So here we are embarking on another adventure...
Facts: Alfred is a law student hired by prestige law firm Thompson Lang as a summer associate. Summer associates assist real lawyers with their jobs. Alfred is assigned to prominent defense attorney Arthur Kirkland and is determined to learn the tricks of the trade.
Disclaimer: I have small knowledge of the criminal legal process. This story is realistic, but not perfect. I wrote it for fun, haha.
This one shouldn't be too long. (I'm aiming for six chapters.) I would say that it isn't a typical lawyering FF, but judge for yourselves. :)
much love, doze
The elevator took off with dizzying speed causing Alfred to grab for the wall. He was still a little shaky in his new Armani and spit-shined loafers. The nervous bubble of sludge that occupied his chest right now was only to be expected. His first day on the job promised to be an adventure.
Once Alfred had navigated his way through the morning commute, he'd been stunned by the sprawling jungle of skyscrapers in the business district of the city. He walked in their shadows, entertaining grand thoughts of the great men who had walked in their shadows before him. Somehow the streets were cleaner here, and the clothes all but sang pretty pennies. Every intersection named after a number or Washington or Jefferson or Madison. No hot dog vendors and no tourist trash. The air weighed on him with the heavy mantle of business propriety.
It took him awhile to find the right building. Out front a waterfall glittered in the sunlight, set in a square of shiny tiles. Thompson Lang LLP was written in block type on a large sign.
The reception area had directed him to the elevators and here he was. On his way to the top floor to meet Arthur Kirkland. His temporary badge cut lines in his palm as he gripped it, mentally rehearsing his introduction.
"Good morning, Mr. Kirkland. I've been looking forward to meeting you since I first got the news. I'm Alfred Jones and I'll be your summer associate. Someday I want to be a defense attorney just like you..."
Alfred cringed. That sounded pathetic, didn't it? So far they'd taught him a lot in law school, but formality was something he'd have to learn on his own.
The elevator doors glided open. The 37th floor of the Plaza greeted Alfred in a rush of opulence. Strange paintings, wooden panels, waiting room smell. Alfred took a deep breath and began the walk to the next receptionist. Every floor felt like another game level and he had reached the boss. Looking out, huge floor-to-ceiling windows captured breathtaking views of the city. Every sight reminded him where he was. By the time he reached the glittering young lady at the front his heart was going like a jackhammer.
"A-Alfred Jones, here to see Arthur Kirkland." He held up his temporary badge and she gave him a knowing smile.
"You're the new summer associate? I'll let his secretary know you're here. For now, just take a seat by the window."
Alfred nodded mutely. Five minutes morphed into ten minutes morphed into fifteen. He started to pace, feeling like he might go out of his mind. Maybe this was all a fluke. Maybe he had only thought he'd gotten the job. He wasn't good enough to even scrub toilets at Thompson Lang. There must have been some mistake.
The sound of loafers slapping tile drilled into Alfred's buzzing thoughts. For a long moment, he couldn't determine where the noise was coming from. Until a young man dressed impeccably in pinstripes emerged from a hallway at crisp pace. Alfred recognized him from the pictures. This was Arthur Kirkland, best defense attorney in the state.
"Alfred Jones, I presume?" Arthur held up a hand with a crooked smile. His accent made Alfred feel like he'd fallen into a sophisticated Law and Order episode.
"Yes, that would be me. It is a pleasure to meet you, sir." Arthur's hand felt small in his and warmer than he had expected. It dawned on him that he was nearly six inches taller than the man, and he hadn't even noticed. Arthur carried himself with uncompromising confidence.
"Save sir for seniors. We're not in your classes. Please call me Arthur."
"Yes sir, I mean, Arthur," He smiled nervously.
Arthur waved him forward. "I'll show you your desk. Not afraid of heights, are you?" His crooked smile made another appearance as Alfred shook his head rapidly back and forth. "Only frightened of me then?" Arthur murmured. "Well, I think that puts us in pretty good shape. I admit I'm the scariest force in the office."
