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Since no formal introduction seemed to be forthcoming, and Hutch seemed too preoccupied to handle them, Joyce tried to get Cleo to engage in some ice breaking conversation, she extended her hand in introduction. "Hi, my name’s Joyce Carlson."

"Cleo Garvey." Maxine shook her extended hand and then proceeded to stare out of her window.

Well, so much for that.

Joyce was not enthused by the prospect of riding in the backseat with a person who had about as much personality as a wet blanket. She shifted her focus to the two men sitting in the front seat. She wondered if this was typical behavior for the two of them, or if it was just chance that had them dating two black women at the same time. She thought the blond one might prefer ladies who looked more like himself, the blond, blue-eyed and available type. And the dark one, well, he was a conundrum. She just wanted to have a chance at figuring him out. She so liked a challenge, both in work and in play.

From the front seat Hutch watched Starsky closely. The grin on his face was still as big as when they’d left the hospital, and to make matters worse, he was humming some annoying little off tune ditty as he drove.

"I hate to burst your bubble, good buddy, but you still haven’t told me how you met this lovely lady. Is it a secret? Oh, wait, did you want me to guess? Okay, don’t tell me…she couldn’t possibly be your date for this evening, could she?"

The smile slowly faded from his face. "What’s that supposed to mean? What’s the matter? Don’t you think I’m perfectly capable of…"

Joyce chimed in before he could finish his sentence. "David is perfectly capable of attracting whomever he wants." She smiled. "He was so attentive and sweet to me before and after the hearing, I couldn’t help but try to find out if he was for real."

Hutch’s eyes widened. "Oh, yeah. What about that hearing, Starsky? " he asked, trying to change what obviously was a touchy subject. "You said you’d tell me about it on the way."

"Oh yeah, forgot. Joyce is on Carlisle’s legal team." He looked at her in the rearview and smiled proudly.

Hutch directed his next question to Joyce. "That’s great. So what happened, counselor?"

"SOP. Preliminary hearings over, now it’s pick the grand jury time. Of course, his lawyers will try to appeal the whole thing. But the case still looks promising."

"That’s good."

Maxine was still in the back seat staring out the window and sulking, trying to figure out a way that she could get Hutch to herself. She didn’t need some female city lawyer usurping what was already her limited and valuable time. She unceremoniously leaned over Joyce’s knees to whisper in Hutch’s ear. "Ken, couldn’t we go to my place instead? We could watch a movie, and I can order pizza."

Hutch turned to her and took her hand. "You know, I’d really like that, darlin’, ‘cept I promised ole Starsky here that we’d have dinner together. Rain check, okay?"

"Okay, sure." Maxine nodded her head and leaned back, heaving a shallow sigh.

 

>Continued