The time was late even for a corporate law firm. Boston was darkening. The lights in the surrounding towers were gradually dimming. The other lawyers and associates had finally surrendered the day. But Diamon Jakes was still there and so was her associate, Boyd Willis. If Boyd could have stepped back and contemplated his surroundings, if he could have wondered at the view of the city outside growing quiet, if he could have listened to the silence of the empty Tittle and Baines offices, if he could have appreciated the colorful glow painted in the darkened shadows by the drifting screen savers on the monitors, maybe he could have enjoyed the moment. But he was not enjoying the moment. He was not enjoying being alone with Diamon Jakes.
When he had been hired by Tittle and Baines out of Harvard Law, she had awed him. She was an intense lawyer, a fast rising African-American woman, top of her class at Yale Law, who won cases and wrote opinions that the legal community listened to. And she was beautiful. She was shorter than he was, and she held herself like an aristocrat – shoulders back, head up, hands at the ready. She had scary, piercing brown eyes. Boyd could only maintain an exchanged gaze with her for a few moments. He also felt that she was taking apart every word that he said, looking for the lie, even in benign statements about the weather.
She had a natural way of adjusting her facial expressions to control how she intended the situation at hand to go. She could sharpen or harden the flair of her nostrils or the lines around her eyes and mouth, arch her eyebrows in surprise or narrow them to fiery slits. Boyd wished that he could study her face more carefully to learn how she did it, to learn how she could manipulate a roomful of powerful white men to do exactly what she wanted them to do without a word.
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