Chapter 11:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 203

Austin and Max sat in the restaurant in Chinatown waiting for their client to appear. Watching the clock, at least as far as Austin had been concerned because he wasn't even sure the guy was going to show. Max had simply sat there calmly sipping his tea while the waiter had asked if they were ready to order. He had told him to give them a little bit more time.

Austin looked at his watch again.

"Do you think he's going to show?"

Max sipped his tea again.

"He didn't seem hesitant on the phone," he said, "Maybe he got lost."

"Well I don't have much time here," Austin said, "Shayna wanted to talk to me about something important."

Max's brow rose.

"You can't keep her waiting," he said, "So we'll try to get through this as quickly as possible."

Austin nodded. He had seen the myriad of emotions on Shayna 's face and he wondered what she had to say to him. He hoped she didn't want to break off their budding relationship. But then she had been as happy or seemed to be so as he felt since they had gotten together. Every day he woke up and thought about seeing her and that had been the last thing on his mind when he fell asleep, even better if she lay beside him, snuggling closer to him.

"Thanks…I wonder if there's something wrong…"

"Why do you assume the negative just because she has something important to tell you?"

Max had an excellent point, maybe it was good news but then again, the look on her face…well he would find out soon enough at any rate. Now if their client would just show up…or not.

"He's approaching us," Max said, suddenly.

Austin looked up and saw the athletic looking man with salt and pepper hair approach them.

"I recognize him from somewhere…"

Max nodded.

"He's an ex-football player," he said, "He played back when Andy was a star."

Austin felt a pang of regret hit him when he thought back to his great friend who had died in a shooting while working in the police department's narcotics division.

The man approached them and sat down.

"Hi, I'm Charlie Watkins," he said, "I was told you could help me with my case…"

Both Austin and Max looked at each other.

Shayna worked on the files until she couldn't look at them anymore. She felt tired and hungry despite having eaten earlier. She knew that now that she was expecting, she had to take very good care of herself. But she had a huge workload and she had to do more with Hans case when she really wanted to kick him in the butt and tell him to start helping her or she'd walk away.

She couldn't do that could she? Austin's ex Whitney who had also turned out to be a major pain depended on their assistance. But while Shayna had been trying to get her husband to talk, Whitney had been ambivalent about whether or not she should have married the guy and whether or not she should have broken off her engagement with Austin months ago. Now Shayna knew that Austin had no interest in traveling down memory lane with his ex-fiancée but clearly Whitney hadn't figured that out.

Kylie walked in with some more papers.

"These just need to be signed," she said, "Dennis…"

"I've got the picture," Shayna said, "Just hand them over."

" Shayna you have to take it easy," Kylie said, "and not work so hard."

"I'm perfectly fine Kylie," Shayna said, "I'm not sick…well not most of the time, I'm just pregnant and I still have a job to do."

"But Austin's not going to want you to wear yourself out," Kylie said.

"He's going to have to realize that this isn't going to affect my commitment to my work," Shayna said, "It's so hard for women in my condition to be taken seriously but I'm still the same person."

Kylie shook her head at her friend. If it had been her, she definitely would be taking it easier. If things continued to go great with Leo, maybe marriage and kids were definitely in her future sooner rather than later.

"I'd be taking it easier," she said, "Laying on the couch and putting my feet up. In fact that's what I think I'll do now."

"I've got time to do that later," Shayna said, "No wait, I've got a couple more appointments and then this talk with Austin."

"He's going to be absolutely thrilled."

Shayna hoped so but she just didn't know.

"He's going to be absolutely something…"

"Oh you know he'll be more than happy to be a father," Kylie said, "Like I said he's always wanted kids and he's really good with them."

That he was, Shayna thought in agreement. He had been very close to his mentor, Vic's kids before Vic and his mother, Rosa had packed up their family, sold her dry cleaning business and headed across the country to build a new life. She had quietly watched him lower himself to eye level when talking to them or helping Vic take them on trips to the zoo and ball parks to watch the Dodgers play. If she said that her heart hadn't warmed at the sight, she'd be lying but she knew that when it came to kids of your own, it would be much different. Still, she wasn't worried about whether or not he'd be a good father because she had the answer to that question; it was all in the timing.

Michelle walked in and interrupted them.

"There's a strange man out in the lobby," she said, "He's looking for you Shayna."

Shayna looked puzzled.

"Did he leave a name?"

But Michelle turned her head toward the lobby.

"He's on his way back here," she said, "I told him to take a chair and wait up front."

"Don't worry about it Michelle," Shayna said, "I'll handle him."

Kylie looked at the man approach.

"I think I've seen him before," she said, "He came in the other day about Hans."

The man crashed the office looking quite irate in his designer suit and wearing a hat. He looked quite a bit older, with silvery hair visible.

