Disclaimer: What do you think?
Author's Note: This has been rattling in my head for a while. I just finally got around to it after seeing "Dazzled" and its negative take on the May-December relationship. I thought to give it a shot using my template. It's my first stab at Melnick, so be warned.
Beta: My beta is busy at the moment, so patience.
Dedication: Moonbeamdancer, she knows why.
Timeline: Post "Dazzled".
Jack sighed in aggravation as another Bar Association dinner trudged on into the evening. If Nora didn't emphasize the importance of his presence, he would have preferred being at his apartment, cuddling next to his girlfriend. He slanted against the secluded background, perfecting his wallflower imitation. His eyes moseyed to a more suitable sight: one Abbie Carmichael in a sleek, backless obsidian dress, chatting with various prosecutors and defense attorneys about her success in the U.S. Attorney's office.
He desired to witness her and her prowess in a courtroom once again, just as he did when they toiled together. Of course, being a full-blooded man, he wasn't focused on just her litigious abilities. With the light cascading down on her, the woman appeared like an angel. While she was hypnotizing him, a familiar female voice interrupted his musings.
"Hey, Jack." It was Danielle Melnick, Jack's occasional sparring partner. She grasped a glass of champagne.
"Danielle." He faced the mature woman while upholding a peripheral eye out for his former A.D.A.
"Want some champagne?" She offered the glass.
"No thanks. I prefer scotch."
"You and your scotch," Danielle reproved.
"What kind of lawyer would I be if I didn't use scotch?" He wagged his finger at her.
"It's your secret weapon, of course."
"Of course. But, uh, what's on your mind, Danielle?"
"Just saying hi. And wondering what you're up to." She imbibed some of her beverage.
"Not much. Just recently closed a case about a daughter who killed her twenty five-year-old stepmother because she couldn't take the strain of her divorced parents' bombarding relationship. Constantly bickering to and fro with the mother passed out, high on alcohol and drugs. It makes for a lovely eye-opener," the E.A.D.A. affirmed in a monotone.
"The Kate Snyder murder case, I heard about that. It certainly makes you think," she dumbly commented.
He rolled his eyes. "I think that's as big of a cliché as I've ever heard you utter."
"Hey, I can't be spot on all the time, McCoy."
"I say that because it does make you think: a fifty two-year-old millionaire marrying a twenty five-year-old little girl. Using his money and making him her puppet. You would think he would know better than fooling around with someone half his age."
"Right." Jack suppressed the apparent irony.
"Probably did it to just prove his manhood." The defense attorney nipped at her drink.
"Certainly can't be out of love, right?" he mordantly gibed.
"Oh, no. You and I both know that it can't be love. Just like what you're doing now."
The man glowered at her. "What am I doing now? I'm talking to you, aren't I?"
"Jack, I'm not blind — I've seen you looking at her all night." She nodded to Abbie's direction.
"I'm not looking at her." He haphazardly denied.
"Please, I'm on the other side of the room and I saw it. At the rate you're going, it can be seen from space."
"I think you're oversimplifying things, Danielle."
"I don't think so. I know that look, Jack. You had the same look with Diana and Sally Bell. And I'm pretty sure you had it with Kincaid, too." While she observed his behavior, he perceived a slight slurring to her words.
"That may be, but I'm not now." He shifted his gaze to his shoes or anywhere else in the room, so his friend will cease calling attention to the pair.
"You're a great prosecutor, McCoy, which is why you make for a terrible liar. I've seen you two together in court, I detected the chemistry."
"It's simply collegial as we share the same goals. It's been a while since I had someone similar to myself," he shrugged.
"Maybe, but I hope you consider the fact of 'what would be the point?' You're sixty years old. She's, what? Almost thirty? What kind of life do you think you'd have with her?" The more she absorbed the champagne, the more heated she became.
"I don't know, I think I could carve a nice niche with her. You've only seen her as an opponent; you don't know what a warm person she really is."
The woman exploded in guffaws. "Abbie Carmichael, warm? You're better off eloping with an Italian Ice cart."
"Danielle, you're drunk."
"No, just a little buzzed. Even if you're with her, look at the woman — she's practically a supermodel. What's going to stop other men from flirting with her? I know you're a junkyard dog and you'll keep them down, Jack, but even you can only go at it for so long." She downed the tipple further.
"She can take care of herself. I'm not worried." He recalled the defense lawyer on the first case Nora was involved with, Barry Peck, and how he endeavored to flirt with Abbie with disastrous results.
