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Connections

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The next morning, when the couple arrived at work, Root asked Sameen to come with her to announce their engagement to Harold. As it turned out, both Grace and Genrika were with him when they arrived. Sameen wasn’t sure how they were going to tell them, but Root rushing through the door and holding out her hand to show off the gorgeous engagement ring wasn’t it.

There was a round of warm hugs and congratulations. Grace couldn’t let go of Root’s hand as she admired the beautiful ring.

“This is great!” Gen said to Shaw.

“You think so, kid?” Shaw asked, wondering what a twelve year old thought of all of this.

“Yes, definitely. I’ll have to go to college locally, because you’re going to need babysitters,” Gen thought through as she looked up at the ceiling, tapping her finger to her chin.

“Wait! Whoa, kid,” Shaw said, pulling Gen away from the trio who were still talking about how it happened. “No one…,” she tried, but the prodigy train was already leaving the station.

“Taylor would be good, too, but he has his heart set on Harvard. Lee is great with kids, so we could use him as backup,” Gen decided.

Shaw stared, her eyes wide with unease over the topic. “Okay… just … no,” Shaw commanded and as usual, the youth flicked her commands off like lint on a sweater.

“They’ll be so cute!” the girl practically squealed. “And smart! OMG –so smart!”

“I’m going to stop talking to you now,” Shaw announced because it was the only way to concede defeat without saying so.

“We couldn’t be happier for you,” Harold said when the newly engaged couple left his office.

“I wonder if he’ll let me sit by his computer after we’re married,” Shaw wondered.

“Doubt it,” Root said because Harry was so particular. “You and Gen were having an interesting conversation it seemed,” said the woman who rarely took her eyes off Shaw.

“Kids,” Shaw revealed without realizing it. One look at those light brown eyes that stared back with great curiosity, told Shaw she slipped. “I mean… kids! You can’t live with them, you can’t charge them rent.”

The genius CEO simply gazed back as she tried to figure that one out.

“I have to go. I have to stop Janine from making bridesmaids’ dresses,” Shaw blathered, pointing to the elevator nervously.

Root watched as Sameen left still mumbling to herself. Genrika couldn’t help but notice. She looked up at Root. “I figured her out,” she said pleasantly as a plausible explanation. “Her volume’s much louder now.”


“You okay, Shaw?” Reese asked when she flew off the elevator.

“I think I just got made by a twelve year old,” Shaw admitted.

“Could be worse,” Reese assured her, but didn’t explain how.

It seemed Genrika’s secret power was making Sameen appreciate the sanctity of her office with her guard dog.

“Are you okay?” Janine asked, when Shaw walking into her cubicle backward. “Have you been cleared to come back to work?” the assistant asked with her hands on her hips.

“From head to toe,” Shaw said. “Listen, I want a height requirement on my visitors. Like those Disney rides. No one allowed in here who isn’t this tall,” Shaw said, shooting her hand out to indicate a height close to her own.

“Sure,” Janine said and wondered who spooked her boss. Obviously, someone under five feet, two inches.

Shaw walked into her office through the adjoining doorway. Fusco was waiting there for her with coffee and Danish. The fact that Shaw didn’t insult him, nor devour the pastry was of great concern to the detective.

“You okay?” he asked as she sat down.

“Me? Yeah, I’m …,” Shaw said, unable to formulate complete thoughts. “Do you want kids?” is how the first question came out.

“With you?” Fusco asked, unsure of what they were talking about. “Look, Shaw, aren’t you rushing things? I mean, you don’t have to be married, but you want to have some time with Captain Crunch before you think about little puffs,” he said and then started laughing at his own joke. “OUCH!” he said when Shaw regained his attention. “What?”

“Not what I meant,” she barked.

“What did you mean?” he asked, slowly pushing the food over to her. When she didn’t take it, he knew whatever they were talking about was serious.

“Wait, one of yous isn’t pregnant, are you?”

The look on Shaw’s face was priceless; Fusco’s injuries would come with a price. “Would you stop hitting me?” he bellowed.

“Would you stop being an ass,” Shaw demanded.

“You’re not making sense, Shaw,” Fusco said and decided to eat the Danish. That brought her back to her senses.

“Give me that,” she said and shoved the pastry into her mouth as she tried to figure out what she was saying.

“I hope they have Root’s manners,” the man said under his breath and then pulled back to protect himself.

Shaw chewed and downed her coffee as her eyes darted back and forth. Fusco waited, like you do when the water is heating up and you’re waiting for it to boil. Finally, she got it.

“Lionel, do you think I’d make a good parent?” Shaw whispered and leaned in so he’d hear her.

Now, Shaw and Fusco had the kind of relationship that was built on affectionate torture. Shaw had set it up like that years ago because it was the only way for her to express how much she cared. But Lionel knew when it was appropriate and when it wasn’t. Most of the time.

He put his coffee down and covered her hands with his meaty ones. “Shaw, you’re gonna make an awesome mom.”

The words hit Shaw in her heart and she swallowed hard to hold back the emotion that swelled inside. “Thanks,” she coughed.

The exchange took seconds, but it was so poignant that she had to put a lid on it.

“Did you eat my pastry?” she asked horrified and getting her emotions in check.

“You stopped eating it!” Fusco said defensively.

“You want to get breakfast?” Shaw asked.

“Sure,” said the man who decided this woman was the worst thing for his diet.


Fusco walked with Shaw to the employee dining room. She wanted to talk to her friend about her plan, before presenting it to Root.

“Each time, they find us like siffing fucks. I think we go on the offense next time,” Shaw said, her mouth so full, Fusco wasn’t sure he understood.

“OH! Sitting ducks,” he finally deciphered. “What do you propose? And remember, I’m a cop. With a badge and a sworn oath?”

“Are you done?” she asked because none of that mattered. “I say we turn the tables. We go after them.”

Them? Technically, them haven’t done anything. We checked into that company that rents the space in Grand Central and it’s a software corporation. The ‘gas’…,” and he stopped to use air quotes which made Shaw roll her eyes, “…leak explosion meant we could go in and look around. It all looked kosher, Shaw. Rooms of nerds doing nerdy things.”

“So, you’re saying I can’t go in there and settle a score?” Shaw asked in her own vernacular.

“If by settling a score, you mean going in there and shooting up the joint, then no,” the cop clarified.

“They kidnapped Root and then drugged me!” she reminded him.

“Yes, and if their fingerprints were anywhere or if we found a room where you were held, we could do something. Every office up there was work stations,” he said because Greer’s group was fast and clever.

“I’m going to get them,” Shaw said, nodding her head.

“Yeah, that’s what worries me,” said her good friend.