Charlie had one of those looks about him while he stood beside the kitchen island staring at the bowl of fruit as if willing it to tell him the secrets of the universe. Dani had seen it before and she's sure she'll see it again. It's the look that shows he's not in the moment. He's where the past might swallow him whole. That if he concentrates hard enough, he hopes the answer will come to him and it will be good and take the taste of bad from his mouth.
Dani is across the counter from him and it might as well be across the universe on an obscure planet where everything is white noise and too far distance or an orange grove taking one last look before everything's over. Where are you at, right now? she wonders. Where do you go when you're right beside me?
"Crews," she says, voice soft but loud in the silence of his kitchen. She can almost feel her voice echo off the bare walls.
"Yeah?" he asks, but the corners of his eyes are still tight and his mouth pinched.
"Are you here?"
"Yeah," he shrugs, doubt in his words, not making any attempt to look at her or move.
Thought so. She frowns and looks around for a miracle. She's not good at things like this. She's not good with the right thing to say, the right thing to do. But she knows him. He's been her partner for two years. Her eyes stop at the bowl of fruit.
"Would you be here for a mango?" she asks reaching for one. "You could even peel it with that knife of yours."
That does it. Charlie smiles at last, switching off from that other place and sliding back into the present.
"I thought you said that I shouldn't use that knife. It's not department regulated," he's trying for serious, but the twinkle in his eye is reassuring.
"That was a long time ago and last I check, you're house is not the department," Dani shrugs. "Of course, I could just eat this mango myself."
"I didn't think you like mangoes," he says studying her and reaching for the bowl just in case she's decided to have an uncharacteristic child-like grab for the lot that would deprive him of the tangy, sweet goodness. He's probably just projecting though. Anyone who throws oranges at people certainly wouldn't be above such thoughts.
Dani shrugs, fighting a smile and thinks it just might be okay.