As with all forms of fanfic, there can be different ways of seeing the universe. Our author here would like to clarify some of the boundaries in hers, to preface her story below. The timeline here, she says, is "very pre-Claire" but "post-Sally (Bell)." And the "Liz" in this case is not Olivet, but the character played by Judith Light -- Bureau Chief Elizabeth Donnelly. Continues the author, "Liz has been an assistant since 1973. She transfers to Jack in 1975. I believe EADA title came after (Ben) Stone left, yet clearly he had 'had' assistants prior to then. Maybe Senior ADA (hence the need for an assistant) perhaps and Liz would be an assistant to the ADA... She has been his assistant 1-1 1/2yrs. Jack is about 35 (using Sam Waterston's birth year, more or less) Liz is 26 (using Judith Light's birth year, as well). Jack has been involved with one assistant, Sally Bell, whom Liz has replaced."
First Comes Love
Jack McCoy moved up the ladder rapidly in the District Attorney's office. By 1976 he had a reputation as a driven and gifted attorney; Alfred Wentworth's rising star. His brief affair with his assistant, Sally Bell, had also saddled him a reputation around the courthouse. Tall, with dark good looks, and a charming, yet intense manner, it was easy to see why Jack McCoy was often a hot topic in ladies rooms, from Hogan Place to Centre Street.
The District Attorney was well aware of the potential for political fallout, as he pondered a replacement for Sally Bell. Women were becoming more aggressive about their rights in the workplace. Sexual harassment was a hot topic among labor lawyers .The last thing Wentworth wanted in an election year was The Ledger having a field day with the inter-office exploits of one of his prosecutors. Wentworth knew he had narrowly dodged a bullet in the case of Sally Bell. He had breathed an audible sigh of relief when Sally announced her intention to go into private practice and leave the D.A.'s office. Such luck wouldn't happen twice.
He had thought about taking the easy way out and giving McCoy a male assistant. However, he knew the ratio of female ADAs was something that needed to improved, and rightly so. Elizabeth Donnelly had a reputation for being a no nonsense and highly effective attorney. Donnelly was a hard worker who had received high marks from her out going boss, Fritz Bloomberg. Her reserved manner would no doubt help to silence rumors about any impropriety the Distinct Attorney's Office.
Things went according to plan the first year or so. McCoy and Donnelly were a winning team in the courtroom. Defense attorneys learned quickly when at all possible to deal, rather than unleash McCoy's fiery courtroom talents, combined with Donnelly's flawless research. Wentworth kept his eyes and ears open. Try as Jack might, even the most innocent of invitations, was gracefully but firmly, rejected by Donnelly. Satisfied that he had found a woman immune to the Hogan Place Casanova, election results in, Wentworth turned his attention to more pressing matters.
The Colette Sinclair case changed everything.
The people's case seemed solid. Even Sinclair's attorney, the flamboyant and well known Arthur Gold, tried and failed to get his client to take a deal and avoid trial. Mrs. Sinclair would not be persuaded. About mid way through the trial, the tide began to turn.
The case was going unusually badly for McCoy & Donnelley. Prosecution motions were denied, evidence was being ruled inadmissible. Then McCoy found himself with laryngitis, just before cross examination of a key witness. It was the chance Donnelly had been waiting for. While she had enjoyed the high praise by both, McCoy and Wentworth, in view of her knack for finding on point, yet often obscure precedents to support McCoy's cases, as she approached three years in the D.A.'s office, she found herself anxious for more trial experience.
Although nervous, she had done a job worthy of McCoy himself. She broke a key defense witness on the stand, with apparent ease. The jury had come back with a guilty verdict in record time. McCoy had watched the cross as well as the closing, with awe and genuine admiration. McCoy had never seen an attorney systematically discredit a witness, with so little emotion, yet not alienate the jury. He watched the faces of the jury with approval. As shapely as Donnelly was, the jury's focus was where it belonged; on the obvious lies Donnelly exposed. Not even the defense maverick, Gold, could jar the dispassionate Donnelly.
It wasn't until the closing argument that Donnelly displayed her emotions. McCoy had to stifle a chuckle as she looked each juror in the eye, recounting the brutality of the murder, using select parts of his original closing, with a mixture of well rehearsed outrage and softness.
"What if this was your father? Would you accept the word of a pathological liar? The question is not whether Mrs. Sinclair lied. The evidence shows the inconsistencies in her testimony. She told the police she had given her husband the correct dosage of digitalis the night of the murder; today, she said she wasn't sure how much of the drug she had given him, before going to dinner," Donnelly swung around to face the defendant with flourish . It was like looking in the mirror for McCoy.
"Were you lying then or are you lying now," Donnelly turned her attention back to the jury. "Whatever the answer is, Colette Sinclair did lie about her knowledge of the night her husband died. Why would she do that if she had nothing to hide? Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Gold would have you believe you job is to decide verdict on the sympathy you have for Colette Sinclair and not the facts you have heard, when the opposite is true. You can only decide the verdict of this case on the facts you have heard. You may have as much sympathy for Mrs. Sinclair as you like, but if you examine the facts in evidence, you will find a verdict of guilty, is the only verdict the evidence leads to."
The jury took less than an hour to return a guilty verdict.
"My God. Alfred will make me second chair when he hears about that closing," McCoy said as they stood to leave the courtroom.
Donnelly smiled up at him, her eyes dancing with pleasure, "Thanks, Jack."
"This really does call for a celebration. How about you let me buy you a drink?"
Donnelly leaned back, her hand resting on the table as she pondered the suggestion. She had turned down the half a dozen offers to dinner that had come her way in the time she had been his assistant. It wasn't that she wasn't attracted to McCoy. In the year or so they had worked together Donnelly had come to admire his courtroom genius; his ability to think on his feet, as well as the integrity she had come to see in him. But she had plans.
At twenty six, Donnelly already had her eye on becoming the first female District Attorney in New York. Maybe even Attorney General. She had worked hard to develop a reputation as a damn good attorney that was all but unapproachable. Her mentor and former boss, Fritz Bloomberg, had treated her like a daughter. He had instilled in her the importance of not allowing the slightest hint of impropriety. She would rather be called a frigid bitch than an easy lay by any of the men she dealt with professionally.
She shook her pale blonde mane. "I don't think that's --"
McCoy cut her off, his tone joking, but a slight hint of hurt in his voice, "Come on, Liz. In the year and a half you've known me, all the late night work sessions, all the early morning breakfast meetings, have I ever crossed the line? Do you really have so little trust in me that you think I'll try to take advantage of you the first chance I get? I thought you knew me better than that by now." He paused and a small smile formed on his lips. His expression changed from playful pleading to one of sudden understanding, "Or is it…." his raspy voice trailed off, McCoy knowing curiosity would get the better of Donnelly.
She let a full minute go by, as they stood eye to eye waiting each other out. "All right, I'll bite," she said at last, "'or is it' what?"
McCoy lowered his eyes, playing the part with a straight face," Or is it yourself you don't trust, Liz?"
Donnelly opened her mouth, and then shut it quickly, avoiding the jaw drop she realized he wanted to provoke. She stared at him a moment and let a burst of laughter out.
She did feel slightly ashamed.
She had talked to Sally Bell just before her departure. She knew, first-hand, that Jack hadn't done anything in the slightest coerce her into a relationship or leaving her job. When Sally announced her intention to leave the D.A.'s office, McCoy tried to get Bell to stay on, although the romance had come to a natural end, some months before.
She was excited about her first official win as lead prosecutor, as well.
"Well…you still don't have your voice completely back yet," she joked. "That could be an advantage. All right, Jack. A drink it is. I promise to try to control myself."
He chuckled as he took her arm, pleased with both of their victories.
Within a block of Centre Street, Clancy's was a common meeting place for anyone involved in the criminal justice system. McCoy led Donnelly though the packed room, the pair nodding and waving to several colleagues. McCoy stopped in front of the bar, catching the bartender's eye.
"Hey, Jack. Scotch?"
"Let's make it Dewar's tonight, Mickey," he turned to Liz. "Liz?"
"Dewar's neat," she said. She laughed at the slightly surprised look on his face. "What did you expect, Jack, a white wine spritzer? I closed for Jack McCoy and beat Arthur Gold!"
McCoy grinned, "Mickey, can you have Rita bring the drinks to the back room? It's a zoo out here during happy hour."
"Sure thing, Jack."
