Chapter 1: L is for the way you look at me.
(I own nothing but my own imagination and rarely that, as it seems to be more in control of me than I am of it)
L is for the way you look at me.
He was watching her, she knew he was watching her, and he knew she knew. That was the game. It was getting to her as he continued to stare. Her finger tips had turned white as they gripped the desk and her pen was jabbing holes in the form.
She was going to crack first. He knew she was. He was going to make her look up.
"What?" she said, but her eyes never left the paperwork in front of her.
"What, what?" he said biting his cheek to keep from smiling. Not that she could see even if he did, stubborn woman refused to look at him.
"You're staring again"
"Are too" paper work forgotten, the pen lay still in her hand, but her gaze was burning holes in the desk, so determined not to give him the satisfaction of distracting her.
"D2?" he asked innocently.
She caved and glared at him.
"What?" her eyebrow arched and her gaze held his, not looking at all amused.
"R2D2" he shrugged "geddit?".
"Seriously? That's …" she struggled to find the word, still glaring at him.
"Genius?" he offered smiling.
"Pathetic" she decided, smiling herself as the mirth fell from his face and he pouted.
Then the thought struck him. His arms shot straight above his head and he yelled "I WIN!"
She jumped slightly at the shriek before rounding on him. "I wasn't aware we were playing a game, how do you win?"
"I made you look up from all…that" he gestured to the mound of paperwork on her desk "therefore I. WIN!"
He sat back smirking.
She pursed her lips, rolled her eyes and returned to her form.
"You know" she said, eyes glued to the form but her tone indicating playfulness
"There was a much quicker way of making me look up.".
She carried on writing, knowing she had his attention,
waiting for him to cave and ask her.
He tried not to, he really did, for all of 5 seconds, before he gave up.
"Oh really" he said leaning in closer so his elbows rested on the corner of her desk "and what would that be? Just for future reference.".
She took a deep breath. Now or never.
"You could just tell me you love me again.".
As his jaw dropped, she bit her lip to hold in the smile.
Chapter 2: O is for the only one I see.
Laying the scalpel down, and whipping off her gloves, she rounded on the phone, and read the text.
Mom and dad are fighting! Get up here u wana c this. Jx
A few minutes later she strode through the eerily empty desk area completely confused. Then she heard the yelling. Following the voices she rounded a corner and spotted 'mom and dad' in full swing of a very loud argument, in the middle of the break room, unaware they were being watched by nearly every person in the precinct.
She spotted the boys, looking very awkward yet completely engrossed, leaning off to one side of the break room.
The argument raged on.
She made her way over to them, as she went talking very loudly, making several of the on lookers jump.
"I suggest that unless you want to end up on my slab in the very near future, you all move it along before my girl sees you watching her!" the majority of people snapped back to their senses and left quickly, one or two stuck around looking at her incredulously before she said "You know she carries a gun right?".
That left just the three of them. She leant in between the two boys, pretty much out of sight of the two locked in heated battle, but maintaining a perfect view of all that was happening.
"What in the hell?" she stage whispered waving her arm in the direction of the break room.
"Err…" Ryan's gaze flickered from her to his partner and back to the argument, before he shrugged.
They were still raging at each other, only it had gotten much quieter, there was a lot of gesticulating, stomping feet and angry glares.
"Javier Esposito, you tell me what in the hell is going on before I use the heel of my shoe to break your toe!" she glared up at him menacingly "you know I'll do it!". she raised her foot over his.
"Apparently" he started, glaring back at her "Your girl there, remembers what was said to her after she got shot.". He smirked at her, expecting her to beg him to tell her what had been remembered. Only she didn't.
Her eyes snapped wide and her mouth fell open before she blurted out
"She told him she remembers!" A wide smile spread across her face.
"You knew?" Esposito almost shouted, catching himself quickly, glancing into the break room to make sure he hadn't given himself away. She would shoot him as much as anyone else if she caught him eavesdropping.
"Who are you talking to here Esposito?" she said grinning at him, he was about to reply when the volume level suddenly increased again.
"WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST TELL ME YOU HEARD ME?"
"I WASN'T READY THEN!"
Lanie's hands shot out and grabbed hold of each of the boys upper arms in a death grip.
"Then! She said then!" she looked at both of the men, back and forth squeezing their arms with a ferocity that shouldn't have been capable by such a tiny woman, she squeezed harder still "Tell me you heard her say then".
"God! Lanie!" Ryan said shaking her off "Yes I heard her say then". He rubbed his upper arm muttering under his breath.
The atmosphere in the break room had clearly changed, tension oozed through the walls and out into the hall where the three of them stood frozen.
He stalked towards her, captured her upper arms in his hands and forced her to look at him by giving her an infinitesimal shake.
"Are you saying you're ready now?". His voice was barely audible, full of pain and hope.
She whipped her arms up, breaking his hold and shoving him hard in the chest, so he stumbled backwards, in some self defence move she had clearly mastered years ago.
Lanie's one handed squeeze increased, her eyes glued to the window of the break room.
The hope was fading fast from his eyes, she had to act quickly. Striding towards him, forcing him back against the wall, she poked him in the chest.
