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Authors: Vi Keeland

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Worth the Fight

BOOK: Worth the Fight
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Copyright © 2013 by Vi Keeland

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

 

This book is a work of fiction.  All names, characters, locations and incidents are products of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, locales or events is entirely coincidental.

 

Worth the Fight

Edited by
:     Ocean’s Edge Editing

Cover model
:
©
Peter Dichkov

Cover photo:
©
Tihomir Iliev
www.spotlight-studio.net

Cover art:
©
RomCon
®
www.romcon.com

 

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“Someday, someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else.”

-Unknown

 

 

 

This book is dedicated to
my someone.

 

 

Chapter 1

Elle

I’d like to think my past doesn’t follow me around like a shadow on a sunny day that I
just can’t outrun.  I have a good life.  I’m smart, have a great job, long legs, perky boobs, and I’ve been told the guy I sort of date is a catch-and-a-half on more than one occasion.  So why is it that as I look across the room, scanning for William in the crowded restaurant, part of me hopes he stands me up?  What twenty-five-year-old wants to be stood up?  One that will continue to coast through life on autopilot, unless circumstances in my perfect life force a change.  Perfect is highly overrated.  I’m a character in my story, going through the chapters of my life as if it was written by an imaginary person, when I should be the author.

I’ve been this way for a long time.  I make responsible choices.  My life is neat and organized and my heart rate stays constant.  I like it that way most of the time.  I should be proud of where I am in my life.  But the truth of the matter is sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating in my perfunctory life.

William catches my eye and raises his hand to me at a table in the far corner of the restaurant.  The one we almost always sit at.  Same time, same place, every week, week after mundane week.  I notice the two girls sitting at the bar near me, eyeing William and giggling.  Their faces drop when they realize he’s waving at me and hasn’t even noticed them.  I put on my best fake smile as William, always the gentleman, stands as I reach the table.  He kisses me on the cheek and wraps his arm around my waist with a familiar touch.

“Sorry, I’m a little late.”  I say with rehearsed speech as I take my seat.

“No problem, I just got here myself.”  William replies, and I know it’s a lie.  William Harper would never be late.  I’m sure he was here fifteen minutes early and since I’m twenty minutes late, he’s probably been waiting more than half an hour, but he would never complain. 

“Can I get you a drink?”  The attentive waitress smiles at William, even though her spee
ch is directed at me.   If I were the possessive type, her overt flirting would probably piss me off.  But I’m not.  Possessiveness and jealousy would be emotional reactions, something I’ve spent years working to restrain.

“I’ll have a vodka cranberry.  Diet cranberry, please.”  I look to William an
d notice his glass is already empty.  I inwardly smirk, thinking how well I know this man.   He nurses the single drink he allots himself, a vodka tonic, for a solid half hour, then he switches to water.

“Just water for me, thank you.”  William smi
les at the waitress and she beams from his attention.  William Harper is a handsome man.   You’d have to be blind not to see that. Tall, blue eyes, blonde perfectly coifed hair, and always dressed like he just walked out of GQ magazine.  His teeth are white and perfectly straight and dazzle from beneath his perfect smile.   He comes from a respectable family and at only twenty-seven he’s already a partner at his dad’s law firm.  So why is it that right now as he speaks, I’m seeing his lips move, but I can’t hear a word he’s saying? 

“Elle, are you okay?”  William senses my distance and I know the concern in his voice is ge
nuine.  He truly is a great guy, a catch-and-a-half as they say.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”  I pretend I just snapped out of a daze.  “My head must still be in the case I was working on.”  I lie.

The answer seems to satisfy him.  “What kind of a case is it?” 

It didn’t take long for us to get on the topic of work, it
never does.  I should be happy we have our work in common and he’s someone that understands what I do, but work is pretty much all we ever talk about.

“It’s an unlawful termination of employment case.”  I latch onto the first case that pops into my mind.  Luckily the waitress comes back and sets down our drinks
and asks to take our order, giving me more time to think of something interesting from the dull case that I just told William my head was stuck in. 

