“What the hell were you thinking?” Elizabeth Stanton, the district attorney demanded.
Jean brought her head up out of her hands and looked at her friend, “I wasn’t thinking, Beth. I was just doing. Trying to…”
“Trying to end your career?” Elizabeth asked as she paced in front of her desk.
“No,” Jean cried, wringing her hands, “God, I’m so terrified the Judicial Conduct Commission is going to remove me from office.”
Elizabeth sighed, “Well, I don’t know if they will go that far, considering that you were the victim of a set up, but the pictures and video are pretty incriminating.” She pulled the other chair in front of her desk over to Jean’s, sat down and took Jean’s hands in hers, “I thought you were seeing someone on a regular basis? Why on earth would you pick up a strange woman and take her to a hotel room?”
Jean took the tissue she was clutching and dabbed her eyes, “I was seeing someone on a regular basis, but she ended things.”
Elizabeth drew back, “One of your submissive lovers ended things? I didn’t think that was allowed.”
Jean raised an eyebrow, “You’re just being a smartass.”
“I’m serious. I don’t necessarily agree with your sexual practices, but it was my understanding that if someone agrees to be someone’s submissive, they weren’t allowed to change the rules like that.”
“Well, of course they can,” Jean sighed, “It’s not like she was my personal slave that I could chain to a wall and never let her go.” She ran her fingers through her hair, “I let myself become attached to this one, and it actually hurt when she ended things.”
Elizabeth tilted her head and looked in Jean’s eyes, “You fell in love with her?”
Tears started to fall down Jean’s face and she looked back down at her hands, “I don’t know if I would say that, but I needed her.” Jean sighed, “She is so beautiful and she listened to me complain about my day. She let me take my anger and frustration out on her while taking care of all my other needs.”
Elizabeth blushed, “A little too much information, but I see what you are saying. Is there nothing you can do to get her back?”
Jean wiped her nose and shook her head, “She wants a real relationship. Dating, holding hands, kissing and I can’t do that.”
“You mean, you won’t do that,” Elizabeth corrected her.
“I can’t,” Jean insisted, “I’m already in hot water. If I don’t get fired, I will have to watch everything I do from now on and keep extra squeaky clean.”
“Oh for crying out loud, Jean,” Elizabeth exclaimed, “This is not the fifties’. You are not going to get fired for getting caught with a woman in a hotel, especially when you were set up by a man you had just ruled against. And they are not going to fire you for being a lesbian.”
“Really?” Jean demanded, “If you are so sure of that, why don’t you come out of the closet?”
Elizabeth sighed now. Jean had her there. Like Jean she was an elected official who could lose her office in the next election. “Okay, so I understand not wanting to be out. But, I still don’t get why you acted so carelessly. I’ve never known you to take a woman to a private place on the first date.”
“I saw my submissive in court yesterday. I cornered her in the bathroom. It was too much. I was trying to cleanse myself of her by being with someone else. Sadly, I picked the woman I did because she looked like my submissive.”
“So who is this mysterious submissive?” Elizabeth pointed a finger at Jean, “And don’t tell me you can’t say. You know I’m the last person in the world who would reveal your secrets.”
Jean looked away and took a deep breath, “Ashley Jessup.”
“One of Winslow and Hinton’s legal aids?”
Jean grinned, “The blonde.”
Elizabeth nodded, “She is beautiful.” She patted Jean’s hand, “So what are you going to do now?”
“Perry is trying to find the woman in the video and pictures. Garrett refuses to give up her name, but Laura Garrett said she might be able to find out who she is through some friends. She said that her ex-husband hadn’t been dating her long and she was pretty sure the woman was part of a group of partiers that Garret had been hanging out with,” Jean explained.
“Well,” Elizabeth stood, “That could prove to be a good thing for Perry. He might actually be able to kill two birds with one stone if he finds her and she’s involved with some drug abusers or dealers.”
“True,” Jean agreed. She stood, too, “Thanks for letting me talk.”
Elizabeth pulled Jean into a hug, “Anytime. My door’s always open.”
She took a card out of her pocket and handed it to Jean, “This is Raymond Blair’s card. He’s an attorney with the ACLU. He can help if things get really out of control.”
Jean took the card and looked at it, “Well, I hope I don’t have to bring the American Civil Liberties Union into this, but thanks, Beth.” She hugged Elizabeth again, and then went upstairs to her office.
She had been in her office first thing this morning preparing for her hearings that afternoon. She also prepared for the phone calls and questions she knew were going to come before she had gone downstairs to talk to Elizabeth.
