Rating- PG-13 overall for now
Genre- slash, first-time, domestic/family/kid fic, fluff, drama, plotty
Wordcount- 9000 (5400 part a)
Disclaimer- I do not own Suits. Harvey and Mike belong to their creators, but Kayla, Amy, Malcolm, and Janet are all mine!
Overall Summary- Mike and Harvey both deal with family issues, while on the way forming a family of their own.
Chapter Summary- Mike and Harvey decide how to respond to Amy's petition for sole custody of Kayla.
A/N- originally written for a kidfic prompt here at suitsmeme.
“What’re we gonna do?” Mike asked desperately as he watched Harvey read and then reread the notice from Amy’s lawyer before folding it and putting it in his pocket. He was very nearly in a state of shock; beyond bringing the letter to Harvey, he couldn’t think for himself what to do. Just when he had successfully distracted himself from Amy’s return –which should have been a good week away!- he had been blindsided by this notice. It was like a slap to the face. He had expected Amy to at least have the decency to tell him face-to-face what she wanted and let them work it out between themselves, not contact a lawyer and a judge before her child’s father when they hadn’t spoken in nearly six months!
“First off, don’t panic,” Harvey said evenly, obviously noting Mike’s distress. He took a step towards Mike and placed his hands on Mike’s shoulders, grounding him. “Okay?”
Mike swallowed hard and met Harvey’s eyes, searching them for reassurance. Harvey returned his gaze steadily, grave but unshaken. Mike breathed out a wavering sigh, his panic ebbing when met by Harvey’s cool demeanor. It didn’t matter that Amy had caught him off guard; it didn’t matter that she had hurt him by not consulting him first. Now that he’d told Harvey, everything would be fine. Harvey would take care of it. Mike didn’t doubt him for a second.
Mike composed himself and nodded in response to Harvey’s question. “Good.” Harvey gave Mike’s shoulders a squeeze. “Good. Second, you’re going to call the daycare center and ask them if anyone’s come by trying to pick up Kayla.”
Mike’s breath caught in his throat, the composure he had been carefully building shattering in an instant at the thought of Amy going behind his back to steal away his little girl. “You really think she’d do that?”
“The courts don’t like to take kids out of a stable situation, so whichever parent the kid’s with when the trial starts has an advantage,” Harvey explained. “Call them, and if no one’s come yet, make sure they know that they can’t let her go with anyone but you or me, understand?”
“Yeah,” Mike breathed. “I got it.” He dug his phone from his pocket with fingers that shook. “But Harvey, what about this hearing? She wants full custody!”
“You let me worry about that for now,” Harvey insisted. He took Mike’s arm in a gentle grasp and led him over to the couch at one side of the office, gently lowering Mike down to sit on it. “You just call the daycare.”
Mike nodded again and looked down at his phone. A slow, deep breath stopped his fingers from shaking, and he pressed the speed dial button he’d programed with the daycare’s number and put the phone to his ear, listening to it ring. He glanced up at Harvey, who gave his shoulder another reassuring squeeze before turning towards the door and stepping away from him. Mike started to stand up to follow him, but Harvey motioned for him to sit back down. He was about to ask Harvey where he was going, but on the other end of the line someone picked up the phone.
“Little Angels Child Care, how may I help you?”
“Ah, well, my name is Michael Ross,” Mike said into the phone as he gave Harvey a questioning, apprehensive look. Harvey responded with a gesture that communicated that he would be back soon, but said nothing to elaborate. “My daughter Kayla is enrolled in Mrs. Hood’s three-year-old class,” Mike said, his gaze following Harvey out of the office and down the hall until he disappeared from view.
* * *
“I need to take some time off,” Harvey announced as the door of Jessica’s office swung violently open before him.
“I’m fine, Harvey, and how have you been?” she said lightly without looking up from her work. Harvey knew she was telling him none too subtly that he’d been rude, but he wasn’t going to waste time apologizing.
“This is serious,” Harvey replied, letting just a hint of the emotions that raged through him slip into his tone like a warning. Jessica knew him well enough to pick up on even a slight change. Her demeanor instantly shifted from teasing to serious and she looked up at him, her expression grave.
“What’s going on?”
“You know that my associate, Mike, has a daughter?”
“I’ve heard something to that effect,” Jessica said. Harvey knew it was an understatement; on more than one occasion he had seen Jessica playing with Kayla at Donna’s desk after Mike had brought her in.
