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Solid Narrative--A Franklin and Bash Story
damien listening guitar
rogoblue
Rating: R
Author: rogoblue
Summary: Damien makes an announcement with interesting ramifications.
Spoilers: Minor throughout seasons 1-3, somewhat more so all the episodes that reference Damien’s viral video and season 2, episode 7 (Summer Girls) and season 2, episode 5 (I believe this is the one with the softball pitcher who had to prove he was gay).
Words: 3,700+ .
Disclaimers: The toys are not mine but the idea is.




“I believe that concludes the presentation portion of our program,” Stanton Infeld said, beaming at the employees gathered for the quarterly state of the firm address while accepting the beverage being offered to him with nary a glance at his benefactor. “The eating and drinking may now commence in earnest, unless you have something further, Rachel.”

“We’ve covered everything we intended,” she said. Rachel King raised the glass Peter Bash handed her to Stanton, but Damien felt the weight of her gaze.

That woman misses very little.

“Does anyone else desire the floor?” Stanton asked as he mirrored Rachel’s gesture and drank deeply.

“I do,” Damien said, smiling inwardly at the irony.

“Some people never outgrow trying to be the teacher’s pet,” Jared Franklin noted.

Bash fist bumped his diminutive sidekick, shit eating grin firmly in place. “If brownnosing was an Olympic sport, I’d bet on Karp to medal.”

“Would it be part of the summer or winter games?”

The two idiots pointed at each other and said, “Both,” in unison.

The shared look of self-congratulation gave Damien his opening. “I’ll make this brief. This Saturday—.”

”The day after tomorrow.”

Why Bash’s needless clarification, delivered with mock gravity, amused anyone was beyond Damien. “Your mastery of the days of the week does first graders the world over proud,” he muttered. “Saturday at 2:00 pm, I’m getting married. Consider this your invitation.” Reflecting on how easy it was to be heard in total silence, Damien said, “I know it’s short notice and I’ll certainly understand if you can’t make it or don’t care to attend. There’s no need for gifts, either.” One possibility, however remote, had to be addressed. “Except for you two,” he said, pointing at Franklin and Bash. “You show without gifts; you get a seat in the nose bleed section and no alcohol whatsoever.”

Surprisingly and unnervingly, both boys smiled at him. “Oh, yes!” Bash exclaimed, the elbow he aimed at Franklin’s shoulder nearly caught the shorter man in the temple. “We’re the men for this job.”

“Who else could find the perfect gift to mark the occasion of one Damien Edward Karp tying the knot with his stripper turned family law attorney vixen? Can you say no one? Of course you can!” Franklin’s declarative intonation didn’t survive the giggle at the end.

Rachel King stepped nearly into Damien’s personal space, looking him up and down in an openly appraising manner. Stanton drifted into orbit as well. Ignoring both, he said, “Information sheets with the details and directions are on each of the bars.”

Carmen Phillips appeared just behind and to Damien’s right. “I have a stack too in case anyone doesn’t care to belly up to a bar,” she said with a straight face knowing that there wasn’t a soul in the room who wouldn’t at some point very soon.

“You knew about this?” Franklin said, looking at her as if she’d become unclean.

“I like a challenge,” she said, smiling big in a way very few people could carry off. She could, as could his fiancée. “Alyssa wanted outdoor, simple, classy and comfortable arranged in a short time frame.”

”Your venue is lovely but huge, Damien,” the receptionist noted. She’d always used his first name and strangely, he’d never minded. “Will there be signs to point us to within a quarter mile at least?”

When he looked to Carmen, Bash muttered, “Dude, do you really not know?”

Damien squared his shoulders. “There is a reason all of those magazines are bridal, Peter. She said yes, liked the ring and will hopefully show up and say the words. That’s the trifecta, as far as I’m concerned.

“I’m still at former stripper,” Rachel noted, as she took Damien’s arm and steered him away from the milling crowd. Stanton, Franklin, Bash and Carmen kept pace and Pindar, bless his uber-phobic little heart, arrived and thrust a brimming wine glass into Damien’s hand.

“Thanks, Pindar.” His benefactor nodded in acknowledgement and hovered, watching closely as Damien sampled the very fine Malbec.

