The drive to the Airport Courthouse near LAX took half an hour once she got away from the insanity at Wilshire and Santa Monica. She had managed to save some of her earnings as an ADA in New York to put a generous down payment on a new silver Mazda CX-5 that she was in love with. She’d never owned a new car before, but Josh insisted that reliable transportation in LA was a no-brainer. Ironic coming from a man who hung on to his classic Mustang like it was his best friend.
She called Josh to let him know the victim wasn’t one of her girls. She knew he’d be concerned for her. She couldn’t stop thinking of the murdered girl, who had been in grade school when Rosemaria had worked vice in Hollywood. How had she ended up as a prostitute? Why had she been in possession of Rosemaria’s business card? Conflicting thoughts assailed her brain. She knew why she wanted to be a prosecutor—to put bad guys in jail. She had become a cop partially because her father had been one, and he had been the stabilizing force in their little family. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Then, after she became a detective, she grew to love her work—every crime scene was the beginning of a mystery, and it was up to her and her fellow detectives to unravel it and arrest the perpetrator. That was supremely satisfying. In New York, as an ADA in Manhattan, she had found her new job to be fulfilling as the guilty verdicts were handed down. But even though every case was a challenge, it was never as exciting as unraveling a mystery. Until this moment, she had been sure she had made the right decision in leaving the force. Now unwelcome doubts were creeping in.
She parked in the courthouse parking lot, made her way to the elevator, and rode up to the sixth floor. There were some smiles as she walked to her office, but most people were engrossed in their work. Her assistant, Karen Weiss, whom she shared with Terrence O’Malley, another prosecutor, had a desk outside Rosemaria’s office and was already hard at work. Karen was an attractive African American lady in her thirties. They had met for the first time a few days ago, when Neelen Summers had given her a tour of the prosecutors’ offices and had introduced her to her fellow deputy prosecutors. Karen looked up from her computer as Rosemaria stopped at her desk.
“Hey, Karen. Sorry I’m late.”
Karen smiled. “It’s fine. No one’s keeping track here. The file for your first case is in your in-basket and in your computer. You have your password?”
“Does Summers still want to meet with me? Show me the ropes and all that?”
“He’s in court. He’ll catch up to you later.”
“Thank you.” Rosemaria walked into her office and sat down in front of her almost empty desk. She looked out at Karen, who had resumed typing on her computer. Rosemaria had known she would like Karen as soon as she met her at her orientation. She wore her hair in a short Afro, and her coffee-colored complexion was as smooth and clear as a baby’s. Horn-rimmed glasses were perched on the end of her nose. Today, she wore a colorful blouse over pleated tan trousers and comfortable Skechers on her feet.
Underneath Karen’s officious exterior, Rosemaria sensed a bubbling sense of humor. She liked that. A sense of humor was essential in easing over the speed bumps of life and getting to the other side with your equilibrium intact. Yes, she and Karen would get along fine.
A folder was in her in-basket—an armed robbery at a liquor store. The suspect wouldn’t plead out. She breathed in deeply and exhaled. This was it. She was ready to kick some butt.
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