You can do this. Have faith in yourself - don’t feel embarrassed that you need a pep talk at age 35. You can do this.
Mantra pep talks probably weren’t the best sign that I could actually do this, but I refused to give up my optimism as I tried not to enter a staring contest with the clouded glass door. As a civilian employee of the LAPD, I can’t say I’d been in Lt. Monroe’s office more than once, and that was for my interview.
...it can’t be anything too bad? I can’t think of anything and if I’d messed up prints bad enough to be fired or arrested there would be some sort of hint, right?
I clenched my hands against my slacks.
Breathe in. Breathe Out. Breath - oh god the door was opening.
“Leo De Rosa?” Lt. Monroe asked from where she was partway behind her office door.
“Yes, Ma’am!” I answered as I shot up from the chair - perhaps a tad fast as her one eyebrow ticked up a bit.
“Well,” she said as she gave me a glance as she moved back towards her desk, “come in, shut the door behind you, and take a seat.”
Oh boy, a closed-door conversation is not giving me great vibes.
I swallowed and did as she asked. The chair in front of her desk was surprisingly comfy. Actually, really comfy. Did we have these chairs somewhere else? I might have to steal o-
“Hmmm,” Lt. Monroe cleared her throat as she pulled out a surprisingly thick paper file and grabbed a staple section of papers near the top. “I want you to take over the upkeep and management of a civilian consultant file. Do you have any questions for me?”
I blinked. That...was not what I had been expecting.
“Ah, why me?” I blurted out before I cringed. Great going, ask the boss why she wants you to do more work. She looked up from the paper and went to answer, but - “Not that I mind at all, but I’m not in records.”
She didn’t seem angry, but she did give me a small wry grin before leaning forward and handing me the small section of stapled paperwork she had pulled out. I glanced down.
“My report on Consultant Morningstar’s fingerprints?” I questioned, wondering why she had handed it to me. I had written it, but I hadn’t expected to have anything else to follow up on. Technically, I wasn’t even responsible for recording them in his file - that had been Brian. Ah, Brian hadn’t had the best luck with that though.
I blushed to remember hearing about where all the fingerprinting ink had ended up. No judgment to Brian on his tastes, but it wasn’t something I wanted to have to consider happening at work. Like, I’m pretty sure it could get him fired? Or the consultant in some major hot water? But what was I supposed to put in the file then! It wasn’t my fault that Brian got too distracted to finish fingerprinting the man - and that ink...wasn’t meant to be edible. Or internal. Fingerprint scanners were an option nowadays - it would’ve been much faster.
Lt. Monroe hadn’t said anything so I glanced up again and swallowed. The Lieutenant looked very, very done with whatever she was thinking about. She pushed the rest of the large file to me and with dead eyes stated, “I want you to stay here and read through this. I will get your back-up to cover your regular work until you finish.”
Extra not what I expected so I brought my report up and stared as if it would answer all of the questions I now had regarding what exactly I was doing in the Lieutenant’s office again. Lt. Monroe stood up, walked around her desk, and crossed her arms.
“I have a meeting to get to, De Rosa, but that file doesn’t leave my office. I should be back before you finish, and I’ll tell you what I’m hoping you’ll be able to do when I get back. Okay?”
I looked from the file to Lt. Monroe and shrugged, “Yes, Ma’am.”
If the Lieutenant wanted to pay me to sit and read a file instead of work prints, guess I was reading a file.
~45 minutes later
What the actual heck.
Every. Single. One. of these files was technically incomplete. I mean, except my own fingerprint report - which was still weird as all get out because I had to conclude that Consultant Morningstar’s fingerprints were “Incomprehensible, yet unique - able to be excluded from scene checks.”
All of these reports- from evidence reports, crime scene observations, personnel transfer, and an equipment request were incomplete and were about one Lucifer Morningstar. One of the files was his official paperwork to be serving as a civilian consultant, which, I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that made everything he was currently doing at the LAPD some form of illegal.
The file does nothing to reassure me at all (I mean, not as if it could just start talking, but perhaps it could miraculous complete itself.), and I stare some more at the pile and turn around to face the Lieutenant’s door. She should be back soon, yes? I dearly hope I am not going to have to tell Detective Decker that her partner? personal consultant? person? needs to vacate until his presence is legal. She’s a scary chick.
Although, as I stretched out in the chair - Lt. Monroe could take a bit longer, this chair was practically sinful. Of course, as soon as I stretch out the door swings open again and I attempt to look like I was sitting up straight like an adult the entire time - only for Ella Lopez to bound past me towards the filing cabinet behind the desk.
