Anyone using the word ephemera in their blog for the next week will be subjected to my derision.
I told someone I would post this chapter for their consideration but it was some time ago, so it is probably useless at this time. Feel free to skip it since you are already in the counter*. It is the first chapter of Lawman, and I had to check if Select allowed it and they do. Frankly, I like the last chapter better. And I am tired of people saying my characters are promiscuous when they sleep with maybe two or three different people in their fictional life frames. And always for the best and most non-casual reasons.
by Virginia Llorca
Kindle Press Edition
“Called on the carpet. Monday morning. Ruin the whole week for me why don’cha? Probably getting the axe. Hope it’s budget and I didn’t goof up. Stop, Lily. No point in wild conjecture. Not wild. Gotta be the axe.” She tried to talk herself out of the worst case scenarios as she walked toward the States Attorney’s office.
“Shoulda found my own job. Stop it, Lily. Not the end of the world. You already survived that. Chin up. Paste on the smile. Hi, Kelly!” as she walked in.
“Hey, Lily! How are ya doing?”
“Do I look as scared as I feel?”
“Wait til you see the crowd waiting on you! Seriously, don’t worry. It’s all good, hon.”
“Just have to tough my way through it.”
“And we all know that’s your strong point. You’ll be fine, hon. Lily’s here, sir,” she said to the intercom.
Lily had never seen so many people in Don’s office. “Fire code violation,” she thought. “Terminate me, I’ll retaliate!”. . .trying to buoy herself up.
“Lily, darlin’! You brighten my day!”
“Whoa,” she thought, “aren’t we cooling the family stuff at work anymore?”
“Let me introduce you around, darling. Lily, this is Max Davidson. Midwest Regional Director for the FBI. Mr. Davidson, Mrs. Scofeldt.”
“How do you do, Mr. Davidson. I’m honored to meet you.” (“Crap. What did I do? Regional Director? Crap. . .”) Two more FBI associates. Someone from the governor’s office, the mayor’s office, and two ADA’s she already knew.
“I’m sure you’re wondering what this is all about, darling.”
(“Please stop calling me darling in front of the brass, Don!” she was screaming in her brain.)
“I can only imagine I’m being terminated. And I’m hoping it’s budget related and not because of some horrible error I am blissfully unaware of. But all the brass. . . I mean. . . . Well. . . ”
“No, honey. We have no intention of terminating your service. We’re very pleased with your performance. Especially liaising this difficult case. Actually, Celeste was saying the boys are both going to be full day at school now, and we were thinking of asking you if you could come in the other two days. Of course, we’ll still make sure you get home in time for the bus.”
“Oh, that would be so great, Don, er. . . I mean, Mr. Solomon. I was gonna ask about it. Yeah. Thanks. I would like that.”
“Ahem. . .” coughed Mr. Davidson.
“Yes. We’re getting sidetracked. Down to the business at hand, Lily. I’m afraid the subject we have to discuss may strike you as a bit more awkward than being terminated. You know how difficult it is to keep our personal lives out of the office, especially in this town. And you know how serious this case is. We just need to establish a few facts because we’re planning to hand down the indictment Wednesday a.m.”
“Yes, sir. And I’m really glad we’ve finally reached that point.”
“We all are. It’s been difficult. Hon, there has been a kind of persistent undercurrent of gossip lately, and normally, giving it credence would only exacerbate the issues. But because of what’s at stake. . .” he paused to let Mr. Davidson jump in.
“This is of a personal nature, and you are, of course, free to choose not to answer. We have to tell you though, that choice may affect our decisions. We feel we must ask you at this time, Mrs. Scofeldt, if you did have or if you are having a personal relationship with Special Agent Raia.”
Lily was rocked back on her heels, but, of course, only figuratively, although it was apparent to everyone that she began to blush furiously and took a slightly deeper breath than usual. Being taken completely unaware, and naturally tending toward being a bit outspoken, she blurted, unthinking, “Not yet!” The sound of several chuckles being muffled was all that was heard for a few seconds too long. “I mean, it seems. . . I mean, I’ve heard. . . I take this job very seriously, and I’m sure Special Agent Raia does also. And, well, no. I mean, I’ve never even had a personal conversation with him. Well, wait, once he called me into his office for a conversation about an error, but I understand those instances have to be documented.”
The director spoke up to Don, chuckling, “That would be the now famous ‘tiny, arrogant, expletive deleted, small-town prom queen with attitude’ document?”
“I do believe that is the incident she is referring to,” Don laughed. “And I believe since he insisted that be in her file, we will have to give her an opportunity to respond.”
“Perhaps in writing would be the best venue, although, if she insists, we could have a hearing,” the Director went on, with more than a hint of unprofessional sarcasm in his voice.
“I am confident enough in my standing on the issues he brought up that I don’t think it’s necessary for me to respond in any way. And, since this isn’t vaudeville, I think we can stop the ‘schtick’ at my expense for now.” Lily’s self assuredness quickly overcame the feeling that all this brass might be a little intimidating.
“Sorry, ADA Scofeldt,” said the Director, with an actual humble note in his tone. “Sometimes we can act a little unprofessionally as we wind down these difficult cases. We’re probably all just a little too comfortable with one another after so long.”
