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This is Part Four of a four-part story.
She had less experience than he’d hoped – actually, no experience at all with this particular type of case. On the other hand, when Charley recommended her, he hadn’t mentioned her best qualifications, so he was unprepared to have met such a pretty lawyer.
His brain told him to ignore that. Beauty, he’d come to believe, was a Siren’s song that too often portended disaster, and after his humiliating experience with Caroline, part of him had sworn off romance entirely. He hadn’t touched a woman since his unceremonious departure from her mansion five months earlier.
He was only 51 years old, but his mind had resigned itself to the bleak prospect of spending the rest of his life alone. One part of him was certain that no good could come from trusting another woman, especially if she was beautiful. Of course, another part of him completely disagreed.
And there was no denying it – she certainly was stunning. That made him wonder why Charley hadn’t mentioned that salient fact. Then again, Charley’s reticence made sense, since they were first-cousins, so Charley obviously didn’t think of her in the same way that he and, he presumed, most other warm-blooded males did. His first thought when she introduced herself to him in the lobby of her firm’s San Jose law offices was that, though he might not win his case, with her by his side, he would surely go down with a smile on his face.
He didn’t really know much about civil litigation. He had taken two law classes in graduate school – both in Education Law – but the case law and precedent he’d studied didn’t have any relevance at all to intellectual property theft.
Grad school was a long time ago, but he remembered discussing Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, and several other notable cases, and he’d written papers on Tinker v. Des Moines and Everson v. Board of Education.
But all of those cases, even the ones that weren’t ostensibly about education, essentially dealt with civil rights issues that had implications for schools, but had nothing whatsoever to do with plagiarism. In his experiences working in high schools, plagiarism usually involved a not-too-bright, sophomore English student copying his entire Julius Caesar essay word-for-word from SparkNotes!
Still, as he stared at the young attorney seated across the desk from him, none of that mattered. Besides her sultry blonde looks and spectacular curves, he was also encouraged by what Paige Jordan, Esq. was saying. Even without having read his story, she felt his was an open and shut case. She said that she couldn’t see how either a judge or a jury wouldn’t find for him, since the entire case would revolve around that email. She also felt that, based upon the facts, Caroline and her publishing company would likely settle long before the case went to trial.
But he didn’t have a copyright, he pointed out. Didn’t that mean he was screwed? “No, contrary to what you might think, that may not matter all that much”, she answered. “I would, however, encourage you to consider copyrighting in the future as a way to protect yourself, but as long as you’ve created something yourself out of whole cloth, you have the property rights to that creation. The only issue is whether you can prove you are the creator, not someone else.”
And that was what made his case so strong, she said. Not only was there was an electronic record of him sending Caroline the story, but he had read somewhere once that if he emailed himself a copy of a story, that would help to establish the date when he was claiming the rights to it, so he had taken the precaution of emailing all of his stories to himself once they were finished.
His own computer could be examined to verify that he had sent those emails, and his files could be analyzed to prove that they had been created before that email to Caroline. If Caroline could not produce any evidence of files that pre-dated his, he would essentially have proven his case.
On top of that, if there was a strong resemblance between the writing style in some of his other stories and The Awful Grace of God and no real similarities between that story and the rest of Caroline’s work, Paige felt that he could prove by a preponderance of evidence that he was its author and Caroline was not.
It was certainly true that Caroline had changed some things – mostly trimming his more explicit scenes – but as near as he could tell that had been done to conform to the commercial strictures of romance writing and to hew the story slightly more closely to her own clearly established style.
But she’d lifted the entire plot, characters, and about 70 percent of his text, and when it came to that text, there was little doubt about it – it didn’t really sound anything at all like Caroline’s work. And so, the first sentence of that review in The Los Angeles Times helped his case – “Nothing in Caroline Cole’s past work could canlı bahis have prepared readers for the quantum leap forward she has taken with The Awful Grace of God.”
