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03 January 2006 @ 11:09 am
TM Challenge: New Years Eve Reflections  
CURRENT TOPIC: New Years Eve Reflections: Over the last year, did things go pretty much as you'd expected or planned, or did your life take a significant, unexpected turn? Overall, was it a good year or one that you want to put behind you as fast as you can? (canon or fanon)


After Mr. Chase declines my offer to accompany him to a bar – what a rejection! – I decide to leave work. I’m just not in the mood to be here. I scribble “Left” on a post-it note and stick it onto my computer screen. Hopefully Alan will see it there and understand. Hopefully Alan won’t fire me. What’s wrong with me today? Why did the Lizzie thing upset me so much?

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It’s all snowy and gray outside. But now I’m careful to walk as far away from the curb as possible. The slush stain which that stupid Mercedes splashed on me this morning is still on my coat. My hair is getting wet from the heavy snow which is coming down. I see my bus approaching but realize that in order to catch it I’ll have to dash across traffic and hop a few puddles, and that seems like too much effort. And at the same moment I’m captivated by a woolen knit hat in the shop window in front of me. Just as I’m about to go in and buy it I’m captivated by something else. An empty bench. Right now it looks like the most appealing thing I’ve ever seen. An elderly woman is eyeing it too, but I quickly rush in front of her and heave myself down in the middle of it, my purse occupying the remaining space. She walks on.

I sit there.

Then I start to think. I think about my job. I think about the weird dream I had about Alan last night. I think, why am I sitting here? I am so lucky to have this job and I’m jeopardizing it by ditching out in the middle of the day to sit pointlessly on an empty bench.

I think about how 2005 started for me, and how much better it turned out in the end. It started out as the worst year of my life. It was almost a year ago today that I lost my job at The Gap, but the memory of the day they let me go is still fresh in my mind. I still maintain I was framed. I don’t know how that scarf got in my bag. Then I think about having to work the whole series of frustrating, meaningless deadend jobs and mooching off my roomates, and living off of credit cards (why do they give credit cards to unemployed people?), the desperate day I enrolled at John Casablanca’s. The day I had to move out of my cool trendy Back Bay apartment and into a blue collar neighborhood in South Boston. But then, like a miracle, I got another chance. I got a real job. A job I can be proud of. You know, I’m not so stupid as to not know the real reason why Alan hired me, but I really needed this job. I bet I needed it more than those other women. Maybe in some weird way he could sense how much I needed it. Maybe it was like a karma fate type thing that brought us together. And now, through this unexpected turn, everything has worked itself out. My debt is gone. I’m actually saving money. South Boston is slowly becoming a cool trendy neighborhood. Everything is working out!

So . . . if everything turned out so well in 2005, why am I so upset today? I just feel, I don’t know . . . conflicted. I’m not sure what I want. I keep thinking about what he did in my dream last night, and how I kind of wish that would really happen, but that would be unprofessional and I’m sure he does that to all of his secretaries and it wouldn’t mean anything to him. Maybe I’m just tired of every guy I date describing me as “frigid.” Whatever . .

Melissa, you’re being retarded. Go back to work.

The 3:20 bus for Southie approaches. I watch it stop and then continue on its way without me. I lean my head back, letting the large snowflakes hit my face, undoubtedly smearing my mascara, but for some reason I don’t even care. Before long my face, my hair, and my coat are completely soaked.

Melissa, you’re being retarded. Go back to work.

I get up from the bench and look back at the side walk where I just came from. My old footprints have already been hidden completely by a new, white, covering of fresh snow. At the end of the block I can see the shimmering post-modern skycraper which houses the law offices of Crane, Poole and Schmidt. I begin toward it, going back to work.
I'm feeling : indescribable
I'm hearing : the sad Charlie Brown Christmas song
Alan Shore: spyalan_shore on January 4th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
The incessant ringing of the telephone first alerts him to Melissa's absence. Alan emerges from his office warily, removes the post-it from the monitor and spends more time than is strictly necessary puzzling over the one-word message.

