I wasn't going to post this story until it was finished, but I'm moving along quite nicely and hoping posting will keep me motivated. ~ D

Chapter 1

His Honor Bellamy Simms, or as he was, ahem, affectionately known, Old Bullshit (code name 'OBS'), didn't like Perry Mason.

An undistinguished, unremarkable criminal trial attorney in all realms but his own mind, it was a conundrum in the legal community how such an unqualified candidate had so quickly become a judge. In his mind, Bellamy deserved nothing but the highest accolades, despite barely passing the bar exam on his fifth try after two-and-a-half years, and despite all the gossip circulated about him that eventually found it's way to his ears. The distinguished, remarkable Perry Mason was the epitome of what Bellamy imagined himself to be and every time he saw the attorney's name on his docket a vomitous bile of dislike threatened to choke him.

For although even he referred to himself as 'OBS' to demonstrate a self-deprecating sense of humor and that he was one of the boys, His Honor Bellamy Simms knew in his bones he was far superior to the mass of judges and toiling attorneys in Los Angeles...especially one Mr. Perry Mason.

Fortunately, Perry Mason's name was appearing less and less on his docket, which His Honor attributed to the fact the overrated attorney knew he wouldn't be given the latitude his fellow judges afforded him, the lot of them contemptible star-struck sycophants in the presence of a hack who won cases with nothing more than sketchy gimmicks. Style over substance, legal high jinks, a resonant voice, and a photogenic face was what Perry Mason offered, and the complicit press ate it up – not to mention a good portion of the sycophantic legal community.

But what rankled His Honor the most was something he would not admit to anyone.

And that was Perry Mason had the most attractive secretary in the entire Los Angeles Bar Association.

So attractive she could have been a movie star.

So attractive Bellamy found it difficult to concentrate on proceedings when she was in the courtroom.

So attractive that he couldn't abide the rumors about her involvement with the lauded attorney.

Bellamy Simms appreciated beauty in all things, and the beauty of women particularly pleased him. His wife had once been a passable attractive young woman, but living with a difficult man for three decades and rearing three woefully unattractive daughters who looked exactly like their father had not worn well on her. To be surrounded by women he considered repugnant was the ultimate embarrassment, for a man of his talent and stature should have been blessed with more appealing children, each as clever and talented as their father, not three dull-eyed, lazy daughters well into their twenties who all still lived at home. The inequitable reality of his life was something Bellamy Simms had never envisioned.

What had a cretin like Perry Mason done to deserve the beauty of Della Street?

Although he considered gossip beneath him, anything Bellamy heard about Perry Mason and his secretary was lapped up with increasing resentment, each rumor feeding a flourishing distaste like so much fertilizer. His daughters subscribed to every tabloid magazine published, and Bellamy covertly scanned them for tidbits on Perry Mason, devouring salacious blather about the status of the lawyer's relationship with his 'deep-dish' secretary, who never seemed to be absent from his side during and after business hours. A man like Mason more than likely was taking advantage of his secretary's attributes unprofessionally, which offended His Honor Bellamy Simms as a devout man of faith, albeit a man of faith saddled with a woman who didn't inspire much of anything in him aside from contempt, and he was...

Jealous.

Especially when the delectable Miss Street wore a snug skirt with an exquisitely soft-looking short-sleeved silk sweater of pale green that highlighted the reddish glints in her chestnut hair, and pulled alluringly across her perfect bosom whenever she leaned forward to hand Perry Mason folders or documents during his witness examinations. Her wide eyes, which he knew to be hazel, were bright green today, and His Honor was far too aware of that unsettling fact even from the height and distance of the bench. So distracting was Defense counsel's secretary, Bellamy Simms had only a vague idea of the preliminary hearing taking place in his court.

His Honor's front row seat today revealed the discomfiture of Perry Mason, who was paying scant heed to the proceedings while the new District Attorney overstepped one legal line after another, and it tickled His Honor to death. He should have cautioned Hamilton Burger a half dozen times, should have pulled the hearing back on track, but his glee in seeing the defense attorney so obviously out of sorts was like a fine wine to be savored. In his mind, if counsel for the Defense wasn't going to object, then he certainly wasn't going to intervene. Let him fall flat on his handsome, smug face. He deserved it.