While she spoke, he tried to listen attentively – she was talking about Caroline’s publishing company, and how the first step was to file a preliminary injunction against it to stop the book’s publication – but the truth was he was more consumed by the lilting rise and fall of her voice than her words, and even more by the lovely mouthpiece from which those words sprang.
Paige Jordan was 32 years old and held a law degree from Princeton. She’d passed the bar in California seven years earlier and had been practicing with Intellectual Property Law Group ever since.
Because their offices were in San Jose, most of the cases she’d handled in her time with the firm dealt with copyright infringement involving the high-tech products and processes of Silicon Valley companies. Neither she nor anyone else in the firm had handled a plagiarism case.
Yet, it only took her five minutes to convince him that didn’t matter. For one thing, she was clearly an accomplished attorney, and even without experience handling plagiarism, she could recite off the top of her head enough relevant case law about intellectual property theft to prove that she would be a formidable opponent in any courtroom.
But there was something else that also appealed to him. From the beginning, he sensed that she was on his side and genuinely upset by how Caroline and Tanya had treated him. True, she was Charley’s cousin, and Charley was his best friend in AG and had set up the meeting, so maybe she felt a greater sense of empathy for him than for other potential clients.
But whatever the reason, he sensed she would do all that she could to advocate for him. It was an imprecise means of gauging an attorney’s qualifications, but having a lawyer who really appreciated how badly he’d been victimized gave him confidence that he was making the right decision in hiring her.
Still, it was impossible not to admit, there was something a lot more convincing – she was absolutely gorgeous, and no matter how esoteric and even boring the legal conversation became at times, he simply couldn’t take his eyes off her. He may have sworn off women, but it didn’t hurt to look, did it?
At first glance, he gauged that she was about 5’7.” She had long, straight, grayish-blond, nearly silver hair, highlighted ombré style, but her darker roots and brown eyes led him to conclude that she was more likely a natural brunette. Her pewter locks fell in shimmering waves, almost to her tight ass.
She had a tiny, feminine nose that turned up just a bit at the tip; high, wide cheekbones; thin, pink lips; a cute dimple on her left cheek; smallish, almost elf-like ears; arching dark eyebrows; and a thin, tapered face with a delicate chin. Her complexion was flawless, with that perfect mix of china-doll skin tone balanced against a healthy, California beach tan.
On this particular day, she wore a conservative, maroon, business jacket, with a navy blue skirt, and loose-fitting, white, silk blouse over a white, lace camisole, while her long, slender legs and small feet were encased in black, nylon stockings, accented by low, black heels.
But despite her conservative attire, there was no concealing her sex appeal. She had left the top two buttons of her blouse open, exposing the top of her camisole, and from it spilled several delicious inches of cleavage.
Her skirt, which was neither overly short, nor tight, could not obscure the curve of her hips, and when – 15 minutes into their conference – she removed her jacket, he was able to fully appreciate her impossibly slender waist and taut stomach. By the looks of things, her hourglass figure sported classic, bombshell measurements: 36-24-36.
And there were other clues that suggested something more about the deceptively staid and solemn barrister in whose 17th story office he now anxiously sat. Besides her traditionally pierced earlobes from which dangled matching, gold chains, she also had a dermal piercing in her left cheek – right in the valley of her dimple – a diamond stud that sparkled as if to announce her libidinous intentions. And on her right wrist she wore at least a half dozen gold-plated bangles that jangled each time she seductively ran her fingers through her soft, shimmering locks.
But even more than all of the visual hints, there was something about the way she responded physically when, after she’d asked, he began describing his relationship with Caroline Cole, especially their passionate weekend reunion and, in particular, Tanya Calvert’s voyeuristic interest in their al fresco afternoon delight.
Even though he described as discreetly as he could the events that had occurred five months earlier at Caroline’s house and, the next day, in her swimming pool, Paige seemed visibly stimulated by the story, and bahis siteleri several minutes into it, he noticed that, while she took notes, her left hand had unconsciously and almost inconspicuously slipped from her desktop and come to rest in her lap. He couldn’t be sure, but he thought he actually saw her body twitching almost imperceptibly on several occasions as he told his salacious tale.
