Prior Misdeeds (Faith/Alan Shore)
Take two, this time with Boston Legal (best legal show EVER). It's also about twice as long as the last one and three times as hard to write. Alan's an awesome character, but he's a bitch to write well!
Disclaimer: I don't own Boston Legal or BtVS. Raise your hand if you're surprised.
“Alan. Alan!” Melissa hissed loudly before he could enter his office. “You have an appointment!”
He stopped, hand poised over the knob. “And here I was certain
I was done for the evening.”
“Okay, fine, she didn’t actually
have an appointment,” Melissa whispered, rolling her eyes. “Like it matters? She said she needed to see you about something super-important and it’s not like you have another appointment or something.”
“I suppose it isn’t,” he said dryly.
“Look, I told
her she needed to call in advance, and she was all like ‘yeah, okay’, but she sounded like she was kind of losing her nerve and I thought what if she never comes back, you know? Anyway, I figured if it was so important you’d want to talk to her. I mean, come on. I totally know you. A little trust, here?”
“It does sound intriguing,” he admitted. “And if I may ask, why are we whispering?”
“Duh, so she doesn’t hear us talking about her.”
“Of course. Did you get her name?” he asked.
She winced. “Not exactly.”
“Not exactly,” he repeated. “And did our mystery woman happen to mention why
she was here?”
“Um… oops?” she said, shrugging apologetically. “But, I mean, you can ask her, right? And besides, if she was, like, here to axe-murder you or something, she’d just lie about it anyway.”
“Excellent point, Melissa. If I may?” he said, gesturing toward the door. “I’ll buzz you if she tries to… axe-murder me.”
He opened the door to find a young, very attractive brunette sitting in front of his desk, staring into space and chewing pensively on her lip. As soon as she heard him enter, she leapt to her feet, tugging the hem of her denim jacket self-consciously before extending a hand. “Hey. I’m Faith.”
“A pleasure, Faith,” he said, taking her hand. “Alan Shore.”
“I know. I mean, um, it’s good. To, uh, to meet you,” she said awkwardly as Alan took a seat behind his desk.
“Please, have a seat,” Alan said, folding his hands on the desk in front of him as she complied. “Now, to what do I owe this… rather unexpected visit?”
“I- um, I’m really not sure where to start.”
“Well, one assumes you’re here for legal advice,” Alan offered. “Why don’t you start by explaining your case?”
“My case?” she repeated. “I mean, yeah, my case. Um, alright. It’s about my dad, see? Or, at least the guy who’s probably
“You’re not sure,” he stated to clarify.
“I dunno. I’m pretty sure, I guess, it’s more like I’ve never met the guy.” She stopped to reorder her thoughts. “Right. It’s like this: My mom always said she didn’t know who my dad was, see? Only she died a few years ago, and then I got a bunch of her things. You know, boxes and stuff, only I didn’t know about that until, like, six months ago ‘cause there was so much crazy shit going on in my life. Anyway, so I’m going through the boxes, and most of its old pictures and clothes and shit, but there’s these papers, too. A lot of them were just bills and bank statements or whatever, but some of it was mine. Like…” she paused to dig through her purse, pulling out a few pieces of paper and holding them up for him to see, “my birth certificate. I’d never even seen it before; I actually kinda thought she’d lost it or sold it for drug money. So I didn’t really think nothing about it, until I’m reading it and I see that there’s a name where the dad’s supposed to go. I always thought it would’ve been blank, since my mom said she couldn’t remember, but I guess she lied ‘cause she remembered well enough back when I was born.”
“Obviously,” he commented dryly. “And have you managed to locate this man?”
She nodded. “I didn’t recognize the name or anything, but I’ve got this friend who’s wicked good with computers. It was pretty slick; I mean, all we had was a name, and then there was a few other things with the birth certificate, like a piece of paper with a phone number on it and this letter my mom never mailed, but Red just goes at it on her computer, and bam! There he is.”
“Sounds impressive. So have you contacted him yet?”
