"Yes mother," I sigh into the line, wrapping the infamous cord around my finger. "Of course, I'm fine... What? No, it's not like I'm in the states! This is Britain, god damn it! Mother... no I think you should lie down for a while. Call dad as well. He'd fancy a visit from you, I'm sure"
And just like that, my hand smashes back on the receiver. Blood, Britain, eh? Who could ever have imagined Olivia from the apartment up above would pursue law in England?
Well, for starters, certainly not her.
A buggy sweeps by my rusted telephone box as I take a single drag on the cigarette laid before me in its little red tin box. Rainwater nearly splashes up on my impeccable outfit, the poor thing. I shake my fist at the driver, but there's no use; the lad's already way off into the distance.
What would the world be without Britain? Perhaps every world has some sort of Britain as well; little men in their fancy outfits, always circling each other with arguments. At least they're nothing like that bloody American man, what was his name again? Nixon was it? Yes... terrible, terrible people doing amazing things. I've always found it fascinating, you know.
My red kitten heels splash against more rainwater. I curse myself silently for not bringing that little red umbrella with me. Perhaps I could pick it up on my way to the office.
Their stares don't avoid me as I run by. I can catch those disgusting men from the corner of my eye, all staring. It's not as if I'm putting on a show, is it? Still, I can only imagine what they see; a french woman, plush red lips against fair skin. I even tried to wear my longer, crimson dress today. Turns out that effort proved fruitless.
I jump into the office, gasping as the heat blasts me behind the wooden panels. In the background, I can hear softer jazz clashing with news reports from the telly as if warring between each other.
"What is it this time?" I ask Bonnie, the sharp woman sitting at the desk. or as she urges me to call her, BonBon. Ridiculous name. Her bleached curls pull up nicely against her dark, skin and bright yellow dress. She swears it's from that damn "swinging Britain" stage we're going through right now. She shrugs, leaning over to stare at the pixel-y screen.
"Those Beatle kids are going to broke up," she snaps back, leaning into the plush sides of her chair. The corners of her mouth edge up slightly as she stares at the messily done bun in my hair. "How do you get your hair like that?"
"Oh," I grin back, picking up the large manila folder before her. "Do shut up. What's our next case?"
"It's hard to say," Bonbon plucks a pen from her container, absentmindedly scribbling on her schedule paper. "They ordered us to take up all the spots for the month"
'All of them?" my eyebrows shoot up as I feel my face grow red with anger. The audacity? Who do they think they are to order us around? There are nearly a million clients in London all looking for lawyers, and yet this flash bastard thinks he's important enough to take all her attention?"
"This is the case," she heaves more mundane folders toward me, all packed to the brim with paper. "I know, it's a lot"
"You might even need to help us with this one," I tease.
"Not my style," Bonnie slumps back. "Olivia... Some of us girls aren't meant to be smart. We're just supposed to smile and look pretty. Some of us don't get enough funds to go to Oxford either. Or travel back and forth from France"
I ignore the dig. It's odd how Bonnie and I see ourselves as adults, despite both of us only just being able to drink. Right when I graduated from Oxford, I got accepted into this law firm, the best one in London. Sometimes, I wonder if I'd even stay here without the job. Britain is just so dreary. It's quite depressing, especially at first glance. Maybe that's all it deserves.
My heels clack down the hallway as I desert the drab lobby. When I finally reach my own, personalized, office, I feel as if I'm at home. I strut to the opalescent gramophone occupying the corner, placing a thin record upon it. Half my collection is sonata while the other is all that new style of rock. I believe those critics have begun to call it punk? Whatever the case, it's the only connection I have to my generation. I often find myself discarded in this new, modern era. People believe there is to be so much more, but I can't possibly imagine what could come next.
I sit at my small desk, shuffling through the papers that have been so graciously presented to me without haste. How does one look through these documents with such excitement anyhow? I prefer the thrill of the courtroom to the dull sensation of passing through files and archives. Nevertheless, one needs to begin a task for them to finish it.
After nearly two hours of reading, Bonnie returns to my office with a cup of tea and the person I'd least like to see right now. Darcy places a hand onto my desk, snatching the tea from Bonnie's hand.
"I thought you'd like some tea," she whispers in an accusatory manner.
"I see," I groan. "So much so that you grabbed it straight from Bonnie's hand"
Darcy snaps her long white fingers. "Leave, pest. Make yourself useful and sort through the files"
Our boss pulls her emerald-colored nails through her platinum blonde hair. "Who's to say I didn't mess them up while you were wasting time?"
