Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The WIP sample, Part 2


Another sample from the WIP (obviously, I have nothing else to talk about).  And this is only second-drafted, so be kind! :-)

Chapter 


Briley Lester steps out from behind her desk and takes a seat in the empty guest chair, an arm’s length away from the client. “Mrs. Busch,” she begins, “I’ve been reviewing your case file.” 

“Are you going to be our lawyer?” A faint line appears between the woman’s brows as she pulls an envelope from her purse. “If so, you’ll probably want these photographs. They were taken at the emergency room, right after the accident.” 

Briley holds up her hand. “Before I look at those, I want to tell you what I’ve discovered. You seem like a lady who appreciates honesty.” 

“I am.” The woman crosses her legs and settles into the curve of the chair. “You’ve got me pegged.” 

“Good. What I’ve discovered, Mrs. Busch, is that though I am very concerned about your daughter and your case, I’m afraid my best advice is for you to walk away. Don’t pursue a lawsuit.” 

Mrs. Busch blinks, her red-painted mouth falling open. 

“I know you were concerned about your daughter’s future as a film star,” Briley continues, keeping her voice smooth and even, “but since your insurance paid for having your daughter’s tooth capped, there are no real damages to recover. Seeking punitive damages against an eleven-year-old boy who happened to toss a frisbee in your daughter’s direction . . . well, ma’am, I’m thinking it’d be better for your family to avoid the stress of a protracted lawsuit. You wouldn’t want your daughter to relive that accident, would you?” 

“My Tiffany wouldn’t—”

“The boy told the police that he didn’t intend to hit Tiffany, so he’s going to testify that the injury was accidental. Without malice, we’re going to have a difficult time getting any sort of punitive award.” 

Mrs. Busch examines Briley’s face with considerable concentration. “Are you saying we don’t have a case?” 

“No, ma’am, in fact, I’d urge you to get a second opinion. I’m not saying you can’t win, I’m saying that I believe a victory will cost your family too much in terms of lawyer’s fees and emotional stress. So I’m not billing you for anything, and I’m advising you to be grateful that your beautiful daughter’s smile has not been permanently ruined.” She softens her voice. “We do not always have to insist upon justice—sometimes we are given the opportunity to exhibit mercy.” 

Mrs. Busch looks away, her brows lowering. “Mercy?” She shakes her head. “I want to see that boy punished.” 

“I believe you should trust his parents to discipline their son. And remember, the boy did have to talk to the police after you called them. That encounter probably frightened him more than anything the court could do.” 

The client stares past Briley’s desk for a moment, then inclines her head in a sharp nod. “Thank you, Ms. Lester.” She extends her hand. “It’s rare to find a lawyer who isn’t out to milk her clients for every penny.” 

Briley shakes the woman’s hand, then stands. “I’m always glad when I can help someone. I became a lawyer because I wanted to make a difference.” 

After Mrs. Busch has gone, Kate Barnhill, the paralegal assigned to the second floor associates, sticks her head into Briley’s office. “You got rid of the dragon lady?” 

Briley holds up a handwritten memo and drops it into the Busch file. “Case dismissed,” she says, grinning. “Now they can get on with their lives.” 

Kate steps into the room. “I’ll never forget when she first came in here. She was breathing smoke and swearing that her daughter’s life was ruined forever. Mr. Reaves, of course, told her he’d represent her.” 

“Then he tossed her file to the associates.” Briley stares at the stack of files on her credenza. “Just look at all those dog cases. I promised Reaves I’d clear at least five files this week, but it takes time to handle clients properly. And since most of these are civil cases, I’m a little out of my element.” 

Kate crosses her arms. “At my last firm, they’d just send the client a letter saying the case wasn’t worth their time.” 

“If they treated everyone that way, I can see why you don’t work there any more.” Briley picks up the next file and skims the case report. “This concerns a real estate deal. Don’t we have an associate in real estate law?”

“I’ll take it over.” Kate extends her hand. “The red-haired guy back by the water cooler—he’s handling real estate.” 

“I’ve never seen anybody in that office.” 

“That’s because he’s always out in the field, or so he says. I think he’s fond of extended client lunches. And dinners, for that matter. He keeps odd hours.” 

Briley picks up the next file. “Give me criminal law any day. The defendants may be a little rough, but at least the court operates on a regular schedule.” She skims the next report, then arches a brow. “We’re representing a dognapper?” 

The paralegal smiles as she moves toward the door. “Don’t you remember him? You pleaded him down to nine months in Cook County jail.”

“That’s right—the Chihuahua thief.” Briley sighs and drops the file onto her desk. “Now he wants to sue the state over the inmates’ food. He says it’s nutritionally lacking.”

“You going down to the jail to gracefully brush him off?” 

“No,” Briley answers, settling into her chair. “Him, I’m writing a letter.” 


~~Angie 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great dialogue and I like Briley very much. Am trying to figure out how this new set of characters will interface with the loving wife we met yesterday. Supposing "wifey" will be needing a lawyer sometime soon? Briley will be ready for a criminal case when our little murderer walks through her door? OK, I'm staying tuned! Clyde

Doni Brinkman said...

Love this line and I hope to live it: “We do not always have to insist upon justice—sometimes we are given the opportunity to exhibit mercy.”

Mocha with Linda said...

Now you're really messing with us! We never learned "her" name yesterday, although I have a hunch.

I'm completely intrigued - and I'm not just being kind!

BTW...needles/syringes are indeed sharps, but the term "sharps" encompasses anything that can/does penetrate the skin: needles, lancets, scalpels, vials and ampules, the tubes they collect your blood in, etc. All sorts of things go into those big red boxes at the MD office/hospital, and it's simpler to call them an all-inclusive term. Patients learn the lingo from their nurses! (And there are rules about disposal for home use.)

Kay said...

I just caught on that "she" has no name in the first chapter...
It could be anyone.... At least from what I've read so far.

Can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

Oooooooooooooo - it's possible that the dear little murderer has already been in Briley's office? You people are GOOD! Clyde

Jackie Colburn said...

ok...my mind is used to reading past tense with novels. I'm seeing a lot of present active. How is that going to work overall?

Crystal M. said...

Very interesting... I wonder how the different characters relate to each other. Can't wait for more!
~Crystal M.

Accidental Poet said...

Maybe Briley is the murderess ...

sara said...

hmmmmm......I need more!

Mocha with Linda said...

Accidental Poet spoke my hunch. I suspect the lawyer is "she."

And I also suspect Angie is laughing at all of us.!

Her publisher may not let her torture characters in her novels, but she has no problem torturing the readers of her blog! :-)

Jackie Colburn said...

Mocha with Linda~~too funny! But, if we choose to read, aren't we really torturing ourselves? hmmmmm. At any rate, I'm sure Angie is chuckling from time to time :-)