Date Written: 10/18/02
Summary: This is my take on what we *didn't* see between the Second Season episodes The Dead and The Next Life.
Author's Notes: This is not a full-blown story, more of a vignette of the couple of scenes that I would have liked to have seen included at the beginning of The Next Life.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The characters in this story are borrowed from the TV show "The Guardian". No money is being made from this story. Any resemblance of a character in this story to any real person living or dead is purely coincidental. Likewise, any resemblance between an organization depicted in this story and any such actual organization is purely coincidental.
Setup: It's the Monday following The Dead. Nick is at work at Fallin & Straka when his cell phone rings.
His father's voice came over the phone, Nick, it's me.
Look, son, I just met with the partners, and they want me to come back in as managing partner.
Yeah. I want you back in too, Nick, but as a partner this time. Whadaya say, son?
I, I'd like that. But there are some things we need to discuss first. Are you free for lunch?
I can arrange to be free.
Okay. How about Marelli's at 12:30?
Fine. I'll see you then.
Jake who had been in earshot, walked over, and asked, That a prospective client?
Nick replied blandly.
He still looked curious.
After a second, Nick added, It was my father.
Jake nodded, and then turned to go back to what he had been doing.
Setup: Marelli's restaurant. Burton is seated at a booth. It's 12:38 when Nick slides into the seat opposite him.
Hi, sorry I'm late, Nick said.
Burton nodded. A waitress appeared at Nick's side, and took his drink order. After she left, the two men studied their menus in silence. In just a moment, the waitress was back with Nick's Coke, and took their orders. After she left, Nick was the first to speak. So, they want you to come back.
Nick nodded. How many of the senior partners are left?
Oh, well, we lost Barry Landsberg and Bill Gordon to Kirk & McGee. I think Ron Hulsey was just about to jump ship for Van Olden, but I believe he'll stay now.
What about the associates?
From what they tell me, we've lost about a quarter of the associates. But I'm not too worried about that.... Once we get a couple months down the road, and the notoriety about Caldwell and...the other...has died down, we'll build our client base back up, and then, uh, then prospective associates will be knocking down our doors again. Burton smiled at his son. So, what's this we need to discuss?
Nick took a breath before he began. I want to come back, but I want Jake and James to come with me. I want Jake to come back in as a partner.
Burton looked doubtful. When he spoke, he said slowly, Well, son, you know that with Jake being barred from dealing with public securities he's, he's really not partner material anymore.
I know that hurts him. But he's got a lot of other assets. He's smart, and clients like him.
Well, I know, son, but--
Jake's a go-getter, Dad. Just look at how he built back up his client list after the incident with the SEC. Jake's got what it takes.
Burton still looked doubtful. You've got a point, Nick, but I still don't think it would be in the best interests of the firm to make him a partner.
Nick was silent for a moment, then looked his father in the eye as he said, Jake stood by me, Dad. When...when I was in jail he came to see me. He told me that Caldwell had offered him his job back, but he turned him down. He wanted to wait and see if I, if I got out.... Jake was willing to go ahead with our plans while Lisa and Henry bailed and went running back to Caldwell with their tails between their legs. I owe Jake, Dad.... I can't come back to the firm unless Jake comes with me, as a partner.
Burton considered for a moment, then exhaled a long breath, and nodded. he said simply, we'll make Jake a partner.
Nick allowed his father a small smile, and then added, And James comes in as an associate.
Fine. I don't know anything about this James, but if you want him, he's in, son.
Nick's smile broadened slightly, and he nodded. After a moment, he began to ask his father for other specifics about the current state of the soon-to-be-renamed Caldwell & Associates, and the two men spent the rest of lunch discussing strategies for salvaging the reputation of the firm and winning back some of their lost clients.
Setup: Fallin & Straka, 2:00PM. Nick walks in the door, and surveys the space before him for Jake and James. Spotting both of them, he hails them.
Jake, James, do you have a minute?
Both men raised their heads from their work, and rose from their desks. Walking forward they met Nick at the door.
What's up? asked Jake.
Let's go next door for a cup of coffee. I need to discuss something with the two of you.
Jake and James looked at each other speculatively as they nodded at Nick. Nick led the way out the door, and to the coffee shop next door. They were quickly seated at a booth in the rear, and Nick ordered coffee for all of them (this was an old-fashioned coffee shop, and hadn't yet progressed to lattes and cappuccino g).
So, what'd you want to talk to us about? Jake asked.
Nick cleared his throat. I, uhm, well you know that my father resigned from the judgeship last week.
He's going back to the firm, back as managing partner.
Well, that's great. Good for him. Jake smiled.
He wants me to come back, Nick continued. He wants all three of us, you and I as partners, Jake.
Jake looked stunned. What? You, you want to go back to the firm?
After all the work we've put in to the new place?... You want to just throw that all away, forget about having our own practice, running things the way we want to run them? You want to just toss that all aside?
Look, Jake, I understand how you feel, but I've made up my mind. I'm going back to my father's firm, and I'd like you -- he glanced at James -- I'd like you both, to come with me. A position with my father is a lot more secure, and lucrative, than what we have here.
How much would it pay? James interjected.
Nick looked at him. A hell of a lot more than you were making at Legal Services or here.
Sounds good to me, said James.
Jake began shaking his head slowly. I just can't believe it. This firm was your idea, Nick, your idea! But apparently Fallin & Straka doesn't mean anything to you.... I don't get it, man. I really...don't...get it.
Nick ran a hand down the back of his head, and let out a loud breath. Before we started this you were working toward a partnership at Fallin & Associates. You told me once that was all you wanted. You didn't care about having your name on the door, you just wanted to be a partner.... That's what I'm--that's what my father--is offering you, a partnership with a revamped Fallin & Associates.... Take it. It's the smart play.
Jake started shaking his head again. What choice do I have? My saying no' won't get you to change your mind, will it?
Nick said levelly.
That's what I thought, Jake said angrily. Nicholas Fallin goes his own way, no matter who it hurts.
I'm, I'm outta here. I'll talk to you later. With that, Jake got up, and walked swiftly to the door.
Nick frowned after Jake, and then turned his attention to James.
You can't blame him, man, James opined. He was crazy about this place. You woulda thought it was his baby. And you just...you just tossed that baby out with the bath water. He saw Nick frown again. You can't blame him for being sore, but he'll get over it. He's a reasonable guy. He'll see the light.
asked James, when do we start at Fallin?