I gave my head a little shake. “No. I understand that it can’t be my word against Jared’s because we’re both equally untrustworthy. Neither one of us is running around with angel wings attached to our backs.”
That had his frosty demeanor thawing enough that the corners of his mouth kicked up and I felt my breath catch and my eyes widen at how the slight expression turned him from outrageously handsome into something so otherworldly attractive that my simple human mind couldn’t compute it. I wondered if he won all his cases because the female jurors were too blinded by lust to listen to any of the evidence he presented. That could really work in my favor, so I sure hoped it was part of whatever he was planning to spring me from the slammer.
“You don’t need angel wings or a halo to persuade a judge or a jury that you’re innocent. You need to listen to me and be more believable than him. I think it’s pretty obvious he’s trying to throw you under the bus. I’ve seen the surveillance tape the cops took from the bar and this is not a respectable individual we are dealing with.”
If he had seen the tape, then that meant he had seen Jared grab the back of my head and slam my face into the dash of the car when I told him I wasn’t going to be part of whatever he had planned for the bar. Absently, I lifted up my joined hands and rubbed at the knot that was still prominent between my eyes. I hadn’t had a mirror to look in to check out the bump but the paramedics at the scene had declared it a minor injury, even if the headache that had eventually settled in from the blow felt pretty major.
“No, he’s not respectable at all. He’s an addict.”
“It sounds awful to say, but that actually works in our favor.” He picked up the fancy pen again and folded the file closed in front of him. He rose to his feet in a lithe movement and I found myself shrinking back in my chair to make myself as small as possible. He had already been sitting on his side of the table when the cops brought me into the room so I wasn’t expecting him to be as tall as he was, or as big. “Your bail hearing is in the morning, which unfortunately means another night in lockup for you. However, I’m confident I can get you released tomorrow but it isn’t going to be cheap, and I also need to prove to the judge you have a place to go if they do, in fact, grant you bail.”
He looked at me expectantly and all I could do was shrug. My dad wasn’t here and that spoke louder than any words he had ever said to me.
“I was staying with Jared at his place, but clearly, I can’t go back there now. As for bail …” I shrugged again. “I don’t have any money and I doubt that my parents are willing to foot the bill. I’m not sure that I’m willing to ask them for that kind of favor.”
His eyes narrowed a fraction as he reached for the paperwork on the table and slid it into a leather satchel. Even his bag looked expensive and fancy.
“If the judge sets bail and it doesn’t get paid, then you stay in jail until we have the preliminary hearing. That can take weeks, maybe even months.”
I blew out a breath and felt that bottom I had careened into reach up to embrace me even tighter. “It is what it is. I’ve let both my folks down a lot over the last few years but getting caught up with a guy that would rob the bar, a guy who could threaten my dad’s people.” I shook my head. “I deserve to rot.”
I was being overly dramatic but that’s how I felt. I deserved to sit in jail and so much worse than that. Self-pity was good company down here at rock bottom and I wasn’t ready to let go of the warmth it provided just yet.
He gave me a look I couldn’t read and headed for the door. “I’ll call your parents for you and see if we can have something in place before tomorrow. Working on your case will be a lot easier for both of us if you aren’t incarcerated. Remember, you need to listen to me, Ms. Walker. That’s the first rule in all of this.”
Panic hit me like a truck. What if he called my dad and my dad told him he’d had enough of his problematic daughter and her endless nonsense? What if he couldn’t love me anymore? Jail I could survive; losing my father for good, well, it would be the end of me.
Without thinking I jumped to my feet, which had the chains on both my hands and my legs rattling loudly, and two uniformed officers hurried into the room. I was about to make maybe the worst decision to date but I couldn’t stop the words from sliding off my tongue.
“Don’t call my dad!” Recklessness, thy name was Avett Walker.
The attorney turned around and looked at me like I had grown a second head. He didn’t say anything as the officers moved to either side of me and told me to calm down.
“You can’t call my dad.” The words sounded as panicked and as desperate as I felt on the inside.
His broad shoulders lifted and fell in a shrug like he really couldn’t give a shit that he was about to ruin my life … which was saying a hell of a lot considering where I was.
“I have to.” He sounded bored and impatient with my outburst.
I narrowed my eyes at him, and that vortex of awful, which I always seemed to be smack dab in the center of, started to spin faster and faster around me.
“Then you’re fired.” I saw the cops exchange a look as my rushed words had the blond man turning fully back around to look at me. “I don’t want your help. I don’t want anything from you.”
Finally, there was something other than indifference in his gaze. There was surprise, maybe a hint of admiration colliding with a huge splash of humor in the pale depths.
“Sorry, Ms. Walker, but you didn’t hire me, so that means you don’t get to fire me.” That grin of his, which should be registered as a deadly weapon, flashed across his face again as he watched me, and then he was gone.
I looked at the cop that was closest to me and frowned. “That’s not how it works, is it? If I want a new attorney, I get one, right? The state will give me one, won’t they?” I was babbling uncontrollably.
He shrugged. “We aren’t here to give legal advice, lady, but there’s no way in hell, if I was in your shoes, that I would be handing Quaid Jackson his walking papers. The rumor is that the guy could get the Grim Reaper acquitted of murder if he had to.”
I was struck dumb by him and by the situation. I couldn’t deny that his looks and overall demeanor had sort of left me starstruck. His name, like the man it was attached to, was unusual, sophisticated, and impossible to forget. It rattled around in my head, along with the million and one other things I had done wrong in order to get to this point.