Chapter 4.

Dan was waiting in her office when she got there Monday morning. "What's going on?" Kathleen asked, undoing the button on her gray suit jacket as she made her way to her desk.

Dan shut the door. "We need to talk," he said seriously.

"Is Patrick OK?"

"Yes," Dan said. "But he told me that Ripley had dinner at your place."

"Yes, Dan, Jack had dinner with us. As far as I know that is still legal." Kathleen dropped her briefcase on her desk and sat in her chair. Dan was still standing by the door.

"It may be legal, but it's not exactly moral behavior to have your lover over to…"

"You son of a bitch," Kathleen said, jumping up out of her chair. "Ripley has not spent the night when Patrick is there. And you have no right to involve yourself in my personal life…"

"I do when my son is calling your lover by his nickname…"

"Get out of here, Dan," Kathleen said. "Get out before I throw you out."

"I have some say in who my son…"

"No you don't," Kathleen said fiercely. "You have no say in who I date, kiss, or make love with, Dan. You and I are divorced. You are Patrick's father, but that is it. You can't tell me who to have to dinner or who to love, and if you have a problem with that it's too bad. I'm in love with Ripley, and he is going to be around. You're just going to have to deal with that."

Dan stared at her in surprised silence, and Kathleen realized that for the first time she had told someone other than Jack that she loved him. "You're in love with Ripley," he said flatly.

"Yes," Kathleen said.

After another silent moment Dan turned, opened the door, and walked out of the office. Kathleen saw Will standing talking with Trish, both of them wearing similarly stunned expressions. Apparently she had been talking loud enough for everyone to hear. Wonderful. When Dan was gone Kathleen walked over to Will and Trish. "You're in love with Ripley?" Will said.

"Shut up," Kathleen said.

"No, no, this is huge," Will said. "For real, you're in love with him?"

"Yes," Kathleen said, "but I don't want this all over the courthouse." She looked in his eyes. "Keep your mouth shut about this," she said seriously.

"Sure," Will said. "But we're having drinks tonight." He winked and headed out.

"OK, give me the dish," Trish said. "What's he like? I mean he's cute, but he's got some heat, right?"

"I'm not discussing this," Kathleen said.

"Give me something, c'mon!" Trish said.

Kathleen looked away…but smiled. "Yes, he has heat," she said, feeling her face heat up.

"And the body?"

"Beautiful."

Trish laughed. "You go, girl!"

* * * * * * * * *

Kathleen answered the ring of her cell phone as she was tearing down the hall to one of the courtrooms. "Kathleen Maguire," she said.

"So we're out," Ripley said.

"Hey," Kathleen said. "I'm on my way to a trial. Can we talk later?"

"I had a visit from your ex."

"Tell me there were no punches thrown."

"Didn't even raise my voice."

"Good," Kathleen said. "I'm sorry I shot my mouth off about us…"

"I love your mouth, counselor," Ripley said.

"I love you," Kathleen replied.

"So I hear."

"That's all you have to say?"

"I love you too, Kathleen."

Kathleen smiled and shut off her phone. For the first time in a long time she was happy and excited…and yes, brimming with love. Damn it, Ripley, she thought, I really do love you.