Mona Montilyet waltzed into Pearson Hardman like a storm. A tornado to be more exact. The minute she had walked off the elevator and onto the pristine off-white marble of the law firm Josie figured it was over. That magnetic pull she knew that Mona held pulled the attention of every associate of the giant firm in her direction.
The smile that was undoubtedly on Mona’s face wasn’t a smile at all but a small smirk of knowing. Mona knew the force that she carried in her walk, in her presence alone, and that smirk was the smug knowledge of said power.
As her near six foot frame made its way around the circular reception desk, she headed towards what Josie could only assume was the war room. The eyes of every associate glued to that slender frame; the hem of her scarlet Valentino dress brushing the top of her knees with her Louboutin stilettos taking her confident steps closer to their destination. Mona’s delicate features always so well put together with the perfect touches of makeup; playing up on the girl next door look she had with just enough sultry heat to make it a toss between innocence and wickedness. The smoky eye she favored making her hazel eyes be a sobering feature from the fairytale visual of her cornflower curls that bounced around her shoulders. If Aurora from Sleeping Beauty could be a real girl, Josie would have bet money she would have looked exactly like Mona. Each movement she took, either a simple bating of an eyelash or a swing of her hand, put a spell on every single person they passed.
The sheer presence of her making the entire office seamlessly come to a halt.
All these things were true. Mona was a stunning force that could captivate an audience like no other. However, Josie knew that underneath all that beauty, was indeed a woman whose heart was uglier than anything that she had ever seen, and the displeasure of experiencing.
While the associates and staff continued to be enraptured with the fashion goddess, Josie and the small entourage Mona had brought with her didn’t stop as they followed behind her, continuing to go unnoticed.
Rachel felt as mesmerized as the rest of the staff. Watching the powerhouse female she had come to veer as a fashion guru (having bought a very expensive pair of Manolo Blahnik’s that she was still trying to pay off all because Mona had rated them an 8.9 for the fall season), make her way to conference room C where she knew Mona had a meeting with Jessica and Harvey.
It had been a smart move for the power duo. Going out and finding a powerful and, no doubt, rich backer to help them with Daniel Hardman and the case he had against them. The extra money would no doubt help keep the company a float and was keeping the idea of a merger at bay from Jessica’s mind. If there was one thing that would make Harvey Specter any happier, it would be trying to get a more powerful financial backer than bringing in more partners.
Even though things were rocky between her and Mike at times, she was thankful he was still able to open up to her about some things. Even though he left out some of the most important ones.
“Fuck she’s pretty,” Michelle, the latest temp, had whispered fiercely.
The woman’s fingers hovered over her keyboard as she stared on in shock. Rachel felt a small smile tug at the corner of her lips, understanding what the other woman meant. But she couldn’t help but notice the silent companion that had followed close behind Mona. In Rachel’s opinion she thought the understated beauty was just as prettier, if not more.
She was a very intense difference to Mona. Mona’s alabaster skin was even more arresting next to the light almond of the girls. The loose auburn waves that fell way past the shoulders of her cream colored silk blouse; everything about her a stark contrast. While Mona’s outfit was close to borderline inappropriate for an office meeting; sexuality bubbling over at the low hemline, the body hugging fabric, and cleavage that was almost obscene. She wore it well but, in Rachel’s opinion, it wasn’t a dress you wore to a serious business meeting.
The girl, however, looked sensual yet classy and ready for whatever happened in the meeting. Her blouse a long sleeve capping off a few inches from her wrists, leading Rachel to notice the blackberry that was latched in the girls’ right hand. The black pencil skirt she’d paired with the shirt hugging tightly to the curved lower half that was definitely hard to miss.
Her features were sharper around the chin; cheekbones high and lips in a heart-shaped pout. While Rachel had continued to look at her, the girl had turned and noticed her staring. Rachel immediately felt her cheeks redden and instead of the girls’ gaze staying steely, it quickly turned soft as she sent her a kind smile that immediately made Rachel respond in kind.
When all five of them finally all walked past the desk and made their way into conference room C (the kind girl holding the door open for Mona). Once they were all inside it felt like the entire office could breathe again.
“I can assure you Ms. Montilyet we will get to the bottom of this for you.”
Jessica Pearson, one of the best female lawyers, and managing partner of her own firm, held a confident smile on her face. Her words just as self-assured as the rest of her as she looked on at, hopefully, one of her new wealthy allies.
