Look The Part(7)

By: Jewel E. Ann

“If you’re having issues with concentration, I can help you with that. I’ll even give you a discount on our sessions.”

Flint takes a seat at his desk, flipping open the lid to his computer. “Yes. I’m having issues with concentration, but therapy won’t help. You moving out will solve the whole problem. Two weeks. Amanda will help you find a new place to rent or maybe an old building space to purchase. Amanda? Can you give Philip’s business card to Ms. Rodgers?”

My hands grip the edge of his dark wood desk. It’s smooth like every subtle gesture the infuriatingly handsome man before me makes. Mr. Intimidator’s thick, perfectly-shaped eyebrows jump up his forehead as I lean in closer to him. “I improve people’s lives. Some have used the word miraculous to describe what I do and how it’s changing the world for those who thought there was no hope. You are a bottom-dweller who makes money when humans behave badly. But you seem to be an intelligent person, surely you can see that a jury of my peers will be sympathetic to my situation, and you will have nothing but my music to soothe your bruised ego when it’s all over.”

The barely detectable twitch of his lips reminds me of the way my mom used to look at me when I’d throw a tantrum and she didn’t want to make it worse by laughing but holding it in was almost too painful.

“You’re stubborn.” His gaze averts from mine to his phone screen.

“Is that the best you’ve got? I’m stubborn? Do you win a lot of cases with that defense? ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the plaintiff is clearly suffering from a case of stubbornness.’” My voice lowers and my chin tucks low to my chest as I attempt to imitate Flint for no good reason other than he’s a dark cloud blocking my sun on what was a really great day.

“Hey, Harrison, how was school?”

Flint leans to the side to see past me, and I glance over my shoulder to follow his gaze. The boy, a younger version of my unreasonable landlord, brushes his inky hair away from his unexpected blue eyes.

“A waste of a perfectly good day.” The boy shrugs without so much as a tiny grin.

Amanda chuckles. “You’re twelve. What else do you have to do with your time?”

“House the homeless. Feed the hungry. Cure cancer. The possibilities are endless.”

“Your dad’s in a meeting.” Amanda lowers her voice. “I think he’s met his match.”

I smirk at Flint.

His gaze shifts from Harrison to me. “Sorry to disappoint, Ms. Rodgers, but you’re no match for me. Two weeks. Now if you’ll excuse me.” He leans to the side again. “Why are you out of school, Harrison?”

“Early out. Nancy almost forgot to pick me and Troy up. She was still in her pajamas. She called them lounge pants, but I’m not stupid. They were pink with white bunnies on them.” The boy shuffles past me and deposits his backpack on his dad’s desk.

Flint frowns at him and sets it on the floor. “Early out for what?”

“I don’t know.”

“Teacher in-service?”

His son shrugs, making brief eye contact with me while sitting on the deep window ledge lined with signed footballs. “I don’t know.”

“How can you know so much and so little at the same time?”

“I don’t know.”

I grin, but it fades when Flint shoots me a stern look. “Two weeks. Have a good evening.”

My eyes narrow.

“Dad, this kid in my class is selling his electric guitar. I think I’m going to buy it.”

Flint redirects his scowl from me to his son. “No.”

“Do you play the guitar?” I smile at the boy.

“No,” Flint says.

“Hence the reason I’m going to buy one.” Harrison rolls his eyes.

I like this kid. “I have several acoustic guitars. If you’ve never played, you might want to start with nylon strings so you don’t tear up your fingers like you could do with metal strings. I’d happily loan one to you.” I turn my back on Flint and sit on the edge of his desk, facing Harrison. I think Mr. Attorney grumbles something that starts with an F and ends with a K, but I can’t decipher it with certainty.

Harrison shrugs. “Sure.”

“No.” Flint’s tone drops an octave.

“I have one upstairs. I can show you a few chords while your dad meditates or does whatever he needs to do in complete silence.”

“Okay.” Harrison stands, brushing his shaggy hair away from his eyes. He pays no attention to the silent battle that started before he arrived.

“Harrison, take a seat in the waiting room. I need to have a few words with Ms. Rodgers.”