The waitress leaves an
d an older couple approach our table.  “You’re Bill Harper, Jr. right?  Bill’s son?”  The gentleman extends his hand with a friendly smile. 

“It’s William, but yes I’m William Harper Jr.”  I’ve heard him correct dozens of people over the last few years.  I’ve always wondered why it bothers him so much to be called Bill or Billy, that he feels the need to correct people.  I mean, when someone uses a nickname it’s meant to be friendly, isn’t it?  William has the polite manner in which he corrects people down to a science.  Somehow it doesn’t come off as rude.
  It’s telling that I wonder why it bothers him,  yet never ask. 

The two men chat for a while and in less than ten minutes William manages to solicit the guy
’s legal work and the man promises to call the office the next day.   The way he does it doesn’t come off as sleazy ambulance chaser type speak.  William is smooth and professional.  It probably comes naturally to him, being his father, grandfather, and brother are all lawyers too.

We finish our dinner without interruption
and our conversation is easy and natural.  It’s been that way since we met in our last year of law school.  We clicked instantly and I would categorize him as one of my closest friends, if I wasn’t sleeping with him once a week for the last eighteen months.

“I rented
Possible Cover
. I was hoping you’d want to come back to my place after dinner.”  It’s just like William to rent the latest action movie, which he will most likely despise, because I am an action movie junkie.  William is more of an artsy-Woody-Allen-type-movie person.

“Can I take a rain
check?”  I see William’s face wilt slightly.  This is the second week in a row that I’ll be cutting our date off after dinner…and before sex. “I have to be in the office at 6am to prep for a deposition.”  I feign disappointment in my voice as yet another lie flows freely from my lips.

I’m not sure if he buys my excuse or if he’s just too polite to call me on it.  But I don’t care.  I’m not in the mood tonight.  The last few months our sex life has become a challenge for me, although William doesn’t seem to have any idea.  It’s not his fault either.  He has good equipment and it operates well, for the most part.  But I’
ve been having trouble getting myself to my happy place during our nights together lately.  Maybe that was part of the problem.  If I wanted a happy ending with William, I had to get myself there.  He just doesn’t seem to be able to get me there on his own anymore.  So I seem to have become one of those sex-once-a-week women who have to fake it.  And I’m not in the mood to fake anything else tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Elle

My co-workers at Milstock and Rowe are an eclectic group of people.   William and I did our internship here in our last year of law school.  After graduation William went on to his father’s Madison-Avenue-type law firm that was started by his grandfather more than seventy years ago.  The firm is well established and caters to the elite advertising industry.   Leonard Milstock, the namesake in Milstock and Rowe, offered me a position as a junior associate at the end of my internship and I happily accepted. 

William and I don’t
disagree often, but we argued quite a bit when I had decided to stay at Milstock and Rowe.  He didn’t think it was a good career move to take a job with such a small unknown firm.  But I was comfortable there and Milstock allowed me to do work that most junior associates at a big firm could only dream of getting their hands on.  That was one of the perks of working for a small place, and I thought it outweighed the low salary and lack of prestige.  William, on the other hand, thought the scale tipped completely in the opposite direction.  Salary and prestige were high on William’s career priorities.  Not so much on mine.

“Morning Regina.”
  I smile at the receptionist as I walk into the office fifteen minutes past the official start time of eight.  No one seems to care that I’m perpetually late, especially since I usually stay until long after seven on most nights.  Timeliness just isn’t my thing. 

“William called,
he wants you to call him back.  He had me check your calendar to see if you’re available for a consultation for a new client of his.”   

Damn
.  Now he knows my early morning deposition was a lie.  “Regina, would you mind having Gigi call him back and book whatever he needs on my calendar?”  I raise my eyebrows at Regina and she knows what I’m asking and smiles, excited to be in on whatever it is that I am asking her to do.