“The mother filed a petition for sole custody. There’s a hearing in a week, but Mike’s not accepting any arrangement that keeps his daughter away from him. If she pushed it –and I don’t doubt that she will- he’ll have to go to court. I’m taking his case, Jessica, and I’m giving it everything. I need time off; I can’t work on anything else.”
“Harvey, you don’t know the first thing about family court.” Jessica spoke like she was trying to talk sense into him, but Harvey would have none of it. It wasn’t lost on him that she hadn’t refused the time off.
“I’ll learn,” he answered stubbornly.
“Not fast enough.”
“I’ll do what I have to.”
Jessica gave him an appraising look, as if trying to decide just how resolute he was in his decision. “Finish the case you’re working on before the hearing,” she said at last, “and I’ll halve your caseload until the custody trial is over.”
“I’m not going to work on anything but this,” Harvey replied.
“You’re not working on this at all.” He tried to object, but Jessica spoke over him: “Harvey, you said yourself that there’s no way this is getting settled outside of court. Do you know enough about family law to win, if it comes to that?”
Harvey started to answer but stopped short. He knew that Jessica had a point, even if he didn’t want to acknowledge it. Harvey ground his teeth in frustration as he tried to formulate a response. He wasn’t sure what irritated him more- being told there was an area of the law where he couldn’t excel, or being told he was helpless to keep Kayla from being taken away.
“Take Janet McKenzie,” Jessica said.
Harvey blinked, caught off-guard by the command. “Who?”
Jessica sighed and leaned forward across her desk. “This firm mostly handles corporate clients,” she said slowly, as if explaining their business to a small child. “Corporate CEOs get married, and frequently they get divorced. We have a handful of lawyers on staff who specialize in family law. Janet is one of our best. Let her take this case.” At Harvey’s skeptical look, Jessica smiled and shook her head. “Harvey, I’m not trying to talk you out if this; I just don’t want you to lose. You can’t afford it, and neither can this firm. Janet has never lost a custody case. She’s family court’s version of you. She’ll take care of it. And you’ll have a light caseload so you can supervise.”
Harvey nodded, feeling some of the tension leave his body as he considered the solution Jessica was proposing. He didn’t like the idea of putting this case into someone else’s hands, but Jessica wasn’t wrong in saying that he didn’t know his way around family court, and she certainly wasn’t wrong in saying that he couldn’t afford to lose. If he had to work with someone else, he was glad it was someone she recommended so highly.
“Alright,” he sighed. “Where is this Janet McKenzie?”
“Thirty-first floor and to your right,” Jessica told him. “I’ll call her and tell her to expect you.”
“Good.” Harvey nodded. He started to leave, but a nagging feeling in his chest bade him turn back. “And, Jessica…” he met her eyes but trailed off, unable to find the words.
“Don’t thank me,” she said, and Harvey nodded with a silent smile and turned towards the door. “Because you’re paying her for her time,” Jessica said just as he touched the door handle, “and she charges just as much as you do.”
“Right.” Harvey shook his head, a small smile playing at his lips. He should have expected that from Jessica, though he had to admit she wasn’t being unfair. “Of course.” He pushed open the door of Jessica’s office and headed to the elevators.
As he made his way to Janet McKenzie’s office, Harvey spared a second to try to wrap his head around what had just happened. Although he had been furious with Mike only minutes before, his attitude towards his associate had shifted swiftly and dramatically the moment Mike came to his office with that horrified expression, before he’d even known the contents of the letter. Though they had argued about Malcolm and he had sent Mike from his office in anger, creating a rift between them that normally would have taken days if not weeks to repair, all it had taken was one glance at the letter for all of that to be pushed aside. The fight was inconsequential now, when there was something so much greater at stake. It made Harvey painfully aware of how much he cared for Mike and Kayla, to realize that a breaching of taboo which might have been unforgivable from anyone else could be swept aside to easily when they were threatened.
And Mike… As soon as Mike had gotten the letter, he had come straight to Harvey. He had trusted that Harvey would make things right, trusted, justifiably, that Harvey cared more about Mike and Kayla than about any argument they might have had. Harvey was gratified that Mike had such faith in him, and he knew he would do everything in his power to make sure it was deserved.
Within seconds of leaving Jessica’s office Harvey had found his way to the thirty-first floor and was standing in front of a corner office with the name Janet McKenzie etched on the door. A secretary’s desk stood outside, the young man sitting at it typing furiously on his keyboard. As Harvey approached the man ceased typing and looked up, his hands hovering over the keys as he peered at Harvey through a pair of wire-framed glasses. “Can I help you?”