His immediate reaction is concern--she's gone who knows where without saying anything, and knowing his luck with assistants, she might well be in jail again. After a few seconds, though, logic prevails. He reminds himself that they have one another's phone numbers. For all he knows she went for a cup of coffee.

Taking a seat at Melissa's desk, Alan unearths a pen and writes, "Right." underneath her message, then affixes the note to the screen once again.

ooc: If you don't feel like RPing this out, no sweat--just go ahead and delete :)
Melissa Hughes: Troublemelissa_hughes_ on January 4th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
The big glass revolving doors of the office building produce something of a blast furnace effect every time they churn open, which is almost as annoying to Melissa as the realization that her purse has been caught in the wrong chamber, thus forcing her to drop it outside, and ride the enormous door carousel around once again to retrieve it. The elevator ride up to “CP n’ S,” as she calls it, however, gives her a chance to catch her breath. But unfortunately the warm air doesn’t do much in the way of drying her coat, face, or hair, all of which are covered in melting snow

She bursts into the office, answers the shoe-shining Garrett’s curious glance with a “hey,” and continues on to her desk.



She pulls the note off her computer screen and holds it, then looks at Alan’s door, which is slightly ajar.

There’s a number of ways this could be interpreted. She thinks about it for a minute too, hoping that the humorous way is what he intended, and not the sarcastic way or the literal way, although she's not exactly sure what that would entail. But mainly she just hopes that he’s not upset with her. She soon discovers that standing there thinking about it doesn’t produce the answer, so, still in her coat, she knocks lightly on his door.


Alan Shore: thoughtful...by which I mean alan_shore on January 5th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
"Melissa," he says, looking up from the scattered papers on his desk. "You've returned. Come in."
Melissa Hughes: Seriousmelissa_hughes_ on January 5th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
"Yeah. I came back. I was going to go home, but I didn't." Stands in his office, unaware that her shoes are creating a puddle.
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 5th, 2006 05:20 am (UTC)
"You're soaked." He rises from his desk, makes his way to the all-important liquor cabinet and automatically begins preparing drinks before realizing this might not be considered appropriate. "Would you like to sit down?" he asks, bottle of scotch in one hand, glass in the other. "Did you want a drink?" Did she even want to be in his office?
Melissa Hughes: Admiringmelissa_hughes_ on January 5th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
How did he read her mind so perfectly?

"Oh my god, yes. I absolutely want a drink." She takes off her coat and hangs it next to his on the coat rack, then accepts the drink he is handing her and takes a large gulp. "Thank you." She smiles at him. The walk outside had cleared her head, but the drink now made it feel warm and fuzzy. She breathed in deeply, momentarily letting herself enjoy being in Alan's office with the door shut, the smell of his pomegranite-scented after-shave reaching her as he stood by the couch where she had just sat down. She took another large gulp, then she remembered why she had gone for the walk in the first place. "Oh, wait a second, I just remembered, I'm mad at you."
Alan Shore: profilealan_shore on January 5th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
"That's a relief," he says with a laugh. "I was going to ask if everything was okay, but mad at me is the most normal state of affairs there can be." He sets the bottle on his desk--he'd have refilled her glass, but she's drinking at a rather alarming rate.
Melissa Hughes: Admiringmelissa_hughes_ on January 5th, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)
She laughs, unable to stay mad, and looks thoughtfully into her empty glass. She’s partly relieved that he isn’t demanding an explanation as to why she was mad, but at the same time she’s partly frustrated by his not asking. The conflicting emotions fight each other during the brief silence that ensues, until she concludes that the casual approach is the best.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, Lizzie called. Mr. Chase actually took the message, but I guess it’s my . . . responsibility . . . to give you messages, so I thought I’d pass that along.”

Alan Shore: thoughtful...by which I mean alan_shore on January 5th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
"Brad already relayed the message. Thank you, though." Her disapproval is fairly obvious. Alan spends a moment mulling over the idea that Brad might've invented the call altogether for the purposes of wreaking havok, but there's no way the other man could've known the name Lizzie.

