Chapter 11 - Competence Test
“Senior Attorney Song, if you have something to say, just say it instead of hovering around. Don’t you know Monday mornings are my busiest?”
“It’s almost been a month since Attorney Yoonshin Do’s first day and you haven’t called him to your office once, right? He’s still under your direct supervision, so if you’re not going to give him work, at least buy him lunch. A young man is rare on your team.”
Sehun knew Mihee would bring this up and he slowly furrowed his brow. “I go as far as dividing up my lunch hour to have one more meeting.”
“Hey, you do what you have to do even if you’re busy. For your information, I go shopping and have pastimes.”
“Isn’t it enough to hand him some pro bono files? Why do I have to feed him too? I told you that I’m not into babysitting.”
“Then buy him some coffee, you know? I know you pretty well. I know you’re pretty much done investigating him. Seeing as you’re not dying to kick him out, he has passed your cut-off line. I don’t know what exactly you’re watching for, but I hope you could chat at least. It’s fine even if it’s short. I need some results to report to Director Do too. Every time she calls and asks, I have nothing to say and that’s embarrassing. I’m not asking for much. Just a coffee. Okay? Coffee.”
“Don’t order me around. Get out.”
“I don’t care about higher-ups or whatever. I don’t discriminate; I’ll even yell at those more senior than me. Get out when I’m not yelling.”
“You’re such a hothead. I’m leaving, okay?”
Mihee looked at Sehun as she would a defiant younger brother and stepped back. She pretended to step back quietly before she briskly walked forward and placed both cups of coffee on the other’s desk. “Looking forward to hearing good news!”
Sehun had presumed Mihee would do this because he stood still for a moment. He stared at Mihee, who was waving at him, before letting out a deep sigh. At long last, he was going to sit at his desk, but then he saw Yoonshin’s brightly lit room, its owner seemingly already at work. Sehun paused.
Soon after, he stared at the neatly placed cups of coffee on his desk. What Mihee said bothered him.
“It’s almost been a month since Attorney Yoonshin Do’s first day and you haven’t called him to your office once, right?”
“One month. One month…” he repeated these words to himself before picking up one of the two disposable cups.
He turned around, exited his office, and moved to the reception room between his and Yoonshin’s office. The support staff didn’t seem to realize Sehun was approaching as they were busy whispering among themselves. They must have been excitedly chatting about Mihee’s early visit to Sehun’s office. Disapprovingly, Sehun clapped loudly once and Secretary Tak, who discovered Sehun’s presence first, bolted up from his seat. “Oh my Lord. S-senior Attorney, did you need anything else?”
“Secretary Tak. Send the documents that I told you to organize last week to Yoonshin Do’s office.”
“Both cases? Right now?”
“Then do you want to leave the second one to tomorrow? I can stand here and wait while you happily chat away.”
“My mistake. I’ll send them right away,” Secretary Tak replied.
Without another word, Sehun went straight to Yoonshin’s room and pushed the door open. Yoonshin was just turning on his laptop after setting up his workspace, but upon realizing the identity of his uninvited guest, he made a right-angled bow. This was the first time Sehun dropped by his office, so the other was quite surprised. “Sir, did you just arrive at work?”
“Are you in the military? Relax. Sit,” Sehun replied tersely, then stood in front of Yoonshin’s desk. Staring at the other’s blank face, Sehun put down the cup of coffee that Mihee passed on to him with some force. Naturally, Yoonshin’s clear eyes were filled with some questions as he looked back up.
“This is…” Yoonshin trailed off.
“Coffee,” Sehun replied.
“I can see that. Did you perhaps have something to tell me…?”
“Drink that first.”
“You’re giving this to me?”
“Yeah, I think I’ll be less distressed if you drink that.”
Yoonshin, at a loss for what to do because of Sehun’s piercing gaze, hurriedly took a sip. Then, he tilted his head in confusion. “I don’t understand your intentions.”
“See, someone keeps badgering me. Anyway, I’ve done what I needed to.” Sehun’s explanation was vague, so Yoonshin still couldn’t understand what Sehun wanted. Instead of pressing on, he slowly glanced at the black coffee sleeve and pulled the cup closer to him. He silently thanked Sehun with a nod, and Sehun nodded back in acknowledgment before walking over to the couch in Yoonshin’s office and leaning against the armrest while gazing intently at the younger lawyer.
Yoonshin made a complex face as he was barraged with Sehun’s gaze. He was bewildered because Sehun suddenly barged in for a reason unknown to Yoonshin. To make matters worse, the partner lawyer’s stare was so persistent and intense that Yoonshin felt a bit awkward and shy.
Truthfully, staring so openly and directly at another person was not very polite. They had only met a couple of times, and yet each time, the older man was rude. However, Sehun Kang was the instigator, so Yoonshin had no choice but to tolerate it.
While thinking that, he suddenly was hit with a realization.
“Oh, I was a bit short-sighted. I’ll quickly buy you coffee too.” Yoonshin got up partially.
However, Sehun waved his hand in rejection. “Leave it. You haven’t written your contract yet. How much were you promised annually?”
“I’ve only been practicing for four years, and I don’t have a judicial background. I’ve primarily done small cases, so I practically had no additional factors to consider when I joined this firm. I was told that the firm had a performance-based compensation system starting from third-year associates, so I was offered the average second-year salary. Ms. Song offered to re-negotiate at the end of the year after assessing my performance…”
“What you’re saying is that despite being hired through nepotism, you tried to keep your boundaries.”
As he fiddled with the coffee cup, Yoonshin neither confirmed nor denied the statement. During that brief silence, someone knocked on his slightly ajar door and pushed the door wide open. Following that, two unfamiliar faces came into the room. They each pushed in a file cart.
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