“Not really,” she said evasively. “See, here’s the thing- I don’t want to freak him out or anything, you know? And it’s not like I’m looking for money or anything. I just… I want to meet him. I want to know who my dad is, and if… I mean, I don’t want to bother him, not if he’s not interested, but…”
“You want to get to know him,” he supplied. “It’s a perfectly reasonable desire.”
“Unless he wants nothing to do with me,” Faith said. “But even that would be okay, because then at least I’d know, you know?”
Alan gave her a puzzled look. “That’s all very understandable, but I’m afraid it doesn’t really warrant a lawyer. A paternity suit is a very complex legal matter, especially once the child has reached the age of majority, but you don’t sound as if you’re interested in bringing this matter to court. Even if you were, Crane, Poole and Schmidt is a high-end, and therefore terribly high-priced
law firm. I’m not sure-“ he stopped, narrowing his eyes with sudden insight. “May I see those?” he asked, pointing at the papers she’d brought with her.
She paled and, taking a deep breath, passed him the birth certificate with a shaking hand.
He read it twice, just to be sure. “Oh, my,” he breathed.
“Congratulations, it’s a girl,” Faith said with a desperately failed attempt at a smile.
“I can see that,” he said, not taking his eyes from the birth certificate. “I must say, this is all… very
“I know, I’m sorry, and…” she floundered, then suddenly remembered the other papers in her hand. “Right, um… So, she wrote a letter- to you, I mean,” she said, not meeting his eyes as she shoved several sheets of lined paper at him. “I guess she never got around to mailing it, or something, or maybe she was afraid that… but whatever. Look, I meant it when I said I’m not hitting you up for money or something. I’m actually doing pretty good right now, you know? This isn’t about… like, handouts, or anything. I just… I had to know, just… meet you, right? And it’s totally cool if you don’t believe me, cause papers and shit can be faked or maybe my mom could have lied, so its not like I’m expecting you to just… I mean, if you wanted to have one of thoses tests for like, DNA or whatever, that’s cool. Or if you don’t, that’s fine, too, if you just want me to go and not bother you-“ she cut herself off when her voice started to break and fiddled nervously with her watch. “Oh! I, um- I think this is probably yours,” she said, fumbling to get the watch off. “I found it with the letter, and it, um, it has ‘A.S.’ written on the back, so I figure she lifted it after you guys… you know. She did stuff like that.” She finally managed to wrestle it open and put it on the desk. When he didn’t respond, she looked up to find him staring at her with a bemused expression. “Um… if you could maybe say something now?”
“Sorry, I was just thinking how much you look like my mother.”
“My mother,” he repeated. “You’re the spitting image. I noticed when I first walked in, but I hardly realized… At any rate, I must say, the resemblance is most
“Still not sure what you’re tryin’ to say here,” Faith said, confused.
“I’m trying to say that, despite what may well be my better judgement, I believe you.”
Letting out a shakey breath, she sat back, baffled. “Now, see, that’s… I mean, I was expecting a lot of things, but that wasn’t really one of them.”
“May I ask what you were expecting, then?” he asked. “After all, you showed up at my office with considerable, if not wholly conclusive, evidence to back up what is essentially an entirely believable claim.”
“I dunno, I’m surprised you haven’t called security yet,” she admitted. “I wasn’t even expecting to get through the door. I mean, you’re a lawyer, right? And I’m just some dumb kid you’ve never met.”
“Yes, but you may well be my
kid I’ve never met. And I have to say, you don’t strike me as particularly unintelligent,” he added.
“Okay, stuff like that? That’s what you say when I’m feeling sorry for myself and imagining all these stupid happy endings and puppies and bullshit. It’s not what you say when I’m actually here and its real
, okay?” She shook her head and got to her feet, clearly fighting off panic. “I… I should go. I need to… I’m just gonna go, okay?” she said, frantically gathering her papers from his desk. “Did you want to keep this?” she asked, indicating the letter from her mother.
“There’s really no need for you to leave,” he assured her, standing up.
