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Silly Clarence Darrow Thing
By Del

If Alex needed anything for tomorrow, she would have said something, Olivia knew from experience. So there was no reason to stop by. Nope, the detective could go straight home from work -- on time, even.

Twisting the doorknob, she stuck her head inside the office and called out, "Hey, you need anything for tomorrow?"

Wordlessly, Alex shook her head. Her frown was a surprise. This was the kind of trial the ADA lived for.

"What's up?" Olivia asked.

"Oh, nothing, really."

It didn't take a gold shield to peg that as a fib. This wasn't Alex the Haughty Hottie (nickname courtesy of John Munch) sitting in that chair, as it should have been the night before a rape trial. Something was definitely wrong.

"I'm worried," Alex said unexpectedly.


The ADA handed a sheet of paper to Olivia, who duly scanned it. "Bolton has a new attorney?" she exclaimed. "The day before trial?"

"Co-counsel," Alex replied. "He'll be trying it with Green."

"Can they do that?"

"Yeah, since they're not asking for a postponement."

This was what was bothering Alex? Time to do a little detecting. "Do you know this Chad Hartman?" Olivia asked.

"I know of him."

"In what way?"

"He's been brought into half a dozen trials in Manhattan, usually capital murder cases. I can't believe Bolton's parents are paying his rates for a simple rape case."

Olivia handed back the sheet. "So he gets his butt kicked at five hundred dollars an hour--"

"Try a thousand."

Bastard. "--OK, a thousand dollars an hour. That'll teach the Boltons to let Chucky take the rap for his own fuckup next time."

"I don't know, Liv," Alex said. "Hartman's good."

"So are you."

"He's very good. We've never won a case against him."

That caught Olivia up short. "Never?"

Alex shook her head. "He clobbered McCoy twice last year. Hartman gives the best opening statements in the country."

"So what?

"Studies indicate that most jurors make up their minds after opening statement and never change them."

Oh. "Well, he's still stuck with the facts," Olivia pointed out. "He can't just make shit up."

"He's a part-time speechwriter for the Bush administration."

Shit. "Well, no one has the stage presence that you've got, Alex."

"Before he went to law school, he won a Tony for his portrayal of Clarence Darrow in Inherit the Wind."

Fucker. "Well, jurors like you," Olivia tried again. "Frankly, Alex, you're hot." Wasn't that the truth. Especially when she wore that gray pinstripe jacket and skirt over a plain white shell . . . ooolala . . .

"Hartman was No. 4 on People Magazine's 50 Most Eligible Bachelors last year."

Olivia was out of platitudes. Short of just blurting out, "I love you, Alex, and I have faith in you," there wasn't much more to say.

The feel of a soft hand on hers dragged Olivia out of her fog. "Whatever happens, Liv, if we lose this one, it won't be because of you," Alex said, smiling at her. "You're perfect."

So are you.

Sliding into her seat behind the prosecutor's table at about the time that Alex predicted jury selection would be done, Olivia watched the ADA give a riveting opening statement. Looking stunning in those sexy black glasses that Olivia loved, making eye contact with each juror, Alex painted a dignified but horrifying picture of the worst night of Delia Gill's life.

Melancholy Alex was nowhere in sight this morning; maybe a good night's sleep had restored the attorney's confidence. Olivia allowed herself to gaze openly at the beautiful blonde.

All too soon, Alex thanked the jury for its attention and resumed her seat. Olivia braced herself to be swept away by the wonder that was Chad Hartman, but it would have to wait until after the mid-morning break, the judge announced. Meanwhile, Olivia eyed Hartman and his flagrantly expensive brown suit. That crease could put someone's eye out. That tie probably cost more than her last Christmas Party dress. And was that a--

Suddenly, a hand reached out and pulled her to her feet. "Let's go," Alex said.

Go where? Olivia didn't bother to ask, because it didn't matter. She would follow Alex to the ends of the earth.

As they approached the outer door, however, Olivia stopped. "You don't want to go out there without your coat, Alex," she protested.

"It's just five minutes," Alex said. "I need some air."

Poor Alex. Olivia wished she could think of something to say to take away the nervousness.

A minute or two later, she drew off her leather jacket and held it out. "Put this on, Alex," she urged the shivering woman. "You're making me cold."

Alex shook her head. "I'm all right," she said through chattering teeth.

"Look, if the jury really makes up its mind after opening statement, Bolton's already looking at 8 to 10," Olivia said. "You were brilliant."

Alex's smile was a bit wry. "Thank you for that unbiased assessment."

"Biased yes, blind, no."

With a quick glance at her watch, Alex reached for the door.

For just an instant, Olivia considering putting her arm around her, just to warm her up a bit she told herself, but her courage failed. "After you, my dear," she said, answering Alex's smile with one of her own.

A few minutes into Hartman's opening, Olivia had to admit that he was pretty good. OK, pretty damn good. Only a former actor could pull off the melodrama that he was flinging at the jury. The way he was talking, it almost sounded as though Delia had waylaid Bolton in the park.

