Disclaimers: The characters of SoN do not belong to me but to The N and Tom Lynch. I've borrowed them and created an alternate universe... just for fun: plain, innocent, fun.
Note: I was originally thinking of making this a one-parter but give me enough shouts and I might consider continuing :p
While I Waited That Night…
Spencer pulled her coat closer to ward off the night chill. A gust of strong wind blew, sending her perfectly sprayed hair into disarray. She gathered the protective wool tighter.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed two teenaged boys scuffling their way across the street. They were yelling in the characteristic manner of carefree youth. Occassionally guzzling the beer from the bottle in their hands, they were crooning an off-beat tune. Suddenly, one of them noticed Spencer and stopped. He pulled his partner and whispered something into his ear, all the time smirking at Spencer.
Spencer deliberately avoided looking at them. But her bones were starting to freeze and not only from the outward cold. She glanced at her watch without really noting the time. Her muscles tensed as the boys neared. She could feel their gaze bore into her. She clenched her jaw and tried to muster any left courage within herself. They must have been several feet away from her when a car swerved into the curb. Spencer immediately brightened, expecting the familiar blue SUV. Her relief dissipated when she saw a dark burgundy BMW sedan glint in the dim street lights.
The door slowly opened and a young woman stepped out from the back seats. Spencer observed that the woman must be around her age. A sleek leather coat clung to her petite frame. Her hair shone with salon-colored auburn. She murmured something to the driver in front and closed the door. The woman flicked a brief glance at the boys who had stopped on their tracks. She then turned towards Spencer and her face creased into a warm grin.
"Hello darling, did you have to wait long?"
"Huh?" Spencer frowned in confusion. She then noticed the boys preparing to walk away. They obviously concluded that there wasn't a lone victim to harass anymore. Spencer forced a fake smile. "Not too long."
The woman's grin faded as the boys sauntered off. She pushed her hands in her side pockets and came to stand beside Spencer.
"You shouldn't be standing here all alone." The woman pointed out.
Spencer shrugged. "I could take care of myself. But thanks anyways."
"Right, then why do I see beads of perspiration on your head when it is less than 30 degrees right now?"
Spencer did not answer.
The woman took out a cigarette and casually lit it. She offered one to Spencer.
"No thanks, I don't smoke." Spencer declined.
"I don't either." She blew out a wisp of smoke. "But the night is long and cold. This makes a nice companion."
"I don't need to resort to any of these toxins to pass my night." Spencer retorted.
"In a bad mood, are we?" The woman took a sharp draw. "You know you want it. You are just being irritated because you desire it but some part of your holy superego is reprimanding you."
Spencer rolled her eyes. "Great. Of all the people tonight, I had to meet a smartass psychoanalyst."
"Are you usually so antisocial or did I just get lucky tonight?" The brunette arched her well-shaped eyebrows.
"Do we have to talk? I already thanked you for earlier. Can we just remain as silent strangers the way the rest of the city operates?" Spencer told her grimly.
The other woman gave a nonchalant shrug. "Works for me."
The silence, during which Spencer surreptitiously studied the casual stance of the woman, did not last long.
"A witness, an informer or your bribe-giving patron, who are you meeting tonight?"
"What?" Spencer turned her head to stare.
"Come on. What will a workaholic lawyer like you be doing in this dingy street corner at this time of the night?" The woman moved her hands to emphasize the surrounding.
"How did you…" Spencer's jaws dropped.
"Know you were a lawyer?" A very knowing smile crept up on those lush lips. She ran her eye along Spencer's form, resting her gaze admiringly on the slim feminine curves. "Elegant yet conservative. No dramatic makeup but enough to hide the dark circles and the stress lines. A briefcase big enough for you to carry every file and journal that you would never trust to keep in your office. Formal hairstyle where strands of hair do not stray in front of your eyes."
In spite of herself, Spencer smiled. "That was very interesting. You must know a lot of lawyers then."
"I know enough." The woman folded her arms. "So you didn't answer my question. Who are you waiting for?"
Spencer hesitated and then shrugged wearily. "My son. His father, my ex-husband, was supposed to bring him here fifteen minutes ago." She turned back, gesturing to the closed doors of a café. "But the place closed early tonight."
"So why not call him?"
"I don't know his number." Spencer replied curtly.
The woman was quiet for a moment, her eyes fixed on Spencer's. Spencer felt a peculiar sense of thrill surging through her bones as she gazed into the depths of the stranger's eyes. They were dark like the night, ominous and inviting at the same time.
"I am Spencer Carlin." She introduced herself.
"Spencer Carlin." The woman enunciated each syllable slowly. Spencer could have sworn that never had her name sound as sensuous as it did at that moment.
In order to quell the giddy feeling of a teenage attraction, Spencer asked quickly. "So what are you doing here?"
"Talking to you."
"No, I mean why did you come here for?"
