Disorderly Conduct - Rebecca Zanetti

Chapter 1

My latte tasted like it was missing the flavor. It might be because I had less than a week until I received an anniversary card from a sociopath, and the waiting was painful. Sighing, I took another sip. Well, the brew wasn’t so bad, and the prosecuting attorney’s office was fairly quiet this morning, so I could get caught up on paperwork.

The outside doors burst open, slamming loudly against the traditional oak paneling. What in the world? I jumped up and ran around my desk, skidding to a stop at my doorway to see a cluster of men stalk inside. Weapons were strapped to their thighs. Big ones.

It felt like a blitz attack.

The receptionist in the waiting area yelled, and a paralegal walking while reading a stack of papers stopped cold in spiked pumps, dropping the papers. Her name was Juliet, and I’d just met her last month but didn’t know much about her except she liked to use colored paperclips when handing over case files.

She sidled closer to me; her eyes wide. Even though I wore thick wedges, she towered over me by about a head.

Six agents strode inside, all big and broad, all wearing blue jackets with yellow DEA letters across their backs. There should be a woman or three among them. Why just men? More importantly, why was the DEA invading the prosecuting attorney’s offices?

The shortest agent slapped a piece of paper on the reception desk, and the other five stomped around her, prowling down the long hallways and past my office which was the nearest to the reception area. Being the most junior of all the deputy prosecutors, I was lucky to have an office, if it could be called such. I waited until the grim looking agents had passed before walking across the scattered papers to read what predictably turned out to be a warrant.

An arrest warrant.

I tried to digest that reality when the tallest agent, a guy with light blond hair and light-refracting glasses that concealed the color of his eyes, escorted Scot Peterson, the prosecuting attorney, out of the office in handcuffs. My boss was around sixty-something years old with thick salt and pepper hair, bright blue eyes, and a sharp intelligence that had won him cases at the Idaho Supreme Court on more occasions that I could count.

He didn’t look right cuffed. I finally burst out of the fuzz of shock, and heat slammed through me. What was happening? Scot was a decent guy. He helped people and even taught for free at the local community college. The agent led him out the door, and then he was gone without having said a word.

The office went deadly silent for about ten seconds. Then pandemonium exploded. The remaining DEA agents started gathering manila files, case files, and random pieces of paper.

I cleared my throat and read the warrant again. It was for Scot’s arrest and any documents pertaining to…the distribution of narcotics? “Wait a minute.” I interrupted a tug of war between the nearest agent and the receptionist over a picture of her with Stan Lee at a Comic Con. She was in her early twenties, blonde, and very chipper. Right now, she had tears in her usually sparkling brown eyes. “That’s outside the scope of this warrant,” I protested. No doubt any warrant. Come on.

The agent paused. He sighed, his lips turning down, as if he’d just been waiting for an argument.

I nodded. “Yeah. You’ve just raided an area ripe with attorneys.” Yet in looking around, I was it. The only attorney on the floor. A pit dropped into my stomach, and I struggled to keep a calm facade. I’d only been a lawyer for a month. What did I know? The other attorneys were elsewhere, including my boss, who’d just been arrested.

I swallowed.

“Do something,” Juliet muttered, her teeth clenched.

I blinked. “What?” There wasn’t much I could do at the moment. While there should be a sense of comfort with that realization, it felt like I should do something.

“Anna.” Clarice Jones, the head paralegal, rushed toward me with two case files in her hands. She shoved them my way.

I took them instinctively and tried to keep from falling backward. “What’s going on?” If anybody knew what was up with Scot, it’d be her. They’d worked together for decades.

“I don’t know.” Clarice’s white hair had escaped its usually too-tight bun to soften her face with tendrils. She’d gnawed away half of the red lipstick customarily blanketing her thin lips. “Worry about it later.