-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- " Come ON" Rachel Friedman screamed as her Datsun stalled for the forth time. 'God I need some money to get a decent car' she thought, infuriated that her lack of finances meant that she drove a beat up old Datsun rather than the Corolla's and Magna's of the other students. While she was greatful that she was even attending the Police Academy her family didn't have the resources to offer her much more than an education, which meant that she had to get a part time job to cover her books, living expences as well as transport. Driving past the local courthouse she glanced at envy at the lawyers and barristers in their expensive suits and cars, a pang of disappointment shooting through her. Her parents could only just afford to send her to the Police Academy, a proper univeristy law degree was out of the question, at least until she established her finances. Parking her daggy car she climbed out, not bothering to lock the car, almost wishing someone would steal it so she could claim the insurance. She walked up the dark stairwell to her flat, a pre civilasation 4 room apartment, with no view, no airconditioner, and no laundry, and opened the pealing door. Sighing she threw her bags on the armchair and flopped in front of the tiny television. Looking at the clock she groaned inwardly, an hour before she had to be at work. Suddenly an overwhelming sensation of loneliness swept over her as it frequently did these days, reminding her of her family still in Bondi, of her parents and how she was 'boyless' as her mother called it. She pulled the phone from its box near the front door and dialed a number she knew by heart. "Rebecca Friedman" greeted her on the other end of the line, her mother's ever formal greeting to all incoming phone calls. " Hey ma, its me" Rachel started, not really knowing what she was going to say, but desperate for someone, even her mother, to fill the emptyness she was feeling inside. " Was there a reason for you to call?" her mothers voice drifted down the line, the slightly hidden distaste obvious to Rachel. Her mother had never approved of her joining the Police, only Felix had talked her into letting Rachel out of the house at all. " Nah Ma, I just thought I'd say hello" Rachel said, finding it hard to have a conversation with her mother, as if admitting that she was lonely was a sign of defeat. Silence followed for a while before Rachel's thoughts were interupted by a loud banging on the door. " Look Ma.. I gotta go, someones at the door. Love you...bye" she hung up the receiver and dashed down the hallway to see who was making such a rachet. Opening the door she found one of her academy friends with a pile of books in her arms. " Hey Rach, just dropping these off. I'll see ya tomorrow in class" Tania said before turning to leave. Rachel reflected on her friends breif visit. Most of them were like that, only dropping in to drop off books or to borrow some of her own books. It seemed as though she were the oddball, the drifter, the person who didn't quite fit in with everyone else. Struggling with the books, she staggered into the bedroom/study, dumping the books haphazardly on the bed before quickly changing into her uniform for work. Half an hour later a rather different looking Rachel Friedman arrived for work at the local courthouse. As meager as her chores were, she still mixed slightly with the hotshot lawyers and barristers, the likes of Kevin Marony, Jeffery Chandler and Jonathon Goldstein. Rachel remembered back to the first time she had seen Jonathon. She'd been working at the front desk for about 4 hours when a man walking up the front stairs of the courthouse had caught her eye. Sophisticated in his well cut business suit, his mear stride seemed to convey his sence of authority and power. She looked at him with awe in her eyes, simply drinking in the fact that there was someone out there that could convey power with a mear look. Of course he had walked straight past her, totally ignoring the fact that she was staring at him, lost in his own world of prominent people and the job he so obviously did well. Snapping herself out of her reverie, Rachel pulled her mind back to her present task, filing the court reports and storing the evidence until it was required. She smiled as she remembered the few other times she had seen him, each time he was the same, cool, calm, and in control of every situation. It was something Rachel dreamed of, being in control of everything, nothing taking her by surprise, nothing taking her unguarded. Her head snapped up when she heard a voice, his voice. " Excuse me Miss, would you find me this article and bring it to my office?" he said, politely demanding what he wanted done. Rachel didn't seem to notice the fact that he never said please or thankyou, just stated what he wanted, as if she were there to soley serve him. " Yes Mr Goldstein, I'll bring it right up" she said, trying to smile to cover her nervousness. He had never actually spoken to her before, let alone look her in the eye. Before she had a chance to say anything else he had disappeared down the corridor towards his office. Tearing her eyes away from the tall receding figure, she dashed towards the archives, determined to find the file faster than any other desk assistant could have, desperate to make a good impression on such a powerful and formidable man. Wiping her sweaty palms on the pants of her cheap suit, she approached Mr Goldstein's office, taking in the solid wooden door and the polished gold nameplate that hung ominously, as if reminding all that he who ventured in did so at his own risk. She quickly ran her damp hands through her mass of dark curls, trying to get them to behave before she entered. Giving up on her hair she knocked twice, then waited hesitantly to be allowed entry into his domain. " Enter" was the reply she got, so she gingerly turned the gold doorknob and let herself in. Taking a look around the inside of the otherwise normal office, Rachel was surprised to see Jonathon smoking a pipe. As much as she hated tobacco, it actually gave him an air of style, adding to the already sharp image he had created for himself. Remembering her reason, Rachel produced the file that Jonathon had asked for. " Here you are Sir" she said, hoping her formal use of his name pleased him. She looked at her, as if studying her, before taking the file. He nodded for her to leave and she headed for the door. " What's your name?" he called after her, making her heart leap into her throat. " Rachel, Rachel Friedman"
TO be continued!