Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Practice: Fleet Street - Sh** Happens

On Sunday morning, Tara Wilson unlocked the office doors and went inside carefully. It was very quiet and still, a great opportunity to catch up on her pulling of old files for the SUV case that Denny Crane had asked her for. In her jeans and tiny T-shirt, she was able to dive into the file room and stack files without being in that damn uniform.

Where was the Cramberg file? Tara searched and opened box after box. It was here the other day. Alan had asked about it...he must have it. Brushing the dust off her hands onto her tight jeans, she took the elevator up to the main floor. She strode into Shore's office and looked in the stack of files on his desk. There it is, right on top. She noticed the light flashing on the computer monitor. Alan, she thought, you forgot to take down your computer.

She moved the mouse and drew in her breath when she saw the picture of Sally. Tara sat down in Alan's chair with a thunk. What is this? Tara could not help herself as she checked the opened emails and saw the series of provocative pictures and invitations.

Stop it, Tara, she thought, you are being silly to be jealous. You practically pushed him into Sally's arms and now you are sitting here ready to cry like a schoolgirl? Just stop it.

And then Tara remembered that dance at dinner. She closed her eyes and remembered how it felt to dance with him in his arms. He was so amazing that night, that dance. She felt shameless excitement at the memory of his touch. Damn Alan Shore.

When she reached for the phone, all thought of Sean Clay was out of her head, which would have pleased Alan immensely...

She dialed intently, the now familiar number in her head. One ring, two...answer.

"Alan Shore."

No shit, she thought, controlling her speech with effort.

"Alan, it is Tara. Are you busy?"

"No, not at the moment." Alan sounded suspicious.

"I am at the office, looking for the SUV files that Denny needs for Monday's conference. I cannot locate the Cramberg file. Have you seen it?" Tara tried to sound businesslike and casual.

"It is on my desk, on the left."

"I am in your office and it is not on your desk. I looked."

"Tara, I had it Friday and I left it there. Look again." Alan sounded annoyed.

"Alan it is simply not here." Tara said as she held the file in her hand.

"I am on my way down."

Tara hung up the phone and smiled. At least Alan would not be lazing the day away in the arms of his little playmate. She walked out of the office and took the file into Matthew Billings office, laying it on top of his desk. Matthew was always coming in on Saturday. Tara went to the ladies room to freshen up her makeup. No need to look like a slob.

By the time Alan walked in, dressed in khakis and a sweater, she was sitting at her desk, organizing files, with an innocent look on her face. Nodding at her, he walked straight into his office, and she could hear him muttering to himself as he rifled through files and papers.

Alan Shore was incredulous. It was right on his desk. He was reading it right before he got the email from...the email. Shore looked and realized that he had not taken down his computer. He moved the mouse to see the picture of Sally in the sexy teddy on the bed. He smiled at the vision...then realization struck him. This was not the most recent email. He had left with the picture of Sally nude up. Who had read his email? And where was the file?

Shore walked out to see Tara studiously working at her desk. Her hair was pulled back into a pony tail and he could see the slightest hint of a blush on her cheeks. Shore leaned against the door frame.

"Yes, Allan?" Tara dared not to look up. She was not good at deception.
"Where is the file?"
"I have no idea."
"I left it on my desk."
"I do not know, Alan." Tara wrote furiously in a file, trying to look busy and disinterested.

Alan was now angry. Angry at being played with, angry at Tara's little game that pulled him out of Sally's bed, angry at being angry. Where would she have put it? Not Crane's office, it is locked. Not her own, she would know he would look there...he turned and saw Matthew's office door ajar. You would make a terrible crook, Tara, he thought, as he strode into the office, up to the desk and picked up the file.

Tara looked up to see Shore angrily standing over her desk with a file in his hand. He slapped it onto her stack of files and turned to leave. He was really angry, she thought. This may have been a mistake. Too late now.

Alan started to leave, then spun and stalked back to her desk.

"What is wrong with you? Do you think that I have nothing better to do than come all of the way down here for nothing?" Alan was furious.
"What are you accusing me of?" Tara asked him, as innocently as she could manage.
"Cut the crap, Tara, it is not becoming. You read my private emails, then you created this scam to get me down here and away from Sally...who YOU pushed me at!"

Tara could not take it anymore. She stood and looked at him, her eyes flashing fire and her face flushed with fury. She let it go, not caring what the consequences were.

"NOT BECOMING!!!!!!!!!!!! You insufferable PIG! You tell me about feelings that you have for me, but do you ever give me the chance to tell you how I feel? NO! All you can see is you. Then you go and chase the tail of the first infant who sends you some smutty emails, like some rutting dog. And then you accuse me of lying when you have no proof. Not once have you considered how I feel, what I want or what I need." Tara was fully worked up and steaming, "Maybe you should handle the Dembry case, Alan, the doctor who was screwing his teenage patients? I am sure that you two will hit it off beautifully." Sarcasm dripped off Tara's tirade.

"I thought you were taken with Mr. Perfect. I thought that you were too good for the likes of me, Tara. I am some debased, degenerate deviant monster. I have not done anything wrong here. I did not lie to you. I did not lure you down here on false pretenses. I did not judge you and try to analyze you. Don't blame me because Mr. Clay has found you worthy of attention, but has not lowered himself to sleep with you!" Alan could feel the blood roaring in his ears.

Tara's hand reached out to slap Alan's cheek before she even knew that it had happened. Her eyes widened at her own act. Alan caught her wrist, bringing it behind her back. He had the overwhelming urge to throw Tara across his knee and spank her until she had an ass as red as her cheeks. His face was next to hers, his nose so close to hers that he could see the tears unshed in her eyes.

"Don't ever do that again, Tara, or I will do something that you will regret." Shore's voice was menacing and dangerous.

Tara steeled herself. Her fury could not be contained. She struck out again, with her free hand.

Alan effectively caught her wrist with his other hand before it connected with his face. This was more than Shore could bear.

He spun Tara around, bending her at the waist over her desk. Grabbing both of her wrists with one hand, he used the other to firmly deliver three firm swats to her butt. The sound echoed in the offices. He bent down over her, whispering in her ear:

"Are you done? If I let you go, will you behave?" Both of them were breathing heavily.

Shore became uncomfortably aware of her body next to his. His thighs and crotch were resting against her upraised ass. She could feel him becoming aroused. He raised himself off of her and released her. She sat on the edge of the desk, breathing hard. Shore backed away from her, trying to take his eyes off of her breasts in the tight T-shirt. He forced himself to turn and walk into his office.

Walking to his desk, he opened the drawer and pulled out a bottle of Scotch. He poured some into a glass and drained it quickly. He saw his hand shaking. His emotions were mixed. Shame, satisfaction, desire, anger.

Tara sat on the desk, and clarity hit her as firmly as Alan's hand had hit her butt. She rose and walked into Shore's office. He was refilling his glass and did not notice her close and lock the door. A few moments later, he saw her hand reach over from behind him, taking the glass. Shore forced himself to keep his back to her, sure that it was the only way he could control his anger. Her hand reached back to hand him the glass, now empty again. He poured more, as he heard her soft voice.

"You hurt my butt, Alan."
Alan sighed. "I am sorry, I should not have done that."

"If you are really sorry, then maybe you should kiss it and make it better."

Alan was relieved by her attempt at humor. He turned to face her, hoping that the joke would ease the mood. His breath escaped him as he turned and saw Tara standing in front of him. She had shed her jeans and top, and was standing there in simple white cotton bra and panties, trimmed with little pink roses. She took another drink from the glass, and set it on the desk.