“Former stripper?” Stanton mused. “Not the tall girl with the spectacular figure who was a summer associate with us not too long ago?” Damien winced at the memory of Stanton admiring the cut of the young woman’s jib.

“The one and only Alyssa!”

Turning his aghast expression from Franklin, the bearer of the tidings, to Damien, Stanton emoted disapproval. “She’s much too young for you.”

Damien choked on his wine. Rachel patted his back lightly. When he was sure he could breathe again, he hissed, “Seriously, Stanton? That particular objection leveled by you is beyond ludicrous!” His uncle looked thunderous, but Damien didn’t care.

“Are you really going to throw away your aspirations of a seat on the bench for this girl, Damien?

“I don’t see that as a foregone conclusion.” Looking for information as well as an ally, he turned to Rachel. “Do you?”

She shrugged nonchalantly, despite her clear interest in the subject at hand. “Alyssa stripped to pay her way through law school, correct?”

Unable to interpret Rachel’s expression and feeling almost as though he was under oath and possibly about to be pronounced guilty, Damien said, “Yes.”

“That’s marvelous.” She faced the varying reactions with an aplomb Damien admired.

“While I’m sure we all can concur that watching that young lady take off her clothes would rate a verdict of marvelous, I fail to see—.”

Rachel fluidly interrupted. “Surely, you can see that our judge-to-be isn’t put off by humble beginnings. He respects that his future wife has worked for what she’s achieved, even if both of her choices of occupation are considered unsavory for different reasons by many people.”

“I’m not getting married to prove anything.”

“It’s ok to admit it,” Bash said. “You’re doing this, so she’ll feel guilty if she sleeps with someone else.”

“Don’t you mean when?”

Rachel acted as though she didn’t hear either Beavis or Butt-head do their rendition of Linus from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. “Does your relationship date back to Alyssa’s time with the firm?”

“There was staring,” Franklin said, looking eager as a puppy to please. “A lot of staring.”

“And tension of a decidedly sexual nature,” Bash supplied.

“Resolved or un?” Rachel inquired, nodding at yet clearly unsatisfied by the matching shrugs offered by Franklin and
Bash. “Speculate.”

The two looked at each other for almost a minute, silently determining who would have the floor first, Damien assumed. “Alyssa is too smart to start her career off by sleeping with a senior partner and she certainly didn’t need to to get by.”

Not to be outdone, Franklin offered, “Damien has this puritanical thing against sleeping with people he works with and an obsessive need to follow rules. Since he passed on the very lovely Hanna Linden wanting to get naked and sweaty when they both worked here and the firm has strict policies against that sort of thing, I’m thinking not.” He smirked. “I won’t go so far as to suggest that the thought never crossed their minds, however.”

“Remember the eye sex!”

“Better than I do the Alamo.”

Determinedly not thinking about having sex with Alyssa the one time in her car when she was a summer associate or foolishly hoping for deliverance from this interrogation that wasn’t en route, Damien held his ground and kept his expression neutral. The next salvo came from his blind side. “You do realize this timing will make it most difficult for your mother, my sisters and the rest of the British branch of the family to attend.”

“It’s not going to be most difficult, Stanton. It’s going to be impossible, because I’m not going to tell any of them until it’s done and neither are you.”

“You don’t want your mom to be there?” Bash asked, and Damien could understand his objection.

“Yours will be. That’s good enough for me.”

“Explain,” Rachel prompted.

Damien felt tired and out of sorts. “My mom and some of my aunts are—what was your phrase—put off by humble beginnings.” He took a deep steadying breath before continuing. “One or two of them wouldn’t forever hold her peace and I will not subject Alyssa to that, or myself for that matter. I won’t let them ruin the day for us.”

Rachel looked thoughtful and turned to Stanton. “Is that an exaggeration?”

“Sadly, not likely.” Abashed looked odd on his uncle. “My sisters hold strong, sometimes dated opinions.” He gestured toward Damien with an empty glass that was immediately replaced with a full one bearing a beverage of a dangerous appearing green hue. “They want him married in Saint Paul’s Cathedral to a woman who’s never worked a day in her life, mostly because they’re deathly afraid he’ll be married in Las Vegas by someone wearing sequined spandex.”

“Have any of your sisters had a career?”

“No.”