Miss Street leaned forward again, this time to lightly tap her employer's arm with a pencil, and when his head swiveled toward her, dipped her chin in a little frown, and pointed the pencil toward where the District Attorney stood in front of the witness stand. Perry Mason shifted his gaze from his lovely secretary back to His Honor Bellamy Simms, eyes narrowing.

"Objection, Your Honor," he said in that deep-toned voice that made ladies in the spectator gallery vigorously fan themselves out of swoons. Attending Perry Mason's hearings and trials had become somewhat of an event, a theatrical show, which was another reason for Bellamy Simms to dislike the attorney. The courtroom, much like a church, commanded respectful behavior, and should not be reduced to a spectator sport by someone like Perry Mason. "The Prosecution is attempting to introduce privileged communications. The Defendant confided in Dr. Corbin as a trusted medical professional."

"I was wondering when that fact would dawn on you, Counselor," His Honor admonished, with a satisfied smirk. "Objection sustained." Overruling the objection would have been ever so much more satisfying, but in all honesty he had no legitimate basis to do so, even if he had heard every question posed by Hamilton Burger, and was frankly impressed that Perry Mason had at some level been paying attention to the DA's examination of the witness

"Your Honor," Hamilton Burger protested. "Proper groundwork has been laid to introduce..."

"I've made my ruling," Bellamy Simms snapped. "Privileged communication is just that, Mr. Burger. Privileged."

"But the conversation in question ..."

"Mr. Burger," Bellamy Simms stridently screeched in what he considered to be much more splendidly resonant than Perry Mason's famous voice. Women in the gallery visibly flinched. "I'll fine you for contempt if you continue arguing the ruling of the Court."

Hamilton Burger was flabbergasted, certain that neither Perry Mason nor Judge Simms had been paying much attention to his line of questioning, which was why he had asked the witness about several conversations with the Defendant. Although relatively new to the position of District Attorney, his election an enormous surprise to everyone, he knew Bellamy Simms held Perry Mason in low esteem, which is precisely why he insisted on the judge for this particular case. "But Your Honor, quite a bit about several conversations is already part of the record."

His Honor's face grew deeply red with anger. How dare this nobody District Attorney question his ruling? It was bad enough that a secretary, lovely or not, had called attention to a legal impropriety, he wasn't about to let his own gaffe become part of the official record. "Do you have a hearing problem, Mr. Burger?" He turned to the court reporter. "Strike everything about the conversation between Dr. Corbin and the Defendant."

"Your Honor, it's nearly four-thirty," Perry Mason said equably. "Maybe the District Attorney would like to recess for the day so he can reassess his case?"

Hamilton Burger made a snort of disgust and sat down heavily in his chair. "That is not necessary, Mr. Mason. My case has sturdier legs to stand on."

Bellamy Simms jabbed his finger toward the attorney. "You're lucky you objected in time, Counselor" he grumbled irritably. "I might have allowed all conversations to be entered into evidence."

Perry Mason merely rocked on his heels, hands in pockets, smiling with carefree abandon in the face of the Judge's petty rebuke, flagrantly daring Bellamy Simms to reverse his ruling.

His Honor's face grew alarmingly red, sweat beading on his forehead as he banged his gavel sharply on the block. He hadn't pulled a thing over on the damnable attorney. Perry Mason was looking right through him and laughing, damn the sanctimonious son-of-a-bitch. "Court is recessed until ten o'clock tomorrow morning."

Perry Mason turned to speak briefly with his concerned but relieved client, and after allowing the man to slide behind him to exit, reached for his secretary's arm. "We're going back to the office for five minutes," he announced almost grimly, "and then we're going to my apartment to work all night if we have to."

Della Street lowered her eyes and smiled. There were times Perry Mason appreciated her powers of observation, and times he didn't. It was shaping up to be an interesting evening figuring out exactly which scenario she would be dealing with.