooking and I hope you remember the talk I had with you.” A sly smile sets on my lips.
“The coast is clear Bella. You hurt my feelings by doubting me this way but I’ll let it slight since it’s your birthday,” He faked a sad look which made me let out a low laugh shaking my head.
I turned to face Dominic as Seb and the others move towards the living area.
He hugged me giving me a quick peck on my lips,” Happy Birthday once again sweetheart.”
“Thank you, babe. Were you hear early.” I wrapped a hand around his waist as we walked towards the others.
“Yes. Seb and I came together.” He returned as we settled down on the sofa.
“Listen up people,” Michael waved his hand towards us standing and facing everybody, once he got our attention he grabbed the glass of champagne lifting it up,“I would love to say a few words to this sexy attorney BFF of mine,” He diverted his gaze at me smiling.
I returned his smile warily chanting on my mind please don’t say anything inappropriate,” Ell Happy Birthday. I wish you all the happiness. May you have a fabulous life. A life full of laughter, lots of success, love, friendship and ooh,” He paused eyes darting quickly at Dominic and then back at me with his usual I am up to no good smile, here we go I thought,” And have an incredibly satisfying sex life obviously,” He winked at me.
“Hear, hear!” Jemi provided lifting her glass in salute as Alex giggled. I didn’t dare look at Dominic nor Seb. But a chuckle beside me by Dominic earned a hard jab at his rib making him groan as he pulled me closer to him arms circling around my waist.
“Thank you, Mic,” Giving him a tight smile. But eyes shooting daggers violently at him which he just shrugs nonchalantly.
“You are welcome Ell,” He blew a kiss at me and I gave him the eye roll.
I smiled at Seb who was standing leaning his back on the kitchen counter hands casually tucked inside his jean pockets.
He smiled back and turned to walk towards the kitchen and came back with a glass of red drink which I assume was Red snapper my favorite cocktail.
“Red snapper for the birthday girl,” He bowed playfully.
“Thank you,” I laughed taking the cocktail from him and took a huge sip.
Drinks and conversations flowed amongst us as we waited for the dinner to be done. I helped Seb with the caesar salad in the kitchen.
“I am impressed by the cocktail and the good thing is I am still standing.” I joked mixing the whole ingredients in the huge salad bowl.
“I am a multi-talented man Bella, I can’t help it,” Chuckled Seb as he took a sip of beer.
“Sadly I agree with you, I’m impressed,” I nodded looking at the mouth watering food before us on top of the kitchen counter. There were two types of thin crusted gourmet Pizza, wild mushroom and truffle oil pizza and the other one was Prosciutto and Goat cheese pizza. And also steak burgers with sauteed peppers, caramelized onions and smoked provolone cheese sauce.
“Not too much praise sweetheart, you don’t want him weight down with his over boasted ego.” Dominic mocked as he stood on the other side of the counter facing us.
“She tells nothing but the truth Nic,” A smug smile crosses Seb’s lips.
“You wish,“Dominic chuckled as he took a sip of the beer.
“Bella is it true Nic baked a cake for you?” A curious blue eyes meets mine.
“Yes he did. It was pretty good.” I smiled.
“I can’t believe it. I’m sure Morris helped.” Seb cocked a brow giving a suspicious look at Dominic.
“Get use to it sucker. Accept the defeat gracefully, I mastered the art of baking a cake before you.” Dominic gave a smug smile.
I just shook my head witnessing their banter.
“I’m sure it was just fluke Nic. Once I learn may be we’ll see whose better huh.” He smirked as he shifted his gaze at me,” Bella you be the judge of who is better ya.” Both eyes landed on me giving me a hopeful look clearly indicating that they were taking this silly matter seriously.
My lips pressed together contemplating on how to get out of it. This was a very familiar territory for me, having witness this kind of bantering between my grandpa and Uncle John.
Male ego pulsating and taking dominance of the air around the kitchen. Both attention concentrated at me waiting for my answer unbelievable!
I shook my head,” Nope I’m not doing this. Get a life the both of you.” I stretched my hands and smacked both of them at the back of their heads, like as if I were reprimanding small kids.
They both chuckled as I did that rubbing the back of their heads with their hands.
Ignoring them I shifted my attention at the others,“Shall we start the dinner.” I called out.
Getting an okay from everyone, I shifted my attention to the two over grown man childs,” I don’t know about you guys but I am so hungry I can eat a whole pizza,” I chimed in taking a sip of the red snapper.
We all finally settled down gorging on the food and drinks followed by conversations going back and forth amongst us.
Robin narrated stories about his pack packing trip he took to south America last year. It was really fascinating. He draws inspiration from all his travelling for his paintings and when it is done he showcases in the form of an exhibition at his studio here at Brooklyn.
Once dinner was done it was time for me to open the gifts from everyone except from Dominic and Jemi who had already given me their gifts.
A leather binding planner book by Alex, beautiful colorful abstract painting by Robin.
“A handcuff? Seriously Mic.” Everyone laughed while I nearly died of mortification. I breathed a sigh of relief when the next box contained a dior hand bag but didn’t dare to go through the whole gift box because I knew the lacy black material was a lingerie and I’m in no mood to display it in front of everyone. I thanked him though, squeezing him in a tight hug and muttering in his ears run for your life to which he let out a soft chuckle totally unphased.
I opened the last gift. It was from Seb and it rendered me speechless. The gift box contained two first edition books David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and The Mayor of CasterBridge by Thomas Hardy. Two of my all time favorite classics.
" Seb, this is so wonderful. Thank you so much.”
