“Oh, and just one more thing, Ms. Scott,” the temp – Charles? – said, slightly shyly, as he held out an envelope.
“Personal?” she asked, reaching to take it from him, before glancing down and noticing that it had been opened. “Guess not. What is it?”
“Madden v. Delran,” he explained, still looking nervous. “You, uh, you’re licensed in New Jersey and you haven’t provided them with certification that you completed twenty-five hours of in-state pro bono services last year, so, uh…”
“So I’ve been assigned an indigent defendant,” Dana supplied, sighing slightly.
“You can give it to your associate?” Charles pointed out, and seriously, there was zero chance of her keeping him as her permanent assistant if he kept blathering like this. “I think that’s what most of the partners do?”
“No, it’s fine,” she said, absently. “I’ll make the time. Thank you, Charles.”
“Um. I…you’re welcome, Ms. Scott…Mr. Specter!” he added, abruptly, and Dana looked up to see Harvey sauntering towards her.
“Can I help you?” she asked politely, biting her lip against the three-hour-old memory of admiring him, naked and sleeping in the bed she’d just left. It really was lucky she’d had practice; lucky that they’d spent so many years circling around each other professionally. She would not give anyone at Pearson Specter any reason to question her skills or her integrity.
“If you’re not too busy with that New Jersey pro bono assignment,” Harvey teased her, lightly, and she rolled her eyes.
“I’m sure it’s no trouble,” she assured him dryly, holding open the door to her office. “Come in.”
“After you,” he said, gallantly, covering her hand on the handle so that she could enter first, which she did without fanfare, settling in at her desk and absently opening the envelope.
“What kind of case is it?” he asked, sounding slightly curious. Dana shrugged.
“Usual. Violated a restraining order, and – oh, look, possession of cocaine. At least it’s only Bergen County, easy enough to get out there.” She tossed the letter and the criminal complaint down on her desk and looked up at Harvey, who was standing in front of her rather than sitting.
“What did you want?” she asked, rolling her eyes at his smirk.
“Client wants to do a bond offering,” he said, a little sheepishly. “Only thing is, there’s a meeting on Thursday, and they asked Deutsche Bank to do the underwriting, and it’s possible the head of the team kinda sorta maybe hates my guts.”
“You need me to sub in?” Dana asked, her voice low and amused.
“You’re the only one I trust to do it.”
“They might like me better than you,” she teased.
“It’s okay, we’re on the same side now,” he said softly. She looked down for a moment before turning a mischievous smile on him.
“You keep telling yourself that,” she said brightly. “Got a file, by the way? Notes? Oh, wait, I forgot, it’s you. Never mind. What’s Donna’s extension?”
Harvey actually laughed, then.
“It’s a pretty straightforward offering,” he assured her. “You could probably do it in your sleep.”
“Well, sure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it right,” she replied with a pert grin.
“I also wanted to ask if you were coming over after work,” he added smoothly.
“Do you mind coming to my place, actually? I mean, I know you mind, but if I promise you sex will you do it anyway?”
“Yeah, sure…any particular reason?”
“Finishing the new place,” she said dryly. “I’m actually planning to work from home most of today, while the guys come by. It’d just be easier than trying to time when you got around to leaving the office.”
“Fair enough,” Harvey agreed, nodding his head slightly. “But if I’m stuck offering opinions on your artwork and making small talk with your interior designers, you’d better be ready to – ”
“ – and don’t worry, I am,” she added, cutting him off. She was straightforward, but as Harvey smiled slowly and his face turned horny she couldn’t help grinning.
“Now get out, I have work to do.” She waved him away a bit and he chuckled.
“You’re ordering me out of your office?”
“I mean, if you expect me to finish work in time to play.”
Dana held his gaze steadily, her serious expression quickly giving way to a smirk and then a genuine smile. He hovered across from her for a moment, clearly contemplating kissing or touching her, but she held her ground. It was one thing to walk into the building together, even to kiss briefly on the cheek in the lobby – but she was too good at her job to let him kiss her in her office. Finally he conceded, looking down briefly at her desk, and nodded a little.
“See you tonight, Scottie,” he said softly.
“I’ll be looking forward to it,” she answered, lightly, and she flashed him another smile as he turned and left. As soon as he was out of the room, she sighed and picked up her phone.
“Hi, Scottie,” said Donna cheerfully. “I assume you need the file for the Reicker bond offering?”
“You assume correctly,” Dana said, matching her tone. “How big is it? Something I won’t mind taking home, or should I call a paralegal to do some scanning?”
“Nah, you’ll be good on this one. It’s a pretty small redweld, everything else is on the server already.”
“Great, I’ll come over and get it.”
“No need, I’ll bring it by. You’re the one doing Harvey a favor, after all.”
The line clicked and Dana laid her phone in its cradle, leaning back in her desk chair and contemplating her workload for the remainder of the day. A bond offering sounded easy enough, but if the issue was only personal conflict between Harvey and the investment bankers he always referred to as, “the dicks at Deutsche,” he would have handed the job off to a junior partner or even a senior associate to handle for him. The fact that he’d asked her meant there was something tricky involved, and she was going to keep on her toes.