"I was told that you are representing Hans," he said, "I'm here to tell you that would be a huge mistake."

Shayna looked up at him.

"Do you have a name sir?"

He sighed and reached into his shirt pocket for a business card.

"I'm Sven Nicolson and I operate a financial consulting firm in downtown L.A."

Shayna examined his card but nothing registered.

"I've never heard of you," she said, "but why are you here about Hans? He's in central jail lockup and I'm only assisting counsel."

The man looked very impatient.

"I know all that. I read the papers and besides he and I go way back and all I have to say is, he's a crook."

"And your rationale is based on what," Shayna asked.

He sat down in a spare chair.

"I am familiar with Hans because we worked on a project together long ago," he said, "He took the money and ran out on me and several other investors."

"Are you sure you're talking about my client?"

"Hell yes counselor," he said, "He disappeared and the trail went cold for years but now that his face has been plastered in the news of him being charged with serious crimes, I felt compelled to come forward."

"Mr. Nicholson…"

"Call me Sven…"

"Okay…Sven, how do I know that what you claim is true," Shayna said, "Where's your offer of proof?"

"This man has no such proof," another voice sounded from just behind him," He's a con artist and swindler in his own right and has done prison time."

Sven turned around to face Whitney. Where the hell had she come from, Shayna thought? They needed to put bouncers at the front office.

"You no good…"

"You're even worse," Whitney spit out, "He should have turned you in sooner than I did."

"Why you…"

Sven got out of his chair and went toe to toe with Whitney. The women all looked at each other, wondering when all this ridiculous machismo attitude would truly be relegated to the past. Today, however, didn't appear to be that day and Whitney just glared at him.

Never a dull moment in the office.

"I'm going to sue your ass in court and see in you in prison," Whitney threatened.

Sven rose himself up to his greater height.

"Oh really…you couldn't subdue a fly. You're just Hans' little woman."

That deeply offended the three other women present.

"Hey, enough of that," Shayna said, "Now if you're going to fight, take it outside but Whitney you need to save your fight for your husband."

Whitney didn't seem to give that much thought when his blood boiled.

"It will be so worth it…"

"Oh Whitney how could you say that," another more masculine voice sounded.

SHAYNA looked over and saw that a tall man with glasses had joined them. This was turning out to be quite a party of sorts.

But Sven and Whitney weren't moved by his pleas either and they began circling each other, with the verbal sabers rattling.

"Why…you're dead meat…"

"Oh yeah, well I'm a vegetarian…"

The women, four of them now, just watched the men continue to compare caliber sizes. And just then, Whitney suddenly lunged for Sven who skillfully blocked her blow but had to take a step backward before countering it with a shove that hit the other man. The man recovered quickly enough to wrap his arms around Sven and the two began turning around and around as each struggled to gain the upper hand to toss the other on the ground.

The women stepped backward out of the way and Whitney wrung her hands as the men came precariously close to the brand new crystal on display.

"Clyde…please…you'll wind up in jail with my husband…"

The two men started throwing punches, and each would duck because they knew each other well enough to know each other's pattern of fighting. Shayna figured that they must have done this in the past and that might very well be, but she had to bring it to a stop before they caused property damage.

"Should I call the police," Kylie said.

Shayna shook her head.

"I'm inclined to do it myself but if they come, they'll arrest Clyde and I'm guessing he might be Hans' new lawyer."

"Serves him right if you ask me," Kylie said, "He's not even helping his client's defense then."

Shayna sighed and thought she needed to break up this fight.

"Don't you dare try to break them up," Kylie warned, "You've got your baby to think about."

Everyone stopped what they were doing to listen to that. The men however shrugged and returned to brawling. Shayna saw that Whitney had gone ashen and her jaw had dropped, whether from the fight or from hearing what Kylie said.

Whitney forgot about the men for a moment even as they struck furniture including the sofa moving it several inches.

"Watch out for the coffee table," Kylie warned.

The men narrowly averted hitting that at least.

"You're… pregnant?"

Shayna sighed.

"Can we discuss that later," she said, "We have a fight to stop."

Shayna knew that and she knew she had to be the one who did it. So she reached for her purse for her gun and took it out.

She clicked the safety off and both men heard her and stopped.

"The next one of you that moves is going to get a rear filled with buckshot," she warned, "I'm tired, I'm feeling hormonal and I know if I shot you, a jury would get me off."

The men stopped completely and just stared at her.

"You wouldn't," Sven started.

She raised the gun.

"Just try me…"

Sven looked at Hans.

"I think she means it," he said, "Just look at her."

Suddenly the elevator door chimed and Kylie looked towards the lobby.

"It's Austin and Max."

Shayna looked in that direction with the gun still raised and then Austin came into view. She watched his eyes widen.

" Shayna what's going on here?"

She just looked at him but kept the gun raised. Whitney walked over to Austin.

