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Judge Wellker frowned. "Miss Cabot, you're not asking us to uphold the search of Mr. Dickson's vehicle on the basis of People v. Gallup, are you?"
"Yes I am, Your Honor," the ADA replied. "If you analogize to the circumstances of that case--"
"Did Detective Benson perform a horizontal gaze nystagmus test?"
"Did she see an open container of beer thrown out of the car window?"
"Is she a certified instructor in field sobriety testing?"
The red warning light on her lectern began to blink. "Thank you, Miss Cabot," the judge said. "The court will take the matter under advisement."
So much for that conviction.
Gathering up her notebook, Alex glanced at her watch. 10:04? Shit! Inconsiderate bastards, starting this hearing so late. She had exactly 26 minutes to get her tail down to Supreme Court.
Fifteen minutes later, Alex hurried down the hallway, almost proud of herself. She'd managed to get from Madison Avenue down to Centre Street with time to spare for a quick call to Olivia (no luck; she was relegated to voice mail) and a much-needed latte. As she rounded the corner toward Petrovsky's courtroom, Alex leaned down for a sip -- and collided with another body.
"Shit!" she exclaimed, making a futile attempt to wipe the mess off her brand new silk blouse. "Sorry--" She looked up and into a familiar face. "--Your Honor."
Alex had seen several expressions cross Lena Petrovsky's face over the years, but this was a new one. Oh, hell.
"Miss Cabot." Petrovsky examined the large wet spot down the front of her own blouse. "You're due in my court in ten minutes, aren't you?"
"Yes, Your Honor."
"I'll see you there."
"But Your Honor, I'll need to--" Alex waved a hand toward her shirt.
"Ten minutes," Petrovsky said, heading for the side entrance to her chambers.
Shit! That was fine for Petrovsky; she probably had another suit stashed back there. Alex quickly dialed a number on her cell phone. "Liz, how fast can you get down here?"
Alex tossed her soggy blouse onto the counter and started to reach for the one that her boss was holding out. "Lavendar?"
"That's all I had."
"With this green?" Alex asked. "Are you nuts?"
With a sigh, Liz began unbuttoning her eggshell blouse. "You owe me, Cabot. Something indescribably horrible."
The two women were soon standing in the cramped women's room in bra and skirt. "Oh, damn," Alex said. "My bra's still damp."
"Don't even think about it," Liz warned. Her eyes shifted to Alex's chest. "Wouldn't fit you, anyway," she said with a smirk.
Alex snatched the stupid blouse and put it on.
"Stop by my office when you get back," Liz said. "We need another body at today's recruiting lunch with the clerks."
There went her plans with Olivia.
"Then you can get started on updating our internal policies and procedures manual. And after that--"
Alex stomped out of the restroom. Petrovsky couldn't be any worse than this.
"Don't blame me, Don!" Frustrated at losing her temper, Alex tried to calm down. "Petrovsky was in a bad mood for some reason."
She listened to his grumbling a while longer, then finally interrupted. "Look, have you guys come up with anything on the alley rape yet? . . . How about the thing at Hudson? . . . Have you ID'd the parking lot DB?" She closed her eyes at the string of negative responses. "Can we make any arrests this week?" Argh!
The door opened as she hung up, and DA Arthur Branch laid a spreadsheet on her desk. It was titled, ominously, "Closure Rates By Unit - New York County District Attorney's Office."
"What am I supposed to see here?" She peered down at the statistics. "SVU's closure rate has gone up every year for the past four years," she pointed out. Ever since I got here, she felt no need to add.
"It's still not optimal," Branch replied.
"Of course it's not optimal," Alex said. "Optimal would be one hundred percent, but you don't expect us to manage that, do you?"
"No, I'll settle for 40 percent."
"40 percent? That's impossible." Was he on drugs? "No unit even comes close to that."
"Good. That gives you something to shoot for. I expect significant improvement by November, Alexandra."
"Oh. By election day, you mean?" She glared at his back as he left her office.
As she inserted the key into her apartment door lock, Alex lost her grip on the two thick folders she was carrying and they crashed to the floor, paperwork flying everywhere.
Scooping up mounds of paper, she could see that the two files were now thoroughly mixed together. Great, she'd have to re-organize them before tomorrow's hearing at the butt crack of dawn.
"Screw it." She shoved the paperwork into one of the two accordion files. What more could happen to round off this utterly shitty day?
She stepped into the apartment and slammed the door behind her.
"Hey, Beautiful." Wearing an oversized baseball shirt and jeans, Olivia strolled in from the bedroom. "I used the key you gave me last week; hope you don't mind." She took the files from Alex's hands and set them on the coffee table. "I made you some of that fettucini alfredo that you like." She gave her lover a friendly kiss. "How was your day?"
Alex smiled happily at her. "It was wonderful."
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