Without a word, they stared at each other. She then reached behind her and released the bra, tossing it to the pile of discarded clothes on the floor. She was magnificent, gold and rose and incredibly sensual.

"Alan, I am tired of having to do all of the work for you. You can remove the rest." Tara smiled.

She took his hand and put it on her hip. Her arm curled around his neck, and he felt those lips press against his. The soft sweetness of her mouth drove all reason from him. He picked her up and laid her on the couch, quickly shedding his own clothes. For the next few hours, they made love like animals starved, with fierce tenderness and tears. When they were spent, in the darkened room, they did not speak. Nothing needed to be said. They slept in each other's arms, on the sofa.

Neither of them noticed Sally, face stricken, backing out of the office and going down in the elevator.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Fleet Street - A New Beginning

Matthew Billings had known Alan Shore for years. Not a large number of years, but enough to be able to consider himself an old friend. Matthew knew Alan to be a lot of things; arrogant, brilliant, manipulative, foolish, even. But Matthew had never known Alan Shore to be a fool. That is, until now.

Don't get me wrong, mused Billings, I like Sally. A lot. Billings had even considered exploring that territory, at one time. Sally is a nice girl, sexy, sweet and a lot of fun. Helluva rack, too. All of that hid her intelligent legal mind and hard work. Matthew really liked Sally. But, let's face it. She was not Tara. Tara Wilson was deep, classy and enchanting. Tara was loyal and intelligent, a woman of substance. Billings thought that her cool, classy exterior must be hiding a heat that one could only imagine. He'd bet a year's salary that she was a fire goddess in bed. The fact that Alan chose to play with Sally, instead of drowning in the depths of Miss Wilson, made Matthew consider the idea that Shore was, as others accused, deeply disturbed.

Across the table, in the crowded bar, Alan sipped his Scotch and glanced at his watch. Matthew dragged him down here to talk, and had not said a word after ordering his drink. Alan had to meet Sally for dinner in an hour, and was growing impatient. Talk, Matthew, he thought. It had been a rough day. Rough week. Rough year.

Matthew liked to think of himself as a loyal and noble friend. He would never snake in on Alan's territory. He would never go out with Tara. He was not that kind of guy. Besides, she turned him down when he asked her out the first week she came to work there. Sweetly said something about workplace complications, etc, none of it bought by Billings. She was not into him. No problem.

"Is there something on your mind, Matthew, or is this some kind of telepathy exercise?" asked Alan.
"Well, I wanted to talk to you about Tara."

Alan's eyes narrowed. Tara was a very sore subject with him at the moment. Although he recognized that he was the one who cut off the exploration of a relationship with her, he was also unhappy over the graceful and mature way that Tara had dealt with his decision. Not really that he wanted to cause her pain, but a few tears and some mild histrionics would have gone a long way to boost his ego. It would have also given him hope that she was pining for him. He liked to think of the lovely Tara, home alone, eating a solitary meal, soaking reflectively in a bubble bath, lying naked in her bed with damp tendrils of hair curled on her pillow, longing for him.

"Alan" barked Matthew.

"Yes, of course," Alan reassured, wiping out the image of the sheets wrapped around Tara's long legs, but not without considerable effort.

"Of course, what?"
"What you were saying."
Matthew shook his head. He never mistook Alan for Denny Crane before, but maybe...

"Alan, pay attention. I am trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with you?"
"That could take some time," Alan drawled, "Is there a particular flaw of mine that concerns you?"
"Let's start with your questionable taste in women," Billings said, "Sally is a fun girl, and I like her a lot, but she is not Tara."
"Good to know."
"Don't be an ass, Alan. If you could have either, why would you choose Sally? I am really trying to understand."

Alan glared at Billings. Nosy little bastard. What did he want him to say? I am playing with Sally because she makes me feel young and free? Or that his past misdeeds were not in her mind, and he had nothing to prove to her? How about that the girl was hot and he simply wanted to have a good time with someone who would be too busy screwing his brains out to want to examine his psyche?

Alan signaled the waitress for a fresh drink. Matthew declined.
"I like the girl, Matthew. We see eye to eye on things."
"Like having fun and not taking things so seriously. Every, single, little thing does not need analyzing and talking about until it dies a horrible death. Tara is too..." Alan trailed off, and took a long sip of his new drink.
"What? Intelligent? Beautiful? Knowledgeable about you? Clear? Honest? Perceptive?" Matthew was getting warmed up.
"All of the above. And...complicated." Alan looked tired then, and older than his years. Matthew felt instant sympathy. What a rough year for Alan. But, then, he brought most of it on himself.

"You are making a mistake, Alan. Tara is good for you."
"WHAT...good for me?" Alan slammed his glass down hard enough to cause several heads to turn. "Why do I need that? I just want to go out with a woman who is going to take me as I am and have fun. Is that a crime? I like Sally. She is smart and funny and sexy and she likes me. So there." Alan drained his drink and stood to leave. Tossing bills on the table, he turned to go.

"Butt out, Matthew. I am a big boy. I know what I want."
"So you don't mind if I ask Tara out?" Matthew bluffed, gamely.
Alan's eyes flashed, instinctively, at Billings.

Then the mask fell.

"Do what you want. That is what I intend to do." Alan turned and left. Matthew let out a breath. For that brief second, he thought Alan would swing at him. No, this is not over yet, Matthew grinned as he finished his drink.

Not even close, pal.

Shore strolls into work the next morning, fairly happy with life. After the drinks with Matthew, he and Sally had enjoyed a casual dinner, a casual movie, and some casual tongue wrestling in his car. Alan smiled. Necking in a car in front of a girl’s house made him feel like a kid again. He walked into the conference room where Sally, Tara, Matthew and Denny waited. He settled in, giving Tara a slight nod and Sally a smile that bordered on a well-heeled leer. Denny Crane began by congratulating himself on securing Clay International as a new corporate client for the firm. He said that the owner and CEO would be in this morning and that they are a VIP client. He assigned Alan to evaluate their tax position and Sally to check their contracts, forms and the like. And Tara, he said, I want you to act as Mr. Clay's personal liaison here. I want him to feel that he can call you and you will take care of his needs. This caused a sarcastic snort from Alan, who quickly wiped the smirk of his face.

The door opened to the conference room and in walked a man of about 30, who smiled at the assembled group. He was not just handsome, thought Sally, he was devastating. She hoped Alan could not read her thoughts.

He could. She turned from the bright light of the stranger's smile to look at Alan, watching her from across the table. Be cool, she thought. Think cool. Snow, icicles, martinis...not working. Alan was not fooled. He turned his gaze to Tara.

Quivering. The woman was actually quivering. Shore was taken aback. Tara? The ideal princess of cool was fluttering her lashes like a drunken prom queen. Shore was amazed, and more than a little unhappy. Who the hell WAS this bozo?

Sean Clay was not impervious to the reaction that he got from women. He just liked to get past it so that he could take care of business. He glanced at Sally, mentally noting the open gaze and seductive clothing of the attractive girl. Unprofessional clothes, he thought, nice rack. Turning to Tara, he found more to interest him. Gorgeous, he noted, what was with the uniform look? He tried to imagine her in clothing more befitting such a beauty. Or none at all. Nothing flickered on his face, just a genuine smile. He nodded at the introductions all around. Billings was good, seemed friendly. Shore. Why did Sean feel that Alan Shore was looking at him as an enemy might? Crane was urging him to have a seat. Sean declined Tara's offer of coffee with a smile. Shore was reclining back in his seat, arms crossed, head tilted. This is going to be interesting. Sean began outlining the scope of his company. It was impressive, one of the largest corporate travel services in the country. Where other companies had faltered after 9/11, Clay's prospered.

