Carter takes a sip of his coffee slowly as he looks at me, I take a bite of my food barely tasting any of it, my stomach knots the uneasy feeling only getting worse as I wait for him to respond.
‘I make it my business to know,’ he gives me a wink, I need to get out of here, he’s trapped me and there is no easy way for me to get out without causing a scene, I hear my phone. ring, the noise breaking the tense silence that has formed between us. I ignore it and we both watch each other as the phone continues to ring, Carter arches a brow.
‘Aren’t you going to get that?’ I shake my head whoever it is can wait, the ringing stops and I breathe a sigh of relief before it starts again.
‘It might be important, perhaps it’s the tree rest rehab center, isn’t your sister staying there, Jessica, isn’t it?’ my blood runs cold fear over taking me completely.
‘How do you know that?’ I whisper the shook rushing through me, no one knows that, only my friends and landlady, knows that Jake doesn’t know, no one at work does. If they knew I could be thrown off this case as they are so similar to the one, I lived through. I can’t risk them finding out, Jake could get rid of me, he is always looking at ways to do so, this would just be the icing on the cake for him, leaving me entirely screwed.
He tilts his head at me, his gaze rakes up and down my body, his focus lingers on my breasts for longer than
necessary until his eyes snap back to mine a wicked smile on his face.
‘Like I said I make it my business to know, eat,’ I take another bite of my food forcing myself to swallow. I take a sip of my coffee as he watches me drinking his own.
‘Why?’ I can’t stop from asking the burning question that fills my head. He pauses before a smirk crosses his face.
‘The question isn’t why you should be asking but what, what I can do to help you, you must need money that place looks very expensive,’ he says it dawning on me why he’s cornered me here. I feel like I can’t breathe the room of the coffee shop is closing in around me and despite it being full of people, I can’t hear their chatter anymore.
Whatever he offers you Steph just don’t go there.
My phone rings again breaking me out of my daze, and I look up at him, although everything feels distorted and I don’t know what to make of it all. I still don’t answer my mouth feels dry my throat aching, I don’t even know if I can talk.
‘Why don’t you let me help you,’ Carter states as his hand brushes my bare knee his fingers tracing my skin, his touch. wakes me up and I move my legs stopping him from touching me his smirk has returned.
‘Horrible what happened to your sister, much like this case were going to be working on, I wonder if Jake knows what happened?’ he casually takes a bite of my food and if confirming all my worst fears, what if he tells Jake I can’t let that happen.
‘What do you want,’ I ask my phone has stopped ringing and he puts down my food leaning across the table so no one can
‘I want to help you, I can pay for your sisters’ treatments and medical costs if you’re willing to give me something in return …’ his gaze flickers to my breasts again then my lips I shuffle in my seat putting as much difference between us as possible.
‘What’s your price?’ I ask.
‘How about you spend one night with me, spread those long slim legs of yours, I have all sorts of ideas for how you can pay me back,’ I feel sick as his eyes flash dangerously. I shake my head anything but that.
‘I’m not a h o oker,’ I spit at him my anger rising despite the secret he’s discovered I’m not going to degrade myself that way. He sneers at me before shaking his head and smirking
‘Is that a, no?’
‘Yes, it’s a no!’ my voice rising, and I go to stand up, but he grabs my hand pulling me back down to my seat, I sit back. ripping my hand from his clasp.
‘Feisty one aren’t you, no matter I have another suggestion for you anyway, but I will have you Stephanie Bridges,’ his gaze makes my skin crawl.
‘What’s your suggestion,’ I glare at him waiting for his
‘I want you to bring me evidence and what Jake is preparing for his case so I can win,’ he states coldly.
‘What?’ I ask horrified by the idea of it, my stomach lurches and I think I’m going to be sick.
‘No why would I do that,’ my anger rising, and I want to slap him how dare he. I’m about to do just that when his next words stop me cold in my tracks.
‘Because if you don’t give me something what is to stop me telling Jake your little secret, he will probably fire you and then what would you do, behind on rent and all those medical expenses. You’ll be jobless and homeless. Let’s face it you will have no option but to sell that body of yours,’ his’ eyes dangerous, his cold voice is like ice as each word he speaks shatters my world.
‘I’m offering you an alternative a way to get ahead of those rising costs and keep your secret, I think covering all medical expense and back payments for six months is a generous offer, in return I’m asking for a few pieces of paper, a contact nothing more … or I want a taste of that juicy cu nt of yours,’ my head is spinning, I can’t think straight. All my efforts can’ t have been for nothing.
