title - Two steps forward author - Jules Disclaimer - Rachel Friedman is STILL mine.. teehee.. well THEY didn't use her did they.. nooooo.. so therefore she's MINE! Authors note - this is the second part of my series featuring the young Rachel. If you missed the first part (well ya can't have missed it.. I only posted it a few days ago!) then its in the archives, its titled Introductions. This fic is set a few months after the first meeting.

Two Steps Forward ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Rachel Friedman smiled happily as the trotted off to find the latest document Mr Goldstein had demanded. She had become more popular with the handsome older lawyer over the past few months, him calling on her more than ever these days as the courts became more and more busy. Grinning madly she found the article Mr Goldstein was after, some kind of formal declaration that one of the witnesses in the last case had signed, and scampered off towards the now familiar office. She knocked twice before letting herself in, Mr Goldstein knew her unique knock and always allowed her entry. He was becoming more relaxed with her, allowing her entry into his office without him having to call out 'enter', calling on her more often than the rest of the desk assistants and generally being pleasant around her. Handing over the new documant Rachel was greeted with a smile, something she had never seen Mr Goldstein do before. Her heart fluttered as she made eye contact, her blue eyes almost drowning in the brown of the lawyers. Almost as soon as it was there, it was over. " So its Friedman, Rachel Friedman, isn't it?" he asked, once again making Rachels' heart jump for joy. " Yes sir" she said, her blue eyes growing brighter by the word. He looked at her for a moment, as if taking in her appearance, judging her ability. " Ms Friedman, my secretary is taking a few weeks leave in the next month and I do beleive I need a replacement. Would you consider it?" he asked, judging her features carefully. He knew he could play this young thing like a piano, she would bow to his every want, his every need. " Of course Sir, I'd be honoured to help you out while your secretary is gone" Rachel almost lost the battle to start singing and dancing with joy, but then again, this was Mr Jonathon Goldstein, serious was the name and Law was the game. Rachel waited until she was well out of earshot before letting out a shreik of joy. Not only was she finally away from the dulldom of the assistance desk, but she was going to work with the Jonathon Goldstein. Her mind raced through all the possibilities, most of them consisting of he, her and a desk. Snapping herself back to reality she flounced back to the assistance desk, ignoring the strange looks she got from the other desk staff. Four hours later the still elated Rachel Friedman leapt out of her car and litterally bounded up the stairs to her dingy old apartment. Reaching for her keys she unlocked the front door, dumped her bag and threw herself on the torn sofa, her mind still turning over the many possibilities the next month would offer. Picking up the mail she had collected the flicked through the envelopes, looking for anything interesting. Nothing, normal boring bills, newsletters, and 'please help our cause' pamphlets. Opening the first envelope she glanced at the red letters, $317. " oh Crap!" Rachel exclaimed. How she was going to afford that rediculous amount she had no idea. Somehow she'd manage, she always did, somehow. Her mind raced back to this afternoon's events, glancing at the bill she thought the car could do without a service this month. I mean really, it had a service last month, and a month without wouldn't hurt it, cos like Datsun's go forever, and they never break down. She tried to reassure herself, determined not to ask for money from her parents. Then again she needed a new outfit if she was going to work with Jonathon. The dreamy look came across her face as she stretched out on the lounge, happily dreaming her daydreams of lawyers and secretaries. She distantly heard the knock at the door and wondered who would be visiting her, the academy was out for the year so all her friends had gone home, and noone else really visited her. Sighing she levered herself off the lounge and went to open the door. " Dad! What are you doing here?" she exclaimed, hugging the older man fiercly before letting him into her apartment. " Scuse the mess" she appologized as she stepped over the phone cord stretched across the hallway. " Why Rachel, it is no different from your room at home" her father smiled as he moved some clothes off a chair and sat down. Rachel smiled, her father knew her too well, which was one of the reasons she loved him so much, he understood her for what she was, not what someone else wanted her to be. " So Dad, whats up?" She asked, still slightly curious as to why her father would visit her all the way in Goulbourn, so far from the city she knew and loved. " I had to deliver an order to the council chambers, the councillor's decided that they wanted a new wardrobe, so I was only too happy to make one for them, considering that they paid a pretty penny for them." her father smiled, only one thing outshining his love for his business, his Rachel. The mention of wardrobes brought her mind back to the present. " Dad.. how long are you here for?" she asked, a slight quiver to her voice. She had never asked her father to make her clothes before, always prefering to buy the latest fashions at rediculous prices rather than the wellcut outfits her father put together. " Why do you ask Rachel?" he replied, also wondering why his Rachel was asking him for something. " I've been offered this job Dad, as a secretary for Jonathon Goldstein, and I'd love to have something nice to wear, like a DECENT outfit, you know, new job, new outfit. It'd be nice to wear something smart, but I dont have enough money to buy one until next year and like the job starts next month. I've already said yes so I cant back down now and..." she rambled on, anxious to convince her father to help her. The knowing smile that had calmed her nerves for years beforehand returned to her fathers chiselled features. " Oh course my dear. I was wondering when you would ask. I have some in the truck for you that I made last month when things were slightly down. I've been meaning to send them but I never seem to have the chance these days." The releif one his daughters face made the hours of tailoring worth while. " Oh Dad" she smiled, her eyes moist with emotion and releif. Once more she ran over to her fathers conforting arms, thanking him for his efforts. A few weeks and many alterations later ( for cooking for one's self does usually cause one to loose weight, especially when one has never cooked before), a smarter looking Rachel Friedman nervously walked up to Jonathon Goldstein's office, knocking twice before entering. She smoothed back her shorter hair, held up her chin and entered. " My my Rachel, you have improved" Jonathon eyed her, as if inspecting merchandise. Rachel tried hard not to squirm under his heavy gaze, opting to fiddle with her hair rather than try to stare him down. She thought she must of passed his inspection as he rose and showed her though a large wooden archway to her new home for the next month. It was hers, her own office, her own space. Finally things were looking right with the world, and with Jonathon Goldstein. Finis

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