After the police caught John Garrett early this morning, he confessed to Perry that he had posted the pictures on Facebook and the video on Youtube. Jean’s secretary, Sara was working on getting all of it taken off the Internet, but every time Sara got them off of one site, they popped up on another. Jean suspected that Garrett had sent his girlfriend somewhere with instructions to continually post the pictures and videos.
When Sara told her that she was having trouble finding all the sources of the pictures and videos, Jean had sought out Elizabeth for moral support.
Elizabeth had been her friend for the past ten years after they had gotten set up on a blind date. Jean hadn’t been Elizabeth’s type, but they found they had law in common. Like Jean, Elizabeth was close mouthed about her sexuality because of her political aspirations. Elizabeth hoped to one day be the attorney general of the state. Being openly gay was not going to win her any political friends in this conservative state, so she dated a man in public and women in private.
When Jean got back to her office she was greeted by ten local reporters.
“Judge Carlisle, did you know the woman prior to going to the hotel with her?” One reporter demanded pushing a microphone in her face.
Jean pushed past the woman with the tape recorder. “Excuse me,” Jean said loudly, but the reporters continued blocking her way to her office. Still ignoring their questions, she pulled out her cell phone and called security. Within seconds, guards were pushing their way through the group of reporters and helping Jean into her chambers.
Sara was waiting at the door. She pulled Jean in and locked it as soon as Jean was inside. “They have been calling and knocking since you left. I don’t know how they are still in the building because I’ve called security to have them removed three times.”
“This is ridiculous,” Jean groaned, falling into a chair in front of Sara’s desk, “I’m not going to be able to conduct court with those people hovering around.”
“I finally called the head of security and Chief Wilson. They are going to be screening people downstairs at security from this point on. Reporters are going to have to state specifically why they are in the building and only be in the areas they are supposed to be in,” Sara responded.
There was a loud knock at the door, “Chief Wilson,” Perry Wilson called from the other side.
“Let him in,” Jean told Sara.
Perry strode into the room. He was wearing a crisp white shirt, tucked into pressed black slacks with black loafers. He put his hands on his waist pushing open his suit jacket, revealing his badge and his gun, “Are you okay?”
“Just a little unnerved,” Jean admitted.
Wayne Dressler, the head of the courthouse security knocked on the door, and then let himself in. “Morning, Judge Carlisle. Sorry to hear about the mess going on.”
“I’m putting extra security on your court rooms today. I’ll probably keep that kind of detail on you until Chief Wilson and I decide that it’s safe to relax security. We will also have someone walk you to and from your car for the next several days,” Wayne informed her.
“Why? Has there been a threat on my life?”
“No, we are just taking extra precautions,” Wayne assured her.
Jean nodded, “So should I call you when I’m on my way into work?”
“You can.” Wayne smiled, “But you’re very consistent about what time you arrive in the mornings. I will have someone watching for you to get here at seven in the morning, your usual arrival time.”
Jean let out a heavy sigh, “Okay, that will be great.”
Wayne nodded, “I’m going to go make sure all the reporters are out of the family court area. I’ll check back with you later.”
After Wayne left the office, Perry put his hand on Jean’s shoulder, “We think we have narrowed down where Garrett’s girlfriend might be.”
“Yeah,” Perry nodded, “Laura Garrett made some phone calls and found out that the girl’s name is Cynthia Donaldson. She lives on the south side, and she’s friends with Zenu.”
“The drug dealer?”
“The same, apparently she was Garrett’s drug connection, and word on the street is that Zenu is not happy that Garrett used Cynthia to play you.”
“Should I take that as a compliment?” Jean asked.
“Probably not,” Perry chuckled, “Zenu is a lot of bad things, but he’s also very smart. Having someone use one of his more prolific dealers to expose a high profile judge is not good for his business.”
Jean nodded, “Yeah that is giving his operation entirely too much attention from the police.”
“Exactly,” Perry agreed, “I expect Cynthia Donaldson to be delivered to my door anytime now, probably with a drug charge of some sort so that she’s out of Zenu’s business for awhile.”
Frowning, Jean fretted, “He won’t hurt her will he?”
“Probably not,” Perry mused, “Like I said, Zenu is smart. Doing something violent to Cynthia would draw even more attention than drug charges would. He might smack her around a little, but that’s probably all.”
Jean didn’t like the sound of that. She didn’t want to have empathy for the girl, but they had been intimate, and Jean would hate to think the girl would be punished for something John Garrett had talked her into to doing.
“I’ve got to run,” Perry said, “I’ll keep you up to date about the investigation.”
“Thanks, Perry,” Jean called after him as he walked out her office door.
Jean looked at her watch. Two hours until her first court hearing. “I’m going to go work in my office,” she told Sara.
“Do you want me to hold all your calls?” Sara asked.
“Screen them closely, and if Ashley Jessup calls, put her through right away.”