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Connections

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Root had the uncanny ability to sleep in almost any position, as long as Shaw was comfortable nearby. Sameen woke up in Root’s lap the next morning and couldn’t imagine how her lover managed to get any sleep. But, she did.

After morning kisses, showers and sharing what their schedules were, they headed into the kitchen. Both were surprised to see Reese and Fusco there, already enjoying their breakfasts.

“Where they hell were you two last night?” Shaw asked. “I had a runaway driver and a biter on the loose.”

“What are you talking about?” Fusco said.

“You could have easily made your traffic ticket quota in our living room alone,” she continued as Isabelle presented her with a plate that looked more like a platter.

“You’re not helping her,” Fusco chastised the woman, but mostly out of jealousy that his breakfast was fruit and Melba toast.

“She enjoys it,” Isabelle said, and it was music to Shaw’s ears as she wagged her finger at Fusco.

“See? She gets me,” Sameen said, waving a turkey sausage at her dieting friend.


Fusco updated the group on what they learned about the software company working out of Grand Central. “Your Greer guy is former military, started his own company and now works here. They seemed to have some healthcare and government contracts. Mostly, running personnel software like payroll and benefits.”

“I bet they’re collecting all that information,” Root surmised.

Root explained about the free antivirus software that would be distributed soon and felt this would give them a window into what was really going on with Greer’s project.

“Just no more missiles,” Fusco begged. “Homeland Security still can’t figure out where that came from.”

The Cheshire like grin on Sameen’s face all but said – my fiancée’s got an army of drones.


With all the excitement, John hadn’t congratulated his friends on their engagement. He reached down and picked up a wrapped box and presented it to them. “Congratulations,” he said and smiled.

“God, Reese, if I had known getting engaged would actually make you have an expression on your face, I would have ….,” Shaw was about to tease, but Root interrupted her.

“This is very thoughtful, John,” Root said and put the box in between her and Sameen so they could open it.

“Is it a blender? Because if it’s a blender,” Shaw started and Root decided they were going to have to spend a little time on this very topic.

“Not a blender, Shaw,” Reese replied.

“Oh, they’re beautiful!” Root said of the lovely champagne flute glasses. “Thank you, John,” Root said and got up and kissed his cheek.

Shaw looked on in agony. Was this going to happen… a lot? “Yeah, thanks, Reese.”

Fusco could feel Shaw rolling her eyes next to him. “I’m waiting for you to pick out your china pattern,” he said to get even.

“Our what?” Shaw asked, her mouth full of egg.

“Chi-na pat-tern,” Fusco repeated.

“We have china,” Shaw argued.

“Well, actually, we’ve broken a few pieces,” Root offered and made Shaw stop to think about how that happened.

“Oh, yeah,” Shaw smiled. “Well, Root will pick it out,” Shaw reasoned.

Fusco was about to get the most points he ever received in the torture game with Shaw. “Don’t you want to do it… together?” he asked because he knew Root wanted to make all those decisions with Sameen.

One look at Fusco and Sameen understood he knew he just racked up a score in the triple digits. She couldn’t even counter him right now because to do so, would mean that she would be telling Root she would rather have root canal than pick out china patterns.

“What? Oh, sure,” Sameen said and the smiled reappeared on Root’s face.


After breakfast, Fusco and Reese waited near the elevator. Lionel actually pulled Reese in front of him when Shaw came out first. “I swear, Shaw, if you hit me, I will handcuff you,” he warned.

Shaw just stared back at him. “I would, but I need my strength,” she said.

“Shaw’s going for a tattoo,” Root all but cooed. She was excited that her woman wanted to ink something so significant.

“A romantic tattoo!” Lionel pressed his luck. “What do you think, Reese? Two pink hearts?”

John gave in some thought before sharing; “Something more… metallic.”

“Thank you, Reese,” Shaw harrumphed.

“So, what is it?” Fusco asked.

Shaw hesitated. “I’m… not sure yet,” she admitted. “I have a few ideas.”

“I have one of the best ink artists coming to the office!” Root shared and Sameen wish she hadn’t. Getting your fiancée to hire a top tattoo artist and having them come to her palatial office, sort of took away from the whole experience.