"So," said Alan, "did your father leave the company to you?"
"No," replied Sean easily, "my father died when I was 4, I built the company from the ground up. On my own"
Sean noted the instant look of sympathy from Crane, Sally and Tara. Shore just looked annoyed, Billings amused. At what? Clay could not imagine.
"A self made man," Crane intoned seriously, "I admire that."
"Well, I have good people who work for me, I am fortunate to have them," said Sean, modestly.

Ass, thought Shore. Self made, I bet. Between Sally's heaving breasts and Tara's doe-eyed stare, Shore was certain he was going to be sick.

"Well, son, I hope that you are free tonight," said Crane, "I would love to have you as our guest for dinner."
"That is very generous of you, Mr. Crane, but I would hate for people to change plans on account of me."
"Nonsense, my boy, we will be happy to have you. All of us," Crane looked around the table. "Do you need to call your wife?"
"I am not married, sir." Sean offered mildly.

Shore thought that Tara's eyes widened just a touch.
"Or perhaps you have a partner?" Shore said lightly, "Of either gender. They are certainly welcome. We are a very progressive firm, aren't we, Denny?"

Crane looked at Shore like he had suddenly grown a second head. Of course, he stammered, in obvious discomfort.

"No worry there. I have no partner. And I only date women." Sean said, amused by Shore's obvious dislike.

"Such is life," said Shore.
After more talking and more of Crane's butt kissing, Sean Clay rose to leave. He told Crane that he would have his assistant call for information regarding the restaurant for the evening. He shook hands all around, and Shore was certain that he saw him linger holding Tara's hand a few extra seconds. Billings saw it, too.

They all walked out, heading to their respective offices, except Tara, who escorted Sean to the door.

"I do hope that I will see you again this evening," Sean said quietly.
"Of course," replied Tara, "I will be there."

As Sean Clay walked down the hall, with his expensive suit cut to perfectly fit his athletic form, Tara felt like slapping herself. What is wrong with me? Just yesterday, I was sad over Alan's rejection and now I feel like I was hit by the proverbial thunderbolt. Tara shook her head. Can I really be that fickle? She was a bit shamed at her reaction to this man. It was not love at first site. Her heart was still occupied by the reluctant Shore. What was this? Be honest, Tara, she thought, you know what iletcherousust. Pure and simple. For all of her admonishing of Alan for his lecherous ways at the old firm, and her pretense of revulsion, here she was, lusting after a total stranger. Get back to work, Tara, she thought.

She picked up the files for the Murphy tax case and took them into Alan's office. He glanced up from the notes he was writing, nodding as she laid the files on his desk. She turned, wordlessly to go, thinking how difficult it was for them to even talk to each other these days. She missed their easy banter.

"Tara," Alan said, leaning back into his chair, "would you mind closing the door? I have something that I would like to discuss with you."

Tara walked over and gently closed the door, returning to stand in front of Alan's desk. Usually, before their little recent talk where Alan explained about his choice of Sally over her, they would sit together on the couch, and talk like friends. But, today, Alan was maintaining the space of his desk between them.

"Tara," Alan said, in his best authoritative voice, "I am very concerned about you."
"Really?" Tara's eyebrows lifted, "I'm mildly flattered. Whatever for?"
"Tara, I blame myself in a way," Alan began, "I mean, after all of those months of flirting with you and coming on to you, I am sure that you were devastated by my sudden change of heart."

Tara was positive that he must have been using some sort of hallucinogens. Or she was. Surely he was not going there?
"Well, upset, perhaps," Alan conceded.
"Anyway, I feel a...responsibility for you. And to you. As a friend. I am concerned that on the rebound of this unfortunate infatuation that you had for me, you might do something less than circumspect." Alan smiled at her as one might a child contemplating a tantrum.

"Like what?" Tara said, not sure whether to laugh or slap that smirk off his face.

"Like falling for the first pretty male object to come along. Like making a spectacle of yourself in some unbecoming way."

Slap, she thought, we are headed towards a slap. Whatever was he talking about? Then, the clarity hit her. Sean Clay. He saw her attraction to the handsome, younger CEO. Jealous. That was it. Tara had to stifle a laugh and worked at maintaining a blank expression.

"Do you think that I have behaved in some manner that was unprofessional, Mr. Shore?" said Tara, her accent becoming more clipped and pronounced.
"Oh, don't worry, Tara, I am sure that no one noticed it but me," Alan reassured her, "I just happen to know you so well that I noticed your flirting with the client today. Most inappropriate." Shore sounded like a principal at a school.
"I'm sorry you were offended," Tara said evenly.
"I was not, but the client could have been. That would be embarrassing for you, and I care about you far too much to allow that to happen. After all, do you think that the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is going to involve himself with a paralegal? I mean, you are lovely in your little...uniform...but this is a man who can have the most stunning women on Earth. I would just hate to see you get your hopes up and be crushed again." Alan smiled.

Fighting the overwhelming urge to throw Alan Shore out of a window, Tara decided to give as good as she got.
"I think Sally found him attractive."
Nice shot, thought Shore to himself.
"I suppose that many women do." Shore sounded bored.
"Well, he is young, and very handsome, rich, successful, charming..." Tara listed.
"Yes, yes, but we are not discussing him. We are discussing you. Perhaps, Tara, you should consider a hiatus from dating or romantic entanglements for a while. Give yourself some time to heal, so that you can make better choices. "

Sanctimonious pig, Tara thought, talking to me about better choices? This was really too much. That egomaniacal degenerate is going to lecture me about romance and proper decorum? I don't think so. Tara geared up for the fight.

"That is something to consider," she said quietly, "I have found men to be rather...disappointing, lately. They just never turn out to be all the man that I believe them to be."

Alan's eyes flickered almost imperceptivity at that shot. Torn between the urge to return fire or grab Tara and kiss her breathless, he chose the less dangerous path.

"There, you see, you are too emotional for rational decisions about romance and sex at this time. You need a break."

"Perhaps. I will certainly give your advice all of the attention and consideration that it deserves." Tara flipped her hair back behind her shoulder, "Is there anything else?"

"No...yes...I wanted to tell you that if you want to forego this dinner tonight, I can make your excuses to Denny and the client. It may make things easier on you," Alan said solicitously.

"How sweet of you, but I promised to be there. I will try to muddle through. I hope I have something appropriate to wear, besides this uniform."

"You would be lovely in anything," said Alan truthfully, "just remember to be appropriate and restrained."

"Thank you ever so much, Alan. I am so touched by your concern for me."
Alan smiled magnanimously.
"I am your friend, Tara, a mentor really. I have a responsibility."

Choking down the laughter that threatened to bubble out, Tara hurried out of Alan's office. She made it to her desk before she allowed a chuckle. What an ass.

Denny Crane walked to Tara's desk, looking for the Kepler file. Tara sweetly asked if she might take the afternoon off. When Crane looked like he might refuse, Tara whispered something about female problems, which was enough to propel Crane into immediate, uncomfortable agreement. As Crane walked away, Tara contemplated Alan Shore's closed door.

You are in for some trouble, Mr. Shore, she thought.