There was no getting around the fact that having Montilyet on their side, with her resources and money, wouldn’t be beneficial to the fight going on in-house. She could feel Harvey stir on her right and felt an extra boost of confidence that suddenly dwindled when the man on her left spoke up.
“Here at Pearson Hardman we do whatever is necessary for our clients, Mona. May I call you Mona?” When she indicated with her head it was fine Hardman continued. “I just wish you would trust in me to make sure that all your problems were handled quietly and swiftly.”
The smile that lit Mona’s face was eerie as she eyed the small bearded man. Taking notice of his eager nature to please, which she would have exploited with a simple bat of her eyelashes. But when she looked back over to Jessica and the man on her right, that eerie smile moved to one of interest as she eyed the handsome man in front of her.
“While your offer is a generous one, Daniel,” she countered, “I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Mr. Specter.”
“All of them true, that I can promise you,” Harvey countered. His own sexy smirk playing across his lips.
Josie watched as Hardman deflated back into his seat trying to hide his displeasure at being dismissed. Josie was more trying to stop from vomiting in her mouth at the disgusting display of cockiness met with cockiness. It was like having two of Mona in a room. She would have rather pulled out all of her teeth with pliers than watched the two of them make…googily eyes at one another.
“Well that is something I am eager to find out about. For myself, of course.”
Josie made a quick glance under the table just to make sure Mona hadn’t started playing footsies with the man under the table.
“The allegations against you Ms. Montilyet are quite serious. Ranging from embezzlement, fraud, and accusations of poor labor lawsuits by workers.”
Leave it to Jessica to get things back to business, Harvey thought as he kept his eyes on his new client.
Mona dismissed them with a scoff and a quick bat of her hand.
“None of these are true. All these are insignificant little people jumping on the bandwagon of lawsuits. Worthless little shits tend to do that when there is blood in the water.”
“Don’t you think you’re being a little harsh?”
Mona’s eyes followed the sound of the admonished voice, until she found its owner. The boy that sat next to Harvey looked completely taken aback by her comment, and when Mona said boy, she meant it. He was clearly in his late twenties. His disbelief of her words showing plainly on his face as she took in the all too bright blue eyes and the pointed angles of his face.
“Because I think you have an adorable boy-next-door look I will forget you even made that comment.”
The room swelled with a silence so tangible Josie was sure if anyone breathed they would have been suffocated by the underlying rage in Mona’s words. Josie’s started to worry she was about to sweat through her Temperley London blouse watching the exchange between them. She wanted to tell him he needed to be careful; he didn’t know the depths Mona was willing to go when she felt like she had been challenged.
Truth be told, Mona may have the money, but the rest of them knew that if these allegations were brought to the light, her business would suffer and soon she wouldn’t have been worth shit. Josie knew, however, that bringing that up to her in the middle of her trying to be all knowing and powerful would only lead to her being the one to suffer for it later. So she kept her mouth shut and continued to watch the whole thing unfold.
“With all due respect Ms. Montilyet, if we are going to represent you, we’re going to have to know everything. Even things like if these accusations have any merit, I would advise you from making comments about your workers like you just did for the remainder of the trial. It would give basis towards the plaintiff’s claims about you.”
Josie couldn’t keep the surprise off of her face as she looked at the poised young man in front of her. She was impressed with him standing up for himself even though she could feel Mona seething next to her.
“Everyone knows that the term, ‘With all due respect,’ is just the polite way of saying, kiss my ass,” she spat.
Without missing a beat the kid replied, “Which is exactly why I used it in the first place.”
“Mike,” a harsh whisper sounded from Harvey.
He spoke from his shoulder, leaning over to speak to the young man. He made sure that their eyes met and the stone cold seriousness that Mike found in them let him know how close Harvey was to ripping him a new one.
“Sorry,” Mike deadpanned.
No one in the room accepted it for the half assed apology that it was. But Josie found herself smiling into her hand.
“Can we move forward, please?” Jessica’s soft features had turned rigid as she looked down her right at the two men. It had come off as a question but Josie had seen that face and heard that tone enough to know it was anything but. It was a demand.
She turned her attention back to Mona and tried to get that care-free smile back on her face and was failing.
