|Cristobal Rodriguez ♦ Coyote (coyoti) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-02-01 08:35:00
|Entry tags:||coyote, loki|
i'm in the fast lane
Who: Chris & Nish.
What: Chris hits up his friendly, neighborhood attorney for some legal help.
Where: A small, nondescript italian place downtown.
When: Pre-move into Pax.
Chris nodded at the waiter as he deposited a pair of waters to the table he was seated at. He'd gotten there early, moreso to scope out the environment than anything; but he did enjoy having the upperhand in any conversation, especially since this was an especially tenuous matter. One of his dealers had gotten pinched, and Chris needed to come through for the man before he said something he shouldn't. He glanced down at the menu, then back up, trying not to look too worried as he waited for his supposed other party to arrive.
Nish had just gotten to the office when her secretary Jessica cheerfully told her she had a meeting with a new client. “He called this morning, said it was urgent.” Nish took the note from her and lofted an eyebrow.
“At a restaurant?” Usually the first meeting was here in her office, a place where she controlled the environment and had the upper hand. This was certainly different. She put down her coffee and checked her watch. “I guess I’ll see you after lunch then.” It would take her all the time she had left just to get there. She wondered if that was on purpose.
With google telling her where to go, she made it just in time to the restaurant. Being new in town, she’d never been here before, but looking around the place she was glad she’d been in a dressy-casual mood this morning. Glancing at the note as she walked in, she scanned the room for whoever she was meeting, spying a guy sitting alone at a table with two glasses of water.
“Mr. Rodriguez?” She wasn’t sure it was him, but everyone else in the mostly empty establishment was too focused on what they were doing to notice her.
Chris rose from his seat, one hand smoothing down his lapel. "Ms. Bariss," he greeted her, holding out a hand for her to take. "Thank you for meeting me on such short notice. I don't normally like to do things like this, but circumstances called for it. Please, have a seat."
She smiled pleasantly and took his hand, immediately gauging his personality from that brief interaction with a practiced eye. She sat across from him, letting her purse slip to the floor by her feet and crossing her legs. “Thank you; I have to say I don’t usually have first meetings in a restaurant, but it’s a nice change.”
A waiter came by to ask about drinks, and it was on the tip of her tongue to just order a coke, but found herself saying “a glass of Merlot,” instead. After the waiter took Chris’ order, she met his eye, all business.
“So, what can I do for you?” From the sounds of his urgency, she was willing to bet someone has been arrested, is being sued, or needs to be the one doing the suing. Either way she was sure she could handle it.
"A friend of mine was recently arrested by the authorities, and I need to get him out as quickly as possible. I understand this is the sort of thing you're good at?" He leaned back in his chair, glad that he wasn't having this conversation standing. The waiter came back with his Coke, and Chris pulled it closer to him but did not drink.
"What kind of fees do you charge?"
Nish sipped her wine. It wasn’t even noon yet, but it didn’t even occur to her that people might think it strange. And she couldn’t stop the slight twitch of a grin as she won her own bet with herself - arrested. Was she good at it? She nodded slightly in acknowledgement. She wanted to ask him where he’d heard that, but would save that for later.
“It depends on the case,” she said about fees. “If it’s a simple hearing or a plea it will be much cheaper than if it goes to trial.” She paused for a moment to consider him, trying to guess what sort of friend a well-dressed man in an Italian restaurant would have in jail. “What are the charges?” That mattered, a lot. Some cases were easier than others to manipulate.
Chris folded his hand in his lap, his voice dropping in tone even though there was no one nearby to overhear what he had to say next.
"Possession of a controlled substance," he began, mentally ticking off the list. "Possession of a controlled substance with an intent to distribute. I don't feel further specifics at this juncture are warranted, but I will say it was for something stronger than marijuana.
"He's not the type to do well in a county lockup, where he's at currently. I'd like to get him out before he decides that throwing others under the bus is worth more than his ties of fellowship."
It took all of her willpower not to react, and instead keep her eyes steady as he spoke. A dealer. Which means this guy must be the handler. One of his guys got caught and he needed to get him out before he was ratted out. Everything seemed to fall into place for her as she took another sip of wine, taking pleasure in the slight burn of the dry red.
“I’ll need a retainer,” she said, matter of factly, “and I’ll need more details. Where he is, when it happened, how. And I’ll need to speak with him.” That was her job though, she’d contact the jail where he’s being held and arrange a client meeting. That’s where the retainer comes in; it will make their attorney-client relationship official.
“Have you spoken to him since the arrest?” Hopefully he’d instructed him to keep his mouth shut around the police. That would make her job easier - she couldn’t count how many idiots had destroyed perfectly good avenues of defence by talking to the police after an arrest, even if it was just to deny the charges. These people had to learn to help themselves too; she was good, but she wasn’t a miracle worker.
"Of course," Chris replied, prolonging his reply by taking a sip from his soda. "It's how I knew to move quickly and get him out as fast as possible. He's never been good with pressure, but the clock is really ticking now. Do you need the money before or after you speak with him? I can make arrangements, but I need more of a timeline." He wanted to handle this as much as possible without getting his father involved; one slip up and he knew his father would pull back on the long leash Chris had been allotted. "I can provide further details at the time of payment, if that works for you. A more professional meeting at your offices?"
