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Connections

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Root may have played firewoman rescue all night, but there was the smell of real smoke in the morning as the smoke alarm went off downstairs. The couple rushed into the kitchen to see if everything was alright. Well, Shaw rushed; Root sauntered after her.

“Are you okay?” Shaw asked Isabelle, her tone laden with concern.

“Oh, yes,” she said fanning the smoke out the window. “I wasn’t paying attention and burned the toast.”

“Oh, good,” Shaw said and was afraid they’d have to go out for breakfast.

“Speaking of hot smoke,” Root said coyly, sitting down at the counter; her top teeth over her bottom lip. “I’m surprised the smoke alarms didn’t go off last night with the four alarm fire we started.”

Root was quite proud of her latest fantasy and was realizing she really enjoyed uniforms. Sameen just stared at her, hoping to discourage the sharing of private information.

“Root!” Sameen warned.

“I think I saw singe marks on the sheets,” Root continued, unfazed.

Next, Sameen tried to say her name through clenched teeth; “ROOT!” but it was just as ineffective.

Unaware of her boss’ innuendos, Isabelle brought over two plates for the couple. She placed one with fruit and a small bowl of steel cut oatmeal down in front of Shaw. The woman stared at it as if she were solving a mystery. “What the hell is that?”

“Oh, sorry,” the chef said and took the plate back and switched it with Root’s. Finally, the scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and pancakes were in front of Shaw.

“Are you okay?” Shaw asked because the woman had just scared her.

“It’s this news!” Isabelle confessed. “I shouldn’t watch it because it upsets me.”

“What is it?” Root asked.

“Another shoot-out of some kind in Grand Central,” Isabelle reported. “Two men went into an office there and were involved in a gun fight!”

“No!” Root said, smiling because she knew the machine had altered the facts.

“It’s some kind of Software Company, they said, but these hooligans…”

“Hooligans?” Shaw interrupted her. “No one says hooligans.”

Undaunted, the chef continued: “Well, it’s better than the word I’m thinking of.”

“What? Ruffians?” Shaw teased her as she shoved pancakes in her mouth.

“Anyway, it was a big to do and the police were there and even fire engines were sent because canisters of …what is that called?”

“2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile,” Root answered because they were hers.

“Tear gas?” Shaw answered in English.

“Oh, you saw the story already,” Isabelle said, sorry to waste their time.

“You could say that,” Root smiled.

“Well, I’m just glad to see the two of you had a night off from work and were out enjoying yourselves,” the chef added, pointing to the picture of them in the New York Times.

“We do look like we’re enjoying ourselves,” Root confirmed.

Shaw looked at the picture and then at Root; who shrugged her shoulders and smiled. But Shaw was annoyed at pointed to the image of Martine standing behind them, watching.

“Tell your machine; I do the protecting; I don’t need protecting,” Shaw explained, even though the entire picture was fabricated.

Just then, Isabelle’s phone rang and she excused herself. The couple finished eating, but could hear the woman speaking sternly into the phone. Then, they noticed that she seemed upset when she hung up.

“Are you okay?” Root asked.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Just my neighbor. He’s a terrible nuisance,” Isabelle shared.

“What kind of nuisance?” Shaw asked.

“Nothing to be concerned about,” Isabelle smiled, but didn’t meant it.

“Oh, is this your neighbor… Anne something?” Shaw asked and Root was surprised Sameen knew any of Isabelle’s neighbors.

“Anne? No, she’s on the other side of me. This is Francis, the man on the other side,” Isabelle corrected the woman who was guessing.

“Oh, got it,” Shaw said.


The couple went into the entryway where Bear was sitting with a child’s size Fire Chief hat on his head. Shaw’s head snapped back to stare at Root. Root’s head and shoulders swayed as she tried to explain that it was the only way to keep him away last night while he heard yelling coming from the bedroom.

“Maybe someday you can play something that has no assistant position,” Shaw theorized as they got on the elevator.

Shaw indicating that she was giving thought to their next game sent a tingling sensation throughout Root’s body. “So, you’re saying… someday,” she all but giggled.

Thinking her fiancée was asking her, Shaw added; “Yeah, maybe something that doesn’t need a uniform,” Shaw thought out loud on a topic she had given little thought to. “Like a principal or ….,” Shaw was talking without thinking.

“OH MY GOD!” Root squealed as the elevator door opened. Her dream of Shaw actively participating in the planning was coming true. Root floated through the open door. “That’s a great idea!” Root called back.

Shaw then realized what she had just started. Root was practically talking to herself as she thought of all the possibilities. “Oh, brother,” Shaw groaned as she followed Root.

Then, Bear chimed in.

“I know there are assistant principals,” she barked at the canine who pointed out the flaw in her suggestion.


Outside the building, Root started to walk in the direction of work, but Sameen pulled her back. “Where are we going?” Root asked.

“We’re going to visit Frankie,” Shaw smiled smugly, happy that she got the information out of Isabelle.