"No" she said " I am not saying I'm ready now" His eyes fell, until her hand found his cheek. "I'm showing you I'm ready now". She closed the distance between them, and pressed her lips softly to his.
A loud squeal broke the silence before Lanie clapped a hand over her mouth. She looked to the boys for help only to see their backs disappear around the corner as they all but ran from her.
She turned sheepishly back to look into the break room again. Her friend hadn't moved from the embrace but her head hung forward, eyes shut, lips pursed. Hopefully suppressing a smile. He wasn't suppressing anything, he was full on grinning at her through the window.
Lanie smiled, waggled her fingers at him, but didn't move.
She heard her friend draw a ragged breath.
"I'm still wearing my gun Lanie." she called menacingly through the window.
"I'm Going" she called back. She glanced at them once more, as their eyes found each other again. Then she turned on her heel and walked away smiling.
Chapter 3: V is very, very… extraordinary.
"People are staring!". her eyes were on her paper work. Tucked safely back behind her desk, having done somewhat of a walk of shame only minutes before. Though she had kept her head high, now she was sitting down she suddenly felt very self conscious. Maybe it was because she was so much shorter than everyone else when sitting.
"They are not.". he was leaning forward in his chair watching her as usual but happily letting his eyes flick around the room, taking in all the casually leaning, obviously staring, police officers and detectives.
"They are." she hissed not looking up "People are staring, I can tell, I can feel their eyes on me.". she gave a small shudder before glancing around.
"No you cant.". He stated sitting back in his chair.
"How would you know?".
"Hello, famous!" he scoffed pointing to himself.
She made a noise under her breath that sounded a lot like pfft.
"Don't mock my fame.". he said with fake indignation. "It comes in very handy."
Her head snapped up and she laughed in his face.
"Its good for getting bumped to the head of a line in restaurants.".
"Mmmhmmm, life changing!". she said sarcastically, distracted enough from the prying eyes to actually return to the forms. He smiled pleased with himself.
"I get sent very cool free stuff.". he continued.
She carried on writing. Not looking up at him anymore.
Ah the game was back on.
"Yes, who doesn't love free stuff.". The pen began tapping as she re read what she had just written.
"It was very good," he said leaning further forward, his finger dancing patterns across the desk,
"For manipulating people in positions of authority,"
The pen stopped tapping as she registered his tone of voice, she didn't move anything other than her eyes, flicking them in his direction briefly before setting her lips and repressing the smile.
"Into letting me follow certain members of the NYPD around our fine city."
His finger traced one last circle around her left hand before trailing its way along her little finger.
"Mmmm" she agreed turning her head towards him. She glanced around, her eyes flicked above his head briefly, before she leaned further forward. Their faces inches apart across the desk. His finger, whilst still trailing lazy patterns, was getting bolder and now moving freely across the back of her hand.
" Very delightful members of the NYPD, I might add'
"Hear that Esposito?".
She was smiling over his shoulder at the two detectives standing behind him looking a little queasy
"Someone thinks you're delightful!".
"Didn't know you cared bro!".
He dropped a file on her desk, his eyes scrunched in feigned confusion. He nodded to his partner
"You wana…?". He tilted his head indicating escape.
"Err…" Ryan's eyes flicked between the seated couple "definitely".
The detectives shot off across the precinct gladly. Taking up residence at their own desks. From a safe distance they resumed watching the 'show'.
She leaned back in her chair, crossed her ankles and folded her arms across her chest and smiled, triumphant.
But clearly he wasn't as phased as she had hoped. His eyes hadn't left her face when the boys had been present, and now the boys were gone…
"Very delightful" he smiled at her as she shifted in her chair sitting up "some might even say extra…"
"Don't say it!" she screeched jumping forward and clamping her hand across his mouth. "DON'T… say the 'E' word."
She glared menacingly over his head as several people turned to watch, giving them each individually her famed death stare, until they resumed their regular activities.
He looked up at her completely confused and loving it. She had her hand over his mouth! Kisses and now mouth holding. This was a very good day.
"Hmy cain oot snay da eee verd" He reached out his tongue and licked her palm, forcing her to jerk her hand away in disgust.
"Gross, yuck" she wiped her hand on her leg several times looking at it in disgust " and would you like to repeat that for those of us that don't speak gibberish?". She sat back down waiting.
He smiled before exaggerating every word just to annoy her.
"WHHYYY caaan I noooot saaay the 'EEEE' word?".
"Because" she said sighing "it wont be special if you keep saying it. It will lose its magic!".
He smiled then, joy erupting across his face
"You think its special and magical when I call you extr…"
She raised her eyebrows and glared at him.
"The 'E' word?" he finished catching himself and feeling proud.
"More when you wrote it" she said her eyes dropping unable to look at him as she speaks "it was forever when you wrote it.". she shrugged trying to make light of it and failing.
Wow! She was just blurting out all sorts of significant stuff today.
He leant forward and pulled the arms of her chair, wheeling her closer to him, lifting her chin with his fingers until their eyes met.
"And when I say it, it feels throw-away?". He waited.