She nodded, “alright.” She’d need to visit the jail sooner rather than later. Today if possible, at least to put her name on record as his attorney. “The retainer is a formality, but I’ll need it before I go to see him so that I’m officially hired as his representative. I usually provide the final bill once the case is complete.” She paused for a moment and caught his eye to gauge his reaction as she said, “it won’t be cheap; I charge by the hour. A thousand dollar retainer will cover this first meeting and a visit to see him in lockup so I can get the full details. I’ll have a better picture of the full extent by then.”
She put down her wine glass and retrieved her purse from under the table, rifling through it to pull out a business card. She flipped it over and wrote down a number. “This is my cell; call me if anything develops before I am able to see him.” She handed the card to him. “When you’ve gathered the rest of the information, the police report and any arrest warrants or formal charges, you can drop it by my office anytime. Once I have that I’ll book an appointment to see him.” Unfortunately, these things take time, but the onus was now on Chris to get things moving. She didn’t even know the client’s name, though she doubted he wanted to get into actual details in so public a place.
Thin fingers plucked the business card from her grasp, and Chris nodded, implying he understood all the details.
"I'll have everything for you first thing tomorrow morning," he replied, making no expression or gesture toward the figure she'd named. He'd pull the money from his own resources, doing so with a cashier's check the moment he left this meeting. "How quickly can you make an appointment with him, once you have the money?" He slid the business card into a pocket within his jacket, looking back to the woman sitting across from him.
She watched his features, and they remained steady when she named a price. Good, he wasn’t phased by it, which must mean he’s doing well for himself, and that this guy in lockup was worth it. She wasn’t really in the handouts business, though she has, on occasion, given a reduced fee depending on circumstance. Repeat customers for instance, get a preferred rate. Her instincts told her that she currently sat across from a permanent client.
She drained the rest of her glass and set it down on the table. “I’ll make sure I see him that day,” she said confidently. There’s sometimes extenuating circumstances, but she always seemed to be able to get through the system when she needed to.
"Good." Chris picked up his glass, tipped it toward her, and took another long drink. "This seems like a fortuitous circumstance, though it always seems like these things happen in the most frustrating way. Are you free for lunch, Ms. Bariss? I'd hate for you to feel dismissed when there's no reason we can't have a friendly chat now that our business is concluded."
She smiled and checked her watch. It was still early. “I could be persuaded to have some lunch. I like to get to know my clients as much as possible, especially if we’re going to be doing a lot of business together.” Others might have thought that was a bit forward, but she was just telling it like it is. She could always tell which clients were just a one-off and which would stick around. He seemed like the type - and let’s face it, the occupation - that would use her services more than once. “And we might as well drop the formalities; my name is Nishka.” Judges call her Ms. Bariss. Clients use her name. It wasn’t really a rule, but it formed trust between them, and barriers between others.
"Nishka," Chris repeated, inclining his head. A smile edged around his mouth. He waved at the waiter, requesting menus. "That's a unique name. Family oriented?"
She grinned slightly. “You could say that. I think my parents had a sense of humour.” Her other siblings had ‘normal’ names. She got stuck with this one. It was alright though, it seemed to fit her. She’d always been the abnormal one. The waiter came back and she asked for another glass of wine, idly flipping through the menu. “Have you been here before? I’m somewhat new in town, so I don’t know what the house specialty is.”
"A few times," he replied. "Their special is the Shrimp Scampi with Pasta, though they have a number of vegetarian dishes if you'd prefer. You don't strike me as the sort of woman to eat rabbit food, though."
She chuckled, flipping the page and finding the scampi. “I’ve been known to eat rabbit food,” she teased, “but I’ve also been known to eat the rabbit. I think the shrimp sounds excellent.” She stole another glance at him over the open menu, again trying to get a ‘read’ on him.
She wanted to ask him more about what he did, to get a better sense of who it was she now worked for, but she also didn’t want to know. In legal work, it’s a very fine line between ‘what I don’t know I won’t have to lie about in court’ and ‘it’s better to know everything so that it can’t come back and bite you in the ass later.’
Chris waved the waiter back, ordering a small plate of tilapia scaloppine and a refill on his drink. Once the waiter had come and gone with both their orders and the menus, he looked back at Nish.
"So, what brought you into the legal business, Nish? Family tradition? Or were you looking to make something of yourself in spite of them?"
She sipped at her second glass of wine thoughtfully, and then a grin spread across her lips. “Rebellion,” she replied. After a moment, she set her wine down and uncrossed her legs, leaning forward to rest an elbow on the table. “My brother’s a cop. I like the irony.” He hates what she does, and has said so many times. She didn’t much care for his profession either; she’d been on the receiving end of ‘police justice’ a few times in high school.
A wide smile greeted her reply, indicating his approval. He raised his glass. "Cheers to that," he replied, his eyes glittering. "I think we're going to work very well together, Nish. Very, very well." She smiled and raised her own glass, tapping it against his in agreement.