"Oh, I thought I'll give you company." The woman gave a side grin. "And also to make sure that those hoodlums do not bother you if they decide to come back."
Spencer started. "You mean… you… you got out of your car only to help me?"
"That isn't my car." The woman dropped her finished cigarette and stomped it with the heel of her boots. "That's my client's."
"Oh, so you were going home then?"
"No." She averted her eyes from Spencer. "Business has just begun for me. I still have to perform what he has paid me for."
Spencer swallowed hard. A cold smile, one that she was very used to seeing in her legal profession, had crept up on the woman's lips.
"Rather late to conduct business, huh?" Spencer blurted out stupidly.
"The night's for people like us, Spencer." Her eyes clouded in a sharp sense of depersonalization.
Spencer clenched her jaws. "There is always a choice. The wrong ones are always the easiest."
A brittle laugh emerged from the dark-haired stranger. "So says a lawyer."
"I never take clients whose innocence I don't believe in." Spencer was defensive.
"And your perspective is the most valid, hmm?"
"Well…" Spencer began uncertainly.
"Everyone thinks what they did is right. Everyone have justifications for their behaviors, Spencer. Now those justficiations can be viewed as excuses by someone else. But they work for that person's conscience." Her eyes sparked in challenge.
"Just because they can justify their actions to themselves, does not mean that they can judge themselves right." Spencer argued.
"Then who else should? Our power-hungry, money-lustful, narrow-minded government? Or perhaps the patriarchal words of our religious texts?"
Spencer thinned her lips. She had just spent a long day at court and she didn't have the strength to debate on these issues. "I have nothing to tell a cynic who doesn't believe in the law."
"Oh, I believe in the law alright. I just don't believe in our lawmakers. All I'm saying is that there's always two sides to the same story. You know that better than most people."
Spencer gritted her teeth, from the cold or the powerful rush of memories, she did not know. The details of the case she had been working on came back to her. She had begun the case, helping a man called Roy Giovanni, a movie producer who she thought, was wrongly implicated in a murder. But as the case proceeded, her belief in the man's innocence began to falter. But she knew that leaving the case in mid-trial would mar her career. Giving a half-hearted performance would destroy her winning streak. And so she went along with her case. She set aside all her reservations and deluded herself in believing in her client. She succeeded in setting her client free and turning the case against Franco Carpetti, an aide of the mobster, Drefan. Because of his long trail of police records, it wasn't hard to convince the jury that the man is guilty. She had her doubts but she satisfied herself with the fact that the man deserved to be in prison anyways. Carpetti was mysteriously killed, by the person the police suspected as the top killer in Drefan's mob ring. Spencer had then learnt that Giovanni was working in cohorts with a rival gang. For the past week she had been getting phone calls from Giovanni's "friends" with delicious offers to work for them. She felt sick as she thought about them.
"Smoke?" The woman offered again. Spencer extended her shaking fingers and accepted it.
Spencer intook the tangy taste of the smoke. "Do you sometimes wish your life was different?"
The brunette smiled as she saw Spencer tilt her head sideways. "I like it when you do that." Spencer blushed and looked down.
"To answer your question… no. You see, if I would become one among the Brady bunch, life wouldn't be all that different. Tell me, how many times have you opened the newspaper, read about some more terrible war casualties, read about the crippling poverty of some countries, read about all those crimes conducted in the name of protecting religion, values and society? And after reading that, how many times have you just kept aside the paper, not reflecting on those printed words for even a moment? We ramble about morality all the time but do nothing moral."
Spencer saw the simmering flame in the woman's eyes. She was fascinated with the way she saw a deeply embedded idealism beneath all those layers of bitterness. She was touched by the subtle displays of anger and empathy by this stranger. Here was a rough diamond she had heard a lot about but never come across. She met enough fake crystals in her life. In a flash of imagination, Spencer saw herself with this stranger in her house. They were cuddled by the fireside, talking long into the early dawn. She saw someone who shared her vision, her frustration with the world.
"I have to go." The woman's voice broke through the fogs of blissful dreaming. Spencer noticed a look of uncertainty and dilemma in those dark eyes. The look was alien to these usually confident eyes. Spencer felt the sorrow of being separated from a very close one as she saw the woman walk towards the car. She felt an overwhelming urge to ask the woman to stay with her but her desire found no voice. The woman had slipped into the dark interiors of the vehicle.
In a final victory against her ego, Spencer squeaked out. "Wait! You never told me your name."
The dark form mingled within the shadows. Spencer only saw one slender hand holding the door slightly ajar.
"Ashley Davies." A soft, almost gentle, voice spoke out. The door slammed shut and the BMW careened off with a smooth rumble.
The lighted stick fell from Spencer's numb hands and exploded into pieces of ember and ash as it contacted the hard ground.
In her mind, she heard the words of the detective in charge of Carpetti's death.
"The murder of Franco Carpetti bears the trademark of Drefan's best hitman… or should I say, hitwoman, Ashley Davies"