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[complete] The Meeting From Hell

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[complete] The Meeting From Hell

Postby Charles Grant » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:27 pm

"Here you go," Charlie said, placing a cup of steaming tea in front of Ms. Mullin. She smiled and thanked him graciously. She had that mythical pregnant-lady glow about her.

"It's a boy," she pointed out. She'd grown to trust and appreciate Mr. Grant deeply. He would probably be pleased to hear the news.

He was. His smile was broad. "Does he have a name yet?" Charlie asked as he finished getting his papers and books arranged for the meeting that would begin in a few minutes.

Cara grinned and put a finger over her lips to make it clear that he shouldn't repeat the name, that Flannery didn't know it. "Michael," she replied. "Michael Lionel Mullin. My father's name was Lionel."

"Michael Mullin," Charlie repeated. "It's lovely." As Cara sipped her tea, Charlie completed the arrangements. They were sitting at a circular table in his office around which sat four chairs. Mr. Flannery had expressed that he would be bringing his own representation, but Charlie didn't expect that the meeting would be ugly, only awkward. Mediation, after all, was the explicitly stated purpose of the meeting.

He glanced one more time at the contracts he'd already drawn up on Ms. Mullin's request; if signed, they would ensure that Ms. Mullin had sole legal rights over Michael and that Mr. Flannery had sole legal rights over Neve. "Do you think he intends to sign these?" Charlie asked.

Cara shrugged. "It's really hard to say," she replied. "I'm not sure if I explained them very well."

"All right," Charlie replied calmly. "Well, don't you worry. I'm here to protect your interests."

Of course, Cara was nervous as hell, but this time around she had something she hadn't had a decade before: legal representation.

#Carivan
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Elijah Rowle » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:27 am

Elijah had a bit of a reputation for being cutthroat, but his client was insisting they try a softer approach. It wasn't his style in general, but hey, Flannery was footing the bill here. He'd read over the proposal (and personally he thought it seemed fine, but for whatever reason Flannery disagreed), drawn up a counter proposal, and they were here now for the first phase of this process - mediation.

"Do you remember everything I told you?" He asked his client, who nodded. "Stop looking like we're going to a funeral, would you?"

"Sorry," he said, forcing himself to relax as they got into the lift. "I just... I don't want to fight, but..."

"Well, sometimes you have to fight, if you really care about something." Privately, Elijah didn't think an illegitimate kid was a good hill to die on, but again, it was Flannery's galleons here. "But there's a strategic value to retreat too," he added. "You have to weight the cost to you and to Neve. Just keep in mind that whatever happens here today, we're just talking. Nothing's set in stone until you both sign and everything's filed. Keep your cool."

The lift doors whooshed open and they walked down the hall to the mediation room. Elijah opened the door for Sully, who was a little nervous to see both Cara and the man who must be her attorney there already.

"Uh... hi," he said, glancing back at Elijah nervously. Elijah, on the other hand, came in with his usual presence, offering a hand first to Cara.

"Miss Mullin, Mr. Grant," he said, "Elijah Rowle, I'll be representing Mr. Flannery."
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Cara Mullin » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:40 pm

Oh, no. Cara's stomach dropped as soon as the door opened and she saw them ... well, more particularly, him. She tried to focus instead on Mr. Rowle, shaking his hand firmly and offering a small smile and a nod. She was cool and confident and not at all afraid of what this man had in mind. "Hello," she said before the handshake ended and her hand traveled automatically to her belly. Michael moved. It was a weird moment for him to do that. She glanced at Sully, then quickly away. It wouldn't do to look too much at Sully. Inevitably, that would melt her heart and change her mind and she didn't need any of that bullshit getting in the way of her goal: the right to raise her child, to protect him from her baby-crazy mother-hating ex-husband.

"Sullivan," she murmured softly as she sat back down and wrapped her hands around the warm mug for comfort.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Charles Grant » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:48 pm

After his client shook hands with Mr. Rowle, it was Charlie's turn. Unlike Cara's, his confidence wasn't a false front. Sure, Rowle had a certain reputation, but Charlie was perfectly competent, too. This meeting was going to go well. He would make certain of it. They would all be respectful, they would hammer out an agreement, and everything would be all right.

"Mr. Rowle. Thank you for coming," Charlie offered politely as they shook hands. Then he moved on to Flannery: "Mr. Flannery. There's tea, if either of you would like some." No, he wasn't judging Flannery. Judgment was for God. Of course, it would be foolish of him, as an attorney, to forget the copious evidence of the other man's indiscretions.

Worst case scenario? They went to court. And if they went to court, Charlie had plenty of ammunition to bring with him.

"I assume you've looked over Ms. Mullin's proposal. Do you have any questions about it?"
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Sullivan Flannery » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:51 pm

Sully didn't make eye contact with Cara or her lawyer, just slid into his chair and let Elijah do the talking. He was bad at this kind of stuff at the best of times, but now? His gaze kept drifting to the table top above Cara's stomach, where his son was, and he could remember how much fun they'd had when she'd been pregnant with Neve.