She gave him a small smile and nodded, pleased he seemed to understand.
"You use a word too often, it loses all meaning and significance.".
"That's not always true." he states looking at her
"There are other words, more significant words that wont lose meaning no matter how many times I say them and…" He gives her a knowing smile "Sometimes when those words…"
"Three little words," She mutters quietly, almost to herself, not breaking eye contact.
"Yeah, sometimes when those three…little…words are said back, the magic actually increases."
They weren't supposed to be talking about this here, after all the yelling and on duty kissing they had decided to table discussion of the 'three little words' until later but from the way her eyes were shining he was feeling pretty confident. Now she had acknowledged it, he just needed to hear her say it back.
Though now wasn't the time or place, and pushing her would do no good, stubborn woman moved at a snails pace with emotion, which still shocked him because her mind took off like a rocket.
He smiled at her again. Before reaching forward and shoving her chair back, sending her reeling, she glared at him.
"Moments clearly over." eyes narrowing she dug her heels into the floor to stop the spin.
"HA! you're such a girl!". He laughed.
"This is news?". She said readjusting herself behind the desk, her tone indicating play time was over.
"Sometimes it's a nice surprise.". He tilted his head watching her "So?".
She turned on him, eyes scrunched, what little restraint she had shown was fading fast. He held up his hands quickly, innocently.
Her eyes softened again
She watched as he walked past her desk winking, before doing a weird little skip dance thing, waiting until he was safely in the break room before she muttered
"I heard that!". he yelled.
She dropped her head onto her arms across the desk, groaning and laughing at the same time. Of course he had heard that.
Chapter 4: E is even more than anyone that you adore.
They sat. Every tick of the clock echoing through the too quiet precinct.
She was thinking about the conversation she had overheard in the bathroom earlier.
"...big row in the break room and she kissed him!"
"No! Her? Are you sure?"
"Yeah they were seen and Velasquez said she was looking at him all mushy and called him adorable and then kissed him right in front of everyone."
Sitting in the stall she had whipped her feet up out of sight as soon as she heard them enter and start talking about her. Now she sat with her mouth open and her eyes scrunched in annoyance. She most definitely had not looked at him 'all mushy' and no way in hell had she called him 'adorable'.
"Whhhhhy is nobody killing anyone?"
She snapped back to the present confused for a second. Raising her eyebrows at him, though he couldn't see because he was leaning back in his chair staring at the ceiling.
"Usually that's a good thing." she started working again trying to forget the bathroom incident.
"Yes!" he said sitting up "but I'm so bored, what's the time now?" he leant forward.
"Ten minutes later than the last time you asked me."
"You didn't even check the clock."
"I don't need to check the clock."
"Because" her head snapped up and she glared at him "you have asked me the same question every 10 minutes for the last two hours."
He looked at the clock himself anyway. Though made no comment because she was right.
"You could always go home." she said returning to yet another form. "You don't have to stay here if you're bored."
"Are you staying here?" he turned to watch her face.
"Clearly" she said fighting the smile "I'm working."
"More paperwork nothing's happened for hours. How do you have more paperwork?"
"You do know what I do for a living right?"
"Why don't you type it up? Ooh dictate it to me and I'll type it." he grinned sitting up in the chair pointing to himself "I type really fast. It could be my super power." He thought for a second "God, I hope that's not my super power."
"No...just…no!" she said but smiled again watching him get all energized over the idea of helping.
"Why not?" he whined.
"Well, for a start it breaks at least 3 laws." she glared at him in mock annoyance "Secondly I have to cross reference things, reread my notes" she pointed to her folder where she had been underlining. She didn't see him spot the small piece of paper sticking out of the side.
"Make lists or little memos on hidden pieces of paper?" he said gleefully reaching across and grabbing it before she could.
"Hey, give that back."
He jumped up and spun around her desk
"Hmm detective, why do you not want me to see what's written on here?" he was backing away fast because she had jumped up to follow him.
"I'm warning you!" she tried her death glare but he was backing away, glancing behind him, and she couldn't get proper eye contact. She almost stumbled over her own feet as she reached for the list he waved in front of her. At the last second he whipped it away and spun around Esposito, who seemed to have conveniently shifted his chair back, in between them.
"Well now I have to read it." he waved it again.
He scooted quickly around the boys desks as they sat smirking.
She stopped dead, thought for a second. Then their eyes met.
"Ooooo, stare off." muttered Ryan his eyes flicking between them. Esposito hit him in the back of the head and shushed him.
She continued to hold his gaze, no death stare, not breaking the look and running away, just eye to eye. Watching. She didn't blink, didn't smile didn't glare, she just held his gaze in silence.
Then he blinked and she smiled knowing she had unnerved him slightly.
"Fine." she said "Read away."
She took a few steps back and perched on the edge of an empty desk.
"I'm reading this out loud!." he said challenging her again, he felt a bit sad she was no longer chasing him.
"That's fine." she continued to watch him, still smiling.
"You're sure about this?" he said confusion playing on his face.
"Bro, just read it." Esposito almost shouted.
Three heads snapped in his direction.