McCoy led her past the onslaught of attorneys, cops, and various courthouse employees to the room where about a dozen men were shooting darts, playing pool, or making selections at the jute box. He knew Liz Donnelly was very careful about keeping her business and personal lives separate. Jack hoped keeping their drink as private as possible would make Liz more comfortable with what he knew, she viewed , as the risk she had agreed to take. He knew it wouldn't take much for the office rumor mill to start up. He had too much respect for Liz to want her professional image tainted in any way. Especially by an innocent celebration.
Although he was genuinely protective of her professional reputation, Jack was also Jack. It had taken over a year to finally get Liz to agree to a drink or any thing else outside of the office. As a man, McCoy was intrigued by thoughts of what else he could charm his colleague into agreeing do, before the evening ended.
The pair sat at a table just as a friendly redhead in a waitress uniform brought the Scotch.
"Hi Jack," the woman said, smiling at Liz. "You must be the gal that won the Sinclair case today. That's the big buzz in the bar. Congratulations."
Donnelly blushed slightly. "News travels fast. Thanks."
"You two just missed Arthur Gold. Boy, was he sore about losing that case," she squeezed Donnelly's hand. "Does the SOB good. Maybe it'll teach him some respect for women. Your next round is on me, honey," she said with a wink.
McCoy watched as Donnelly drank down a large swallow of the Scotch. "See. I was right. You're already a legend. Wouldn't be surprised if Alfred has your stuff moved into my office by morning."
"I don't know, Jack, one big win isn't enough to unseat 'Hang 'Em High' around here," she said looking around the room. "Wow. This really takes me back. My Dad used to take me to a bar like this on the West Side when I was a teenager. Taught me how to play pool, darts, horse shoes --"
"Your father taught you darts?" he asked, showing increasing interest.
"I am the oldest of six. Five boys.," she explained. "My mother had a fit, but Dad said if I was going to live in a man's world; I better learn how to survive in a man's world."
"My father didn't teach me how to play darts. He taught me how to win at darts."
Donnelly smirked. McCoy was momentarily startled . He was amused, as well. "You find that funny?"
"I find that arrogant," she said, still smiling.
"That sounds like a challenge," he said rising.
"How much a point," she asked following him to a board and watching him remove the darts.
"Hum…it's a week and half until payday. I don't want to leave you short on cash, for long," he said mockingly, as he loosened his tie. "I'll go easy on you. Dollar a point?"
She sighed. "You really want to do this? " Donnelly unbuttoned her suit jacket," I mean, do you really want to lose in a place that's crawling with friends and colleagues?"
"Backing out, Donnelly?"
She met his amused gaze, "Just trying to give you a gracious way out, McCoy."
Many Scotches and several hours, later the giggly pair fell into their chairs, as Rita brought the bar tab.
"You two ready to call it a draw yet?"
"A draw? Hell, no," Donnelly declared. "I haven't even started to mop the floor yet!"
"You're gonna mop the floor with me," McCoy said with exaggerated indignation. "You already owe me $50.00. Haven't you had enough yet?"
"An hour ago you owed me $25.00. You gotta give a lady a chance to win her money back, Jack."
"I warned you, Liz. I play to win," he said as he handed the cocktail waitress money to close the tab. "However, I am always open to a rematch. Rita, could you call us a cab," he asked, knowing neither of them was in any shape to ride his motorcycle. It would just have to stay in the courthouse lot for the night.
The redhead smiled and nodded as she walked away. "Besides, do you realize it's nearly midnight? I've got to get you home."
"Whose home do you have in mind," she asked. He could smell the sweetness of her perfume, as well as the Scotch on her breath. The evening had been more than the quick drink either had expected. Time had gone quickly and effortlessly. He hated to see it end. He would have liked nothing more than to take the Liz Donnelly in his arms there and then, but he knew she was not a woman to overplay his hand with. He stood up taking her hand.
"That almost sounds like an offer, counselor," he said he led her to the coat rack and helped her with her coat.
"No offer on the table yet, counselor," she rebuffed. "Just well aware of your prior bad acts," she said playfully. "Although, I am impressed," she continued as they moved from the bar to the street, to wait for the taxi.
McCoy grinned at her remark," Impressed with me, are you?"
She grinned back, obviously enjoying herself. " Very. I almost had you a couple of times. You play a hell of a game, Jack."
If only you knew... McCoy met the dark eyes that were full of mischief.
Concern replaced the mischief in Liz's eyes, upon seeing a fleeting seriousness, a flash of regret and pain, in his expression. "What's wrong, Jack?"
He said quietly, "Losing wasn't an option in my house."
Instantly she knew the look in his eyes. She'd seen it in the eyes of abused children from her days in the family court division as an intern.
Taken off guard, instinctively, she moved closer, towards him, "Oh, Jack, I --"
He stepped back, leaning slightly against the street light and smiled. "I told you I wasn't going to take advantage of you, the first time I got the chance. I meant that." He squeezed her hand. His eyes were smiling again. "No matter how much you want to jump my bones right now."
Although Liz was feeling the effects of the hour and the liquor, she could see through McCoy's attempt to distract her. Aside from the self disparaging acknowledgement of his reputation, Jack never spoke about his personal life. She had worked with him for months and only knew bits and pieces about him; he rooted for the Bears (she'd heard him, as he and Paul Kopel headed out for a game, mention seeing them play as a kid in Chicago), he was a former Catholic (a remark about the recent Roe decision brought that out), he was in his mid thirties and never married (date on his NYU diploma and a remark by Sally had gleaned those facts). It occurred to her that Jack McCoy played up his "ladies man" reputation, as a defense mechanism to avoid further inquires that were clearly more dark and uncomfortable. Why had it taken her so long to see it?
"Listen, Jack, you don't have to do that with me," she said quietly.
The eyebrows rose ever so slightly and waited. This time, he was the one whose curiosity was overwhelmed. As the cab pulled away from the curb he turned to her. "That's not like you Liz, to let a clearly sexist comment like that, go right by," he said breaking the silence, trying again to change the direction he sensed she was going. "I figured that remark was good for the famous Donnelly stare ... the one that could freeze an active volcano."
"Look, Jack, I know people have given you a bad time since Sally," she said trying to keep her tone as matter-of-fact as she could. "God knows you bring it on yourself, sometimes, the way you flirt with any woman that crosses your path. But, I've worked with you long enough to know, what you said back there, was just classic Jack McCoy crap. Do you want to talk about what's really going on with you? Jesus, Jack knock it off," she said as he feigned shock at her word choice. "I know you like women, but I've been around you long enough to know you don't use them and you don't use your power to get them at work or anywhere else," her tone finally gave way to emotion, her voice cracking, as a tear slid down her cheek.
McCoy looked at her stunned. Someone had finally caught him. Someone had finally caught him and called him on it. He stopped talking about his home life the day his Mother had take him with her to Father Christopher and told him about the abuse. The son of a bitch told her to honor her vows. He sent her back, as if nothing was wrong. As if he didn't know how bad things were ... as if the black eye and swollen lip were invisible.
God, she knew. One off-handed statement and she knew. No wonder she was so good at the job; no detail ever got by her! Several emotions hit him at once: shame, embarrassment, relief. Relief that someone finally was going to acknowledge the hell that had been his childhood. He marveled that Liz Donnelly was not only perceptive, but a woman with genuine compassion. It was a side of her he knew wasn't shown seen in the office or Centre Street. He was moved that she displayed that side of herself for him.
"Damnit Liz," he said softly, his index finger wiping away the tear. "Don't cry. It was along time ago. It's over. Everybody's grown and out of the house. He's sick and can't even stand long enough to be a threat to anyone anymore."
Her dark eyes were shiny. She moved closer to him and his right arm moved around her shoulders. She looked up into his eyes, which were moist, as well. She reached up and moved several strands of his dark hair away from his eyes.
"I know it's hard to talk about. Especially for a man like you," she said holding his gaze. You think it's your fault. That you could have stopped it," she saw the nod and the tears began to flow freely, for both of them. "Jack, you have to remember you were a little boy. What you could do, you did."
"Oh, Liz, you weren't there ... I should have stopped him..." he sobbed, years of emotion coming to the surface. "You can't know …I was the oldest.."
"I do know, Jack. I know you. I see how you react when we get a case connected with domestic violence. I've seen you damn near get disbarred once or twice on those cases, making sure the bastard doesn't go home. I just didn't understand why --"
Donnelly paused, the cab slowing down to stop, in front of her building. While McCoy settled the fare with the driver, she struggled with her desire to invite him in. She could feel the adrenaline running through her body; the effects of the alcohol all but gone. She didn't want to leave things were they were, but she knew once inside her apartment, anything could happen. Her thoughts were interrupted by the touch of Jack's hand on her arm.
"God, Liz, this wasn't what I had in mind when I asked you to join me tonight ," he said as they moved toward the steps, his arm causally around her.
