|Class||LAW802: Selected Topics in Corporate Law|
|Prerequisites||LAW800/25.00: Sarbanes-Oxley, LAW801/0.00:Getting It|
A student-driven examination of selected topics in the practice of corporate law, using current case studies.
In September, Mike Ross goes back to school.
Enrollment is highly competitive; there is, as it turns out, only one seat in the class. Office hours are convened whenever the student finds himself in need of guidance, where 'in need of guidance' is defined to mean 'at immediate risk of sending a case down in flames'. The course is pass/fail. The teacher has never before, does not now, and Mike will be fired should he ever appear on ratemyprofessors.com.
Paulsen, Donna is not a particularly nurturing teaching assistant, but seeing as she'll go toe-to-toe with Specter, Harvey (Professor) and unwitting Litt, Louis (Seminar Leader), she's sure to rank highly on course evaluations anyways.
This all comes later because before Mike becomes a student, before Harvey adds 'teacher' to his list of responsibilities, before any of this comes to pass, Mike's world is flipped upside down.
He loses his photographic memory.
"You signed the prenup, that means you don't get to go gold digging now. Harvey, tell her that means she doesn't get to go gold digging now!"
"Gold digging? I know you've spent the past year dicking around on the golf course, so let me remind who you pulled this company back from the brink of insolvency, you narcisstic little--."
"—this company? It's my company, or did you forget that?"
"It's your train wreck!"
Mike doesn't recognize the screaming couple in conference room C, but he doesn't need to in order to get the gist of things. "I didn't think you handled divorce cases," he says to Harvey. Today, his boss is watching the proceedings from his position at head of the table with a detached sort of disinterest.
"Meet Mark and Barbara Hastings, CEO and CFO of Natrulife Pharmaceuticals respectively. They're one of our biggest clients. I do now." He passes Mike a file folder bearing the company name that's about as thick as one of his college textbooks. He flips it open to reveal text just as dense. "I need you to look into both their assets during the 2003-2004 fiscal year. She's claiming he underreported his portfolio prior to the marriage, which would--."
"--invalidate their prenup and entitle her to a larger proportion of the company's current profits, yeah, I got it," Mike finishes. He hasn't handled any of this company's cases yet, but he recognizes the name. "Natrulife – the gummy vitamin people?" They produce a one-a-day adult multivitamin in gummy form, chock full useful things missing from Mike's diet of food truck cuisine and frozen dinners. There's a bottle in his desk now.
"For overgrown children?"
"Hey, I have --," he objects, but Harvey is already smiling knowingly. For someone with a reputation for being as strategically adept as he is, Harvey is awfully immature sometimes. Mike rolls his eyes, and takes a look at the file.
The first page is a summary of the dispute in verbose, archaic wording which boils down to both husband and wife wanting to gut their soon to be ex. As representation for the company rather than the individual, Pearson Hardman must remain neutral in this dispute. Whether Mark invalidated the prenup or not, they need to negotiate a settlement that will satisfy both parties and keep the company running smoothly in the future. Mike's not sure that's possible if the CEO and CFO can't hold a civil conversation with each other, but that's Harvey's problem and not his, thankfully.
Following the summary is a list of disputed assets up to and including the kitchen sink. If their dispute goes to trial a divorce court judge will settle who gets the home in the Hamptons, the cabin in Vermont, the 30' cruiser in Long Island's harbours, and custody.
"They have a kid," Mike notes. Joanne Hastings is seven years old. It's old enough to grow attached to her school and her friends, but young enough to pick up on her parents' fighting without understanding why that's happening. Any lingering amusement Mike harbours over the comically vitriolic couple evaporates instantly.
"I built that company from scratch after college! You've got another thing coming if you think--"
"—Natrulife consisted of two rooms, one computer, and a broken chair when I came in, and you know it."
Harvey shares a long, exasperated look with Mike as he gets to his feet, taking the time to button his suit jacket before interrupting the couple. "Barbara, Mark." Professional etiquette for dealing with clients he isn't overly familiar with would call for surnames, but Harvey knows better than to address a couple in the middle of a nasty divorce by a name also in dispute. They're just lucky the company isn't named Hastings Pharmaceutical. "I'd like you both to meet my associate, Mike Ross."