Alan took Sally's coat and handed it to the coat check girl. Pocketing the ticket, he turned to Sally. She looked very pretty, Alan thought, in a very young way. Her lavender dress was ruffled, with a generous amount of cleavage. With her strapped pumps, curly hair and jeweled butterfly hairclip, Alan thought she looked like a pretty child. A child built like a brick...never mind, he thought. Let's get on with this, he mused, as he escorted Sally to the table that already had Crane, Matthew and Sean Clay seated at it. The three men rose, and Alan gallantly pulled out Sally's chair. As she bent to sit, all three of the men at the table were treated to a clear view of her generous breasts. Alan raised an eyebrow to Billings.

"Is Tara not here, yet?" Alan asked, thinking that maybe she did take his advice after all.
"No, not yet," said Matthew.
"I hope that she is alright," said Sally, with genuine concern. She really did like Tara, and held no bad feelings for the romantic stuff that had gone on.
"I am sure she is fine." Alan said, soothingly, absently. Alan worried that Tara had, indeed, had a problem finding something to wear. He had never seen her in anything but casual or business clothes. "She is probably just primping, as you ladies are prone to do."

Alan sat next to Sally, with his back to the door. He hated that, it must be some male need, but he liked to be able to see the door.

"There she is." Shore heard Sally say. He looked up to see Crane, Billings and Clay all staring at the door with expressions of surprise, delight and lust. Sally was smiling, waving at the door. Alan turned to greet the arriving Tara.

A heart attack, he thought. Or, maybe a stroke. Yes, that's it, a stroke. That must be what I am feeling. He watched Tara step down the stairs and glide across the carpet. Her soft, lush hair was gathered up in a loose chignon, with numerous wavy locks escaping to caress her swan neck and soft cheeks. Diamonds on her ears, her makeup smoky, but understated, with soft rose shine on her lush lips. Her sparkling eyes were framed by lashes dark and thick. As she walked to the table, he watched her long legs move effortlessly on high-heeled golden sandals. Her whisper of a dress had a modestly high neck that banded around her tiny throat. The clinging golden, gossamer fabric caressed every curve, appearing to be transparent, but it was a mere illusion. As she turned to greet Crane, Alan saw that the demure front of the dress belied the open back that exposed an expanse of soft, golden skin, right down to the small of her back, at the top of her heart-shaped derriere. Every curve, every long, elegant line of her body was somehow covered, and yet exposed. Alan turned to see Matthew and Sally both looking at him, amused. Alan sat down, after Tara did, grateful that the table hid his instant physical reaction to her stunning appearance. Finally, with the sound of blood pounding in his ears, he felt controlled enough to turn and look at her again.

Tara turned to look at Alan, and she smiled the bewitching smile of a woman who knows just exactly how beautiful she is. Alan had an immediate, uncontrollable, animal urge to sweep the table clean and throw her across it, climb on top of her and make love to this golden goddess in front of him. Her perfume hit him. A stroke. I am dying. All of this turmoil was happening inside him, but his face showed no trace of it. Sally was not perceptive enough, did not know him well enough. Crane was barely coherent on his best days. Clay was not even looking at him. He was smiling at Tara. But Matthew knew. Alan wanted to punch Billings for the merriment on his face.

"Tara," said Sean Clay, "you look ravishing."

Alan turned to see Tara gracefully smile at the compliment. Ordering, small talk and eating seemed to rush by to Shore. He barely ate, only drinking wine for the most part. He was uncharacteristically quiet, even reserved. He talked to Sally, and everyone else, only when asked. He was too busy watching Tara and Sean, in that dance of growing attraction. In that moment, he knew that he had made a mistake of epic proportions. He would have bared his psyche and let her analyze him for hours; he would have even talked about his mother, anything, to have another chance at this. Oh, God, he thought. I am a fool.

After coffee, Clay rose out of his chair and asked Tara to dance. The band was playing standards, and Shore watched her walk out to the floor, watched Sean put his arms around her, his hand resting lightly on the small of her back. If I had a gun, Alan thought, as Sally asked him if he wanted to dance. Robotically he agreed. With Sally's sweet softness against him, dancing, Shore tried to focus on the woman whose head was resting on his shoulder. What a sweet girl, he thought. It is so easy to be with her. The song ended and Sean asked Shore if he wanted to change partners.

There was nothing that Alan wanted more on this Earth than to hold Tara in his arms for 4 minutes. There was nothing he feared more. Sally went to dance with Clay, and Tara slipped into Alan's arms. He found himself looking into the dark pools of her eyes.

"Did I do alright? With the dress, I mean. I know you were worried."
" You look truly beautiful." Alan said.

Tara was touched by his honest answer. She had expected some flip comment. She had wanted a reaction from him, but she was surprised at his quiet demeanor. She looked into his face, and where she expected closed sarcasm, she found open heart. For those few minutes, as the band played, Alan Shore and Tara Wilson lost themselves in each other's eyes. Tara felt his pain, his longing and his loneliness. Alan felt her desire to be close to him, really close, and he allowed himself to feel everything for her in that few minutes. When the song ended, Alan released her, somehow knowing it was forever. Maybe.

The next few weeks went by quickly for Tara, who felt very alive. She had dinner with Sean three times, lunch twice and an ice cream cone in the park on Saturday. Allan threw himself into Sally, almost literally. He had wined and dined her, yet not consummating the relationship. Sally was not a rocket scientist, but she was a very bright woman. She knew that if she was going to be able to seduce the difficult Shore, she would have to make the first move. Something would have to be done. Tonight.

Friday nights were always a welcome relief to the hectic week that had preceeded it. At 6:30 PM, Tara had left with Sean for dinner. Alan was finishing up some notes in the empty offices when his computer beeped, signaling an email for him. He wearily clicked the mouseimmediately, it was from Sally. She had left about two hours earlier without a word.

When he opened the email, there was a rather fetching picture of her in a very small bikini. His interest immediatly perked up, and he reluctantly scrolled down the screen to the writing:

Let me take you on an adventure. Are you game?

Grinning, he clicked on the reply button and typed:

Sally, I am always game. What did you have in mind?

Hitting send, Alan waited. He absently stack files and papers, until he heard another beep. Opening the mail, he saw a photo of Sally, in a very sexy teddy, draped over a Victoian bed. There was nothing written below.

Alan again hit reply, and typed:

I see. What would you like for me to do?

A few minutes later, another beep signaled her response:

Since we both have to work, I decided to arrange a tropical getaway closer to home. Be at my house in 30 minutes. Pack lightly and bring your suit.

Alan responded:

Which suit?

The responding email brought Alan a photograph of the lucious Sally, nude, with strategically placed leis and orchids on her. Alan smiled at the site of her cute butt in the air. Only one word was written:


Alan grabbed his briefcase and headed out the door, not even bothering to shut down the computer. Exactly what I needed, Shore thought.

Sally greeted Alan at the door wrapped in a thin sarong, with a yellow flower in her lush locks. Handing him a very cold and very strong drink topped with fruit and a paper umbrella, she took his overnight bag and coat to the closet in the hall. When she led Alan into the living room, he saw that there were plants and palms and even mini Tiki torches. All of the furniture was covered with silky tropical fabrics. She certainly pays attention to details, thought Alan, smiling broadly. He was touched by her efforts.

Sally looked at his clothes and shook her head.

"No. You are way overdressed for this."
"What would you suggest?" Alan asked. "And do not even THINK about a grass skirt. I chafe easily."
"How about this?" Sally held up a long expanse of dark Hawaiian print cloth.
"You CANNOT be serious." Alan shook his head firmly, "I am NOT wearing some kind of mahi mahi skirt thing. You have had too many of these." Alan drank his very strong rum punch.
"Fine. Party pooper." Sally pouted prettily. " I have a nice robe for you. Now, first a soak in the Jacuzzi, then dinner."
"Jacuzzi?" Alan looked around quizzically.
"Come with me." Sally commanded.

