DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Trial By Jury and all characters are
property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to my fantastic beta, Debbie.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Bump in the Road
"Tracey, John Miles just stopped me in the hallway and said he'd be by in an hour to pick up our case notes for the Epstein trial. What's going on?"
Tracey looked up from her briefcase to find Kelly striding towards her, a mixed expression of confusion and anger set on her face. Kelly despised ADA Johnson's assistant with every fiber of her being. The arrogant Miles repeatedly flirted with her and just wouldn't take no for an answer whenever she'd politely refuse his requests to go out.
"Something's come up, and I have to take tomorrow and Monday off. I needed to hand the case over to Johnson. Opening statements are Monday morning, so I asked Arthur to reassign it."
Kelly frowned. Tracey never just handed over a case; something was very wrong. She closed the distance between them and softened her tone.
"What's really going on, Tracey?"
Tracey didn't look up, continuing to stuff files into her briefcase. "I have to go into the hospital tomorrow morning for a biopsy."
"What?" Kelly had to force herself not to reach out to take the older woman's hand; she couldn't risk having someone walk in and see her touching Tracey.
"It's an outpatient procedure. I'll only be there for a few hours, but I have to take tomorrow and Monday off. Doctor's orders." Tracey leaned over her desk to grab another file, but instead, hit the corner of the folder, causing it to slip off the edge.
Kelly reflexively bent down to retrieve the fallen papers, welcoming the distraction to gather her thoughts. She couldn't believe Tracey hadn't said anything to her until now. Collecting the papers, she stood and held out the file to Tracey, gripping the folder tightly to force the other woman to look her in the eye. As expected, Tracey wasn't pleased with her partner's refusal to relinquish her possession.
"You can let go now, Kelly. I promise not to drop it again."
Kelly held firm. "Tracey, you told me the doctor said the lump was a cyst."
Tracey schooled her expression and narrowed her eyes. "He did. I had an appointment two weeks ago, and he tried to aspirate it. Nothing came out, so a cyst was ruled out; he's decided to biopsy it."
Kelly felt like she'd just been sucker-punched. Tracy had lied to her about the doctor's visit. She'd said that everything was fine, but even that wasn't the worst part.
"When were you going to tell me about the surgery?" Kelly released the folder and stepped back.
Tracey broke eye contact. "I'm telling you now."
"I see." Kelly's voice broke, and she swallowed hard.
"Kelly . . ." Tracey began, but she was interrupted by a booming voice from the doorway.
"Okay, everyone can breathe easier; the A-Team's here. Where're the Epstein files?" John Miles strutted into the center of the room. At six feet four, his blonde hair and blue eyes stood out against his tanned skin. Kelly often wondered how he found time to go to a tanning spa.
Tracey's head had snapped up at the rude interruption. She clinched her jaws as she watched the assistant ADA move into Kelly's personal space.
"Actually, John, you're the B-Team. Isn't that what you jocks refer to as the group that comes in after the starters have already procured the lead? With the evidence Kelly and I have amassed, all you have to do is show up."
John placed his arm around Kelly and pulled her into his side, his laughter filling the room. "Oh, we'd win without your help, Tracey, but it'll be so much more satisfying knowing we'll get the credit after all your hard work." His hand slid to Kelly's hip, and Kelly flinched. Tracey, on the other hand, saw red, or perhaps, the shade was more of a greenish tint.
"Take your hands off my assistant or you'll find yourself walking into that courtroom with only your dick in your hands. I'm sure the jury will be as impressed by your substantial 'lack' of evidence as your girlfriends." Tracey reached for a pair of scissors and gripped them tightly.
John focused on the sharp object and immediately released Kelly, quickly stepping several feet away from the desk. The not so subtle move of his hand towards his genitals didn't go unnoticed by Tracey. She smirked.
"Kelly, would you kindly point John towards the files so that he can start working on the Epstein case?"
Kelly smiled and walked over to her desk. "They're all here. I think you can probably get them in one trip."
John nodded and hurried to the desk, grabbing up the files and leaving the room without another word. Tracey chuckled and put the scissors back on the desk.
