Adam was tired. He had long since taken off his tie. The coffee in the mug on his desk was cold and an unappetising scum had formed on its surface. Outside the office windows night had fallen over the city and the skyscrapers opposite were beginning to twinkle with lights like year-round Christmas trees. He’d been working all day on the brief, and there were a few more hours of work to go. Damn the court for imposing that surprise deadline with such short notice. Damn the client for being so nervous and demanding. The legal profession could be lucrative, but it could also be brutal.
At five o’clock Genevieve had called. Her waters had broken, she said. What did that mean? It meant she was heading to the hospital right away. Her mother would drive her. Adam felt guilty about that – he was supposed to do this drive. They’d even rehearsed it. He’d been on leave so that he’d be there for Gen, but this morning the call had come from the office. It’ll just be one day, he’d said. You don’t feel anything, do you? It won’t come today? He’d tried to be soothing. After all, he guessed, the situation was more stressful for Gen than for him. Everything revolved around the mother-to-be at a time like this. Damn, he was supposed to be there.
Gen had called from hospital admissions. The contractions had started now, strong and frequent. They said it’d be a couple of hours at least, though. Couldn’t he come? She wouldn’t be able to call him for a while now, but her mother would ring if there was any news. But couldn’t he get away? Couldn’t he be there?
Adam said he could. He would. Damn, he’d drop it all and go to be with his wife. He called to his assistant Marcie and said he was off. Can you just take this call before you go? said Marcie. It’s the client. Adam tightened inside. The firm’s biggest client, its biggest revenue-earner, its biggest pain in the butt. Offending this client could cost him that partnership offer, and they’d need the extra money now that Gen had given up her job. One call. It couldn’t take long. He signaled through the glass partition to Marcie. I’ll take it.
The client’s in-house counsel was freaking out about the case. Why had the court sprung this deadline? Would they get the papers filed in time? The deadline was 9 am tomorrow. Then he started going over some details, details that Adam had discussed with him at length already. Adam made despairing gestures to Marcie through the glass partition. She made sympathetic shrugging motions back. What can you do? He saw Marcie take a call on her desk phone.
Adam was trying to interrupt the client to tell him, yes, the documents would be filed, but right now he, Adam, had to go. His wife was having a baby. Then Marcie walked into his office and stuck a pink Post-It note on his desk in front of him. On it she’d written: “It’s a girl!”