Alan followed obediantly, more than a bit curious. Leading him through her bedroom, she walked into the bath, where a large whirlpool tub sat filled with steaming, fragrant water and flower petals. A lone rubber ducky, deorated with a flower attached to his tail. Shore had to smile at the childish touch. Sally flipped a switch and soothing island music mixed with waterfall sounds filled the darkened room. There were flowers and palms and candles all over, giving the illusion of a hidden grotto. Sally turned a knob and the water in the tub swirled, causing the duck to spin crazily. I know just how he feels, thought Alan. He turned to see Sally hanging a thick, black terry cloth robe on a hook on the back of the door.

"Now you get comfortable in the bath. I will go and check on dinner." Sally ordered firmly.
"So, what are we having? Poi?"
"No, we are having jumbo shrimp kabobs with tropical fruit and salad."
"Sounds great. I am famished."

Sally left, closing the door behind her, leaving Alan to undress. When he eased himself into the swirling water, he leaned back and closed his eyes. He finished his powerful drink as his muscles relaxed in the bubbling water. The drink was beginning to hit him, he realized, as he contemplated the kalaidascope created by the spinning flower petals and the bobbing duck. He was very relaxed. A soft knock at the door interrupted his drunken reverie. He noticed Sally replacing his drink with a fresh one. She said something to him, and he shook his head and pointed to his ear that he could not hear her above the whirlpool and music.

She moved closer to him, repeating that dinner was almost ready. Alan just beckoned to her, come closer. She leaned over the tub, near his face, and he smiled up at her as his hand reached out and grabbed her wrist. He swiftly pulled her into the tub with him, causing a surfing duck to tumble to the floor, along with a considerable water. Alan rolled Sally beneath him, pinning the struggling girl underneath him. As he laid on top of her body, he deftly untied her sarong, pulling it off her body and throwing it to cover the watching duck.

"I thought you were famished." Sally whispered huskily, as Shore stared into her eyes. She could feel him on top of her, and his growing physical reaction to her wet bare softness.

"I'm starving." Alan said seriously. His mouth came down to hers, and he kissed her fiercely. She slipped under the water, his mouth on hers, his tongue exploring and commanding her mouth, his hand on her breast. They both came up from the water, and he was feeling much less like an old man as his leg moved to brace her in the water. His head moved down to her lush, wet breasts as her breathing became labored. I'll show you old man, Alan thought, as his hands moved down her body.

A few hours later, Alan Shore sat on the cloth draped sofa, in the black robe. Sally was sitting on the floor, at his feet, leaning her head against his knee. As they both ate ravenously, he contemplated her dark head. What a sweet girl. She was an eager and open lover. He was delighted by her enthusiasm and passion when he made love to her in the tub and again in the bed. No complications, no deep discussions, no need to be defensive. Alan bit into a piece of sweet mango. I feel better already.

Sally rose, taking his empty plate and hers into the kitchen. He leaned back, reclining on the sofa cushions. He felt himself dozing off.

When he awoke, a soft blanket was over him, and silky pillow under his head. He rose, and after finding the bathroom again, he came out into Sally's room. She was curled up under a sheet, nude, her cheek on the pillow. Alan sat on the bed, next to her. He watched her even breathing and the dark shadows of her lashes on her cheeks. He pulled the blanket up to tuck around her. He rose and took off the robe, easing into the bed behind her, curling his body around her warm curves. Her hair tickled his nose on the pillows. She stirred and moved slightly, as Shore eased his arms around her and whispered in her ear.


They both drifted back to sleep, wrapped around each other.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

New Spader Legal Series - When Paul Returns (storyline)

Paul Stewart finds that life in Dedham does not quite return to normal upon his aquittal. His wife files for divorce, taking his children to live in New York. His mother returns to her social duties, dilligently trying to pretend that nothing ever happened. Alan Shore, his best friend, will not even return his calls. He saw that Alan had moved on to his new prestigious firm, saw that Alan won the judgement against his former employer. Teflon Al, thought Paul. Nothing ever stuck to him.

Paul takes fate into his own hands and drives into Boston, locating the impressive offices of Alan's new firm. He asks the receptionist for Alan Shore, and the pretty girl informs him that Mr. Shore would be in court all day.

"Paul" says a lovely English voice. Tara is startled to see Dr. Stewart.

Tara, he tells her, what a wonderful surprise to see you. I did not know that Alan had brought you here with him. Tara hesitates, remembering what Alan had told her that time on her couch, when they were both drunkenly commiserating on being fired. Paul killed that girl. Tara found it hard to accept as she looked at the handsome man in front of her.

It looks like I have missed Alan, he says. Tara, I am in town for the evening on business. Won't you have a drink with me? Tara declines, work to do, but Paul is persuasive and charming.

Tara sips her wine and watches Paul down drink after drink. The conversation turns from the casual to the sad, with Paul telling her that his wife left and he is a pariah in his hometown. Maybe you should start over somewhere else, Tara offers. Perhaps, smiles Paul. Tara says that she has to go. Worknight, you know. Paul gets up and stumbles out to the sidewalk. Tara tries to get a cab for him, but there are none in sight. Paul insists that he can drive, but Tara offers to drive him back to the hotel.

At the hotel, Tara helps the drunken Paul into his room, and walks over to the lamp to turn on a light in the dark room. Paul closes the door, locking it. He begins to rant about how Alan could walk away from his crimes, from sleeping with Paul's mother. Oh, yes, now everyone knew. Alan got to have everything, Paul lost it all. Tara says that she knows that Paul killed that girl, that Alan told her. Paul reaches out to touch Tara's cheek. So what? He tells her. What does that matter? Tara says that she needs to go. Paul asks her if she and Alan were lovers. Tara snaps no, of course not. Not yet? Paul asks. Tara turns to leave, and Paul grabs her arm. Just once, he says, I am going to beat Alan, to get something first that he never had. Tara struggles and tries to run, but Paul backhands her across the bed. Tara is trapped.

Tara awakens on the floor of the hotel room. Her clothing is torn, her lip bruised and bloody. The room is in shambles and Paul is gone. Tara shakily pulls herself up and looks in the bathroom, fearful that Paul is still there. She stares at herself in the bright light in the mirror. Her face is swollen, her body bruised, clothing ripped beyond saving. She slowly walks into the room, sits on the bed, and picks up the phone.

Spader Film in Production - NC17 - Parallel Universe- Part 2

Nick drove towards town, glancing from time to time at the blonde in the back.
"Where are we going, Mrs. Davis?"
"My husband is renovating a house outside of town. An investment. I want to go by and see how it is coming along." Nina casually opened her purse, pulling out a compact. After a cursury check of her hair and makeup, she snaps it shut. "Turn left here".

Nick pulled the long, black car down the winding driveway to a small house. It was delapitated and grey, set out amidst acres of green pasture land.

"Park behind the house".
Nick came to a halt behind the house, in a yard of overgrown weeds choking the remains of a rusted swingset. Nick quickly accessed the house and the condition. No renovation had been done on this claptrap since before Nick was born, and he became increasingly aware that this was not a casual ride.

"Mrs. Davis," he scolded lightly, "you have not been honest with me. No one is renovating this house. So, why are we here?"

"You caught me. I just wanted to be alone, I guess. It is so peaceful here. And private." Nina stretched in the back seat. It had not occurred to her that her ruse would be seen through this easily. Or this quickly. Shit, she thought, this one is smarter than all of the rest. Put together, actually, she surmised. Perhaps the direct approach would be best.