"Well, Jack, you're always are full of surprises," she said with gentle humor.
McCoy stopped her halfway up the stairs and turned her towards him, "No, tonight, you're the one with the surprises. And I thank you for each and every one." He looked down at her his voice a mixture of desire and tenderness. She could see that, he too, was struggling with the next step."I have wanted to kiss you, Elizabeth Donnelly, since the day I first laid eyes on you almost nineteen months ago. Actually, I wanted to do much more than that." He paused and studied her face. "But I told you, I wasn't going to take advantage of you tonight," he smiled, as a low chuckle left his mouth. "Ashamed to say, that doesn't mean, I didn't have every intention of seeing how far tonight could go .. but, I would like to kiss you now." He stepped closer and then seemed to hesitate.
Her arms were around his neck, their lips mere inches apart. She could feel his heart beating rapidly against her. She looked up at him inquiringly. She smiled up at him, silently confirming her consent and his lips finally found hers. He kissed her with gentle tenderness. Her body instinctively moved even closer, wanting to melt into his. He bent her back carefully, firmly, a hand moving to tilt her head slightly. Liz felt heard herself moan she felt his tongue skillfully explore her mouth. She hungrily explored his mouth as well. He felt so good, smelled so good, tasted so good ... the kiss grew more intense, more passionate, neither wanting to end the moment.
"In view of the recent surge of sex crimes," Alfred Wentworth stopped, noticed Jack McCoy gazing out the window, behind him. Wentworth frowned and cleared his throat. "Jack?"
McCoy looked at Ben Stone startled, thoughts of the previous evening interrupted, by a kick to his left shin. The man next him, ever so slightly, pointed his pencil towards the increasingly annoyed District Attorney.
"Something on your mind, Mr. McCoy?"
"Good. Now, then. In the next few months we will be working jointly, with NYPD, to create a new bureau. With the increase in the reporting of sex crimes, since the rape shield laws went into effect, the mayor feels it would serve the victims of these crimes more effectively to have a separate sex crimes division. This new division would consist of ADA's that would be given special training to deal with such victims. These ADA's would exclusively handle sex crimes.
"The mayor has notified the police commissioner that he would like the police to be in on this as well. On their end a sex crimes division will be piloted, under much the same premise. A single squad of detectives, specially trained, will investigate these crimes.
"A memo will be coming to each of you shortly, detailing the program. That's it gentlemen. Thank you."
As Wentworth moved to the door the room stirred with conversation. Stone and McCoy stood.
"You al lright, Jack? What's on you mind? You looked like you were a million miles away. Throat?"
"I'm fine, Ben. Just a little scratchy. Thanks for the heads up. Just a little edgy about the Plotski case," he said as the pair moved out the door.
"Yeah, I can see why," Stone said. "Sounds like you'll have your work cut out for you on that one. Any weapon yet?" Stone inquired as McCoy shook his head. "Lucky you have Donnelly to lend a hand. I'm sure she can light a fire under the cops on the case. Sounds like you two had a great win yesterday."
She sure lit a fire under me, McCoy smiled. "Not me. I just sat with my mouth closed for a change. Liz did all the work."
"Well, good for Liz. I've got to get to court. Tell I said congratulations when you see her?"
Jack nodded, "I'll tell her, Ben. But you may see her before I do. She's got arraignments all morning." A voice from the reception area made him stop.
"Could you take these while you're here?" McCoy reached out, taking the small pink stack. "Thanks. Marie is still out and I'm swamped. The ones on top are yours, the others are for Ms. Donnelly." The woman turned her attention to a beautiful crystal vase containing a dozen long stemmed yellow roses. "One last thing ... these just arrived for Ms. Donnelly. Could you save me a trip?"
Surprised, Jack took the vase and headed towards the small office Liz and three other assistants shared. The office was empty. He set the vase down and stared at the small envelope with them.
Who the hell was sending her flowers, he wondered. She'd never mentioned seeing anyone. Although, he'd never asked. She had never been unavailable to work late. He had assumed she wasn't involved with anyone. Last night ... she would never have kissed me like that if.... He started to pick up the envelope and froze. What the hell I am doing, he thought annoyed with himself. It was one kiss; she can get flowers from whoever she wants!
He looked at her small, well organized work space. Very little personal clutter. Her diploma from Yale Law School, displayed in a simple silver frame, sitting behind neat piles of legal files along the credenza. The framed picture on her desk beside her daily planner caught his eye. He'd never really looked at it before. Without thinking, he found it in his hand. He laughed out loud as he turned it to find an autographed picture of Sara Weddington.
"Oh, to hell with this. To hell with her," he said to himself his pride overriding what he knew was irrational jealousy.
He turned finding Liz leaning on the door frame behind him. He swore silently wondering how long she had been standing there. He returned the photo to its rightful place.
"Researching Roe v Wade, " she inquired as she continued past him, setting her briefcase down.
"Finished already? I didn't expect you back until afternoon."
She looked especially desirable. The midnight blue suit flattered her statuesque body. A wisp of purple lace peeked out from the front of the jacket. Her light blonde hair pulled away from her face, with wisps loosely framing her lightly made up face.
"Judge Johnson has the 'flu. The clerk is still looking for someone to fill in. Figured I'd come back here and work on Plotski until they find someone."
She took the messages from his outstretched hand.
"Just making the morning deliveries."
She noticed the flowers and turned back to McCoy, a frown forming on her lips.
"Jack, that's really --"
"They're not from me, Liz," he sputtered.
Her face glowed with embarrassment ,"Oh..." she eyed the flowers with renewed interest as she went around to her chair. She removed her heels replacing them with flats she kept in her bottom drawer.
"There is a card," he said pointedly, impatient to have the mystery solved.
McCoy felt like a damn fool as he stood, watching her reach for and open the card. A smile slowly replaced the frown. She picked up the receiver and began to dial her phone. He swung around to lave, but stopped, once Donnelly spoke.
"Arthur Gold, please. ADA Donnelly calling. Yes, I'll hold," she smiled a knowing smile as Jack sat across from her. "Arthur? Liz Donnelly. I just received the flowers.... Yes, they are lovely ... yes, I did hear you were rather upset last night....Of course I understand....Yes, Arthur all is forgiven," she said sweetly. A little too sweetly. "Tell me Arthur do you send every ADA that whips your ass in court a vase of long stemmed roses? Because if you do, you must be in hock up to said ass.... Gee, Arthur, maybe because I am offended. I didn't graduate from Yale to get a pat on the head and a pretty bunch of flowers ... would you really like me to tell you what to do with them?" Her tone moved from sweet to acidic," You know what, Arthur, the next time I whip your ass -- and believe me there will be a many more times -- take the money you'd spend on flowers and buy yourself a ticket to a consciousness-raising seminar. God knows, every woman you deal with will thank you for it....."she grinned back at McCoy and rolled her eyes, "Yeah, Arthur, that means we aren't having dinner tonight. Or any night."
She hung the phone up and handed McCoy the card. He read it to himself smirking. Liz: It was an unimaginable thrill to be beaten by you yesterday. Could I interest you in beating me again…after dinner tonight? Arthur
"What an ass," he said, moving to toss the card in the trash.
"Wait, Jack. I want to keep that," she said, taking it from his hand and slipping it into her top drawer.
Puzzled, McCoy waited for an explanation that didn't come. Instead the flowers found a new home in the can beside her desk.
"You have something against roses?"
"Actually, Arthur got that right. Yellow roses are a favorite of mine. Surprised he'd know that…but, I remember, my Bloomisms."
McCoy grimaced, remembering sour, stern Fritz Bloomberg. One of the most gifted legal minds in New York. One of the most difficult men to get along with on the planet. McCoy had shed no tears when the former ADA retired. Yet, as much as Bloomberg belittled and cajoled the staff, he had somehow endeared himself to Liz. From time to time, Bloomberg's words of wisdom were quoted in highly revered "Bloomisms," by Donnelly.
"Should I write this one down?"
"'Lizzy, there are a lot of judges out there that will use any dirt they can find, against a female attorney. Especially a female in the D.A.'s office' she said, ignoring McCoy's sarcasm. "It's not fair. But it's fact. The slightest appearance of impropriety is to be avoided at all costs.' Hate to admit it, but this Bloomism is dead on." she looked down at the flowers. "They may just be flowers, Jack, but I can't risk a gift coming back as an excuse to force me recluse myself from a future case Arthur Gold is on someday."
He knew she was right. He'd witnessed female attorneys being dressed down in chambers for anything from skirt length to the amount of make up was being worn. Pay equity and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had helped minorities and women. But, there was still along way to go. Suddenly he felt uneasy.
