Unbeknownst to Harvey, keeping Donna from meeting Chloe was going to be harder than he thought.
Mike was in a bind. Chloe's school had the day off today, and while this was a cause for celebration for the students, for him it presented a problem.
''Why?'' Chloe demanded from the couch. She was perched on her makeshift bed, and yanked another tissue out of the box. ''I'm not a baby, for crying out loud. I can be left alone.''
''Here?'' Mike gestured to their surroundings. The apartment was nice enough, but the neighborhood wasn't one he was keen to leave his little sister alone all day in, possibly longer with his hours lately. And as she was battling a cold, she wouldn't be allowed in the nursing home to visit their grandmother.
Chloe paused to sneeze. ''When in Rome,'' she said stuffily.
Mike ran a hand through his hair. As always when he didn't know what to do about Chloe, his grandmother's voice was in his head, telling him what to do. But he couldn't stay home with her. He was still so new at his job.
''Just go,'' Chloe urged. ''Your fake job depends on it.''
''It's not a fake job. It's a real job I got with fake credentials.''
''Wow, you really are a lawyer. Already dancing around nuances.''
She adjusted the magazine she had in her lap and laid her head against the couch cushion. Mike studied her for a moment, and an idea occurred to him. ''You're good at finding hiding places,'' he stated.
Chloe raised an eyebrow. For only eleven, she had a great exasperated teenager expression. ''And?''
''Why not spend the day hiding?''
She understood his meaning. ''You want to put your fake job at risk-''
''Not a fake job.''
''-By sneaking me into the office? For no reason other than paranoia?''
''I'm working late again. I don't know when I'll be home.''
''You never do. It's fine. I like my couch.''
''The office is big,'' Mike relented. ''And open. It might be hard to find a good place…''
He let his voice trail off. Chloe put her magazine down. ''Michal Ross, did you just dare me to hide in your office all day without getting caught?''
Mike shrugged. ''Hey, if you don't think you can do it…''
Chloe scrunched up her face as she always did when she was in deep thought. She leaned froward. ''Okay,'' she said, ''but I have to get something in return.''
''Because you should never agree to something unless you get something in return.''
Mike was touched. ''You listen to me?''
''Sometimes. Like, when there's nothing on TV.''
''What do you want?''
''Hmm…'' Chloe paused in deep consideration.
Mike didn't have time for this. ''Tell me later, we have to go.''
''Fine. I'll be a minute.'' Chloe threw off her covers and began searching for clothes. ''Got to be on real time for your fake job…''
''Stop calling it fake,'' Mike pleaded.
''But it had such a nice ring to it,'' Chloe protested. Mike responded by chucking her sweatshirt at her.
''Don't they like search people to get in and stuff?'' Chloe asked as they hurried up the street. She eyed the official looking buildings warily.
''You can sneak around. It'll be easy,'' Mike assured her.
''I love how breaking the rules in one sense has made you more bold to break other rules.''
''Lying to get in a building is a lot less daunting considering I got a job there by lying.''
Mike shoved her shoulder.
Getting into the building proved not that hard, all things considered. Mike struck up a rapport with the security office on duty (Paul), and while he told him all about his dealings at home, Chloe managed to slip around the metal detectors and into the stairwell, where Mike joined her.
''Alright, you remember where everything is?'' Mike asked.
''Yes yes, my pitiful regular memory remembers, Oh Great One.'' Chloe rolled her eyes. Mike had a tendency to either assume she remembered things as quickly as he did, or assume the exact opposite. ''Now while you do fake work, I'm gonna be gone all day, thinking hard about my prize.'' She smiled wide. ''I'm thinking something really expensive.''
''I was thinking a whole Saturday at the arcade with pizza,'' Mike mentioned.
''Sold!'' And with a final triumphant grin, Chloe ran ahead.
To her credit, Mike didn't see her again until their agreed time back in the stairwell. He waited until they were relocated at the abandoned library to talk with her. ''We're here for the night,'' he said, splitting the take out he'd ordered. ''Big case…''
''That you screwed up?'' Chloe hide a smile while she bit her burger at Mike's surprised look. ''You can hear a lot of things while hiding around a firm.''
''What did you hear?''
''Something about dolls, you being called an idiot, and I saw that Louis guy.'' She shuddered. ''Looks like a wet rat.''
Mike laughed. ''No one saw you, right?'' He asked.
''Please. You're talking to a professional.''
She swiped a fry.
Mike felt pretty proud when they made it home the next day, case wrapped up and Chloe's presence undetected. His good humor didn't last long when his sister spotted the gift the client had given him.
''Oh my god.'' Chloe beheld the doll version of Mike with glee. Mike could practically hear her brain frantically thinking of all the ways she could torture him with doll references. ''I must have it.''
''No way.'' He held it out of her reach.
''No! This is my prize. Give it to me!''
''You don't even like dolls.''
''I've changed my mind. I collect them now, starting with little Mike here!''
She made another swipe for it, and Mike held it higher still. ''It's just a thank you from the client,'' he explained. ''Apparently Harvey has one too.''
''Is that the blonde guy with the tight suits?''
''I assume it's part of your long term plan to one day see that doll?''
''It's my new life goal.'' The doll still held aloft, Mike managed to open the apartment door. ''C'mon, inside.''
It was a normal day in the office, so Harvey was a little taken aback when Donna, while handing him a case file, casually mentioned, ''Mike brought his sister to work and she's hiding in your office because Louis is on the warpath and almost found her.''
