The minute I got home, I got to work. First, however, I laughed at the bouquet of daffodils that Matt had left for me on the dining room table, wishing me luck with my date. He ended the note with a terse, ‘You were right’. I knew we’d have to talk about it, but I didn’t want to think about it just now. I stowed the daffodils in my bedroom, not wanting Martinez to get the wrong impression. I changed out of my clothes and quickly called Martinez to make sure he knew about the dead woman—he did. Then, I hurried to the kitchen to get cracking. I made dumplings and egg rolls, having procured the skins from the Asian market near my apartment. I kept glancing at my clock because I’d need at least half an hour to make myself beautiful. I pulled out the radish cake my mother had given me from the freezer as well as the sticky rice. My mother was a fantastic cook, and she always made me take stuff with me when I left her place. I had to eat it quickly, however, or Matt would finish it off for me. He loved my mother’s cooking.
Once everything was well under way, I took a quick shower—not leaving the stove on—without washing my hair. Afterwards, I put on a red silk tank top that emphasized my breasts and a black skirt that fell to my knees. I didn’t put on shoes, of course, as I was Asian. We didn’t wear shoes in the house—it struck me as ludicrous to do so. I added gold dangly earrings and a few gold bracelets and considered myself accessorized. I didn’t wear makeup for the most part and grudgingly consented to put some clear gloss on my lips. I brushed my shoulder-length hair until it shone, then nodded in satisfaction. It struck me funny that I was entertaining Martinez—Carlos—at my place for a first date. Normally, I’d be too leery of a guy to do that, but he was a cop, for God’s sake. Plus, he was so fucking cute. I went to the kitchen to check on the food. As I started setting the table, the phone rang.
“Hello?” I picked up the cordless so I could continue setting the table.
“A-ya! You can’t even call your mother to tell her about the news? That girl is dead, and you don’t bother calling?”
“Mom,” I sighed, vowing I’d check Caller ID from now on. “It wasn’t her.”
“What?” My mother screeched, her voice nearly piercing my eardrum.
“Listen, I can’t talk right now. I’m watching Banana for the weekend while Julia—tends to some business in New York. May Matt, Banana and I come for dinner tomorrow night?”
“Of course,” Mom said, her attention easily diverted. “How is poor Matt? And dear little Banana!”