Donna popped her head shortly after, and Dana gestured quickly for her to come in, accepting the redweld gratefully.
“Thanks, Donna,” she said, flashing her a smile.
“No problem. Mind if I stick around for a couple minutes? Louis is still put out over whatever that shit was between the two of you, and I’m tired of being in the line of fire.”
“So you want to hide in my office, instead of your desk, which is…outside Harvey’s?”
“Well, yeah. Louis isn’t going to come to you. You beat him, and he knows it. Now he’s going to try to suck up to Harvey and Jessica, to make sure they like him better than you.”
“You know, he’s a good attorney. He’s just so…”
“Louis?” Donna supplied.
“Exactly,” Dana agreed, shaking her head. “Anyway, it’s fine, stay as long as you like. Want some Thin Mints?” She went over to her filing cabinet and pulled out a box.
“Harvey would have offered scotch,” Donna said, raising her eyebrows. Dana shrugged.
“I mean, I’ve got that, too, if you want it, but it’s Girl Scout cookie season, so…”
“Oh, no, I want the cookies,” Donna said quickly, reaching for the box. Dana pulled one out for herself and passed the rest over. “So much better than pretending to care about the difference between Glen Wherever and MacSomebody.”
“Exactly,” Dana agreed, popping the cookie in her mouth. “Mmmm. Now, see, this is real girl power. Everyone wants Girl Scout cookies. No one wants whatever that shit is that Boy Scouts sell.”
She settled in, then, and started looking at the file. The work really did look basically done, she realized, glancing at the letters from Moody’s and Fitch and scanning over the paperwork.
“This really is just about the underwriting?”
“Yup,” said Donna, swallowing a mouthful of cookie and pushing the box away. “They don’t like him. He doesn’t like them. Stupid to lose a deal like this over that.”
“Why ask me to do it, though? Any half-decent corporate lawyer could handle this.”
“Reicker’s an important client, and he figured they’d take more kindly being passed off to you than to a junior nobody? Honestly, though, I think at least half of it’s he needed an excuse to come by and see you that didn’t make him look too obvious.”
“That’s Harvey. Wants a relationship, doesn’t want to make it too obvious that he likes me.”
“I’d sympathize, but you’ve known him even longer than I have. You knew what you were getting yourself into.”
She rose to her feet, then, and tucked the file in her attaché before coming back to her desk and grabbing a couple other papers.
“Sorry to cut this short, Donna, but I have the design people coming by my place in a bit, so I have to run out.” She tucked the remaining files into her bag, as well, and put away the Thin Mints before turning back to Donna with a bit of a smile.
“There are Caramel Delites in the filing cabinet, too. Help yourself. And hide out here as long as you like, just make sure you lock the door when you leave.” She rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why no one here seems to lock up.”
“Just adds to the drama,” Donna said ruefully. “Probably that’s enough cookies, though. And I’ll tough it out. But thanks.”
The two women left the office together, Dana quickly locking the door behind her and offering Donna a slight wave as they went off in separate directions.
She settled in on the couch at her apartment – she might have decided to go with a new style for her new life back in the States, but there were a couple of pieces she just couldn’t give up – and pulled out her laptop and the physical pages from the Reicker file. It was tedious and made her a bit impatient, because it was so tempting just to scan over everything and rush through it, knowing it was pro forma – the sort of thing she’d easily give to a second- or third-year associate and be confident it was fine – but this was Harvey’s client.
Harvey, of course, had obviously read none of the paperwork, but that only made it easier to upstage him.
The decorators came in, with their pictures and rugs and…stuff…around noon, and Dana put away her work for long enough to direct them around the apartment and offer them some water before turning back to her laptop, determined to get everything squared away in time to dazzle the client on Thursday. Just as she was wrapping up, her phone buzzed – Harvey was about to leave work.
Perfect timing she thought with a grin, getting up to fix some drinks and briefly considering changing her clothes. It really was a little bit absurd that she’d worked from home for almost the full day and had spent the whole time in a pencil skirt. She brought the drinks back to the coffee table and cleared up the papers strewn across the glass top. As she put them away she noticed the pro bono file from earlier and frowned. It wasn’t that she had a problem with the concept of Madden v. Delran, but the idea that a corporate lawyer, who spent most of her time engaged in activities such as, “trying to figure out how large corporations could balance economies of scale with antitrust laws,” was somehow the right person to represent a criminal defendant charged with violating a restraining order…it was a little ridiculous. But this was her job and she’d do her best and she should probably read the whole file she’d been sent and be thankful for a case that involved so little in the way of document production.
When Harvey arrived twenty minutes later she didn’t quite know what had hit her.
“Scottie, what the hell?” he asked – and because it was him, it still managed to sound affectionate – when she finally answered the door. “How come you didn’t buzz me up? I had to charm your doorman.”
“I…sorry…I was, um, working and I got distracted…would you like a drink? I poured you a…a scotch,” she said, a bit fuzzily, as she led him over to the coffee table. And as obtuse as he could be sometimes, Harvey clearly wasn’t buying it.
