To Feel the Sun
"Gracie, can you file these for me?" My dad handed me a huge stack of folders, stuffed with papers. I assumed they were information and paperwork from the case he had just closed a week ago. My dad, Eric Dasher, was one of the top defense lawyers in New York City. He ran a law firm started by my grandfather, who was now retired. After I graduated college, I lacked the motivation to find a job in my chosen field of literature. Dad gave me a filing job in the firm. It was boring, dead end, and paid way more than any teacher's salary.
I sighed, and took the stacks out of the reception area and back to the room that stored the archives. When I wasn't filing, I was transferring the archives from hard copy to digital, which meant I was typing all day. Or secretly playing solitaire and reading webcomics on the internet.
Standing at one of the file cabinets, flipping through a folder, was my dad's junior partner, Jonah O'Mara. He glanced up as I entered, and nodded. "Good morning, Grace," he said politely. He had a smooth voice that he could turn soft and gentle to a frightened witness, or biting and accusatory to a suspect. He was a defense lawyer, but he really should have been a prosecuting attorney, like Jack McCoy on Law&Order. He had that way about him that seemed to ferret out liars and he could definitely tell if someone was holding out on him. "How was your friend's wedding?"
Knowing he really didn't care, I gave him the required, clipped response, "Fine." I started checking the labels on the folders, and began stuffing them neatly into their respective file cabinets.
Jonah and I fell into our usual silence. Jonah was probably the only person who had regular contact with my family to have never, ever mixed up Sarah and me. It was one thing to be able to tell us apart by dress or personality, but that still didn't mean people slipped up on names. Heck, even mom and dad made that mistake, still made that mistake. But Jonah's photographic memory and steel trap brain wouldn't have let him forget who was who. And he never called me Gracie. Just Grace.
After a moment, I looked up from my files, wondering why Jonah was hanging out in the archives. I supposed it was the case dad just closed. He might not have anything pressing to do, so he was researching back cases. Was typical. Jonah was the type of guy to hate making mistakes. He was still reading the same file, paying me no attention at all, just like he always did. One thing that that always struck me about him was the fact that he was probably the most beautiful man I'd ever seen. Considering my mother's profession, that definitely said a lot. He had dark hair, cut in a no-nonsense style that I had learned was long in college, and perched on his perfect aquiline nose were rimless glasses that did nothing to detract from his looks. He had vivid blue eyes, high cheekbones, and long lashes that Sarah would kill for. He also had better skin than most women. Sarah might have gone for him, if he hadn't worked for our father. Employees of the family were a strict no-no to my twin. Probably a good thing, with the way she ran through men.
For some reason, my mind flipped back to two days earlier, to the cellist I'd insulted. I never did catch his name, but thankfully we hadn't had any contact for the rest of the night. I'd gotten thoroughly tipsy, but managed to not embarrass myself. Sarah steering me away from Carlin and Danielle was mostly to thank for that. Finally, after a couple hours, Sarah steered me to the car and we drove home to the apartment we shared, not ten blocks from the law firm. She knew I'd do something I would regret later if we stayed any longer. I felt bad. Sarah loved any excuse to party, and she was stuck taking care of me.
I wondered why the cellist had even really talked to me. I'm sure I hadn't been projecting an image of openness and approachability. I shook my head, and continued filing, not wanting to speculate. I was still rather morose over Carlin's marriage. He was even now off on some private island on the Bahamas, screwing his brains out. That was a mental image I most definitely didn't want, and let out a heavy sigh.
My sigh was just loud enough to capture Jonah's attention. He looked up, no trace of concern on his face. He was perfectly polite to me, cordial and necessary, but I doubted he even really cared about anything to do with me, regardless if I was his boss's daughter or not. "Something wrong, Grace?" he asked, his tone carefully guarded.
"No, just brooding," I replied. I opened a drawer and shoved a file with a bit more force than strictly necessary.
"And what would you be brooding about?"
I looked up at him once again, startled by his curiosity. That isn't to say Jonah wasn't curious... he had to have some instinctual need inside him to find out things, but he never carried that need over to me before. I pushed a strand of hair behind my ear. "Just stuff."
"How delightfully vague," he said, humor quirking his tone.