The meeting ended with him signing a representation agreement to hire Paige for a contingency fee, the terms of which were typical for civil litigation cases – her firm would be entitled to one-third of any damages he was awarded. She also pointed out that IP theft was a criminal matter, and depending upon the actions and reactions of the defendants to the briefs she would file on his behalf, they could refer the matter to the District Attorney’s Office.
He left her copies of Caroline’s book and his own version of the story, and she asked him to send her any other information about the case he thought relevant. She promised that an independent computer expert would be contacting him soon to examine his computer to authenticate the dates the story had been composed and saved and when emails had been sent.
They shook hands professionally, and she smiled warmly as they said their goodbyes. He rode the elevator back to the ground floor, wandered into the parking lot and the midday warmth, and jumped into his Accord for the three-hour drive back down the Central Coast.
The computer expert called a few days later, a couple days in advance of his arrival. He ended up spending over three hours examining his laptop and desktop computers. The IT guy originally wanted to take the desktop with him, but because he didn’t have to work that day and could stay at the house with him, the IT expert arranged to do all three hours of forensic work at his desk in his living room.
The day after that, Paige Jordan called. She was preparing the preliminary injunction against Caroline’s publishing company and read the key parts to him to make sure everything was correctly stated as near as he could remember it. She also wanted to know if there were any other details that he wanted mentioned in the text of the injunction. There was something in the back of his mind that he had wondered about and thought might be relevant, but Paige’s voice distracted him, and he couldn’t remember what it was.
Within a week, the injunction was filed in the Federal District Court in the Central District of California. Since the publisher was headquartered in New York, but had offices in L.A., and he was a resident of California, Paige recommended that they file the lawsuit in Federal, rather than State court, due to the issue of diversity of citizenship.
Unfortunately, the Federal Courthouse for the Central District is located in L.A., and he wondered out loud whether that might give Caroline, Tanya et al. a home court advantage. Paige didn’t see that as an issue. She believed that once his story was laid bare, it didn’t matter where the court was located.
A date for the hearing to determine whether the preliminary injunction should be granted was scheduled six weeks later. The day before the hearing, Paige drove down from San Jose to meet with him in preparation for that critical court appearance in Los Angeles. She said they might as well drive to L.A. together. She even offered up her rental car and volunteered to handle the driving duties.
She called him when she got to town and informed him that she was staying at a nearby resort overlooking the ocean. She asked if he might be able to come over and then surprised him by inviting him to have an early dinner with her. She said that it was her treat – considering he was about to make her a whole lot of money. Besides she said, it would be a working meal – they could discuss the case over dinner and drinks.
He was slow to respond. On the one hand, he was nervous about anything that even remotely suggested a “date.” And, besides, if it was a date, it seemed to him that he should be inviting her out, not the other way around.
But he hastily decided that he really had no credible chance with Paige anyway, considering the disparity in their ages, social class, and places of residence, and so, why not take advantage of the opportunity to spend a few hours with a beautiful woman? If nothing else, he would get a nice meal and a few drinks out of the deal. Still, in the back of his mind he half hoped that maybe, just maybe, something more might be in the offing. After a half minute of hesitation, he agreed.
Since she didn’t know the area, she asked him to pick a nice restaurant. His first thought was a seafood place near her hotel that had a large room offering a particularly scenic vista from which to watch the sunset over the Pacific. Las Brisas was popular with locals and tourists alike, but it also had a great wine list and was considered an ideal spot for a romantic meal. bahis şirketleri There were a few other good possibilities, each having its own attributes, depending upon the goal.
But what was that goal? It was hard to know how to approach the evening, so he wasn’t quite sure what type of ambience he was looking for. Should he opt for a quiet bistro or a louder, busier full restaurant? He decided they’d have more privacy in a louder, bigger place, and more dining options as well. Should he select a place based on the quality of the food and service or the quality of the setting? He decided it was best to balance those two interests.
