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All in a Day's Work
By Rysler


When Work is All There Is:

Hector was really the one to blame. Kelly had been at O'Grady's with him, having drinks during something between an after-work cooling-off session and an actual date, and he'd brought up their boss.

"She's hot, don't you think?" He'd asked, cheerfully drunk, his breath sweet with beer and his hands nowhere near her.

"Tracey? She's--"

"She's what, five years older than you? Come on. She's in great shape."

Kelly's face burned. She shook her head, trying to erase the curves of Tracey's hips from her mind, and asked, "Do you think she goes to the gym?"

"Oh, hell no," Hector said. "She gets other forms of exercise."

"You've had too much to drink."

"It helps the leg," Hector said.

She felt sorry for him for being younger than both of them and limping to his practically-rent-a-cop job every morning. "Let me buy you another," she said.

"Make it coffee. You're always right, Gaffney."

She looked into the bottom of her wine glass and sighed.

Chris looked over the newspaper as Kelly came into the office. "What's an eight letter word for muerte? I got an M and an O." He said.


Chris wrote it in with his pencil.

Tracey was perched on the edge of his desk. She couldn't have been helping him, he'd be done by now. She must be taunting him. "Is Tracey helping?" Kelly asked.

"Nah, she wants me to drive out to Long Island and talk to some people. It'll take all day."

"I wanted that ten minutes ago," said Tracey.

Chris shook his head. He said, "They aren't even being called as witnesses."

"They know the witnesses. Come on. You get an expense account for lunch and you can listen to Ricky Martin CDs in the car. What's not to love?" Tracey asked.

"I'm going, I'm going," Chris said. He folded the paper.

Kelly, her head still foggy from the wine the night before, was looking at Tracey's legs. They were sheathed in denim, so tight the curve of Tracey's calf was visible, and the cuff hugged the boot underneath like a tourniquet.

Like a tourniquet? Kelly needed to stop socializing with Hector and get a life. She asked, "If you're going to Long Island, can you drop off a subpoena for me?"

"What do I look like, a messenger boy?"

Kelly tilted her head and regarded him.

"Fine." Chris snatched the envelope from her hand. He set the paper on the desk.

Tracey stood up. She leaned over the desk. "He left a few blank. Idiot. What's Susan of L.A. Law?'"

"Ass," Kelly said, because it was right in front of her, and even a contempt cite or losing her job wouldn't stop her from staring.


"I mean--Dey. D-E-Y."

"Thanks." Tracey scribbled in the word, and then frowned over her shoulder. "I'm not being an ass if he's not here to hear me, Kelly."

"Sorry," Kelly said.

Tracey shrugged, chucked the paper into the wastebasket under Chris's desk, and walked toward her office.

Kelly swallowed hard.

Kelly had taken a cold shower every morning that week. She'd refused to go out again with Hector, or stay in with him watching old black and white movies, but she'd accepted a date from Mark the defense attorney, solely because Tracey hated him, and found out too late that Tracey hated him because he'd never heard of breath mints and he loved extra garlic on his pizza.

She'd asked out the girl who made her coffee every morning at Starbucks, and found she really didn't like grunge music or hearing about history classes at Columbia or how screwed up the world was. Her work was more than enough trouble. She didn't need to go to Darfur or look at pictures of aborted fetuses to know reality. The girl hadn't even been a good kisser. The tongue pin clanged against Kelly's teeth, and when she stroked the girl's breast and felt more metal under her fingers, she'd called it a night.

Her phone rang. Her college was probably calling, demanding back its humanities degree. But no, it was her father, asking her what she wanted for her 35th birthday. A trip to Hawaii? A real job?

Hector had been amiable when she'd showed up at his place at 11 o'clock Thursday night. They'd watched old movies subtitled in Espanol and drank Dos Equis and he didn't try to touch her once. She felt old, but his cat curled up in her lap and she didn't have much basis for complaint. Only the alcohol thickening her tongue kept her from asking, "What are we, friends?"