I sighed again. "Fine, I'll tell you. I didn't have a very good time at the wedding."
Jonah raised a brow. Damn him for looking so perfect. He and Sarah both. I had no idea how my twin could look so perfectly put together while I had a hard time choosing outfits that actually matched, thus my lack of imagination in my appearance. As it was a law office, I was wearing dress pants and a white button down blouse that day. I'm sure Jonah's suit was tailored for him, or if not, had cost enough to feed a family of five for a week.
"Why not?" he asked. This was getting surreal. I don't think, in the four years Jonah worked for my father since passing the bar, he had ever asked me anything more personal than what I had studied in school.
"I got a bit tipsy and said something stupid to someone who didn't deserve it." There was no way I was telling Jonah that I was in love with the groom. Jonah wasn't the type to mock, but he would most certainly make me feel even more like a heel than I was.
"I see," he said, in that strange, amused tone. "Well, are you going to see this person again?"
"No," I said. "Just some guy."
"Then no use brooding over it. It's said and done, and you can't change it. So continue on with your life and remember that the evidence files don't go with the financial paperwork." He walked over to me and plunked three thick folders on top of my still large stack. He left the room without another word, and I felt the urge to yell something scathing at his retreating form. Jonah was a weird guy. One minute he seemed almost interested in my life, and the next, he was berating me for my lack of filing ability.
That's what happens when you don't give two rips for your job, I suppose.
I worked straight to lunch. Once I had finished filing, I went back to transcribing. I was in the middle of a file when Sarah danced through the door, eyes smiling. "I'm taking you to lunch, twinnie," she said, hopping up on my desk as if she owned it. Sarah was a lot more confident than I was, and strutting around our father's law firm was one way she expressed it. "To celebrate my recent casting as this season's Meg Giry at the Broadway Phantom."
"Holy crap!" I exclaimed, and jumped out of my chair. I ran around the desk and hugged her. Sarah, like my mother, had taken a keen interest in acting, and got herself an agent as soon as she had graduated. She'd bummed around for a year, doing small off-off Broadway shows. "That's awesome!"
She was beaming, and I knew it was because she'd managed to land the role without name dropping our mother. I'm sure it didn't hurt that our mom was Fiona Makepeace, but Sarah was one of those people who was determined to make her way on her own. "They just called me fifteen minutes ago, so I thought I'd come down and share the news. Where's Dad?"
"Office, where else?"
Sarah hopped down from my desk, and took my elbow. "We must share the good news," she said, with a happy grin. She paraded me down the hallway, and I felt sheepish as the receptionist gave us an amused glance. We passed by Jonah's office, which was empty, before Sarah barged right into Dad's office. The door was closed, which meant he was busy, but that never stopped my sister.
"Dad!" she exclaimed, rushing in the room as if her life depended upon it. "I got the part!"
I glanced over at Jonah, who was seated across the desk from my father. He raised an eyebrow in his unreadable fashion, and looked at me. I smiled tentatively.
"Honey, that's wonderful!" My father's business was forgotten as he too rose and pulled Sarah into a hug. "Your mother will be so proud of our little Sarah Bernhardt."
I coughed into my hand, trying to keep from laughing. Jonah's gaze on me turned amused as well. He had been terribly entertained to find out that my mother had named my sister after the most famous actress who ever lived and myself after the film star turned princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. He looked back at my father. "Shall I leave you to celebrate, Eric?"
"Come to lunch, Dad," Sarah urged. "I'm taking Gracie, and we can call up mom."
Dad looked at me, and I shrugged. He laughed. "Of course. Oh, Jonah, review this case and tell me what you think when I get back. I'm thinking of turning them down unless you have some better insights on the supposed innocence of the client."
"Will do," Jonah said, taking the folder Dad was extending towards him.
"Congratulations, Sarah," he said, and left the room without sparing another glance at me.
Sarah chattered away to me as Dad called Mom, and couldn't stop talking as we caught a cab to the restaurant. I didn't really blame her. After all, she did land a job in a very famous play on Broadway. I eased back in my seat and let her chatter wash over me, but I wasn't really listening. I was still caught up over the weekend, and the fact that Carlin had chosen someone else. Someone who wasn't me.