I can’t sell my body, he’s right if I lose this job things will be different but I’m not there yet, there has to be other options before that. The idea of helping a man like the one who caused the death of both my parents and almost my sister. For them to get away with it or get as much time as the man who caused all my problems have. 10 days in jail is an outrage, how could I live with myself, knowing I’d done something to help him go free.
Even by some longshot I actually agreed and did that, what if I got caught, things were already risky enough and
tampering with evidence was not something that anyone took a blind eye to. I looked at Carter he was good looking nothing like Jake but not unattractive. Could I sleep with him, women do more for a lot less I’d never been paid for sex, I couldn’t do it.
Carter stands adjusting his suit before he leans down whispering in my ear.
‘I’ll give you three days to think it over before I tell Jake exactly who you are.’ He tucks a strand behind me ear giving my temple a brief kiss and I turn looking at him horrified. He only smirks more grabbing his things he turns to leave.
‘Best be getting back, don’t want to be late now, clocks ticking,’ with that he left, and I took a breath letting in some much-needed oxygen.
Three days okay, I had three days to come up with a plan, that was enough time surely, besides Jake had threatened to fire me countless times and still hadn’t plus he needed me, right? Even if he did find out my secret it wouldn’t change anything, would it?
I don’t know how long I sat there pondering all my options. before I caught sight of the time and ran back to the courthouse, I rushed into the corridor the doors to the court room we were in coming into sight, I was close to making it, when a large hand clasped around my arm pulling me to a stop.
‘Where have you been I’ve been calling you for ages!’ he
speaks low into my ear his deep voice soothing and manages to calm my racing heart despite his aggressive tone, Jake
shakes me turning me towards him, I see him go to say something when he frowns looking me over.
Does he know already, had Carter already told him what happened. No don’t be stu pid Steph just breath, he doesn’t know anything. His calculating gaze watches my face his grip still tight on my arm as we stand in the corridor of the caught house staring at each other, I catch a whiff of perfume mixed with his normal seductive scent a wrinkle my
That must be Tara’s perfume on him, the thought angers me more than it should.
It’s probably more to do with all the other events that are going on than that. Jake looks like he is about to say something to me before the doors to our court room open Todd standing there beckoning us to come in, Jake releases my arm, straightening his suit jacket as he walks towards the door Todd is holding open.
He turns over his shoulder glaring at me and I rush following behind him making my way to my seat. As I go to sit down, I find Carter Dic kson’s business card with a sand timer written on it with the sand filling the bottom half of the tube, I look in his direction, but he keeps his gaze forward. I pocket the items into my handbag not wanting anyone to see, the usher calls us to stand as Judge Theodore Matthews enters the building.
I see Carter whisper to his client Carson about something causing a small smile to appear on his face as Theodore takes his seat. Carter looks over his shoulder towards me but says nothing, in fact his face is completely expressionless,
no one would think that half an hour ago he was propositioning me and turned my whole world upside down.
‘After careful consideration of the case both the prosecution and defense have put forward, I regret to inform that there is no case for a plea deal for the accused Carson Duggar, I see sufficient evidence for this case to be brought before a jury and tried in court, we will schedule the court once a jury has been selected. Mr. Duggar, I will set bail for £52,000 if you are unable to pay you will remain in cùstody until you trial.’ Judge Matthews states.
Cater clenches his fists under the table whereas I can see Jake smile at Todd. He gives Lyla an encouraging nod and smile.
‘Court dismissed,’ Theodore states as he gets us and leaves the court after hammering his gavel. Guards take Carson away, but I just make out Carter saying they will make bail and he will make some calls.
Jake turns to me passing me some files a fixed frown on his face as he watches me closely.
‘Go back to the office and start prepping for jury selection,’ he states before turning back to Lyla. Todd gives me a soft warm smile but says nothing more and I try to return it with my own but I’m just not feeling it. A small part of me hoped. for a plea deal then this mess I seem to be in with Carter may not have been an issue.
As I exit the door of the courtroom and court house the fresh air swirling around me I take a deep breath, closing my eyes briefly I sense his presence before I even open my eyes,
the unease creeping up my spine when you know your being watched, I open them seeing Carter walk off, he turns in my direction taping is watch before he looks away walking in the other direction.
His gesture is so subtle I doubt anyone would of thought anything of it, his message is clear though time is ticking and I need to make a decision, a decision I know is going to change my future.