Monday, August 30, 2010

Foubourg Fairy Tale: The First

My name is Naomi O'Connor. I guess i've always been a little bit weird, but it wasn't till law school that I encountered anything I truly didn't understand. I would blame Maryanne, but since that won't do anybody any good, I s'pose I gotta chalk it up to luck. My second summer in law school, i clerked for a firm in New Orleans, Devereaux and Robbins. They were husband and wife as well as law partners, but I learned pretty quickly that Maxine Devereaux called the shots. And she was to be my boss. If i'd had any other offers, the decision might have been harder. Still not sure why they picked me, but since I'd always wanted to live in New Orleans, I packed up and headed east for a summer.

I was already starting to figure out the law thing might not work out for me long term, but I work hard and people seem to like me, so I was gonna do my best and see what happened. Besides, at least I could eat good food and listen to jazz and go to the Voodoo museum and maybe do some volunteer cleanup in my free time... if I had any.

Eight A.M., May 15, 2006. My first day and i'm already counting down until the end. I know how many days I have to go into the office, but I don't know yet how many hours I will put in. I had taken the street car to work in an effort to be environmentally friendly, but I was melting in my suit. It was going to be a long ten weeks.

I walked into the office and the secretary waved me back to Ms. Devereaux's office when she saw me with a small apologetic smile. Ms. D was carrying on a loud phone conversation with her back to me, so I'd have to wait. I hovered in the doorway. When she finished, I walked in and said “good morning”, loud and clear, like i'd been taught, but it was still an effort. I got no response.

"Ms. Devereaux?" I tried again. She turned around and glared at me, then gestured to a side table stacked with codes and files. "Those are yours. Be ready to discuss the Anderson case by Friday. Danny will show you your office." She turned back around. I guessed we were through.

I had no idea she'd be so brusque. I mumbled a thank you and hoped she was just stressed about some deadline or another and that this was not a normal workday. Somewhat deflated, I walked back to the reception area.

"Excuse me, do you know where i can find Danny? I haven't met him yet, and he's supposed to show me my office."

"SHE is in the file room around the corner to your left. Danielle." I must have looked horrified at my mistake, because the secretary quickly reassured me. “Everybody does that. Soon you'll be correcting people too.” I wondered if she thought I'd be here longer than just ten weeks.

I found Dani on her tiptoes, straining to reach a top shelf. I would have offered to help her, but i was no taller than she. I decided to try a cheerful greeting again, confident it would work better on someone closer to my own age:

"Good morning!"

"Ahh!" she yelped and lost her balance.

"Sorry about that," i apologized as i helped her up. "Are you Danielle?"

"Dani" she corrected me emphatically.

Great,” I thought. “My mistakes are just piling up, and I haven't even started actual work yet. I wonder if i'll even last the whole summer”.

On top of that, she was ridiculously cute. I figured it was a good thing she'd been with her back to me, or I might not have been able to get up the guts to speak. But I was in now, so better plow ahead:

"I'm Naomi. I was told you could show me my office."

She said, like I wasn't even there, “Naomi...means sweet... I wonder...” Then she looked back at me.

That was weird, I thought. Here we go again.

"Actually, we're still cleaning it out. You're stuck here in the file room with me for another couple of days", she replied. I was torn between annoyance that I had a lot of work and nowhere to do it and excitement that I'd be sharing an office with her... but she'd probably be almost as busy as i was.

She interrupted my train of thought: "You can spread out on the conference table there."

"Are you sure no-one needs that?"

"I'm just alphabetizing and notating old case files to go into storage" she replied with a smile.

"Thanks. I best get to work then."