– 2003 –
“Miss King?” He inquired.
“Please, call me Allison.” She extended her arm and shook his hand enthusiastically. He nodded and ushered her into the apartment.
“I’m sorry, what newspaper did you say you worked for again?”
“It’s more of a weekly magazine, really. It’s called “The Law”. Basically, we focus on crime cases and what-not. The case you were assigned caught our attention from the start.”
“Ah, yes. I’ve heard of it.” He smiled without really looking at her.
“So, Mister Darque… do you believe that your client is really innocent?” She asked, handing him her coat.
He chuckled loudly. “So you’re the get-right-to-it kind of person!” He hung her coat on the coat rack and lead her into the living room. “Please, have a seat. Would you like some tea, coffee? Some wine, perhaps?”
She settled into his black leather couch and took out her notepad. “Red wine would be nice, thanks.”
“Red wine it is. Be back in a second.” He said, walking to his kitchen.
She examined his living room. It was elegant and sophisticated but it still had that boyish touch to it. Among the expensive-looking decorations she observed subtle touches of a young soul. On his modern shelves – amidst all his awards – stood a signed baseball. On his table, next to the photos of his family, there was a photo of him about to (she presumed) bungee jump off a cliff.
He walked back into the living room with two wine glasses in hand, smiling. His smile was warm and welcoming. Honest. It was rare, she thought, to see a lawyer exert such honesty. Such charm. In her line of work, she had almost always only met the sleazy ones. The ones who lie for the money. She decided to test him again.
“So, Mister Darque. I know your client intends to plead not guilty. Do you believe him, or are you just supporting him because he pays you to?”
His smile vanished.
“Miss King, I only take on cases when I know for sure the person I am defending is not guilty and simply falsely accused.”
“Yes, all lawyers would like to believe that, I suppose.”
He handed her a glass of wine and took a seat in front of her. “Miss King –”
“Miss King,” He smiled politely, “Edward James is as innocent as a child and I know that to be a fact. I have chosen to defend him because, as a lawyer, what I hate the most is seeing innocent people thrown away into prison to rot when they deserve to be out there living the life they earned.”
She smirked challengingly; “Yes, Mister Darque… but how can you be one hundred percent sure that your client; Mister Edward James, really did not kill his step-daughter?”
“So this is what I do before I take on any case, Miss King, yeah?” He moved to the edge of his chair, “I must meet the client, and I must have a picture of his or her victims…”
“Why is that?” She asked, intrigued.
“Because when I put the picture in their face, their reaction always tells me everything I need to know. I can read faces pretty well, Miss King. And yours is telling me that you think everything I’m saying is pure bullshit.”
“No, I wouldn’t say “bullshit”. I would say, perhaps… “entertaining”.”
“Well, Miss King, then be it. I guess my gift to “entertain” is what has made me so successful.” He took a sip of his wine and sat back contentedly in his chair.
She stared at him quietly. She could tell from his face that he was a man with a code he strictly lived by. In his case, she knew what his code was – to never defend guilty people. She could tell, there was a certain sincerity in his words, a certain determination.
She looked back at her notepad, “Mister Darque, your client was found at the crime scene. He had the weapon in his hands. He was standing over the victim with fucking blood on his hands! He wasn’t crying or screaming, Mister Darque, he was standing there just looking at his dead six year-old step-daughter. Even his wife is certain he murdered her, why aren’t you?”
He had a frown on his face. It wasn’t a frown of anger or annoyance, it was a frown of genuine sadness. He stood up and walked to his window. He placed one hand on the cold glass. “Miss King,” He sighed. “Do you know what Edward James did when I showed him a picture of little Cassie?”
She shook her head and then realized he wasn’t looking at her. “No, I don’t.”
“He cried and then proceeded to tell me exactly how he felt the moment his soon-to-be ex-wife had introduced him to her. He said she was the sweetest and smartest little child he had ever met. He said she made him a mud pie.”
“He could have easily been trying to fool you, Mister Darque.”
“Oh, no, it was real, Miss King.”
“Allison. He truly loved that child and he is grieving just as much as her mother is grieving.”
“So why was he holding the weapon that killed her, Mister Darque? Why was he standing over her with a knife and blood all over his hands?”
“Because she was his baby girl, and he found her dead. Because she was his baby girl, and he was in shock.”
“And you believe him, Mister Darque?”
“I really do, Allison. And I will do what I can to keep this innocent man out of jail.”
“Very well.” She gulped down her wine. “I guess I should get going then.”
He turned around, startled. “Wait, that’s it? That’s all you have to ask?”
“I know the facts, Mister Darque –”
She chuckled sweetly. “I know the facts, Leo, I just came to get the icing on the cake. Now I have. You believe you are defending an innocent man. Not a lot of lawyers could say the same.” She stood up, placed her notepad in her bag and walked to the door. “I admire you for that.”
He placed his wine glass on the table and raced after her. “So you don’t want to know anything about Edward James? Anything about little Cassie Yale?” He asked, surprised.
“Like I said, Mister Darque…”
“Like I said, Leo. I have everything I need.”
She grabbed her coat from the coat rack, thanked him, and walked out.
He wandered back into his living room shaking his head over that bizarre interview – his shortest interview so far. He heard his phone ring and it was that sweet ring tone that she had chosen just for herself. He answered.
“Hi, baby!” He heard her chirp excitedly.
“So I just had a hot woman over. She stripped but I told her I already had a very beautiful girlfriend. She said she could work with couples, is that okay, baby?” He joked.
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