When he said it like that, it was hard not to laugh. Arthur was going out of his way to put Alfred at ease.
"I'll have to watch my step then, sir," Alfred said, unable to help teasing gently back. He'd been expecting someone more rigid and professional. All the insider articles said that Arthur Kirkland had a hell of a temper and an attitude to boot. But he wasn't seeing it. "Anything I should absolutely avoid?"
Arthur's eyebrows lifted in surprise at his tone, and Alfred wondered if he had presumed too much.
"Yes," Arthur said, hardly falling out of rhythm at all. "Nothing with sauerkraut for lunch. I hate the smell."
Alfred bit his lip to keep from smiling, but knew that Arthur had seen anyway.
"Well," Arthur stopped at a small office alcove, tucked in the corner with a gorgeous view. "This will be yours. My office is right here." He didn't have to take a single step. Only leaned over to tap a large door to the right. "I have a client meeting this afternoon. You'll be responsible for seeing them in. Let me know beforehand when they arrive so I can prepare. For right now, I want you to mess around with the computer system until you feel comfortable. I've sent you a copy of my resume, and I'd like you to make some changes using our company system. If you have problems, my secretary is down that way and can answer questions. After my client meeting, we'll go into your role here in more depth. Any questions?"
When Alfred shook his head, Arthur gave him a brief smile and held out his hand again. "I'm looking forward to working with you this summer, Alfred."
Alfred beamed. "Me too. I hadn't realized I'd get assigned someone so esteemed as you. I'm excited."
"Are you a good listener?" Arthur asked thoughtfully.
"I try to be."
Arthur pursed his lips. His eyes, green and vibrant, glimmered with amusement. "That's an attorney's answer if I ever heard one. Yes or no?"
Alfred sighed, "Most of the time, yes."
"Then you should have no problems here. Don't disturb me until my client arrives." He gave Alfred a final nod before disappearing into his office.
Grateful for the reprieve, Alfred settled into the squeaky chair of his new desk. To his left, the city sprawled out like a jagged Google Earth map. His nerves had lessened just enough for him to begin work on Arthur's resume. Thank God he was tech intuitive because the design of the company system was crap. The secretary dropped by to introduce herself before taking off. She was only part-time.
"So what do you think so far?" She asked him warmly.
"Everything's very high up," Alfred joked. "Arthur seems nice."
"Does he?" She quirked an eyebrow. Alfred thought this was a strange response, but shrugged it off. Chalk it up to secretaries and their weird secret society. He had already noticed them gathering around the coffeepot like a gang of middleaged gossip columnists. He was staying far out of that one.
"Yeah," Alfred said, "he does."
"Oh, I'm not saying that," She said quickly. But she didn't bother to elaborate what she had been saying. The client had arrived and she made herself scarce.
Alfred didn't mean to think it, but it was the first thought in his mind. The client looked like the picture of a white collar criminal. Chiseled features, perfect hair, and curling sneer to boot. Swallowing, Alfred picked up the phone and dialed Arthur's extension. "Mr. Heighn is here for his appointment."
After that he led Mr. Heighn to the waiting room. Feeling more or less like an overglorified babysitter for criminals. Arthur met them not three minutes later, looking strangely scruffy compared to his stonework client.
"Mr. Heighn," Arthur shook hands formally. "Right this way."
"You have a new secretary, Mr. Kirkland?" Heighn looked down his nose at Alfred, all but exuding superiority.
"Something like that," Arthur said, causing Alfred to bristle in surprise. "Alfred, fetch us the refreshment cart." He walked away without looking back all eyes for Heighn.
Okay, so he'd been demoted from summer associate to secretary at the word of some douchebag? Fabulous. It took him nearly half an hour to scrounge up the refreshments cart, as he had no idea his way around this place. When he finally wheeled it in, Arthur's tight-lipped smile spoke for itself. He was about to be demoted further to who-knew-what.