"Nick, would you be so kind as to join me in the back seat? I need to talk to you."

"So talk, I can hear." Nick studied her increasing discomfort in the rear view mirror. Did she really think he was going to climb back there and fuck her without question? Sure she did.

"Nick, I would like to be able to talk to you and stare at something besides the back of your head." Nina pouted prettily.

Is this bitch nuts? Nick is thinking that he should start the car and drive. Trouble in the backseat, trouble at work. Shit, trouble every fucking place he went. Stopping his musing, he noticed that Mrs. Garrett damn Davis was busy unbuttoning her dress. On the other hand, he thought as he viewed her satin and lace bra, there is no harm in having fun with the high and mighty. Nick grinned and got out of the car. Instead of walking around to open the back door, Nick strolled over to a large tree behind the rusty aluminum shed. Leaning against it, he lit a cigarette and started counting until she came out of the limo.

Twenty one...twenty two...twenty-

Nina Davis threw open the door of the car. Stepping out on the dirt drive, she straightened herself up with the dignity of a queen. She has balls, Nick grudgingly thought. She strode over to him, looking up at his sunglasses.

"Take those off," Nina demanded.

Nick pulled of the shades and folded them up, tucking them into his pocket.

"Do you realize that I could have you fired?" Nina glared at the insolent man before her.
"And? You work for me, and when I ask you to do something..."
"I work for your husband, and I doubt very much that he wants me to play footsie in the back of his limosine with his wife."
"My husband could care less." Nina spat.
"Then he is a fool. What exactly is it that you want from me, Mrs. Davis?" Nick stared into her sapphire eyes.
Nina found herself unable to answer the direct question.
"Nina, do you want me to drive you around? Or do you want me to fuck you until you are completely satisfied? Do you even know what complete sexual satisfaction feels like?" Nick purred at the woman. The prey had become the predator, and Nina forgot all about Garrett's plans, the camera recording the empty back seat and everything else. All she knew was that at that moment, she had to have this man. No matter what.

Nick put his hand behind her neck, bracing her, as he eased open the front of her wrap dress. Nina did not move, or speak, afraid that the merest whisper would deter Nick from the plan of action she saw in his face. Nick unhooked the front of her bra, lowering his head to her breast. He traced the nipple with his tongue, watching it harden under his touch. No, he thought, as he sucked on the taut breast of his employer's wife. No soft seduction for you, my lady. Nick picked up the woman and carried her to the car, laying he on top of the hood. She moaned, and Nick tore her satin panties off. His hand reached between her legs, his fingers gently stroking her to complete heat, total submission. He pulled open his jeans, thrusting into her roughly and instinctively. Her gasp on entry soon turned to cries of complete abandon as he drove into her, never stopping for caress or kiss. It was completely animal and instinctive. He held himself back, watching the lovely woman writhing underneath his possession of her. Her back arched and she screamed in ectasy, pure wanton grace of lust. He grasped her hair, thrusting deep and held her up to his chest as he came, exploding in satisfaction as she trembled at the force of his orgasm.

Nick turned her chin up, looking at her. She stared into his eyes, and he grinned at her, completely amused.

"Was that what you wanted to talk to me about, Mrs. Davis?"

Saturday, May 15, 2004

New Parellel Universe James Spader Film in Production - NC 17! Part 1

PUN films presents James Spader in the most erotic film of the year.

James Spader as Nicholas Walker
Madeline Stowe as Dana Greene
Bruce Willis as Garrett Davis
Ellen Barkin as Nina Davis
Demi Moore as Shelly
Rupert Everett as Cody

In a large mansion, in a dark office, a man sits and stares at a couple having sex on his computer monitor. Sounds of sex can clearly be heard on the speakers. Kneeling on the floor, between his legs, is a young woman lazily performing oral sex on the man. On the screen is a woman, over 40. Behind her is a young man of about 25, furiously pumping her from behind.
"Slow down, lover, we have time."
"No worry there, he is occupied, I'm sure". The lovely blonde smiles into the camera above her.

The man in the office reaches down roughly and pushes the girl's head down deeper. She chokes and gags, and the man sighs, exasperated. Pulling the girl up by her ponytail, he bends her over the desk. Wordlessly, he pulls the girl's plaid skirt and pink panties out of his way. He unbuckles his leather belt and unzips his black pants. With harsh precision, he enters her, placing one hand authoritatively on her back to hold her firmly against the desk.
"Don't move".
He pumps, dispassionately, until he hears the boy on the screen climax with a moan. Leaning back so that his body does not caress hers, only the lock of his hand on her back, the man comes. The girl is moaning and shaking.
"There's a good girl. Very nice, but work on the suction." He zips up and pulls her off his desk, propelling her toward the door. "Blow job is an expression, not a description. Now, go clean yourself up."
The girl pulls her skirt down, and practically runs from the office.

Woman seen on the computer screen walks in and languidly slides into a chair opposite the desk. Nina Davis is a petite and icy blonde, of the age that men still whistled, but usually having amazement mixing with admiration. A testament to the science and products that money can buy, as well as her own self control, Nina is draped in a white silk robe. On her tiny feet, white high heeled sandles give the illusion of a height that she always wanted.
Behind the expensive mahogany desk, Garrett Davis contemplates the opening of his wife's robe, exposing the valley between her small breasts. He was not amazed at her continuing beauty. She was, after all, blessed with good genes and credit cards, but he was amused at how effortless she made her perpetual preservation look to those who did not pay her bills. She was his sexual equal, utterly depraved under her proper veneer. The fact that they both engaged in serial adultery did not bother him in the least. In fact, he was relieved that her activities and his kept them from constant marital relations. It reduced the need for him to constantly be in top form, for anything less with Nina was fraility she pounced on and stored for future use.
"How was he?" Garrett queried.
"Fast, but eager." Nina responded with precise boredom. "Size is insufficient for your needs. And mine."
"I thought size didn't matter, isn't that the popular thought?" Garrett chuckled.
"You thought wrong, darling. Too small and you are playing fucking 'Where's Waldo'. Too big? He better go down on me. A lot. Speaking of which, how was she?"
"Your little assistant, what is her name?"
"She sucked. Badly. Nice and tight, though."
"Repeat?" Nina arched an eyebrow at Garrett.
Garrett typed briefly into the computer. "No, untrainable. I'll transfer her out to the field office."

Garrett opens file drawer in his desk, taking out manila file. Inside are reports from a private investigator and a photograph of a man. Garrett tosses files across desk to Nina, who opens it and rises from her chair. She reads while walking around to Garrett's side of his desk.
Garrett watches her face. "Our next candidate. Very promising."
Nina stares at the handsome man in the picture. "Indeed."
"Nicholas Walker. Past is sketchy. Born in Chicago, sudden move to Virginia at age 17. Dropped out of college in third year. No siblings, deceased parents. Warrant for assault. Expired, but still on the books and computer."
Nina looks at the man's handsome classic features. She is struck by his eyes, the soft lashes over the steely depths. She looked down, to his fit body, and found her gaze captured by his hands, wrapped around a bottle of beer.
"Construction? No."
"Jack of all trades," Garrett offered, "Did bartending in town at Spanky's until I hired him."
"His hands are beautiful."
"Hands?" Garrett studied her face.
Nina put the photograph in front of Garrett, running a long, manicured finger down the image. "Yes, his fingers are long and tapered. Look, his nails are manicured. This is no construction worker, Garrett. You will need a better story if you decide to use him."
Garrett admiringly nodded at his perceptive spouse. "I'll keep that in mind. Anything else?"
"He is beautiful, from what the picture shows," Nina mused. "With an adequate package, proper packaging and strong technique, he should do nicely."
"He is older than the others."
"Hopefully, that means he knows how to fuck." Nina reluctantly closed the file and handed it to Garrett. "Besides, she likes older men."
"I know" said Garrett, devoid of emotion.
"Nicholas, strong name. When do I audition our rising star?"
Garrett glanced at Nina, "Are you up for tomorrow?"
"I am not the one who has to be up," Nina grins "Besides, I am always game."
"Tomorrow. I will send him over to drive you around."
"Oooooooh, the chauffer and the rich lady...haven't done that one in a while. Is the cam in the car working?"
Garrett types into the computer. On the screen is an image of an empty back seat of a limosine.
Nina leans over desk to view screen, giving Garrett a clear view of her firm, high breasts with dark nipples.
"Who will you be playing with, darling?" Nina gazed into Garrett's eyes.
"Charlotte comes tomorrow." Garrett replies dispassionately.
"I bet she does. Goodnight, darling."
Nina strolls out of the office. The sound of her heels click down the marble hall.