Before Harvey could answer the intercom on the man’s desk buzzed. “It’s fine, Andrew,” a woman’s voice said. “I’m expecting him.” The young man nodded and motioned for Harvey to enter before turning back to his work.
Harvey stepped past the secretary and opened the door of the office. Inside, a woman rose from her desk to greet him. “Harvey Specter,” she said with a smile. “I just got off the phone with Jessica; she told me you’d be coming.” She held out a hand to Harvey, and he shook it as he looked her over. She was about his age, with caramel-colored skin and wavy shoulder-length hair the same dark brown as her eyes. He had seen her a few times at company events and even flirted once or twice. For the first time in his life Harvey found himself genuinely hoping his levity hadn’t given someone a negative opinion of him. He didn’t want this woman unhappy with him when so vital a case rested in her hands.
“Janet McKenzie,” Harvey greeted in return. “I hear you come highly recommended.”
“My clients are generally pleased with their rulings,” she said simply. He found himself wondering if it was arrogance or honesty that prompted the statement, and hoping for the latter. “But let’s get down to business, shall we?” Janet continued briskly, a glint in her eye that made Harvey inexplicably nervous. “Jessica wasn’t very specific. I’ve never heard that you had children, and from what I have heard you don’t seem like the sort of man to put himself in a compromising position. So, what’s this about?”
Harvey stared openly for a moment, surprised by her frankness. She gazed back steadily, a slight smirk on her lips, and he got the distinct impression she was playing with him. “It’s not my child being discussed,” Harvey explained when he found his voice, drawing the letter from Amy’s lawyer from his jacket pocket and handing it to Janet. “My associate, Mike Ross, has a three-year-old daughter whose mother is filing for sole custody. I had intended to represent him myself, but Jessica said you were the best.”
He could tell from the slight roll of her eyes as she unfolded the letter that flattery would gain him nothing; she saw all too clearly the position he was in, and knew that he needed her help. Janet looked over the letter and then raised her eyes to meet his, one elegant eyebrow arched. “Well, I must admit, this will be the first time someone had hired me to represent their employee.” She said the last word in a way that clearly implied she though there was more to their relationship, but from her smile Harvey got the idea she didn’t disapprove. He liked this woman, Harvey decided as he took the letter back from her.
“Mike is in the building now?” Janet asked, her tone all business as she rose from her desk.
“In my office,” Harvey confirmed.
“Let’s go.” Janet swept past him and out the door, pausing to say a few words to her assistant before giving Harvey an expectant look. He stepped out of her office and walked with her to the elevators.
* * *
Mike closed his phone and ran his hands over his face and back through his hair, breathing out a heavy sigh. Harvey’s reassurances had calmed his nerves somewhat, but what he’d heard from the daycare had only served to get them worked up again. He closed his eyes and worked his fingertips over his scalp, fighting off the panic and the headache he could feel coming. At the sound of the door opening his head jerked up expectantly, and Mike watched as Harvey entered the room accompanied by a woman he had never seen before. “Harvey?” Mike asked anxiously, rising to his feet.
Harvey came to stand next to Mike, offering comfort with his nearness. “Mike, this is Janet McKenzie,” he said gently. “She’s a family lawyer; she’s taking your case.” Mike looked between Harvey and the woman, wide-eyed with confusion and apprehension even as he shook the hand she offered. He wondered what Harvey meant when he said she was taking his case. Was she from Pearson Hardman and taking it as a favor? Pro bono? Was Mike supposed to pay her? Was Harvey paying her? Would he really do that?
“What did the daycare say?” Harvey asked, bringing Mike back from his thoughts. He realized he was still holding Janet’s hand and staring at her; he looked away and dropped her hand like he’d been shocked.
“Someone came by wanting to pick Kayla up,” Mike answered, his voice shaky as he tried to keep his breathing and his emotions under control. He hadn’t thought that Amy would resort to such underhanded tactics. She had surprised him, and now he was being forced to reconsider what he’d thought her limits were. Mike wasn’t sure how far she might go to win this, and he knew he had a lot to lose besides Kayla if Amy was playing dirty. “He said he was her grandfather, but they wouldn’t let him take her or even see her since they’d never heard of him before.”
