J enna listens to the click-click of her heels on the marble floor. At 6 a.m., there are no people in the office to swallow their echo, and the staccato sound sends a rush of determination coursing through her. Who needs coffee?

Jenna prides herself on being first in the office. Sure, she could bring her work home with her — and, at the height of a case, usually does — but it makes a difference, she knows, when Mr. Wilhelm, the senior partner, walks in at six thirty and sees her already hard at work.

The points she’s scored with Mr. Wilhelm have not been wasted. Everyone knows that Jenna Abrams is on the fast track for partner. And now, after putting in her hours, she’s on the cusp of attaining this dream. The yearly review is coming up, and she’s been holding her breath for weeks.

Jenna turns on her computer, pulling up the files of her current case. Divorced after two years of marriage. No children, but heiress to a large fortune, and had been too besotted at the time of her marriage to take the necessary steps to secure the money. So now

Ms. Heiress has turned to Jenna.

She sighs. As a divorce attorney, this is her bread and butter.

Divorce is so grimy. Every now and then she asks herself why she didn’t go into a specialty that was nice and clean, like tax or real estate. But she knows the reason, and it’s simply that she’s good at it — good at handling the complicated emotions, looking empathetic while staying removed and focused.

And Jenna Abrams only does things that she’s good at.

Her phone pings. She glances down at the text. Bye, hon. Have a good day ?. Ari is heading for minyan, and then on to his practice.

The door opens as Paul Wilhelm’s rap announces his presence. “Good morning, Jenna. At least two of us work around here!”

Jenna looks up and quickly pastes on her own smiley face.

Wilhelm moves farther into the office. “How’s the Berkely case coming along?”

He pauses just long enough for her “Fine.” It’s clear he’s here for something else.

“Listen.” He folds his arms. “I have a new case I want you to take on. Thirty-five-year-old woman. One child. She needs out of the marriage, and she needs not just her assets, but sole custody of the child. Her husband’s a loser.”

Jenna raises her eyebrows.

“She wants only the best,” Wilhelm continues. “And that’s what I promised her.” He unfolds his arms, gives a grim smile. “She’s my old college buddy’s daughter. He’s the type of friend I’d do anything for.”

Jenna nods impassively, but inside, something squirms. Her unease has not dissipated by four thirty that afternoon when Eva Brooks, daughter of Wilhelm’s best college buddy, comes sashaying into her office.

“Glad you’re taking on my case,” the woman says, sticking out a bejeweled hand. “Paul speaks so highly of you.”


Jenna smiles graciously. “Nice to hear. Please sit down.” She waves to the leather armchair opposite her desk. “Why don’t you tell me your story?”

Her fingers hover over her keyboard, poised to take notes.

“Well, Jenna, the beginning, middle, and end of the story is that I married an idiot and am now living to regret it.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 568)