Is totally late, and I owe you all a serious apology for that. Life just… happened, and I had the draft done, but hadn’t had a chance to go over it again. So I’m sorry, I’m going to do my best to make that this won’t happen again. Anyway, these are just my own scenes, they haven’t been professionally edited or anything like that, so please forgive typos. I’ve done my best to get rid of them, but a few may crop in.
So, this is a snippet of the beginning of Alex’s first interview with Law. I hope you enjoy. As always, if you have any suggestions or ideas, let me know!
Alex was exhausted. What the heck had he been thinking, scheduling four clerkship interviews in one day? It was literally the dumbest thing he’d done to date, and that was saying something. Who knew they’d all want him to do “working interviews,” complete with research and memos? Heck, he hadn’t written a memo since his first-year legal writing class. He’d hated that part of the course. Maybe if he’d gotten a job at a large law firm during the summer he’d have more experience, but he wasn’t in the top ten-percent. Top third, sure, but he’d scratched and clawed to get there, and those big firm gigs were reserved for the students who started on top and stayed there.
Even so, the competition to get clerkships was beyond tough. He’d been amazed that he’d been offered four interviews in the first place, so he’d scheduled an entire day at the courthouse. Three down, one to go. Lord please, don’t let this one be like my last one.
Chief Judge Roberts was the first judge he’d met with, and Alex had thought he was terrifying, until he’d had his third interview with Judge Cheryl Browne. Wow. She scared the daylights out of him, and she was the most pleasant woman he’d ever met. But the steel that underlay her words was unmistakeable, and Alex just knew he’d spend the entire year looking over his shoulder and shaking in his boots. He couldn’t handle that level of anxiety for a whole year. Roberts had looked terribly unimpressed with him, and Alex couldn’t even remember the name of the other judge he’d met with. It had been that kind of a day.
He stopped outside the door of his last interview and stopped. Judge Lawson Daniels. The placard shone bright against the door, brighter than the others. Oh, yeah. This was the new judge, the one who’d only been on the bench a few months. He was probably the worst judge Alex could work for. Alex knew his research skills weren’t as strong as some others, and he secretly wanted to work for someone who wouldn’t be so reliant on him. That left Browne, Roberts, and the one he couldn’t remember. Great.
Alex raised his hand and was about to knock when the door was opened. He hit someone’s chest and a low chuckle escaped. Staring ahead, he could tell it was the bailiff. He looked up, and up again. Jesus Christ, how big was this guy?
“You here for the four o’clock interview?”
“Yeah, I mean, yes, I am. Alex Corrigan.” He took a step back and held out his hand, then felt it engulfed in a huge palm.
“RJ Hernandez. Good to meet you. The judge’ll be out in a few minutes.”
Alex nodded. He needed to collect his thoughts anyway. He’d been going a mile a minute since he’d shown up. One thing was for certain—Alex wasn’t doing anything when he got home tonight except passing out.
He closed his eyes. It was the worst possible idea, but he’d been staring at a computer screen for hours and had at least one more to go, if this was anything like the others. Alex breathed out a deep breath and rested his head against the wall.
A hand shook him gently, and Alex startled awake. Just his luck. It wasn’t the bailiff shaking him. This had to be the judge. Crap and double-crap. He straightened as quickly as possible and tried to play it off like this wasn’t the most mortifying thing that could have happened to him.
“Are you Alex Corrigan?” he asked.
Alex coughed, then cleared his throat. “Yes, sir. I’m sorry, sir.”
The smile that graced the man’s face was nothing short of spectacular, and the single most inappropriate thing he could do—short of falling asleep, that is—was to get excited while looking at his potential employer.
“I’m Law Daniels. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Judge Daniels, I’m so sorry.” The words tripped off of Alex’s tongue, and he had no clue how to finish the thought.
The look the judge gave him was curious. “Sorry for what? Being tired?”
Alex paused. Was he serious? “No, for falling asleep.”