"Oh the men were fighting," she said, "It was awful and Shayna was just trying to break it up."

Kylie nodded.

"Sven wouldn't stay in the lobby like we told him and then Hans showed up and they started fighting," she said, " Shayna just had to use whatever means to get them to stop before they destroyed the suite."

Austin digested that and Max asked anyone if they wanted anything to drink. They all shook their heads so he went to pour himself a drink. Clyde just pointed his finger at Shayna.

"This woman…she's insane…I want to fire her as my co-attorney."

Shayna 's heart jumped at the news but she knew she had to ignore that.

"Clyde is it…if you got arrested for fighting, you'd be packed up and put back in jail on revoked bail charges," she said, "so maybe you should think long and hard before firing me."

Whitney chimed in, grabbing Clyde's arm.

"You can't fire her," she said, "You've got to stop being the ass I didn't marry and start being the man I hired as my husband's attorney."

Everyone else looked at Whitney. Didn't marry? How many fiancés had she had anyway?

"But…"

"No protests," Whitney said, "and now that she's…."

"Whitney," Shayna interjected, "I'll take it from here thanks."

Austin just stared at them wondering what the hell had happened that he had missed. He went over to pour him a Scotch.

Shayna joined him.

"You might want to make that a double when you hear my news."

Whitney nodded.

"Yes, especially since it might impact her handling of my husband's case…"

Shayna sighed.

"It won't do any such thing," she said, "and it's something I want to share with him privately."

Now Austin felt intrigued and more than a little worried.

Clyde shook his head.

"How can it not be the case," he said, "Now that my co- lawyer's gone out and gotten herself knocked up. My defense strategy is in ruins…"

Austin didn't hear the rest of his rant, only the first part and looked over at Shayna questionably. She just glanced back at him wishing she were anywhere but here and walked out on all of them.

"If any of you calm down enough to need my assistance, I'll be in my office."

They all just watched her leave and Austin did too, a million thoughts swirling through his head as he went and got himself that double Scotch.

Austin downed his Scotch and then ordered everyone to clear his office.

"But Austin…"

He sighed.

"You all really need to leave now."

The men grumbled but they headed towards the elevator. Whitney just looked at Austin pleading for his assistance with her eyes.

"Whitney, you really need to go and help your husband," Austin said, "or talk some sense into him before he sends Clyde back here."

She sniffed.

"I don't know if I can do that," she said, "He doesn't listen to me."

"You've got to try or he's going to be spending a lot of years in state prison," Austin said, "It's his choice."

She nodded slowly and then began to walk away.

"I'll do my best," was all she said.

Austin turned his attention towards Shayna 's office.

"I'd better go talk to her."

Max nodded.

"You'd better," he said, "She needs you about now."

Austin tried to reel in his thoughts which were taking him in many different directions. But he knocked on the door of her office.

"Come in…"

He opened the door and saw her sitting in her chair at her desk reading through some files.

"Hi there…"

She looked up at him.

"Hi yourself," she said, "You're in here because of what Hans said."

"I'm in here because you told me earlier, you had something to tell me."

She closed the file folder and he saw her try to collect herself.

"I didn't want you to find out this way," she said, "I wanted it to be under different circumstances."

He digested that and watched her carefully.

"So it's true," he said, "You are pregnant."

She nodded.

"I only found out this morning," she said, "I wanted to tell you when things were a little bit quieter here and there were fewer people around but the best laid plans..."

He remained silent for a long moment and she knew he was trying to absorb it as she had been doing all morning.

"I guess it happened in San Francisco despite the precautions we took."

He sat down in the chair quietly, she guessed from shock. She watched him carefully but she did note he didn't seem upset about it. That made her relax a little bit especially when she saw him smile.

"I see…well nothing works 100% of the time from what I've heard except for abstinence which for us wasn't an option."

She smiled at that.

"No it certainly wasn't," she said, "I was as shocked as you are now when I found out."

"It certainly is a surprise," he said, "but it's the best kind."

Her heart lightened when she heard him say that.

"I know it wasn't what we expected," she continued, "but I've decided this is what I want in my life. I do understand I've had more time to adjust to it but I know what I want and it's this baby."

She knew when she said that, she meant it more than she had ever meant anything in her life. And so did he, hearing the resolution in her words. He knew better to argue against it even when he wanted to do that which wasn't right now.

"So do I," he said, "and I want our baby's mother too."

She smiled again at him.

"Really…because whatever happens with us, I'd never keep you from your child."

He didn't seem at all fazed by that.

"Come over here…"

"Why?"

"Because I haven't seen you all day," he said, "and I missed you."

She got up out of her chair and he pulled her into his lap which she allowed him to do willingly.

"I know we've got a lot of decisions to make," she started, "Donna gave me a reference to a top OB and I'll have to make adjustments in my work schedule towards the end…"

" Shayna you don't have to decide that all right now," Austin said, "We've got time…How about having some dinner?"