Most importantly, was the dinner a business meeting or a date? He really didn’t know, but he figured his surest bet was to play it safe – to pick a place that covered any eventuality. And so, Las Brisas seemed best suited to fit any bill. He made a reservation for a window table at 6:00 – just before sunset. He offered to drive.
As he was getting ready, he was nervous. He didn’t really know where the evening might lead, and that left him wondering about the appropriate way to dress. He assumed it was more of a business dinner and figured he should dress in much the same way he had when he’d visited Paige’s office – casual: a pair of chinos, dress shirt, and dress shoes.
On the other hand, Las Brisas was a nice restaurant, so maybe he should dress up just a little bit more. He decided to wear a sports jacket, another patterned dress shirt, but a pair of black jeans so as not to appear too dressy. He figured that, like the restaurant, his attire covered all the bases.
But then, he stopped by her hotel to pick her up, and when she opened the door of her 4th floor suite, he very nearly collapsed from astonishment. Paige Jordan was dressed to the nines – evening dress, stockings, heels – her hair balanced precariously atop her head in an up-‘do, and all of it, augmented by a pearl necklace and matching earrings and bracelet! Business dinner? No fucking way! Women didn’t dress like that to go to business diners.
And despite his palpable enjoyment at seeing Paige’s tits bubbling out of her red, metallic, strapless, Dolce & Gabbana mini sheath dress whose clingy fabric hugged her tiny waist and curvy hips, he had to assume that the dress, stockings, heels, and makeup were worn to send an unequivocal message. More importantly, he assumed himself to be the intended recipient of that message.
He couldn’t help but be reminded of another conversation he’d had about seven months earlier when he’d been equally surprised to find himself ill-prepared for an evening with another pretty woman wearing a revealing dress. That little episode was a prelude to catastrophe, a catastrophe that was the reason he was standing outside of Paige Jordan’s hotel suite at that very moment. Could this one end just as badly or even worse?
“Wow! You look amazing!” he gushed with genuine appreciation, “but I think I’m seriously underdressed! Maybe I should go back home and change. I think we still have time. Do you think I should? I don’t want attract attention being the slob that’s accompanying the pretty woman in the gorgeous dress!”
“Aren’t you the charmer?” She said, kissing his cheek. “But I don’t know what you’re you talking about – you look very nice.”
“Not as nice as you do!”
“Oh, come on!” She smiled serenely. “Would you like to come in for a while? I’ve a got a bottle of Chardonnay chilled if you’d like a pre-dinner drink.” She took a step back to bid him inside, and he followed her beckoning motion and entered the large suite.
“Well, the place we’re going sometimes has long waits, even if you have a reservation, so I would recommend we get there as soon as possible. But if you don’t mind, I do need to use your bathroom. By the way, beautiful suite! You’ve got an incredible view of the ocean!” he said, nodding with a smile to the large, west-facing patio window through which a particularly beautiful sunset glowed.
“It is nice, isn’t it? And all of it courtesy of Solon & Blake Publishing! Or at least, it will be! All right, the bathroom is to your right. When you’re done, we can go.”
He nodded his thanks and ducked into the bathroom. When he emerged a minute or so later, she was checking her phone. He asked cheerfully, “Well, you ready?”
“Sure”, she answered with a smile, putting her phone back in her purse.
He opened the door for her, led her down the hallway to the elevator, then out the south entrance and into the parking lot to his sedan. He opened the passenger door for her, and she shimmied her way into the front seat as demurely as possible considering the length of her dress. Then, he closed her door, and walked around to the drivers’ side.
Las Brisas was only about a half mile south on the west side of the frontage road that overlooked the 101. They pulled into the parking lot, and he was a little surprised that they had no trouble finding a spot. It was, of course, the off-season. Once inside, a slender, handsome maître d’ with a British accent greeted them with deference, “Good evening, sir, madam. Welcome to Las Brisas. May I help you?”
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