When Leah and Steven arrive for their meeting with Kristian Makepeace, they’re ushered into a large conference room with trays filled with doughnuts and pastries, and a coffee machine on a table against one wall. There’s also an assortment of teas with a hot water carafe. Leah and Steven have been given a portfolio outlining the services provided by the law firm, and containing detailed résumés of each attorney. Leah notes that Steven is treated with the same level of respect reserved for a much more experienced attorney, which makes an impression on her.
“They definitely encourage diversity,” Steven says, looking through the packet.
“Yes they do,” Leah says. “Very impressive.”
Kristian enters and extends her hand. “Doctor Walker. I’ve been looking forward to meeting with you for some time.”
“Yes. I’ve been aware of your work for a while now, Ms. Makepeace,” Leah shakes hands. “Good to finally meet you.”
Kristian turns to Steven and offers her hand. “Mr. Asher. I’ve had a look at your credentials and I think you’ll make a fine addition to our firm, despite how long you’ve been practicing.”
“Thank you, Ms. Makepeace.”
“What’s the chance of Judge Castor sitting in with us?” Leah says. “I remember him from our Christmas parties.”
“Friday’s the one day neither of my partners show up,” Kristian says. “Normally, the Judge is here Monday and Wednesday and Dalton comes in Tuesday and Thursday.”
“They’re never here together?” Steven says.
“Oddly, appropriate,” Leah says.
Kristian motions to the table. “Please, have a seat. Let’s get to know one another.”
Leah and Steven sit. Kristian gets a cup of coffee and joins them. She says to Leah, “You went to Wellesley, didn’t you?”
“I did. Best experience of my life.”
“I had my sights set on attending there, Bryn Mawr, or Smith. Unfortunately, my father bet my college fund on the Falcons going to the Super Bowl one year with predictable results.”
“Too bad. You would have loved it.”
“I had the grades, so I was able to get a scholarship to GSU.”
“Why not Agnes Scott?” Steven asks.
“Law school,” Kristian says. “I already planned to go to GSU and figured I’d just go for the full-meal deal.” To Leah, “I bet you have a ton of stories.”
“I could probably write a book, under a pseudonym, of course.”
“Perhaps you wouldn’t mind sharing a few of those memories over dinner one evening. I could live vicariously through you.”
Leah stares at Kristian a moment, a slight smile on her face. “Dinner sounds lovely.”
“Let’s discuss after we’ve concluded our business.”
“Yes. Business.” Steven gives Leah an incredulous look.
“As you can see in our packet, we are fully equipped to see to your every legal need. Our team of attorneys come from all walks of life and a diverse range of education and experience. If I may direct your attention to page thirty-six, that outlines our corporate services. I see no reason why we can’t be your full-service legal firm.”
“I was just remarking that your team is very impressive,” Leah says. “I recognize a lot of these names.”
“I’m sorry Ms. McIntosh couldn’t join us,” Kristian says.
“Yes, Tracey had some family matters to attend to this morning.”
“I hear she’s the person we’ll be communicating with after you make the obvious choice.”
“You’re very confident, no doubt, Ms. Makepeace,” Leah says.
“I really want your business, Doctor.”
“Granted, I’m pleased that you’re willing to find a role for Steven.”
“Money talks, Doctor, and the estate of Paxton Walker has a lot of it. I’m happy to say, however, in this case I really like what I’m hearing.”
“That’s good to know, I guess,” Steven says.
“Let’s talk about you, Mr. Asher.” Kristian looks through Steven’s file. “Nice to see you’re a fellow GSU law school alum. Also you passed the bar on your first try. Congratulations.”
“Thanks. I realize I don’t have a lot of experience and that there are quite a few qualified attorneys ahead of me.”
“I didn’t exactly wait in line for this position, Mr. Asher,” Kristian says. “There will be some resentment. You shouldn’t let that get in your way.”
“How should I deal with it?” Steven says.
“Simple. You just be better than everyone else and exceed all expectations.”
“Sounds like a challenge. I’m up for it.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed, you seem to be a quick study. That’s very good. I’m going to give you an assignment to start that should help. I need you to work with my brother, Jimmy.”
“What’s his story?” Steven says.
“Jimmy has Down’s syndrome,” Kristian says. “He’s been mainstreamed most of his life, so he’s reasonably self-sufficient, but he likes to push the boundaries, and that usually requires a legal eye.”
“I think I can handle that.”
“Excellent. Rodney Latimer’s been working with him and I think he’s about ready to graduate to wider responsibilities. Jimmy’s due here any minute . I’ll introduce you.”
Kristian’s phone beeps. She answers, then says, “Right on time, as always. I’ll come meet him.” To Steven, “Jimmy’s here. I’ll get him and Rodney.”
“Great,” Steven says.
To Leah, she says, “If you’d like to join me in my office, Doctor, we can talk about some nuts and bolts, and finalize everything. Then we can figure out when and where we want to have dinner.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Kristian steps out. Steven leans toward Leah. “I have not witnessed such an extreme level of flirtation since my sister was alive. I was one step away from telling you both to get a room.”
“What are you complaining about?” Leah says. “You got the job.”
He considers it. “Yeah, I did, didn’t I?”
“The date’s a bonus. I like this firm. No nonsense.”
“Yes, they definitely have a wide array of opportunities. Sounds to me like they don’t play by the rules.”
“All the better. I do suspect you’re gaining yet another big sister.”
“I thought about that. Seems to be my destiny.”