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Contract Negotiations

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Jessica doesn't know why she's decided to send Harvey to Harvard Law. He's going to pay her back every cent of that tuition money, that's for certain, whether or not he manages to graduate. She sits in her office and looks over the documents one more time.

In a way, she never thought they'd get this far. In a way, she always knew they'd end up right here. Harvey is brilliant and wasted where he is, and his barely concealed hunger for something bigger and better is practically blinding. But that's not why she's going to fund his law degree, and it's not why she sat on him for weeks while he was preparing for the LSATs, alternating between the carrot and the stick, both of them pretending that Harvey didn't try to quit half a dozen times out of fear. Harvey's ambitious but some part of him was raised to believe people like him were never going to succeed. That for that you needed money and status and connections. Rushing into this – law school, an invitation to work at one of the top firms in New York when he's done – it's a lot to take in. No matter, Jessica's resolved to stick with him until he either gives up and proves he's not the man she thinks him to be, or completes the process, step by step, and internalizes the fact that he can do anything.

At first Jessica had found that resolve baffling. She'd never been one for charity cases and her heart doesn't bleed for every lower class white guy who could have done better. But something about Harvey is different. Part of it is that, despite his posturing and cockiness, he's got enough self awareness to be honest with himself, and with her, when it matters. He trusts her, lets his guard down around her, lets her see the real him, no flourishes, no ego. Honesty's a rare quality in her business. Having someone like that by her side is an appealing prospect.

But all of that isn't enough to explain the documents on her desk. The money she's putting up as a bet against his competence and loyalty. And that can more easily be explained by the fact that owning Harvey is a very wise investment. One day Jessica plans to run this firm, become a senior partner, put her name on the front door. She's going to need loyal, brilliant, experienced people when she does. She's going to need someone she can trust absolutely to be her eyes and ears, her right hand. Harvey would be a perfect fit for that role, assuming he manages to pull through. It's a long shot, because she's going to have to groom him for years and he's going to have to exceed expectations at every turn. If he makes it through law school she'll probably arrange for something in the DA's office and find the toughest, most brutal and most talented government employee to run Harvey ragged for his first few years. If he manages to distinguish himself there then maybe Jessica will let him come work for her, and that's when he'll truly have to prove himself.

But it's worth it. This wager with herself, this investment, is the smartest thing she can do. Great people always need protégés, and Harvey can be hers. By the time she's done with him he'll owe her everything, and his loyalty and skill will come in handy in a decade or so when her clients are some of the most powerful people on the planet.

She buzzes her secretary and asks to send Harvey in. She wants to tell him in person, watch the look in his eyes when he realizes that he won't have to take out student loans or scramble for scholarships and financial aid. He's already been accepted to Harvard, she wants to be there when he realizes it's really, really going to happen.