"I've been pretty hungry lately."

"I've noticed."

"I could do with some barbecue," she said, "and plenty of baked potato and some mixed vegetables."

"Okay, I think I can handle that."

"And some pie for dessert," she said, "It doesn't matter which kind."

They got up on their feet and he reached for her hand.

"I know the perfect place which has all of that."

So did she and she nodded.

They dined on some scrumptious food in front of them and both had realized how hungry they had been from their busy day.

"You'll be moving into the ranch house with me of course."

She stopped in mid-bite.

"Excuse me?"

He continued onward.

"I want the mother of my child to be there with me."

"Austin, I have a home of my own and I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself."

"I'd feel more comfortable if you were someplace I could keep an eye on you," he said.

She sighed and put down her fork.

"I can look after myself," she said, "I'm a grown woman who's been on my own for years."

"But you weren't pregnant then…"

"I'm not sick Austin and I don't need to be looked after," she said, "I want to share this with you but I still need to have my own life."

" Shayna there's danger in our lives and I don't want anything to happen."

She just looked at him.

"Mostly it's from your end of the business not mine."

He looked hurt then and she wished she hadn't said it but there would be no reeling those words back in now.

"I mean that most of the people who come after us seem to be angry with you."

"I know what you mean," he said, "and I'm not going to be told I have to stay at arm's length from my child."

She sighed.

"Austin, that's not what I'm saying," she said, "This is so much more complicated than I thought it would be."

"You're making it more complicated than it has to be."

"I'm trying to think for myself and my baby."

"Our baby…"

She nodded.

"Okay I'm sorry about that," she said, "but you don't seem to trust my ability to make any decisions about myself that impact him or her because after all, it is my body that's impacted."

"I know…that's why I want to make it easier for you."

By making it harder, she started to say but clamped her mouth shut. Nothing she could say would do anything but worsen this conversation and she suddenly felt too weary to argue with him. She had been struggling to deal with this extra fatigue that had felt so unfamiliar as much so as the nausea. Donna had told her that both would pass soon enough but in the meantime…

"Okay…then you'll have to give me some space…no that doesn't mean I don't want you to be there but some of this I will have to do myself."

He finally nodded, sensing that she was tired and didn't really want to discuss this further, at least not right now.

"We'll discuss some of these issues later," he said, "in the mean time, we can go back to the ranch house…just for tonight to make sure you get some rest."

She tilted her head.

"Austin, I go home with you, we won't be getting much rest and I have to go to the DA's office tomorrow to pick up the discovery on Hans' case."

"I'll tell you what," he said, "I promise that I'll make sure you get plenty of rest and you can send out a messenger for the discovery."

"Austin…"

"Shayna , Clyde can sign for it at the front office and deliver it to you," he said, "There's no point in wearing yourself out doing something that someone else can do instead."

"I'm not wearing myself out."

"Okay…but now's a good time to start thinking about making your life a little easier."

She looked at him crossly.

"I can determine whether my life needs to be easier or not," she said, "unless you don't think I can handle that."

Her defensive side had reared up again. She certainly was sensitive about this issue and adamant on her point that she wanted to handle her own decision making as she had always done. But now between the two of them, they had to make decisions about their future child together. How to do that while giving her some space, something he had to figure out how to navigate and so did she.

"I think you can handle most anything," he said, "but now you don't have to do that."

She just looked at him, knowing that what he said made sense but also wanting to maintain some semblance of independence in her life, to make her own decisions even when she knew everything was about to change. It had to, if they were going to raise a child together.

"Okay…I'll let someone else pick up the discovery in the morning but I still have to have another meeting with Hans, which I'm not looking forward to unless he changes his attitude."

"Whitney is going to try talking to him."

They walked towards the elevator.

"She doesn't have any control over him," Shayna said, "Part of what he's doing is to spare her from some sort of truth that's not pretty."

Austin figured that to be the case.

"Whitney's going to have to deal with the man she married, he's going to have to be more helpful with you and you are going to have to get some rest and relaxation."

She supposed she could live with that for the rest of the day, and the morning with what it would bring could wait a little longer.

They walked on the elevator.

"Wait a minute, my car's here."

"We'll both come in the office together in the morning," he said, "after you've had your rest and some breakfast."

She made a face.

"Breakfast might have to wait a few hours."

He looked at her concerned.

"It's called morning sickness for a reason Austin," she said, "and hopefully it doesn't last much longer."

"Okay, then we'll find something that you can eat," Austin said.

They got inside his car and pulled out of the parking garage into the street. Shayna looked over at him as he navigated through the late day traffic and though she might not admit it, she felt better going home with him.

Things might just work out between them after all.

 


Submitted: April 06, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Marzy Dotes. All rights reserved.

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