Somehow in the midst of his torrid honeymoon, Carlin had found time to update his Facebook page with photos from his trip. Not exactly what I needed to see the next day, after Sarah had announced that she got the role. I felt my stomach lurch as I saw Carlin's profile photo had been replaced by one of him and Danielle standing on a white beach with impossibly blue water behind them, and a few palm trees. He was only wearing swimming trunks, and Danielle was wearing a red bikini and a white sarong slung low on her hips. They looked very attractive as a couple, and ridiculously happy.
Feeling some sense of self-torture, I clicked on the new album and flipped through their pictures. Some of the wedding and reception (luckily I'd managed to avoid the camera. There was no way I wanted to be caught in any of their photos, professional or otherwise), a couple in the airport with the two acting silly as they waited for their layover, and many of the two around the island, enjoying themselves. When I happened upon a picture of Danielle and Carlin kissing, I had to stop looking. I don't know why, but I guess I'm just masochistic, but I wrote on Carlin's and Danielle's walls, congratulating them and imparting the hope that they were having fun.
Of course they were having fun. How couldn't they?
As I was turning back to check up on my other friends' status updates, Sarah burst into my bedroom.
"You'll never guess who I ran into at the theater," she said, looking rather pleased with herself. I looked up from my laptop. Sarah flopped onto my bed without invitation. I didn't really mind; I did the same to her when I had something to say.
"Who?" I asked, not really caring. I minimized the browser on my computer and turned to Sarah to pretend I was interested.
"Cello guy. What the hell did you say to him at the reception?"
I felt a blush crawl across my face. "Did he think you were me?" I asked, knowing my voice probably sounded embarrassed and squeaky.
"Well, we bumped into each other, literally, as I was rushing to meet the director. Apparently he's playing in the orchestra for Phantom this season as well. In any case, I started to apologize and he got all snippy and said he was just in the pit orchestra, not some big high and mighty actor. I was all confused, considering he was the one being rude."
"Oh god." I felt the flush on my cheeks go even warmer, and I buried my face into my hands. "What did you say?"
"I told him that if he thought I was going to be rude just because he was a musician, then he was an asshole," Sarah replied, matter-of-factly. That was my twin. Being brutally honest when the occasion called for it. "He seemed to finally remember I had a twin and he apologized, asking if I was the sister who wore the flower print dress. I said yes, and he turned about the same shade you are now. Blondes blush so easily, almost as bad as redheads."
I groaned. "Great, I thought I'd never hear or see him again."
"It's all good, we struck up a conversation. He is rather attractive. I introduced myself, and explained that anything you said shouldn't be held against you as you react poorly when alcohol is clouding your judgment. He didn't seem to really believe me, but should the situation call for it, he will most likely give you a second chance. He's a nice guy. His name's Simon Lawrence."
I didn't know why Sarah was so hot on making sure the guy knew I wasn't so bad when I wasn't half-drunk. Knowing her, it was probably a ploy to try and make me get over Carlin.
"Cool," I said in a tone that I thought it was anything but.
"You are going to go back to gazing at pictures of Carlin wishing you were Danielle, aren't you?" Sarah asked. "Creeper." She stood up. "You and I are going out this weekend, twinnie. Meet you a man who actually would look twice at you."
I groaned. Great, Sarah was on a mission. That meant she was going to force me into one of her dresses, slather on some make up, and push me into being extroverted. Exactly what I needed.
"I thought we were going to see mom's play this weekend," I said, trying any means necessary to get out.
"Yeah, on Friday. That leaves Saturday for us to hit the town. There's a new dance club I want to go to. Raver style, without all the ecstasy and poorly dressed teenagers."
I knew that unless I was puking my brains out, she wasn't going to let me get out of going. It was a lot easier to just go along with it, and sit in the corner and wish I was elsewhere.
"Fine," I said. "But I'm not wearing a mini skirt."
"It's a deal," Sarah said with a smile. She rolled off the bed and hugged me. "I really hate seeing you mope around, Gracie. Live a little. You can't get over Carlin by staring at pictures of him and his new wife all day."
She swept out of the room before I could speak.
"What if I didn't want to get over him?" I whispered to my empty room.
Author's Note: Second chapter. Sarah was originally going to live in Chicago, but I had too much fun writing her so I made the twins roommates.