"Look," he said closing the door. "Liz. I don't want you to feel any pressure after last night--"
"Jack, are you trying to get out of our date already," she said mockingly. Before he could reply, Donnelly's phone rang. She held a hand up as she reached for the receiver. "Donnelly..... Great. I'm on my way," she replaced the receiver and opened her bottom drawer."That was Hazel. Arraignments are starting again in twenty minutes. I've got to go. Listen Jack, I appreciate your concern, really," her tone growing serious, "just meet me at Delmonico's at 7:00, like we planned. We can talk there?"
"I'll be there. Listen, when you finish with arraignments, could you run by the 2-8 again? Tell Cragen we need that gun. Trial date is next week--"
Donnelly slipped her heels on and grabbed her briefcase off the desk. She breezed past McCoy with a quick, "Got it, boss," and was out the door.
The evening traffic made the cab ride to the Bronx longer than McCoy had expected. For the first time all day he could think without interruption. He couldn't get that kiss off his mind. He had viewed Liz has a challenge for so long, he still couldn't quite believe she had not only let him kiss her, but so clearly wanted him to do so. He had kissed more than his share of women. He instantly knew where that kiss was leading.
As he felt her mouth open, her nipples harden against him, he heard her softly moan and whisper his name. He wanted to take her right there on the steps. His left hand slid under her coat, past her suit jacket as a tiny, but persistent, voice in the back of his head became more demanding.
…not going to take advantage …slow it down ...…need to stop now…if you wait another second you're gonna screw her ….you're going to have her and …… Oh, God….it's going to be indescribable….she's never going to forgive you ... hardly against her will……not going to take advantage…damn it Jack, she's your assistant… God damn it, not another assistant!
Damned conscience. That's what happens when you spend twelve years in a Catholic school. The hand slid past her breasts and down her back. He held her tightly. A moan mixed with pleasure and frustration escaped from him as he reluctantly broke the kiss.
For the first time in her life, Liz Donnelly was speechless. They held each other without a word for several minutes.
Although she had been involved romantically more than once, the nine years between them, gave McCoy a serious edge. No one had kissed her with such passion before. Deep down, she knew, if he hadn't pulled away, she wouldn't have stopped. She had asked Sally once, how she could have risked everything by sleeping with Jack. I swear Liz, he's like a drug, Sally had confided. Now I understand addicts. Once you start, just can't stop yourself! At the time, Donnelly thought the comments were just lustful extaggeration.
Now, she knew better.
She looked up at him. Sally had never wanted to make the D.A.'s office her life. Private practice and eventual marriage were the plan. Donnelly knew Sally had been the one to break it off, when she tired of the affair, eventually realizing what McCoy had told her at the onset was indeed true: Jack just wasn't the marrying kind. She cut her losses leaving the job and Jack. No harm done.
"Are you all right," he asked, growing concerned at her silence.
Donnelly was different. The last thing she wanted was marriage and kids. The District Attorney's office was her life. Her passion. She studied his face wondering how to keep one passion from destroying the other. She remembered what had brought them to this unexpected place.
"I should be asking you that, Jack."
"Liz, I couldn't be better," he said, amused. "Listen, it is late. You've got arraignments at 9:30," he kissed her carefully on the forehead. "It's time I go."
As he turned to go she caught his hand. "What are you doing tomorrow, well, tonight?"
"What do you have in mind," he asked intrigued.
"I am on the fundraising committee for McHenry house. We're having a benefit. Delmonicco's is donating the food; Stan Aver's and his band are performing gratis. I've got another ticket…"
"McHenry House? The battered women's shelter?"
"Jack, I know you don't want to hear this, but a good friend of mine, Liz Olivet will be there --"
"I've heard of Dr. Olivett. Liz, I appreciate your concern, really I do, but," he said shortly," I don't need to be saved. By Dr. Olivett. Or you."
"Proud son of a bitch," she said the previous mood evaporating.
"What," he asked incredulous and outraged. "What did you just say? How the hell would you know anything other than what the talk show hosts and self-help gurus have to say about it?"
"Listen Jack, you don't have end up in an emergency room to know trauma like that needs to be dealt with" she moved down the steps to where he had moved. "Maybe I haven't had the hell beat out of me, but I know about trauma. Four of my brothers served in Vietnam. Two didn't come back. One came back in a wheel chair and another hooked on heroin. Believe me, I know something about chaos and denial in a family. I don't want to 'save' you," she said softly." I hate what happened to you. I thought maybe Liz Olivet would be a good sounding board, if you chose to talk to her. It's your story to tell. If and when you tell it. But that's not why I asked you to go with me. I thought you might enjoy the band. They are the best jazz band in the city. Besides, I really would like the company." She paused and then added, "If you're not going to be a pain in the ass."
He ran his hand through his hair trying to process the tirade of words. He wasn't sure if she was being completely honest. It was late and he was physically and emotionally drained. One thing he was sure of was that he wanted to see her away from Hogan Place again.
The bike would have been faster, but impractical wearing his charcoal suit, white dress shirt , and burgundy tie. The doorman took Jack's ticket as he entered Delmonico's. The smell of garlic and marinara sauce filled the elegant restaurant. He followed the sounds of Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" to the lounge.
Defense attorneys Arthur Gold, Shambala Green, and Sally Bell were in having a highly animated conversation with Judge Ruth Silver, and Junior ADA Paul Robinette across the room.. EADA Adam Schiff, ADA Ben Stone, and DA Alfred Wentworth were chatting at the bar, the accompanied by their wives. A group of uniformed NYPD officers milled near the entrance to an adjoining banquet room.
"'Evening Counselor," McCoy turned to see Detective Don Cragen clad in navy dress slacks and a matching sports jacket. He was accompanied by a gorgeous blonde in a blue and white United Airlines uniform.
The two men shook hands "Detective. Looks like quite a party."
"Sure does. Enough big wigs around, the shelter should get plenty of press out of it. I don't think you've met my wife. Jack McCoy, my wife Marge."
"A pleasure, Mrs. Cragen." McCoy remembered hearing Cragen had recently married a stewardess he'd met on while on a rare vacation in Atlantic City.
"Good to meet you Mr. McCoy."
"Jack, please. Sorry to bring up the job, but have we got a weapon for the Plotski case yet?"
"Ballistics report came back on a gun we recovered this morning. It's a match. You've got your murder weapon. Already sent the report back with your gal," Cragen smiled.
"Don't let ADA Donnelly hear you call her that," McCoy warned.
"No worries. I think she'll cut me a little slack. She owes me for tonight."
"Oh, Don. Don't be like that. It's for a good cause."
Cragen sighed, "Honey, my day is one never ending good cause. I just came for the lasgana and jazz."
Marge and Jack were laughing when Jack felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Did you hear the good news? They found the gun."
McCoy turned and found himself breathless. The deep purple lace was a far cry from the conservative suits and high necked blouses Donnelly wore for court. The simple, well cut dress hugged her willowy figure and flirted with her cleavage. He knew how she despised heels, yet her foot wear made her within an inch of his height. The ash blonde hair was down cascading around her shoulders and softly curled. Only one word came to mind: Stunning.
"Wow, counselor," Cragen said with admiration, "Good thing my wife came with me tonight."
Marge Cragen playfully nudged her husband with an elbow in the ribs.
"You must be Marge," Donnelly said, extending a hand. "I'm Liz. Congratulations. I've seen the wedding picture on Don's desk. You look lovely."
Marge blushed, "Thanks Liz, but I feel really underdressed tonight. I got the message Donny left about the benefit when we landed. I grabbed a cab from LaGuardia."
"Marge, you look great! A lot of people came in work attire. You must be starved after your flight. The food is through the double doors." After the Cragens excused themselves, she turned to Jack and asked again," Did you hear about the gun?"
"I did. That's quite a dress." he said quietly, the job far from his thoughts.
"Ms. Donnelly," a male voice interrupted as Arthur Gold strode towards them. "Jack."
"Arthur," Donnelly responded coolly.
"Well, it looks like in spite of your best efforts technically, we will be having dinner together tonight."
"I suppose you're right, Arthur," she said with the same sweetness from the day before, "being that we are attending a battered women's shelter benefit, I guess we'll be skipping the beating afterwards?"
Gold laughed good naturedly, ignoring her sarcasm, "I guess that was pretty bad," he admitted. "Sally, Shambala, the Honorable Judge Morrison and I just had an emergency conscious raising session." He said indicating the group he had just left." What can I say, I'm a pig. But, come on Liz, you have to admit, you'd be awful bored if we were all Alan Alda."
