Title: Role Reversal: Chapter 2
Author: Singing Violin
Series: Drop Dead Diva
Summary: What if it had been Jane who survived…in Deb's body?
Jane had never before had such a vivid dream, and it was just getting interesting. She was starting to hope she wouldn't wake up. This Deb character was obviously important to the case somehow, and by walking in her footsteps, she was going to learn something big. Settlement big. Seven-figure settlement big…
She needed to speak with the one person she could always bounce ideas off of, the supportive friend who always knew exactly what she needed. Still in her hospital gown, she proceeded outside and began the short walk to HP. At least I didn't wind up at a hospital across town, or in some other city.
Ignoring the stares of the other pedestrians, she entered the building and called the elevator, which luckily was empty. Teri was in Jane's office, going through her stuff…Jane's stuff. Quickly, Jane walked in and grabbed her assistant's hands. "What do you think you're doing?" she asked, feeling invaded, even though there was very little Teri didn't already know about her.
"Excuse me?" the surly woman snapped. "Who are you?"
It was then that Jane realized Teri's eyes were puffy, as if she'd been crying. She blinked. "It's me, Teri. Jane."
"Jane who? The only Jane I know died just a few hours ago."
"I'm not dead," Jane insisted. "It's me…I just got a new body."
Teri rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right. Whoever you are, you might as well leave, because even though she's dead, I'm pretty sure Jane can still kick your ass in court if you continue to harass me." Yup, that's Teri all right. I imagine her well.
"I can prove it," she said. Jane tried to think of the most intimate things Teri knew about her. "I'm dating the bailiff. When I'm upset, you squeeze cheese-whiz in my mouth. You can't stand your mom."
Teri seemed unconvinced. "Okay, miss stalker, you do know a lot about me and Jane, but that doesn't prove anything."
Jane thought harder. Why was her brain so fuzzy? The memories were there, but she was just…slower, as if she'd been on vacation for several weeks and hadn't had anything to challenge her mind.
"Okay," she responded. "When you first became my assistant, Parker apologized to me, saying you were the best-qualified applicant but that he didn't think we'd get along. But we went out for donuts, and have been best friends ever since."
Teri looked suspicious. "What kind of donuts did we get?" she asked warily.
"You had a French cruller and I had two - a double chocolate and a Boston crème."
Raising her eyebrows, the assistant replied, "are you the clerk who sold us the donuts?"
Jane sighed. "How would the clerk know it was your first day, and why would she remember that particular order?"
"I don't know, photographic memory? And maybe she overheard us talking and we mentioned it?"
"We didn't mention it," Jane insisted. "We talked about how it never rains, and you said rain always makes you think of the itsy bitsy spider, which is the first song you learned in English; you sang it to your mother after learning it at preschool, and she criticized your intonation and pronunciation." Then she thought of something else. God, I'm slow. I hope I don't have to appear in court today. "Besides, why would someone with a photographic memory be working as a clerk?"
"Okay, fair point," Teri admitted. "And you do seem to know a lot. But I'm not convinced."
"Believe me," Jane said, "I'm having a hard time with this myself. I just want to get back to work."
Teri's eyes grew wide. "It is you," she exclaimed, and enveloped her in a big hug. "God, you're tiny. Are you hungry? You look like you haven't eaten in a week."
Jane thought for a moment. "Actually, oddly, I'm not. Maybe it's the drugs they gave me at the hospital or something."
Just then, Teri noticed blonde-thin-Jane's garb. "We've got to get some clothes for you," Teri told her. "I'll give you a ride, and I guess I'm paying."
"Wait," Jane interjected, closing the door carefully. She lowered her voice. "I have money. There must be a way of getting to it. I never wrote a will…"
"Tsk, tsk, not so good for a lawyer!" Teri teased.
"But I can write one now!" Jane exclaimed. "I bet my signature is the same."
"Doesn't that seem a bit like fraud?" Teri asked wisely.
