Sydney Lincoln’s future was mapped out for her even before she left the womb. Swept along by the ambitions of her traditional Caribbean parents, Sydney ends up with a legal career she never planned to have. The thought of one more deathbed deposition spurs her to make a change from her small Washington, D.C. law firm to a position with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Change brings challenge for Sydney who must also confront the realities of her friendship with Loren, a successful interior designer whose carefree lifestyle leads Sydney to question who she really is. An ordinary day turns into a nightmare for Sydney when she is thrown into a situation that threatens to derail her career. Forced to confront the truth, Sydney must choose between loyalty and self – a decision that could change her life forever.
The motion for summary judgment still lay in a pile on the floor where it had landed after Paul stormed out of the room. Jay’s chest was heaving and I could tell his eyes were tearing up, but he looked determined not to cry. I didn’t know what to say to him. I couldn’t believe that Paul had actually just thrown the motion at Jay and hit him in the stomach with it. I felt the sting of the assault too, but I’d told Jay not to present it to Paul yet. Jay had brushed off my concern, rationalizing that he could flesh out the arguments more during the prep meeting. He was wrong. Paul flew into one of his trademark tirades, only this one was worse.
I examined my freshly manicured nails and scratched at my cuticles. My plans to go out weren’t looking too good now. The motion would have to be redrafted and more case law research would need to be done, which meant it would be another late night. I probably wouldn’t even be able to go home and feed my cat at a decent hour, never mind getting dinner for myself. This was not the way I wanted to start my week.
I got out of my chair and bent down to pick up the motion papers.
“Leave it.” Jay’s voice sounded defeated and defiant all at once.
I looked at him, then down at my hand, unsure of what to do. “I can start outlining the first draft of edits and have it to you maybe by 8:30 tonight?”
“I said leave it. It’s fine.” Jay didn’t look at me. He stared out the window at the twilight settling in over the city.
“Okay. You wanna just start in the morning? I could be here by 7:30. We could have something better by lunchtime tomorrow. We’ll have the rest of the day to file it anyway.”
Jay was silent for a moment as if he was pondering the idea. He finally looked over at me and shook his head. “No. Just go home. Don’t worry about it.”
I couldn’t read the look on his face, but I was concerned. Jay never just shut down, and this wasn’t the first time that Paul had yelled at him, but it was the first time Paul actually threw something at him. Paul Montello had a reputation for blowing his fuse. During my first week at Montello & Osborne, Paul stopped right in the middle of deposing a witness and invited opposing counsel to step outside and “go off the record” if he had a problem. I’d been shocked, but Jay barely looked up from his computer when I went to his office to tell him about it. “You’ll get used to it,” Jay had said. He’d put up with it for nine years waiting to become a partner in that firm. I told myself I could do it too, all the while eyeing that bottle of Maalox sitting on Jay’s desk. Now, I wasn’t so sure.
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Dionne grew up in Canada and later moved to the U.S. where she now practices law. The Jamaica Observer recognized her work as “part of an emerging genre of writing by Jamaicans in this society,” and BET.com featured her debut novel, Somerset Grove on their “You Gotta Have it” list for January 2015. Her work has also been featured in Akashic Books' Duppy Thursday series. Dionne is a literacy advocate for the Read Across Jamaica Foundation. Butterfly is her second novel.
I love reading international fiction – books that explore another time, place, or culture –so I also write about characters or settings that do just that. My stories mainly feature the Caribbean or the Caribbean experience. Growing up in Canada, I didn’t get to read stories about characters that looked like or had similar experiences as me, and as Toni Morrison said, “If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
Connect with Author Dionne Peart
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