Gold turned his attention to McCoy, "Jack, this is a first. What gives?"
"The times are a changin'. Especially when you work with one of the organizers. I think Liz as managed to get the whole tenth floor to buy a ticket, if not show up tonight." McCoy shuffled uneasily as a woman clad in a white silk pantsuit joined them. Olivet hadn't been practicing long, but McCoy had heard of her through Ruthie Miller in the Domestic Violence division. Olivett was one of the mental health professionals who was on call for assault victims through McHenry House. He wouldn't be surprised to see her on retainer with the DA's office in the next few years. She greeted Liz and Arthur warmly.
"You must be Jack," she said extending her hand. "This is your first time at a McHenry House benefit?"
"That it is. I'm usually a write and check and avoid the crowd, kind of guy."
Gold said, "Jack, I can't believe these ladies got the band and Delmonico's to donate their services. Come on Donnelly, what did you do? Threaten to have the health department do an unannounced inspection of Delmonico's?"
The women smiled exchanging knowing glances," I'm exercising my right to remain silent, Arthur."
As the evening continued, the four remained together through the dinner, speeches, and finally returning to the lounge for dancing. McCoy had to admit the food and company were both a pleasure. He was amused with Olivet's subtle maneuvering. If Liz hadn't mentioned that she and Olivet were friends, he may have not been as aware of her persistence in bringing the conversation back to his past.
The band began playing requests. More people filled the dance floor. McCoy found himself alone with Olivet, Arthur Gold beating him to the dance floor with Donnelly.
"Liz tells me you're not a native New Yorker?"
"I was raised in Chicago," he tried to ignore the tension in his body, as she made another run at him.
"You came here for college?"
McCoy sighed and smiled, "Doctor Olivet, if you'd like to dance, I'd be happy to oblige. But I prefer the tango to the dance were doing now."
She smiled back, bowing her head slightly, "Touché, Jack. Sorry. To be honest, I do better without pretense myself. Liz just said there was some kind of trauma you experienced in your life. Not that that's a surprise given your profession. You'd be surprised how many DA's and Public Defenders seek therapy at some point in their careers. If you're not comfortable talking to me, I can recommend several men that are very discreet. No one in the DA's office needs to know."
"That's all she told you?" he asked, the tension in his body easing. "She's right, Liz, I have had a trauma. I should deal with it. I'm just not sure I want to deal with it now. Tonight. But, when I'm ready, I will keep that referral in mind."
Olivet laughed, "Why Jack, I can't remember being told to go to hell, so politely."
He laughed back and stood, "I think it's high time we moved this dance to the floor."
About 11:30 the crowd began to thin out. As much as McCoy was enjoying the evening, he was pleased when Gold and Olivet said their goodbyes. The evening was almost gone and he hadn't had a moment alone with Donnelly.
When she returned to the table he caught her hand and moved her to the dance floor. The band was playing a nice version on "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." The pair moved easily in each others arms.
"Alfred and I just had an interesting conversation."
"Alfred, our boss. You didn't tell me about the plans for change in the Sex Crimes Division."
He tilted his head and smiled, "I've been distracted."
"It's high time they did something like this. Although, I hope they call it something a little more victim-friendly. 'Sex Crimes' is kind of intimidating to a rape victim…maybe Special Victims --"
"Anything else I missed?"
He whirled her gently on the dance floor, surprising her with a sudden dip, she instinctively clutched his shoulders," Ben Stone said to tell you 'Congratulations' on the Sinclair win. No more shop talk."
She laughed softly, "This is a first."
McCoy felt her rest her head on his shoulder. He softly sang, "My imagination will thrive upon that kiss; sweetheart, I ask no more than this, a kiss to build a dream on."
"Jack McCoy. I never took you for a romantic."
"Our kiss inspired me," he seriously. "You inspire me."
That kiss had been in the back of her mind all day. A few hours alone with him and the smallest glimpse vulnerability in him had changed everything for her. She couldn't explain it. She was still conflicted, but she knew it wasn't going to matter. She was silent a moment. "The priests teach you to dance like this?"
"I boxed in college," he explained. "Took a few dance classes to get a better sense of rhythm."
"Really." She looked up seeing desire without any pretense.
"You'd be surprised how important a good sense of rhythm is…in many situations." He dipped her again and held her there. He brought her up slowly and whispered, "If I don't get you alone soon, I'm going to have demonstrate that, right here on this floor."
The second the cab left the curb he pulled her to him and kissed her with intensity reminiscent of the prior evening. Neither of them had drunk excessively. McCoy had wanted to keep his head clear, having a drink with dinner and nursing a second afterwards. While he didn't really think it had contributed, he was pleased to confirm, the passion they shared wasn't due to drunken abandonment.
He wasn't surprised when she ended the kiss and said, "We've got to talk."
He nodded, "I'm listening." He knew. He knew Liz would, more than likely, succumb to reason, rather than passion.
"Jack, clearly, I am attracted to you," she began.
Her face flushed with embarrassment, but she continued, "A woman in the DA's office can't be viewed a sleeping her way --"
"Liz, no one thinks of you like that."
"Once it's common knowledge I've slept with you --"
"You've decided to sleep with me?" He said, feeling his body respond to the suggestion.
"I'm right in assuming that's what we both want?"
"You have to ask? Apparently, I haven't adequately established intent."
He pulled her to him for another kiss. This time his hands found their way to her breasts. The little voice of Jack's conscience silenced.
She opened her eyes and slowly, but firmly, moved away. "Jack."
As the cab turned onto Broadway, McCoy motioned for the cabby to pull over. Handing the driver money he turned to Donnelly," My place is two blocks north. Yours is four blocks west," he opened the door," shall we walk?"
It was just past midnight on a clear cool Saturday morning. They shared the street with a handful of people dressed in evening attire. McCoy put his arm around her waist and stood under the street light.
"North or West," he inquired as he began kissing her neck.
Resisting the urge to tell him: here and now, she let the kissing go on for a few minutes enjoying the feel of his mouth and hands on her. "West," she said at last.
"You have my attention. You were saying?" he inquired reluctantly, as they moved down the street.
"Jack. I'd be a fool to think I could walk away from you right now and still work with you, like nothing is going on. I'd also be a fool to think once we act on those feelings, things won't change."
"Jack," she said stopping in front of him. "I don't want to be just another one of many for you, but, I'm not Sally. I don't want marriage and kids. Not that I think you do, either."
He eyed her carefully, "You've told me what you don't want. What do you want?"
"I want to be District Attorney. Maybe more." She lowered her eyes. She'd never said it out loud before. It was almost like saying, "'I want to be Superman." When it was clear he wasn't going to laugh at her, she continued. "I want you. Not necessarily in that order." She looked back at him," I don't want to screw any of it up with a careless decision."
McCoy took her hand and they started walking again, silently, until they reached the front of her building.
"Liz. I don't know what to say here. You'd be a hell of a District Attorney. I'm not one to kiss and tell. But, things have a way of getting around. There were a lot of reporters at Delmonico's. I'm sure where already an item in The Ledger," a thought came to him suddenly causing him to laugh.
Donnelly waited for him to catch his breath," Well? You are going to let me in on the joke?"
"I just figured if old Fritz reads about us in the morning paper, he might show up at Hogan Place and dress me down with a Bloomism ... and a horse whip."
She laughed herself and put her arms back around his neck, "Well, the last thing Fritz did before he left was warn me about you. Again."
"Warned you, did he?"
"Told me all about the dangers of being seduced by Jack McCoy."
"Objection! Based on hearsay, facts not based in evidence."
"Sorry, Jack, I'd have to overrule you. Prior bad acts, remember?"
"Seriously, Liz. I know how to be discreet. I don't want you to have regrets later."
"That new division, the sex crimes unit, it sounds like it could be challenging. Alfred said if I want the transfer it's mine. It's going to take a few months to iron out all the details --"
"You'd leave," he asked suddenly aware of the price he was about to pay for giving into his desires. God, he wanted her, but to lose her as his second chair? The thought gave him pause. It was a possibly he hadn't even considered before that moment.
"Jack. Let me be blunt. I suspect this isn't going to be a one night stand. If it is, well, it would make life a lot less complicated," she said thoughtfully. "But that doesn't seem realistic, does it?"
He knew she was right. If the last twenty four hours were any indication of what was ahead, he knew it was going to be anything but uncomplicated ... or brief.
She took his hand. "Do you want an assistant or a lover?"