“Okay, hon. We can see clearly where you stand on this matter,” said Don. “And we do seriously appreciate your candor. We’ve already interviewed SA Raia, and we’re satisfied that we can go ahead with our plans. SA Raia’s plans. . . Well, probably not appropriate to comment on that in this venue.” He rose from his desk and stood at Lily’s side as she shook everyone’s hand and walked to the door. He put his arm around her shoulder so all would see she had his complete support, and he walked her past reception into the hall. He figured they already knew he was her godfather and uncle, anyway. And didn’t really care what they thought at this stage of his life. “Baby. I’m so sorry to have put you through this, but you handled it beautifully.”
“Foot in mouth.”
“Nothing they weren’t already too aware of, babe. And, honey, I don’t want to scare you, but this Tim, this Agent Raia? I sat in on the interview, and he’s as straight arrow as they come. But we had to ask him some very direct questions, and Lily, as far as you are concerned, this is a bull in a pen, pawing at the ground.”
“Don. Yikes. I mean, Celeste already gave me the big sister talk and I can’t help but be aware of the tension in the room when he’s around. But, yikes. I mean. I’m not disinterested, but you’re scaring me a little.”
“You’re ready for a little fun, babe. Ben’s been gone two years now. You know you’re ready to move on. Just don’t make any hasty decisions. Gotta get back. Love you, darlin’. You’ll be fine.” And he didn’t care who saw him give her that affectionate smooch. There were certain advantages in being the big gun in a small town.
“Well, the guy is a fox,” she was thinking. "Tim?" All she had ever heard was SA Raia. “Timmy? Cute. Well, I’d give him a second glance for sure. Guess I already have. But, heck, his job is over in this town on Wednesday. And that starts my two weeks off. Bobby starting first grade. Really a way bigger deal than Agent Raia’s potential. But, yeow. Everyone can feel what’s going on when he’s in the same room I am. Might be fun. Well, we’ll see. The ball is in his court. Anyway, who knows where he even lives. I’m not even gonna ask Celeste. Any information goes out as quick as it comes in with her. Last thing he needs to hear is me making inquiries.”
But Celeste was calling before Lily even got half way home. “I heard you were interrogated by the big brass.”
“Not exactly interrogated, Celeste. Everything is cool.”
“No. It’s not cool, babe. This is anything but cool. How many months did you work together? Four? Five? That’s a lot of foreplay.”
“Don’t be gross, Cece.”
“The weird thing is he’s actually asked a couple of people if you’ve said anything about him. I don’t know if that’s adolescent or stalkerish. Kinda creepy.”
“The last thing I read off this vibe is creepy.”
“What’s the first?”
“C’mon, Cece. Give me a break here. I’m practically a novice at this.”
“And he’s been divorced eight years! Fireworks, Lily! Even the Director made a remark about it. Something about fireproof sheets when the two of you get together. And he talks to Raia all the time. Wow, love to be the fly on that wall.”
“That would border on sexual harassment if I heard it, I think.”
“Well, it would have to be Agent Raia to bring charges and who knows who started that conversation. I just get the trickle down from Don. You know guys are utterly gross about that stuff. But Don did emphasize the fact that the word was when you get together, not if. ”
“Like I’m not going to have anything to say about it? Too bad they don’t have something a little more professional to discuss. Anyway he’ll probably be on a plane Wednesday night.”
“No, baby. Lots of people are laying money on this one.”
“Nice. Small town mentality. Nothing else to talk about.”
“You’re our star, honey. You’re everyone’s darling. But I kind of get the feeling your goose is cooked.”
“Speaking of cooking, gotta fix dinner, sweetie. Let it rest. Love you.”
The indictment went down without a hitch on Wednesday. Senior Special Agent Raia and the Director, along with State’s Attorney Solomon, handled the press conference. Lily was so far down on the totem pole she didn’t even have to hang around for that. Of course her absence was noted. “I wanted to give a special thank you to our newest ADA, Lily Scofeldt for the great job she did for us, but apparently she has already left.”
Someone spoke out, “We’re sure you’re going to be able to deliver that thank you personally, Tim.”
“I hope the mikes are off. You guys really need to get a life.”
“Right now it’s your life we’re talking about, Raia. And Lily’s. Don’t forget this entire town thinks she’s under its protection,” said Don, trying to sound a bit protective and fatherly, despite the huge smile on his face.
And Lily was driving home thinking Agent Raia might have at least made an effort to say good bye to her after all the hype. But mostly she was thinking about Friday being the first day of school for Bobby. Only a half day, but so exciting for him to go on the big kid’s bus. Still, she admitted she felt a little let down. And it turned out the whole weekend seemed kind of long. Maybe being away from work for two whole weeks with the kids gone all day wasn’t such a good idea. And weather unseasonably warm for this late in the summer was promised. Of course there were plenty of projects around the house that needed attention, especially the yard which was showing signs of neglect and needed an end of summer clean up.
End of chapter one.
*Speaking of counters--my blog site shows counters with three differing opinions. They must be opinions since they so widely vary. Well, maybe not widely. It just goes to show me I shouldn't be concerned with them, right?