Alex leaned back casually as she watched him, one elbow resting on each arm of her chair. Beside her, the attorney's gray jacket lay draped over the second chair. Olivia couldn't see her expression, but she knew there would be no signs of irritation, or surprise, or concern. No one did `calm' like Alex Cabot.

Olivia turned her attention to the jury. Were they buying this? To her shock, most of the twelve weren't even watching Hartman. Instead, they appeared to be staring at Alex.

". . . the presumption of innocence. The greatest of all Constitutional guarantees." Hartman frowned at his inattentive audience. "A right for which our ancestors fought and died," he said, raising his voice a bit. It did no good. Sixteen - no, make that eighteen - eyes in the jury box were glued to one Alexandra Cabot. Lincoln could have been up there reciting the Gettysburg Address for all that it mattered, Olivia realized. What the hell?

"There is one thing you must do as you listen to the evidence," Hartman went on. "One thing." He held up a finger. "And that is to--"

Suddenly, Alex reached for her suit jacket. As one, the jurors craned their necks to follow her movements. She readjusted it slightly on the back of the chair, then relaxed again. The jurors sank back into their seats.

Hartman turned his gaze for a moment to the ADA, who remained impassive.

Eventually, the oration was over, and Preston's gavel signaled that it was lunch time. Hartman got points for style, Olivia conceded. And originality, she supposed. That quote from Gone With the Wind was a new one. Still, the jury hadn't seemed that impressed.

She strolled through the Gunsmoke doors (as Elliot called them) toward the prosecutor's table and leaned down to give an encouraging word to the ADA, who was rifling in her purse for something. Before she could say anything, though, Alex turned back around to face her.

"Uh . . .," Olivia said dumbly.

Don't look down, she begged herself. One glance had been enough to notice that Alex was, uh, still cold, apparently. Violating direct orders from her brain, brown eyes flickered downward again. Oh, yes, that usually meant that a woman was cold. Or excited. Olivia closed her eyes at that thought, then quickly opened them again, forcing them onto the harmless pile of boring old papers in the center of the table.

"What did you think of him?" Alex said.

"He made some good points, but yours were better," Olivia replied. Oh, shit! That wasn't what she meant! "I mean, there were a couple of places where you really stood out." Shit again! She struggled for words. What could she say? "I like how you stayed firm, Alex." "Your argument was well rounded." Fuck! "Listen, uh, do you want my jacket?" she asked. "I mean, if we go outside for lunch."

"Thanks, Liv, but I've got mine." Alex pointed to a full-length wool coat folded neatly on the nearby bench.

"Maybe you should have worn that outside earlier," Olivia said. Don't look down again--aah!

Alex slipped an arm into her jacket. "Have you ever seen Inherit the Wind, Olivia?"

She shook her head. One plus one is two, two plus two is four, four plus four is eight . . . Finally, a quick peek confirmed that the other woman was safely attired.

"Great movie," Alex went on. "It's based on the attorneys in the 1925 Scopes trial, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan. They even recreated some of the actual trial testimony."

Gee, I'll rush right out and buy it, Olivia thought. Lawyers.

"I got to thinking about that last night while I was stewing about Hartman." Fastening the last button on her jacket, Alex reached for her purse. "Do you know what else Clarence Darrow was famous for?"


"Back in his day, attorneys could smoke in court," she said. "One time, Darrow straightened out a paper clip and inserted it into his cigar before opposing counsel's opening statement."

The blankness of Olivia's expression invited her to continue.

"The paper clip keeps the ash from falling," Alex explained. "So, as the other attorney was talking, the ash on Darrow's cigar just kept getting longer and longer. Pretty soon, all the jurors were staring at it, waiting for it to fall, but it never did."

". . . and they didn't hear a word the other guy said," Olivia guessed with a grin. "Didn't have a cigar handy, huh?"

Alex's response was interrupted by the man whose thunder she had stolen. "Cheap shot," Hartman said.

Shots, Olivia couldn't help thinking.

"But effective," he acknowledged.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Alex said.

Much to Olivia's annoyance, the No. 4 Most Eligible Bachelor in America decided to turn on the charm. "I must say, I like what I've seen so far," he said.

He'd better be referring to Alex's opening statement, Olivia decided. She considered kneeing him in the nuts.

"Can I buy you lunch?"

"I'm sorry; I have some last-minute work to do with Detective Benson," Alex replied.

Mr. Perfect wasn't used to getting turned down, Olivia concluded from his expression. Tough. At Alex's nudge, she started down the aisle, but couldn't resist an impulsive chuckle, "I love you, Cabot."

Alex paused. "Do you really?"

Be casual, Liv. "Yeah, actually, I do."

"Enough to do me a favor?"

"Anything," Olivia replied truthfully.

"Well, I guess you noticed that I got a little chilled earlier," Alex said.

Oh, hell, yes.

"Once I get cold, I stay cold," she went on. "I wouldn't want to be uncomfortable all afternoon . . . ."

Olivia swallowed.

"I was thinking . . . maybe you could help me out." Alex arched an eyebrow at her.

"Your office?" Olivia said quickly.

"You're on."

As they hurried down the hall, Olivia blew into her hands, then rubbed them together. Anything for a friend . . . .

The End

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