“We are going to need all past bank statements, trading manifests; any basic financials that you’ve held in the last five years. Louis Litt,” she moved her hand down to indicate the man beside Hardman. He suddenly sat up straighter and reminded Mona of a mole. If moles could be people. She made an active gesture of repelling from his exaggerated wave and Josie watched as he quickly deflated making her frown along with him. “He is the best financial lawyer there is and if there is something missing, even just the slightest hiccup, I can assure you Ms. Montilyet he will find it.”
“Please, Jessica, call me Mona.”
Jessica gave her a curt nod of understanding.
“My assistant Josephine should have the bank statements prepared for you.”
The look she shot Josie instantly brought her out of her train of thought, hating the way her name left Mona’s lips. She moved to grab her tote and made quick work of grabbing the manila folder that held the financials and leaned across the table to hand it over. She had expected Mike to be the one to grab it from her, but when Harvey was the one who moved, Josie suddenly felt unsure of herself.
She’d been so transfixed at looking at him that she didn’t feel the folder become loose; the papers gliding out of the folder.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she sputtered as she leaned farther over the table to help him collect them.
“No, no by all means. I love sorting through papers this early in the morning.”
Josie felt herself deflate back into her chair as the unmistakable sound of Mona choking back a laugh made her wish she could just curl up into a ball.
“Would you happen to have the stocks and wired accounts?” Mike asked over Harvey’s shoulder.
“I, uh, didn’t think that was something you would need. I’m-“
“Financials are more than just bank statements, Josephine,” Mona snapped. Josie felt sick. “It just looks like you’ll be having an extra project to do. I want those papers turned in to them by the end of the day.”
“Mona, it took me two days to get those statements in order.”
“I don’t pay you for excuses, do I?”
Remain calm. Just breeeeeathe.
Josie already had so much to do today for this woman. Adding on this was just going to make it so much more stressful and she didn’t know how she was going to handle it. She knew she probably looked like someone had just killed her puppy.
“If it’s all the same to you, Mona,” Louis cut in. At the sound of him using her name, her nose scrunched up in displeasure. “I-I mean Ms. Montilyet. I have plenty of associates here at the firm who can probably get me the documents faster-“
Mona held up her hand to silence him, her eyes already diverted back to Josie.
“No. She wants to screw it up. She can fix it.”
Ok. Let’s count. 1, 2, 3,….Josie thought, as she averted her gaze from everyone else in the room.
Josie hadn’t even noticed her hands had balled into fists until she felt Natalia, Mona’s personal make-up artist, brush her hand over her knuckles.
Turning her head back to face Jessica and the rest, Mona continued, “There is still the problem of the fact that the damn government has closed down my office. I have no place to carry out my business or see my clients.”
“We can help with that,” Jessica stated matter-of-factly. “We’ve all discussed it and decide to offer you our offices. A few are empty up here. They aren’t as big as your studio or your own building, but I can promise you the three offices we have will more than make up for it.”
Mona nodded in approval knowing that without forking out her own money, this was the better end of the deal. She sat up a little straighter.
“I’m also going to need a separate office for myself. I don’t conduct style business where my art is being done. It’s a conflict of interest.”
“How is that a conflict of interest?” Mike snickered.
Mike’s face suddenly paled; Josie taking notice of where Harvey’s right arm had landed. No doubt his hand squeezing down on his leg as a warning to keep his mouth shut. A tight smile on his devilishly handsome face, (even though he was just as bad as Mona).
“I am a stylist, among other things. I style the rich and famous. I don’t need them coming into an office filled with clothing designs and designs of others and possibly leaking or stealing any of my ideas. That is why, little boy.”
Mike’s features widened in surprise. A scoff of disbelief left him. He was about to make a retort when Harvey silenced him; leaning over and whispering something in his ear.
“And where would you like your office to be?” Jessica continued, extending the olive branch back out and hoping to get past Mike and his constant interruptions.
“I’d like to share an office with Harvey.”
For once Josie saw something on Harvey’s face other than that overly confident look that seemed forever plastered on his face. He looked close to panic but easily calmed himself.
“I’m sorry, but my office is my office. There isn’t room in there for a second person.”
“Harvey it is just an office-“Jessica started, her words strained tight with irritation.
“If it is just an office why don’t you share with her then, Jessica,” he shot back. His arms crossed over his stomach, a satisfied smile on his face as he looked over at her.
