Sam straightened his tie, eyeing his reflection in the mirror. His suit fit well enough for now, though at 6’2” and still growing, he was beginning to wonder if this growth spurt would ever end. His stared down at the soon-to-be too-short cuff of his pants and his ill-fitting jacket before studying his face once more. He turned again, eyeing his back in the mirror, ensuring he looked his best when his gaze fell upon a picture on his bedside table. His shoulders dropped and he sighed, eyes flicking away, unable to look at the picture for more than a few seconds, even now. He turned and began making his way out of the room, fingers grazing the cheek of the woman in the image as he passed.
He locked his apartment door behind him, and began trudging down the stairs into the parking garage. Sam stood at the door to the car, gazing forlornly at his reflection before he shook his head; there was no reason to dwell on the past, it was a new day. Sam resolutely placed his new briefcase in the passenger seat and ran through a quick checklist in his head. Lunch, wallet, paper, pens, other assorted junk and his cheat sheets, including answers to interview questions and his own homemade dictionary of legal jargon. A quick glance at his watch in the dim parking garage lights had him hurrying around the car and into the driver’s seat. Good enough would have to do for today.
He pulled out of his lot onto the street and watched his empty apartment fade into the background. His heart sank slightly; almost two years now and he was still struggling to get over Jess, his girlfriend, not being there when he got home. He straightened up, wincing slightly as his knees hit the steering wheel. It was his first day, and he knew Jess would be proud of him for getting the job. That’s what had kept him going – making her proud.
He’d had to take some time off of school after the accident and ended up roped into a year-long road trip with his brother. As much fun as it was, he knew law was where his passion was and he was dead-set on doing well. He graduated top of his class and within weeks had received a rather thick package in the mail. One of California’s top legal offices, “Devil’s Advocates”, was offering him an interview for a spot in their firm. Sam leapt at the chance and was shocked when he arrived for the interview. The legal practice itself was run by the Angel brothers (who apparently had quite the sense of humor, despite the large, imposing building they were housed in) and it was Luke himself, the oldest and the founder of the firm who had met with Sam and conducted his interview. Luke had come in dressed to the nines. He had his hair expertly styled and was wearing a slate-grey suit and light blue tie that perfectly matched his eyes. He had a cold stare, but faint lines around his eyes hinted at a sense of humour hidden behind authoritative exterior. He sat straight in his chair, pulling out a large briefcase which, when opened, contained Sam’s transcript, references, resume, cover letter and a piece he’d written about the current justice system’s shortcomings for class. However, after the first few minutes, as if he could sense Sam’s terror, he softened his gaze slightly and seemed to almost relax as he rolled his eyes at one of Sam’s responses.
“Well, I’m glad to hear you’ve read over the entire history of my life and what PR says we stand for, but my question was what you stood for, Mr. Winger. Why do you care?”
Sam was thrown; he hadn’t been expecting Luke to be so frank with him.
“I, well, I’m here because I want to help. Everyone is entitled to a lawyer, but that doesn’t mean that the lawyer will be fair or just to them. My girlfriend was victim to…” Here Sam’s voice caught slightly, “…an unfortunate accident. The driver wasn’t apprehended the night of the accident and turned himself in later. Based on how our legal system was set up, he got off with a slap on his wrist because her lawyers couldn’t prove well enough that he wasn’t under the influence of anything and she became a victim of the system. I want to stop that from ever happening again.”
Luke contemplated him for a while, before nodding. “I’m sorry about your girlfriend. Is, is she…”
Sam closed his eyes and shook his head and heard a sharp intake of breath. “My condolences.”
The interview had moved onto safer topics after that, with discussions regarding the types of cases and work Sam would be expecting, finer details relating to company policy and the hours he’d be working. At the end of the interview, Sam was feeling much more at ease with the firm, and Luke seemed to be pleased with how the interview went. They shook hands, Luke’s lingering a little longer in the touch than necessary and Sam left. There was a voicemail waiting for him when he got home saying he had the job and was to start on Monday.
Sam tried to calm his nerves as he maneuvered his way through San Francisco traffic. 7 am was considered an ungodly hour by most, but Sam wanted to be early today and ensure he made a good impression. His hands fluttered and tapped nervously on the steering wheel as he came to a red light and he quickly counted streets ahead of him. Three blocks away, he soothed to himself. It’s only three blocks. His stomach couldn’t seem to make up its mind if that was a good or bad thing.
He smoothly turned the corner and waited for a break to turn into the parking garage, fingers crossed that it wouldn’t take long. He knew, rationally, that he was about an hour early, but his body’s incessant shaking wasn’t helping. He found an empty parking space and pulled in, reaching over to grab his briefcase from the passenger side. He took one last deep, shuddering breath before opening the door and stepping out and nearly bowling over someone.