Chapter 32

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“Alan, as usual, is all riled up,” James Baldwin declared at the dinner table. “Ever since Thomas stole your song and made the Billboard Hot 100, Alan has been talking about suing Glitter Records.”

“Lawyers, huh,” Victoria said contemptuously. “That is never a good idea.”

“That’s what I told him. He seems quite set on it however. I keep telling him it will be impossible to prove. Even if we won, it would still be months of bad press for Soulville Records and Maude.”

“You’re right. She can’t launch her album in the midst of a trial,” Jazmine agreed.

“Thomas should still pay for what he did, though,” Cynthia remarked. “Maybe a trial could be a good way to start. He had no right to steal her music from her.”

“I agree with you, Cynth,” Maude put in. “However I plan on beating him fairly. I’ll knock his single off the Billboard Hot 100,” Maude said, her eyes sparkling.

She was more than determined to beat Thomas and Lindsey by releasing a greater hit. She knew “Betrayed But Not Broken” was solid, and this time no one would steal it from her. She just wished Alan would stop watching her every move like a hawk.

“He's at n°13. I’m sure he could have been in the first three if he had used our musical arrangement instead of that dreadful, ear-piercing beat he used,” James reported, wincing.

“Right, Dad, because stealing her lyrics wasn’t enough, he really should’ve taken her musical arrangement, too!” Jazmine exclaimed sarcastically.

The whole table laughed.

“He’ll be another one-hit wonder, I’m sure,” Victoria said sympathetically. “I really don’t think suing is the right way. We have always managed to keep lawyers out of Soulville’s business, and I think it should remain so.”

“Come on, Mom, lawyers aren’t all bad,” Cynthia argued. “Nathalie Fern, founding member of your women’s rights association is a lawyer, and she’s great.”

“She’s probably the only one I know of. Believe me when I tell you most of them can’t be trusted.”

“I completely agree,” James chimed in. “Remember that ex-boyfriend of yours, Vic. Ted Willow. He became a lawyer and the worst of scoundrels, too. But then, I never trusted him, even back then.”

Victoria nodded in agreement while her children gasped in surprise.

“Ex-boyfriend?!” they yelped in unison.

Victoria laughed.

“Oh please, kids,” she said waving her hand nonchalantly. “You do know your parents had a life before you, don’t you?” she mocked them.

“I didn’t,” Ben replied mournfully.

“Mom probably had more of a life than Dad, because he didn’t care about much else but music back then,” Jazmine teased.

“As if that’s changed,” Cynthia giggled.

They all laughed. Maude could almost picture James as a sixteen-year-old band geek.

“ A –hem,” James cleared his throat. “I think we are growing further and further from the initial topic.”

“Yeah, lawyers stink!” Ben exclaimed, pinching his nostrils.

“That isn’t true.” Cynthia said softly. “And I firmly intend on becoming one,” she added half-defiantly, half-bashfully.

Dead silence filled the dining room. Victoria’s fork hung limply in mid-air, Jazmine, who was drinking, almost choked and Maude looked around the room worriedly.

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