Chapter 2: Idle Gossip

A/N: So here's the next chapter in this little tale. Sorry it took so long but I have other stories I'm working on and my computer ended up crashing so I had to get a new one. Thanks to those who have read and reviewed thus far. Your kind words mean the world to me and I'm so glad you're enjoying this story so far. I hope you like this chapter too.

Disclaimer: Chicago Justice and all related characters are property of Dick Wolf and NBC. I also don't own any characters from the other Chicago shows. I only own the plot and nothing more than that.

Anna looked once more at her grocery list to make sure she had everything she needed. Since it was Saturday, she figured this was the best time to go shopping and to get some much- needed items from the store. The problem was that the store in question was remodeling and so things weren't where they should have been.

While picking out some pizza for dinner, she ran into Trudy Platt and smiled. Trudy was a kind woman with a no-nonsense attitude and didn't play games with anyone.

"Nice to see you, Anna," Platt said. "How are things going?"

"Pretty good," she answered.

"Any luck on the dating scene?"

"Yes, I've started dating someone."

Platt's eyes lit up. "Nice! Is he really hot?"

Anna smiled. "Yeah, he's definitely good looking."

"Is he a cop?"

Anna hesitated and thought about being truthful with Platt, but she was afraid of how the woman would react if she said that he was a judge. "No, he's a businessman."

"Oh. I always thought you and Stone would make a match of it."

Anna laughed. "No, I think that would be a conflict of interest."

"Well, if it doesn't work 9ut with this business guy, you could always try to put the moves on Stone."

"How are things with you and Mouch?"

"Awesome. You know, I never took much stock in this marriage stuff before, but I have to tell you, it's the best. The sex is so much better once you're married. You should definitely try it."

"No, I'm not the marrying type, but I'm glad you're happy. Say hi to your husband for me."

"Will do. Good to see you, Anna."

Anna breathed a sigh of relief when Platt left, but then she ran into Matt Casey and his wife in the produce aisle.

"Hey, Anna, how's it going?" Matt asked her.

"Pretty good," she replied. "You?"

"Things are going great," Gabby replied. "Platt just told us the news. Congrats on the guy."

Anna was shocked how fast Trudy had spread the story. Thank goodness she hadn't spilled the beans about Ray or it would have been worse.

"Oh, thanks," she said.

"We'll definitely have to double date sometime," Gabby said. "Maybe we could triple date with my brother and Brett."

"They're together now?"

Gabby nodded. "Yeah, he can't stop talking about her and she can't stop talking about him."

"That's so nice. I don't know if we can do that, but I'll talk to him about it."

"Sounds good."

"See you later."

Anna left, her heart racing a mile a minute. What if everyone suddenly found out about her relationship with Ray? How would that go for her and how would they treat her? Would she be fired from her job? Would she be ostracized from everyone because of what she was doing? Maybe it would be better if she just ended things with Ray to save face. But then she thought about the good time they had had at the bar. No, she definitely didn't want to let this go. What they had was something special and it was going to be their secret no matter what. Steeling herself, she finished her shopping and headed home.

22222

"Ready for today?" Peter asked her.

She nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be. Who's presiding this case?"

"Ray Kinsey."

Oh, boy, this definitely wasn't her day today.

"Is something wrong, Anna?"

She shook her head. "No, everything's fine."

"Good. Let's get to it."

22222

The case went well on the first day and nobody seemed to suspect a thing. Ray didn't treat her any differently than he would any other lawyer and for that, she was grateful. He had just called for the trial to resume tomorrow, so Anna began packing up her things.

"Miss Valdez, would you approach the bench?" Ray asked her.

Anna was confused but did as he asked. He handed her a note that said he wanted to meet her at the same bar as before at eight tonight. She was a bit confused but nodded and returned to packing her things.

"What did the judge want?" Peter asked her.

"Just to compliment me on how well I'm doing," she answered.

"Oh. I wasn't aware you and Ray had any sort of relationship together."

Anna stiffened at those words. "We don't!" she said defensively. "He was just being nice."

"I didn't mean it like that," said Peter gently. "I just meant that I didn't know you two knew each other."

"Not well, but he has talked to me."

"Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Have a good night."

Anna left the building and was trying her best to stay composed. She just hoped no one would get wind of what she was doing or she was toast.

22222

Ray was waiting for her at the same table they had sat at before. He smiled when he saw her and pulled her chair out for her.

"You look very stunning tonight, Anna," he said.

"Thanks. You look pretty good yourself."

"I try my best to do what I can. Something seems to be troubling you. Is it the case?"

"No, I have no problem with that. I guess I've done a lot of thinking and I don't know if we should be together. I don't want anyone to find out about it."

"Nobody will," he reassured her. "That's why we're where no one can see us."