Mike steps forward to shake both their hands in turn. "Pleased to meet you," he greets them. He'd like nothing more than to bang their heads together for the sake of sparing a little girl he's never met the difficulty of living in two houses, her weekends and holidays split straight down the middle, but Harvey's lessons are sinking in. Part of the job is representing people Mike doesn't like, and if he can't deal with that, he really does need to find another job.
"Now, if you'd both take a seat, we can begin. Mike will sit in on this meeting and take notes on the particulars. Rest assured, we'll determine whether the prenuptial agreement you signed in 2004 is valid."
Mark winds up for another round, halfway to his feet before Harvey raises a hand. "Either way, Mark. Until we know for sure, we're going to uphold it. Barbara, we can discuss what will change if it isn't afterwards. I'd like to remind you both that as a neutral, mediating party, Pearson Hardman will not be taking sides, and we will ensure you both receive a fair settlement."
Much grumbling ensues, but there is little to find fault with in Harvey's even-handed approach and they settle in without further difficulties. The hour passes in a string of passive aggressive snipes. If Mike wanted to deal with that that, he would've stuck around for Louis' big announcement to the associates. Kyle thinks Louis is getting a promotion to Senior Partner, freeing up a junior slot for one of them. Harold thinks the associates are going to get a piece of the big bailout scandal they've only heard rumours about, the company kept confidential but assuredly in the Fortune 500. Mike doesn't have a working theory so much as a sinking feeling that whatever it is will mean even more work for him.
Harvey controls the meeting with an iron fist, bringing it to a close without further incident, freeing Mike up to put a request in for both the Hastings' individual finances and that of their company's before he's due to join the other associates in the law library. As always with Louis, attendance is mandatory, no exceptions granted for grievous bodily injury.
"What about the prenup?" Barbara asks just as they're getting up to leave. Harvey clears his throat pointedly. When that doesn't catch Mike's attention, he kicks him under the table. It's out of their clients' sight, but still damn painful.
"Right!" Mike shoots up, forms in hand. "Mark, we're going to discuss the prenup with Barbara now. You've indicated that you don't wish to be present, but we need you to sign some paperwork to that effect before we do so no allegations of bias can be made against the firm later."
"Fine, whatever," Mark sighs. His phone rings before he can put pen to paper, though, and a glance at the caller ID has him ducking outside to answer the call.
"I'm sorry, Barbara," Mike apologizes. "But we can't discuss the prenup any further with you until he signs that paperwork."
"Of course. As always, things happen on his damn schedule." Her expression is more resigned than hardened; while the insults they were trading equally during the meeting gave Mike the impression her only feelings towards her soon to be ex-husband were of the 'mad' extended family, proof that something tangibly soft underlies the bitterness is staring him right in the face. She might not be able to stand the sight of Mark, but she still cares about him.
"It's just—ugh." Barbara cuts herself off before she can finish the sentence, deflating almost visibly.
"Eloquent as always, Barbara."
"At least I have the tact not to air our grievances out in public, Mark."
"Is that what you think calling me an asshole under your breath is? Tact?" They're too close to each other, right up in each other's face and angry; so, so angry. Mike reads it into the reddening colour of Mark's cheeks and Barbara's offensive stance, his voice raised and her hands flying.
"Why doesn't everybody calm the hell down," Mike says. If anything, his words incite them further.
While neither of them have either alleged or displayed violent tendencies, Mike doesn't like the way things are heading. Not only is he sure Harvey will rip him a new one if one or both of their clients are arrested for assault, it will definitely make things difficult for little Joanna. He gets a foot between them and squeezes the rest of his body into the gap, using his height to compensate for his lack of bulk as he makes himself as big as he can, forcing them apart physically.
A hand snakes around him just as he's turning to seek Harvey's guidance. Mike never does see who it belongs to. Only after he's twisted to catch the appendage does he realize the fist was aiming for the wall rather than the spouse, and by then he's positioned wrong to handle the momentum. He goes right over someone's torso in a tangle of limbs, the world pitching alarmingly sideways before he can get a hand underneath him to brace himself. A hand grapples with the tail of his jacket, trying to break his fall, but it doesn't get a grip in time. Mike's world washes out briefly in a haze of pain before he goes unconscious, skull cracking sharply against the glass table of the conference room.
"Wake up. Right now. I'm not fucking kidding around here, Mike."
