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I Wish We Weren't Related
Author: Radhika Sanghani



   Day 1

   Reeva Mehta pushed open the double doors and walked out of the courtroom feeling like the heroine of the movie that was her life. She stood at the top of the stone steps in the glaring sun, beaming down at the world through her oversized sunglasses, allowing herself this one moment of pure, unadulterated success. Because she’d done it. She’d won. Her client wouldn’t have to walk out of her marriage to that abusive asshole with barely any funds to raise her three kids. Instead, she’d get everything she deserved.

   Reeva was still fuming that the shitty Mr. Khan had tried to funnel all his money away to his brother, pretending he was practically broke. She knew she should be used to it by now—she’d been working in divorce law for a solid decade—but every time, the injustice of it all floored her. Only this time, she’d stopped it. She’d found out exactly what Mr. Khan was doing and had successfully applied for the court to undo the transfer of assets, meaning her client would get her fair share of what was rightfully hers: £3.5 million. Justice had been served.

   When the judge had made his ruling, the former Mrs. Khan had hugged Reeva with tears in her eyes. And in that moment, Reeva had remembered exactly why she did this job. She could still feel the warmth of the hug as she strode down the street now toward the office in her new fuchsia heels. She knew she should swap into the trainers she carried everywhere, but this was Reeva’s moment. The shoes added to her heroine vibe. She needed a soundtrack too. Something bold. Celebratory. The kind of song they’d play in the finale of a feminist film. She pulled out her phone and went straight to the “Boss Bitch” playlist Lakshmi had made. She scrolled down, looking for something to match her mood, and laughed out loud when she found it: “All I Do Is Win.”

   Reeva walked back to her office listening to DJ Khaled on repeat. She doubted he knew the unique feeling of having saved a woman from financial ruin by using the power of the law, but she still felt very seen by his lyrics. Because right now, that was Reeva. Despite the best efforts of Mr. Khan’s lawyers, she’d won, won, won.

   “I’m so proud of you,” cried Lakshmi, bursting into Reeva’s office and wrapping her arms around her. “I can’t believe you did it! I mean, I can. Because it’s you. But you know what I mean.”

   Reeva squeezed her best friend tightly. “I know. And it felt amazing.”

   “We need to celebrate,” said Lakshmi. She opened the bottom drawer of Reeva’s desk and pulled out their chocolate stash. “Which are the most expensive ones?”

   Reeva pointed to the Rococo pack. “They’re from Felicity Howard-Jones.”

   “The double-barreled ones always give the best chocolates.” Lakshmi pulled out a couple and passed the pack to Reeva. “We need music.”

   “I’ve been listening to your playlist on repeat ever since I walked out of the courtroom,” said Reeva. “Well, just one song. ‘All I Do Is Win.’ Don’t judge.”

   “As if I would! I play that every time I have an orgasm.”

   Reeva laughed. “Of course you do.” She selected a white-chocolate truffle and sighed loudly as she slowly devoured it. “I’m just so relieved,” she said, her mouth still full as she reached for a dark chocolate praline, “that we managed to get Noor her money. I don’t know what she would have done if we hadn’t. And the poor kids. They didn’t deserve any of this. Their dad is so selfish.”

   Lakshmi smiled kindly. “Are you doing that thing again?”

   “What thing?”

   “The one where you overempathize with the kids whose lives are ruined by their parents.” She paused. “So, all the kids.”

   “I’m not overempathizing! I care about them a normal level.”

   “And you’re not projecting your childhood onto them? Selfish, wealthy parent? Neglected kids?”

   “Stop therapizing me,” protested Reeva. “I’m meant to be celebrating.”

   “Sorry, sorry. But it’s true. And it’s probably why you’re so good at your job. Unlike the rest of us, you seriously care, Reevs.”

   “I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not.” Reeva caught sight of a short figure striding toward them through the glass door and winced. “Oh god; don’t look now, but Lee’s coming.”

   Lakshmi grabbed the open box of chocolates and shoved them into a drawer. “What? He always takes the best ones.”

   “Girls.” Lee stood at the door with his arms spread out. “I knew you could do it, Reeva. Well done.”

   “Thanks, Lee.” Reeva smiled politely at her boss.

   Lakshmi rolled her eyes. “You mean ‘women,’ not ‘girls.’ ”

   “What are you going to do, sue me?” He ignored Lakshmi’s expression that suggested she was going to do exactly that. “What about you, anyway? How’s the duke?”

   “As entitled as ever,” said Lakshmi. “But don’t worry; I’m getting him everything he wants. The prenup I drafted protects his inherited assets. His ex’s claim will be confined to her reasonable needs. In other words—she’s not getting the estate.”

   “Good.” Lee nodded. “Keep up the good work and you’ll have a real chance at partnership.”

   “A real chance? We both know it’s mine. Who else wins as many cases as I do?”

   “Reeva,” said Lee, jerking his head toward her. “I don’t know why you’re not going up for partnership too. You could have fought it out between you.”

   She shrugged. “I just want to focus on the cases I care about. Being partner takes me further away from the stuff I love.”

   “All right, Pollyanna,” he said. “There’s champagne—well, prosecco—downstairs. May as well celebrate your win.”

   “Nice move,” said Lakshmi, nodding approvingly. “I hope you’ve ordered enough for when I get made partner.”

   Lee scoffed and muttered something to himself about “women” and “the death of me” as he walked out of the office.

   “That man,” said Lakshmi. “I swear, if he makes Maria partner over me, I’ll fucking kill him.”

   “As if he’d dare.”

   Lakshmi hesitated. “You know, I just, uh . . . I hope you’re not not going for the partnership because of me. I’d be fine with it. The competition, I mean. And if you were made partner over me, I’d be genuinely happy for you.” She paused. “Well, eventually.”

   Reeva smiled. “I know. But I promise, it’s not about you. I just don’t want it. I’d rather go sideways than straight up the career ladder, you know? Build up a rep on the cases I want, and then maybe go out on my own one day.”

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