Smiling, whether in encouragement or amusement Damien didn’t know, Rachel said, “Our judge-in-the-making chose his wife based upon his standards, rather than his family’s beliefs as to what sort of woman was appropriate. You’re building a sound narrative.”

“I’m not building narrative; I’m getting married.”

“You’re doing both, Damien, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll become a judge.”

“What of the girl’s parents?” Stanton asked. “Do they approve? Have you even met them?”

“They got into town today. Alyssa’s entertaining them, literally as we speak.”

“And?”

Damien closed his eyes briefly against the headache descending upon him. “The only question her father had was if I did seasonal work. When assured that I didn’t, he insisted he trusted Alyssa’s judgment. Her mom, according to Alyssa, is interested in whether we’re photogenic together, so she won’t be embarrassed to show the wedding pictures to anyone she can induce to view them.”

Rachel’s eyes lit up. “Let’s have a look at a photo of the two of you then.” She waved aside Damien’s hesitation. “You’re always playing with your smartphone, so you must have several. Pick one and show me.”
Dutifully, he produced one taken on a weekend they’d spent at Big Sur and held out the phone. Hand resting lightly on his wrist, Rachel examined it for what felt like a long time. Franklin, Bash, Carmen and Pindar took turns sidling in to look over her shoulder. Only Stanton stood aloof, endeavoring to appear uninterested.

“You look happy,” Franklin murmured grumpily. Raising his eyes to Damien’s, he added, “So does she.”

“You’re almost unrecognizable in casual clothes and two or three days’ growth of beard,” Bash allowed.

“I’ll say,” Carmen observed with what sounded like approval and Rachel seconded the motion. Damien wasn’t sure what to do with that, so he remained perfectly still and didn’t speak. After all, you can’t say the wrong thing, if you shut the hell up.

“Let’s be certain,” Rachel said, neatly plucking the phone from Damien’s hand.

“Hey!”

She ignored his protest and scanned some photos, shielding the phone from prying eyes with her body. Pronouncing, “We’re good on the photogenic front, although I’m not exactly sure Alyssa’s mother would approve of this one,” she tossed the phone back to Damien. He glanced down at the image of himself from the same vacation, lounging on a couch with only two shirt buttons fastened and his shorts riding low on his hips, as Rachel said, “If that’s not a put down the damn phone and sit back on my lap expression, I’ve never seen one.”

“The photogenic gene runs in our family, my dear,” Stanton said, tone blithe as he started in on his third drink. He sighed deeply and regarded Damien over the rim of his glass. “We’ve evidently dispensed with the bride’s parents’ potential objections.”

Carmen tapped Damian on the shoulder. “You didn’t drop the ball in getting a photographer, right?”

“My friend Jeff will be there.”

“Dude, your woman’s mom wants nice pictures; this is not the time to give amateurs a try.”

“His friend isn’t,” Carmen said, a smile tugging at her lips as she anticipated what would come next and elbowed Damien lightly on the arm to prompt the release of further information.

“He’ll have plenty of time to get to Pittsburgh by Monday night, so he’s on board.”

“He’s shooting Monday Night Football?” Damien’s nod sent both Franklin and Bash back a step, but Peter didn’t stop with the questions. “Stills or video?”

“Stills. He works for SI. Has for years.”

Carmen laughed when the boys leapt forward. “Does he do the swimsuit issue?”

“Sometimes.”

“We could so totally help him keep the models happy and in the mood to be photographed wearing very little.” Bash looked … giddy. “We’d do it for free!”

“You’re not fooling anyone, Peter.” Franklin gestured to Bash and back to himself. “We’d pay for the opportunity. Handsomely.”

Franklin and Bash at the Sports Illustrated swim suit issue shoot could never happen. It simply couldn’t. “They have experienced crews for that. It’s really amazing how hard everyone works.”

This inspiring silence thing was getting to be a habit. Franklin broke it. “You’ve been?”

“Three times.”

“I hate you, Damien Karp.”

“What he said times a billion.”

“What I said times a billion billion.”

“What he said times infinity.”

Before debate could ensure over whether infinity squared had any true meaning, Stanton interjected, “I suppose I’ll have to give my blessing to this union as well.” He tried for fierce with his frown but came across as constipated. “So long as you haven’t put my mother’s ring on this girl’s finger, of course.”

