“Hey Kid!” Bobby calls to you as you lean up against the hood of your cruiser, “Pickles and hot sauce? It’s the best, you know!”
“Uh sure, whatever you say, Bobby.” You absently look down Mass Ave toward HQ as Bobby completes your Falafel order from the food truck that is always parked in front of the MIT main building.
You and Bobby have a friendly lunch war going on about where you can get the best falafel, and the best shwarma rollups in the city. You have both agreed that you will need to do a whole lot of research to be sure. You smile. Today he’s buying. There is a frigid bite in the air this morning that has previously been missing and you could use something hot in your stomach right about now. You shift and wish for the tacky fake fur collar of your old uniform jacket as you wait for your lunch. Actually, what you really need right now is a nap. Pathetic! Although you hate to admit it, ever since your morning sickness subsided, exhaustion has been running you into the ground. You hate every single woman who seems to glow their way through pregnancy and talks about how fucking thrilling it is! And you hate that even though she is a thousand miles away, and still not really speaking to you, you can still hear your mother’s voice in your head berating you for showing any signs of weakness. You hate it that you are sure she would tell you Peck women are never exhausted, or overly emotional, and if they do suffer from morning sickness or swollen ankles, or the like, that they never succumb to allowing it to effect their performance or outward appearance. You really wish you could talk to Traci about this, but that would mean telling her about your condition, and then your little secret would be out. You can’t even begin to think about how your parents will react when they find out you screwed up again, but you know it won’t be pretty! You are fairly sure they will insist on you coming home, which is, of course, the very last thing you intend to do right now.
Fortunately for you, at seventeen weeks, you still haven’t really begun to show yet. Sure, you’ve gained about eight pounds, and two pants sizes, but most people have yet to notice. You blush as you recall Holly walking up behind you as you got out of the shower this morning and tenderly running her hands over the gentle swell beginning to form in your belly while kissing the back of your neck. You close your eyes and allow yourself to enjoy the memory for just a moment.
“Yo! Peck!” Bobby bumps you with his shoulder, waking you from your reverie. He hands you your sandwich. “I said Cambridge PD called, there has been a development in the Hubbard case.”
“And?” You glare at him as you take a bite of falafel.
“And you’re the one with the keys. So… unless you want me to drive…” He answers.
“That’s ok, Bobby, I’ll drive.” You start to move toward the car door, “We’re supposed to be making the streets of Cambridge a safer place, remember?” You give him your best ironic smile.
He just grunts at you as he climbs into the passenger side of the car.
“So, uh, Katherine wanted to be sure that I asked you about what you’re doing for Thanksgiving and the holidays.” Bobby begins in between bites of his sandwich.
“I donno.” You shrug, “I kinda assumed I’d be working.”
“Even if you are,” He continues, with a shrug and a quick smirk, “She wants you to stop by. Have a meal with us. Ya know?”
“Oh. Ok. I’ll think about it.” You reply.
You have only met Bobby’s wife twice, and she has always made a bit of a fuss over you. It’s weird, but you like her. She seems so sweet, but you can tell that she isn’t someone to be taken lightly. In fact, you’re pretty sure that for all of her warmth, she has a core of pure steel.
“She wants you to know that you should bring your friend Holly with you too, if you want.” Bobby says.
You feel your heart stop for just a second, and try not to react, but you feel the heat rising up from your collar, into your ears. Damn pale skin! You see him smiling smugly at you out of the corner of your eye.
“She seems to make you happy. It’s nice. Katherine says she wants to meet her.” He continues guilelessly.
“Ok.” You nervously lick your lips, “I’ll ask her.”
“Alright then.” He looks way too fucking smug. “I’ll let Katherine know.”
You roll your eyes at him. You and Holly have been hanging out for just about eight weeks, and officially dating, or something, for almost half of that time. You haven’t really told anyone but Traci about her, yet. It isn’t that you are ashamed of being with a woman or freaked out about what anyone will think, Holly is awesome! And you know that! Heck, your friends and family will probably like her better than they like you! It’s just that this relationship is so new, so different, and so much more serious than any other relationship you have ever had, you want to keep it close, to protect it before you begin sharing it with the world. And then there is that whole bit about how they will want to meet her, and then you would probably have to explain everything else. Nope. Not anytime soon!