After finishing Arthur's resume, Alfred found himself with nothing to do. He stared at the ceiling for so long he could see it with his eyes closed. His phone rang and startled him nearly three hours later. Arthur telling him to escort the client to the elevator.
Mr. Heighn grinned unpleasantly the whole time. "I should be seeing you again, Mr. Secretary."
When Alfred made it back to his desk, he was ushered impatiently into Arthur's office. It didn't take a genius to see that Arthur was in a terrible mood.
Despite that, Alfred couldn't help but be impressed by the office. Stunning book shelves stacked with gold-backed law books towered against the wall. Arthur's desk was fashioned from dark cherry wood, stately and immovable. He even had a small sitting area in his office, complete with cushy couch and ornate rug. An ancient sea map of the world was hung over his head. In scrawling script the words Here There Be Dragons. A couple of nautical models cluttered a side table, ships in bottles and on poles. A World War 2 era Mustang plane twinkled in the sunlight. Overall, he hadn't expected it to be this cool.
"These are billable hours." Arthur unceremoniously shoved a paper his way, settling with a groan into some kind of ergonomic chair. "The number at the top is the client number and then the matter number. You know how to enter that in the system?"
Alfred bobbed his head.
"You're here to do whatever I need you to do," Arthur continued. "Between everything, I will try and find some time to teach you about the kind of law I do." He paused abruptly. "You do know what kind of law I practice?"
Alfred nodded. "Yes, criminal law. You're a defense attorney."
"Good, you're not a complete idiot."
Alfred didn't know how to respond to this suddenly abrasive conversation. What had happened to the crooked smile of before? Mr. Heighn had eaten it up, surely.
"The most important thing is that you listen to me. If you don't listen, we will have problems."
Alfred nodded again.
"Working here is a privilege," Arthur murmured. "I expect you to remember that. Any questions?"
"No sir." And this time Arthur said nothing about the sir.
0 0 0
"It's the clients mainly," whispered Arthur's secretary as they sipped coffee together in the break room the next day. Arthur had already bitten Alfred's head off twice that morning for not having files ready.
"You must have caught him on a good day when you met. He can be sugarsweet charming if it suits him. He wouldn't have all these clients otherwise."
Alfred shrugged. "This is going on my resume in the future. I don't care if I actually do anything or not. It's on there."
"Oh, he works his associates to the bone," She assured him. "They come in here wet behind the ears and they leave with that hunted look in their eyes. When they complained in the past, he only made it worse."
"I'm not complaining," Alfred said, holding up his hands.
She laughed a little and he smiled. Marlene wouldn't stop comparing him to her son, but other than that she wasn't bad company.
"What puts him in a good mood?" Alfred asked whimsically, giving the last dregs of his coffee a swirl before downing it.
"A no client day." She snorted.
"Okay, what not impossible thing puts him in a good mood?"
She shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine."
Alfred groaned, "Come on. You really have nothing?"
"I don't know, Alfred. If I have to ask him for extra time off, I try to conveniently bring him something from the bakery to butter him up. But I think he's on to me."
"Really?" Alfred cocked his head. He'd been meaning to go in that place.
"Oh and he's always complaining how there's never any tea on the refreshments cart."
"Huh." A plan was beginning to form itself in Alfred's mind. Really, this was an opportunity he couldn't waste. Arthur was the best defense attorney in the state. Maybe it was sheer dumb luck Alfred had got assigned here, but it was practically Willy Wonka's golden ticket. If the guy was in a better mood, maybe he would share some of the coveted secrets of the profession. And Alfred could, you know, actually learn something related to law that didn't involve a refreshments cart.
"I wouldn't worry too much about it, Alfred," the secretary continued. "You'll make it through alive-but-barely. Everybody does. Arthur has a reputation in the legal field. Even that will..."
But Alfred was no longer listening. He had twenty minutes left in his lunch break and a bakery to ransack.