Bonnie's gum snaps as she pulls it back in from its bubble. "'Course, miss"
As her thin legs carry her off down the drab walls, Darcy smashes her fists on my desk before traveling to the gramophone, looking down with distaste. "I find all parts of your music taste disgusting"
"Thanks," I mumble, returning to my work. "Now that you've given me some tea and made fun of my music, you can leave"
"I simply can't figure out how you work with this... rock in the background"
"First of all," I sigh, throwing down some more papers to the floor. Darcy's eyes widen, but I only shrug. "There's a method to my madness. They taught me some amazing things in your British college, you know"
"Ah yes," she laments. "The French girl decides to bless us with her knowledge. You know..."
Darcy dumps more papers onto the floor. "In London, we don't do things with madness. We are intelligent, young women in a time of enlightenment. By the way... I didn't notice you at the women's march last week. Were you busy?"
"Darcy," I reply hastily. "You know I'm all for women's rights. Of course, there are things that I'd rather be doing than marching for them"
"What!" she squawks, almost knocking over a clock now leaning dangerously toward the ground. She attempts to upright it, only to leave it tilted on its side. I suppose it's for the best; it's not like I often leave this small office. "But then-"
"If we march for it, people ridicule us. I'd rather work on letters to parliament"
"And, pray tell... where are these letters?"
I feel my face grow red as I bolt up. "There better be a point to this meeting!"
Darcy backs away from my outburst, sighing. "I wanted to ask you what you thought of the case"
"Dr. Sherman came into his house late at night," I recall the words from the page now lying on the checkerboard carpet. "His daughter was still at the secondary school's dance recital, one she only feigned interest in"
Darcy raises an eyebrow. "I didn't remember anything like that in the case"
"I only assumed apologies. "I'm sorry, Alice just brought a lot of attention to herself. Anyway, where were we?"
"The very beginning, I believe"
"Precisely," I pretend not to notice the acid in her voice. "Dr. Sherman swears that he was missing a certain object from his house. However, the object seems to be missing from the case"
"That's what I wanted to show you," Darcy nods. She flicks a paper toward my desk, containing only a black and white picture. I squint between the grainy pixels making out an image.
"He's really suing for a hat?"
"That hat costs over a hundred thousand dollars," Darcy discloses, snatching the photo back into her brown briefcase.
"But then why is he suing for a million?" I ask, still incredulous.
"He believes Blake Connery stole the hate," she adjusts her glasses before turning her back on me. "Didn't you read the report?"
"Of course I did!" she sniffs at the outburst. "Mr. Connery went to Sherman's house to go over their last meeting. Something about therapy, I believe"
"Perhaps this case could help you," Darcy points a pen towards me. "You could use some anger management"
And with that, the dastardy woman exits stage left, a smug smile still plastered on her face. Is it possible to hit a glass ceiling when your boss is a woman? Still, it's hard for me to believe it.
"And so you see," the red-faced man before me spits. "That's why the hammer of justice must be brought down. My house was ravaged by this... madman! I wouldn't dare say it for any of my other patients, but Blake Connery is a psychopath!"
"Well," I can sense his anger rising even higher than mine as I look over the report. "When you gave us access to your notes, it didn't seem as if Mr. Connery had any sort of mental illnesses besides his bipolar disorder"
"Exactly!" he stands up, almost sloshing tea on my immaculate red dress. When Darcy had permitted me to interview Dr. Sherman, I'd expected someone much less... unhinged.
Why is it that the mad are always the most composed?
"He put on a farce," Dr. Sherman sits back down, crossing his hands. It's almost obvious that he's trying to pull some therapeutic shit on me. Of course, it'd take a lot more than that to phase me. Either Sherman's a bad therapist, or he truly is under a lot of stress from losing his hat. "He made me believe that he's not a bloody thief!"
"Let's not jump to accusations about the defendant," I place the papers back into their files to stop him from seeing the work I've already done. It wouldn't do for my client to already know I believe he's insane.
"Oh," a mousy blonde jumps into the scene, perhaps around 16. Nearly the age I was when I first came to this despicable city. "Ignore Papa's ravings; he's just angry still"
"And rightfully so!" for a moment, I'm afraid that he'll slap the girl I've already assumed to be Alice, but he laughs it off. Perhaps she has a therapeutic herself. Despite that fact, something bubbles inside of me as I stare at her in the slightly blue dress. "It's my most prized possession!"
"I can make you another, Papa" Alice leans down to hug her father's neck. He smiles, then turns back to me, the joy already wiped off his face. What can I say? I have that effect on some people.
"I'm sure you can, my butterfly. But we must bring down justice!"
And with that, I'm immediately done. I've gathered almost useless information, and then it daunts on me; this is what it's going to be like for a straight month, maybe more.
This is what I despise about this city; everything is either gloomy or wonderful. The people, the jobs, the world. But one thing stays the same; in fact, that's the charm of it; Everything is stagnant, orbiting around the world. We all get a chance to be in the spotlight, and sometimes, that's the worst part.
"I think I have enough information for today," I sigh, placing my tea down with a slow clink.