You pull into a parking spot right in front of the Cambridge Police Station entrance on Sixth Ave. and turn off your car. Bobby makes no move to get out, continuing to eat his lunch in a relaxed manner and licking the sauce from his fingers.
“What?!” Bobby cocks an eyebrow at you, “I’m gonna finish my lunch before we go inside. Cuz I ain’t sharin’ it with Donny!” He grins wickedly.
You laugh and relax, taking a minute to eat in companionable silence. As you enter the station Sergeant Kent is waiting for you, nervously pacing back and forth in the front hallway.
“It took the two of you long enough.” He grunts at you as a greeting before taking off in the direction of his office at a fast pace.
You glance at Bobby who merely shrugs at you and begins to walk. You follow them into an office where there is a war room laid out on this case. There are maps, and schedules, and photos of the kid, and of his friends and housemates. Holly was right, he received a blunt force trauma to the back and left side of his neck before falling from the roof of the Harvard Science labs building.
“Ok, we’re here Donny, what’s going on?” Bobby begins.
Kent whirls around to fix you with what you can only assume to be his “hard cop stare”. Having grown up with Elaine Peck, you are hardly impressed.
“Before I begin, I just want to make sure we are all on the same page.” He looks you up and down in a way you are sure would make any rookie crap their pants.
Good thing you’re not one. You wait, trying not to look as board and annoyed as you feel, and failing.
“Homeland security is all over this case, and the kid’s gazillionare parents had lunch with the Governor two days ago, so I just need to make sure you two won’t screw it up.” He glares harder at you.
You can feel Bobby folding his arms and shifting impatiently next to you.
“Mr. Hubbard and his roommate, Jonathan Holt, were working on a video game involving real time combat simulation. We will be interviewing him, but we need you to track down his class schedule, and anyone else he might have spent time with. Any questions?”
“Just one.” You say blithely, “Are you gonna eat that?”
You point to a bag of Mexican cheese flavored chips on his desk. You feel Bobby repress a snicker.
“What?!” Kent snaps at you.
“Cuz you know, if you’re not…” You whisk it from his desk and crack it open, popping a chip into your mouth. Chewing loudly, you lazily lean forward and pluck the folder Sergeant Kent is holding from his hands. “Thanks for the chips, Donny!”
You execute a perfect Elaine Peck smile, turn on your heel and stride from his office in the direction of your car. Bobby catches up with you as you are standing on the steps overlooking the street.
“Chip?” You tilt the bag at him with a grin.
“Don’t mind if I do.” He plucks a chip from the bag with a laugh. “How did you get to be so dangerous?”
“I learned from the best.” You shrug with a smirk. “Shall we?”
You hand the case file folder to Bobby and fish for your car keys.
You hear your door rattle and the sounds of Holly coming into your apartment, as you are vegging out on your couch after a grueling day of chasing down leads. You weren’t expecting her, but you’re glad she’s here. The re-run of NCIS that you aren’t really watching, goes mindlessly on as you hear her rummaging in your kitchen. Your stomach growls, but you don’t have the energy to get up and do anything about it. Finally, the noise in your kitchen behind you stops, and you hear her quietly pad in your direction. You tilt your head up expectantly, and sure enough, warm lips graze your forehead before she makes her way around to join you on the couch.
“Hey beautiful!” She sighs softly as she comes to rest beside you.
You blush and look at your hands. Nobody has ever made you feel this way. When she calls you beautiful or looks at you with such open adoration it makes you strangely bashful.
“Hey.” Your lips turn up in a tiny smile as you look at her sideways.
Her smile gets bigger. She reaches out to cup your chin, forcing you to look at her as she leans in to kiss you. You melt into her lips, the tension of the day draining from you as her body presses closer. What began soft and slow, quickly picks up speed as hands and tongues explore the ever-increasing expanse of skin that is quickly becoming exposed. Your hips roll into hers in time with your kisses, pulling her on top of you as you both gasp for air. Her glasses get discarded along with her shirt. Your empty stomach chooses to protest with a loud squirk, just as you impatiently fumble with the clasp of her bra. She laughs softly into your mouth
“Gail!” She sits up suddenly, smirking breathlessly at you, “We should either take this into the bedroom, or get up and get something to eat.”
Your stomach rumbles embarrassingly again.
“Ok, I think that’s our answer! This, “ She eyes you up and down with a wolfish grin, “Will keep!”