“Will it be televised?” Fusco asked as they went down in the elevator together.

“If Janine hears about it,” Reese said and his lip curled just the tiniest bit.


It wasn’t that Shaw didn’t appreciate that all she had to do was utter a thought, and Root sprang into action to make it happen. But getting a tattoo was a singular and cathartic experience; like praying. It wasn’t meant to do with a crowd watching, Shaw felt.

“I don’t want it to hurt you,” Root said and now Shaw was certain she needed to do this in private.

“Nah, it won’t hurt,” she assured the anxious woman. “But you know, it’s best to do this in a quiet space, so he can concentrate. So, why don’t I do this somewhere… else … and surprise you?”

“Really?” Root asked, loving the idea what Shaw would want to surprise her.

“Yes,” Shaw said.

“This is going to be so special,” Root said and didn’t realize the pressure she was putting Shaw under to make it so.

“Ye-es, it.. is,” Sameen said.


Root agreed that she would wait; not an easy task for someone who had planned on staring at every injection into her lover’s skin.

Sameen felt relief that she could just get this done now; but couldn’t decide which of the many possibilities they discussed, should be chosen.

“Nice digs,” the tattooist said of all the state of the art equipment that was set up to his specifications. “What are we doing here?”

“Look, I just got engaged,” Shaw started and the man stared at her expressionless.

“Congrats,” he said. “So, what’s it going to be?”

“I always thought I’d write something like – ‘I don’t do feelings; I do Root,” you know?” Shaw laughed and the man sat expressionless. “Because I don’t do feelings. Never mind,” Sameen said, and rolled her eyes at how hard this decision was.

“So, we’re doing a quote?” he asked.

“Well, I told my fiancée that I wanted something that reminds me of her,” Shaw went on, now pacing back and forth. “But there are so many things, right?” she asked, like he knew them. “I could pick an arrow, right? Because she thinks of me as an arrow; straight and to the point. We all have shapes,” she felt it necessary to explain. “And that’s mine.”

“How big do you want it?” he asked, but Sameen wasn’t done.

“Or I could do a zip tie around my wrist because, and this is funny, but the second time I met her…,” Shaw was laughing, but the artist was staring back wide-eyed.

“The thing is,” Shaw continued her soliloquy and the man simply put down the tool so she could continue, “…I could do a flame, because she is the hottest person I know. Especially, like when she’s shooting with two guns, which you would think was lame, but it’s not when she does it. I could do two guns. No, wait! I could do musical notes because she thinks we’re all just noise in the system, but wants us to be symphony. And that’s romantic, right?” Shaw questioned and continued before the tattooist could agree.

“Or a tazer because I can’t help but think of her when I see one. Or maybe just 4-A-F, which stands for ‘Four Alarm Fire’ which our love is; in an oil refinery, I might add, because geeezzus, we are hot together,” Shaw shared her every inner thought.

Now, she had the man’s attention because, as a true artist, he was really interested in capturing what was in this woman’s heart. He was going to have to wait.

“Or the yin-yang symbol, because she completes me; she makes me whole. Or a pile of bricks,” Shaw said and he looked at her quizzically. “Because she’s the only one who has ever broken down my wall,” Shaw said in a soft voice.

“That’s a lot to choose from,” the man pointed out.

“Or her name, because Root is just everything to me,” Shaw said in a tone that she never used when getting a tattoo before.

“Let’s get that heart off your sleeve and put it where it belongs,” the man said and assured Shaw he had all the information he needed now.

Shaw decided to put herself in his hands – literally.


Root didn’t realize how long something like this could take. After an hour, she was pacing back and forth, outside the room. “Should I knock?” she asked Martine who had joined her with Janine.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Martine expressed. “He’s probably in a zone right now and you don’t want to disturb that.”

“I bet it hurts; does it hurt?” Janine asked anxiously.

“Like hell,” Martine shared. “But Shaw will do fine.”

“I’ll kill him if he doesn’t do a good job,” Root said.

“Look at the canvas he’s got. I wouldn’t worry,” Janine suggested.

Then, the two women sat next to Root as they waited for Shaw to emerge.