It was Friday and the last day of the trial. Rose had taken the stand the previous Monday and actually did a decent job. The defense attempted to break her, but she never wavered from her position. They did bring up her alibi, that she attempted to hide from everyone, but I had already made it clear it was an embarrassment to her, and if she was going to make up an alibi, she’d have chosen a much more appropriate one. Of course, neither Brooks’ legal team nor the jury was aware of the blackmail scheme she had used on her husband, Daniel Floyd, when they first got married. A good defense lawyer could have possibly turned that into reasonable doubt with a little luck. But then, the jury didn’t know about the evidence found in Brooks’ dorm room, tying him directly to the killing after the fact, and as Mike would say, they cancel each other out.
My thoughts were on Mike when the judge came in and trial closings began. As per usual, the defense got to go first. I listened to Mr. Marcom as he spoke to the jury, but only half-heartedly, I hadn’t received a text from Mike yet. He hadn’t sent me one every day, but I had expected to receive one on the last day; he knew I was giving my closing.
Of course, things were strained between us. I had hoped we were going to go back to normal, but Mike was keeping things very professional. We’d seen each other around the office and would speak briefly when the opportunity arose. The day before, I finally invited him out for coffee and he agreed to go, the acceptance making me more excited than I thought possible. But during the visit, he was rather quiet, keeping our conversation revolving around work. If I brought up anything personal, he would listen briefly until he would find a way to steer it back to his cases or my own. The outing made me realize how much I unwittingly share of myself with Mike.
Finally, Mr. Marcom was done and it was my turn to stand up. I was really nervous, I had never given a closing before, and no matter how much I prepared, I didn’t truly feel ready. “In this trial, it’s been my job to illustrate that Max Brooks, is not only a stalker, but a dangerous one…”
As my closing progressed, I got more confident, thoughts of Mike pushed away for the moment. Looking into each juror’s eyes, I could tell they were responding to my words. As I walked back and forth slowly, their eyes followed me. I reminded them of previous testimony from the medical examiner and the cops. Though Daniel and Rosalie were estranged, their testimony helped strengthen their own alibis and point the finger back at Brooks.
After I was done, I went to take my chair, my eyes scanning across the rest of the courtroom. There in the back, leaning on a wall, was Mike. He had a smile on his face and I smiled with him. I thought he had court today but somehow he managed to come to my closing and I felt flattered. I sat down then, though I realized a blush was blooming on my cheeks.
The judge gave the jury their instructions on deliberating and court was recessed to await their verdict. I practically ran out of the courtroom to find Mike, but he was already gone. Feeling foolish, I went back to gather my things. Jeremy was giving me a strange look.
“You got a text,” he said.
Picking up my phone, it was from Mike. Apparently he had to rush to see a judge about something, but was glad he made it. He also said I did a good job. I smiled, but was still disappointed I didn’t get to speak to him personally.
“So now we wait.” Jeremy said. It wasn’t a question.
I nodded, “Right. Now we wait.”
We didn’t have to wait long. It was only a couple of hours before we were called back. Jeremy was elated, a fast deliberation usually was good news for the prosecution but I told him to be more reserved. I had learned too often juries were unpredictable and I wasn’t about to presume anything, especially on my first official case.
When the judge asked the verdict, I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath until the foreman read it. He was judged guilty of murder two. I tried to accept the success as nonchalantly as possible, but eventually a smile broke through. The judge ordered the sentence announcement to be issued on Monday. Brooks was going to have to wait out the weekend to find out how many years he was going to get.
“Good job,” I heard a voice behind me. I turned around and saw Mike, looking proud. Again, I felt myself blush unexpectedly.
“Thank you, though I think a lot of credit…” I had only started when suddenly Rose Floyd popped up out of nowhere. Where had she come from?
“Miss Ruberto, good job.”
Jeremy, who I had forgotten about, immediately corrected her, “Rubirosa, Mrs. Floyd.”
Rose didn’t bother to look at him, or me, her eyes were all for Mike. “Whatever, Mike, can we please go?”
My head tilted at that, did Mike plan to go somewhere with her? My expression must have told Mike how I felt about that, as at least his he had the dignity to look chagrined. “Yeah, um, Connie. I just wanted to tell you did a great job. Jack is going be thrilled.”
I didn’t give a wit about Jack. I wanted to know what was going on between Mike and Rose. Surely, he wasn’t going back on what he said earlier; that he would never get back with her? “What’s going on, Mike?”