Mike can't quite parse the words, but the tone comes across crystal clear. He opens his eyes to a tiled ceiling that he can't place. The lights of his apartment aren't nearly that bright (and uncomfortable though it is, his couch is not nearly that hard), but the room doesn't have the dull antiseptic smell of Grammy's nursing home.
Tentatively, probingly, he touches a hand to his head. It comes away sticky with blood, which he only realizes rather belatedly belongs to him. A strong grip catches his hand on its way down, and he traces it back up the person's arm to Harvey's face. He's crouched on the ground at Mike's side, and Mike can tell there's another person at his head.
"Stay still, Mike," Harvey orders, so Mike stays still.
"-- GCS of 7 immediately following the impact, up to – Harvey, can you get him to say something?"
"Speak," Harvey says.
"—14 after five minutes of unconsciousness. Two inch laceration to the--."
A woman's face leans over him; she looks upside down to Mike, which means she must be the one kneeling at his head, her hand holding pressure on the bleeding wound. This conclusion is supported by the tattered state of her green blouse, spotted with droplets of blood that have gone a dark crimson, flaky where they've dried. "Hi Mike. Do you remember me?"
He doesn't. Under normal circumstances, that would mean he's never met her before. Her tone seems to suggest rather the opposite, though.
"My name's Barbara, I'm one of your clients." Some of Mike's panic over such a misstep must show on his face, because she smiles reassuringly at him. "Don't worry if you can't remember me, retrograde amnesia is typical after a concussion."
That might be true of someone else, Mike thinks, but not him. He can chalk confusion over where he is up to the concussion, but remembering a client he's been introduced to and a file he must have read is something entirely different. He remembers being eight, July fourth, the conspiratorial grin on his father's face as he set illicit fireworks off over a deserted section of the Hudson; fourteen, September sixth, walking into ninth grade science and meeting Jenny's eyes over their assigned lab bench; twenty, April fourth, a week from being legal and pouring the finest bottle of champagne he could scrounge up the cash for over their graves.
Mike doesn't forget things.
"You have medical training?" Harvey asks curtly.
"Mark went through college as an EMT before founding Natrulife. My mother was an ER nurse," she says. The other guy, the guy on the phone with 911 who Mike assumes to be Mark, hangs up the phone and comes to join them.
"Barbara, can you grab the –."
"—already on it, he's bleeding through the gauze and can you--."
"—do some basic neuro checks before the bus gets here?"
A fuzzy memory claws through the confusion of these two finishing each other's sentences in a similar manner, though Mike remembers the tone differently. "I don't think I liked you very much," he says. That's probably rude. Harvey's probably going to have something to say about Mike speaking to a client that way, but Mike has always turned into a bit of an asshole when he has a headache.
He remembers asking Harvey if he handled divorce cases now, but not what his response was. If anything, it freaks Mike out further; he blacked out during a bender once in college, but that memory loss was continuous. This is intermittent.
Barbara smiles. "You were handling my divorce. I don't think I liked you very much either."
From his prone position on the floor, Mike puts two and two together and comes up Pearson Hardman. He looks to his left through the glass walls so contrary to the firm's hush hush character and sure enough, forty floors straight down stare back at him. The view of New York from such an extreme angle is dizzying, compounding the nausea from the concussion and forcing Mike's eyes closed so he can keep the contents of his stomach firmly where they are.
"No sleeping on the job," Harvey says.
"I'm not sleeping," Mike says. "I'm just not throwing up."
Mark's voice is kinder than Harvey's brisk baritone, but just as demanding. "We need you to keep your eyes open for now, Mike. I'm going to take your vitals while your boss asks you some questions, okay?" Mike's eyelids feel ten times heavier, but he opens them anyways. By now, he knows that Harvey doesn't stop until he gets his way.
"Do you know who I am?" Harvey asks.
"Harvey Specter, secretly a kind and noble soul."
"Alright, he's delusional."
"Harvey Specter, a self-centered dick."
"And don't you forget it, rookie," Harvey says. He's been quiet since Mike woke up, present but distant all the same. The only sign so far that something is out of the ordinary is his lack of suit jacket. Come to think of it, Mike really hopes Harvey's thousand dollar jacket isn't what's resting under his head. No dry cleaner's in the state could get all the blood out.