"Busted" Ryan muttered under his breath smiling, quickly looking back at his own desk, ducking out of the way as another swipe was aimed in his direction.
"Why don't you just read it and then I can get back to work." she said
He waggled his eyebrows at her.
"Ok" he cleared his throat and stood straight like he was going to make a speech. One hand on his chest, list held before him.
"Pasta" he said aloud "wait, pasta?" he glared at her
"Mmhhmm" she smiled leaning back on the desk.
He looked back down at the list.
"Pasta, sauce" he speed read down the list quickly "there's a whole load of vegetables, bread, garlic bread, salad, ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped…" his head snapped up "this is a shopping list for food!."
"A lot of food." he said still staring at the list
"This is a lot of food for one…" he looked at her and waved his hand up and down …"if you don't mind me saying, one svelte detective."
"I wasn't planning on eating it all myself." she said her eyes blazing, lending significance to the words as she spoke them.
"Oh." he said his eyes dropping "OH!" his head snapped up and he watched her intently.
"What were you planning on doing?" he asked rocking forward a little on the balls of his feet.
"I planned on cooking you dinner." she said her gaze flicked to Esposito as he was trying to text under the desk where no one could see. "Don't bother telling Lanie." she said laughing "she already knows, dinner is at 7 and we are meeting you for drinks at 9."
She stood up straight, pointed at the list and said "Now can you bring me that and can we please get back to work."
She turned on the spot and walked off leaving three open mouthed men in her wake.
Chapter 5: Love is all that I can give to you.
He had been on the phone for the last 20 minutes, talking animatedly to his daughter. She sat with her chin in her hands avidly watching him. He was different when he talked to Alexis, lighter somehow. She liked it. She smiled.
She jumped up from her desk and spun to be standing face to face (well almost, the woman was pretty short) with Captain Gates.
"Am I interrupting?" the Captain asked her eyes flicking very slowly over to where he stood off in a corner with his phone, before settling back on her.
"No … not at all Sir, just paper work" she gestured to her desk "quiet day."
"Too quiet apparently!" Gates gave her an appraising look "My detectives clearly have too much free time on their hands!"
"Sir?" she asked confused.
"I have been hearing rumours detective."
"Rumours?" she said her eyes wide, innocent.
"Yes detective, rumours about you and a certain…" she took a deep breath before letting it out slowly "writer doing things they shouldn't be whilst on duty and never in my precinct. Am I making myself clear detective?"
She was about to defend her actions, launch into a speech that would probably have gotten her suspended, when a hand tapped her shoulder and she whirled around.
"Alexis wants to speak to you." he said holding out his phone "she would like…" his words died on his lips as he spotted the Captain standing behind her.
"Is that a personal phone call detective?" she asked
They spoke at the same time.
The captain smirked "Well which is it?" she asked looking directly at him.
"No," he said again "its not a personal phone call."
"So, this is work related?" The captain raised her eyebrows waiting for a response.
"Y…yes" he stuttered looking away from the Captain and trying to catch her eye for help, he could hear Alexis getting impatient as the phone hung in the air between them "work related yes, definitely work related."
"So did she witness a murder or did she kill someone?" The captain asked. Arms folded.
"What?" he asked shocked.
"Well these people working here, investigate homicides" she said waving her hands at the detectives "and if this phone call is work related I am assuming either your daughter witnessed a murder or she committed one, now which is it?"
He looked completely stunned, mouth open.
She couldn't leave him floundering anymore.
She stepped between the two of them taking the phone in one hand whilst turning to the Captain.
"Yes it's a personal phone call, No it won't happen again, if I can help it and yes, I will make it brief."
The captain did not look pleased but she nodded "Very well detective." before turning on her heel and marching back to her office
She held the phone up to her ear and said "Alexis bear with me one second," before she turned to him.
You sit, she mouthed pointing at his chair. He stumbled to it still looking somewhat dazed as she walked away, taking his phone and talking to his daughter.
"Sorry Alexis," she said as she stood in the exact same corner he had vacated minutes before "the new captain is breathing down my neck and…"
"Detective I need to ask you something," the girls voice was hard, almost angry.
"Err…ok Alexis anything" she said confused. "You know though, you can call me ka…"
"Detective's fine for now," she said, stopping her in her tracks, oh ok it was one of those conversations.
"So my dad phoned me, told me that you two had had a fight. That you had heard him, that you remembered and why you pretended you didn't," Alexis took a deep breath before rushing on. "How you pinned him up against a wall and told him you wanted to show him you were ready now, before kissing him?"
Yeah, that pretty much summed up her day. She needed to have words with him about exactly how much information he was giving his daughter.
He could see her from across the room, eyes scrunched up looking both deeply embarrassed and in pain, nodding at the phone. He desperately wanted to go and eavesdrop but he fought the urge, this felt like an important moment, and there had been a lot of those today.
"Mmmhmm." She confirmed down the phone, not trusting her voice to more than mumble just yet.
"I don't know if you know this detective" the girl said her voice still harsh "but not long after you were shot I asked my dad two questions and I want to ask you the same questions ok?"