“Mr. Ross, I can see that this is all coming as a shock to you,” Janet said, her voice soothing as she laid a hand on his arm. “Please, sit down, and we can talk when you feel up to it.”
Mike sank back into the couch with a sigh of relief, closing his eyes and scrubbing a hand back through his hair. Harvey produced a water bottle from somewhere in his desk and handed it to Mike. He nodded in thanks and took a long drink while Janet pulled one of the office chairs closer to the couch and sat across from him. Harvey came to stand next to Mike, one hand resting on the back of the couch net to his shoulder. Having him nearby was comforting on its own, but Mike found himself wishing that Harvey would hold his hand like he had when Kayla was in the hospital. He wondered if that was selfish of him, though, especially since he knew Harvey wouldn’t want to display affection in front of a fellow lawyer.
Mike cleared his throat and set the water bottle on the floor by his foot. “Call me Mike, please,” he said to Janet. “I think I’m up to it now. What- what do you need to know?”
“Kayla, is that you daughter’s name?” she asked with a soft smile.
“Yes.” Mike pulled out his wallet and tugged a small photograph from one of the pockets. It had been taken at Kayla’s third birthday party, shortly before Amy had taken her away. It was the most recent photo he had of the three of them together, and he had put it in his wallet after Amy left so that he would always be able to see his girls. Mike ran his thumb tenderly over the smooth surface as he gazed down at the picture. They looked like a perfect family, he and Amy smiling lovingly at one another while Kayla laughed between them. So much had changed since then, and it seemed that they would never be able to go back to that happiness.
Mike forced the thought aside and handed the photo to Janet. “That was when she turned three,” he explained as the woman glanced over it.
“She’s very cute,” Janet said, giving the photo back to Mike. “How old is she now?”
“About three and a half, I guess,” Mike said. “That photo was taken a little over six months ago.”
“Are you and Kayla’s mother getting a divorce?”
“We were never married.”
“I see. Did you establish paternity?”
“Yes,” Mike said, his nerves eased by the simplicity of the questions. At least there were some he knew the answers to. “My name is on her birth certificate, and we signed some papers in the hospital, too. We also decided that Kayla would take my last name. Her mother’s name is Amy Sutherland.” Mike watched as Janet wrote all of this down on a note pad resting on her knee.
“But the two of you are splitting up, then?”
“About a week after Kayla’s birthday Amy took her and left. Then three weeks ago she dropped Kayla off with me. Before that we’d been raising her together. This is the first time I’ve heard anything about Amy wanting a custody order, so you can understand that I’m surprised.” Mike attempted a self-mocking smile that he knew failed to create humor.
“Was her taking Kayla and then dropping her off something you’d arranged?” He could see the pity in Janet’s eyes, and it stung.
“Well, the taking part she’d said she was going to do and I didn’t try to stop her, but, ah, circumstances have changed since then,” Mike said with a glance at Harvey. “The dropping off part, no, I had no idea she was planning to do that.”
“That’s interesting,” Janet murmured, more to herself than Mike, as she wrote this down as well.
Mike’s curiosity was piqued by the statement, but Harvey beat him to the question: “What’s interesting?”
“If Mike and Amy had already arranged for Kayla to be living with her, why would she bring Kayla back only to try to take her permanently?” Janet reasoned. “Particularly when she would have had an advantage in court since Mike hadn’t seen his daughter in five months.” Mike thought it over and shook his head. He could find no logic in what Amy had done. Indeed, if she had sent papers at the same time without letting him see Kayla first, when it would have been half a year since he’d seen his daughter, he might have signed them without much of a fight.
“So Kayla’s been living alone with you?” Janet asked. “Has that worked out well?”
Mike shrugged, pushing aside speculation about Amy’s motives to focus on the question at hand. “I’ve got her set up at a daycare center and I bought her new clothes since Amy only sent a few outfits. I’m still in the same apartment and it’s a little small for two people, but I’d hoped to find a new one if she’d be staying with me for very long. I’ve been managing the childcare bills and food costs pretty well, and Kayla seems pretty happy overall.”
Janet nodded, looking back over all she had written. “From what you’ve told me,” she said thoughtfully, “it doesn’t seem like Amy has much of a case for forcing you to give up custody against your will; a judge certainly wouldn’t remove a responsible, loving father from his child’s life without reason.” Janet looked up at him sharply, her tone becoming serious once more. “Does Amy know anything that would make a judge think you’re an unfit parent?”