"Is that what upset you?" She's not talking, which is perhaps what makes the conversation most unnerving.
Melissa Hughes: Seriousmelissa_hughes_ on January 5th, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
She looks at the ceiling. "You know . . ." *shakes head* "It's just . . . jail was like, a really angry space for me and having Lizzie call here just like, brings me back to that difficult time in my life and I don't really need to go there - what is your deal Alan?? *looking at him now* Why would you even know her? I mean, look at you, a lawyer, you're not the type who needs to *wrinkles face in disgust* pay for it. You could have anyone you want." She reaches for the scotch bottle, but it is just beyond reaching distance from the couch. She doesn't get up, but instead continues to hold her arm out in the bottle's direction.
Alan Shore: thoughtful...by which I mean alan_shore on January 5th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
"Lizzie has my personal number," he says, picking up the bottle and splashing a moderate amount of liquor into it. "I'll direct her not to call me at the office again."

He looks up. "I understand that jail wouldn't be an experience you'd particularly wish to relive. I'm sorry to have caused you distress and I'm grateful you returned"--he allows himself a smile--"after storming out. My personal life, however, is my personal life. I'm not taking questions at the moment."
Melissa Hughes: Admiringmelissa_hughes_ on January 5th, 2006 06:14 pm (UTC)
“Right. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” She blushes slightly, surprised by his sudden professional demeanor, embarrassed at the ironic twist that he was now scolding her for crossing the line, also acutely aware of the very thick, impenetrable wall he had just put up between them. Here all this time she had been so pre-occupied with making sure he complied with her rules of conduct, and yet just now she had completely and carelessly disregarded his. He was her boss. She was his assistant. The reality of their relationship was suddenly distastefully clear. I guess now would not be an appropriate time to tell him about the dream I had last night . . . she thought.

“Well,” she looked at the wall where a clock should logically be and almost said “I guess I should get back to work,” but stopped herself. She didn’t really feel like going back to work. Instead she took another sip of the scotch. “You know, I had the weirdest dream last night . . . “

ooc: sorry about the double post. typo!
Alan Shore: stargazingalan_shore on January 5th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC)
For his part, he's all too aware of the hypocrisy (irony's the nice word for it) of telling a woman who's shared his bed that his personal life is off limits. But that had been what upset her--the easiest way to deal with it was to discourage her from caring.

That, and the 'you could have anyone you want' remark had rankled.

He almost asks if this is leading up to a request that he sleep with her, rethinks that and says, "How many dwarves were featured?"
Melissa Hughes: Alanmelissa_hughes_ on January 5th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
“None,” she laughs. “There were no . . . dwarves.” And upon saying ‘no dwarves’ she inadvertently lets her gaze leave his eyes to flicker slightly lower. Relieved that the mood has lightened, she slides almost imperceptibly closer to him on the couch and adds, “Besides, that's your fetish,” and gives him a yes-I-heard-about-your-former-“roommate” smirk.

Alan Shore: outlinealan_shore on January 6th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
He rolls his eyes, gives a slightly abashed smile. "Another message you neglected to deliver?" Before she can respond, he gestures to indicate that she should continue. "On with the weirdness."
Melissa Hughesmelissa_hughes_ on January 6th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
"Okay," she smiles and gets more comfortable on the couch, resting her knee on it and raising her hands in a 'let me set the scene' type of gesture. "You were in it." Thinks for a minute. "Oh, and I was in it. And then would you believe - " covers mouth and laughs. "Oh my god this is so funny, okay okay. We were in your apartment, or hotel or whatever it is that you live in, except it was really big and there was a hot tub, and Garrett was like, our butler or something. But you were working, on the phone yelling at some guy, you know, getting really nasty with him, and then I came in to bring you coffee and you - " Her mouth was open to say the next words but they wouldn't come out.

Why was she telling him this? Hadn't she just realized she had crossed a boundary with him and telling him about the dream would surely lure the conversation back into a territory that he had just stated was off limits? Her words just dangled as she watched him; he appeared to be listening patiently, but she couldn't help but wonder what he was really thinking.

