Some instrumental R&B music softly plays in the background as a woman with red curly hair, Grace, paces around the tiny apartment cleaning things up. A child, Willow, is seen sitting in a baby walker, playing with the various toys on it. Grace stops in her tracks and checks her phone every time she walks pasts it.
Grace: *to herself* Why do I always wait to do this at the last minute?
Willow coos loudly as if she was answering her mother’s question. Grace looks up at Willow and walks to her, picking her up from the walker and into Grace’s arms.
Grace: You want to help Mama clean up before Jamie comes over?
Willow flares her arms and coos; Grace laughs as the doorbell rings. Grace turns around and walks to the door with Willow. With her free hand, she opens the door and standing there is Jamie. He’s wearing his infamous wire-thin glasses with a grey blazer, white t-shirt, black pants and black boots. Grace has figured out that Jamie practically lives in either cardigans or blazers; he never has a day where he wears sweatpants and a hoodie.
Jamie: Hey Grace *in a cute voice* Hey, little bean!
Grace smiles and allows Jamie to walk inside the apartment. He takes a look around the small NYC apartment.
Grace: Make yourself at home, lemme go and change Willie’s diaper quickly.
Grace quickly walks into a bedroom with Willow and Jamie laughs at Grace’s face at the smell. When the door closes behind her, he walks around the living room area; hands in pocket, just taking everything in. He sees a shelf of picture frames. He picks one up of a little girl in a ballerina tutu, two front teeth completely missing, big smile visible. Jamie smiles at the picture. His trance breaks when he hears the door open again. He places the picture down and turns around to see Grace and Willow.
Grace: Someone is feeling brand new now that they’re clean.
Willow bounces in Grace’s arms and Jamie laughs to himself seeing the two little girls interact. Grace walks to the living room area and sits down on the couch with Willow on her lap. Jamie sits next to her.
Grace: Okay, so this case… how the hell am I suppose to defend this asshole with way too much money?
Jamie: You have to remember that it’s a job despite your views, you know?
Grace bounces her legs with Willow on them. She looks at Jamie; deadpanned. He takes the file from the coffee table and flips through it.
Jamie: So, Loren Webbs – her husband is suspected of being a part of a underground scheme, like the ringleader of it. She kills him, pleads self-defense and says her husband has a history of violence in the household, but this is her 2nd husband within the year?
Grace: I’m trying to defend her, not help the prosecutor win his case, Jamie.
Jamie looks at Grace and smiles.
Jamie: Before you can defend someone you’re not confident in, you have to think like the other party. See what they can possibly throw at you and your client. How can you counteract those questions and be prepared for the loopholes they are digging up from your client’s testimony.
Willow coos loudly and wiggles in Grace’s lap. Jamie’s face instantly softens to the sound of the baby.
Jamie: Even Willow agrees.
Grace rolls her eyes. The sound of the kettle pot steaming is heard, and Grace gets up; she hands Jamie Willow for a second while she checks on the boiling water and puts together tea for both her and Willow. Jamie places Willow on his lap and baby talks to her, she smiles and laughs out loud. In the kitchen on the counter, Grace watches the two humans interact in the living room. She still doesn’t understand how Willow is so comfortable with Jamie just a couple of times meeting him back in the cafe. She smiles at them, wishing she was able to have this sight all the time.
Grace comes out of the kitchen with two mugs; she sets one down in front of Jamie and takes the other for herself.
Grace: Should I take Willie, or..?
Jamie: Oh, no it’s okay! I’m fine, drink your tea.
Grace picks her for mug and sips on it while watching Jamie bounce Willow on his lap. He looks at the shelf with the pictures on it and points his head in that direction. Grace follows.
Jamie: Were you a dancer when you were younger?
Grace nods her head as she looks in the direction of the photo frames.
Grace: Yeah, I was one of those competitor dancers when I was kid. Won awards, learned different dances and choreo within weeks of each other. It was something I was highly passionate about.
Jamie: How long did you dance?
Grace: Basically all my life. My mother was a serious dancer when she was younger, she traveled around the world when she was my age apparently.
Jamie looks at Grace, interested in hearing the rest of the story.
Jamie: Did you get your dancing interest from her?
Grace takes a deep breath and plays with the rim of her mug.
Grace: I didn’t grow up with my mother. She traveled the world and did her dancing, I lived in Virginia with my dad for most of my life. I moved to New York when I was 18 to study dance, but slowly after that, I found myself just going towards the justice law route.