There were several things Amy knew that would make someone think Mike an unfit parent. She knew he had his grandmother to care for in addition to Kayla, which he had to admit did make his finances tight even with his associate’s salary. She knew that he had done drugs. She knew he had cheated on the LSATs and in college and been kicked out for it, and she would know that he couldn’t possibly have gotten this job without lying. Mike glanced over at Harvey, wondering how much of this he dared to say.
Janet sighed. “Mike, I’m your lawyer. I can’t repeat anything you say to me in confidence. Whatever it is, you can tell me. I need to know what Amy’s lawyers are going to say before we get to court.”
Harvey gave Mike a subtle nod, and he tried to dissect its meaning. Was it a green light to tell this woman everything? Did it mean he could tell her some things, but not all of them? Mike had never met this woman, but Harvey had brought her in. Perhaps he knew her better than Mike did and thought that they could trust her with their secret.
Finally Mike said, “Amy knows I did drugs.”
“What kind of drugs?”
“Marijuana. A friend of mine was a dealer, and Amy and I both got our stuff from him. That was why Amy left. She said she was going to get clean, but I didn’t think I could, and Amy didn’t want Kayla around me while I was high.”
“Amy also uses marijuana?”
“She used to.”
“And do you still smoke?”
“I stopped when I got this job. It was about two months after Amy got clean and left.” Janet nodded and jotted down the information.
“Wait a minute,” Harvey said suddenly, his tone thoughtful. Mike and Janet both turned to him expectantly. “Kayla said something –I meant to tell you, Mike, but there never seemed to be a good time- it made me think that Amy might have still been smoking even after she took Kayla.”
“Really?” Mike asked in surprise. He couldn’t imagine Amy taking Kayla away just to go back to the drugs. She had seemed so determined when she left that her daughter would never be around drugs again that Mike couldn’t see her falling back into that lifestyle. But then, she seemed to be doing a lot of things he never would have expected from her, so perhaps he hadn’t known her as well as he’d thought.
Harvey nodded. “Kayla said that her mother would leave her with a neighbor, someone she called Aunt Katie, and that her mother’s apartment smelled funny when she got back.”
“I don’t know anyone named Katie,” Mike admitted, “and Amy told me she was an only child.” He supposed Amy could easily have friends in New Jersey, where her parents lived, whom he didn’t know, but Harvey had specifically mentioned an apartment, and Mike knew Amy’s parents owned a house. There was no reason for her to be living in an apartment, in New Jersey or anywhere else, if what she’d said about getting clean and living with her family was true.
“That’s definitely something to look into,” Janet said. “But for now I think I’ve got just about all I need from you. There’s just one thing I want to ask.” Her tone became more serious as she said it, and Mike instinctively straightened in his seat. He turned to Janet expectantly, and she fixed him with a somber look. “What do you want to happen here, Mike? Whom do you want Kayla to live with?”
The question caught Mike off-guard. He opened his mouth, intending to say that of course he wanted Kayla to stay with him, but stopped. He frowned, thinking the question over. He didn’t want to lose Kayla, certainly. But he didn’t want to keep Kayla from her mother either.
“I want what’s best for my daughter,” Mike said slowly. “And I think that what’s best would be for her to live with both parents. But I can take a hint- clearly Amy doesn’t want to go back to the way things were, even if we’ve both quit smoking. If we can’t raise her together, I think that at least the best way would be for us to have equal time with her. But if… If Amy is still doing drugs, and if it means she’s leaving Kayla with someone I don’t know for long periods of time, then I’d be worried about Kayla living alone with her. I guess it depends on what we can find out about this Katie woman.”
“So what you want is joint custody, then?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Alright.” Janet rose to her feet. “I’ll look into Ms. Sutherland’s whereabouts these past six months and see if I can find anyone named Katie. As it stands, though, I think we have a good chance of getting what you want. You don’t have any weaknesses that Amy doesn’t share.”
Mike met Harvey’s eyes even as he stood and shook Janet’s hand. He knew that what Janet had said wasn’t completely true. He hadn’t told her about how he had cheated on the LSATs or been expelled from college. Amy knew both of those things. Mike didn’t think she was the type of person who would want to see him get torn apart on the stand, but what did he know, really? It seemed that Amy wanted Kayla badly, and Mike had no way of knowing what she might do in order to get her.