Oh wow. She started to panic just a little bit, she looked around the precinct her eyes darting madly, until they settled on him. He looked up then and smiled at her, mouthing you ok? she nodded, smiled back, took a deep breath and said "Yes, yes of course. Ask me anything you want to."
"Does he make you happy?"
She laughed and answered immediately "Yes of course he does"
"Oh!" she heard the girl exclaim seemingly shocked on the other end of the phone.
"You answered so quickly I was expecting…I don't know but… ok"
"Don't get me wrong Alexis" she said, grinning at him as he looked thoroughly confused "he drives me insane, he touches everything and moves my stuff constantly. I threaten to shoot him at least once a day…"
"Yeah he did say you do that" her voice seemed to have lost some of its edge.
"…but yes he does make me happy, I have a hard job and he makes my day brighter."
"Ok… good." Alexis still sounded shocked but at least she also sounded convinced.
"Was…you said there were two questions?" She asked hoping it would be as easy to answer.
"Yes." Alexis said, she heard the girl take a deep breath before continuing. "Do you love him?"
"Because if you don't…"
"Alexis…" she tried again
"Hear me out detective" she said firmly "if you don't love him, really love him. Stop playing with him before you break him."
He continued to watch, not knowing exactly what had happened but knowing it was big from the look on her face, she looked pained again but not in the way she had before. She looked genuinely hurt. By something Alexis had said? He was confused, so very confused and wanting to hit speakerphone or be able to see his daughters face, hear what they were saying or just know what was going on!
That comment really hurt, hit home and made her think back over the last few months, years even. Had she been playing with him by keeping things from him? No she hadn't damn it. She had been getting whole so she could do this properly.
She started talking and it all came out in a rush. She spoke about her mother and justice and knocking down walls, building foundations for a future, a future she desperately wanted. She talked about moments missed, locked in freezers, waiting for bombs to explode, dying in a cemetery, trapped and unable to say what she really wanted to. She talked about laughing whilst chasing down suspects, dressing up to go under cover and being challenged in the best way, every single day.
She stopped then, breath coming in short gasps, eyes swimming, as she realised she had just justified her love for the man she was looking at. The man who was looking back at her like at any moment he was going to rush across a room full of police officers and hug her. He leant forward as if to stand, but she held up her hand and shook her head letting him know she was ok, she smiled.
The voice pulled her back, shocked slightly at the change in tone, and the use of her name.
"That's…I'm really glad you told me that but, you didn't answer my question" Alexis sounded a little sheepish now "Do you love him?"
"Yes," she said breathing more evenly "yes of course I do."
Alexis let out a sigh…she hoped it was of relief.
"Will you do something for me then, please?"
"If I can Alexis, just ask!"
"Will you go and tell him please, now, right this minute."
She heard the smile in the girls voice then.
Her eyes darted around the room, he was walking towards her, he looked confused, but relieved as she smiled at him again.
"Alexis" she said laughing, but trying to keep her voice low "I'm in a room full of police officers, not to mention the boss from hell is glaring at me through her office window cos I'm on the phone to you."
"I forgot you were at work" the girl said laughing slightly "Ok, compromise? Tell him today please, can you do that?"
"I think that can be arranged," she said as he stopped in front of her, making gestures with his head, wanting to know if she was ok? Did he need to intervene?
She shook her head before she carried on "I think I can do that Alexis, but your Dad's here and I think he wants you back now."
"Ohh! did he hear?" the girl asked conspiratorially.
"No," she said looking at him, not entirely convinced "no I don't think so."
"Good" she said laughing again "then it will be a more of a surprise. Bye Kate."
"Bye Ale…" the phone went dead as girl hung up on her.
She looked at it in her hand briefly before she remembered he was standing there. She held it out in front of her for him to take. Still staring she scrunched her eyes briefly, before a small smile found its way onto her lips.
"Everything ok?" he asked pocketing the phone still confused
"Yeah." she said finally looking him in the eye, "you know?" she tilted her head to one side and smiled.
"What?" he said smiling back still awash with confusion
"I kinda like your kid." She laughed.
"Good?" He said, his eyes questioning.
"Yeah it is."
Chapter 6: Love is more than just a game for two.
She had gone for coffee, leaving the three of them alone.
They watched Ryan search across his desk, go through every drawer and pat down his clothes. He emptied every pocket before sighing loudly. Then he moved on, sitting on the floor and searching through the bin throwing pieces of paper over his shoulder muttering under his breath.
He smirked at Esposito leaning over
"Where did you put it?"
Esposito watched Ryan panic, grinning, before tapping his shirt pocket.
Just then she returned, cup in hand, taking in the scene before her, she glanced briefly at Ryan as he started opening case files and tipping the folders upside down.
"Give it back Esposito." she said setting her cup down on the desk and glaring at him.
"Give what back?" he said innocently. She looked at the two men perched on the edge of the desk watching their friend panic. Merciless and so obvious. She fought a smile.
Ryan had moved on to the desk next to his, methodically riffling through reports and tipping things over. Ok. It was no longer funny.
She looked at Esposito, eyes wide.
"Give it back before he comes anywhere near my desk."
