John sighed in relief as he came into his apartment and dropped his stuff on the first empty surface he found. It had been a long week. Tough cases, long hours, and things between him and Maldonado had been really tense and awkward for some reason. He had caught her staring at him from her office twice, and that was only on Tuesday. Then he had stared at her so hard during roll call on Wednesday morning that he nearly blanked when Dorian asked him a question. They were bumping into each other as they left meeting rooms, and they’d nearly run over each other twice coming back from the coffee machine.
He had invited her out for a drink tonight to see if they couldn’t get themselves back on track.
John checked his watch; and he was going to be late for that meeting if he didn’t hurry up.
Still he took at least ten minutes to find a good pair of pants, and to make sure his leg was fully charged; and it was around the time he was trying to find a shirt that he thought looked nice that he started to wondered what the heck was wrong with him. He was meeting Sandra of all people she didn’t give a damn what he looked like. Why was he even worrying about this? Still he picked out the green shirt Sandra had complemented him on wearing on Monday and went to fix his hair. When his hair was combed back and flat he realized what he was doing and dropped his comb like it had burned him. Why was he doing all this? He hadn’t worried about looking this good since his dinner with Samantha and that was a date and this was not, was it?
No, absolutely not he had not asked Sandra on a date tonight. It was just a drink with a friend. She was buddy Sandra, boss Sandra. They had known each other for more than fifteen years and he had never considered her romantically before.
Was that why things had been different this week then? With all the little glances they were giving each other was he considering her like that after all this time? No, no he wasn’t John told himself firmly. He was a romantic and when Officer Reynolds wasn’t grilling him about it he was willing to admit that. Falling in love with one of your co-workers, especially a higher ranked co-worker, was not romantic. Besides she fit none of his dating criteria…well except for being a brunette and having brown eyes, and being soulful and smarter than him and…
Oh man he was in big trouble.
Despite spending extra time freshening up and then spending even more time kicking himself for worrying about trying to look nice John arrived before Sandra and took a seat at the bar, keeping the one seat next to him available for her and smiling when she came in.
“Hey, sorry I’m late traffic was heavy.”
“It’s all right I ordered for us though.”
“Great, you look good John.”
“Thanks,” he muttered, still embarrassed that he’d put so much effort into something so ridiculous.
She took off her jacket and draped it over the back of her chair. John watched her sit down, watched the way her dress moved along her body. The way her eyes lit up as she smiled and held up her glass.
John touched his glass against hers and sipped his drink, and then twisted his half empty glass in his hands.
Him and Sandra it seemed weird to even think about it. But there was no denying she was attractive, and they had been friends for a long time so he knew they had things in common. But did his feelings really mean anything or was he just playing it safe, because he already knew he could trust her? That she wasn’t a horrible mistake like getting involved with Anna had been. Then John thought about the fact that Sandra was his boss and there was nothing safe about that for a relationship.
“You’re awfully quiet, John.”
“Just thinking about some things.”
“Anything you want to talk about?” she asked softly, her eyes looking at him with concern.
John opened his mouth to speak and then snapped it shut when no words came out. How could he explain that he wanted to take this great friendship and working relationship they had and ruin it? But he couldn’t just let it go and have them trying not to spill hot coffee on each other forevermore.
Sandra frowned when John remained silent. “John, I know things have been off with us the last couple of days, but you can talk to me about anything you know that.”
He did know that. She knew him, really knew him, like no one else did. She cared about him and he knew he cared about her too, deeply.
It was then John saw her hand outstretched on the bar and took a chance. He reached out and put his hand over top of hers, curling his fingers around her palm and pressing down gently. All the while keeping his eyes locked on hers.
The move was bold, but then John was nothing if not bold.
Sandra’s response was softer, but still intense. She relaxed her hand under his grip and slowly moved her fingers until they intertwined with his.
John let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.
“So…so this is mutual huh?” he asked.
She smiled and moved her fingers further along his so she could squeeze them tightly.
John let his eyes wander to their hands, clasped together on the bar for the whole world to see. He started running his thumb along the edge of one of her brightly painted nails and started thinking about all the ways he was going to screw this up.
“Sandra, I can’t promise anything-”
She cut him off. “And I don’t want you to, John. This,” she held up their hands, “is a potential minefield of problems we both know that. So we go slow, take it day by day and today I just want to enjoy what we have, okay?”
John could do that.
“Okay,” he said, and finished off his drink with his free hand.