Psychotic nightmares and other legal non-billables.
Then she was reminded that she should have died in battle, anyway. Destiny had been inappropriately altered! The honorable thing would be to hang herself.
She walked up to the scaffold and placed the noose around her neck. Nobody else was there, but she felt them all staring at her anyway. Honor demands it.
But why? She couldn't remember! She could be dead in a minute if she did this. Honor demands it! But why? She couldn't remember the battle. She didn't understand the war. She was terrified of dying.
If somebody wants me dead, they'll have to do it themselves! She took the noose off and walked away.
Then she woke up from the nightmare in a cold sweat. She couldn't deny it anymore: she would die if things stayed the same at the law firm. She had to walk away from that noose.
A few miles to the north, Prince and Prowling's other staff attorney, Chloe Cleavage, was in her Northwest condo, clothes-shopping online. Her neighbor, Stuart, had finished cleaning her bathroom and was now cooking lunch for her. After that, she would have sex with him as payment for services rendered. It was a convenient arrangement that kept her apartment clean and her refrigerator stocked without too much trouble to herself. She didn't worry about STDs with Stuart, and while he wasn't much of a tiger in bed, she had no complaints.
"Lunch is ready, babe," called Stuart from the kitchen.
These little terms of endearment had been creeping in lately, even though they had never actually gone on a date outside of her condo, ever. She went to the table and was surprised to see lit candles and a vase of roses. He met her surprised look with: "I thought we could talk about taking our relationship to the next level."
"We don't have a relationship," Chloe said, sitting down to dig into the food, hoping that would be the end of it.
"Come on!" he said.
"It's just an arrangement: I give you milk, and you clean the barn."
"Why are you comparing yourself to a cow?" asked Stuart. "You're beautiful!"
"That's not the point," said Chloe. "This is just a simple arrangement. They're won't be another level."
"You're closed off emotionally," said Stuart, who had been reading a lot of relationship books lately. "I think it's because of your job at Prince and Prowling."
"I love my job!" protested Chloe, a little too vehemently. "It was a little stressful when the IRS did that raid, and I was in trouble for awhile with the Managing Attorney, but things are almost back to normal."
"What IRS raid?" asked Stuart, and then Chloe realized she never really told Stuart anything--he basically knew she put in a lot of hours as a staff attorney at a large law firm, and that was it.
"It doesn't matter--we're not having this conversation. We eat, and then we have sex, and then you go home to watch football."
"Why couldn't I stay and watch football here--or something you want to watch?""
"I have to go to the office," she lied.
"That's what you said yesterday."
"It was also true yesterday."
"We're not getting any younger," said Stuart. "Why don't we make it official and get married?"
"Get married?!" gasped Chloe. "What do you think this is: a reality show?"
"I guess you're hoping for Mr. Right to come along, but I think we're good together. After what happened in Paris, don't you think life is short and we should just enjoy what we have together?! Maybe we could have a kid!"
"I can't have a baby! I sold all my eggs."
"I sold all my eggs. I bought this condo in cash."
Stuart got up and turned away from Chloe to compose himself. His half-baked dreams that she would fall in love with him and give him a family were crashing and burning fast.
"This omelet is really good," Chloe said. "Why don't we forget this conversation and go back to how things were before?" Stuart sat back down, undecided. "We can play that game you like, where I'm a Supreme Court justice," added Chloe, nudging him under the table with her toes until Stuart smiled.
Out in Virginia, Prince and Prowling's contract attorney, Paul, was facing his own moment of truth. His boyfriend was tired of Paul's sleeping with the boss (Prince and Prowling junior associate Bridezilla), and they had gotten into a big argument the night before about Paul's bisexuality, as well as the danger of continuing the relationship. Sure, Paul could lose his job if he said no to Bridezilla, but what if somebody questioned the billing? Paul was being paid more than other contract attorneys because of his foreign language skills, but that was rarely what Bridezilla was actually using him for! Who did Paul think would get in trouble--a law firm associate who was friends with people like Carlos Slim and John Boehner, or a contract attorney who was friends with the owner of Level One?
But this was no longer the only issue. Paul had been planning to leave Bridezilla's place after she fell asleep on the couch, but she was obviously having another nightmare. Should he wake her up? Or at least be there when she woke up? He texted his lover to pick him up in an hour.
She was back in Charlottesville, roped into representing an old friend at trial. She had never actually gone to trial before, and while she welcomed the experience, she was not thrilled that her first trial was a malpractice case against a plastic surgeon. (Not the kind of case that would help her run for office someday!) Her friend claimed to have spent a fortune for years' worth of surgery to reconstruct her chin (horribly disfigured in a freak curling iron accident), and it still didn't look very good! (Bridezilla thought her friend's chin looked fine, but what could she do? The trial had already begun!) Bridezilla was still trying to finish eating her salad, hoping the judge wouldn't notice, even while calling more witnesses to the stand. Every question she asked was too complicated for the witnesses to understand, and she had to keep restating them. She finally rested her case, and then realized she had completely forgotten to call the plastic surgeon as a witness! But he was called by the defense, and she realized she would therefore have a chance to get to the doctor on cross-examination! But when it came time to ask for a cross-examination, the judge refused her because he wanted to wrap things up in time for poker night! Just as Bridezilla was protesting that ruling, the plastic surgeon turned into a pig and started running around the courthouse, oinking, and she thought, "now how will I ever question him! It's too late!"