She went to sit down but thought better of it. She needed to be up and ready to jump in front of Ryan if he came too close.
Ryan was now one desk away from hers and Esposito was desperately trying not to laugh. She looked mildly panicked at the chaos Ryan was leaving in his wake.
Three folders were upended.
"Esposito!" she demanded.
Then a pot full of pens were tipped over and riffled through. He was seconds away from launching himself at her desk.
She had had enough, she stalked towards Esposito, held out her hand inches from his face and said
"Give it back NOW!"
Ryan's head shot up as he heard her.
"You've got it?"
Esposito stuck his fingers in his pocket grumbling
"Bro, you take it off every time you go to the bathroom, what do you expect?"
He fished the gleaming gold band out of his pocket and held it out to her.
She took it and pointed at him
"Don't you ever do this with my wedd…"
She stopped dead realising what she had just been about to say. She shut her eyes, scrunched up her face and held her breath.
Esposito jumped up, grabbed the ring from her hand and gave it back to Ryan, before turning the man on the spot and saying
"Bro, exit strategy." they fled to a safe distance peering around the corner.
She stood still biting her lip, eyes shut tight together counting. He had to have heard what she said and if she got to 5 before he responded she would be shocked. 1. 2. 3...
"Err… what was that?" he said. She could tell he was smiling before she even turned around.
"Nothing!" she said refusing to look at him as she made her way back to her desk.
"Are you sure?" he asked smirking "because it sounded like you were going to saying wed…"
"No!" she said loudly "no I wasn't." she looked down at the desk and hit the button to turn on the computer, smiling slightly, unable to fight it.
He tilted his head and sighed.
"You know? I think today has been my favourite day." He grinned at her widely.
"Shut up!" she said smiling back at him before starting to type.
One form left.
Two hours until 7!
She kept looking at him. Her eyes darting to watch him as she typed. He was keeping his eyes locked firmly on the screen of his phone as he played, but he had worked out every 6 words she would look.
He wanted to know what that conversation with Alexis had been about. She was acting oddly, on edge again, but smiley, distracted.
"Right, I'm done." she said jumping up and spinning on the spot. She grabbed her phone and flicked her coat over her shoulder staring at him expectantly.
She was about to say something more when the office behind him opened and Captain Gates stepped out.
"Detective, a moment!" Gates indicated inside her office, before turning around without waiting for an answer.
She made a noise that sounded oddly like a growl before throwing her coat and phone back on the desk, and stomping into the office.
As the door shut, his eyes fell on her phone and an evil idea formed in his head, betraying him completely as his intentions played all over his face. His eyes darted to the office as he worked quickly.
Everything was back in place when she returned ten minutes later, stomping her feet and not looking at all happy.
He looked at her and went to speak but she held up a finger, silencing him.
"I have to go and see Lanie," she said, picking up a file, her phone and coat. "I will try and be fast but…" she looked at him meaningfully
"You think you might be delayed" he finished for her.
She nodded "Sorry"
"Not a problem," he said smiling, his eyes drifted briefly to her phone, "I'll wait."
She looked at him confused before smiling and walking off.
He sat until he saw her round the corner, then he checked his watch, he'd wait a few minutes and then he would start dialling.
"Kill me now!" She said as she marched into the room, tossing the folder onto the empty slab.
"Comfortable?" she asked taking in the scene before her and smiling at her friend who sat slurping on a milkshake, tilted back contentedly in her chair. Her legs raised high above her on the slab, blue booties still attached to her feet.
"Very!" Lanie said sitting up and reaching for the report "and girl, you should know better than to ask someone who does what I do to 'kill you now'," Lanie waved her hand at the vast array of metallic instruments and tools of her trade glistening menacingly behind her.
"Good point." She huffed out a breath and sat on the empty stool at Lanies' feet, stretching her arms above her head.
"So, why am I killing you?" Lanie asked as she quickly began filling in the form.
Just then her phone went off in her pocket interrupting the conversation. She yanked it from her pocket and stared at it growling as the music filled the small room.
"This is why!" she said pointing to her phone.
Her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they're not shining,
Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying,
She's so beautiful and I tell her everyday!
She hit the button to answer the call, but the phone went dead before she could speak.
"What in the hell was that?" Lanie said eyes wide and grinning.
"My desk apparently" she said looking at number that had flashed on the screen
"You called yourself?" Lanie said laughing, deliberately misunderstanding.
"That…" she continued to stare at her phone "I don't…he did something to my phone!"
"Oh honey, of course he did," Lanie said grinning at her as she rolled her eyes.
The phone went off again.
I've been searching, for a couple of words,
That could grow wings and fly like birds,
Course I know it sounds absurd,
But when you're in love, all the lines get blurred.
Again as soon as she tried to answer it, the line went dead.
"Coward," she smiled at the phone as Lanie looked on eyebrows raised enquiring "Oh this ones actually him" she explained pointing "the first two were from Ryan and Esposito. Then my desk!"
"None from Gates?" Lanie smirked.
"No," she laughed at the idea "I don't think even he's that much of an accomplished ninja."