"You say such mean things, but all I hear is fond."
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
It's not blurred vision that gives Mike a hard time in focusing on Harvey's hand so much as a general lack of stamina. The bone-tired weariness is a condition he usually treats with a liberal dose of Red Bull, but that isn't an option available to him now. It leaves him more obstinate than usual as he tries to balance remembering what happened this morning with answering all their questions with not puking on Harvey's shoes. He looks up to find Harvey's flipping him off, a grin on his face though Mike's blood tinges the cuffs of his shirt. The white linen is crisp other than that, so Mike thinks Harvey's was the hand that tried to break his fall.
"You're an ass," Mike says.
"Well, your vision's fine," Harvey declares. "Now, do you know where you are?"
"On the floor," Mike supplies helpfully. Mike, headache, asshole. Exhibit A. While flippancy is in Mike's nature, direct from his father and his father's mother before him, he's usually less open about it.
Mike sighs. "Pearson Hardman. Fiftieth floor of the building."
"Who was the last justice appointed to the Supreme Court?" Harvey tries next. Mark makes a confused noise, but Harvey just waves him off. "It's 'who's the president' for lawyers."
"Elena Kagan," Mike says.
The paramedics arrive before Mike can complete the arduous task of following Harvey's finger – while it might test his visual ability to track, he's pretty sure the examiner usually avoids performing loop-de-loops. The team fits Mike with a cervical collar just to be safe before lifting him onto the gurney in one smooth movement.
"Hey Harvey," Mike says, grasping for his wrist. As they clear the corner of the conference room door and turn towards the elevators, Mike can see the other associates circling like vultures at the end of the hallway. They must be clearing out of the law library after Louis' big announcement. It's the cherry on top of his piece of shit day. He catches the tail end of Harvey's glare, not the indulgent one he trots out for Mike's midnight puns but the one that says he'll be scorching you and all your subsidiaries as soon as he gets around to it. The associates scatter as Harvey, satisfied with a solid day's work, comes around the side of the gurney to face Mike head on.
"I'm taking the rest of the day off," Mike tells him.
There's the indulgent glare. "You do that."
In the past, Rachel has been known to wield the weapon that is the office grapevine with the precision ease of someone who's been around the block once or twice, with a fine-tuned filter for what's true (Louis went on a date last night; true, her name was Carly), what's speculation (this will end a three year drought; false, Louis' last date was last week), and what needs to be buried (his last date was with Carly, and last night's was their second.) She's entertained by the political theatre that seems to accompany passing the Bar as it means the paralegals are out of the firing line, but the allure of swapping details over another person's love life has lost its charm for her.
Her network of gossips means that she probably knew what hospital Mike would end up at before he did. She shows up just as Mike is returning from his CT scan, ready and waiting for when the doctors see fit to free him. He means to be more grateful for her arrival, but by now he's more than ready to return to his apartment and curl up under the afghan his Grandmother knitted until the world dials it down several notches. Impeccably dressed as always, she towers over him and the foul smelling bucket he's clinging to in heels taller than Mike's broadest tie is wide. One look and she declares him a hot mess.
"Stop mocking me or I'll puke on you," he says miserably.
"I'd like to see you try," Rachel says. "I'm your ride home. Harvey's still in Jessica's office dealing with the fallout, he told me to let you know he'll swing by tonight, by the way. Donna's entrusted me with making sure you don't get yourself any more beat up in the meantime."
"Hey, I don't--."
She stares him down. He thinks about the eleven stitches in his forehead, the IV of fluids taped to the back of his non-dominant hand to level out his electrolytes after the blood loss, and the CT scan they're still waiting on the results for. "Yes, ma'am."
She drags the visitor's chair closer and drops into it gracefully. "That's more like it."
A nurse drops by after five minutes to check on him. The benign smile on his face lures Mike into a false sense of security before the IV is removed from Mike's arm with a brutal but clinical efficiency. He tapes a butterfly bandage taped over the puncture site, noting the doctor will be by to discuss the results of Mike's scan shortly.
When the nurse takes his leave, Mike turns to Rachel for the status update. "How bad is it?" he asks her.
"Your face, Harvey's reaction, or the fallout with the firm?"