0 0 0
Anxiously, Alfred knocked on Arthur's office door. He clutched a brown paper bag behind his back, hands shaking.
Alfred cracked the door open to find Arthur in the same spot he'd left him in. It appeared that he hadn't bothered to take a lunch break. His desk was covered in papers and books, the edges of his computer screen tacked with Post-its. His hair was even wilder than usual. Even now, Arthur was absently running fingers through it as he looked through a large tome.
"Sir?" Alfred asked neutrally, waiting for Arthur to glance up.
"Yes?" Arthur's tone was a little tight, but he managed a smile.
"I was down at the bakery for lunch," Alfred said, pulling out his brown paper bag. "I have some extras if you would like them."
Arthur's eyebrows lifted in genuine surprise. "What do you have?"
"Basically one of everything," Alfred said, which was the truth. "I have scones, though, because you seem like you would..." He fell off in slight embarrassment. He had assumed the British guy would like scones.
Arthur read the silence masterfully, before gracing Alfred with a proper smile. "As sad as it sounds, scones are my favorite."
Alfred beamed, coming forward to set the bag on Arthur's desk. Before he could escape, Arthur's voice stopped him at the door.
"You've been talking to Marlene, haven't you?" He had taken a scone out of the bag and had already bitten into it. Yep, he'd skipped lunch.
"Sure..." Alfred kept his eyes away, like the secretary was someone he shouldn't be talking to.
To his surprise, Arthur barked a rough laugh. "Well, what did you want?"
"What do you mean?"
Arthur didn't bother answering, just raised his eyebrows higher.
Alfred shrugged, leaning in the doorway. "I want to talk with you."
Arthur didn't answer for another minute, working through his scone. "Well, perhaps that can be arranged."
Alfred grinned, "Thank you, sir. I know you're a busy man."
"Not busy enough to keep you away, I see," Arthur remarked dryly. Alfred decided wisely to step out then.
0 0 0
"Alfred! The refreshments cart!" Marlene hissed at him as he made his jolly way back from the bathroom later that afternoon. "He's already got clients in there."
"Shooooot." Alfred finished doing up his zipper and took off at a jog for the supply closet off the kitchenette. He grabbed the cart and ran the rest of the way, stopping just outside Arthur's office door to collect himself and adjust his tie. Two crisp knocks.
"Come in," Arthur called. He opened the door to find a family of three, sprawled across Arthur's cushy couch and Arthur perched lightly on the edge of his desk in full charm mode. "Just there will be fine, Alfred." He smiled at the couple's daughter. "And there are biscuits, of course."
"Coffee?" asked the father as Alfred was already halfway to the door.
"Yes, just there." Arthur pointed.
"Tea?" asked the mother.
"No," Arthur began. "I'm afraid-
"Yes, there's tea, Arthur," Alfred interrupted. "Look. Right there."
Arthur frowned, waving a hand dismissively at him. "I've been here eight years, Alfred. There has never once been-
"Ah, here it is." The mother held up a familiar green leafed box. "I don't believe I've ever had PG Tips."
"Weird firm brands," Alfred waved a hand jauntily. "They like getting the foreign stuff."
Arthur's mouth stayed open for a little too long, before he threw a sharp look back at his summer associate. Who was doing his best to act innocent. "That's something new."
"Maybe the firm's trying new things," Alfred shrugged, feeling a blush coming on, damnit. It didn't even make sense. He was just buttering Arthur up for lawyering tips, nothing more.
"Yes, well you better get back to your desk."
Alfred winced, but nodded.
"And when you get there, block me out for Wednesday noon to two on the calendar."
Arthur bit his lip to keep from smiling in a way that had warmth rushing all down Alfred's back. "Make sure you're free at that time. I'm a busy man, and criminal law's a lengthy subject."
Alfred's eyes widened and he didn't bother hiding his smile. "Yessir."
"I believe my name is Arthur."
Alfred chuckled. "Yes, Arthur."
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