“Is there a good way to tell your friend that you looked her new boyfriend up on the Sex Offenders website?” Detective Miranda Bennett asked, twirling one ebony braid with a caramel finger. Her partner, broad-shouldered blonde Michael Tritter, about thirty years her elder, stared at her a moment before taking a drag off the cigarette in his hand.
“Nope,” he replied simply, looking up from the file folder he was gazing at. “Did he do anything?” Miranda looked down at the table that separated them.
“I don’t know. He’s got a fairly common name,” she replied honestly.
“Don’t say anything – she won’t listen anyway,” Tritter said, waving his free hand dismissively. “People don’t ever.”
“You’re not exactly the King of Optimism, y’know?” Miranda said sarcastically, standing up to cross over to the coffee maker. Tritter and Miranda’s office wasn’t particularly big, but it at least had enough room for a table, coffeemaker, and a few boxes of things Miranda couldn’t find a place for in her apartment but couldn’t bring herself to throw out. It helped that the amount of Tritter’s stuff in the office was minimal – a couple of pens, a filing cabinet, and a computer. Miranda had harangued him more than once about why he didn’t have photos of family on his desk, like she did, but she’d been unsuccessful in getting any sort of satisfactory answer and had therefore given up.
“News to me,” Tritter retorted, taking another drag.
“I thought you quit smoking,” Miranda continued, pouring coffee into her mug.
“I did. Then I started again,” he said tersely. Miranda glared.
“What are you reading so intensely?” she persisted. “You’ve barely looked up from it all day. You didn’t even eat your lunch.”
“Do you know they have a warrant out on Dr. Gregory House?” Tritter asked, finally looking up from the file.
“Oh,” Miranda replied, smirking, “That’s what this is about. Your old friend.” Tritter glowered at her.
“He drove his car into his girlfriend’s house – who is also his boss,” he hissed, slamming down the folder with a glare.
“Ex-boss, I’d assume?” Miranda retorted, “I imagine if you ran your car into Alvarez’s house, she’d fire you about the time she got done killing you.”
“Well, she doesn’t want him anywhere near the hospital, or near her,” Tritter replied, “Which is reasonable. I don’t understand why she got into a relationship with him in the first place. He was unstable when I met him and I’m sure he’s only gotten worse in the meantime. She ought to be glad that he didn’t kill her. And she’s got a three-year-old child, too!” Tritter’s voice rose with anger. “I don’t understand how w…” he cut himself off as Miranda sat back down at her desk.
“How women can be so stupid?” Miranda replied with a mocking tone. “Is that what you were going to say, Trit?” Ignoring Tritter’s shaking his head, Miranda smirked. “Because we think with our hearts and not with our dicks. You might want to try it, sometime, and maybe you’d get a date.” Not looking at her partner, Miranda reached down and pulled out a copy of the New York Post, the headline of which was “Weiner: I’ll Stick It Out”.
Tritter was saved from having to try and respond by the fact that his personal phone took that moment to go off. Briiiiing. He scooped it up gratefully and held the cream-colored receiver for the rotary phone – which he’d often wondered why he’d never bothered to replace – to his ear.
“Hello,” he intoned.
“Tritter. Get in my office,” the voice on the other end, tinged with a Spanish accent, commanded, and Tritter heard the dial tone in his ear long before he could utter a protest. He hung it up once, then twice, on the his desk, and then sighed. One distraction cut out for a worse one, he thought.
A few moments later he found himself sitting in a black leather swivel chair across from his boss of the past year and a half, Lt. Monika Alvarez. A curvy woman with bronze skin and chocolate eyes, she had spent a number of years in Homicide somewhere in Massachusetts before trading it in for a much less nerve-wracking position in Princeton PD.
“Tritter,” was the first word out of her mouth, and it was followed by a disappointed shake of the head and a warning glance. “This Dr. House thing – it needs to go.”
“What do you mean?” Tritter asked, leaning forward slightly and locking eyes with his boss.
“I know you were good friends with the old Captain,” she continued, “But your behavior five years ago would be enough to get you fired by just about anyone other than him. That includes me. Now, I don’t need bad publicity destroying this department. I really do not need it. Do you understand?” Alvarez picked a pen off of her desk and proceeded to open a file folder with her free hand. “This is Dr. House’s arrest record. He was charged with reckless endangerment and hit and run.”
“He was charged with attempted murder!” Tritter protested. “He ran his car into her house!” Alvarez ignored him.
“Detective Tritter,” she said, closing the file again. “Do you understand Dr. House’s reputation? He is the best diagnostician in the world. Do you understand exactly what that means?” Tritter continued to lock his ice blue eyes with hers, but didn’t respond. “That means we need to find a way to do what’s best for Dr. Cuddy, for us, and for him – which means, when we find him, you do whatever you need to do to make this go away. Talk to Dr. Cuddy. Talk to Dr. House. Get him to pay for what he did to her, but don’t get him thrown in jail. Tu entiendes?” Alvarez only slipped into her native Spanish when she was on the death march, and Tritter knew she was serious.
“Yes,” he mumbled simply, averting his gaze. He knew his job was on the line – for things he had done five years before! How was that fair?
“Now, I’ve been alerted that Dr. House was found coming back from the airport,” she continued, “He should be in this police station in about twenty minutes. Are we agreed?”
“Yes,” Tritter mumbled.
“Good. Now get to work.”