Garrett unlocks a drawer in his desk. He takes out a different manila file. He opens it to see a photograph of a fresh, pretty woman, about 35 to 40, with curly chestnut hair. He gazes at her smiling face, intent upon her laughing, open eyes.

fade out

Exterior of a large mansion, set among trees and mountains. The curved driveway has a black limosine parked in front of the steps to the house. A blue Mustang, circa mid-60's, eases up the drive, parking behind the limo. A man gets out of the car, leaving the keys in the ignition. He is tall, but not overly so. His dark blonde hair was unruly in the mountain breeze. His fine and clean features were masked by sleek sunglasses. In a crisp, white shirt and black jeans, he had the casual appearance of a man at play.

Nina Davis walked down the steps, confident in her crisp linen dress of pale rose. She was taking in the sight of the handsome man before her, evaluating his demeanor. He turned from the car to face her as her heels crunched in the gravel drive. When she was a few feet from him, she turned her gaze up to his face. He slowly pulled the sunglasses off, and when his eyes met hers, she stifled a catch of her breath. In those clear grey depths, past the wash of blue and gold, lay a rich void, empty of obvious emotion. Even as his lips, so soft that she had to force herself not to reach out and touch them, curled up into a greeting smile, the eyes remained the same. No mirth, no sparkle, no anger, no flash reflected in those murky depths. They were the color of a silent, thunderless storm. Nina felt them examining her, quickly and efficiently. She felt somehow naked before his gaze, and was discomfited to realize that it did not bother her at all. Not at all.
"Mrs. Davis?" His voice was casual, precise and smooth.
"Yes. I imagine that you are Nicholas Walker?" Nina affected a bored stance. "My husband said that you would be driving me today."
"Yes, I will."

Nicholas walked over to the limosine and opened the rear door. Nina walked over and paused before getting in, looking up at the man, she adopted the tone of the mistress of the house.
"There is a jacket and a hat on the front seat, Mr. Walker."
"It is Nick, and I don't do hats."
Nina considered an argument, but thought better of it. She did not really give a shit about the hat, or the jacket, either. Let the man think he has some kind of control. He would soon discover the truth. She slid, catlike, into the seat of the vehicle, giving Nick a full view of one shapely leg as she settled in. Nick closed the door carefully, and walked around. Before he got in, he saw a car drive up. From the inside of the green Toyota, he glimpsed a brunette adjusting the mirror to check her makeup. She got out, and he noticed her shapely figure was encased in a nurse's type of uniform, crisp and white. He watched her round ass undulate up the stairs. Nick put on the sunglasses and got into the driver's seat of the limo.
"Is someone sick?" Nick asked Nina.
"No, that is just my husband's massage therapist. She comes out twice a week. His back, you know, the poor dear."
Nick glanced up in the rear view to eye Mrs. Garrett Davis, wife of one of Colorado's wealthiest men. Her affected tone of wifely concern was belied by her vacant look of boredom. Drive this around all day? Nick wondered what the hell he had stumbled into.

Soapy Spader Series

If DEK goes to the soapy side (please do not let this happen), there could be a great case with Hannah and Alan and Tara in court on the SUV case. The man suing is the sole survivor of the wreck that killed his wife and two children. He is the one who wanted to buy an SUV and his wife had wanted a minivan. He is wracked with guilt, and filled with bitterness and pain. When Hannah succeeds in getting the case thrown out on a technicality, he loses it, and pulls out a gun. He starts shooting at the attorneys, the judge, and finally kills himself. Alan throws Tara to the floor, as Hannah is shot in the chest. When the smoke clears, Alan rises to check on Hannah, but she is dead. He goes to help Tara up, but she was hit under her arm (on her side) and on her white uniform blouse, a growing stain of blood shows. Shore takes off his jacket and puts it under her head, and is trying to stop the bleeding. He is talking to her the whole time, telling her that if she thinks for one minute that he is letting her off the hook this easily she can just forget it. She just smiles and him and loses consciousness.

At the hospital, Alan is driving the nurses nuts pestering them for information on Tara, who is in surgery. Crane arrives and demands to know her status and condition. There is a funny bit with the smart-ass nurse saying stuff about well, who are you? Of course, Crane replies, “Why, I’m Denny Crane” and her saying who cares and stuff about only giving information to family like Alan, who had identified himself as Tara’s uncle (from the more disturbing side of the family, remember?). Crane then looks at Shore and says that if Shore is her uncle, then that makes Crane her grandfather. The nurse looks at them both like she doesn’t buy Crane’s story. Crane turns to Alan and says “Right?”, and Alan says “Right, Dad”. After all of this, the nurse then tells them that she can’t tell them anything, because Tara is still in surgery.

The doctor comes down the hall, and tells them that Tara came through the surgery, but is very weak and the next 48 hours would tell the tale. Alan waits beside her, talking to her about all kinds of stuff, flashes of things about his life and all of the stuff she had ever asked him about, stories of when he was a kid playing doctor, stuff about Jimmy’s new practice and Jamie and Ellenor and each flash has a nurse coming in, new flowers in the room, and he gets more and more exhausted looking. Sally comes in and tells him he should go home and get some sleep and a shower. He yells at her to get out, totally out of control. Sally just nods and leaves.

Sally comes back with fresh clothes for him and his shaving kit, etc… in a bag. She also has coffee and a sandwich. She wordlessly sets it down and calls the nurse. The nurse comes in and Sally, very authoritative and business like, asks the nurse where a shower is for Alan to use. She hands him his bag and clothes and tells him to go shower and change and that she will stay with Tara. If she wakes up, Sally tells him, I will come in and drag your naked butt out of the shower. Alan goes off. Sally, while he is gone, takes out the plain chair that was there and sweet talks an orderly into bringing a comfortable recliner from a room down the hall. When Alan comes out, the room is cleaned up, his lunch is set up for him and the recliner has a pillow and blanket laid neatly on them. Alan is touched by Sally’s care. She tells him that she has rescheduled his appointments and that all he needs to do is be there for Tara. Alan worries that Tara will not recover.

