“Attorney Kendall, could you stay and do an arraignment, please?” the judge asked off the record.
Her jaw dropped, and the color drained from her face. “Uh, I’m not a criminal attorney, your honor,” she stammered.
“It’s pretty simple. Mr. North’s attorney got delayed. Don’t make me appoint you,” he teased.
“Well, um, just for the limited purpose of this arraignment?” she asked with a hopeful lilt to her voice.
The judge waved me over next to her. Her big eyes widened in shock as I lumbered over. I was mildly insulted. Had she really not noticed me the entire time I’d been sitting there?
“I can pay you,” I whispered down to her.
She looked startled. “It’s okay. What are we dealing with?”
I liked the way she said “we.”
She gave me a blank stare.
“Marijuana. Got caught with a couple blunts.” Acting on a bad tip from one of the club’s many enemies, the cops had been hoping to pin a whole hell of a lot more on me. This was why, instead of ignoring the weed like most cops did these days, I was standing here in shackles and the orange jumpsuit.
“Oh geez.” She rolled her eyes. At me or the charge, I wasn’t sure.
“Do you have a record?”
“About a mile long.”
That stopped her. She stared up at me, searching my face for the truth. Apparently deciding no one would joke about that, she nodded her head.
“Can you post bail? Do you work? Have a family?”
“Yes, yes, and yes.”
She didn’t ask what kind of work. Or what kind of family for that matter.
“Your honor, I’ve had a chance to confer with my client.”
“Very well. Let’s call it.”
His clerk stood and read out, “The People of the State of New York versus Rochlan North.” Look at that—the old gal even pronounced my first name right.
My girl looked up at me again. My manners were shit. I’d never bothered to introduce myself, I guess.
The judge slammed his gavel down. First time I’d heard him do it all morning. The sharp thwack broke the staring contest my pretty lawyer and I were engaged in.
“Do you wish to hear the reading of the charges, counselor?”
She hesitated for a minute, and the judge covered the microphone with his hand. “Usually the attorney waives the reading, Miss Kendall.”
“I know, your honor. Thank you. Yes, I’ll waive the reading. May I have a copy of the charges for my file, though?”
“Yes, of course. Do you wish to be heard on bail?”
“Yes, your honor. My client assures me he can pay a reasonable sum. He’s a hard-working family man, so it would be in society’s best interest to allow him to continue to work and provide for his family while he waits to address these false charges.”
I’m proud to say I kept a straight face during all of that. She impressed me with her quick thinking, though. Criminal attorney or not, she was clever. I had a fondness for clever. Clever kept you alive.
Cute and smart. I should get arrested more often.
“Very well. Bail is set in the amount of five hundred dollars cash. If your client is able to post it now, he can be processed downstairs instead of going back to county.”
She looked up at me and arched an eyebrow. I nodded and motioned my crew forward.
“That’s acceptable. Thank you, your honor.”
“Off the record,” the judge said to the court reporter. He looked back up at my attorney. “See, that wasn’t so hard, Miss Kendall.” The judge’s face lit up in a wolfish smile I didn’t take kindly
to. Already in my head, I’d laid claim to this woman whose first name I didn’t even know.
The sheriff came over and gripped my elbow.
“Can’t you remove the restraints, now?” she asked the sheriff with wide, pleading eyes.
To say her request stunned me would be an understatement. No one had ever given a crap about my discomfort.
The sheriff did not look surprised. He answered her gently. “No counselor, not till he’s posted the bail money. You can meet us downstairs.” He nodded toward the guys standing behind the banister. “His posse can show you the way.”
She hesitated, and I read the expression on her face loud and clear. She didn’t want to follow my crew anywhere. In fact, she looked like she wanted to run away.
“Go ahead, I’ll be fine.” I appreciated that she’d given it a try. Sheriffs wouldn’t break protocol no matter how owl-eyed innocent she acted. It sure turned me on, though.
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