Michael stopped in the doorway and allowed her to precede him into the hallway. As she passed him she caught the scent of his cologne and recalling her dream from this morning, she blushed furiously. Thank God he can’t read my mind, she thought, gripping the new folio tightly. Even so, when she turned he was regarding her curiously and she felt her face redden. She smiled to cover her discomfort. “I can’t believe I have my own office. Downstairs the newbies have cubicles.”
He grinned and nodded. “Yeah, up here on 50 we’re kind of our own beast.” He began walking down the hallway towards the reception area. “Jim Metheny used to be with Jernigan, Krandel back in the day but they had a parting of the ways about ten years ago. He was looking for partners to start his own firm. He found Brian Murphy first. I had just won a big case in the Public Defender’s Office.”
“People vs. Smithson,” Maggie said. “He was accused of murder. An eyewitness IDd him as the perpetrator. The evidence showed that he was a hundred miles away at the time.” Michael looked at her in surprise. Maggie shrugged. “I studied the case for a criminal justice class.”
He laughed lightly. “Anyway, together we formed this firm. Downstairs they deal with all sorts of cases. Here on 50 we have the most high-profile clients. When the beautiful people get into trouble, they call me.” He watched to see her reaction. “Obviously, confidentiality is a very high priority.”
She nodded her head vigorously. “Of course. I understand.”
As they moved down the hallway, Michael pointed out the offices of the people she’d met at the first interview, Stan Hodges, Ellen Standifer, and John Hemphill. Maggie remembered how condescending they’d been. That will have to stop, she thought to herself. There were also the offices of several other associates. Michael stopped in front of a pair of frosted glass doors. “This,” he began, swinging open the doors, “is our library. It was donated by a very wealthy, very grateful client.”
Maggie walked into the room full of bookshelves as far as she could see. She crossed over to touch some of the leather-bound volumes on the nearest one. “Holy…” she breathed. She turned to face Michael. “This is amazing.”
“Well, I’m not sure how amazing you’ll think it is. Part of your job will be re-shelving the books. That job always falls to the newest member of the team. Dan Alvarez is very happy you’re here. Now he doesn’t have to do it.”
“Shit rolls downhill, huh?” Maggie quipped.
Michael snorted in surprise. “Sad, but true,” he laughed.
She smiled at him. “I don’t mind. I get having to pay my dues. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
“Then you’ll probably do very well here,” he observed. “Let’s head to my office and discuss the details.”
They passed Karen’s desk. She was busy on the phone. “I’m sorry, Mr. Rannigan is currently unavailable. I’ll have him return your call at his earliest convenience.”
Just before his office, Michael pointed out the conference room. Maggie peeked inside. It looked like the one on the lower floor where she’d had her second interview. He held open his office door and closed it behind her. Maggie took a few steps into the room and stopped to take it all in. The corner office was all glass on two walls, one overlooking the park as in her office and the other looking down Park Avenue. His huge glass and steel desk backed into the corner was dwarfed by the size of the room. To the right of the desk was a small conference table and to the left was a seating area with two black leather couches and a couple of coordinating chairs. He watched her for a moment. “It’s not a bad view,” he minimized. “Can I get you something?” He crossed the room to a small refrigerator concealed in a glass and steel credenza behind the desk. Opening it, he offered her a bottled water. She accepted it, still speechless from the view. He motioned for her to sit in one of the black leather chairs opposite the desk and he sank into his own black leather executive chair.
“So, Mary Margaret Flynn,” he said. “You’re officially part of the Murphy, Rannigan team.” She smirked at his use of her full name. He grinned. “Maggie. More specifically, you’re part of the elite 50th floor. We’ve already discussed your library duties. A couple of times a day, you should get the cart and gather up books people are finished with and return them to their proper places. Sometimes people take them back themselves and just leave them on a table, so look for those, too.” Maggie was writing notes in the folio.
Michael continued, “Every morning we meet as a team in the conference room to touch base on what everybody’s working on, where they are in the process. We have coffee and pastries for the meeting. That’s another rookie job. Getting the coffee and pastries.” He opened a drawer and took out a credit card, sliding it across the desk to Maggie. She reached to pick it up. It was an American Express ‘Black Card’ she saw. Well of course it is, she thought, mentally rolling her eyes. “Use this for those kinds of purchases,” he was saying. “We usually get coffee and stuff from Starbucks on the corner.” Maggie grimaced unconsciously. Michael cocked his head. “What’s wrong? Not a Starbucks fan?”
Maggie, eyes wide, tried to backpedal. “No, Starbucks is fine, I mean, if you like…” she trailed off.
Michael was curious. “If you like what?”
“Well, I mean, if you like corporate, big box kinds of sh…stuff,” she answered.
His grin was wry. “What would you suggest?” he asked, leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingertips together.
“For Pete’s sake, this is New York. There are terrific mom and pop bakeries on practically every block. The food is better and you’re supporting the local economy rather than lining corporate fat cat pockets.”
“Keeping in mind that corporate fat cats are precisely our clients,” Michael replied evenly, suppressing a grin, “this seems to be something about which you feel strongly.”
“I just think you can do better than Starbucks, that’s all,” Maggie said.
“Tell you what, Mags, you bring in what you think is best tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes,” he said with only a trace of a smirk.
Mags? she thought. Beats the hell out of Mary Margaret, I suppose. “It’s a deal,” she said, smiling. “You’ll be happy, I promise.”
Michael went on to say that she would also be responsible for taking lunch orders. “You pick the place and let them tell you what they want. What you say goes, I don’t want you running all over town to suit everyone, and besides, most places will deliver here.”
“Do you have a suggestion for the first day?”
“Do you have anything against the Lexington Grill?” he asked with only a trace of irony.
“Lexington Grill,” she repeated, writing it with her notes.
“In addition to your rookie responsibilities, there will be times I ask you to proofread briefs, go over depositions, find precedents, even accompany me to court on occasion. We’ll try to ease you in,” he said.
Maggie smiled. “Great! I’m ready to work hard. I like to feel that I earn my keep.”
“I’m sure you will,” Michael said. “It’s later than I planned. You might get on the lunch order now.”
Maggie stood. “Will do, boss,” she said walking to the door.
As she reached for the knob, he called out to her. “You know, we have something in common,” he said.
Maggie turned around and smirked. “Besides being lawyers, graduates of NYU School of Law, and aficionados of great live music?”
Michael gave a pained smile. “I’ve thought about it since your second interview. We’re both alone in the world. I never knew my father and my mom died when I was a kid. Nobody came to see me graduate, either.”
All the color drained from Maggie’s face. “Oh, God, Michael, I’m so sorry. I was being a smartass, I didn’t realize…”
He waved a hand at her dismissively. “No worries. I’m glad to know you’re a smartass. I was thinking you were a little uptight.” He gave her a genuine smile. “Glad to have you on board, Mags. Get going with lunch.”