“Except there is, because I’m not exactly good at this, alright?” she shouted. “Either you’re trusting me or you’re lying, and I don’t know how to deal with either one. My track record pretty much runs to either hitting people or bolting, and so I’m thinking it’s probably better for both of us if I just do the second thing.”
“I don’t know, I think I’d rather you stay,” he said thoughtfully. “How hard a hit are we talking about? And does it have to be me? Because I’ve a number of co-workers that I’m willing to sacrifice for such a worthy cause.”
“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into,” Faith said rather desperately. “I’m not… I’ve done some real stupid shit, okay? Stuff that’s not exactly gonna make you proud to show me off to your lawyer friends.”
“I’m hardly perfect myself, Faith,” Alan said gravely. “In all honesty, I’ve rather made a point to be as far from it as I possibly can. I do detest that… smug sense of superiority and arrogance displayed by those within the ranks of the terminally consummate. Personally, I much prefer the company of people that are quirky, flawed… unique. Interesting. I don’t like
so called ‘perfection’, and any lack thereof would make you no less worthy of my affection. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. Anything you’ve done that my co-workers might find distasteful will likely only endear you to me further. I’m rather… obstinate that way.”
Faith stared, a number of uncertain emotions flitting across her face. “You always make big speeches like that?” she finally asked.
“Yes, well, I’m nothing if not verbose,” he admitted. “Look, if I can’t convince you to stay right now… Meet me for dinner? Tomorrow, perhaps, if you’re still in town?”
She relaxed, if only slightly. “Dinner, huh?”
“You don’t have to-“ she protested, bristling.
“You don’t need my money, I remember, but one dinner is hardly going to hurt. Besides, surely I owe you something
after missing the first-“ he glanced at the birth certificate- “23 years of your life. So what do you say?”
“I…” she took a shaky breath. “That’d be great.”
“Excellent,” he said cheerily before softening his tone. “You’re sure you need to leave?”
She nodded slowly. “I… yeah. I have some… processing to do, I think.” Her hands shook as she shoved the crumpled papers into her purse. “Did you want the letter?”
“If you don’t mind,” he said.
“Well, it is kind of addressed to you,” she pointed out, rubbing her wrist in what was obviously a nervous gesture. His eyes flickered to the watch sitting on his desk as he realized the significance of the gesture.
“Keep it,” he said. She looked confused until she realized what he was talking about.
“What? No, I can’t. I mean, it’s yours.”
He shrugged. “So? I have a new one. In fact, I’ve gone through several watches since that one. I’m hardly going to miss it.”
She reached out to grab it, her fingers hovering uncertainly before picking it up. Alan thought he saw her blink back a tear, but he couldn’t be sure. “Thanks,” she murmured, so quietly he almost missed it.
“Allow me to walk you to the elevator?” he offered, already crossing the room to hold the door open for her.
She shook her head as she clasped the watch. “Found my way in here, didn’t I?”
“Yes, well, I’m less worried about you getting lost and more about you encountering some of my more… eccentric peers.”
“Ashamed of me already?” she said, unsuccessfully trying to keep the bitterness from her voice.
“Hardly!” he assured her. “My only concern is that you are a very attractive young lady, while some of them can be rather, er… salacious.”
She cracked a vaguely dangerous-looking smirk. “Don’t worry, pops. I can look after myself.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he said, smiling. “Just don’t let Denny corner you.”
“How am I gonna know which one’s Denny?”
“Trust me, you’ll know.”
Her eyes flicked uncertainly toward the door and back to him as she bit her lip. “Listen… thanks. For not… um, yeah.”
He smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Faith.”
“Yeah, I… right. Tomorrow,” she repeated. For a moment he thought she was going to hug him, but she stopped herself short. “Right. Bye.”
Before he could respond, she was out the door. He watched her go down the hallway and around the corner. Sighing deeply, he turned to his secretary. “Good news, Melissa. She’s not an axe-murderer.”
“Told you so,” Melissa grumbled. “So who is she?”
“An unexpected consequence,” he said cryptically. “Though not an unwelcome one, I must say. Just… surprising. I expect there’ll be no more last-minute meetings tonight?”