Damien took a sip of wine and made a show of admiring the color of his beverage. “Grandma Irene gave me that ring. What else am I supposed to do with it?”

“She spoiled you rotten.”

He didn’t argue. “She gave me a really big teddy bear when I had appendicitis, her ancient car when I turned 16 and her engagement ring.”

“Not a bad haul,” Bash said, “but not over the top either.”

“Do you have even an inkling of what that ring is worth?”

“Not to worry, Mr. Infeld, we had it appraised for purposes of the prenuptial agreement, which clearly stipulates that the engagement ring returns to Damien in the event of divorce.” Damien’s relief that everyone’s attention turned to Pindar upon his announcement was short lived.

“Jesus, Karp,” Franklin spat. “I can’t believe you made that nice girl sign a prenup.”

“I didn’t.”

Pindar stepped forward, a brave move for him. “Alyssa did me the honor of asking me to draft an agreement that even Franklin and Bash couldn’t get set aside. It was a joy to work on, despite Damien grumbling the entire time that it was unnecessary.”

Rachel looked increasingly smug and that made Damien uncomfortable. ”She wanted it to prove that she wasn’t marrying me for my money,” he muttered.

”The Pierces said it much more succinctly than your prose, Pindy,” Carmen interjected. Executing a complicated dance move, she murmured, “Lights On. Check it out sometime.”

”What’s in this document for Alyssa?” Franklin asked, once again wearing his judgmental hat.

“The only things she let me insert were provisions for providing for any children we might have until the age of 25 and for voiding the agreement if we’re still married in October of 2023.”

Franklin and Bash looked to Pindar for confirmation. “Yes, they are to celebrate their tenth anniversary by tearing up and ritually burning the document while naked at a place having significance to both of them as a couple.”

“What?” Damien snarled.

“People so often neglect to read the boilerplate. That’s what makes it so entertaining to draft.”
Stanton bowed low in Damien’s direction. “As the matter of the ring has been dealt with, I can only offer my congratulations and to stand up for you if need be.”

“Lance is going to be my best man.”

“Wow,” Franklin said, grinning huge. “Your best friend from college that you proved was gay in court by having him admit he broke your nose back in the day, not over the girl you thought you both were pursuing, but because he realized he couldn’t have your flaming heterosexual self is going to be your best man!”

“There were tears in the court room over that confession, as I understand it,” Bash added. “People get really sentimental over that unrequited stuff.”

“Thereby delivering the gay/lesbian vote.” Rachel King turned to Carmen. “Can I have one of those sheets about the wedding particulars? I have to start taking notes. This is good stuff.” She smirked at Damien. “Your campaign is going to be interesting; I’ll say that for you.”

“Interesting doesn’t win.” Stanton delivered this verdict like it came from on high.

While scribbling on the back of the paper Carmen provided, Rachel said, “Interesting used to be the kiss of death, but now it’s all the rage. People are tired of same old, same old, Stanton. They think the system is broken and want someone different to come in and fix it.”

“I think it bears repeating that I’m not getting married as a move in a political game of chess.”

“It’s not a bad thing if pledging yourself to the woman you love is a good move in that game too, right?”
Peter Bash speaking of love, not once but twice, shook Damien and he couldn’t help but think that the guy might have a tiny bit more depth than appeared on the surface. “I guess.”

“You do love her, right?”

Damien had never seen Bash look so vulnerable and wondered if he was thinking of his district attorney lady friend or some other woman that had gotten away. “I’ve not yet written a cheesy song in celebration of the fact, but yes.”

Reading from a list, Rachel said, “Tolerant of humble beginnings, appreciative of Alyssa’s work ethic, non-judgmental with regard to her career choices and sexual orientation of his closest friends, has chosen Alyssa on her merits by his standards, regardless of possible objections of his family, has met the requirements of her family for a suitable spouse for their daughter, offered her his grandmother’s marvelous engagement ring and grudgingly accepted Alyssa’s need to demonstrate that she’s marrying him for something other than his money. She nodded and tapped the pen to the paper. “Outstanding. Simply outstanding. This would be perfection itself if …” Rachel speared Damien with a hard look. “Ms. Phillips said she had to operate on a short time frame. Is Alyssa pregnant by any chance?”
Studying his Malbec, Damien tried to figure out how he’d been drawn into this ridiculous, yet oddly compelling conversation. A perfectly manicured index finger lifted his chin and he found himself staring at Rachel King’s raised eyebrows. “Is she?”