"Is it enough to incarcerate the bastard?"
"You're suing him," I remind Dr. Sherman. "He's not going to jail"
"Ha! When I'm done with him, I'm sure that won't be the case! I hired the entirety of the best law firm in the city to work on my case. I can't lose!"
I'm done arguing with him. On any other day, I'd gladly debate with him until he realizes how much of a damn fool he is. But today? It's almost impossible.
The streets are nearly deserted for a crisp May day. I can hear the roars of a crowd in the distance, but there's no one on this street. I check my watch, disappointing myself almost immediately; It's still technically my lunch break, and I haven't found anything useful yet. I'd usually be good and done by now. Instead, I'm stuck in this rabbit hole of a case. No evidence and I'm surrounded by lunatics. Just my luck, naturally.
Eventually, I'm face to face with the source of the crowd's cheering. A band plays upon a large wooden stage, surrounded by small bulbs holding dead string lights. It doesn't take long to find a familiar face.
She twists around, staring at me in fear. Her voice comes out way too fast, almost like Dr. Sherman's. "Okay, look, don't tell Darcy... I just heard they were playing today and I-"
"I'm not telling Darcy," I urge. "Anyway, they're pretty good. Better than anyone else on the radio, at least. What's their name?"
"The Hatters," Bonnie shrugs. "I know, it's weird"
"No..." I shake my head. "More like a coincidence"
"Ugh," she hangs her tan arms around my neck, jumping to the dark, sporadic beat. "Are you still on that case?"
"Well, Bonnie..." my voice drifts off before I can dish out a biting comment. "Wait... how do you know about the case?"
She blushes deep red. "I might have... read it?"
"You did?" I laugh incredulously, fixing it immediately after. "No... I'm just surprised. That's great! I could use some help. But what made you decide it?"
"Well," Bonnie shrugs. "I just wanted to help out, I guess. I'm always just the girl behind the desk. The one with a smile. I saw how you stood up to Darcy and I-"
Her thoughts are interrupted by perhaps the cutest man eclipsing the world, a guitar held in his dark hands. His curls are covered in a thin sheen of sweat as he smiles toward us. It takes me a moment (and a jab from Bonnie) to realize it's me he's smiling at.
"Hey," he flashes us a gleaming grin, tipping a tall top hat, clashing directly with his leather and chains. "Name's Blake"
And just like that, the conversation is ruined.
"No?" The smile fades a little as the band onstage drifts off. I guess he's their central power source. "I can't understand"
I blush profusely. "No... it's not you. I just mean... You're Blake Connery, I assume?"
Bonnie's eyes flash with fear at the notion. I mean, I know it's random. It's mad.
But it's so me.
"Was it fate that brought us together?" he brushes past Bonnie, but for once, I don't see her angry that a man is ignoring her. I can see the emotions warring in her mind; On one side, we know that I'm going to have to possibly rob him of all his money. On the other hand... he's hot. "You know my name..."
"Well," I pull out the manila folder, reaching for the picture displaying him I grabbed from Dr. Sherman's office. "I also have your file"
"Ah," he doesn't display the reaction I expected. He leans back, staring down at his watch. "You're working for Sherman, huh?"
"That seems to be the case"
"So..." BonBon leans back, grabbing her bright yellow purse. "I should probably..."
She leaves her bleach blond curls bouncing in the wind.
"Can I just tell you?" I try to imitate his smile only to completely cringe. "That man is clearly insane"
That gives him a laugh. "It's his daughter"
"Alice?" now I have to stifle my chuckle. "But she's innocent"
"Ah... that's just what she wants you to believe. Say... how 'bout you stick with me, and you win this case for me. I have heaps of knowledge for you"
"And I suppose you know this because you're an expert lawyer?"
"Dr. Sherman holds all his meetings in his house," Blake recites. "I was there lawfully, and I never stole his hat"
"But we don't have pro-"
"The security cameras"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Sherman has cameras. And even if he won't give you access, I will"
"And you lawfully took these?"
"Ya got me there," Blake stares sheepishly down toward the folder. "I have... connections"
"And that isn't shady at all"
"If you've been having a bad time in this city, it's because you haven't been living like me. I know it all"
"That doesn't answer my question, genius"
"Look," Connery stares back at the clock again. "Are you on a break?"
"I have about an hour or two before I need to return to the office. Sherman cut the meeting short"
"Have lunch with me. I promise that by the end of it, you'll be swayed to my side"
"And what does that mean?"
He produces a wallet, holding up a wad of cash. "Whatever Sherman paid you will look like a joke compared to what I can give you. I'll even give you more than just mon-"
"Okay!" I blush. "Let's just... lead the way"
"Miss Olivia," Blake flashes me another dangerous smile. "I believe this will be the beginning of a great union"