“Not if you’re going to be all cranky about it,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
“Thank you. If you’ll hold my calls as well, I’m going to go… collapse somewhere,” he said, not waiting for a response as he left. He had no more than stepped foot into the hallway when Denny descended upon him.
“Alan! Just the man I was looking for,” he greeted loudly, clapping his friend heartily on the shoulder. “I just ran into the most-“
“Why don’t we discuss it out on the balcony,” Alan suggested, already heading in that direction.
“The balcony?” Denny repeated, surprised but falling into step beside him. “Isn’t it a little early?”
“I suppose, but I’m in desperate need of both the fresh air and the alcohol.”
Neither spoke again until they were outside. “Long day?” Denny asked, pouring them both a drink.
“You have no idea,” Alan answered, leaning back in the chair and taking a deep breath.
“Hm. Me, too,” Denny said, grunting as he sat down. “I was just going to tell you about the most fascinating young woman. I met her on her way to the elevator.”
Alan realized immediately who he was talking about. “Oh, dear.”
“Oh, dear is right! Real looker, that one. Feisty, too. Told me she could break me in half.”
“Did she now?” he said, mildly surprised. “Well, she did confess a certain propensity toward violent behavior.”
“You know her? Don’t tell me you’ve been holding out on me, Alan.”
“Not at all,” Alan assured him. “I just met her today.”
“Tell me more,” Denny demanded. “Who is this mesmerizing creature?”
“That young woman is Faith, and no, you cannot have sex with her.”
“I can’t?” Denny exclaimed. “Since when do you tell me who to have sex with? You’ve always been very supportive in my endeavors.”
“She’s my daughter.”
“Really! I had no idea you had a daughter.”
“Neither did I,” Alan responded dryly.
“No wonder we’re drinking,” he said, downing his scotch.
Alan copied his movement and looked thoughtfully at the empty glass. “You know, of the two of us, I really would have thought it would be you finding yourself in this particular predicament.”
“Could still happen. I’ve slept with a lot of women.”
of women, Alan.”
“I suppose it’s ironic,” Alan continued. “Having children was something my wife and I had only barely begun discussing before it became a moot point. When she died, I honestly believed I’d missed my only chance at fatherhood.”
“You know, I was a father once. Wasn’t so bad,” Denny offered helpfully.
“Yes, little Donnie turned out well, didn’t he? Quite the lawyer these days.”
“Your, what was her name, Hope; she didn’t turn out too bad, either,” he said, winking.
“Faith, and you’re still not sleeping with her, Denny.”
“You’re a better father than you are a friend,” he grumbled.
“I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that, but I’m going to take it as a compliment,” Alan said brightly. “She is a lovely young woman, isn’t she?”
Denny grunted agreement. “Oh, yeah. Did you see her skirt?”
“You know, if I recall correctly, it wasn’t so long ago that it was my
skirt you were looking to get into,” Alan pointed out.
“What can I say? You look good in a dress.”
“Be that as it may, I’m not sure I like the idea of you sleeping your way through my family.”
“Not your whole family, just the one!” Denny protested.
“So your occasional flirting with me, that’s just a passing fancy?”
“I’m not having sex with you, Alan,” he snorted.
“Nor would you remember it if you were.”
“It’s not nice to make fun of a man’s Mad Cow.”
“I suppose it isn’t,” Alan sighed and held out his glass for Denny to refill. “Do you think she’d let me buy her a pony?”
“It’s just that I’ve a lot of catching up to do on birthdays and Christmas and what-have-you. Girls like ponies, right? “
“In my experience, Alan, girls like nice restaurants, fancy cars, and jewelry. Lots of jewelry.”
“I’m trying to make up for years of estrangement, not get her into bed,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Besides, she hardly seems like the ‘diamonds’ type, although a car isn’t a bad idea. Maybe a Porsche?”
“You trying to spoil the girl?”
Denny smiled and raised his glass. “Good for you, Alan. Good for you.”