“Oh,” Root said, “… you are so clever.”

“I know,” Shaw replied as they got in the car with Bear.

A little while later, the couple pulled up in front of Isabelle’s home. Shaw watched until she saw a man coming out of the house next door. “Who is that guy?” Shaw asked and Root immediately typed in the address and came up with the information.

“Professor at NYU of Music; 54 years old; never married; owns an original Stradivarius violin,” Root reported.

Shaw had all the information she needed. Root followed her as she jumped out of her car. “Hey, Professor,” Shaw called out and waved.

The stern looking man stopped and stared. “Do I know you?” he asked, wondering if the attractive woman was a student.

“No, and you don’t want to know me,” Shaw smiled so convincingly, he thought he misunderstood.

“What can I do for you?” he asked, now staring at Root.

“Eyes here, Professor,” Shaw corrected him. “Every morning I wake up to the most wonderful breakfasts,” she began and the man looked at her strangely.

“I mean, the most mouthwatering pancakes and eggs and. Anyway, you get my point,” Shaw segued.

“I don’t, actually,” the man confessed.

“Well, the thing is this, Frankie; can I call you that?” Shaw asked and didn’t care.

“I’d rather you didn’t,” he attempted to answer.

“But this morning, Frankie, they were the tiniest bit off,” Shaw shared.

“Really?” Root asked because Sameen hadn’t said anything.

“Yes, Root, they were. I didn’t to complain,” Shaw explained. “Anyway, the reason I know this, Frankie is because I eat them every day. And, get this, she burnt the toast,” she said, tapping the man on his arm like they were old friends.

“I don’t see how this has anything to do with me,” the Professor professed.

“My chef is your neighbor,” Shaw said, getting very close now.

“Good!” the man exclaimed. “Then maybe you can tell her to keep her car in front of her house and not in my driveway!” To make his point, he pointed to the car.

Root looked at the space configuration and then Shaw looked at it. Isabelle’s car wasn’t even close to encroaching on his driveway.

“Oh, I get it,” Shaw said after inspecting the spot. “You’re just one of those grumpy old people who like to make trouble for people.”

“I am nothing of the sort,” he protested.

“Okay, let’s show you what we mean,” Shaw said, grabbing him by his collar and dragging him to the end of his driveway. “See that spot? That’s where your driveway ends, Frankie. See where your neighbor’s car is? It’s like two feet away. You have plenty of room to pull in and out without an issue,” Shaw told him.

“Unhand me,” he demanded, but Shaw pulled him closer instead.

“She does have a point,” Root affirmed.

“I don’t want you ruining any more breakfasts for me, Professor. So, stop bothering Isabelle. Or we’ll publish those picture of you and your student,” Shaw smiled. "You know the naked ones… with the Stradivarius.”

“You don’t have any such pictures,” he protested, but Shaw could hear the tremor in his voice.

“You don’t want to test me, teach,” Shaw said.

“You don’t,” Root repeated.

“Fine!” he said because Shaw took a lucky guess and nailed it.

“Good, now when Isabelle comes home, I think a nice bouquet of flowers and a bottle of scotch would do for an apology,” Shaw suggested and saluted him as she walked away with Root.

“I don’t think Isabelle drinks scotch,” Root said, getting into the car.

“That’s for me for having to take care of her lame ass neighbors,” Shaw explained.


The couple arrived at work where Shaw checked in on Martine. She was hobbling around on crutches until she finally threw them down in the corner.

“How are you doing, Rousseau?” Shaw asked.

“I have to stay off it a couple of days,” Martine said in disgust.

“Hey, you did good last night,” Shaw whispered.

“Thanks,” her fellow security staff member said. Shaw could hear how annoyed the woman was at herself for getting nicked by Lambert.

“No!” Janine yelled coming up behind them.

“Oh, oh,” Shaw uttered as Janine picked them both up.

“The doctor said no weight on that foot. Hi, Shaw. Are you okay? Would it be okay if I spent the morning helping Martine?” Janine asked.

“Well, I…,” Shaw said, caught between her two friends. The wide eyed look on Martine told Shaw that she wanted her to say no. The puppy dog pleading eyes on Janine told her to say yes. “Well … you should … really ask…,” Shaw was stammering.

And Sameen would have stood there stuttering if she hadn’t heard her name being called over the company loud speaker -

Will Miss Shaw please report to the Principal’s Office immediately,” the female voice said.

And it wasn’t Root’s.

“The what?” Martine asked, confused.

“We don’t have one of those,” Janine felt it important to point out.

“I don’t… think… I think it meant Prin-ci-pal, as in a principal officer of the company,” Shaw coughed as her eyes closed in embarrassment.

“Oh yeah, sure,” Martine nodded trying to appear nonchalant.

“Didn’t that sound like school to you?” Janine was asking as Martine grabbed her and the crutches and nudged the woman towards her cubicle.

“I’m going to kill her,” Shaw said, thinking Root’s games had just gotten out of hand.