AN: These are little stories with prompts, pictures, phrases provided by the Fictionista website. This is to help with my creativity. Some of these one shots may over time turn to something more than one shots. Enjoy.



Original or Derivative (fanfiction): Derivative

Rating/Warning(s)/Note(s): M – for language. This is fiction, please keep that in mind. I know very little about the law, but this was the first thing I thought of.

Disclaimer: All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.

Prompt: Afterglow

"To Edward's success!" my fellow co-workers said in unison, clinking their drinks.

To my success. I had thought I'd never reach partner at the firm in this decade, much less while I was still in my late twenties. I felt larger than life, basking in the afterglow of the surprise meeting that had announced my becoming a partner of a prestigious law firm.

I had it all: cars, money, and a revolving bedroom door. Now I had the title that I had earned on my own. No strings had been pulled and no bribes had been made to get me here. No, I'd paid my way through college, working my ass off. This was a path I'd wanted to take on my own and not be influenced by my fucking father. Using his money or influence would've meant his success – not mine.

I had won one of the biggest criminal cases the firm had ever seen. I hadn't been lead in this case, but when Angela Webber had fallen ill, Carlisle and Jasper had turned to me to take over. I'd been more than ready to take on the challenge.

It'd been hard work and long nights since I'd taken on the case six months ago. Despite the usual slow progress of the judicial system, the offense had chosen to speed things up.

That had been their downfall. While the offense was made up of outstanding Das, they were overloaded with their caseloads.

There was a reason they'd needed to speed things up: the key witness was dying. Without his testimony, their case would fall apart.

Charlie Swan had died of congestive heart failure two weeks into the trial. He'd never made it to the stand. After that, it'd been easy to pick apart and demolish their evidence – or lack thereof.

After a few drinks, my fellow associates called it a night. I ordered another drink, and I was left alone with my thoughts.

The afterglow of my success started to dim and leave a bad taste in my mouth. I had known James Conner Hardy was guilty, and because of me, he had been set free to destroy another life.

This – the guilt associated with getting an acquittal for a guilty person – as something I could never get over. Petty crimes were easy enough to ignore, but murder, not so easy.

He'd killed Renee Swan and enjoyed it. James was one sick fuck, and when he had sat across from me in my office, he had told me in detail how he had watched the life leave her eyes.

I ran my hands through my hair and over my face. I had to stomp this guilt where it was, or I'd never make it in this business. It was times like this that I wished I didn't have to go home to an empty house. It was times like this that I felt I needed a warm body next to me for something more than just sex.

I felt someone take the stool beside me. "Hit you like freight train, didn't it?" a voice that was sweet, a bit raspy and fucking sexy as hell said. I turned, hoping the face and body matched the voice. My eyes met a set of brown ones, and she certainly did match her voice.

"That obvious?" I asked with a cocked eyebrow.

She laughed softly and nodded, and then she gave me this angelic smile that made the afterglow of my day pale in comparison.

"So, what happened?" she asked. "Someone run over your puppy?" I looked at her curiously, and she giggled – a delightful sound. "It's just that you're pouting like someone killed your puppy." She shrugged her shoulders before taking a drink from her glass.

"No, no puppy. Anyway, I'm more of a cat person." She laughed at my confession. After that, we both slipped into easy conversation, thankfully staying away from work-related questions. I found her forwardness and honesty refreshing. She had an eclectic taste in just about everything. Her tastes in music were similar to my own, and I remembered I had a pair of concert tickets for the weekend. Dating was something I didn't do often, but I didn't want to just pick up some random to go with me. I liked this beautiful woman in front of me.

Even though she seemed genuinely happy, I could see pain and sadness in her eyes. Perhaps that was her draw; she held secrets inside her. The more time I spent with her, the more I wanted to know about her.

We had been talking for well over two hours, taking turns buying drinks, when I offered her my hand and introduced myself.

Then she slapped me.

What the fuck?

"Damn it!" she said angrily. "I wanted to bring you back to my place. But you're one of the men who destroyed my life!"

I grabbed her elbow and asked her what the hell she was talking about. Then when she said her name, I felt like I'd been slapped again.

Isabella Swan – daughter to Charlie and Renee Swan

I ran after her. I wasn't sure why, but I knew I had to talk to her. Maybe it was the guilt I still felt, or maybe it was the way her dress rode up her gorgeous legs, but either way I had to say something.

She was digging through her purse, fishing out a set of car keys. "Get away from me, asshole." She dropped her keys, and I bent to pick them up, handing them to her.

"Miss Swan, please just talk to me."

"You," she spat, thrusting a finger in my chest, "shouldn't even be talking to me." She turned and tried to open her car door again.

I shouldn't have been, but fuck, I had to. I grabbed her around her shoulders and turned her to face me, horrified as tears fell from her eyes. "I'm sorry," I whispered. My breath was coming in gasps as I tried to calm her down. "I'm sorry about what happened to your family." Her small fists pounded repeatedly on my chest as she cried and eventually slumped against my chest.

"I hate you."

I deserved that. "I know."

"Let me go, please."

"I don't think it's a good idea for you to drive home like this," I said. I held her close and she didn't protest as I led her away from her car. "Let's get you in a cab." She shook her head, but she continued walking with me. I hailed a cab and sat her inside. She looked up at me, her bottom lip trembling. Her eyes were filled with unshed tears and a vulnerability that made my chest ache. She took my hand and scooted over – an invitation.

I knew I shouldn't have been doing this, but the look in her eyes made me feel like I had little choice. I succumbed and allowed her to pull me in.

I had no idea what this night would lead to, but hopefully it wasn't hell.

I closed the cab door, pulling Isabella close. As the cab drove away from the bar, I noticed a shadowy figure in the alley near her car. The shadow stepped into the dim light, and I had to hold back a gasp – James.

AN: For those of you who know me, know that I'm cackling like crazy right now for leaving it there. I'm so evil. Thanks to lisa 89 for looking this over, love ya.

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