Sharon stared after Andy as he left her office and shook her head, confused. She just could not work out what was going on with him today. He had been alternating between awkward and angry, with a large splash of morose thrown in for good measure. It was most unlike him and, frankly, it was beginning to worry her. His uncontrolled rage when dealing with their victim’s family had stunned her. It had been many, many months since she had seen him so wound up. Many months since her touch had been unable to calm him. That he refused to talk to her about it worried her further. She considered them to be friends by this point - particularly since his daughter’s wedding - and if she were honest with herself, his lack of communication stung a little.
Maybe she was overreacting. Maybe there really was nothing to tell. Provenza certainly wasn’t taking it seriously - although she had the distinct impression that he, too, had protested a little too much. Was he hiding the truth from her as well? She thought back to when Andy had been hovering outside her office earlier. Sharon could have sworn he was pouting as he stared forlornly through the glass at her - pouting. Andy Flynn. Honestly, what on earth could be upsetting him so much?
She wished she knew what he was really saying just now - or, more accurately, not saying. The reason he needed her tonight had absolutely nothing to do with ballet, of that she was positive. But if not that, then what? Because he did need her, of that she was absolutely certain. It was why she had agreed unequivocally to go with him, despite the discomfort of the situation.
The only alternative explanation that she could come up with was that it had something to do with her. Or, more accurately, them. Their relationship - such as it was. Which it wasn’t. Not really. Obviously they were friends, but it had never strayed beyond that - despite what either of them may have wanted.
Sharon shook her head again at that thought. No. That was ridiculous. A brief flash of desire in the heat of the moment after his daughter’s wedding did not constitute a romance. It didn’t even make it into the realms of a crush. Not really. It was simply an ill-advised kiss between friends as they had said goodnight. A moment of madness. Nothing at all. It had never been discussed again and nothing had ever come of it. They had simply continued as they had been before - close friends. Besides, he had his pick of thirty-something blondes. What on earth would he want with her? No. This had to be something else entirely.
She rested her head in her hands for a moment and sighed, contemplating Andy Flynn.
She had never had any such problems being just friends with a man before. Never getting too close. Never straying beyond boundaries or crossing lines. Never caring too much. The ambivalent nature of her platonic friendships was what made them possible. It was what made them safe.
But this man. Oh, if she were being completely honest with herself, she had never really been ‘just’ anything with this man. They had gone through loathing, hatred, loyalty and fierce protectiveness towards each other. Their friendship was more intense than any other she had ever known. But ambivalence? No, that had never factored into their relationship at all. When they fought, it was with a passion. She respected him fiercely. Trusted him completely. Loved him - in a purely platonic, friendly way - absolutely.
So… Maybe he did just want her there to talk about leotards, after all.
Sharon dropped her head to her desk with a thud, letting out a loud groan.
✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻
She was ready for his arrival at least ten minutes early. Pacing circles in her living room earned her a bemused look from Rusty, although she was too distracted to notice. The knock at the door startled Sharon when it finally came. She moved quickly to answer it, waving a quick goodbye to her foster son on the way, taking a deep breath before she pulled the door open to welcome Andy.
Sharon's greeting caught in her throat at the sight of him, handsome in his dark suit, an adorably awkward expression still gracing his attractive features.
Her eyes travelled upwards until they met his questioning gaze and her breath hitched as they stood in silence, contemplating each other.
She searched his dark eyes, not even really sure what she was looking for. Andy watched her silently, waiting, realising that she was seeking something from him. He stood tall as she studied him, opening himself up completely to her, hiding nothing from the piercing emerald gaze that seemed to be reaching into his very soul. He had been thinking about the earlier exchange in her office all afternoon - and he had come to a decision. If she really needed to see how he felt, if she did want to know what was really going on here, he wouldn’t lock it away. Not any more.
Everything around her seemed to stop as her eyes held his for a long moment.
Then suddenly, just like that, it hit her - and she knew.
She knew what he wanted.
She knew what she wanted.
She knew… It was the same thing.
Tentatively, maintaining eye contact the whole time, Sharon took a small step towards him. Then another.
Andy stood perfectly motionless, terrified that any movement now on his part would startle her, would halt whatever might be about to happen here. He was innately aware that he needed to be still and let her take the lead on this.
A small hand came up to rest against the lapel of his jacket, her slender fingers brushing lightly against the fabric. He released a slow breath as her other hand touched his face, fingertips ghosting across his skin as she traced the strong line of his jaw. Her eyes left his to watch the movement of her hand against his cheek and her heart began to beat faster as she studied him intently, as if really seeing him for the very first time. Andy couldn’t help it, his eyes closed involuntarily as her thumb ran softly across his mouth. He opened them again just in time to see her tongue dart out between her own lips, wetting them slightly as her eyes followed the path of her thumb. He released an unbidden low moan and her eyes flickered back up to meet his, reflecting the longing that he was acutely aware they held within them.
Sharon took a final step forwards, closing the minuscule gap that had existed between them. With her face tilted up to his, she ran a hand around to the back of his neck, threading her fingers through the short strands of hair at his collar. This close, he could smell her perfume and her shampoo, feel the heat of her through the layers of fabric that separated their bodies. The effect of her was intoxicating.
Achingly slowly, she leaned into him until finally - finally - she pressed her lips to his in a kiss that was so tender he was almost moved to tears, the softness of her lips moving against his leaving him breathless.
Then, he moved.
One hand rested at her waist as the other slid carefully into her hair to caress her neck. She hummed into the kiss as he ran his tongue slowly along her bottom lip before sucking it gently into his mouth. Sharon’s tongue darted out again, hesitantly begging entrance to his mouth. He parted his lips, allowing her tongue to slip through, moaning as she began a slow exploration of his mouth. He pulled her closer still, unable to get enough of her as her tongue danced with his and her fingers stroked his face tenderly.
Eventually, they broke apart, the need for air overcoming the need for each other, at least for now. They stood together, foreheads touching, their locked gaze conveying every emotion that mere words could not. Sharon smiled shyly up at him and he grinned back at her as he dropped a gentle kiss on the very tip of her nose.
Stepping back slightly, Andy held his arm out to her.
“Hungry?” he asked, his tone light and his dark eyes sparkling with unconcealed joy.
She laughed happily.
“Good.” They linked arms and began to move along the corridor, in the direction of the elevator. “Now,” Andy began conversationally. “About those leotards…”