“Leo, my man - Tiki Night! We missed you!” She chattered away as she opened and closed several drawers, obviously looking for something specific. “We had the most awesome time with the bartender on Tuesday, his prints were wild and the glasses there are perfect.”
I grimaced. I had only gone to Tiki Night twice and regretted it both times. As awesome as the conversation was, the number of people attempting to hit on me or pick up one night stands was a bit much.
“Ah-ha!” Ella cried in triumph as she slotted her paperwork directly on top of the pile on the Lieutenant’s desk. More Consultant Morningstar stuff?
“Whatcha doing up here in the bigwig’s office, Leo? I thought you were on the Silver case prints today.”
I started, “How’d you know that, Ella? Only Mr. Peltzer knows which cases are out to who.”
“Really?” she smiled. “No clue man! I thought I knew everything,” she finished off with a sly smile.
“Of course you know everything, Ella,” I answered dryly, “because you know everyone.”
“Too true, my man,” she said as she finger gunned and started heading towards the door. “Gotta head back, but seriously - consider coming to Tiki Night again! No one else has your descriptive flair.”
I raised my hand to give a small wave by, “Consider it considered.”
“Holding you to it, Leo De Rosa!” she practically shouted as she shut the door.
I grimaced again; she wasn’t going to forget that. I slumped back again on the chair - that seriously, where can I get one? This thing can’t be from the usual office supplier.
Seconds later the door clicks again to open so I ratchet back up and see Lt. Monroe finishing up a conversation with an officer before she turns and heads in. She gives me a nod before adding yet more paperwork to the stack on her desk and sighing. She goes behind her desk, rocks a bit back on her heels, and crosses her arms again.
“De Rosa, all these incomplete reports? Yeah, the report writers meet with Lucifer and then magically - the paperwork never gets complete.” My mind drifts to the official consultant report that the Lieutenant is responsible for...and, yeah, I frown. Not everyone at the LAPD is the best with paperwork, but that much necessary paperwork about one person going unfinished is a problem.
“Right? That’s not good.” I still don’t know where this is going. Again, fingerprint analyst in the lab. I don’t deal much with reports or records outside that.
“Your report though is complete. So I need to ask you, De Rosa, how?”
...I just finished it and signed my name? Maybe she meant how did I deal with Consultant Morningstar’s definitively strong personality? “I mean, I just sort of nodded through him talking and then sent him on his way?”
The dead-eye stare comes back and she leans forward, hands on the desk. “He didn’t ask you to have sex with him?”
My face must have shown something that had Lt. Monroe backtracking, “Sorry to ask such a personal question De Rosa, but every other person who has needed Lucifer’s input or signature on a form has left it incomplete after being distracted.” She paused, “Except Decker - her case files are solid, but I can’t put even more paperwork on a detective’s plate.”
I shifted now, distinctly uncomfortable, but sighed and tried to answer her question. “Not really? I mean, he asked me a lot of invasive personal questions but he didn’t care that I didn’t answer. He just pouted and talked more.”
Lt. Monroe stared.
“He is pretty?” I tried to offer. This was so freaking awkward. “Ah, I don’t like sex?” I never thought I would be saying this to my boss’s boss. Never in a million years. Oh god, now my brain was spinning - the official consultant paperwork, that was incomplete, is usually the Lieutenant’s to sign off on. Brain. No. Don’t go there.
At this, she relaxed and began to grin. “Great!” she practically chirped. This was now the weirdest conversation at work ever. Impressive for working at the LAPD in fingerprints. Our labs could get funky.
“Congratulations, De Rosa, you are now the official file keeper for one Consultant Lucifer Morningstar.” She sat back down at her desk. “The file will be moved to a locked cabinet in your lab. You’ll receive a bonus for it.”
Huh, that was nice. And like, I came in expecting punitive action so not bad, but the confusion was still there. Lt. Monroe stared at me some more before asking, “Anything else?”
“No, ma’am,” my mouth moved out of instinct.
“You’re dismissed.” I nodded, sadly gave a slight pat to the comfy chair and stood.
As I turned to walk out, I hesitated and figured I may as well ask. “Ma’am?”
She glanced up at me almost seeming worried, “Yes?”
“Where’d you get the chair? It’s hella comfy.” She snorted and grinned widely.
“I’ll send one down to replace your current chair.” Hell yeah! The best possible outcome to that question.
“Thank you, ma’am, I appreciate it,” I said as I headed towards the door.
“Thank you, De Rosa” she replied with an odd emphasis before I shut the door behind me. I did a mini fist pump before glancing back at the closed office door - talk about a weird part of the day, but hey, worth it for the incoming chair.