In spite of Janet’s reassurance, Mike felt numb thinking about the impending trial. To him it seemed that he had two choices: give Kayla up willingly and lose his daughter, or let Amy pull every skeleton out of the closet so that he lost his job and, probably, lost his daughter too anyway. It seemed obvious what he should choose, but as a parent Mike knew there was no way he could ever willingly give up his child. His career, the friendships he’d forged with his co-workers, the entire life he’d built for himself- he would sacrifice all of it before he stopped fighting to keep his little girl.
* * *
Harvey watched Janet’s retreating back thoughtfully. She seemed confident about the case, but she had only gotten a glimpse at the hands everyone was playing with, and Harvey knew she probably wouldn’t have been so confident if she had seen everything. He wasn’t sure if they could trust her with their secret, but at the same time he knew it wouldn’t matter how much Janet deserved their trust if Amy told the whole court that Mike had never gotten his degree.
“Do you think she can do it?” Mike asked softly, snapping him from his thoughts. Harvey considered the question for a moment before answering.
“If anyone can, it’ll be her. Jessica recommended her personally.”
“You went to Jessica?” Mike gave him a questioning look.
“I’d intended to ask for time off so I could take the case myself. Jessica… reminded me that I’m not as familiar with family court laws as I’d need to be to represent you properly.” Harvey shook his head, still annoyed by his lack of knowledge. He vowed to brush up on his family law in the near future. “She told me to hire Janet.”
“You’re paying for her?”
“Of course.” Harvey pushed sided thoughts of his own shortcomings and turned his attention to Mike. He could see how pale the younger man was, how rattled he still seemed. Harvey went to Mike’s side and put an arm around his shoulders. He could feel the tension in Mike’s body as they touched, and it tugged at his heart. Harvey squeezed Mike’s shoulder in a sort of one-armed hug, and felt the other man’s body relax as he leaned against him. “I’ll take care of everything,” he murmured into Mike’s hair. “Don’t you worry.”
Mike nodded against Harvey’s shoulder, and Harvey could feel the Mike’s breath against his neck as he sighed. He held Mike close, feeling the tension leave his body and the slight tremors subside. Even after Mike seemed to have composed himself, Harvey continued to hold him. Although he’d tried to act confident for Mike’s sake, Harvey couldn’t deny that he too was shaken by the thought of losing Kayla. It wasn’t only the thought of what would happen to Mike if Kayla was taken away that horrified him, and Mike wasn’t the only one who needed reassurance at that moment.
They had been standing together in silence, both of them giving and receiving comfort, for several minutes when Harvey finally felt Mike pull away. He kept his hand on Mike’s shoulder as his eyes sought Mike’s gaze. The other man gave him a wan smile, which Harvey returned as best he could. “So,” Mike said, his voice rough with emotion as if he’d been crying, though Harvey knew he hadn’t, “what are we gonna do?”
Harvey took a moment to consider their options before offering an answer. Janet seemed to have things under control, as much as was possible when she only knew half of what was going on. The rational thing to do would be returning to their work, but Harvey knew that neither of them could be wholly rational with the custody trial weighing so closely on their minds. Besides, there was no way they could do their best work while so distracted. “Finish this case,” Harvey said at last, “and then go pick up Kayla.”
“Are you sure?” Mike asked, the guilt in his tone the first emotion he had displayed other than fear since receiving the letter. “I mean, I’ve already taken the past two days off to be with her after she got sick.”
“I don’t think Jessica will get mad,” Harvey hazarded, “and I know I won’t. Louis can go fuck himself.” Mike’s slight smile at the obscenity was well worth it. Harvey clapped the other man’s shoulder fondly, and was glad to see Mike’s smile widen. “Seriously, though, Jessica said she’d cut our workload in half after this case, so we should be fine taking some time off. Besides, I think we should talk to Kayla’s teacher about what’s going on.” He spoke without much consideration for his words, but the moment they left his tongue he noticed how inappropriately familiar they were. He spoke as if he were just as invested in the outcome of the custody dispute as Mike was, but Harvey knew it wasn’t his place to get so involved. Even if he hoped that Mike would allow him to do so. He loved Kayla as if she were his own, and he would be devastated if they lost her.
Harvey shook his head, forcing the depressing thought from his mind and wondering absently where his professional detachment had gone. He had tried to keep his distance from Mike, had tried to keep from getting emotionally involved with what happened to Mike’s family, but somehow all of his efforts had come to nothing. Mike and Kayla were more to him than his employee and his employee’s child. They were his family, even if he didn’t have a right to call them that, and he would do whatever it took to protect them.