By the time he opened the door they were both ready to explode. He was the first to admit he loved the chase. But enough was enough. Liz flipped the light switch on and Jack pulled her to him, pressing her against the closed door. They kissed passionately, knowing all the starts and stops were behind them. He ravished her body pinning her to the door with his left hand, while his right hand reached for her zipper. He groaned with as he felt her hand find his crotch. The dress fell to the floor, along with his suit pants. He scooped her into his arms and looked around the room, seeing the hallway; he carried her, finding his way to the bedroom.
Once on the bed, she rolled on top of him, kissing and fondling. She paused long enough to unbutton his shirt while he reached for a breast and began to lick and suck. He rolled back on top of her and tore his shirt off, leaving him nude but for his briefs. The feel of her silk underwear, moist with desire served to arouse him even more. He felt her hands and lips exploring his bare chest.
"God Liz, I have to have you, "he moaned as his hand slid under and into her panties.
"Oh, Jack…Oh, yes."
He removed the last of her clothing and stopped abruptly. He swore in frustration and started to get up.
"Condoms," he explained," Left them in my pants --"
She laughed, pulling him back to the bed. "Jack, please. I have a diaphragm. Sorry I didn't get a chance to tell say anything. What I was thinking?"
He returned to her and gazed at her naked body. "God, you're magnificent," he said taking her back into his arms. As he kissed her as he brought his body on top of hers, straddling her in the process. The sensation of their bodies finally against each other was ecstasy itself. He tried to slow down, put aside his desire and focus on his lover's needs.
As he moved against her he whispered, "God, how I've wanted you…. Wanted to please you…Tell me. Tell me what you're thinking. What you want, Elizabeth."
She opened her eyes and focused on his face. "Oh God, Jack," was all she could manage. Putting a sentence together was impossible. All of her senses were focused what he was doing to her. The way he smelled…so good, the light musk was intensified by his sweat. His smell, his taste, the warmth of his body ... and those hands.
Like a drug. "Oh God, yes," she said out loud. That's exactly what Jack McCoy is like . A drug. A mind blowing, addiction.
"Tell me, my love," he urged.
She looked at him and lost whatever restraint she might have had, "I was thinking about ... how good ... how much … Oh, Jack! Shut the hell up and take me ... now!"
He laughed a low, deep laugh." That's what you want, is it, sweet lady? For me to have you," his lower body began to move up and down, skillfully teasing her.
"Damn you Jack, do you want me to beg? Is that what you want?"
Suddenly he moved his arms and legs, to pin her down. He grinned down at her. In a barely audible, throaty whisper he replied, "Oh God, yes. I want to hear you say it, Liz."
"Damn you, don't stop ... have me ... now Jack!"
He did. Again and again
As the morning light lifted the darkness from the bedroom, Jack McCoy leaned over and watched her sleep. Fragments of the night's events, floating through his consciousness.
They had both been out of control, oblivious to anything other than the reckless abandonment that drove their love making. He sighed, remembering her touch, her cries of ecstasy, the slightly arrogant satisfaction that had become part McCoy's version of "afterglow," was absent that morning.
They had made love until exhaustion over took them, between four and five a.m. They had held each other. Nothing was off limits. He'd always wondered why she chose to work her way up in the D A's office, knowing a degree from Yale, would open doors with far more prestige and financial rewards. She wanted to know when he'd started to ride the motorcycle. Eventually, the conversation moved to their families, Childhood. He told her. Willingly. Quietly, dispassionately, he broke the silent hold his father had over him. When he was through she took him in her arms, rocking him gently, until he slept.
He wasn't sure what troubled him more. Her omission of the phrase or his uneasiness with her omission of the phrase? He'd heard it many times. On rare occasions, in the heat of the moment, he'd said it, much to his regret, the next morning. Not this time. Many memorable things had been said. But not 'I love you'. The relief he should have felt, was replaced, by with something less familiar.
Something else nagged at him. He tired to focus, to remember ... something about the sex crime unit..... Oh God, was she serious? "Alfred says the positions is mine, if I want it"…"A few months for the paperwork." ... Suddenly, Jack felt a combination of panic and regret.
She meant it. It was the only way she could protect her professional reputation, her future in the D. A. 's office. The move might even enhance her chances for advancement
An assistant or a lover?
What the hell had he done?
Elizabeth Donnelly opened her eyes, staring at the clock in disbelief. The bright red numbers stared back. Less than an hour of Saturday morning left. She moved to get up, picking up the note he had left beside the clock.LizShe smiled to herself, replacing the note on the table, she moved towards adjoining bathroom. One of the things she loved about her tiny apartment was the free standing claw foot tub. Once the tub had filled, she carefully got in, and closed her eyes. Her thoughts drifted to events of the night before.
Last night was amazing. Went back to my place to change and pick up breakfast. Be back before you wake up. Have your key.
Her blood boiled, her heart aching for Jack, as he told her of the nightmare he lived. As she had listened to him talk about the night's in the basement, hearing the screams of his mother begging his father to stop ... she knew if she never met John McCoy Sr. all bets were off. If I ever meet that son of a bitch, she thought, I will bait him into an assault charge that'll stick -- hard ass Chicago cop or not.
"Do you want a lover or an assistant," she had asked looking up into his handsome face, minutes before they would make love for the first time. She had felt foolish and more than a little presumptuous after the words were out of her mouth, until she saw the stricken look in his gorgeous brown eyes.
"You'd leave," he asked incredulous.
No way can I work in the same office with him after last night. Whether we never sleep together again or end up together forever. Forever? Oh God, she thought, shaking her head impatiently, where did that come from?
Hearing the sound of her apartment door open and close she opened her eyes, "Jack?"
McCoy stood in the doorway grinning down at her. "Good morning." he said moving towards the tub. "God Liz, you are beautiful." He bent down and gave her a long tender kiss.
"You're going to get wet," she said softly.
"That sounds like an invitation" he said, pulling off his sweater.
A few hours later, they got around to the bagels and cream cheese McCoy had brought. The day was cool and dark. A storm moving in. They spent the afternoon in front of her fireplace reading the Times, talking, and making love.
McCoy had avoided the subject of Donnelly's possible departure, preferring instead, to learn more about her personal life. Although both were from large families, her childhood was in dramatic contrast to his. She moved constantly, living on four of the seven continents by the time she was ten. Her father had been a career navel officer. A demanding, but loving, husband and father. Her brother's joining the military had been a matter of course. Expected. Then regretted, as the Donnelly boys began to return home from Vietnam, two in caskets.
"That's when my Mother started attending Mothers for Peace. Pretty bold move for a woman who never even learned how to drive. She took me with her to the Washington march in '66." Donnelly said, once again putting on the Yale sweat shirt that kept finding its way to the floor.
Having added another piece of wood to the fire, Jack returned to the sofa. "I remember that march. I was there. First D.C. march. Students for a Democratic Society organized."
"You were there with SDS?"
He nodded, "No wonder you're wise beyond your years. You couldn't have been more than, what, fifteen?"
"Let's see, April of '66 ... seventeen. A week after my birthday."
He shook his head in disbelief, "That's still pretty young. Dangerous times, Liz. What did your father have to say about his wife and teenage daughter marching with draft dodging hippies?"
She smiled at his description," Actually, the phase Dad used was 'draft dodging, beatniks'. But, what could he say? First Terry dead, then Shawn. Mom was holding onto her sanity by a thread. It was a way for her to cope. He knew that. Besides, this was way before Kent State or the Chicago Convention. I don't think either of them realized how easily a peaceful march could end in a riot. After Tet, Denny came home… hooked on heroin…that killed Dad. Mom just gave up..." her voice trailed off.
McCoy moved closer, putting his arm back around her. He'd seen too much of the same thing. Friends back from the war hooked on drugs. Ending up on the streets or jail or overdosing. Their lives, their family's lives, ruined. Her head nuzzled against his bare shoulder. They sat silently watching as the fire slowly dimmed.
"What do you think about us trying to keep our clothes on long enough to venture out and get some dinner?" he said after a while.
"We can try or I could make us something here?"
"Accomplished prosecutor, accomplished lover" he said nuzzling her ear, 'I can add accomplished chief to your repertoire?"
"Well, chef is pushing it," she said laughing, handing McCoy his shirt. "But, I can boil water. Pesto sauce is the house specialty."
"Pesto, the house specialty in the home of a Donnelly," McCoy asked, following her to the kitchen, not caring whether he ate pesto or potatoes. A flip of the light switch illuminated the room.
Donnelly began filling a sauce pan with water, "I dated the executive chef of --" the sound of her telephone ringing took them both by surprise. "Hello? Good evening Mr. Schiff," she said, meeting McCoy's questioning eyes. "Of course, what kind of favor? ... I see." she started to hand McCoy the receiver, then stopped, changing her mind. "Yes, I'll try. Jack and Paul Kopel are good friends. I can try Paul's service. Certainly. If not, would you like me to try Ben Stone or should I handle the arraignment myself? No, not at all." She reached across the counter for a pad and pen, "Yes,. I've got it. Good night." She returned the receiver to its cradle.