"Ummm. Then what . . I can't remember for some reason."
Alan Shore: slut for authorityalan_shore on January 7th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
He watches with a bemused smile, enjoying the accompanying gestures just as much as the retelling of the dream.

"That was it?"

He's reminded of Nora, of relating to her dreams that were some blend of truth and inspired invention, her flustered responses. It's clear--well, clear to any aficionado of erotic cinema--where this is headed, but then it is a dream. The next moments could easily involve their being transported to Antarctica, or an army of ninjas.

Alan gives a smile and a nod of encouragement. "You can finish. Make it up if you have to." That leaves her an out, assuming she needs one.
Melissa Hughes: Sidemelissa_hughes_ on January 9th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
Taking another sip of scotch, she continues, struggling to carefully enunciate her words, “Well, what do you think happened next? You probably have a better imagination for that sort of thing – “ She stops and looks at him. She can’t quite believe the attention he is giving her, as it suddenly occurs to her that he must have better things to do. The phone has probably been ringing. He probably has some kind of argument to prepare. But here he is, listening tolerantly to her nonsensical dream – more than tolerantly. He actually seems interested, a half smile, his eye lashes fluttering, treating her as if she was the only thing in the universe right then.

She becomes aware of her inviting position on the couch, the drink in her hand, her hair all messy. Just like that he had lured her into his lair. Because surely it was his fault. Because she wouldn’t have done this. See what happens when you let your guard down Melissa? It must be his fault. “God Alan. You are a pro.” She rolls her eyes and smiles, suddenly realizing her lips and nose feel slightly numb. “How do you do that? You just have a way of making women feel wwwonderful, don’t you?”

Alan Shore: thoughtful...by which I mean alan_shore on January 9th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
Taken aback by--and unsure how to interpret--her words, he shakes his head. "No." He half-stands, reaching to pluck the glass from her hand. "No, that would be my scotch making you feel wonderful."
Melissa Hughes: Sidemelissa_hughes_ on January 9th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
"Awwww, Alannn," she protests, a bit more loudly than she intends. As he pulls her glass away, his necktie brushes against her hand. She feels it and for a humorous second entertains herself with imagining what would happen if she were to take hold of it - but - she doesn't.

"No, it's not the scotch. It's you and you know it," she says with a slight giggle and sigh of resignation. "Ok. I guess I'll get back to work. You must have stuff to do. I need to finish my typing lesson anyway." She tries to stand, but begins to sway dangerously, "Wow. Maybe, maybe I'm going to just rest here a sec . . . "
Alan Shore: fadedalan_shore on January 9th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
He's grown accustomed to drinking with Denny, who exhibits no more reaction to scotch than he would to water, that Alan stares in disbelief at the drink's effect on Melissa. After that second of hesitation, he gets to his feet and, touching her delicately on the shoulder and arm, lowers her back to a sitting position.

"You don't have to finish out the day," he says. "If you like, you have my permission to go home. After you've recovered, that is."
Melissa Hughesmelissa_hughes_ on January 10th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
"Oh my god I'm such a dork," she groans as she lets her head rest against the back of the couch. "I just haven't drank in the longest time." She closes her eyes. "Thanks, Alan." She lays on the couch quietly and listens to him going back to work. Writing something. Sorting and reading the papers on his desk. She opens her eyes sleepily a few times to watch him, noticing how different he seems when he's 'alone.'
Alan Shore: thoughtful...by which I mean alan_shore on January 10th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)
He works efficiently (a fact he often takes great pains to conceal), perusing contracts, skimming over and signing motions to be filed. It's not long before he's absorbed in the minutiae of legal work, reminded of the woman resting on the couch only when he looks up and catches sight of her.

He feels vaguely guilty for having essentially driven her from the office and then gotten her drunk when she returned. Add to that the nagging unease that comes with Brad possibly being right about something--Alan's reliance on intoxication as a technique for improving relations--and contract law seems almost appealing by comparison.