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Lilies and Gunpowder

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An outsider could have mistaken it for a regular Friday.

She got up at an early hour and went downstairs to feed Justice who was already running around her bare feet in excitement, almost stumbling down the stairs as she did so, being her usual adorable and quirky self. Diane then took a long shower, did her hair and make-up and got dressed. She decided on a tight, black, knee-length dress, black stiletto heels, an elegant red blazer, golden jewellery and a red lip. Red had hardly ever failed to make her feel more confident.

Not that she normally needed that.

The sun just began to rise when Diane took Justice for a walk. The colours of the sky shone down on the city streets of uptown Chicago and seemed to dye them in a deep tone of peachy orange. Justice's little tail flipped from side to side as her short legs scurried on the ground next to Diane, the sounds of her small paws and Diane's thin heels hitting the concrete ground being the only sounds on the almost empty streets as the city was just beginning to awake.

Looking down at the small dog she could not help but think of the first time she had introduced her partner Will to her pet a few years ago at his first visit to her townhouse.

...

"I didn't know you were a dog person!", he said excitedly in an unusually high voice, smirking while he placed his glass of scotch on her coffee table, his eyes fixated on the little dog that jumped on the couch between them.

"Well, I bet there's still a lot you don't know about me.", she answered, arching an eyebrow.

"I guess so. I would have taken you for a cat person."

"Good lord, no."

He bent down to scratch Justice behind the ear. "You know how they say that dogs tend to look like their owners?"

Diane took another sip of scotch and raised her eyebrows, shooting him a meaningful gaze instead of answering his question.

Will started to laugh. "Well, I see the resemblance."

"You can't be serious."

"Actually, I am." He had sat back again. "The hair. The pointed nose. It's a match."

"Oh, shut up.", she giggled. "Just look at how tiny she is."

"Yeah, I mean you're..." He paused. "... thin."

She broke out with laughter. "Uhm, thanks... I guess."

"You're welcome. What was her name again?"

"Justice."

"Of course.", he laughed and picked up his glass again. "I'll drink to that."

"Two lawyers drinking to justice. When did we become so cliché?" She clinked her glass against his anyway.

"Not cliché, Diane.", he said smirking after swallowing his drink. "You and I, we're iconic."

...

When they re-entered her townhouse, Justice speeded off into the living room and curled up on the couch. Diane went to her study to grab her planner and a few files from her last late-night-working-session and put them into her oversized-yet-more-than-fashionable purse.

Normally, she would take another look into her planner before taking off to make sure she would not forget about anything on her packed schedule for the day. But today was different. She knew exactly what was waiting for her today. And had she opened her planner, the first thing she would have seen beneath the date was a small post-it with the letters 'J.S.' scribbled hastily on it, which she wanted to avoid. She did not need to see it on paper. It being on her mind was already enough.

She grabbed her black coat off of the counter in the entry, which is where she had thrown it carelessly after her morning-walk with Justice. The little dog came running towards her as soon as she heard her owner grab her keys.

Kneeling down to gently pet her head, Diane told her: "I need to go to work. Don't set the house on fire. Jane will be here in about an hour, okay?"

Jane was a nice sixteen-year-old girl who lived next door with her parents. She had dropped out of high-school because she wanted to be a writer- and because she wanted to rebel against her parents who would have liked to see her become a surgeon one day- and she had since then offered Diane to watch Justice while she was at work.

Diane had seen the girl grow up, learn how to walk, learn how to speak and later dye her hair black and get a nose-piercing. But she was reliable and smart and Justice liked her a lot. And so did Diane.

Justice seemed to have calmed down a little and so Diane took off. She stepped into her car and put on the radio after she had started the engine, as if it were a regular Friday.

Except it was not. The Beretta resting in her nightstand spoke for itself.

The voice of the radio speaker interrupted her thoughts. "...and apparently today they are going to decide whether or not he's getting out of jail after ten years. We will keep you updated on the subject of Spellma-"

Diane shut the radio off and breathed in deeply, trying to focus on driving and nothing else, especially not on the man hidden behind the two scribbled letters on the post-it note in her planner.

J. S.

Jeffrey Spellman.