"I'll take care of it," Harvey said, his voice as confident and breezy as if he hadn't just lost the firm a prospective and very wealthy client by calling Mr. Merlis by the name of his greatest business rival. Multiple times, and while congratulating him on his great successes.
"No, you won't," Jessica said. "I will."
"It was my mistake. I can handle it."
"You don't send a puppy to clean up its own mess," Jessica said. One cubicle over, Louis snickered. Harvey gave her a pained look that she ignored blandly. If he didn't want to be humiliated in front of his colleagues, then he'd just have to stop fucking up. Besides, Louis was devious and vindictive, but he lacked a sense of humor. This made him unimaginative. Similarly castigating Louis in front of Harvey would have led to Louis's becoming the unwilling recipient of dog treats, chew toys, a dog collar, and an unfortunate nickname. Castigating Harvey in front of Louis would lead to nothing more than Harvey's being laughed at as he so greatly deserved.
"Jessica," Harvey said, too stubborn to know when he should quit, "I'm not a rookie anymore. I brought in two clients just last week."
"And lost us one who would've earned us easily ten times as much as those two clients combined. I'm not saying that you don't do good work for the firm, Harvey. What I'm saying is that, as of now, your good work barely balances out your bad work."
Harvey gave her a skeptical look, as Jessica had expected; she'd yet to encounter a situation that could put the barest hint of a dent in Harvey's ego. But that didn't mean that he wouldn't hear her message: he was one of their brightest new associates, but mostly that meant that his screw-ups had a greater capacity to hurt the firm than the mistakes he could have made in the mailroom.
"All right. If you insist, you can take charge of the Merlis situation," Harvey said magnanimously.
Jessica narrowed her eyes at him. "I do insist. I also insist that you read the file on Mr. Merlis that I gave you on Tuesday from beginning to end, rather than skimming it as you obviously did. Take notes if you have to. We'll be discussing it later."
Louis's smirk seemed to be indelibly fixed to his face by this point. The "discussion" that Louis was so gleeful over likely wouldn't go down as Louis--and possibly Harvey--anticipated. Jessica hadn't been blind to Harvey's phlegmy cough and fever-bright cheeks earlier in the week. She didn't expect the firm's employees to be supermen, and she didn't blame him for being too sick to adequately prepare for the meeting with Mr. Merlis. What she did expect, however, and what she'd be sure to impress upon Harvey later, was that that didn't excuse his withholding that information from her. Harvey had a certain talent for cowboy tactics, but he still needed to learn how to work as part of a team.
"You've got it," Harvey said with a firm nod, no more bluster or shenanigans, and Jessica rewarded him with a quick nod in return before she left to find some way to smooth things over with Mr. Merlis. She saved her smile until she was out the door, though; Harvey still had to earn that.