“So the thing is, we’re worried about you.” Silvia started, and she glanced over at Chuck, her pearl necklace looped twice around her neck twisted in her fingers. “Since the Fullerton case, you’ve been different.”
My mind raced, I’ve been doing a good job, better than good, “Is my performance in question?” My eyes darted back and forth between the two. It wasn’t that. I was an excellent lawyer.
“Of course not.” Chuck’s voice boomed a few people looked over and Silvia gave him a reproachful look. He quieted down. “We look at you not only as our partner but, you are family.” He reached for my hand. “You are different, almost sad or unhappy. I noticed it the night we all went out.”
“I’m not a fan of karaoke,” I deadpanned. “Most lawyers aren’t.”
“Not true. Michael suggested it and all the junior partners.” Chuck argued, then trailed off. I grinned at him as Silvia raised her eyebrows. “Right. That’s not the point. The point is, you’re different, and we’re worried you are unhappy with us.”
They cared, they’ve always cared. They made it a point to take me out to dinner almost weekly. Win or lose, they invited me to dinner for the past four years. I never considered… I gazed at them both, tears pricking at my eyes. If I told them why I was unhappy, I would have to leave.
“I met someone that weekend,” I sighed. “I love him.”
“Oh darling, that’s wonderful,” Silvia gushed but then was interrupted by Chuck.
“That’s kind of quick for you isn’t it. In fact, you don’t date. That’s why we like you so much,” he said.
“You like me so much because I win high-profile cases. I don’t date because I wasn’t ready to do so. I’ve known him for a few years and he’s been really patient with me.”
“So you are leaving us?” Chuck asked, his arms folded in front of him.
Silvia touched him on the forearm, “Hush, let her talk or she will leave us.”
I blinked and a few tears rolled down my face. I told them about Jordan, about Eleanor, about my family, which they knew. I told them how Jordan made me feel and the emptiness that was filling me. How the wins didn’t feel like wins unless I could share them with someone. My story took us all the way to dessert and coffee.
“So you’re leaving us?” Chuck asked deflated like a petulant child.
As I told the story I remembered, I tried to convince myself, it didn’t matter where I slept but it did, it mattered a lot. I needed a home.
“It depends on what sort of higher percentage you were thinking about and if you will work outside of our normal coloring box,” I said. “Also, Michael should be named a partner. He’s done his time and was invaluable at our Boston office on this and many other of my cases.”
Chuck nodded and narrowed his eyes at me as Silvia wiped the tears from her face.
They dropped me back at my apartment. “Thank you for listening, you two, I love the work I do.”
“We love you, not just for the work we do together.” Silvia hugged me, then Chuck helped me out of the car.
“She’s right. I think you’ve given us something to think about. I’ll text you once We’re done discussing this interesting topic.” He hugged me once more.
“We are so proud of you. That sounds demeaning, but I’d like to think I can take on the paternal role in your life. I think this is a great idea.”
I watched him get in the limo and I waved them off.
The doorman of my Boston apartment looked up at me. He gave me a gracious smile but he didn’t know me and I didn’t know him.