After this case, if I can prove myself, Anthony has already hinted at giving me a lot more freedom. I’ll be able to pick and choose my own cases, select the ones that I think will take me the farthest career-wise. Hell, he’s even hinted, in his roundabout, somehow-still-insulting way, that I could be on a partner track, if I step up my game now.
This is no time to let a little thing like one colleague throw me off. If anything, I just need to look at her as a new challenge.
A challenge I need to avoid conquering. Much as I might want to get my hands all over her sexy curves, Chloe is now a no-fly zone.
I slide back into my usual seat at our usual table and hand out the usual orders: Guinness for me and Jim, and Corona for Marcus, because he’s a chick.
Small favors—it seems like the topic has shifted while I’ve been away. Thank fuck.
“Keep hearing rumors about it,” Jim is saying, “But nothing confirmed as of yet. At least, nothing that fucking Rubin is going to tell me, since he’s had it out for me since the day I started reporting to him.”
“I heard it’s starting next month.” Marcus shrugs.
“What’s starting?” I wrap my fist around my second beer. The glass is cool, sweating against my palm.
“The restructure,” Jim says, with one of those Did you seriously not know about this looks that he gets.
I blink at the two of them for a minute before the term settles into my skull. “Hang on. What restructure?”
Did I seriously miss an office rumor of this magnitude? Christ, I really am losing my edge.
“Not sure exactly. Only hearing it through the trickle-down at the moment.” Marcus shrugs again, before taking a long, healthy chug of his beer. “Rumor-mill says cutting mostly in accounting and office assistants. But probably about 20 of the litigators too.”
Shit. That’s a significant chunk of our work force.
Paranoia sets in. Why didn’t Anthony warn me about this? He must have known, as a partner. Unless he didn’t tell me because I could potentially be on the chopping block? Normally you’d give anyone you cared to keep a heads-up before news about this kind of thing starts to circulate. Hey, FYI, this is coming our way, but don’t freak, you’ll be fine.
Fucking hell. “At what level, do you think?” I take a healthier gulp of my drink than I probably ought to, considering I’m driving later. But screw it, if I have to cab it home, so be it.
“Don’t know. Probably we’ll hear more next week or the week after. You know how these things go. You hear the rumors first, then the rumor cover-ups, then the truth comes out after the higher-ups have spent a couple of weeks panicking among themselves about who let this shit leak.”
Jim laughs, though it seems forced. All of us are pretending to be unfazed by this news. Drinking more quietly now, but other than that, no one outside of our table would probably be able to tell a thing was wrong.
Which is fine by me. I’d rather not anyone know how much I’m worrying right now. If I lose this job, it all comes crashing down. The apartment loan I could live with; pay it off as I go. But everything else? The location, the ease it gives me for everything else I need to be doing during the day. . .
No use panicking prematurely, though. All I can do at this point is keep my head down, do my work, and get on with my day. The chips will fall where they will, and at the end of this, we’ll see how I stand.
One thing is for sure. I definitely need to knock this case with Chloe out of the park.
Tomorrow, I decide, I’m going to corner her and make her see sense. If she doesn’t want to work on this with me, then she can ask Paul to reassign her. Otherwise, I’m gonna need her to be all in on this one.