The Morning After
He opened his eyes to the sight of her lying next to him. It took him a moment to convince himself that it was real and that he was not dreaming. There was barely any sunlight in the room, but he could still see her quite clearly. She looked like a vision. Her bare arms held the edges of the blanket to her chest and left her back and legs exposed. Her dark lustrous locks draped over her shoulders and framed her face. Alec could not resist running his hand through her hair and brushing it away from her face so he could see her better. His eyes noticed her long lashes, her small nose and her luscious, parted lips. She looked so peaceful that he did not wish to wake her up.
His eyes darted to the clock on the nightstand behind her to see what time it was and realized that it was still too early to leave his bed and get ready for work. Content with remaining in bed next to her, he edged closer to her and began caressing her bare arm. He smiled when he noticed her brows knitting together and realized that she could feel his fingers lightly tracing her arm up and down. Her eyes fluttered open a minute later and stared at him in confusion. It took her a moment to realize where she was and to recall how she ended up there. A blush imbued her face then before she smiled in shyness and drew the covers over her head to hide herself from him.
He did not let her. He tried to pull the covers away from her and could hear her laughing underneath them. He eventually succeeded in pulling them away, but the moment he did, she tried to run away from him. His arm circled her bare waist and pinned her to his bed. She was still giggling as she gazed at his smiling face. He lowered his head and began kissing her tenderly. His kisses were only meant to tease her. However, they soon grew out of control and he found himself desiring her with every fiber of his being. He made slow love to her right then and had her climax twice before he found release.
Alec collapsed on top of her; his ragged labored breathing matched hers. He felt her arms wrapping around him and her hand gently caressing his head as he tried to catch his breath. He rolled over to his side then and drew her closer to him before he brushed his lips on her forehead.
“Morning,” he said in a husky voice.
“Morning,” she said back with a smile as she stroked the side of his face.
They stared into each other’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity. His fingers began to lightly stroke her bare arm while her hand continued to caress the side of his face.
“What are you thinking?” She whispered.
“I’m thinking that we should both call in sick and stay in bed.”
She smiled tenderly at him. “I can’t. I have a court appointment today. Plus, you guys are understaffed.”
“Don’t remind me,” he said in frustration before he cast another glance at the clock behind her. “We should get ready now if you want me to drop you off on time.”
Alec brushed a kiss over her forehead before he sat up and began checking his phone. Lesly sat straight next. She held the blanket to her chest and looked at him nervously. The sun was shining brighter than before, and the drawn shades allowed it to cast more light into the room than she would have liked at the moment. Alec sensed her reluctance, looked at her and found her biting her lower lip in a clear sign of nervousness.
“What’s wrong?” He asked, concerned.
Lesly hesitated for a few seconds before she voiced her thoughts. “I have a favor to ask.”
“Ask me anything.”
“Could you…not look as I leave the room?”
He could not help but smile at hearing her request. A mischievous glint twinkled in his eyes as he spoke, “Sweetheart, I kissed every inch of you last night, twice. I’ll be more than happy to do that again if you don’t mind getting to work late.”
Lesly grabbed a pillow and slammed him with it. “I’m serious,” she said, giggling.
“Fine,” he chuckled.
“I have your word?”
“You have my word,” he said to her before he turned his back to her and busied himself with his phone.
Lesly left his room in a hurry and walked towards hers. The moment she got there, she showered, blow dried her hair and got dressed for work. The blinking light on her phone caught her attention, but she decided to ignore it and focus on the task of getting herself ready. Once she had her makeup applied, and her bag ready, she sat on her bed and slipped her feet into her heels. Then she grabbed her phone to check it for any important messages.
There were a number of texts in addition to a few emails. She checked the texts first, thinking that they might contain something urgent that demanded her immediate attention. When she was certain that nothing important was sent to her via text messages, she decided to check her email.
Her heart began pounding instantly the moment she saw her inbox. The informant had sent her an email. She tapped it and held her breath as the email began loading. It was only for a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity.
The email contained nothing but one simple line. It was a question.
Did you receive the package I sent you?
Lesly’s eyes darted towards the yellow envelop Alec had placed on the small table next to the door the night before. She got up, walked towards the table slowly and tried to examine the package. It was one of those small paper envelops that were padded with bubble wrap. There was no return address on it. She opened it up and found a small basic USB flash drive inside it. No other message or set of instructions was sent along with it.
Lesly stared at the fragile item in her hand with interest before she heard Alec calling her name from the kitchen. She immediately stashed the flash drive into the pocket of her bag and hid the envelop she received it in.
Alec could not know about this. If he saw it with her now, he would start to worry and might even try to keep her from pursuing whatever lead it contained. The safest option she could pursue at the moment was to keep the package to herself, explore the contents of the flash drive in the privacy of her office and then figure out what to do from there.
“Good. You’re ready,” Alec announced as he walked into her room. He was already dressed for work.
“You need to eat something before we head out,” he instructed as he motioned for her to follow him.
Lesly quietly walked behind him and tried to look normal so that he would not find out what she was hiding.
“What are you gonna do about all those muffins you baked last night?” He asked, amused.
Lesly tried to locate them and found them packaged in freezer bags on the counter. He must have put them there and cleaned up the mess she made the night before. She placed her bag at the foot of the chair before she sat down, trying all the while to think of an answer to his question. He did not give her time to think. Her attention was drawn to the plate of hot French toast that he pushed towards her before he filled her cup with coffee. She eyed his plate next, and as expected he had something different on it.
Alec arched an eyebrow in question when he noticed where her attention was directed. “Do you want some scrambled eggs instead?”
