Alan went into work the next day. Despite Denny's pleas to quit Chang, Poole and Schmidt, Alan continued to practice law there simply because he enjoyed it. Shirley, Katie and Jerry were still there, and Alan felt it was wrong for him to simply live off of Denny's wealth when he still had talent and abilities. So until he was able to get his new law firm off the ground, Alan was content to work for Shirley and let Denny enjoy his retirement.

Alan relaxed in his office, leaning back in his sturdy patent leather office chair and enjoying his morning coffee. The morning sun shone in the windows, giving the office a warm orange glow that he basked in. There were still improvements to be made, but life at the moment was good.

However, his tranquil moment was interrupted by a sharp knock at the doors. Through the glass he could see the silhouette of Shirley Schmidt.

"It's open." Alan called out and Shirley entered. She looked rather concerned and serious. Alan sat up and met her eyes.

"I'll cut to the chase." Shirley said, sitting down in a leather cushioned metal chair in front of Alan's desk.

"A friend of mine at the DA's office has gotten word that an attorney with the Boston Family Alliance has gotten the required number of petitions together, and they're going in front of the state supreme court to over turn same sex marriage in Massachusetts."

Alan had to chuckle. "Shirley." He said easily. "You had to have known this was going to happen, didn't you? There was opposition in Vermont, Maine, California, and even Iowa. Did you think it was going to be different here?"

Shirley sighed at him. "Of course not. But there is something else you should know."

By the grim look in Shirley's eyes, Alan didn't like where this was going at all.

"The firm handling this case is Ellington and Strom, and the leading attorney in this case is…" Shirley stopped, looking worried.

"I can handle Ellington and Strom." Alan waved her off. "They love to use a show of force and intimidation tactics but you know I don't buy it."

"It's Alex Shore." Shirley finally cut to the chase. Alan's heart twisted and he felt rage bubble within him. He got up and stalked out of his office, his footfalls on the carpet heavy and sharp.

Shirley whirled around and followed Alan out.

"Alan!" She called out, hurrying after him. "Where are you going?"

Alan walked toward the elevator and pushed the down button. "Straight to talk to Denny. Then we're both going down to Ellington and Strom."

The elevator door opened and Alan started to go through it. Shirley caught his arm and gently but firmly gripped his wrist.

"Alan, please think before you do this." She urged, looking him in the eye. "I know you're angry, but you need to play this right."

"Don't you understand, Shirley?" Alan turned around, wrenching free from Shirley's hold on his wrist, holding her gaze with a heated stare. "She took this case purposefully to get revenge. This is the only reason she took it. After all this time, she feels slighted and this is her chance."

"Even so, don't let your emotions cloud your judgment." Shirley replied. "You cannot stoop down to her level, and you cannot let a personal grudge get in the way of a case like this. Too many people's livelihoods are at stake."

Alan sighed. Shirley was right. Confronting Alex now will only make things worst.

"Besides, Carl has already talked to Denny." Shirley continued. "The best course of action at this point is to take a step back and consider the best course of action. And, I know this is something you care about deeply, but due to your history with her, I cannot allow you to take a role in this case. It's too risky. Let me handle it."

It boiled Alan's blood to stand back and watch his own sister try to ruin the lives of thousands of people who just wanted to marry the love of their lives. Denny would be devastated if his marriage to Alan was dissolved. It meant the world to him. But he'd come too far to lose his objectivity now. Alan took a deep breath and ran a hand over his face, willing himself to calm down.

'This is just another case, that's all.' Alan told himself silently. 'I'll treat it like I would any other.'

"All right." He said, nodding his head sharply. The shaking in his hands had stopped and his blood ran semi-normally. "But I still want to help. I'll give you every bit of case law and get you any witnesses you need. Please, Shirley. This is not for me, but for Denny."

Shirley nodded slowly. "Fair enough. But Carl and I will be the ones up front. Got it? No shenanigans."

"Like I said, Shirley," Alan reassured her. "This is for Denny. I won't mess this up."