“Are you drunk?” he asked, surprised, before quickly answering his own question. “No, of course you’re not, you talk faster when you’re drunk, not slower. Did something happen? Is it your mom?”
Dana shook her head a little.
“No, nothing happened – I’m fine; I just…”
“Scottie, you’re not fine,” he said urgently, sitting down and wrapping his arm firmly around her waist. “What’s going on?”
“It’s nothing,” she repeated, swallowing hard. “I just – the New Jersey pro bono – ”
“What about it? You said it was…a violation of a restraining order? And possession?” He grinned a little, but it was clearly strained. “Not your field, maybe, but nothing you can’t handle. I can probably help, if you need it; the Bergen County D.A.’s a friend of a friend.”
“Harvey,” she said finally, downing her own drink in two gulps to manage to look him in the eye. “Harvey. It’s not the law. I can handle that. It’s what he did.” She passed him the scant papers she’d received with the assignment. He took them and looked down, briefly, before looking back up into her face.
“Scottie?” he said slowly. “You wanna tell me?”
She shook her head but started talking almost immediately.
“They’re kids, Harvey. Kids. They’re, like, twenty. And she broke up with him, and then he just…showed up at her house one night with a gun, and threatened to kill himself, or her, or her little brother, or her parents, or the whole family unless she…and she did, and then she finally got a restraining order, and he’s still following her around, and I have to defend this asshole and I hate him.”
Dana looked down, a little ashamed at the outburst, a little bit embarrassed that she’d gotten so worked up over a stupid pro bono case that was meant to take up just a couple hours of her time.
“I know,” he said quietly.
“No, you don’t,” she answered, swiftly, almost angry now. “You meet your pro bono requirements by giving your cases to your associate, and back when you worked for the state you were a prosecutor and put people like my newest client in prison and enjoyed it.”
“You think I never defended someone I thought was slime?”
“I think you never defended someone for threatening to murder an entire family just to get his ex-girlfriend to blow him.”
“Scottie – ”
“Harvey, there is a reason I have never practiced in criminal law. I just…I can’t…”
“Scottie, I know. You think none of the cases I dealt with at the D.A.’s office ever kept me up at night, you’re wrong. I don’t even know how public defenders sleep, although thank God for them because someone has to do it.”
“I know. Everyone gets to have an attorney, and sometimes it's me. I just…why couldn’t it just be the cocaine? That, I could handle.” She managed a slight smile, then, and Harvey grinned back, reaching his other arm around her waist and pulling her into his lap.
“I’d offer to take it for you but I’m not licensed in New Jersey,” he told her. “I can get you an associate if you want, though.”
She shook her head.
“No, I can do it,” she said, for what felt like the millionth time – maybe because she’d been desperately telling it to herself.
“You don’t have to be okay,” he said gently, and Dana smiled a little.
“I know. But I am.”
He looked at her suspiciously and tightened his arms around her a little, holding her close and rubbing her back when she finally laid her head on his shoulder.
“Are you hungry?” he asked quietly, without pulling away.
“Maybe a little,” she murmured into his neck.
He paused for a moment, considering, and she tried not to take too much comfort in the feeling of his chest rising and falling under her face as he breathed because ugh.
“Want me to order something?”
She chuckled a little.
“I was going to cook,” she admitted. “There’s food prepped in the fridge from when I took a break.”
“Do you want to?”
“Okay, I’ll order in.”
Dana took one last long, comforting breath and carefully got out of his lap, grabbing an elastic off the coffee table and pulling her hair into a ponytail, a little embarrassed once again as Harvey looked up at her.
“Sorry,” she said softly. Harvey shook his head, rose to his feet, and pulled her back into his arms.
“Hey,” he said, quietly. “Nobody likes this stuff, you know that, right?”
“I know,” she agreed. “I just…I didn’t expect it to hit me quite like that.”
“You’ve spent most of your career dealing with mergers and acquisitions, corporate tax structuring. When you go to court, it’s for, what, breach of contract? This stuff…it hits you, if you’re not used to it. Even if you are, sometimes, but especially if you’re not. It’s okay if…it’s okay.”
She smiled a little then, impulsively, kissed him softly on the mouth.
“Thanks,” she said, sincerely. “I think I needed that.”
He patted her awkwardly on the small of her back and nodded a little.
“Dinner’s your choice, by the way,” she added. Harvey grinned.
“As long as you’re still gonna – ”
“Yes, Harvey,” she said, rolling her eyes and turning to walk towards the bedroom. “In the meantime, I’m going to take advantage of the fact that we’re at my place and change clothes.”
“Yoga pants!” he called after her, and she couldn’t help giggling.
“Sure,” she called back. “I might even have a cropped tank top or two from the three weeks I did spin classes.”
“Whatever makes you comfortable,” he replied, and she could actually hear him smirking.
She stood in front of the closet for a long moment, taking a deep breath before she finally opened the door. This was going to be okay. She was going to be okay. And she and Harvey…well, maybe it wasn’t as reckless an idea as it had seemed at the time.