“No, French toast is good,” she responded with a wry smile before she grabbed a fork and began digging into her dish.
“What’s with the mischievous glint?”
“Nothing. It just seems that you have given up on converting me to your healthy ways,” she answered with a giggle.
“I haven’t,” he said casually as he took a sip of coffee. “I just figured that you need something energizing after the wild morning we had.”
She did not say anything. She just smiled in acknowledgement, directed her attention to her plate, and hoped he would not notice how flustered the memory of the events of this morning and the night before was making her.
“It’s cute,” he commented.
“The way you blush.”
“Is it obvious?” She tried to maintain a nonchalant attitude.
Lesly shrugged. “Serves me right then.”
“How so?” He asked with a chuckle.
“I reprimanded someone once for blushing and giggling around you like a schoolgirl. Karma is a bitch.”
“I see,” he said, laughing.
“Aren’t you curious who that person is?”
“Oh I know,” he responded with a smirk. “It’s Stacey, isn’t it?”
She gave him a dirty look that made him laugh as he continued eating his breakfast. When he was done, he walked behind her, ruffled her hair and told her to take her time with her food before he went into his room to fetch his jacket. Lesly’s eyes followed him until he disappeared into his room. Her mind wandered back to the flash drive she discovered earlier and what it might contain. She had to get to her office and find out. With that thought in mind, Lesly finished her breakfast, and announced to Alec that she was ready to leave.
The traffic was the same as usual, but the anticipation made it seem slower than any other day she had encountered. It was difficult spending this much time in the company of someone as perceptive as Alec. It was vital to not let him find out about anything until she had examined whatever the informant had sent her and made a decision about how she was going to handle whatever matter he wished to bring to her attention.
When Lesly got to her office, she immediately notified Stacey that she wished to remain alone for a bit to address a pressing matter. Her shaking fingers turned her laptop on and waited impatiently for the system to boot. Once she got her password in, she hooked the flash drive into the USB port and began exploring the folder that emerged. There were numerous files inside the flash drive, but they were not given any indicative names, only numbers. Lesly clicked on the first file and realized immediately what the informant wished to direct her attention to. He wanted to give her certain details about the recent shooting incident in the DA’s office.
The first file she clicked on was more of a background investigation into the activities of none other than Paul Cook, a supposedly seasoned prosecutor in Redlyn and one of the two people who were pronounced dead on the scene. Cook was apparently more corrupt than those around him thought. The offshore bank account statements that were procured by the informant somehow showed significant sums that were wired to him over the years, possibly as down payments for manipulating the course of certain cases.
Another file that Lesly explored in a hurry was that of Josh Smith whose name sounded a bit familiar to her ears. According to the file, Josh was the prime suspect in a murder case that involved the death of Ruth Tucker, one of the prominent entrepreneurs in the area. The medical examiner’s report showed that she died after being shot in the back of her head. She supposedly never saw the attack coming. The gun used in the murder of Ruth was found in Josh’s belongings. His fingerprints were claimed to have been found on the murder weapon and inside the Tuckers’ home. The motive apparently was retaliation. Josh was fired by Ruth weeks ago for reasons that were never clearly addressed.
Cook was the prosecutor in charge of the murder case. The bank statements included among the multitudes of folders in the flash drive clearly show that he had received a payment that the informant managed to trace back to Richard Tucker, Ruth’s husband. It was obvious from the reports and documents the informant included that there was more to the murder case than what met the eye. An hour of reading through them revealed that Josh was framed for the murder of Ruth, and that Cook went to great pains to forge and manipulate evidence so that suspicions were drawn further away from the real culprit, Richard Tucker.
The attack on the district attorney’s office was carried out by two people. One of those two, Jason Mathews, who was Josh’s cousin and good friend, was pronounced dead on the scene. The other shooter who was not identified by the police yet was none other than Robert Smith, Josh’s older brother. Apparently, Jason and Robert wanted to avenge Josh and make a statement about the corruption of the judicial system by carrying the attack in the middle of the day. Jason was killed immediately, but Robert managed to escape.
Lesly leaned back in her chair and tried to process everything that she had just read. This was a case that Alec had been deeply interested in. The difficulty he experienced in identifying and locating the second assailant bothered him a great deal. It was understandable, of course. He was there when the attack happened, and he had seen with his own eyes the catastrophic ramifications of the two assailants’ desire for revenge. She recalled him telling her that Jason Mathews was the one who stabbed him in the shoulder before a colleague of Alec’s grabbed a letter opener and jammed it in the back of Mathews’ neck. If that colleague had not interfered, Alec’s injuries would’ve been far worse.
The case was certainly much more complex than she initially thought. In fact, she felt more conflicted about it now than she did before. On the one hand, she wanted to let Alec know. The only problem was that she had no idea how he was going to react or handle the situation. The two assailants certainly believed that they had no other choice but to take matters into their own hands because the system had failed them. She knew exactly how they felt because she had been there before. The people who had her incarcerated would have been able to escape unscathed if Victor Lang had not interfered. In fact, she doubted she would even be alive right now if Lang had not done what he did.
Would Alec be able to see it this way? Or would he demand that Robert Smith be brought to justice? It was doubtful that he would sympathize given how the attack was carried by the man against people Alec worked with every single day. She could not ask him to step away and look at the matter objectively because she could not bring herself to do so herself. It would be possible, however, to ask him to not rush into making a decision and sealing the fate of the assailant. To do that, she needed to learn more about Robert Smith. Was he really forced by circumstances beyond his control to take such a difficult step?
There was only one way she could find out.