“So, you and Josie?” a voice whispered in Scott’s ear.
Scott jumped, the clipboard in his hand clattering to the linoleum floor with a God-awful racket that echoed and through the city courtroom.
He hurried to pick it up as several people in the courtroom peeped around the corner to see what had happened.
Mark, the D. A., clapped Scott on the shoulder. “Sorry, didn’t mean to sneak up on you.”
Scott hastily hung the clipboard back up on the wall. He was so out-of-sorts, he forgot to finish looking at the docket.
Mark moved around so he could see Scott; there was a concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Scott replied.
“So, did you really punch-out a guy that was flirting with Josie?”
Scott was startled. “What? No! Who told you that?”
“I’ve heard different accounts from different people. The best is that some guy went to your office, tried to pick up Josie, and you came running in—during the daytime—and punched him out.”
“No, I did not punch him out,” Scott said firmly.
“But he was trying to pick up Josie?”
Scott looked away. “She went out on a pity date with him, and he wasn’t getting the hint that she didn’t want to go out again. I just told him to leave her alone.”
“So it was an act of chivalry?”
Maybe he had a chance to wriggle out of the rumors. “Yeah, I guess so,” Scott said, trying to sound nonchalant.
“And jealousy?” Mark prodded, with a grin. “I also heard you’ve been biting her.”
If it had been possible, Scott would have flushed red. “Who did you hear that from?”
“Who haven’t I heard it from.”
Scott didn’t reply.
Mark’s grin got wider. “Do you wish to plead the Fifth, counselor?”
“Ah, well, I can’t blame you. …She is a very good-looking woman.”
Scott breathed a sigh of relief when the courtroom started to bustle in preparation for court and he had a good excuse to go to his table. He was conscious of Mark looking at him from across the aisle, still occasionally grinning at him, but he chose to ignore him. It was harder to ignore the smirk of the judge, however.
“Evening gentlemen. I hope everyone had a good weekend,” he said, looking at Scott pointedly.
Even the brute of a police officer that worked in the courtroom—the one with the spiky tattoo around his head—smiled a little… and he had previously looked like a man who never smiled.
Oh, God, I’m the laughingstock of the town.
Scott decided it was best to channel his English ancestors and keep a stiff upper lip, stay calm, and carry on.
Half an hour later, he was actually making a good show of being composed, when Josie suddenly appeared at his side.
As she leaned down to whisper in his ear, Scott noticed Mark’s eyes cross-examining Josie’s ass in her black pencil skirt. Scott glared at him and Mark, noticing, grimaced and quickly looked away.
“I’m sorry to bother you in court,” Josie whispered, “but your mother just called. Your dad has been in a bad car wreck. Bad.”
Scott felt his stomach fall into his feet. He stammered, not knowing what to say.
She passed him a neon-orange post-it note with an address written on it. “He’s at the hospital in Columbia.”
“I… uh….” Scott couldn’t think straight. His eyes couldn’t even focus on the letters on the note; they looked like random black lines.
Josie looked at him for a moment, then turned to the judge.
“Your Honor, may I approach?”
He gestured for her to come up.
Scott could hear her whispering to the judge. “I just got a call that Mr. Cunningham’s father has been in a very bad car accident. Can we continue his remaining cases?”
The judge’s teasing smile suddenly fell from his face. “Yes, of course.”
Josie nodded. “Thank you.”
Josie’s heels clicked on the floor as she hurried back to Scott’s table. “I got your cases continued,” she told him in a hushed voice.
Mark stepped over. “What’s wrong?” he asked, looking concerned.
“Scott’s father’s been in a bad accident.” Josie took Scott gently by the arm and helped him to his feet. “He needs to get to the hospital.”
“Oh, man,” Mark said. “I’m so sorry to hear that, Scott. I hope he’ll be okay.”
“Yeah,” Scott said, distractedly.
Mark looked at him, then glanced at Josie. “I… don’t know if Scott should drive himself.”
“I’ll drive him,” she said. “I’ve got the car waiting outside.”
“Good,” Mark said, looking relieved.
“Would you please let me know when the cases get rescheduled? Just fax it or send Scott an e-mail. I check his e-mail for him.”
“Sure, I’ll take care of it. Just go.”
She nodded, and half-drug Scott out the front door of the courthouse. His car was idling at the curb, a police officer guarding it.
Josie got Scott into the car, thanked the officer, then got into the driver’s side and quickly pulled away.
Read the entire series–The Bloodsuckers: Vampire Lawyers of Middle Tennessee