“Nothing, don’t worry about it. I’ll see you on Monday.”
My eyes narrowed at Mike, his expression giving nothing away. He turned and left with her, leaving me dumbfounded. My mind dwelling on all the logical reasons why he would be meeting with her, but was unable to settle on anything.
“Well, it’s not like I care…”
“What? Care about what?” I hadn’t realized I had spoken out loud until Jeremy asked me.
“Never mind, let’s get back to the office.”
As per custom, Jack was expecting us when we walked in to tell him the good news. Jeremy did most of the talking, as my mind was too focused on other things, or people, to share in on the happiness of the victory.
“Well, Connie,” Jack said smiling, “You did a good job. Congratulations.”
Never liking to take credit for everything, I corrected my boss. “We did a great job. I couldn’t have done it without Jeremy here.”
“Awww, thanks ma’am,” Jeremy joked happily.
“Right, you both did a great job. Jeremy if you ever want to transfer to this division, I’ll be glad to look into something permanent for you.”
“I appreciate that, Jack, but honestly, I think I’d like to stick to where I came from. Working with Connie has been great, but I really miss my old department, and my old hours.”
I had to chuckle at that. He and Jack did a little bit more small talk, and then Jeremy was out the door, leaving me and Jack alone.
“Would you like a drink?” he offered. “It’s the end of the day.”
I was about to say no, but then my thoughts went back to Mike and Rose again, and the need to distract myself took over. “Yes please.”
After receiving the glass, I drank a gulp or two. Sitting down on Jack’s couch, I could tell Jack had something else to say. “What is it, Jack?”
He smiled. “Well, Mike has been saying for a long time you deserved to be promoted. I hated breaking up you two though; you make such a good team. Anyway, Mike came in here earlier today. Said your closing was very well done and I’d be crazy to let you go back to second chair with him.”
I froze. How long had Mike been recommending me for a promotion?
Jack went on, “So, let me go ahead and offer it to you. Of course, you won’t be getting large scale cases for the first year. You need a bit more experience for that. Jeremy made it clear he wants to go back to his division but we could probably find a good assistant for you, though Mike needs one too.”
“I’m sorry; you’re offering me the opportunity to be an executive?” Executive Assistant District Attorney Consuela Rubirosa had a nice ring to it.
“Yes, though acting like you aren’t following a conversation isn’t the best way to impress your boss,” Jack said, his eyes twinkling. “A good lawyer could argue your mind has been dumbed down with alcohol. That’s why we try to refrain from having it around right before court or plea negotiations.”
I set the glass down at that, afraid I’d spill it. “Jack, I don’t know what to say…”
I wanted to. I had dreamed of this day for a long time. But when I opened my mouth to accept, I knew I couldn’t do it. “Part of me would love to, Jack. I really would. But this case was a lot harder than I thought, at times I was struggling. ”
“We all struggle, Connie,” Jack said gently. “Sometimes even on the simplest of cases.”
“I know, but I’d be doing you a disservice if I allowed myself to be moved up too early, just like ball players moving up from the minors to the majors before they are ready.”
He laughed at that, “You’ve been spending too much time with Mike.”
I blushed again, and there was no way to hide it, but Jack gave no indication that he noticed. Extending his hand, “Well, Connie, don’t feel bad about it. As I said before, I think you and Mike are a great team, and I hated to split you two up.”
I smiled awkwardly, not sure how to respond.
We sat in silence for a moment, and then Jack stood up, walking to his desk. “I will, however, suggest to Mister Cutter that he let you take more first chair positions on cases, you do deserve to move up someday Connie, and I expect it to be fairly soon.”
Standing up with him, I smiled, “Deal.”
I handed back my glass to him, I remembered something said earlier. “Jack, did you say Mike was in here earlier after my closing?”
“Yes,” Jack nodded. “Yes, this time he was very forceful, feeling like if you were placed back under him, it would be an insult to you.”
Or that he just didn’t want to work with me again. “I see.”
Jack was about to put his reading glasses on but paused, looking at me thoughtfully. “You know, I told him I would offer you the position, so he probably thinks you accepted. You might want to touch base with him sometime this weekend to let him know he still has an assistant.”
“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.” I said, feeling a strange tingle at Jack’s suggestion. I started towards the door to leave when Jack stopped me.
“Connie,” he said, “it’s better to do it sooner than later.”
My brain flashed to an image of Rose and Mike leaving together earlier. I still didn’t understand where they were going or why they would be together. “Right, no time like the present.”