Mike sits before his computer to work on the task that Harvey has given him. He knows exactly who he is searching for. The name is easy to find. Tess O'Brien popped out on a quick search. The focus of Harvey's gaze wore a white collared shirt. In a male dominated profession, a female officer is a easy peasy to find on the FDNY site.
Her name is Tesla O'Brien. Lt Tesla O'Brien. He looks up the department records. From her records, his gut tells him where Harvey would have met her. Harvey must have been at the Trade Center from the way he reacted to the firefighters in the stairwell.
On a hunch, Mike pulls up an image that had always haunted him. The woman's face was familiar to him. The curse of his memory is that he remembers every detail of what he saw on TV that day. Like Kennedy's assassination, it was one of those moments in time that everyone knows what they were doing when they found out. The image he pulls up was etched in his memory banks. When someone mentioned 9/11, it was the first image that jettisons from his memory.
The faces were just faces, now one of the faces suddenly has a name. The woman's face has an identity and now is a very real person of flesh and blood and not pixels. The image was famous. It was on every news source in the US and a significant part of the world. Mike gazes at the screen transfixed on the image. The image is of a couple of fire fighters carrying another across the debris. They are caked with white dust. Their features are barely distinguishable with the thick coating of dust and blood on their faces and gear. They looked like ghosts lost in the snow. The image came to symbolize the day.
Tesla O'Brien was one of the assisting firefighters. Mike can now recognize the curve of her cheekbones and feminine features through coating of dust. It is most definitely her. Mike's curiosity is now peaked. He investigates a little deeper into the world of Tesla O'Brien world. She has the normal citations for this and for that. She made lieutenant a few years ago. For the heck of it, he hits Google. The results surprise him. She graduated from… from Penn? An Ivy League education and she is a fire fighter? He reads page after page about her life. Tess O'Brien has had a rather colorful life so far. The more he reads the less sense it makes. Mike puts those details to the side since Harvey only asked for a name . He prepares to take that name to Harvey.
Mike appears in Harvey's doorway with paper in hand. Harvey looks up as Mike places a piece of paper in front of him on the desk. After a moment's hesitation, Harvey looks down at what Mike had written. "Tesla… like Nichola?"
Mike cracks a smile. "Don't Hertz me, baby." Harvey rolls his eyes at Mike's lame attempt at humor. Harvey wants a moment alone. Noticing Harvey's expression and the wild card that Tesla O'Brien is in Harvey's world, Mike takes the cue exiting Harvey's office.
Harvey sits and stares at the paper, she is suddenly very real and no longer a face in the crowd. He had always referred to her as his stairwell angel and now the angel has a name. In a moment of inspiration, Harvey pulls out his cellphone. He scans his contact list for the solution.
"Hey, I have a job for you." Harvey gets up and shuts his door which grabs Donna's attention. The look on his face tells her not to hit that intercom button. This is a conversation that she should leave alone at least for now.
Several days later, Harvey meets up with the recipient of his phone call at their usual spot in Midtown away from his office and prying eyes. He waits for the PI he uses for stuff that the wants off the books. Rachel saunters up in her usual flamboyant style. One would think she is a bit more street walker than PI. Rachel gives him her usual flirty smile. "So it's about a girl? This must be quite a girl." Rachel gives Harvey a playful nudge as she hands him an envelope.
"It's not what you think." Harvey exchanges an envelope in return and a coy look of his own.
She smiles at him again. "It never is." Rachel gives him a wink and evaporates into the early evening air. Harvey tucks the envelope into his jacket. He turns the corner and hops into the back of his Lexus.
Harvey walks into his penthouse tossing his jacket onto the couch since his curiosity is getting the better of him at this moment. He places the envelope on the counter and then pours himself a drink. Harvey takes a seat on the couch staring at the envelope for a while in contemplation. He wonders if this is the right move or just the shock and awe of seeing something unexpected. He remembers her kindness at a moment of chaos. He remembered so many encounters with her on the train.
Something occurs to Harvey as he stares at the envelope, she was like him. Tesla did not work near the towers. She worked near his office then and now. She was always on the train before him but she got off at his stop. What an extraordinary twist of fate that would have put her in that stairwell with him at that moment, she should not have been there yet she was. Harvey picks up the envelope and pulls out the folder that lies within.
He sits back. "Well, Tess… it is time we meet." He flips through the pages that reveal the history of Tesla O'Brien. She is his age. Grew up in Throgg's Neck in the Bronx. She is one of eight. She is the youngest of eight with five brothers and two sisters. He reads on. Boarding school…University of Pennsylvania. She could not be from money, not with where she grew up. Her mother died when she was young. She went to boarding school soon after. He reads while sipping his drink. Harvey knows what he wanted to know about Ms. O'Brien at least for now.
The next morning finds Harvey on the subway. He boarded the train at his old nostalgic stop. He knows where she lives and she lives now where she lived then. Perhaps old habits are still habits.
Harvey's gut was spot on. She is a creature of habit and he has chosen well. She is one car down. He can see her through the glass. He doesn't approach her. Instead he just watches her from afar. Harvey knows what stop she is heading for to get to the station. He gets up as she approaches the door to exit. Tess recognizes Harvey as they ascend the staircase to the street. Harvey allows her in front of him. Tess smiles. "Never figured you for the train."
"People never cease to surprise." Harvey smiles back at her as they part ways into the morning.
Mike walks towards the office where he receives the shock of his life. Harvey is walking up from the subway. As Harvey approaches, Mike can no longer contain the question. "You took the subway?"
"I've lived in New York longer than you have been alive. I have ridden the subway before." Mike is certainly not going to let this go. "Yeah but thought you were beyond going all native." Mike completes the statement with a smile and air quotes.
Harvey grabs a coffee from the coffee cart before heading up to the office offering one to Mike simply to shut him up. After an appropriate amount of time has passed and Harvey is engaged with a client, Mike meanders to Donna's desk up for the gossip. "So why would our man Harvey be riding the subway this morning?" Donna's expression is priceless as Mike's words hit her brain prompting a visual.
"He went native?" Donna's voice registers the appropriate and expected level of shock given what Harvey spends on cars. Mike nods as Donna looks over his shoulder and ends unintentionally catching Harvey's gaze. They are snagged.