The peace of the orange grove was shattered by the sounds of sirens before Dani had the chance to close the distance between herself and Crews. He stood there, smiling at her and she couldn’t help but return the grin, even as Bodner sat in his minivan, shaking his head and Tidwell leapt out of a car, followed by Starke and a woman Dani assumed to be Crews’ temporary partner.
Everyone was talking fast, asking questions, doing their jobs…Dani found it all a little intrusive, but somehow she couldn’t shake off that moment of peaceful silence and allowed Tidwell and the EMT’s to bundle her off into an ambulance and off to the hospital. Kevin didn’t stop fussing over her for the entire ride, irritating the medics and Dani finally spoke, assuring him that she was okay.
For some reason, that didn’t seem to soothe him and Dani was sorry for that. He was a good guy, probably the nicest guy she’d dated in…heck, maybe ever. But they weren’t right for each other.
At the hospital, after being checked out, she sat in an exam room, listening to the sounds of everything happening in the halls. People were crying, doctors and nurses talking and she could hear Tidwell on the phone with someone. After being kept in the dark, basically alone, for so long, it all seemed to be too much.
When Crews slipped through the door, she let out a breath she hadn’t been aware she was holding. He’d lost his jacket and tie along the way and the sleeves of his sky blue shirt were rolled up over his forearms. Usually, Crews was a source of constant noise, an inane stream of information constantly bubbling forth from his lips as though he would explode if forced to keep it in.
Today, however, he was a point of peace in the storm around her.
Their eyes met across the small room and she reached for him, as she had in the orchard. Here, there was no one to deny them the comfort and Charlie stepped to her side, gently clasping her hand in his own. She looked down, saw his long, pale fingers intertwined with her own and smiled as the cacophony seemed to fade into the background.
“Do you remember what you asked me, at our first crime scene?” she asked him, the seeming non-sequitor making him blink then smile. Usually, he was the one to toss out the off hand comments.
“Of course.” His reply was simple, ‘cause they really didn’t need to say more. When he’d found the finger the little boy’s dog had torn from one of the men responsible for his death and took a bullet for the child, Crews had asked her if anyone had ever loved her that much.
Back then, she would have replied no. But that was then and this is now.
“Yes,” she murmured softly, speaking aloud what she had known since the moment Roman had kidnapped her…possibly even before that. Charlie would trade his life for hers. He’d done just that, but somehow he’d survived. Without having to ask him, she knew Roman had not.
Without saying a word, he raised their joined hands an pressed his lips to the back of her hand. In turn, she leaned forwards and kissed the freckled skin presented to her. When their hands dropped, they remained together, brow to brow, breathing each others air.
Dani let her eyes flutter closed. It was over. Crews was here and they were both safe and alive.
They were together.
As it should be.