It felt like that was another lifetime and they were now two wholly different people.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Elijah Rowle » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:54 pm

"Not questions, per se," Elijah was saying, "but my client isn't going to agree to that." Best to just have it out there. "We do have a proposal of our own, however." He waved his wand and the copies appeared, one for each of them, floating to land neatly on the table.

Their proposal was simple: joint custody of both children, half the time with each parent, and prohibiting either from moving out of London with Neve or the boy without the consent of the other parent.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Cara Mullin » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:46 pm

Cara grabbed her copy of the document, started to read it, and quickly turned that effort into skimming. She caught the horrible words: joint custody. No. No, no, no. Everything in her rebelled at the thought of it. After flouting the court's decision, setting his family on her, and forcing her out of Neve's life for a decade, he wanted legal joint custody of Michael? No!

Cara believed on some level, firmly and wholly, that it was too late for her and Neve. Neve wouldn't forgive her. They would never have a real mother-daughter relationship. Sully had stolen her away, poisoned her mind ... no. No.

Sure, her proposal had involved an agreement that would allow for the practical effects of joint custody, but Cara wouldn't feel safe in motherhood unless Michael was hers. She scribbled a few words on a scrap of parchment and pushed it in front of Mr. Grant:

He'll find a way to flout it.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Charles Grant » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:52 pm

Charlie took longer looking over his copy of the document, since he was thoroughly reading it. As he read, he made little notes on his own sheet of parchment, then looked at the message Ms. Mullin had passed to him. Based on the information he'd gathered, he did consider it quite likely that Mr. Flannery was the type of person to search out a way to flout such a joint custody agreement.

He wouldn't go hurling accusations, though. Not at this phase of the proceedings. He looked up calmly at Mr. Rowle.

"As you'll recall, Ms. Mullin's proposal included mediating an agreement for joint visitation so that the children could each have supervised time each other and with the non-custodial parent. It seems to us as though that would likely be more agreeable for Neve, given the fact that she's lived solely with Mr. Flannery for much of her life."
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Sullivan Flannery » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:46 am

"That may be so, but with everything she's been through, she needs her mother, too." He spoke without thinking, leaning forward. "I don't want her to feel like you've abandoned her, so if I have to concede full custody for her sake, I will." He looked down at Cara's stomach and continued, "And I won't let my son think that of me, either." He was already imagining what it would be like to have a son, maybe a little Magnus, after his brother?
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Elijah Rowle » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:52 am

Elijah put a hand on Sully's arm. He'd told him to let his lawyer do the talking - that's what he was paying him for, after all - but clients never could manage to keep their mouths shut. At least this wasn't a criminal trial.

"My client would like more than simple visitation, though that would be part of it, of course. I understand Miss Mullins reluctance, given the circumstance, but the child is as much Mr. Flannery's as hers."
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Cara Mullin » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:02 am

Cara recoiled backwards in her seat as Sully leaned forward, both hands resting protectively over her belly. She didn't like the way he looked at her stomach, not one bit. She opened her mouth to speak and was arrested only by a sharp glance from Mr. Grant.

Right. She wasn't supposed to give them any excuse to characterize her as some sort of harpy, especially since it was looking like they might end up in court after all. She bit her tongue hard enough to taste blood.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Charles Grant » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:09 am

"Yes," Charlie agreed, "and the same could have been said for Neve ten years ago. You'll understand why my client desires additional safeguards, which is what our proposal would supply her with. In terms of the day-to-day, there would be fairly little practical difference from a joint custody agreement."
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Elijah Rowle » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:16 pm

"Which my client understands," Elijah said. "However, what safeguards does this put in place for Mr. Flannery? For example, will Miss Mullin be able to move out of the area with the child? Make all of the medical decisions? My client has no desire to make things unduly difficult, but he does have some concerns about the arrangement and what it means for his relationship with the child."

Sully, for his part, managed to keep his mouth shut.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Charles Grant » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:59 pm

"It would put in place whatever safeguards we negotiate for the auxiliary agreement," Charlie replied. "For example, Ms. Mullin has made clear her intention to stay in London and facilitate a relationship between the two children. She has made clear her willingness to allow Mr. Flannery to spend time with the new baby. She is willing to sign a legally binding document that would hold her to those commitments. As far as medical decisions, Ms. Mullin would retain those rights over the new baby, just as Mr. Flannery has retained those rights over Neve."

He elected not to mention the fact that Mr. Flannery had completely tanked any chance of Ms. Mullin's maintaining a relationship with Neve. Honestly, Charlie liked most people, but he had considerable distaste for this Flannery person.
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Re: The Meeting From Hell

Postby Elijah Rowle » Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:26 pm

Elijah looked over at Sully and gave a slight nod. It was a fair contract, despite the fact that Sully wanted joint (well, sole if he had his way) custody. Considering how things had gone with Neve and her recent trauma, Sully was going to have his hands full as it was.

Sully jerked his chin in a nod, apparently not trusting himself to speak.

"All right, well, I'll handle the details for Mr. Flannery, but we can work with this."
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