He shrugged and Alex followed him to his inner office. It was large, larger than Alex expected a new judge to get. This is not office politics, idiot. He doesn’t get a closet just because he’s the newest. But there was nothing in it except a picture frame on the desk, facing away from Alex. Nothing that gave a clue about who Judge Daniels was.
Alex sat tentatively on the chair opposite the desk and waited to be castigated for his untimely snooze. Even though Daniels didn’t really seem like the type, there was no way Alex was going to get away with such a blatant show of disrespect. Judge Daniels sat across from him, his face impassive. His short, almost black hair was cropped close, and the smallest hints of gray were dotted throughout. His eyes were a deep brown, and Alex squirmed, just a fraction, under the scrutiny. Then the judge sighed.
“Okay, I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, so I’m just going to get this over with.” Judge Daniels looked like he had just swallowed a lemon, his face was pinched so tight. Alex stiffened, wondering what could possibly be so serious that it caused such a strong reaction.
He sighed again, then looked Alex in the eyes. “I’m gay. If working with me is going to be a problem, for any reason at all, let me know now and I won’t put you through the paces of this interview.”
Alex bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. It was that or get a hard-on in the middle of his interview, one that he knew would not go down. Blood was the better option.
Judge Daniels frowned, then sighed. Triple crap. He must’ve taken Alex’s silence to mean that he didn’t wan to work with him. Which was wholly untrue, because now all he wanted was to work with him.
“Judge, I’m sorry. God, I keep saying that, don’t I?” Alex realized belatedly that he’d said the last part out loud, but he barreled through even as he felt his cheeks heat. That was, after all, how he’d gotten through law school. “It’s not a problem for me. I’m gay, too. Is that a problem for you?”
The way the judge’s eyes widened would have been funny if he weren’t so terrified that he’d taken TMI way too far. Alex really wanted this position. Which was funny given that just a few minutes earlier he’d thought it was the worst possible idea.
“Umm, no. No. That’s not a problem.” Judge Daniels took a deep breath, then another. Then another, and looked like he was having difficulty with the next.
Okay, that wasn’t good. Was the judge having a panic attack because of what Alex had said?Alex had no idea what he was supposed to do, and he figured that this wasn’t part of the interview. Duh. He spotted a mini-fridge in the corner, found a small bottle of water, handed it to the judge, and waited.
A judge, especially a new judge, couldn’t possibly want to show this type of vulnerability. That he’d shown it to Alex, of all the people he’d had to have interviewed, was endearing, and made Alex want to work with him even more. He didn’t know whether that was good or bad.
When the judge finally took a deep gulp and faced him, Alex offered what he hoped was an unconcerned smiled. “Everything okay there?”
The smile he got was heartbreaking. “I’m sorry. Panic attacks. I apologize for wasting you time here. I’m sure you want to go.”
Alex cocked his head to the side and frowned. “Why would I go?”
Judge Daniels’s eyes narrowed slightly before he spoke. “I just had a full-blown panic attack on you. I can’t imagine you want to sigh on for that.”
Alex shrugged. “It’s not something I can say I’ve seen before, but it doesn’t bother me. I just want to know what to do to help.”
Judge Daniels sighed again. “You can start by calling me Law.”
“Why would I do that?”
He laughed, and Alex knew right then he was in trouble. In the this-man-is-dangerous-as-heck kind of trouble. “Do you want the job or not?”
Alex was sure his eyes bugged out of his head. “You haven’t even interviewed me yet.”
“True, but what I really need is someone who can handle my eccentricities without losing it. You aced that. I assume the rest is formalities.”
“I’m not in the top ten percent.”
“Ninety percent of students aren’t.”
Alex exhaled. This was not what he’d expected when he walked in. In fact, everything about this was beyond surreal. This interview had veered so far off the rails, but he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this comfortable with someone he’d just met. Maybe working with Law was exactly what Alex needed. There was only one way to find out. He stuck his hand out to shake.
“I can’t wait get started, Law.”