The firm is Mike's major concern with Harvey coming in a close second. He's been trying to keep his head down lately, more than aware that it's back on the chopping block if the tides of the Jessica-Daniel schism shift considerably in her favour. His position is tied to Harvey's and while he is part of the rank-and-file unknown of the legal world, Harvey's reputation has been painstakingly built over a number of years. To be thrown out now in the middle of a power struggle would be to throw it under the bus.
"Your face," she says. He makes a disgruntled face which she returns in kind, one hand absentmindedly moving up to push his hair away from the line of stitches on his forehead, inspecting them more closely. "That's gross," she comments.
"I'm sorry my concussion isn't aesthetically pleasing to you." She huffs, but cards a finger through his fringe absentmindedly.
"The fallout with the firm will be minimal," she informs him. "The Hastings tried to accept culpability for the incident, but Harvey had a bird's eye view of how it went down and has written a statement indicating its accidental nature in exchange for the couple paying your medical bills. The clients are happy and the firm's insurance company isn't on the hook, so Jessica's happy."
"And Harvey?" Mike asks bleakly.
She bites her lip. "No comment."
"You won't take pity on the man with the concussion?"
"I'm sure he'll tell you himself." In the meantime, Mike gets to worry about that. Joy.
The doctor arrives with Mike's scans in hand before Mike can prise any more information out of Rachel. She's an older woman, her black hair tied back neatly in a messy bun. She reminds him of his high school physics teacher, who'd always been disappointed with Mike's lack of effort in her class. Mike has the sudden urge to sit up straight and tuck in his shirt.
"Mr. Ross, and…"
"Rachel Zane, I want her here." The typical white lie used to satisfy medical privacy laws is that she's his girlfriend but Mike, headache induced asshole or not, is not so callous as to imply a romantic relationship exists between them. He was the one who initiated the last breakup and if they're going to make another honest go of being just friends, he has to toe the line.
"Alright," the doctor agrees easily enough. "Mr. Ross, Ms. Zane, I'm Dr. Castillo. Your scans show no indication that you're bleeding into your brain, so we'll be releasing you at this time. You can take some Tylenol if the headache persists, but nothing ibuprofen or ASA-based, okay? We need to know if it worsens, or if there are any other acute changes in your mental state. Ms. Zane, I assume you'll be staying with Mr. Ross tonight?"
Rachel flushes abruptly, and Mike ducks his head. Dr. Castillo continues to stare them down, not embarrassed in the least. This is probably a situation she's seen a hundred times before, he figures. Mike doesn't like to think he's lead a cookie cutter life, but the idea they've seen it all before is comforting on a medical level.
"He won't be left alone," Rachel corrects. Dr. Castillo nods, satisfies. She leaves them with the nurse from before, who provides them with pamphlets on warning signs to look for and strict instructions to come back should any of them appear.
Rachel gathers him up effortlessly along with the meager things on his person, her bag, and not one but two copies of the concussion pamphlets. Then she hails them a cab.
While it is platonic by necessity these days, Mike still kind of loves her.
Rachel installs him securely in bed before she begins puttering around his apartment, theoretically tidying things up before Harvey can see the pigsty that precedes the end of the work week, actually doing a very poor job of hiding her intrigue over his place. Aside from today, she's never set foot in his apartment before. Her curiosity shines through now.
Nobody from work has crossed this threshold, in fact. While Mike is not ashamed of his home in any way, he'd been intending to keep it that way. It's a piece of his life he'd wanted to keep to himself if only for a little while longer as the same apartment he shared with Grammy growing up before she moved into the nursing home. Very little has changed from the couch he flopped on as a teenager to the stove she cooked her pot roast on to the dent in the wall in the shape of his fist (it was Trevor related, but it wasn't his fault.) The high scoring tests have been removed from the fridge and the handmade gifts are absent from the shelves but the touches of home remain, including her leftover trashy romance novels on the shelves and the needlework print nailed to the wall just beside the door.
Rachel's investigation reaches the kitchen counter, and she plucks a knickknack from its place in the corner to look at it more closely. "Where'd you get this?" she laughs. It's warm -- not mocking, not bitter, not anything that should inspire such a defensive reaction -- but Mike has to clamp down on some lingering bitterness over this unwelcome intrusion into his privacy before he answers her.