''Here he comes.'' Donna gestured down the hall. ''Play cool.''
''Play-'' There were only a handful of times Harvey could recall being taken off guard. This was definitely one of them.
He followed Donna's gaze and could see Louis trotting angrily and with great purpose towards him. With a glare at Harvey, he walked straight into his office, clearly expecting Harvey to follow. After receiving a warning look from Donna and giving himself a little sigh, Harvey did.
''What do you want, Louis?'' Harvey asked in the most board tone he could manage. In truth, his interest was quite piqued, eyes scanning his office for the intruder Donna had mentioned. He didn't see her. There were only so many places to hide in his office…
''You need to fix your attitude,'' Louis said.
''Do I?'' Harvey threw the file he'd retrieved from Donna on his desk. ''Huh. Didn't know it was broken. Okay, bye now.''
''The way we act dictates how the associates under us act,'' Louis went on. ''If we are not holding ourselves to any high standards, how can the idiotic sheep we lead follow our guidance?''
''Maybe by following the farmer? Since apparently in your scenario we are not a law firm but a ranch?'' Harvey stood behind his desk, risking a quick glance underneath. The obvious choice, which was what made it more surprising when he saw the space empty. Perhaps Donna was pulling his leg?
''Harvey, I'll come to the point.''
''My lucky day.''
''It's your relationship with Mike Ross. You're too…'' Louis paused thoughtfully for words. ''…Free with him. The kid needs guidance, Harvey. For how else-''
''Is the idiotic sheep not gonna fall in a well? Yeah, yeah, I heard you the first time.'' Movement caught Harvey's eye past Louis, and there, wedged between the wall and bookcase, was the intruder.
She was crouched on the floor on one knee, but other than her location there was no indication in her manner that she was hiding. She was listening to the conversation innocently enough, and did not seem at all startled upon Harvey noticing her. She stared back at him unabashedly.
Louis was still talking. Harvey turned his attention back to him. ''Do you understand where I'm coming from, Harvey?''
''Yeah, sure, Louis.''
He was surprised. ''Really?''
''Yeah, ei-ei-oh. Now please leave. I have work to do.''
In opening his laptop and refusing to look up again, Harvey did not get a chance to decipher his expression. But the second Louis left and Harvey watched him retreat down the hall, he finally turned his attention to the girl still crouched on the floor. ''And what are you doing here?''
''Uh…'' She paused. ''I'm the new paper boy?''
''Worth a shot.'' She got to her feet. She peered around the bookshelf before risking a step forward. Harvey realized she was gauging whether she could be seen through the glass walls. ''So…you're Harvey.''
''And you are?''
''Chloe.'' She wiped her nose on her sleeve. ''Mike's sister.''
''Our firm does't have a 'Bring Your Sibling To Work' day.''
''One should make their own holidays.''
''Why are you here?''
She shrugged. ''I dunno.''
''What kind of answer is that?''
''Sometimes Mike wants me to come. He gets it in his head our place isn't safe so instead of getting a dog like I want he makes me come here. What can you do?''
''Sometimes? How often are you here?''
''Cause Mike. He's really annoying.''
Harvey could agree there. ''So…'' he leaned back in his chair, studying her. She was quite a comically sight here the big business attire firm. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, a sweatshirt that was probably Mike's if its size was anything to go by. Her hair was long and in a frayed braid over her shoulder. Her clothes and age dictated she should be on some playground somewhere, but her manner did not indicate she didn't belong. She didn't so much as flinch under his gaze. ''You know my deal with Mike?''
''Everything,'' she said confidently.
''Everything?'' He repeated.
''Mike and I don't lie to each other. Especially when committing felonies. His rule,'' she clarified.
Harvey briefly wondered if it was his place to ask his next question, but discarded the doubt immediately; Mike told her, brought her here, and besides, it was his neck on the line too. ''You know what will happen if he gets caught?''
''Yeah.'' For the first time she wavered. ''But you're not gonna let that happen, right?''
''I can't guarantee it.''
''Wow. Wouldn't want you as a lawyer then.''
Harvey smirked. ''I guess I don't need to tell you how important it is you don't tell anyone.''
''Tell anyone what?'' Chloe cocked her head to the side. ''About the years my brother was at Harvard? I wouldn't know anything about it. He never called me, never wrote. It's really almost like he just got a degree one day.''
Harvey nodded appreciatively. ''Well, then.''
They stared at each other a moment more before Chloe again glanced out the glass. ''No one's there,'' she pointed out.
''We had a bet on how long I could go without Donna knowing. Wasn't long.'' Chloe sounded impressed. ''She knows everything.''
Not everything. Harvey pushed the mixed feelings down. He asked, ''How long have you been hiding around here?''
Chloe grinned, her teeth all showing. One of her front teeth was still a baby tooth, much smaller than all the rest. Marcus had a tooth like that when he was younger. ''Magicians never tell.''
A message on his computer diverted Harvey's attention. By the time he'd deleted the notification and turned back, Chloe was gone. The door closing and a wisp of grey disappearing around the corner past Donna's desk was the only clue to where she'd gone.
Turning so his back was to the door, Harvey allowed himself a moment's contemplation. Good job, Mike, not bringing negative attention himself by brining his kid sister to work. He'd have to smack him upside the head for doing something so dumb.
Instead of Mike, Harvey's thoughts drifted toward Chloe, specifically how she looked with her head cocked to the side, feigning ignorance. Even her voice was like Donna's…
It's fine. No one will ever find out…