"Oh, that was fun." Grinning widely, Tracey looked over at her lover, quickly sobering when she caught Kelly's expression.
She was boring holes into Tracey, her focus back on the biopsy.
Tracey glanced at the clock and blew out a nervous breath. 2 a.m., only a few more hours until it was time to get ready to leave for the hospital. She gazed down at the blonde head, lying upon her breast, the breast which would determine her fate. Tracey swallowed the lump in her throat before it could form, but she was unsuccessful in stopping the tears from welling up in her eyes.
Her paternal grandmother had succumbed to breast cancer, and Tracey was scared to death. She remembered vividly the treatments her grandmother had suffered through, the hair and weight loss, one hope after another being shattered time and time again, and finally, the pain that had accompanied the end. The thought that she was destined to share the same end was too much for her to bear. A sob escaped.
Kelly awoke instantly to the sound and lifted her head. The light filtering in through the window cast a shadow on her lover's face, but the tears shone through the darkness.
"Hey. It's okay." Kelly gently brushed away the tears.
Tracey shook her head back and forth. "No, it's not. I'm going to die just like my grandmother."
Straddling her lover's hips, Kelly looked down into frightened eyes, cupping her lover's face in her hand. "No, you're not. You can't think like that, Tracey."
"I can't help it! All I can see is my grandmother, and everything she went through to try to beat the cancer. I can't do that, Tracey. I just can't!"
"Tracey, you said the doctor believed the tumor was benign. Is there something else you're hiding from me?"
"No, but what if he's wrong, Kelly? What if it is cancer?"
Kelly leaned down and kissed her lover's lips in reassurance. "We have to believe that he's right, but if he's wrong, and that's a really big if, then we'll deal with this together. Medicine is much more advanced now, and you found the lump early."
"You mean you found the lump early."
"Yes, I did." Kelly smiled gently. "Now, no more negative talk; you need to get some sleep."
Tracey nodded her head and sighed as Kelly lay back down beside her and pulled her protectively into her arms. Silence ensued until Tracey voiced another fear.
"What if it does turn out badly and my breast has to be removed? Will you still want me?"
Without hesitation, Kelly moved her hand to Tracey's breast. "I'll always want you, Tracey." Tracey began to tremble.
Needing to prove her words, Kelly kissed the nearby shoulder and rolled her lover onto her back. Slowly and gently, she worked her way to Tracey's jaw and then to the lips she'd tasted only briefly earlier. When she was sure she had Tracey's attention, she pulled away.
"I love you, Tracey. Nothing is going to change that . . . nothing."
Kelly reached for the bedside lamp and flicked the switch; the soft glow casting a gentle light across the bed. Locking eyes with her lover, Kelly slowly lowered her mouth to Tracey's breast.
Tracey struggled to pull free from her drug induced sleep. A slight pain drew her attention to her breast, and she moved to lift the sheet. A gentle touch to her shoulder stopped her.
Tracey turned her head to the side. Kelly stood over her with a bright smile.
"Was it . . ." Tracey broke off her question, not able to say the word aloud.
Kelly shook her head. "No; it was benign. The doctor said that you'll be good as new in about a week."
Closing her eyes, Tracey let out a relieved sigh. Kelly sat back in the bedside chair and took her lover's hand, allowing her time to take in the news. A few moments later, Tracey opened her eyes.
"Call Johnson and tell him I want the Epstein case back. We can work from home this weekend and be ready for opening statements on Monday."
A ghost of a smile began to form, but Kelly managed to stop it from growing. "Tracey, the doctor said, 'no work until Tuesday, and then only light paperwork.'"
"What does he know?"
Kelly raised an eyebrow and tilted her head. Tracey wisely decided not to argue.
"Okay, fine, but first thing Tuesday morning, it's business as usual."
"I wouldn't have it any other way." Kelly agreed, pleased that Tracey was going to heed the doctor's orders; at least, until Tracey asked her next question.
"So, go find him and get me out of here. I want to look over the Anderson files. The trial date is getting closer, and we've got a lot of ground to cover. Oh, and I need you to call Chris and ask if he's found Sylvia Osteen. Oh, and ..."
Kelly finally allowed the grin to surface.
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