Jamie: *interested* What made you stop dancing?
Grace: I mean, nothing. I loved dance, but my father was a FBI Agent when I was growing up. I grew up around the environment and was interested in the law side of it as I got older. I figured I’d be a good debater in life, and I didn’t want to ultimately take the same road as my mother, so I decided to take on being a lawyer. I do very much enjoy it, it’s just–
Jamie waits for Grace to gather her thoughts. Grace takes a deep breath.
Grace: Something in me always wonders whether or not I’m doing the right thing.
Jamie: Do you feel like you’re doing the right thing?
Grace: I mean, others would say otherwise…
Jamie: *emphasizes* Do you feel like you’re doing the right thing?
Grace pauses in thought. She looks at Willow on Jamie’s lap, she looks at Jamie.
Grace: I’m trying to feel as if I’m doing the right thing.
Jamie: But there’s a reason why you haven’t given up and changed your mind, right?
Grace: *in thought* Yeah.
Jamie: *smiles* Then you’re doing the right thing for yourself. Don’t mind the outsiders looking in.
Grace smiles and takes a sip of tes from her mug. The doorbell rings and Grace looks at the front door.
Grace: I wasn’t suspecting anyone tonight…
Grace gets up from the sofa and walks towards the front door, she unlocks the door and opens it up; her heart instantly drops.
Max is standing at the doorway. He smiles at Grace.
Max: Hey, is Willow ready?
Grace scrunches her eyebrows in confusion.
Grace: Wait, what? What do you mean?
Max: Grace… it’s Sunday. I told you I was coming over to pick Willow up.
Grace’s heart sinks. She totally forgot that Willow is suspected to return back to Max until the next time she’s able to have Willow for a weekend.
Grace: Fuck, I totally forgot. She’s not even ready yet, I–
Grace turns around to walk into the apartment and Max follows her. He closes the door and his eyes dart over to the person in the living room, sitting on the couch with his daughter in his hands. Grace looks at Max and instantly knows what’s he’s thinking. She quickly walks over to Jamie and takes Willow from him. Willow whines in disagreement and Grace anxiously tries to calm her down. Jamie doesn’t say a word, he just sits there and readjusts himself. Max is watching all of this go down in the tiny living room.
Grace hands Willow over to Max.
Grace: Let me just gather her bag, give me a second.
Grace walks into the other room as the two men awkwardly sit in the living room area. Max’s attention is on Willow, while Jamie faces forward to the door, waiting for Grace to come out of the room.
Grace walks out with Willow’s bag and hands it over to Max.
Grace: That should be everything, let me walk you out.
Grace walks behind Max towards the front door. She turns around to face Jamie. She mouthes “sorry” and Jamie shakes it off.
When both Max and Grace get to the door, Max turns around to face her.
Max: Who is that and why was he holding my child?
Grace rolls her eyes and sighs.
Grace: He’s a friend of mine.
Max: He was holding my daughter.
Grace: *snappy* And?
Max: *annoyed* Look, I just don’t like when you bring your boyfriends over to your place on the weekends and have them hold Wllow while you guys play house.
Grace: You’re being crazy, Max.
Max: Am I? How would you feel if you saw Willow being held by another woman in my life?
Grace: *angry* He’s just a damn friend, Max. He came over to help me with the case and– wait, why am I explaining myself to you? We’re not together anymore. I don’t have to run shit with you.
Max: *now angry* It doesn’t mean we have to be disrespectful to each other and put Willow in jeopardizing situations, Grace. We gotta be on the same page when it comes to Willow.
Grace: Look, you do things your way, and I’ll do things mine. He’s my friend, there was no harm in him holding her for a second while I answered the door. Now you have her, like you always do, and I’ll see you in a week.
Grace looks at Willow.
Grace: Mama loves you, Willie.
She looks back up to Max.
She closes the door on him and closes her eyes. She wants to have a meltdown, she was wants to just destroy every single thing in this house, and she wants to just not feel the absolute guilt she feels every time Willow goes back to Max. Her train of thought breaks when she feels someone touching her shoulder. She opens her eyes to see Jamie there, rubbing small circles on her shoulder. She can’t hold it in anymore and tears silently fall down her face. Jamie notices, and he immediately takes her into a hug. They stand near the front door for what feels like hours. Nothing is said, and nothing is noted. They just stand there, in mutual understanding.