“Holly!” You whine at her, giving her your most pathetic, pleading, puppy dog pout.
“Nope!” She laughs, jumping off the couch and tugging at your hands, “Not gonna happen!"
“But baby…” You whine again, using a pet name this time to try to get your way.
“I know I’m hungry, so I can’t imagine what that raging beast you call your stomach must be feeling right now!” She teases, “I know that there is either Chinese food or a burger out there somewhere with your name on it! Now come on! Move!”
She tugs at your hands.
“If you really loved me, you would call that place and have pizza slipped under the door.” You continue to pout, unsuccessfully.
“No.” She smiles at you with raised eyebrows. “If we have pizza take out for the third time this week, I’m going to make you run an extra five miles with me in the morning!”
“You wouldn’t do that to me in my condition!” You try to sound indignant, but you can tell by the look on her face that you aren’t quite pulling it off.
“What condition is that? Lazy?” She scoffs. “You know you are going to have to change your terrible eating habits when the baby is born. Better to start now!” She pokes playfully at you. “And, for somebody who likes to eat as much as you do, your kitchen is a wasteland! I could be cooking for you right now if we were at mine. Leftover Pad Thai from God knows when, half a jug of milk, three lemons, and a six pack of my favorite beer does not dinner make!”
She rattles off the meager contents of your refrigerator, much to your chagrin.
“Fine!” You grumble, and glare at her, finally getting up, “But you’re paying!”
She laughs as she buttons her shirt and nudges your legs with her toes, “Come on Lazy bones! Let’s go!”
You are lying on your back in bed, staring into the darkness at the ceiling fan rotating slowly, in the night. Light from the city leaks in through the shades and the building hums with the white noise of whatever large apartment buildings such as this make at night, of temperature control systems, and elevators, and plumbing, and so many people going about their lives in one vertical tight space. Holly snuggles closer, pressing her nose into your neck.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Holly whispers.
“What?” You thought she was asleep.
“What are you thinking?” She mumbles into your skin with a sigh.
“I donno. Nothing.” You reply softly, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you up.”
“You’re not really. I just noticed you’re still awake.” She reaches up, tracing your cheek with her hand.
“Bobby’s wife wants to know what I’m doing for their Thanksgiving and for the holidays.” You tell her.
You feel your heart beating loudly in the silence that follows. You don’t know why you’re so nervous, except talking about doing something for the holidays with Holly makes everything suddenly more real somehow.
“Ok…” She prompts you. You take a deep breath. You haven’t talked much about the nature of your relationship after your admission of love on the Cape. You know that things have been progressing, but you don’t want to push, to accidently screw things up.
After a minute you continue, “She wants you to come too.”
“Oh.” She says quietly, “What did you tell him?”
“I told him I would ask you.” You admit. “So… I’m asking. What are you doing for the holidays?”
“Well,” She says carefully, “I don’t have any Thanksgiving plans. And since I have a four-day weekend, I was going to ask if you had any time off because I would love spend it with you!”
There is a warm feeling spreading in your chest. You feel your heart swell as tears spring to your eyes. Damn emotional hormones! You are becoming a giant sap!
“I was planning to go home for the week of Christmas,” She continues, “But now, now I don’t know…”
“Why?” You can’t help asking.
“I will miss my family, but I don’t want you to be here by yourself.” She says softly. “I know that you already volunteered to work.”
“Bobby has a big mouth!” You grumble.
“Yeah, well, he worries about you. And I do too!” She admits. “And besides, I want to be with you!”
“You do?” You are surprised by the emotion in her voice.
“Of course I do! Silly!” Her arms tighten around you as she says this.
“Because you know, you don’t have to…” You say bravely, “I would be ok… And I will be working besides…”
“Gail,” She interrupts, “Right now I hate every single person who made you feel like you weren’t worth it!”
Silent tears spill helplessly down your cheeks as she says this. You can’t believe you get to be this lucky! You draw a shaky breath as she smoothes your cheeks with her thumbs and leans in to kiss you.
“They’re all fools!” She murmurs into your lips. “You are so fucking wonderful, Gail, and if they can’t see that they are just cruel, cruel idiots!”
Her eyes search yours intensely in the dim light. You suppress a sob, melting into her as her lips meet yours again, kissing you deeply. Yup. So very lucky!