“You are welcome Bella.” He smiled at me. Blue eyes fixed at me never leaving my sight.
“Ell I think I’ll call it a night.” Alex called out getting up from his seat making me divert my gaze away from Seb.
“The fun has began. Why would you want to leave now.” Michael insisted.
“I can’t I have to leave for the airport early to drop my sister.” Alex returned giving a small smile to Michael.
“May be we could hang out some other time?” Came Mic’s bold question catching all of our attention.
Alex’s gaze fixed at Mic monetarily going pink on his cheeks,” I would love that.” He smiled.
“Good. I’ll call you then.” Mic winked turning his attention back to his drink taking a sip of it with a satisfied smile.
The moment Alex left Jemi called out to Mic,” What’s up with that Mic. He works for us, don’t want any drama. And by the way how comes you are interested in him, I thought you said guys in bow tie were so college days.”
Mic huffed taking another sip of his drink, while I kicked off my shoes and leaned into Dominic comfortably resting my head on his chest as he held me.
“I did but now I am rethinking my choices. It’s funny though actually. How when you’re single anything that moves catches your attention.” Mic shrugs.
“Only you would say that Mic.” Jemi returned as we all burst out laughing.
" Speaking of college. Why don’t you two hunks tell us some of your adventures from college days. A juicy one though.” Mic chimed in excitedly eyes travelling from Dominic to Seb who was sitting on the single sofa on the left.
“Hmm a juicy one. Lets see.” Seb rubbed his chin casting a mischievous smile towards us. I could feel Dominic stiffen behind me.
“Don’t you dare fucker. I’ll kill you.” Dominic’s voice boom through clenched teeth.
Dragging my body away I turned to face him,” Now I am intrigued greatly.” Shifting my attention to Seb,” Spell it Seb.”
Fuck you Dominic cruses at Seb while Seb just grins at him innocently.
Taking a huge gulp of the beer he begins,“It was our first semester year at Harvard when this incident happened. Long story short, Nic lost a bet so I dared him to ask the first woman that steps inside the cafe for a date and in walks in a woman in her early fifties or so. Nic had no choice but to ask her out on a date, we thought she would refuse but turns out she said yes.” Seb burst out laughing richly making Dominic curse under his breathe.
Once he finished laughing composing himself he continues,” The dean of the university was a good friend of our fathers so he invited us for dinner at his place and guess who his lovely wife turned out to be.”
“Ooh scandalous.” Mic added clapping his hands as we all burst out laughing.
Seb raised his pine of beer in mock salute,” Worst dinner for Nic but the best one for me. It was a treat to see both of them cringe in awkwardness.” Seb chuckled. He had a distant look on his eye as if he were remembering that dreadful evening.
“Seb bribes and drags his 14 year old niece to Taylor Swift’s concert not because he is attracted to her but he is a big what do they call her fans swiftie.” Dominic air codes the last word and continues,” He drags his niece who by the way isn’t her fan but he wants to appear in front of other people that he is accompanying his niece. Especially in front of the paparazzi.”
“What?” It was Robin who gives a disbelieving look at Seb.
“Fuck you.” Seb glared at Dominic.
“If I’m going down so are you.” Dominic shrugs while all of us just laughs at all these revelations.
“OMG. This is better than watching the Wendy Show every morning. I thought you guys would tell us those cliche stories associated with being billionaire bachelors; you know parties and the women. But my my this is juicy.” Mic’s voice raising an octave higher with excitement,” One in a way nearly dated a Mrs. Robinson and other bribes a teenager to see a concert.”
We all laughed at their expense.
I leaned in and kissed Dominic’s cheek,” Sorry babe it’s just too good to let it slight without having a good laugh.” He just groaned rubbing his face with his palm in frustration.
“You know what Seb, Ell here is a big Swiftie may be both of you should go to the future concerts together and stop torturing your poor niece.” Mic waves his hand nonchalantly.
“Good idea Mic. Seb next concert you and me.” I returned grinning at him.
“It will be my pleasure. Just you and me alright,” He taunts looking at Dominic who eyes him coldly.
Seb chuckles and fish out his phone from his jean pocket and scrolls through his phone,” Come Bella let’s sing a Karaoke together.”
“Sure,” I tried to stand up but Dominic pulls me towards him arms circling around my waist holding me tightly in place.
“You can sing from here,” He mutters in my ear.
I rolled my eyes as I scroll through my phone to open Youtube.
“Oh sing that song You Belong With Me. Remember Ell how this song reminds you about your crush in high school.What was his name? I have forgotten.” Mic babbles quite oblivious of the don’t talk about it look I was giving him but it was too late. My other best friend reveals his name.
“Nathaniel White.” Jemi shouts out.
“What?” Dominic’s returns darkly as his hold around my waist tightens.
“Nothing.” I kissed his cheek and quickly played the music and Seb and I started to sing.
The evening went by with all of us singing karaoke to all kinds of songs. I came to know this evening that Dominic had a really good voice, Seb unfortunately had voice that needed to be confined in doors preferably bathroom.
Looking at all my friends and my love I smile with joy in my hear feeling loved. I couldn’t be more blessed.
Last year at this time I remember I was crying silent tears at Mic’s guest room at his pent house. But now I realize every drop of that silent hurtful tear that I shed was just preparing me to welcome and experience moments like this in my life.
An absolute blissful moment.
A message popped in my phone it was an unknown number. I opened it.
"Ell why did you block my number.”
I let out a frustrated sigh which stopped Dominic from singing as he whispered in my ear,” Is something bothering you sweetheart.”