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Cooper's Folly

Cooper's Folly

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He may not be Mr. Mom, but he could be Mr. Perfect.



One burned-out lawyer applying to work as a nanny.
One stressed-out single mom desperate for help.
Two kidlets looking for a daddy.
Crazy? But they might just make a family.
He may not be Mr. Mom, but he could be Mr. Perfect.



One burned-out lawyer applying to work as a nanny.
One stressed-out single mom desperate for help.
Two kidlets looking for a daddy.
Crazy? But they might just make a family.

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Published by: BelleBooks Publishing House on Jan 31, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Chapter One
 Minneapolis lawyer goes berserk, yells “handle your own freaking cases” at senior partners, grabs fishing pole, and
runs into the seventy-five-degree sunshine known as a Minnesota summer. Last seen with a keg of beer and a pickup truck with bumper sticker, I QUIT.
Fantasies. Cooper Meredith had them.
 Three o‟clock. No, to be precise, it was 3:06. Another endless Friday afternoon.
 Cooper leaned back in his burgundy leather chair and scowled at the antique gold clock on his desk. Seeking a second opinion, he turned to his Rolex, then to the grandfather clock in the far corner of his office. No luck. Exactly two and nine-tenths billable hours until he had a hope of slipping away without raising the eyebrows of senior partners. And then only two more working days until Monday 
 — 
 which was more a reality than a joke at the one-hundred-and-eighty-lawyer firm of Pemberton, Smith and Garrison.
 Note to the file: Destroy all clocks.
 
Idly, Cooper imagined his mother‟s white
-gloved, horrified expression at the vision of her precious Bulova smashed beyond recognition at the hands of a crazed, hammer-wielding junior partner.
Sources at the firm said Meredith took off a black wingtip and bashed a Bulova clock on his desk while
shouting, “I never wanted to be a lawyer, Mom. I wanted to run a waterski shop on Lake Minnetonka!” 
 Wincing,
he admitted certain defeat once again at the hands of Mom‟s elegant ambitions for him. Back to the
drawing board.  A trial lawyer at Pemberton, Cooper had already argued several cases before the Supreme Court at the ripe old age of thirty-four. That level of success had come at a steep price. His personal life,
this thing called a “life” in general, no longer existed, but he still remembered his old life. Leaning
back, arms behind his head, legs strewn across the one bare patch of wood on his desk, Cooper drifted back to long-ago summers when the piles were of dirt, when intense negotiations meant convincing Mom that he
needed 
 a new bike, when the hardest task he faced every day was skimming barefoot behind a speedboat on Lake Minnetonka without crashing.
“Coop!”
 Flinching at the interruption, he looked up to see his best friend, Jake Weaver, slouched in the doorway. Even after all these years, Jake still claimed he could satisfy endless legal issues, women, and other pursuits with time to spare
 — 
and he somehow did. But how? By not making partner, for one thing. By settling for just good enough.
“Let‟s cut out early and grab a beer at the Blue Saloon.”
 
“Sorry. I have to put the finishing to
uches on the brief for the Hadley case. One stray comma,
and Garrison goes berserk. You know how he is. My weekend is toast.”
 
“You already made partner, Coop, and the Hadley case will still be here a year from now. Who cares? Live a little. I hear Betsy‟s
been asking about you. Not many guys would pass up that
opportunity.”
 
“Tell you what. Do us both a favor and seize that opportunity for yourself.” Cooper could
picture the reaction of Betsy Vickerman
 — 
a stunning brunette lawyer in a competing firm whose curves, brains, and ego were off the charts
 — 
if she heard him offer her up to Jake.
When reached for comment at Meredith’s Lake Minnetonka summer house, fellow lawyer and brunette stunner Betsy “The Bomb” Vickerman could only fan herself and stagger outside long enough to say, “Coop was worth the wait.” 
 
Shaking his head to clear that thought, Coop caught Jake‟s bemused gaze and wished he hadn‟t.
 