"He's been trying to reach you," she explained ." Roselli was on call this weekend. He's at Memorial. His wife went into early labor. Captain Deacons at the 4-7 has a suspect that's going to night court at 7:00 for arraignment. Mr. Schiff wants you to handle it."
"What's the charge," he asked, returning the living room. McCoy looked around. Spotting his socks, he finished dressing.
"Two counts murder one. Double homicide, special circumstances. Looks like a possible murder for hire."
McCoy moved to the living room, taking his leather jacket and helmet from the coat rack by the door. "Who's the victim?"
"Have you heard of Valentin Casselli?"
"The clothing designer?"
Donnelly nodded, "He and his girlfriend, Lola Lizetti, are the victims. Suspect is Valdimir Ferrier."
McCoy looked bewildered. "This is a high profile case. Isn't Adam prosecuting it himself?"
Donnelly shook her head. "Can't get back to town until morning. He's stuck up in a cabin somewhere in Connecticut. He's been trying to reach you, Ben, Paul, any Senior ADA he thought might be in town." She handed him the slip of paper. "Wants you to call him after the arraignment."
McCoy opened the door and paused taking her in his arms."7:00. Night court docket might not be too bad yet. I'll call you from the courthouse." He kissed her and held her. "By the way. What was that about calling Ben if you couldn't find me?"
Donnelly blushed slightly, "Did you really want me to say, 'Jack's with me now?' Look, Jack, I don't like lying to Adam Schiff, but I'm not comfortable making our personal lives public knowledge."
McCoy absently ran a hand through his hair. "Point taken."
"Jack, wait. I almost forgot," she said quickly grabbing the briefcase beside the rack and shuffling through it." Ballistics report. Plotski case. I meant to give it to you last night. You might want to look at it in the cab going uptown."
He shook his head, "Brought the bike. I'll read it Sunday. I'll call you."
Five minutes hadn't passed before there was a knock at her door. Thinking he had had second thoughts about the report, Donnelly grabbed the file off the coffee table and opened the door.
The woman grinned like Cheshire cat.
"Sally? How'd you get up here without me buzzing --"
The tall blonde continued to grin as she walked passed the threshold. The remains of the couple's breakfast that included two Styrofoam coffee cups, sat coffee table. She picked up and folded the discarded blanket that had been lying beside the sofa. McCoy's former assistant sat on the sofa looking expectantly at Donnelly.
"Jack was just coming out when I got to the door. Sure looked surprised to see me. Forget we were going to hear Bella Abzug speak at 7:30?"
Donnelly swore softly. "Give me five minutes, Sally."
Sally Bell patted the cushion beside her."Bella can wait. I didn't get a chance to talk to you or Jack last night at the benefit. But I did see you two together. You two looked ... involved, on the dance floor."
Donnelly put on her best poker face. Sitting down she set the file on the coffee table, impatiently asking, "Is there a question somewhere beyond the innuendo in that remark, Sally?"
Bell laughed, "First, Jack McCoy shows up at a benefit on a Friday night -- forgoing his usual Friday night routine -- bar hopping and skirt chasing. Second, you spend the entire night at his side. Noteworthy, because up until now you wouldn't let the man buy you a subway token, much less be seen with him outside of the work with him. Third, you make your first win as lead prosecutor, make a killing for the shelter last night, and invite me to hear Bella tonight and tell me you'll call me with the details. Yet, I hear nothing from you about any of it in the past forty-eight hours. Finally, I come by at noon today, to see what's up. What do I find? A motorcycle that looks suspiciously familiar in front of your building. I come back at 4:00, the motorcycle is still there. I show up at 6:30. In addition to the motorcycle, who almost runs me over, coming out of your building? None other than John James McCoy, Esquire." Bell's grin deepened into a self satisfied smirk as she folded her arms. "You did it, didn't you Liz? You fell for Jack McCoy."
"Sally, for God's sake. You know better than anyone that his reputation blown out of proportion since you and he were an item. The man works a sixty hour work week."
"Now I know you've fallen for him. You're protecting Jack's reputation?"
It took all the self control she had to conceal the panic she felt. Jesus, not even twenty four hours and Sally has us figured out, she thought frantically. Who else? Adam Schiff? Wait, just take a breath and think.
"This is what makes you such a worthy adversary in the courtroom Sally," she said with cool composure. "A vivid imagination is an asset for a defense attorney. For a friend, it's a liability."
"Oh, come off it Liz, I know you! I know Jack!"
"Listen. I am going to say this once. First, Jack And I went to Clancy's after we won the Sinclair case. We played darts. I lost. He graciously accepted the ticket to the benefit, instead of cash. Two, when he showed up at the benefit, I felt obliged to make sure he enjoyed himself. He is my boss. Also, if you will remember, Liz Olivet and Arthur Gold were at the same table, as well. Third, I would have called you today, but Jack and I were working on the Plotski case all afternoon." She indicated the file across from her. "That has the ballistics report in it." Donnelly stood up shocked and more than a little ashamed at how easily she wove the truth and the lies together. "Now, if you're finished with the cross examination, I'd like to hear Congresswoman Abzug."
Disappointed, Jack McCoy left the pay phone at the entrance to the Criminal Courts building. He had already left two messages on her machine. A third seemed excessive. He walked down the hall, heading towards the door marked: 1120 Night Court Division. Once he'd arrived at the Criminal Courts building, he had learned the defendant had lawyered up and was waiting for his attorney. It was nearly 10:00 p m..
Of all people, Sally Bell, he thought, remembering how he and his former lover nearly collided outside Liz's apartment building earlier. So much for discretion. No wonder she's not picking up the phone. By the time Sally's done, Liz will be convinced she's made the biggest mistake of her life -- maybe it was.
"Jack? Looks like I might get the pleasure of cleaning your clock instead of Vinnie Roselli's. Here for Ferrier?"
McCoy turned to see Paul Kopel. McCoy greeted his law school buddy with a handshake.
"Vinnie's at Memorial. Marissa's in labor. What about you? Shouldn't you be at Raymundo's, having dinner with the Cellini crime family tonight," McCoy had great respect for the legal talents of his ambitious friend. Not so for his employers. It was common knowledge Paul's firm catered to organized crime clientele.
Kopel laughed off McCoy's remark. "Vinnie's first kid?" McCoy nodded. "Good for him. He and Marissa have wanted kids for a while. Look, I just came from talking with Ferrier. What do your say, we deal it down to Man two?"
McCoy raised his brows, "Man two on a double murder? Better cut down on whatever you're smoking these days." The pair stopped a few feet from the room. Several people milled around nearby, waiting for court to resume.
"Come on Jack. Just because Alfred Wentworth needs a big win in the press --"
"Paul, it's a capital case. Murder for hire. Special circumstances. I've talked to Deacons at the 4-7. Your guy was sloppy. The forensic evidence alone is gonna get Ferrier the needle. No deals." McCoy paused. "Unless…"
"I'm waiting, Jack."
"Adam Schiff might be willing to talk to Wentworth about taking the death penalty off the table, if your guy is ready to roll on the Five Families. "
Kopel made a face. "Yeah Jack, that's as likely as you confirming Myra Stein's piece in the Ledger today."
"You haven't seen it? I'd thought you'd have heard --"
"Believe it or not Paul, I read the paper to stay informed. Not to find out whose sleeping with whom from Myra Stein." Kopel shifted, his discomfort evident. McCoy began to feel uneasy himself. "What piece, Paul?"
"Ah, actually Marion saw it. I just know what she told --"
"Paul," McCoy growled with increasing annoyance.
"About the McHenry House benefit. Something about you making a habit of mixing business with pleasure ... with your assistants." Seeing the look on McCoy's face, Kopel knew to keep any questions about the validity of the story to himself.
"Shit. Why the hell would anybody care? It was a benefit for battered women! Jesus, don't these people have politicians to harass?"
"What better way to harass D A Wentworth than to hit his office with some dirt --" Kopel stopped. He knew McCoy valued his privacy. But the exasperation Kopel saw in his friend caused him concern, "Hey Jack, this stuff happens all the time. You know that. When you and Sally were together, same kind of stuff happened. It's gonna pass. You don't usually let this kind of thing get the best of you."