Tara lingers in a coma, hovering between life and death. Alan grows more and more manic in his worry. He is talking to her, almost constantly, telling her that he will not shut up until she wakes up. He never touches her, just talks to her and watches her. Other people come in to see her, and Alan retreats to the recliner, silently sitting there while other people visit. Crane, Sally, Matthew, Jimmy, Jamie, even Eugene come to see Tara. Each one talks to Alan, typical visitor stuff, how are you, can I get you anything. Everyone except two. Sally simply comes in, brings Alan clean clothes, takes out others, brings food, wordlessly and efficiently. As she is leaving, one time, Alan says thank you, still watching Tara's face. Sally smiles and nods, leaves. Eugene walks in, silent, when Alan is talking to her. He clears his throat, and Alan turns to face him. Eugene directly says to Alan, how is she, really? Alan says that she just is not waking up. Why won't she wake up? At that moment, Alan is so raw. Eugene puts his hand on Alan's shoulder, just for a moment, and Alan looks at him. Nothing is said. As Eugene leaves, he says, if she needs anything, let me know. Alan just nods.
In the dark, still room, with a small light in the corner, Alan finally moves to Tara's side. Carefully, he takes her hand in his, and wordlessly he strokes her face. He starts to talk to her, softly, telling her he is sorry that he has been so much trouble for her. He tells her how much he admires her and respects her for warning him and standing up for him, how he is not worthy of that care. He tells her to wake up, not to leave him, that he needs her there to keep him in line. Can you imagine how bad I would be if I didn't have you there to analyze and scold me? Tara, wake up, he says, changing his tone. Do you know how many billable hours I am missing sitting here watching you sleep? And, he adds, you snore. Really, Tara, he says, the unattractive things you discover about people when they are comotose. He keeps rattling on and finally, her hand tightens around his. He is so busy talking that he does not see her eyes flutter and open. She looks at him, and watches him until he notices that she is awake. They stare at each other for a few seconds until she says, slowly, "Alan?". Yes, he replies. "Give it a rest" she says, "Can't you see I am trying to sleep?". And she smiles at him and he smiles back at her, relieved. His lower lip quivers and his eyes mist over almost imperceptibly as he gazes at her attentively, stroking her hair softly. his tender caresses lull her back toward sleep, and as she looks at him her eyes open and close slowly. Alan leans over, his lips just brushing her brow, and he says in a hushed voice: "It's all right now, Tara. Go back to sleep. I'm here. "

During her remaining time in the hospital, Alan is at Tara's side, encouraging her to eat and rest. Finally, one Saturday morning, she is released to go home. Alan arrives as Tara is arguing with the nurse that she does not want or need a wheelchair to leave in. Alan smiles at the nurse, pushes past and picks Tara up and plops her unceremoniously into the chair. When she protests, he says, look, do you want to go home or what?

At her house, the kitchen is stocked with tea and food for her, everything is fresh and flowers everywhere. Tara is touched, but Alan admits he did not do this, that Sally took care of everything, even paying Tara's rent and bills. Alan orders Tara to rest all weekend and to take some time off. Before he leaves, he kisses her forehead and brushes her hair out of her eyes.

Monday morning, Tara arrives back at the office, and everyone is so happy to see her. Crane himself brings her flowers and makes a fuss over her. When Alan walks in, she smiles at him softly and he nods, walking past her into his office. He is polite all day, but impersonal and distant. At the end of the busy day, a beautiful woman comes in, and Tara asks her if she can help her. The woman says that she is there to pick up Alan Shore. As Tara looks on in hurt bewilderment, Alan comes out and kisses the woman, telling her that she looks ravishing. He slips his arm around her and smiles at Tara. "I am leaving for the evening, Tara, good night". Tara watches him leave with his arm around the woman, talking and laughing with her. She has a stricken look on her face, and her lower lip trembles slightly. Unseen to Tara, Sally observes the entire exchange with a thoughtful look on her face.

Once out of the office building, Alan hails a cab. Pulling out his moneyclip, he pulls some bills from the carefully folded ones. A few he hands to his companion, some to the driver. Take the lady wherever she needs to go. The woman looks quizzically at Shore, are you sure, you paid for the entire evening. Trust me, Alan says, you have done what I needed you to do. Take the rest of the night off. As the cab drives away, Alan turns and walks away, into the dark of night, alone.

Come the next morning, Alan carries on with business as usual. Tara goes to see Denny Crane, in his office. Crane is fond of Tara, thinks that she is a good soldier. Tara asks Crane to reassign her to a different lawyer, pending her passing of the bar. Crane scrunches his forehead thoughtfully. Is there a problem? I thought that you and Alan were close. Tara said that the recent events and their past history was distracting to them both, that she felt she would be more comfortable in a less...intimate...setting. Crane nods, not really understanding the problem but knowing that he did not really need to. Consider it done, Crane assures her.

In the staff meeting that morning, Crane concludes the daily business with a statement that some staff changes are being made. His own paralegal was moving to work for Matthew, as Billings' assistant was going out on maternity leave. Tara Wilson, Crane announces, is now going to serve as my personal assistant pending her passage of the bar exam. Sally, visibly surprised, refrains from saying anything. Shore says that he thinks that it is hardly fair to Tara to move her around so soon after her return, and who would be his assistant? Crane solemnly states that Shore will have a temp for a while, and that the transfer was at Tara's request. Alan is furious, but silent, his eyes unreadable.

Friday, May 14, 2004

"The Firm: the Alan and Tara Treatment"

Denny Crane sends Hannah to head up their New York City offices, and leaves Matthew in charge of Boston, while he decides to head out to Los Angeles to restructure their West Coast offices, who primarily handle entertainment law. Crane invites Shore, Tara and Sally to go there and assist him, offering to make Shore a partner if he will take the managing partner position. This does not sit well with three attorneys who survive the mass firings. They are played by Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey, Jr. and Kim Delany. As the only survivors of the restructuring, they are prickly towards Crane and Shore, even though McCarthy and Shore attended law school together. Sally leaps at the chance to work in a more casual environment.

Tara initially declines the invitation, and she and Shore share a painful scene where he cannot bring himself to ask her to come with him and that is what she is waiting to hear. She tells him that there has to be more in order to uproot her life and move to California. Why would she want to do that, she tells him, give me one good reason. He starts listing things, weather, beach, Disneyland. He lists all of these things without looking at her, and while he does, she is getting closer to him. His list trails off and she is standing in front of him. She says, Alan, I said one good reason. Can you think of one? He blusters and stalls and says that there are lots of reasons. She kisses his cheek softly and says that when he can think of a real reason, let her know.

So, he and Crane and Sally go to LA and get all settled and get the office together. Except Shore gets this totally clumsy and rude temp assistant. Over the course of a couple of weeks, Shore emails Tara with pictures of Hollywood, Disneyland, the beach, sunsets, hunks on the beach, palm trees, all kinds of things. Underneath he writes "Because it is warm" and "Because it is beautiful" and all of these "because" things. To each one, she only replies "I said a GOOD reason".

Finally, one Friday at the end of a crazy day, he emails her a picture of him sitting alone on a chair on the beach at sunset. Underneath he types only:
"Because I need you, I miss you and I care for you."

Tara gets the email right before she leaves work. She stares at it a long time. Then she laughs.

Monday morning, Shore comes into his office and sits at the desk, barking orders on the intercom to his inept assistant. Only she does not answer him, which makes him yell louder in the intercom, yelling about if she can hear him. Tara walks in with his coffee and says that she can hear him all the way down the hall. She sets his coffee on his desk as he stares at her in shock and disbelief whille she efficiently rattles off his schedule and who is waiting to see him. She turns and walks out. After a few minutes, he intercoms her.

"Miss Wilson, come into my office"
"But Mr. Davis his waiting for you"
"Miss Wilson, come into my office, immediately"

So she goes in and he is standing by the door, and he reaches behind her to close the door. He kisses her, smiles, opens the door.

"OK, now that we settled that, get back to work".