"All yours" Lanie said handing back the now completed form "Now get outta here and go have fun!" She was shoved unceremoniously towards the door laughing as she went.
"See you at 9" she called loudly as she walked down the corridor, the door swinging behind her.
"You're damn right you will!" Lanie yelled back.
She slipped her phone back out of her pocket and typed quickly.
*Just for that you're cooking!*
Chapter 7: Two in Love can make it.
You've been on my mind,
I grow fonder everyday,
Lose myself in time,
Just thinking of your face.
The phone flashed with her own apartment number, he was calling from her kitchen, she laughed.
"You can stop that now!" She yelled as she cut the song off. Throwing the phone haphazardly onto her bed.
"I geddit" she muttered to herself "I see what you're doing Richard Castle."
"Hurry up and I will" he shouted back from her kitchen.
She pulled the dress into place, wiggling in front of the mirror.
"It will be worth it!" she yelled again smiling.
She caught herself mid skip as she left the bedroom, slowing to a walk, and then just for his benefit she put a little extra oomph into it. Forgetting he was cooking, she had to make herself known to get his attention.
"So" she said, entering her kitchen where he was stirring sauce into pasta "what do you think?" She held her arms above her head and spun on the spot. The dress swirled around her.
There was a loud clang, making her jump, and then she was splattered with tiny flecks of baking hot pasta sauce.
"OW!" she bit out jumping back "that's hot!"
"Yeah" he said his eyes wide " that's…that's pretty much what I was thinking".
"What did you do?" She reached for a towel, wiping off the sauce that had hit her skin.
"You twirled and I dropped the spoon" he said sheepishly "Oh and I ruined your dress" he pointed as the tiny spots of pasta sauce began to leech into the soft material leaving little orange and red oil stains all over it. He ducked as the towel she had been holding whizzed past his head.
"We have to leave in 20 minutes, you're still cooking, and now I have to get changed, we're going to be late". She tried very hard, but she couldn't force any real anger into her voice. It was very ego boosting to make him 'drop his spoon'.
" I can't help it if you look" he waggled his eyebrows and waved his hand at her " like that!" He smiled.
" Like what?" she asked all faux innocence.
" You look beautiful, ravishing, hot, delectable, and extra…". He let the almost said 'E' word hang between them.
"Don't!" she smiled and leant across the counter top to run her finger along his cheek, catching a fleck of pasta sauce, before drawing a line down his face to slowly rest across his lips silencing him. She grinned, not only because of the red line of tomato sauce she had left trailing his face, but because of the way his eyes had darkened when her finger touched his lips.
He stepped forward, smiling softly, he caught her wrist and used it to pull her to him, lifting her chin with his fingers until their eyes met again. He leant in gently kissing her. Watching as she relaxed into the feel of his lips on hers and fluttered her eyes closed, before he shut his own. It was a bit difficult, leaning across a boiling pan and a wooden counter top, the kiss was barely more than a peck and ended too quickly.
"Wow!" he said looking at the clock over her head.
"Yeah." she said straightening up, letting out a long sigh and opening her eyes slowly, completely lost in the moment, such a simple kiss leaving her weightless, floaty.
"No." he laughed, she glared at him "No, I mean yeah, but," he pointed at the clock "we are going to be very, very late. And you still need to change.".
He pushed her away gently, looking her up and down, taking in the handy work of his earlier pasta sauce catastrophe.
"Well" she said the fake innocence back in her voice, a playful gleam in her eye. "If you help me, I could change a lot faster.".
His jaw dropped at the implication. Oh this was a very good day and first 'official' dates were awesome!
She meandered slowly to the bedroom door, her eyes never leaving his, as she stepped into the secluded room, beckoning him with her finger. She laughed as he ripped off the apron she hadn't noticed he was wearing and threw it, before lunging around the counters and sprinting after her.
Ten minutes later the beeping of the fire alarm dragged her back to reality as she lifted her glazed eyes from his gaze and glared at the door leading to the kitchen, breathing ragged.
"Did you turn off the sauce?"
The bed underwent a mini earth quake as he scrambled over her, leaving her bouncing up and down laughing, as he leapt out of it shrieking
"Be right back, do NOT move!".
He ran into the kitchen in just his navy blue boxers, skidding to a stop in front of the counter. She rolled onto her front, chin in her hand, watching him. Her eyes followed the way his feet moved as he danced around her kitchen like he belonged there. The way the muscles in the backs of his legs contracted and tensed as he stood on his tip toes. She laughed as he hissed and spluttered moving hot pans into the sink, yelping as he forgot to use oven gloves, before dancing on the spot, sucking his fingers and singing
"Hot, hot, hot."
"Extraordinary!" she muttered under her breath grinning widely.
"I heard that!" he yelled from the kitchen, turning to face her. He pointed "Twice in one day!"
She face planted into the mattress groaning…the man had ears like a bat!
When he returned to the bedroom she was dressed and slipping her feet into some very dangerous looking black heels.
"Clothes?" he said pouting.
"Moment's over?" he questioned sadly
"Yeah!" she said putting on earrings and watching him in the reflection of her mirror.