Regina has been our receptionist for almost a year. 
She’s in her late forties and has eight cats and way too many cat themed decorations at her desk.    From the outside she looks like your ordinary middle-aged woman.   A little on the heavy side, with pants that spread just a bit too tightly over her plump ass, a penchant for floral, flowing crepe shirts, and comfortable flat shoes.   To the eyes, the package she delivers seems to fit the bill.  That is, until she opens her mouth.

I’ve never met another woman in my life
that has a sexier voice.   For that matter, I don’t think there’s a man with a sexier voice either.  The sound that comes out of her mouth is the purr of a sex kitten, not the roar of the teddy bear standing before you.   I am absolutely, one hundred percent positive she could earn a million dollars a year being a phone sex operator, or the voice for audio erotica books.    Men are rendered powerless to deny her when she asks for anything in her sultry voice.  I dubbed the woman with the irresistible tone Gigi.

I’d solicited the assistance of Gigi’s god given gift on more than one occasion.  Sometimes to have her call clients when I knew
they would be upset with my having to cancel an appointment last minute.  Somehow when Gigi called in her sexy voice, the male clients took the news much better.

No one in the office knows how Regina and I met so many years ago.  They
probably all think she’s a friend of my mother’s because of how different we look on the outside.   But she’s not; she’s my very best friend…the woman who saved my life.   Although if you ask her, she’d tell you I saved hers.  Who knows, maybe we actually saved each other. 

 

***

Leonard Milstock is my s
eventy-five-year-old boss.  I’ve only met Frederick Rowe, the other half of Milstock and Rowe once. Yet his name stays on the door and rumor has it he still receives a salary each year.  The two men had been best friends since grade school and partnered up together before I was even born.  Apparently Mr. Rowe was the Felix to Milstock’s Oscar and kept things flowing smoothly in the office.  But he’d retired a few years back due to his wife’s ailing health and now all we had was the messy half of the odd couple. 

I enter Leonard’s office a
nd attempt to find a chair under the piles of files with papers haphazardly sticking out all over.  I remove three suit jackets I am positive have been there for at least two years and hang them up as Leonard begins to talk about the case we’re working on together.  As he talks, I reorganize all of the files which had been left ajar on the chair and throw out a dozen Wall Street Journals that have dates more than a year old.   Leonard either doesn’t notice my tidying or it doesn’t bother him at all, because he doesn’t miss a beat as he brings me up to speed while I go about tidying the place.

“You’re going to have to handle the deposition yourself this afternoon.”  Leonard wraps up the discussion while chewing on a sausage and peppers hero that Regina delivered a few
minutes ago, even though it’s only ten thirty in the morning.

“I can do that.”  I can, but I’m surprised that he is asking me to.  The afternoon deposition is
for one of our largest clients and usually Leonard leads and I take a back seat.  Leonard sees the question written on my face. 

“I
’m having angioplasty this afternoon.”  Leonard waves off the comment as if he had just told me the time and not that he was having serious heart surgery.

“Angioplasty?  Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes.  I’m fine.  The doctors today make a big deal about nothing.  He probably just wants me on the table because his kid’s got a tuition payment due.” 

“So
it probably doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that you eat a sausage and peppers hero every day for breakfast then?  It couldn’t be that you haven’t taken care of your heart, right?”  I stand, assuming the lecturing daughter position that Leonard, on rare occasion, has allowed me to act out when his unhealthy habits rise to disturbing levels.

“Listen missy.  When you get to be my age, we’ll see how much you give a shit about what you eat.   So keep your s
alad-eating, skinny thoughts to yourself and go prep for our client who I’m counting on you to please.”

I laugh, knowing
Leonard isn’t really mad, it’s just his way.  Neither of us do warm and mushy, but he knows I care about him.  “Tell Millie to call me when you’re all patched up, okay?”  Yes, Leonard Milstock married a woman named Millie, which makes her Millie Milstock.   I would have kept my maiden name, but I’m sure that wasn’t even a consideration when they married more than fifty years ago. 

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”  I smile at my boss and shake my head watching him finish off the last of his hero.
  When they scope out his veins I’m pretty sure they’ll find whole pieces of sausage are causing the clog.

 

 

BOOK: Worth the Fight
9.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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