Chapter 4: Work Problems
It was a silent ride back from the therapist’s office to her office. Michaela offered to drive Lesly there. She did not ask about how the appointment went, but Lesley could feel Michaela’s glances towards her. She wanted to ask obviously, but did not know how to broach the subject.
In an effort to discourage her friend from asking, Lesly fished out her phone from her purse and started checking the emails and texts she received while she was in the therapy session. Her phone did not disappoint. There was a sufficient number of emails and texts that would surely keep her busy throughout the entire ride.
Minuets passed in silence, and Lesly soon found herself totally immersed in her new task. Her momentary relief was short-lived for Michaela finally decided to speak.
“Yes?” Lesly answered as she kept her eyes glued to her phone.
“Do you want coffee?”
“That would be great cause I can’t be late.”
Michaela pulled her car over to the nearest drive-thru and waited for the people in the car in front of her to finish with their order. She looked over at her friend and found Lesly furrowing her brows at some email she was currently reading.
“The same as usual?” Michaela asked as the car in front of her was preparing to drive away.
“Decaf,” Lesly corrected.
“For a while now,” Lesly answered while still keeping her eyes glued to her phone.
“You’ve always liked your coffee strong!”
“And for the last couple of months I’ve been trying to cut down on my caffeine consumption.” Truth be told, Lesly wanted nothing but to keep up the guiltless addiction, but her insomnia was getting worse and cutting down on caffeine helped her sleep better.
Michaela drove to the drive-thru window and placed her order. Then she glanced back at her friend who has now moved on from reading texts and emails to typing and responding to them.
Judging by the furrowed brows, something was not right at work. Then again, nothing was ever right in Lesly’s line of work. Michaela wished Lesly would quit working for Sonata because every case she encountered there served as a blatant reminder of the incident that happened five years ago, but Lesly would not have it. This topic had somehow become something of a taboo, and Michaela could not bring it up without getting into a heated argument with Lesly.
The redhead finally grabbed the coffee order from the drive-thru window and placed it in the cup holders in her car. She informed Lesly that they might be a bit late because the traffic was bad but got nothing out of the woman preoccupied with her phone except a nod of acknowledgement.
Finally, Michaela decided to ask, “Something happened at work?”
Nothing else was uttered to fill the silence.
“Well?” Michaela encouraged when she received no further explanation from Lesly.
Lesly finished typing her reply before locking the screen and explaining to her friend who seemed to be getting a bit agitated. “Remember Rebecca, the woman I brought over to you for a medical examination?”
Michaela nodded her head. Rebecca was hard to forget. Lesley brought the battered woman to her after she was viciously assaulted by the man she worked for. The woman’s story was tragic in every sense of the word. She was abandoned by her mother as a teen and was left to fend for herself and her little brother. She got into the sex trade at the young age of 15 and hadn’t been able to get out since. She gave birth to two boys during the years she worked in prostitution and those two boys were then used by her abuser to keep her from leaving.
“Stacey just informed me that she was just captured by the police for armed robbery. Apparently, Rebecca was told by her brother and a friend to wait for them outside of a grocery store downtown. She swore she had no idea that they wanted to rob the place,” Lesly explained.
“You believe her?” Michaela inquired.
“Stacey believes her,” Lesly answered as she tried to process the whole situation.
In the email she received, Stacey informed her that she met the woman at the police station and heard her side of the story. Rebecca was definitely telling the truth. The woman wanted nothing to do with her past acquaintances. She finally found a job and was doing her absolute best to keep her kids out of the toxic environment that almost drove her mad in the past. If she needed anything, she was supposed to get in contact with either Lesly or Stacey.
It was highly likely that Rebecca might not be able to get out of this one easily because there was no proof that she was not aware. The fact that one of the perpetrators was her brother would definitely make her look bad.
This whole situation was going to be like opening a can of worms for the poor woman. In the hands of the wrong prosecutor, Rebecca might not only go to jail, but also lose custody of her two kids. The attorney would simply dig up her record, highlight her past illegal engagements and compromise her credibility.
Stacey was right, a deal had to be struck to spare the poor mother these possible irreparable damages. However, there was one tiny problem. In order to get the matter sorted, Lesly would have to give a certain someone at the DA’s office a phone call.
Alec Reid was the only person she could direct such a request to. She met him two years ago while working on a complex case that he also had an interest in exploring. She did not trust him back then, and she still could not completely trust him now, but he had proven to be extremely helpful.
To her, he was more of a valuable contact than an ally, but to the people working on her floor, he was the magnanimous advocate they needed to help support their cause. Her colleagues had too much faith in him and tended to throw the word charming a lot when talking about him.
He was charming alright. It was his charm that added to his power of persuasion and his capacity to weasel out of sticky situations. The guy had this inexplicable hold over many of the employees working on her floor. Years of experience taught them to never trust a prosecutor. After all, it was a known fact that the judicial system, much like everything else in Redlyn, was corrupt to the core. Yet somehow, Reid had miraculously managed to paint himself as the good guy.