"Okay, fine, so no man makes a move and you're with her, then what? What about your jobs? Wouldn't they and all those verdicts you've gotten while working together be compromised if your relationship was publicly revealed?"
"I doubt it. Even if the Ethics Committee had anything to say about it, it would be tossed out after they note on the similarity of our characters and the fact there was no appearance of any impropriety during our time together. It's not like with Diana or Claire. We just focused on our cases. Nice try, Danielle," he scoffed.
"Sorry, it's the defense attorney in me," she reacted sheepishly.
"If I did it now, we'd be fine as we have different jobs anyway."
"So, everything would be hunky-dory. Alright, you get all that but what about other things in a relationship — especially down the road, like children? A sixty-year-old father? Isn't that a little imprudent? Not to mention all the ignominy that would come with it, like you saw with the Snyder case," she sneered as she finished her glass.
"That's a bit far into the future, isn't it? Not that it is a horrible possibility; I wouldn't mind having another child." Jack envisioned the development of such a child.
"Oh, come on. What happens if that child wants to play with you? How are you going to keep up with your age? And what happens when he or she sees the other children and their mommies and daddies and notices the vast discrepancy between you and Ms. Carmichael?"
"Danielle, stop it. Why do you care about this? It's my life. How I want to go about it with whomever I want is my business," the E.A.D.A. snapped defensively
"I just don't want you to make another mistake, Jack. You should be with someone your own age and stop robbing the cradle with these…little girls," Danielle rejoined as she maintained her intoxicated slurring.
"I'm going to let that go, because you're drunk, however, you need to back off. The way you're carrying on, you sound like you want to date me."
"Well, would that be so wrong? I wouldn't mind giving it a shot." The fearless trial lawyer lowered her head away from the elder male's irritated gaze.
He exhaled noisily. "So that's what this is all about? It wouldn't work, Danielle. If there is anything I learned from Claire, is that opposites attract can lead to opposites exploding. You and I are too disparate from each other. I'm not going down that road again, let alone the fact that I don't feel that way about you."
She traced the rim of her wineglass, bobbing her head in recognition. "Alright, Jack, but you do need to see what you'll get from chasing that illusion," she pointed at Abbie. "I just don't want you to get hurt. You know what they say about beauty?"
"I know – it's a beast, and I'm not worried. I still have some years left," he affirmed blasé.
"So do I. When you give up, I'll be waiting," she taunted as she swaggered away.
"Pack a lunch, Melnick, it's going to be a long wait. C'mon, I'll drive you home. You're in no condition to drive." The gentleman placed the glass on an errand table and escorted his inebriated rival to the atrium. He glimpsed at the object of his gazing and gestured to the egress. She returned the signal and adroitly concluded her conversations with some probing prosecutors.
After ushering Danielle home, Jack slumped on the couch of his apartment. He barely had time to cogitate as his door clicked. Abbie slipped in and accompanied him on the couch.
"You look like hell," the Texan firebrand declared as she sidled up next to him.
"I had an interesting discussion with Danielle Melnick."
"Then, no wonder you look like hell. What was it about?"
"About the Kate Snyder murder and certain concerns she wanted to point out about the current direction of my life." He submerged against the cushions.
"Was it about me? Because it certainly would explain all those dirty looks she gave me all night," she grilled.
"Oh, great," she deadpanned.
"Mostly she was concerned that I was chasing an illusion with you and planting doubt in me. Of course, I didn't have the chance to point out that I caught the illusion and it became reality in ways unimaginable."
Her budding disquiet was stilled. "You didn't tell her we are together?"
"Did I mention how drunk she was? I just didn't want to make a scene and thus get all those defense attorneys salivating. I'll do it tomorrow when she has that hangover to help her sink it all in," he grimly cackled.
"I hope I never go back to one of those dinners. God, I just wanted to be here with you instead," she griped as she snuggled against him.
"So did I. Why don't you tell me about those lawyers who just had to talk your ear off?"
"Sure, well, this was this one prosecutor who…" She initiated her monologue while they embraced each other. His mind drifted to Danielle's edifying words while stabbing to eradicate the doubt burgeoning within. He deftly clutched his girlfriend tighter as the doubt swelled.
"Jack? You alright?"
"It's nothing; I just missed you tonight is all." The E.A.D.A. perjured himself.
She beamed by that and resumed. He blanked out her words and speculated if he would rest at all tonight. If there was a supreme being up in the heavens, he hoped that a certain female trial attorney wouldn't get much of a slumber either.
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