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Understanding Alice Du-Kane by Riley Walker (1)

Victory Is Mine

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

I chant these words as I look myself over in the tall, freestanding mirror in my bedroom. My skirt is a knee length, black pencil, and my top is white, crisply ironed with a wide neckline. I slip into my favorite pair of black Jimmy Choo pumps and add a pair of small diamond studs in my ears. The only other piece of jewelry I wear is my mother’s delicate silver cross around my neck. It’s the only thing I have of hers and I never take it off.

My dad gave me the cross necklace on my sixteenth birthday. I never had the privilege of meeting my mother. She died of a hemorrhage shortly after I was born. Dad has a few pictures of her still hanging in his house, but several have been removed over the years. I’m not sure if these reminders are too hard for him to look at everyday, or if it’s his way of trying to let her memory go and moving on after all these years.

Dad never did remarry, and I rarely saw him with any female companions. It has been just the two of us, taking on the world together. My dad, Daniel Du-Kane, has never been an overly involved parent. He took good care of me, and I always knew he loved me, but as far as being present for softball games, dance recitals, and school award banquets, I was always accompanied by my nanny, Sofia. When I turned thirteen, he sent me off to a boarding school in Knoxville, eight hours away from our home in Memphis, Tennessee. Once I graduated, I immediately moved back home and began college at Bluff City University for my undergrad. Now I am in my third year of Bluff City Law School.

Today is my first mock-trial. Normally, I show up to classes in my well-worn jeans, whatever shirt I have that is clean, and my faithful chucks. The mock-trial is the only reason I’m dressed up today. It’s August, and in the south, that’s still considered summer. It’s hot and humid. The idea of walking outside to the classroom in a skirt and heels is not my idea of a good time.

I take one last look at myself to make sure everything is in place. My ebony hair that I usually throw up in a messy bun, has been straightened and falls to the middle of my back. My dad’s deep brown eyes stare back at me. My makeup is simple except for my lips. Blood red lipstick is my weakness. I never leave home without my mascara and red lipstick on. The pumps I put on give my 5’8” height an additional two inches. Everything seems to look okay. There’s no toilet paper hanging out of my skirt, don’t ask, no coffee stains on my white shirt, and no lipstick on my teeth. I’m ready to kick some butt.

I grab my briefcase, compliments of Sofia, and head out of my apartment, that’s courtesy of my dad, and jump into my trusty silver Honda Accord. Dad wanted to buy me something flashy, but everyone already knows who he is, therefore knows who I am. I’m trying to make a name for myself, on my own, without his help in any way.

Why does everyone know who Daniel Du-Kane is? Well, he just happens to be a well-known entrepreneur, of marijuana. That’s right. My dad is the owner of the largest Grow-Op in the country. He grows and sells pot. The business has been in our family for generations, long before it was ever legal. The family business and its nefarious ways are the main reasons I decided to become an attorney. Someone needs to be morally straight, and it definitely isn’t going to be my dad.

I make it to the room the mock-trial will be held in with half an hour to spare. That gives me just enough time to review my notes once more. I open my briefcase and take them out, thankful that I had the foresight to number them just in case. I may be a little klutzy. Okay, I am a lot klutzy. Last week I spilled my coffee all over myself when I fell going up the stairs to my Human Rights class. Yeah, I was walking up the stairs and tripped. How is that even possible?

Tap tap tap…. That sound is distracting me from my notes. I’m taking on the part of the defense council today, and the annoying pen tapper, North Michaelson, is the prosecutor.

North Michaelson is the who’s who of Bluff City Law School. He’s tall, lean, and always impeccably dressed. His hair is brown with natural blonde streaks, he always has a stubble that partially covers the dimple on his chin, and his eyes are best described as steel blue. Today he is in a fitted black suit with tapered pants and a slim, silk black tie. He’s beautiful and he knows it. North is also a conceited jerkface. All the girls want him, and all the guys want to be him. I haven't personally met him, but his reputation precedes him.

I try to ignore the persistent tap of his pen, and study my notes before the trial begins. I get to page three when I hear a door open. Someone clears their throat loudly, and then tells us to rise, Judge Holland, better known as Professor Holland, enters the room and the mock-trial begins.

* * *

I square my shoulders and walk out of the courtroom with my head held high, while trying to contain myself from jumping up and down and yelling all over campus.

I beat North Michaelson!

It was a beautiful sight. All the days and hours of studying finally paid off. I took down the King of Bluff City Law School and it feels so good. I hop in my car and head home, stopping by the neighborhood liquor store first for a bottle of celebratory wine.

As soon as I step into my apartment I kick off my shoes, and shimmy out of the skirt while trying to open a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I take my full glass over to my balcony doors. Damn, I have an amazing view. I live on the thirtieth floor in the penthouse. I know I said I don’t do flashy, but when Dad bought this apartment for me, I couldn’t turn it down. The view I wake up to everyday is that of the Mighty Mississippi River. On the weekends, I curl up in a blanket, watch the tugboats go by and wonder how I got so lucky. It’s moments like those that I think my life couldn’t get any better.

I finish off my glass of wine and put the remainder of the bottle in the built-in wine cooler under the kitchen cabinets. Once in my bedroom, I take off the crisp, white shirt and put on my oversized BCU t-shirt. I crawl into my bed with a sense of peace. This feeling I have won’t last long. The phone call I receive in the middle of the night will make sure of that.