“Yes.”

“Awesome.” They shared a laugh at Rachel using one of his favorite words.

“May I ask why?”

“How far along is she?” Rachel, evidently, didn’t do well with the lesson that it’s impolite to answer a question with a question.

“16 weeks.”

She and Carmen shared a completely and utterly feminine look, which evidently prompted Carmen to ask, “Do you know what you’re having?”

Pride surged within him. “A boy.” Sensing what might be forthcoming, he decided on a preemptive strike. “We haven’t decided on a name yet.”

“When did she tell you?” Rachel asked.

The extremely personal nature of the question didn’t bother Damien because he had questions of his own that might well be answered here. “She was 4 or 5 weeks in,” he said. “The weird thing was that she apologized to me, as if it was her fault somehow.” No one spoke and Damien couldn’t seem to stop. “Hell, we’re both adults. I should’ve at least asked if she had contraception covered. I didn’t, making me just as culpable as her. And then it was as if she expected me to be angry with her for introducing this complication into my life. I don’t understand any of that.”

“What did you say in response?” Rachel asked.

“That I shared the blame, obviously and I pointed out that she had options with it being so early in her pregnancy.” Rachel’s nod compelled him onward. “She could terminate, we could see about some diamonds or I would sign an agreement to support her and the child, provided that I would participate in his upbringing. I don’t want to just sign checks; I want to be a real father.” Lost in the memory, he said, “She asked what I thought she should do. I couldn’t make that decision for her. It’s her body.”

Rachel seemed to sense he needed a short break. “There’s the pro-choice vote and mine for the pragmatic yet sensitive way you approached the situation.”

“Amen,” Carmen whispered.

“Then she rephrased the question—what would I do if I were her. Well, I can’t ever be her. All I could tell her was that I’d be sad if she terminated the pregnancy and I’d either get over it or I wouldn’t. I couldn’t promise either way.”

“So the two of you decided …”

“To live together for a few weeks and see how things went.” He chuckled. “I wasn’t sure about it. I’m older than the last time I tried that. More set in my ways.” Smiling tentatively at the women in the group surrounding him, he said, “I’d forgotten how nice it was to come home to someone.” Glancing significantly at Franklin and Bash and more fleetingly at Stanton, he specified, “Someone you can tell about the ridiculousness perpetrated by your coworkers that day. Someone who’ll laugh with you about it. That helps. It really does.”

Rachel placed her hands on Damien’s shoulders. “This Saturday will remove any remaining stigma from your viral video, but I have to ask. What if I’m wrong? What if marrying Alyssa prevents you from getting on the ballot for a judicial appointment? What then?”

“I continue as a lawyer and husband and dad.” He narrowed his eyes at her. “I’ll have a family very shortly; that has to be my priority.

“You’d marry her, even if the odds were against you ever becoming a judge?”

“Yes!”

Rachel King kissed Damien lightly on the mouth. “You’ve created a strong narrative and you’re ready for us to make the effort to get you onto the ballot.”

“After my honeymoon in Paris, I hope.”

“We’ll allow it,” Bash said, smiling in a manner that looked genuine.

“This one time,” Franklin added.

“I consider myself fortunate.” He did. Damien really did and it felt fantastic.


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Oh, this was just lovely! I think Damien would make a wonderful lawyer, husband and dad, and I really liked how he got drawn into talking and opened up to everyone in a way he doesn't get to do on the show all that often.

And you absolutlely nailed Rachel's voice - I could totally hear her in every line. She seems like a fun character to write too. Great to have some more Damien fic at last - thanks for sharing!

I really wanted Damien to have a good moment and Rachel is fun to write but it's hard to understand her on the show (because sometimes she's all business, others she seems all bitch)--so I opted for business.

Damien said he wanted kids in season 1, so that's part of where this came from. And I think the situation was strange enough that he'd keep talking. I found it fun that Carmen and Pindar helped in their own ways.

I think Damien is every bit the romantic Peter Bash is (without the song writing)--recall the orchids for Hanna, but he'd definitely be quieter about it.

Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

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