Just the Sexiest Man Alive

One

TAYLOR DONOVAN MAY have been new to Los Angeles, but she certainly recognized a line of bullshit when she heard one.

It was 8:15 on a Monday morning—frankly, a bit early, in Taylor’s mind anyway, to be dealing with this latest round of nonsense coming from her opposing counsel, Frank Siedlecki of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But hey, it was a gorgeous sunny morning in Southern California and her Starbucks had already begun to kick in, so she was willing to play nice.

Frank’s call had come in just as Taylor had pulled into the parking garage of her downtown L.A. office building. After answering, she had let her opposing counsel go on for several minutes—without interruption, she might add—about the righteousness of his clients’ position and how Taylor and her utterly nonrighteous client should consider themselves lucky to be given the chance to make the whole lawsuit go away for a paltry $30 million. But at a certain point, one could only take so much nonsense in one Monday-morning phone call. Luscious Starbucks or not.

So Taylor had no choice but to cut Frank off mid-rant, praying she didn’t lose the signal to her cell phone as she stepped into the lobby elevator.

“Frank, Frank,” she said in a firm but professional tone, “there’s no way we’re going to settle at those numbers. You want all that money, just because your clients heard a few four-letter words in the workplace?”

She noticed then that an elderly couple had gotten into the elevator with her. She smiled politely at them as she continued her phone conversation.

“You know, if the EEOC’s going to ask for thirty million dollars in a sexual harassment case,” she told Frank, “at least tell me somebody was called a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore.’ ”

Out of the corner of her eye, Taylor saw the elderly woman—seventy-five years old if she was a day—send her husband a disapproving look. But then Frank began rattling on further about the so-called merits of the plaintiffs’ position.

“I have to be honest, I’m not exactly impressed with your case,” she said, cutting him off. “All you’ve got is a sporadic string of some very minor incidents. It’s not as if anyone slapped an ass or grabbed a boob.”

Taylor noticed that the elderly couple was now subtly but quickly moving away from her, to the opposite end of the elevator.

“Of course I’m not taking you seriously,” she said in response to her opposing counsel’s question. “We’re talking about thirty million dollars here!” Instead of shouting, her voice had a laughing tone, which experience had proven to be far more infuriating to her opponents.

Not seeing any reason to waste another minute, she summarized her position with a few simple parting thoughts.

“Frank, this case is a publicity stunt and a shakedown. My clients did nothing illegal, and you and I both know I’ll have no problem proving that to a jury. So there’s no reason to discuss your ridiculous settlement offer any further. Call me when somebody sees a penis.”

Taylor slammed her cell phone shut for emphasis. She slipped the phone into her briefcase and smiled apologetically at the elderly couple. They had their backs pressed against the elevator wall and were staring at her, mouths agape.

“Sorry about the whole ‘penis’ thing,” she said, trying to make amends. “I guess I get desensitized to it.” She shrugged innocently as the elevator announced its arrival at the twenty-third floor with a high-pitched ding. She glanced over at her grandparently co-riders one last time.

“It’s an occupational hazard.”

Taylor winked.

And with that, the elevator doors opened and she stepped out onto the busy office