To the employees on her floor, he was someone they could trust. The fact that he helped Lesly a couple of times with some of the cases she and Stacey were handling for the organization certainly helped in maintaining that image. However, she could not help but feel that he was doing it for a reason. The guy had an agenda. She formed a couple of theories about what that agenda might be, but she was not certain about any of them.
To remain cautious and to insure that the debt was paid every single time he helped, she offered him valuable intel in exchange. It was easy for her to secure sensitive leads given her position in the organization, her daily encounter with the downtrodden, and her occasional contact with the mysterious informant who managed to keep his identity hidden for almost seven years.
Reid always welcomed the intel and soon came to the conclusion that Lesly was more comfortable with that arrangement. This led him to joke about what he was going to gain every time she called to ask for a favour, but Lesly was never sure whether his question was indeed meant as a joke.
“What are you going to do to help Rebecca?” Michaela asked.
“Stacey wants me to give Alec Reid in the DA’s office a call,” Lesly answered while trying so hard to keep herself from grimacing.
“Alec Reid? The one Stacey was understandably gushing about?”
The grimace Lesly was fighting hard to keep away finally took control of her facial features. She turned her head slowly at the redhead and narrowed her eyes at her.
Michaela chuckled at the look Lesly gave her and continued with the teasing. “Honey, I’m sorry to say this but that guy is the finest male specimen I’ve ever laid my eyes on.”
“Surely you jest?”
“He’s more man than any man I’ve ever encountered.” Michaela explained as she struggled hard to stifle a laugh.
She knew how much Lesly was infuriated with how a few of the women on her floor gushed about the man and she could not help but tease her friend about it.
“Please don’t tell me you’re gonna turn into a pile of mush like Stacey! She’s young and inexperienced. What’s your excuse?”
“I thought you considered her the brightest law student you’ve ever come across.”
“She is, but every time I see her blushing and giggling like a school girl around him, I seriously begin questioning myself.”
“I don’t blame her.” Michaela chuckled.
This was an honest response. Michaela might have exaggerated before to tease Lesly, but the guy was indeed handsome. Stacey should not be blamed. Heck she would be blushing and giggling around him too if she were Stacey’s age and if she were talking to a guy who was not only handsome, but also charming.
“Michaela, you’ve only seen him once! You didn’t even talk to him!”
“What can I say! He made quite the impression. Plus I haven’t been in a relationship for quite some time now, so I’m allowed to gush.” Michaela explained casually.
Lesly’s expression softened at the mention of relationships given her redheaded friend’s struggles in that area. Michaela was kind, caring and pretty, but she only seemed to draw the absolute worst men to her. The woman could write a book detailing her disastrous encounters with manipulative narcissists who only wanted her to boost their ego, insecure jerks who found her independence threatening and emasculating and shallow idiots who did not think she was feminine enough for them.
Michaela was a confident woman whose self-esteem could not be shaken easily, but perceptions of her lack of femininity were a sore subject for her. She lost her mother at a young age and was taken care of along with her five other brothers by her dad. Up until the age of twelve when she met Lesly, Michaela did not have a prominent female presence in her life.
She was the youngest in the family and was considered by her brothers as part of the gang. They taught her everything from shooting basketballs to fixing cars. They even gave her self-defence lessons and took her to shooting ranges a couple of time to teach her how to use a gun. Lesly met them and found them to be amazing brothers with a wicked sense of humour. She was also able to see how their masculine energy affected her friend.
This falsely perceived lack of femininity should not have become a problem for Michaela, but given how many times it was brought up by the redhead’s friends at the hospital as a possible reason why some of her relationships failed, Michaela could not help but believe that that indeed might be the problem.
Lesly patted Michaela’s shoulder and tried to match her friend’s casual tone. “You can do a lot better than lawyers, hon. Lawyers are trouble.”
“Like doctors are any better. The good ones are taken and the only ones left are douchebags with a god complex.”
Lesly laughed to lighten the mood a little. Then tried to gradually steer the conversation away from this sore subject.
“This Reid guy has issues, too. Trust me. I just don’t know what they are yet. God I hate it when I have to ask him for a favour.”
“He’s asked you for favours too, didn’t he?”
“Yeah, but I’d much rather he initiates the sequence,” Lesly answered as she rubbed her temples.
Michaela chuckled as she pulled the car over in front of Lesly’s building, “Well, we’re here.”
Lesly sighed as she looked at the building, then grabbed her purse, patted her friend’s shoulder a couple of times and left the car.
“Let me know how things go,” Michaela shouted from the car.
Lesly waved her hand in acknowledgement without turning her back and continued her march towards the building. She was not going to like calling him, but it had to be done.