“Coop, you‟re killing yourself. Life isn‟t about Garrison or clients or, for Pete‟s sake, the latest
 
Supreme Court op
inion. Since when did an „all
-
nighter‟ mean staring at a computer screen, and not having a sweet pair of legs wrapped around you until sunrise? You‟ve left the old Coop behind
somewhere
 — 
 
knowing you, probably waiting to be filed alphabetically.”
 Cooper stood, turning his back on his friend as he stared out at the Minneapolis skyline from the forty-seventh floor of the Healey Building, one of the best views in downtown Minneapolis.  What was wrong with him? Work. Seven days a week, twelve to twenty hours a day, killing himself
over pointless cases for ungrateful clients. “I just can‟t stop the flow of work. Garrison keeps dumping it on me while he runs out and plays golf. I‟m so pissed off, I could wrap a golf club
around his
 —”
  As if on cue, Thomas Garrison ap
peared in Cooper‟s doorway. Silver haired and silver tongued,
his skills as a rainmaker kept the Pemberton firm rolling in clients and Cooper buried in lawsuits.  Without fail, a visit from Garrison meant more unwanted work, half of it something a kid in the mail room could do. Stiffening, Cooper mourned the lack of a trapdoor underneath his desk.  Too late to run. Too late to hide.
“Good work on that petition yesterday, Meredith. Impressive. With your attention to detail, I‟ve
decided to let you take my plac
e in the trial lawyers‟ writing forum. As secretary, you‟ll gather and edit every lawyer‟s bio, but we‟re only talking a couple hundred lawyers. I‟ve, er, let that task slide for a year or so, and it‟s due Monday, but I‟m sure you‟ll have no trouble fittin
g it in with your
caseload.”
 Unbelievable. Cooper glanced at Jake, who rolled his eyes.
“I appreciate the honor, Tom, but I don‟t have the time—”
 
“Excellent. Glad to hear it, Meredith.” Without waiting to hear more, Tom Garrison ambled
down the hall, anoth
er load off his desk and on someone else‟s.
 Cooper threw his stapler at the wall, nailing his framed law-school diploma. The glass shattered and landed all over the floor. It pretty much summed up his attitude.
 Jake snorted. “The old guy hasn‟t lost his touch. Speaking of which, if we can get you out in the boat next weekend, I‟ll bet you haven‟t lost your touch with lunker bass. You need a break, Coop. Come on.”
 
“You heard Garrison. I‟m in a hole so deep, I won‟t be able to dig myself out until next year.”
 His gut clenching, Cooper stared without blinking down at his black wingtips, then at the patterns in the parquet floor. He wished a hole would appear and swallow him. Not that there was much of him left to swa
llow. “The senior partners here think they own me. Do this. Do that. Get
my lunch. Tie my shoes. No mistakes, but if I do something great it just means more work. When I
divide my salary by the hours I‟m putting in, I might as well be making minimum wage.”
 
Not waiting for Jake‟s certain comeback, Cooper kept going, raising his hands in surrender. “And why bother? Is there some real person we help? It‟s always a big corporation that doesn‟t
know I exist, not the poor unfortunates we talked about in law schoo
l.” He felt like he‟d been doing this forty years, not nine. “It‟s not fun anymore.”
 
“When was it ever fun? The problem is you always saw practicing law as part of you. It‟s just a job. Maybe it pays better than some other careers, but my life doesn‟t depe
nd on this place. Yours
shouldn‟t, either.”
 Glancing at the
Star Tribune 
 
tossed on his desk, Cooper‟s eyes burned with an intensity he hadn‟t allowed even Jake to glimpse in a while. He felt his spine stiffen, something it hadn‟t done— 
at least around Tom Garrison
 —in way too long. “Jake, you‟re absolutely right. I‟m tired of being Garrison‟s whipping boy, tired of doing this, tired of everything. You can have the money. I‟m getting out.”
 
 Jake sputtered, spilling the cup of coffee in his hand. “Wh
-what are yo
u talking about? I didn‟t

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