"But what if they catch on to what we're doing?" she asked him. "Someone could see us even accidentally. Peter implied we even had a relationship together."

"I think you're making more out of this than what there is," he said gently. "No one will know, and even if they do, I'm willing to take that chance to be with you, Anna. I have never been with any other woman like you before."

As much as Anna wanted to resist this whole thing, she just couldn't. No man had ever treated her this way or felt this way about her. It was time for her to just suck it up and go with this.

When they were done, Ray escorted her to her car and kissed her on the lips. She melted into the kiss and then pulled away.

"I'll see you later," he said before walking to his own car.

Anna blew out a breath and left the bar, feeling happy but also conflicted. She had to do her best to make sure nothing got out about this.

22222

"So, what's new in the life of Anna Valdez?" Laura Nagel asked.

"Not much," she answered.

"I heard through the grapevine that you're seeing some hot shot businessman," Laura countered.

"And would that grapevine be a certain sergeant?" Anna asked her.

Laura winked. "Maybe. Everyone's talking about it. So, what's he like?"

"He's really nice and respectful," Anna replied.

"Has he been married before?"

"No."

"That's interesting. Has he had any other girlfriends?"

"No, he's been single all of his life."

"Where does he work?"

Anna was getting a bit irritated with Laura's questions, but she knew she would have to just go with it. "He works with computers."

"Cool. Good for you. What's his name?"

"Rob Garrison."

"Interesting. Well, time to go to work."

Anna blew out a breath after Laura left. This definitely wasn't something she wanted to deal with right now. This whole ruse was going to blow up in her face, but she was stuck with it now, so there was nothing she could do about it.

"What was all that cross-examination about?" Peter asked her.

"Laura just wanted to know about the guy I'm dating. I'm surprised you haven't grilled me about him."

He smiled. "Not really my business to say anything. Sometimes, you're allowed some privacy."

"Thanks for that."

22222

The next few days went on without a hitch. Ray kept things professional and only asked her out on weekends so things wouldn't get too suspicious. He still asked her to approach the bench sometimes, but at others, he would walk beside her and then slip her the note telling her when to meet him. So far, she had been careful to get rid of the notes at home so no one would notice them in the office's trash cans and it seemed to work okay for now.

Sheridan's was always a nice place and it was even more so each time she went there with Ray. He was such a kind person and was unlike anyone else she had ever dated before.

"You're doing a good job with this case," he complimented her.

"Thanks. Do you think the defendant will get off?"

"I really don't think so. The evidence against him is staggering, but it's in the hands of the jury on this one."

"I really wish we lived in a world where the judge could make the decision instead of the jury," she said wistfully.

He nodded. "If it were up to me, he would definitely be guilty. But the defense is playing a good game and I think the jury is going to fall for it whether we like it or not."

"I guess only time will tell then, won't it?"

He nodded. "Yes, we'll just have to wait until Monday to see what happens."

22222

"Jury, have you reached a verdict?"

The foreman, a man who looked to be in his thirties, stood up. "We have, Your Honor."

"Please read the verdict out loud."

"In the case of the State of Illinois versus Connor Marks, we the jury find the defendant not guilty."

Ray banged his gavel and thanked the jury for their service.

"You bastard!" a woman who was the victim's mother screamed. "First you get a rapist free and now this! God will punish you for this!"

Anna felt horrible for Ray and wished she could comfort him, but this wasn't the time for that and it would look too suspicious.

"Looks like we lost another one," Peter said.

"We did our best and there was nothing else we could do," she said. "I feel awful for Ray though."

"Why? He did let a rapist go."

"But it was the jury's verdict that got him acquitted. Ray was just doing his job."

"Still, that man's reputation will never be the same because of that case."

Anna bristled. "What do you have against Ray?"

"Nothing. He's a fine judge, but I feel he made a mistake in that case."

Anna said nothing more and gathered her things to go home. She spotted Ray outside smoking a cigarette and went to talk to him.

"Are you okay? That woman was so horrible to you."

"It's not the first time and it won't be the last," he answered. "I'll get through it. Have a good night, Miss Valdez."

"You too." She headed to her car and went home to think about things. Ray definitely didn't have an easy life and the case made it worse for him. She decided that being there for him was the best thing to do for him. She settled down into bed and imagined Ray being in bed with her. That couldn't happen for obvious reasons, but it was still something to think about and dream about. Ray seemed lonely and even his wife didn't bring him comfort. That was one thing she could give and was going to give as long as she could. She just hoped it would be enough.

A/N: And another chapter comes to a close. I really like where I'm going with this story and I hope you guys are enjoying it too. I know in the episode I thought it was implied that she didn't have intimate relations with Ray, but I think she did at one point and I will be exploring that. But if someone remembers otherwise, feel free to correct me. Feel free to leave a review and have a shelltastic day.