The trinket she's holding up is a relic from Mike's youth. Instead of an emptied out jam jar, they'd used a ceramic sculpture of a cartoon orange for a swear jar. Its features are hand painted, including a joyful expression and black loafers for shoes. There's a slot carved into its back to deposit coins. Even now, he can see the faint crack where the leaf was glued back into place, having cracked where it fell off the counter when Mike was little. It's been wedged into a corner of the kitchen countertop for as long as he can remember, what was once a place of honour gone dusty with disuse as the years have passed. He probably owes it a fair chunk of change by now. It's certainly enough to buy Grammy something nice for her upcoming birthday. He doesn't know where it came from.
Once more, with feeling: he doesn't know where it came from.
"I forget." It didn't make an appearance on the counter until after the crash that killed his parents, of that he is sure; he had been an angry little child for a long time afterwards, and she had introduced it to try and curb the more colourful phrases in his repertoire. The exact story of how it entered their lives has fallen by the wayside, though. Mike finds he has a hard time remembering a time when it wasn't there, tongue stuck out at the corner of its mouth, unassuming in nature while it held onto their change for a rainy day.
Rachel sets it down carefully, adjusting the positioning of the toaster and Mike's alarmingly large pile of unopened mail to box it in. It takes her a minute to parse that fully, but he can see the moment the pieces fall into place as she turns to face him slowly, horror dawning on her face. "Mike, you don't forget things."
"I know," he snipes back at her, mind reeling. Forgetting the origins of a knickknack isn't a big deal, but it sets a dangerous precedent as the memories connected to that object lie outside the reaches of simple retrograde amnesia. What else has he forgotten?
A rising quell of panic – what if what if what if – assaults him when he runs a hand across the threadbare area rug beside the bed and the sensation triggers no further memory. Closing his eyes to focus on its feel and its smell, he forms a more concrete picture in his mind of the concentric multicoloured ovals that make up its design, thinking about the few times he's woken up with his face buried in its shag after stumbling back to his apartment after a night out on the town. Only then does it trigger a memory of his parents hauling it in the door.
It feels different than it should. Through rose coloured glasses, he remembers the smiles on their faces as they knocked over a lamp in the process of rolling it out. Not even that misstep was able to touch their excitement over their first purchase for the new apartment. What's missing are the little details that characterize his memory as eidetic – he should know which of their kitschy art deco paintings were hanging on the wall, which boxes were piled in the corner of the kitchen waiting to be unpacked, and whether or not that damn orange sculpture was in one of them.
A knock on the door sounds before Mike can puzzle this alarming turn of events out.
"That'll be Harvey," Rachel mutters, still staring at Mike worriedly. "Stay here."
Propped up in bed through the combined efforts of all the pillows in his possession, Mike blinks back at her. "Where exactly do you think I'm going to go?"
By that point, she's already let Harvey into the apartment and accepted a plastic bag bearing the logo of the drugstore chain with a franchise on the corner. She tips its contents onto the bare corner of Mike's kitchen table. He eats breakfast there three days a week, five if it's slow at work or he's making a trip to the nursing home that day. Among other things Harvey's haul includes a bottle of extra strength Tylenol, an icepack more effective than the frozen peas Mike favours, and the most recent copy of the Wall Street Journal.
The man himself shrugs off his coat, hanging it beside Mike's on the back of the door. He's dressed down for the occasion in a buttoned Henley and jeans that Mike recognizes from the insider trading case last year, when he'd shown up to Harvey's apartment about three sheets to the wind.
"You're not wearing a suit," Mike says, awed.
"Did you think I sleep in one?"
Mike's considered it before. "Kind of."
"Yeah, well apparently watching your associate take a header into a glass table calls for something a little more casual after hours. Who knew?"
Rachel, looking entirely too amused with this situation for her own good, takes advantage of Mike's silence to hightail it out of there. "I'll be off, then. Feel better, Mike. Don't think you've gotten out of discussing…things," she says vaguely, with a pointed look at Harvey's turned back.
The door shuts quietly behind her, leaving Mike alone with Harvey's complete and utter attention. It is not an altogether great feeling.
"You don't have to stay, you know," Mike says in between lackluster bites of pizza. The pie is hot and greasy and pitch perfect, New York's finest in all its glory, but his heart isn't in it. The local anesthetic has worn off and the stitches in his forehead now throb in time with the headache. "I'll be fine for the night."
