Chapter 1- Before the Storm Hits
5:45 a.m. My alarm went off and I reached to the side of the bed to get my phone and turn it off. My day had been starting at this exact time for years now or more accurately since I started working at Benjamin Clifford and Partners. The firm I worked for was one of the biggest criminal law firms in Seattle so being on top of your game was a must- at all times. I loved my job, even though it was hard, looking into murders and defending suspected killers, rapists and all sorts of psychopaths, but that was on the bad days- on the good days I got to defend the less fortunate people who were just in the wrong place, at the wrong time or had said the wrong thing- nothing worth spending your life behind bars over.
Alex, my devastatingly handsome boyfriend, didn't understand my job. He couldn't stomach the idea that he may have to be on a killers' side, to defend a criminal. He was a surgeon, self-righteous, smart and oh, did I say devastatingly handsome.
We were both hopeless workaholics and that's why we were a perfect match. We understood each other, our commitment to our work and careers. True, we barely saw each other over the week, but we knew that no matter what we had each other and that we could count on one another.
'Good morning, Maddie!' – said Alex as he leaned over the bed and kissed me.
'Hey, when did you get home last night?'
'Actually, I walked in 15 minutes before your alarm went off. I was supposed to finish at 1 am but just before I left a massive trauma came in and I had to stay.'
'Of course you had to. Was it worth it?' – the moment the words came out of my mouth I regretted them. I should know better than anyone how important it was to get extra hours and more experience…
“Yes it was, I went in on a unique brain surgery and I got to assist Dr. Williams. Not to mention the obvious fact that I got to save the life of 25 year old woman and give her the chance to go back to her family'- said Alex judging
I knew he had a whole speech prepared to justify his sleep deprivation and to make me feel guilty and stupid for bringing it up.
'I know I am sorry'- I mumbled interrupting him before he had the chance to even start his ‘I save lives speech’
“Anyway I have to get ready and get going because I am probably already late. I have a new client coming in today and a board meeting. You get some sleep and have some of the pasta I left in the fridge last night”.
I knew I had to hurry up now, chit-chat with my boyfriend was not in my morning plans, and any little infringement of the plan meant more morning hurry in my already very heavy routine.
After my shower I had a large cup of black coffee whilst putting my long, jet black hair in a high ponytail and doing a simple makeup that would compliment my light green, almost grey eyes and olive skin. After a brief look in the mirror I headed to the door.
Couldn’t help but turn around and say goodbye to Alex but as I turned around and opened my mouth I saw him breathing calmly and sleeping like a baby... as adorable as that was, I didn’t have time for it.
On my way to work I rang my assistant- Nicole. I had been working with her pretty much since I started at BCP; we instantly clicked and when I got promoted to a Junior Partner my first request was for Nicole to be my personal assistant.
I lot of people warned me that me being her ‘boss’ may ruin our friendship, but I knew her and I knew she was going to nothing but professional and exceptionally loyal, and in the legal world loyalty was a rear and highly respected quality. Needless to say, I was of course, right. Two years down the line she was still the closest thing I had to a friend and the person I trusted most at work. After my early promotion I was one of the most hated people at the firm- every single one of the associates I started with hated me for being the youngest Junior Partner, they hated my new office and the fact that the rest of the partners and Mr. Clifford himself respected me.
This was why I needed to call Nicole. This whole thing with the new client coming in today was weird and suspicious. I didn’t want this case. More accurately, I didn't want this client, not when he had that name...
“I am five minutes away, tell me he hasn’t arrived yet”- I said in one breath as soon as Nicole answered the phone.
“Well, good morning to you too”.
“I am sorry- it just something doesn’t feel right. What if this is a test the Partners are setting up for me to see if something that touches the personal surface of my life will throw me off my game”.
“Oh, Maddie would you please stop. You got promoted two years ago and you have been doing nothing but thriving at your new position. They have no reason to test you or to doubt you, plus do they even know they may be touching something personal”.
“I don’t know but then why would they give me this case? Do you really think it is just a mere coincidence?”
I felt the blood from my entire body going to my face, my cheeks blushing, my palms sweating, and my heart racing… could it really be a coincidence?
“Of course it is, you need to stop worrying so much about your past and definitely stop plotting these ridiculous conspiracy theories in your head. The partners love you and as I've said six million times already, someone close to the client is friends with Jenifer, and since she is currently dealing with the mass murderer case she couldn’t take him and she transferred him to you- because she trust you and because she knows you are the best Junior Partner in this firm”- said Nicole with a very patient but firm voice. That was why I loved her. She always knew what, when and how to say things. She totally had to be a lawyer too.
“You are right I am being paranoid. I mean there are plenty of people with this name and like you said it’s a favor to Jenifer, not a test. Okay, I feel better now… thank you. I seriously have no idea what would I do without you”- I said with relief and gratefulness.
“Well let’s hope you will never have to find out. Your coffee is on the table you just need to pick it up on your way to the office, oh and don’t forget to bring up the shoes I left in your car last night- I am going to need them tonight”- she said with a soft giggle, reminding me of her hot date tonight.
“Okay, see you in a second”. – I hung up the phone and entered the parking lot. I drove to the big white sign saying ‘Madeline Garcias’ parked my car, grabbed Nicole’s bag and walked to the elevator.
I walked into my office and quickly grabbed the clients' file. That name was piercing my entire body, it was making me nervous just by looking at it, but Nicole was right. It couldn't be him, for all I knew he was still in England, I was just being paranoid. I took another big sip of my second coffee for the day and continued reading the file, while trying to avoid the name of the client. Hopefully after meeting him that would no longer be an issue. That thought made me feel better- soon I would have one more face to associate with that name, and this time it would be a different memory.
“He is here”- said Nicole quickly sticking her light-brown, curly haired head through my office door.
“Okay. Send him in. I am ready.”- I said keeping my cool and trying to sound as professional as I possibly could.
“Jordon Boilie you may go in now. Miss Garcias is expecting you”, Nicole’s words were followed up by a knock
“Come on in''...