Jessica’s eyes flared with the challenge Harvey offered. The smile she gave him made Josie freeze in her seat, yet Harvey seemed unfazed.
“I would but that is not what Ms. Montilyet asked for-“
“He’ll gladly do it Ms. Montilyet,” Hardman cut in. Drawing the attention of the room. “And that’ll be the end of this discussion.”
“I’m gonna kill him.”
“Five threats in less than one minute. A new personal record for you Harvey,” Jessica teased as she walked behind her desk.
Harvey, of course, looked less than amused.
“I’m sorry, were you not in the same meeting or am I the only one with my eyes on the ball here?” he countered making the smile disappear from her face.
“Watch yourself, Harvey.”
He tried to get a hold of himself but there was no hiding this entire situation had him beyond pissed off. Jessica knew that this was a hard thing to swallow. Harvey had always loved that office. The moment she had given it to him she knew that’s when he had felt like he was on his way. A long-time goal achieved. To have to share something you worked so hard for…well, she could only imagine. Jessica knew this was a hard pill to for him to swallow.
She watched as his jaw twitched as he tore his eyes away from her and out towards the groups of movers that were directed by Josephine. They’d been out of the meeting for barely thirty minutes or less and already she’d had things moved to the office’s Mona had requested.
The office was torn upside down; trying to make adjustments for this woman was going to be the end of her. Jessica just knew it. She also had a feeling that Mona would never thank them for doing something that no other firm probably would have done, even for a client such as her.
For those thirty minutes they had watched Mona’s poor assistant run back and forth. Trying to make sure that everything was going to the right room, they were all positioned like they should, and even going as far as helping on of the movers with what looked like a heavy couch. She did all of it in six inch Jimmy Choo’s, which surprised the hell out of Jessica.
“You know she only asked to get in your office because she wants to sleep with you,” Mike spoke up.
His words cut through her train of thought. Jessica and Harvey both tearing their gaze away from the scene unfolding outside when what appeared to be an expensive vase smashed to the floor.
Mike was leaning against her cherry wood table, his hands in his dress pockets, and that care-free smile on his face.
Harvey gave him a small glance over. Unimpressed by his choice of words.
“Yeah, well, if that is what she wanted she sure as shit ain’t getting it now. You don’t strong arm a man’s office just because you want to know how he does business between the sheets.”
“You mean to tell me you’ve never done anything underhanded like that to get to a woman?” Mike teased getting up from the table.
“You kidding me? I’ve never had to try that hard,” Harvey replied, a playfully grin on his face.
Jessica shook her head, a smile spread wide on her face.
“You can’t close everyone, Harvey.”
The look he shot her actually got her to laugh. As if she could just hear him saying, You’re kidding, right?
“Besides Harvey’s apparent splendid sex life,” Mike broke in, “Are we not going to address the fact that maybe there is something to the lawsuit against Montilyet about her workers?”
“What makes you say that?” Jessica asked leaning back comfortably in the cool leather of her chair.
“Was I the only one in that meeting?” He asked looking between both her and Harvey.
“Oh no, I’m pretty sure we were all there. We just had the displeasure of having to hear you basically have a bitch fit contest with the client,” Harvey chastised. This time giving Mike his full attention and not looking amused at all anymore. “Care to elaborate on the fact why you just couldn’t keep your mouth shut?”
Mike rolled his eyes and moved towards both senior partners.
“Seriously. The way that she not only spoke to Louis, but her actual assistant, made even me cringe.”
“So she makes bitchy comments. Sometimes when you’re the boss you got to say the hard things and if you can’t take it-,” Harvey argued.
“There’s being a boss and then there is just being plain nasty because you can be. Come on Harvey, I know you put blinders on but let’s try not to do it here.”
“What did you just say to me?”
Harvey moved towards him and he quickly took a cautious step back. Knowing that the comment would have most likely had the effect he was seeing now.
“Boys,” Jessica chimed in. “This isn’t the time for this and Mike does bring up a pretty good concern. Someone needs to speak to Mona about maybe refraining from using certain…words and tones until we can get this whole matter cleared up.” Putting both feet down for leverage, she rolled smoothly over to an open case file and began to open it. “Oh, and Harvey, make sure Josephine isn’t one of those employees that plans on joining a lawsuit anytime soon.”
Glancing up from the paperwork Jessica waited until he replied. A curt nod being the only sign as he eyed Mike one last time before he turned and left the room.