She was afraid he'd respond with, "What are you, a raging dyke?"

Her work had been enough for too long.

Friday morning found her in the second chair at the courtroom at 9:03, thinking about her craptastic week and wondering where Tracey was. There was no way Kelly had the balls to give the opening statement they'd prepared. If the jury didn't know enough to laugh at her, the judge surely would.

At 9:04 Tracey scurried in, balancing two cups of coffee on her briefcase. She wore a severe black suit, cut just a centimeter too high for propriety, and sheer black stockings that nearly made Kelly pass out. Tracey looked both petite and deadly. Kelly didn't know how Tracey would win sympathy with the jury like that, but she glanced at the opening statement notes and remembered that the man on trial had shot a six year old girl over a drug deal with her father gone bad. Tracey was the will of the people, v. Hernon, and she would do their executioner bidding.

"Nice suit," Kelly said.

"Thanks. Sorry I'm late," Tracey said, putting down the coffee. "Clara says you haven't been by in the last couple of days. She wants me to say hi."

Kelly raised an eyebrow.

"Hi," Tracey said.

Kelly smirked.

Tracey sat down and opened her briefcase. She pulled out the photocopied opening statement, with red pen marks all over like she'd stabbed it, and exhaled.

Kelly took a sip of her coffee. One sugar, no milk. Just this side of bitter. Tracey knew how she liked her coffee now. The thought was... arousing. She took another sip, and glanced at Tracey out of the corner of her eye.

"The Starbucks girl? Really?"

Kelly swallowed coffee and said, "It's been a long week."

"Was she worth it?"

"It's been a really long week."

Tracey snapped her briefcase shut. She said, "Feel free to work out some of that tension on Mr. Hernon."

"That would be unprofessional," Kelly muttered.

Tracey winked at her.

When prosecution's opening statement started, Tracey's ass moved across the courtroom, from the defense table to the jury box and back again, swaying in the skirt that hid nothing, in front of Kelly, and it seemed, always presented to her. Of course, what did Tracey need to look at second chair for? Kelly slouched.

Tracey sat down. Kelly watched at the line of her legs as Tracey crossed one knee over the other. Tracey tapped the blank legal pad and hissed, "Take notes, Kelly."

Kelly took notes. She tried not to let herself get distracted by the woman next to her, by the idea that her beauty and grace were somehow classical, and more than a tired assistant district attorney working her way through yet another drug case. Ordinary. Normal. Nothing to lose a job over, or her sense of purpose.

She'd felt this way before, the warmth in her stomach, the tingling in her palms. With her law professor, with the boy who stole her lunch in seventh grade, with her last boss, the one that made her leave the practice a year before she'd make junior partner. Not once had it been worth it. She tried to remind herself that it hadn't ever been worth it as she studied Tracey's profile.

As Hector had reminded her a week ago when he'd opened this Pandora's box, Tracey was just as much of a lecher as the rest of them. Kelly couldn't feel safe, just looking. Maybe not even now. Tracey brushed her knuckles and Kelly nearly dropped the pen.

"You spelled 'intent' wrong," Tracey whispered.

Kelly studied the paper in front of her. 'Indent.' "Intend this," she wrote, in her most elegant prose, and Tracey snorted.

"You--You did that on purpose, didn't you?" Kelly asked, as they left the court room.

"Did what?"

"You know what. It's not nice to torment your co-workers. That's why your office has such high turnover."

Tracey held aloft a file folder and said, "The case, Kelly. All that matters is the case." She walked away from Kelly, toward the elevators.

Kelly folded her arms. "Bitch."

Tracey pushed the elevator button. Kelly sighed and hurried to catch up with her, just as the elevator door opened. Tracey cupped Kelly's elbow and said, in a low voice, "You'll break my heart if you leave."

"That's almost tempting."

"I promise, if we win, we'll celebrate," Tracey said. Her shoulder pressed against Kelly. The elevator doors closed.

"Thank God it's a slam dunk case."

The End

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