Comfortable with his boss as he is, it's awkward to be lying on the couch while Harvey eats pizza straight from the box at his kitchen table. Seating is scarce in the small room which functions as both a kitchen and a living room, so the only other option is Grammy's upholstered reclining chair. Mike's claimed the couch for his own as his right by way of concussion. If there isn't legal precedent for that now, there will be by the time he's finished.
"Can you produce someone else to ensure you don't bleed into your brain overnight and slip into a coma?" Obviously dinner hasn't made any headway in softening the blunt force of Harvey's less than stellar mood. He's still annoyed.
"No." Jenny's out of the relationship, Trevor's out of his life, and Mike's life revolves around the central pillars of work and sleep right now with other biological needs coming in second to that. He's currently lacking something in the way of friends.
"Then shut up."
Mike knows better than to argue with that tone. He goes back to his pizza.
They've put the TV on in the background to drown out the uncomfortable silences, ESPN commentary on the Yankees' current line-up compensating for their inability to hold a conversation. Mike didn't play much baseball as a child, so he knows only enough about the sport to hold a conversation, but this is relaxing. He drifts off to the sound of the commentator rattling off the season's developments, offering insight into promising new rookies and criticizing the latest roster changes.
Mike's thirty floors off the ground, the unforgiving concrete of the city's sidewalks growing closer and closer as floors of the clear glass panes and gleaming steel beams characteristic of the city's skyscrapers whip past, the wind in his hair and his heart in his throat. He's falling hard, falling fast, reaching out for something to grab onto when a hand shakes his shoulder.
He startles awake to find he's on the second floor, not the thirtieth. The only steel in the familiar walls of apartment 2B is in the appliances, and it would take a bird with poor vision indeed to mistake its windows for a clear view. Harvey retracts his hand when Mike sits up, the pillow underneath his cheek slipping onto the floor.
The TV that was tuned to ESPN is now showing the original Godfather. Johnny Fontane's dulcet tones serenade the wedding guests as Don Corleone plots, so Mike assumes some time has passed since he fell asleep. Harvey's sitting in his Grammy's recliner, which strikes Mike as a particularly absurd visual and cracks him right up. It could only be made better if there was knitting in hand.
Harvey leans forward to check Mike's pupil response with the penlight he keeps on his keys and then asks for the next line of the movie.
"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse," Mike recites alongside Marlon Brando. For somebody that takes classic gangster movies as seriously as Harvey, he seems remarkably at ease with having handed Mike one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history on a silver platter. He really is off his game tonight.
"I'm not sure I can keep an associate with such an atrocious Corleone impression," Harvey says. "Now, what's the date?"
The next time, Harvey asks Mike to recite the alphabet in reverse.
"That's to test if you're drunk," Mike says.
"Are you telling me you can't do it?"
"Of course I can. That's not the point."
Harvey flicks the light on at 3:13. Mike's irritable before he even rolls over, moodier than mere sleep deprivation would cause. The desire to be comfortable won over the desire to be lazy two concussion checks ago, when he hobbled from the living room to the bedroom and curled up in the Mike-shaped impression in the pillows from before dinner. In the background, the third part of the trilogy plays quietly on the television. An open can of Dr. Pepper rests on his coffee table, a coaster underneath it. Mike doesn't even use coasters, and it's his damn table.
"I'm Mike Ross, you're Harvey Specter, it's 2012 and the president is Barack Obama. Now fuck off, I'm going back to bed."
Mike, headache, asshole. He's going to call this one 'Exhibit B' and hope that he hasn't been fired the next time he wakes up.
The vaguely homicidal tones of Mike's iPhone alarm ringtone sound late in the morning by weekday standards, coming in at nine on the dot. There's a piece of paper wrapped around the thin form, and he reads the note by LCD backlight rather than turning on the light switch.
Take a long weekend, I'll get one of the other associates to run the Hastings' financials. I don't want to see your ass in here until at least Monday. Ray can pick up anything you need in the meantime.
Also, text Donna before nine-thirty so she knows you're not dead.
Mike must look awful indeed if Harvey has put the never-before-seen phrase 'long weekend' into writing, but he's not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. If the worst comes to pass, if the memory loss isn't a fluke, if it doesn't go away—well. Mike's going to need a day.