"Well, it's my money," Jane pointed out. "I ought to be able to give it to myself…but it'd look suspicious to give it to Deb Dobkins…"
"Hold on a second," the assistant objected. "You're Deb Dobkins? I thought you looked familiar."
"Why?" Jane asked.
"I saw your picture on Grayson's desk as he was settling in," she said. "You're his fiancé."
Jane boggled. That would explain why he was at the hospital visiting me.
"Okay," Teri continued, "I believed you were Jane before, but now that I know who you really are, this seems a lot more suspicious. How do I know you're not the real Deb Dobkins, and you're just after Jane's money?"
Jane was confused. "Why would I want Jane's money when I could have Grayson's?" she asked pointedly.
Teri sighed. "All right. Let's entertain the possibility that you're really Jane, and you don't know Deb Dobkins. It would look very suspicious for you to leave your money to her, seeing as you've never met her."
"I agree," said Jane. "That's why I'm going to leave it to you."
"To me?" Teri asked.
"Yes, it's perfect!" Jane replied. "You're my best friend, so it wouldn't look suspicious, and then I can move in with you and we can…pool resources. Except it'd be mostly my resources, but I can't think of another way right now. I know there's something cleverer, but I just can't think in this body."
"Neglecting the obvious blonde joke," Teri said, "what makes you think I'll agree to it?"
"Oh come on, Teri," Jane pushed. "I know you could use the money. It's not like we pay our assistants anything."
"What about your mother?" Teri queried. "She seems like she could seriously use the cash."
"I'll leave her some too…just enough so it won't look suspicious. You can help me come up with the numbers. What do you say, are you in?"
"There isn't a lot that I wouldn't do for some cold, hard cash," Teri admitted. "All right. I'm in. But what's next? And how do we keep you away from Grayson?"
"Well, I guess I'll have to break up with him," Jane stated firmly. "And as for what's next, we can cross that bridge when we come to it."
Teri was dubious, but reluctantly agreed. "Come on, let's get you out of here before Grayson comes back."
However, it was already too late. As they exited the office, Grayson walked past and startled at the sight of his beloved. "Deb!" he cried, running to her and hugging her. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in the hospital?"
"I'm fine," said Jane. "I…uh…came here to talk to you."
There was such love in his eyes, she wavered momentarily. How can I break this poor man's heart, right after he's worried about Deb since the accident? Then she reminded herself that it would be far crueler to lead him on, seeing as she wasn't the person he thought he was going to marry.
"Can we go to your office?" she asked hesitantly. "I'd like to talk in private."
He nodded. As she followed him, she gave a nod to Teri, who looked awfully worried. She gave Teri a slight nod, hoping to impart some confidence. Don't worry. I'll be all right.
Teri gave Jane a knowing look, eyeing Grayson for a moment. I know you will, but what about him?
Jane looked into her assistant's eyes with determination. This has to be done, and you know it.
Teri nodded and headed back to Jane's office. As she awaited the fallout of what was sure to be the most uncomfortable conversation ever in this office building, she boggled at how readily she'd believed this stranger's story. It could definitely be a set-up to steal Jane's money, but why would they go through Teri? Then she realized that she could be an accessory to fraud, and this could be really, really bad. Her gut was telling her that it was really Jane in there, but how could she be sure? After all, it was a pretty fantastic story. Fraud made more sense. There was only one person she'd trust to advise her on this matter, and that person had died of a gunshot wound earlier that day. And nobody in their right mind would believe that Deb was really Jane, would they? Was it possible Grayson was coaching her to act like Jane, and the gunman was in on it – how else would they have come up with the plan so quickly – and Teri was about to be duped into stealing her own best friend's money? If so, they could be discussing the plan now.
Teri snuck back outside and squatted at Grayson's door, listening intently, hoping to overhear a clue to what was really going on.
Just then, Kim walked over and stopped, glaring at Teri. "What are you doing?" she asked nosily.
Oh yeah, this was bad. Very bad.