Summary: A very short piece about Grant and Ariel's relationship.
Disclaimer: "The Lyon's Den" characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made.
Author: Tracy Diane Miller
Sleeping with the EnemyChapter One
He had promised her that there would be no more skulking around. Yet, as she gazed around the private dining room that he had reserved for them, elegant, yet removed from the rest of the restaurant patrons, she knew that he had made another empty promise. He had called the ambiance romantic; to her, the forced seclusion reeked of the secrecy of their hidden indiscretions. He had removed his wedding ring weeks ago, had told her that they were free to pursue their relationship out in the open. Then why did she still feel as if she were his mistress?
And why had he kept so much of himself hidden from her?
Grant never talked about his past. All Ariel knew was that he hailed from Georgia and that he had been orphaned at a young age. Once, after they had made love, she had innocently mentioned that she knew so little about him and had questioned him about his years growing up. Her body still tingled from the pleasure of his touches even as her brain cautioned her not to surrender her free will to this man. It was a losing battle. He insisted that the past didn't matter; what mattered was now and the time that they spent together. But his silence only served to whet her curiosity. Her persistence had been crucial in her career successes. However, her lack of knowledge in this instance worried her even more. Everyone had skeletons in his or her closet, forgotten phantoms of failure, pain, and regret that were rarely mourned and were tucked far away from public scrutiny. She had banished her own demons years ago, but these demons refused to go away quietly. Alcohol had offered her the greatest comfort and the greatest lie: The liquor enabled her to forget and to remember all at the same time. Denial had been her mantra. Only through AA meetings, through learning to admit that she had a problem, had she been placed on the road towards recovery.
He had forcefully dismissed her inquiries. She saw something in his eyes that suggested that many mysteries remain to be told in the enigma that was Grant Rashton. Yet, the anger in his voice as he demanded that she drop the subject had frightened her. Perhaps sensing her alarm, his features had softened and he whispered an apology. Then he smiled at her, his eyes dancing mischievously with the language of unspoken desire, as he showered her neck with a new trail of kisses. His power over her, predictable and eerily hypnotic, had so easily broken her free will as they eagerly made love once more.
Alcohol wasn't her only addiction. How many times had her mother warned her to stay away from trouble?
Ariel had courted trouble the first moment that she allowed herself to be seduced by Grant Rashton. She would never forget that day.Chapter Two Four years earlier...
The Firm was the breeding ground for winners. It had no room for idealistic "losers" who still believed that the law was the tool for serving the greater good. Societal betterment was the mantra of the bleeding heart liberals, those self-proclaimed disciples who vowed to rid the world of the various social ills via law and legislation.
She had met them at Yale. They were the law students that used their Ivy League education in the dank "dungeons" of the various public interest clinics, slaving over obscure precedents to be used in habeas corpus briefs or to support arguments in domestic abuse or eviction hearings. They had a cause, the rights of the forgotten and underrepresented. They fascinated her; they were honest to their mission but their lives offered the greatest riddle. Some were "trust fund brats", third generation Yalies who rejected the privilege and rites of passage to some cushy, big law firm job. Why? Did they dismiss money and prestige because their conscience screamed at them that they had to do something more with their lives? Or, was their career choice part of some post-adolescent rebellion against their blue blood upbringing?
Ariel Saxon hadn't hailed from a privileged upbringing. Her parents had been working class people. Still, they had worked hard to send her to the best schools. Her intelligence and talent had helped her to gain admittance to Yale. But it hadn't been easy. She had waged a daily battle with alcoholism that began when she was fourteen years old and continued through her college years. In college, during a particularly low moment, she fell victim to a drunken stupor, babbling incoherently about how her cat had tried to kill her. Her roommates feared for her safety; the police had been called and she was dragged away from campus still chanting about the maniacal feline. She missed a semester, trading it for a stint in rehab. Still, when she came back to school, fragile, yet determined, she worked harder than her peers and graduated at the top five percent of her class. A year later, she attended Yale Law School. Four years later (she fell off the wagon again in law school, between her first and second year and missed a year of law school), Ariel graduated law school with honors.
After law school, she moved to Washington, D.C. She had briefly flirted with idealism thinking that she'd work for a small service-oriented law firm or the federal government. Instead, she found herself about to interview at the Firm. Life was the greatest mystery.
The Firm was Lyon, Lacrosse, and Levine, a hard-hitter in legal and political circles. The Firm had traded in its "collective conscience" for a palace in the sky, an impressive building that towered high above the city. It had traded in its conscience for multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that aligned the wallets of its partners with six figure salaries and partnership earnings.
The Firm was the breeding ground for winners, not idealism.
Ariel had successfully impressed partner Terrence Christianson at her initial interview a week earlier. She had been called back for a second interview before the full hiring committee consisting of Christianson, managing partner Daniel Barrington, and a senior associate...
Her life was about to change in ways that she would have never imagined.