“What is wrong with you?” Mary asked when they got in Ashley’s car to go to work.
It had been two weeks since Ashley had ended things with The Judge, and even she had to admit that she had been a total bitch ever since. She reached over and squeezed Mary’s hand. “I’m sorry. I’m just having a bit of hard time adjusting to things.”
Mary nodded. “I know you’ve been trying to stay away from the bar, but we need to get you laid soon.”
Ashley laughed, “Maybe.”
Really, she knew that it was more than the sex that she was missing. It was being needed. She knew that The Judge needed their sessions as much as she did, but she couldn’t go back. For one thing, The Judge would probably hurt her for real if she tried. More than likely, she had already found a new plaything and had forgotten about her. Ashley wanted to believe that wasn’t true, that she had meant more to The Judge than that.
When they got to the office, one of the partners, Jerry Winslow, came out to meet them in the front office. “Ashley, do you remember that child custody case we did a few months back where the father had been neglecting the child?”
“Yeah, we had six witnesses, including two nurses from the hospital that said he was leaving the child in nasty diapers, leaving her alone in the house when the mother was at work, and not feeding the child when he was supposed to be watching her,” Ashley answered as she moved past him to the front desk to put her purse down. “Why?”
“He got a new lawyer and a new hearing,” Jerry explained.
“Are you serious?” Ashley responded, shocked. “That was an open and shut case. How on earth is he going to prove he didn’t do all those things?”
“He’s not trying to prove he didn’t do it. He’s trying to prove that’s he’s reformed and should have unsupervised visitation.”
“No way!” Ashley fumed. “So, I take it his wife wants us to try to prove otherwise.”
“Yes,” Jerry agreed, “She’s already paid the retainer.”
“Has he taken all the parenting classes and been going to visitation?”
“Yeah, and going to church, AA, the works, I don’t trust it either. I think he’s putting on this show to get visitation because he can control the mother through the daughter.”
“Me, too,” Ashley nodded. “So what do you want me to do?”
“I want you to go interview the people who run the parenting class he went to, and talk to the social workers who’ve seen him with the little girl.” Jerry shook his head in disgust. “I hate guys like this who will use their child to get back at the mother. This guy is a piece of shit.”
Ashley and Mary looked at each other. Jerry was pretty good about not getting attached to clients and he never cussed, but he really hated it when people screwed with kids’ lives. “I’m on it,” Ashley responded, moving to the file cabinet to dig out the old case files. “Have we got a hearing yet?”
“Yes, in two weeks, Judge Carlisle’s court.”
Ashley stopped in her tracks. “I thought the cases went back before the original judge?”
“The father asked to have a different judge. He felt Judge Matterson was too prejudiced to hear his case again.” Jerry moved to the hall. “I’ll be in my office. Let me know when you get the information together.”
Mary hadn’t said a word during the whole exchange, but she saw Ashley’s face go completely white. “Ash, what’s wrong?”
Ashley looked down the hall towards the partner’s offices, and then took Mary’s arm and pulled her toward the bathroom at the other end of the office. When they were inside with the door shut, Ashley leaned close to Mary and whispered, “Judge Carlisle was the dominatrix.”
Mary leaned away from Ashley with a stunned look. She pointed at Ashley, “Yours?”
“The one you just ended things with?”
Ashley nodded again.
“Oh shit, that isn’t going to be good. Do you want me to try to get Jerry to let me work the case?”
“No, he’ll want to know why I don’t want to do it and what am I going to say?” Ashley groaned and started ringing her hands. “Surely, she won’t do anything in the court room?”
“She’s going to give you a hard time, but if your evidence is solid, she won’t be able to do much other than hear the case,” Mary reasoned.
“True,” Ashley agreed. But Ashley had not seen Jean Carlisle since the night she had handcuffed her to a bed and kissed her goodbye. The Judge had warned her that she would get back at her for being the one to end their relationship. Ashley had been waiting for something to happen, and this probably would be it. She’d do something to make Ashley look like a fool in court. She sighed. Whatever Jean decided to do, Ashley knew there was nothing she could do to stop her.
“I’m going back up front,” Mary said. “You pull yourself together. It’s going to be okay.”
Ashley nodded as Mary left the bathroom, but dropped her head on the door. The truth was that Ashley didn’t know how she would react to seeing Jean again. The woman was so beautiful, just seeing her made Ashley’s knees weak. It was going to be hard to face her, knowing everything that they had done, everything Ashley had allowed Jean to do to her. She was afraid she would start stuttering, or something equally embarrassing, in front of her.
She opened the door and went back to the file cabinet. All she could do, was try to do her best, and pray she didn’t have to face Judge Jean Carlisle too many times before she was able to get over this fear and attraction.
* * *
Jean stared at the name on the docket. Ashley Jessup would be with Jerry Winslow in her court to represent the mother of Amy Garrett, a little girl who had already seen too much of life’s harshness. She had seen so many of these cases over the years. The father or mother was clearly not interested in taking care of the child, but did not want to allow anyone else to care for the child properly either. Selfish, stupid people! Cases like this pissed Jean off. Seeing Ashley had helped Jean deal with cases like this. In the past two weeks, Jean had been to the bar and had sex with four different women, all of whom had enjoyed being punished, but it hadn’t been the same. Damn that woman for getting under skin.
She should have never allowed their relationship to go on for as long as it did, Jean knew that was the problem. She never kept a plaything for longer than a few months, but she had liked Ashley. Ashley did exactly what she wanted. She seemed to be able to read her in a way that no one else ever had. And she was beautiful. Those big blue eyes had made Jean want to drown in their depths. Damn that woman!
Trying not to hunt Ashley down and demand she resume her role as her plaything was one of the hardest things Jean had ever done. She knew she could find out where she lived. In fact, she was pretty sure she already knew. Shaking her thoughts off, Jean threw the case file aside and picked up a different one. She would deal with the Garrett one tomorrow after she’d been to the bar tonight and satisfied her anger and hunger with some willing young thing. Maybe, she’d do two women tonight. Maybe, that was what she needed, something different from her usual pattern.