Liz isn't Sally, he thought miserably. He didn't give a damn about what some rag said about him. He could take the fallout. But he knew what this could do to a Junior ADA. Especially a woman. A beautiful woman who plans that included being D.A. someday. Should of thought of that before you took your pants off…
"Five minutes. Court will be back in session in five minutes," clerk announced.
The pair turned towards the open door. McCoy hesitated.
"Paul how bad is it? Did ... did Stein ... was Liz Donnelly mentioned by name?"
Kopel nodded, not wanting to say more.
Inwardly McCoy cringed.
By the time McCoy returned to his apartment it was after midnight. He tossed the leather jacket on the sofa along with a copy of the Ledger, and hit the 'play' button on his answer machine. He poured himself a drink, listening to the messages. EADA Adam Schiff had left half a dozen messages. Two in the last ninety minutes. Alfred Wentworth had left one as well, referring to the Stein article. Announcing a 8:30 meeting with him for Monday morning. Liz had called, explaining she had gone out for most of the evening, sorry she'd missed his calls, and would he call again Sunday morning?
He sighed, taking a large swallow of Scotch, he dialed Adam's number. Surprisingly, the first ring hadn't finished before McCoy heard the sound of Schiff's voice.
"Just got back from the arraignment, Adam. No bail. Ferrier's on his way to Riker's."
"Good, good. Glad Ms. Donnelly was able to find you," Schiff said wearily. "Who's the defense council?" Schiff chuckled hearing the answer. "Should have known Martelli wouldn't come in from Newport for an arraignment. Sent his errand boy Kopel to arraign him, did he? We're going have our work cut out for us before this gets to trial."
"Forensics look solid, Adam. Ferrier was sloppy. Prints at the scene, on the girlfriend's jewelry. Might have more by morning. Deacons says they have a witness that places Ferrier at the scene during the murders. We've just got to nail down the motive. There's got to be a mob connection, with Paul's firm involved."
"Nice work, Jack. I want this airtight before trial. I want you to second chair for me on this one."
"Plotski is set for trial Wednesday."
"Ms. Donnelly knows the case. She can take the lead on Plotski. I'll have Craig or Dalton available to second chair for her. She's ready. The rest will look at Monday." Schiff paused.
"Have you seen today's Ledger?"
"No. But I've heard about the Stein article," he said, finishing the drink and pouring a second. "Wentworth has summoned me already."
"Listen Jack. You know I'm not given to discussing people's private lives, but --"
"But, what," McCoy snapped, his patience wearing thin. "If you have something to say Adam, say it, so I can get some sleep. Between the arraignment and constant updates I've gotten from the Sex Police, I'm exhausted."
"This kind of thing, true or not, can damage a man's career. It can destroy a woman's. Maybe you need to think about that," he said sternly.
"Damn it Adam, that's all I can think about," he barked, slamming the receiver down.
McCoy hit the snooze button on his alarm clock, his head throbbing from Scotch he'd consumed on an empty stomach, the night before. He swore. The buzzing continued. Even after he pulled the cord from the socket. What the hell -- reluctantly he opened his eyes. It took a moment for him for realize the buzzing came from the buzzer by the front door. He stood, immediately pausing to let the dizziness pass.
"Alright, damn it! I'm coming," once at the door, he pressed the button, "God damn it, leave me alone!"
"Liz? How do you know where I live?" McCoy grabbed a pair of jeans off the back of the sofa.
"Buzz me in and I'll explain."
It was as she expected. A little larger than her own living room. Book shelf lining a full wall. It housed law books, journals, miscellaneous paperbacks, and motorcycle magazines. A portable TV and stereo system were arranged in the center. His briefcase and jacket on the sofa, along with a basket of, what looked to be, clean laundry. Empty Scotch bottle on the coffee table near the single photograph in the room. A framed photo of a young woman holding a diploma.
"My sister, Colleen," he explained as he finished buttoning his shirt. He ran a hand through the uncombed hair. "How did you --"
"Manhattan phone book," she said, moving the laundry basket to the floor and sitting. "You mentioned being a few blocks from me. Took a little detective work with a map and the phonebook, but you weren't too hard to find. You, ah, might consider the danger in that, Jack. If I can find you, some the guys you sent to prison, can too. Maybe a listed address isn't such a good idea."
He nodded and moved towards the kitchen. "I was about to make coffee. Can I --" he stopped as Donnelly reached into the large brown bag she had with her and removed two cups, along with muffins, that judging from the smell where blueberry muffins, not long out of the oven.
"Since you missed out on pesto, I thought I'd make you breakfast this morning."
He joined her on the sofa, taking a drink of the hot coffee. "You baked these, Liz?" He laughed as she nodded her head and kissed her tenderly. "You never seize to amaze me. "He immediately bit into one of the muffins. "Oh God, Liz, that is delicious."
"Not exactly Julia Child, Jack. But still, don't get used to it," she warned. "Most mornings it's instant coffee and rye toast."
"What makes this morning special," he asked, the pain in his temples lessening as he drank more of the coffee.
"I don't know," she said softly. "Maybe spending time with you makes any day a special day."
He grinned at the unexpected comment. "Elizabeth Donnelly. Are you flirting with me?"
"That I am," she said kissing him. He returned the kiss with growing intensity, eventually, moving her back as his body moved over hers. Suddenly he remembered several things all making him sit up self consciously : He hadn't showered or brushed his teeth. He needed to talk to her about the events of the previous evening. "God, Liz, I wasn't thinking." He stood up. "Give me a minute."
She watched with amusement as he dashed into the other room. She could hear the water running. She walked over to the kitchenette and picked up the copy of the Ledger. Minutes passed. When he returned, she looked up from the paper and sighed.
"You've seen it?"
"You know," he asked.
"When Sally was finished with her little Perry Mason skit, she showed me. I guess making out as we walked down Broadway wasn't the most discreet move to make. "
"God, Liz I am sorry. For everything. I had no --"
"Jack. This isn't your fault." she sat back down with him on the sofa. "It's not your fault Sally came over or that Adam Schiff called last night. You certainty aren't to blame for that rag. We both knew this wasn't going to be easy."
"It was selfish for me to let it get this far."
She looked at him like he'd slapped her. "To let it get this far? Jack. Neither of us got here by ourselves. I'm not a child."
"Liz, you made yourself clear for months. Even that night. You wanted a professional relationship with me. Nothing more. No, you're not a child. But I know a lot more about how the game is played at Hogan Place. I've played it a lot longer than you have. Don't be angry. I should have protected you more."
"God, Jack. I don't need to be protected! Look, I'm not angry. Not with you. But, I don't want you to blame yourself. It's not going to change anything and it's demeaning to me. I wanted to be with you Jack. Don't discount that."
He took her hands and held them. "We are both single. Over twenty-one. Nothing has gone on in the workplace. This really isn't anyone else's business."
"I agree. I want to apologize for acting like it was."
"Liz, you were trying to protect your job. You don't have to ap--"
"Oh, this is just stupid! I should have just told Adam last night and Sally. I mean, God, Jack. I don't want to take out an ad or anything, but I'm not ashamed either. If anything, I'm ashamed of how quickly the lies came out of my mouth yesterday."
"Liz, Alfred Wentworth called me about the Ledger. He wants to see me first thing Monday --"
"First thing? Alfred is seeing me at 8:30 Monday morning. He left a message last night. He wouldn't fire both of us?"
McCoy shook his head. "Adam wants me to second chair the Ferrier case. You're supposed to take the lead with Plotski next week. He wouldn't have said that if he thought Wentworth was firing either of us."
"Well, that's a relief. I'm lead prosecutor for Plotski," she said turning the information over in her mind, smiling in spite of herself. "Whose second chair?"
He chuckled moving closer, his arm around her shoulders. "Craig or Dalton. I think Adam's still deciding. Listen, Liz. It sounds like, even if you still want to go to sex crimes, we're going to be working in the same office, at least until these cases are heard. Maybe we should stop seeing each other until --"
"Is that what you want to do," she asked cutting him off, as she got up from the sofa.
He stood as well. "That's not the point, Liz."
"That's not an answer, Jack."
"Of course it's not what I want. I want you in my life," he said suddenly aware of how true his words were.
"I want you in my life, too" she said her arms around his neck.
"I don't want to see you hurt," he said, his arms around her waist.
"I don't want to see you hurt, either."
"I'm not going to get hurt."
"Neither am I."
"Liz, I'm not an easy man. I've got ten years on you and a reputation that speaks for itself."
"Jack, I'm not an easy woman. I have no patience for fools. That's why I can go toe to toe with you, in spite of your advanced years and over blown reputation."
"God, you're stubborn," he said smiling down at her.
"No more than you are."
"I'm falling in love with you, Liz."
"I'm falling in love with you, Jack."