"Moment coming back?" He asked watching as she pulled something down from the top of her wardrobe.
She laughed at the pathetic look on his face.
"Maybe later, get dressed."
She threw the, whatever it was, at him and he caught it mid air. He looked down, oh pants. As he pulled them on grumpily he registered his own reflection in the mirror.
"Mmm" she glanced up following his gaze with her own until it too settled on his reflection, teeth holding her bottom lip in place as she fought the urge to laugh.
"Why, " he asked as he moved towards her "do I have a red line across my face?"
"I have no idea" she said smiling, tugging her hair into place and no longer meeting his eye. She made to turn around but was stopped by warm breath on the back of her neck, then she shivered as she felt a finger lightly dance its way along the bare skin on her arm.
She lifted her eyes and realised he was now standing behind her shirtless, having closed the distance between them, he looked dark and mischievous.
Their eyes locked in the mirror as he leaned in and rested his chin on her shoulder, fingers still dancing patterns up and down her arm, his other hand snaked around her waist and pulled her tight against him.
"Nothing to do with you?" he asked, his voice barely a whisper, deep and rich, playing hotly against the skin on her neck.
She let out an unsteady breath before shaking her head, not really trusting her voice, as warmth erupted through her stomach, and tingles shot directly from where his finger tips were now tracing along the hem of her dress, to the tips of her toes and other more interesting places.
She licked her lips unconsciously, before leaning back into him. Taking a steadying breath she whispered huskily "I have no idea how it got there, but I could help you get it off."
Her eyes focused on his, waiting for his reply, but she realised his eyes were still glued to her lips. She fought a smile and flicked out her tongue tentatively to draw it along her bottom lip again, watching his eyes darken further and feeling his fingers tighten against her skin.
She turned in his arms, her palms flat against his naked chest, one grazing low to rest on his abdomen and one winding slowly to slip around his neck and pull his head towards her. She pressed her mouth to his cheek, gently sucking on the tomato stain, feeling him shudder sensuously under her touch. Her tongue played over the soft skin just under his eye, tracing circles before she let out a deliberate moan.
"You're a good cook," she said arching back to smile at him, only to find his warm hands capturing her face and pulling her into a deep kiss.
Chapter 8: Take my heart and please don't break it.
"You are late!" Lanie grabbed her hand as she walked through the door of the bar, yanking her to one side.
"I know!" she smiled and hugged Lanie watching as the boys moved off to get drinks. "Sorry."
Their eyes caught for a moment as he walked off and he smiled back at her, head tilting slightly, eyes shining. He almost walked into Esposito, not wanting to break the connection.
She giggled (she giggled?) watching him as he walked off, finally turning around and avoiding being hit by a none too pleased looking Esposito, who sounded like he said 'dude, personal bubble' before indicating they needed a wider amount of space between them.
Lanie laughed and poked her in the arm "You two are so cute…its sickening".
"Thanks Lanie" she replied sarcastically, but she laughed knowing it was true and not really caring.
"You're welcome" Lanie smiled again "So, why are you…?"
They were interrupted by the sudden singing that erupted from her teenie tiny bag. She fished through it quickly, glad it was so small, embarrassed as the eyes of the people standing around her darted in her direction.
My head is stuck in the clouds,
She begs me to come down,
Says 'boy, quit fooling around!'
"What's that?" Lanie asked glancing at the phone as it was cut off, she didn't even attempt to answer it knowing he would hang up as soon as she did.
"Err… Rhythm of Love" she said feeling a bit embarrassed but smiling. She held the phone up to her friend so she could see the call had come from 'The Old Haunt'.
"Aww" Lanie cooed "I don't know what's cuter? The fact that he phoned you from over there" she pointed to where he stood behind the bar, clearly watching her reaction to the song. She laughed and feeling a bit giddy winked at him, whilst Lanie waggled her fingers in acknowledgment. "Or the fact that you know that song, and went all gooey eyed when it played!"
"I did not," she glared, but Lanie being Lanie just glared back. Defeated Kate slumped her shoulders "He's proving a point," she explained.
"Point being?" Lanie raised her eyebrows, both knowing she knew perfectly well what the point was.
"Something about…songs….making sense." she rolled her eyes, but smiled. It was sweet, if a little embarrassing. "This is why we were late."
She must have blushed or somehow betrayed herself because the songs were not what she was thinking about and clearly her true musings played across her face because Lanies' eyes lit up with mischief.
Pulling her around so the two girls stood face to face.
"Oooo! were you …?" Lanie wiggled her fingers suggestively.
"No." she stated flatly.
"Oh" Lanie sounded very disappointed
"It wasn't for want of trying." she said in an exasperated whisper, thinking back to the ticking clock and beeping fire alarm. They had come to the reluctant decision that neither of them wanted to rush, so after the sauce sucking and mind blowing kiss, they had parted and kept the touching to a bare minimum. Though burning, lingering, longing gazes were almost as bad.
"OHH." Lanie grinned "Where did you just go in your head? Do tell! I want details on writer boy."
"Ew, Lanie" she reached out and smacked her arm.
"Not those kind of details" Lanie said laughing "just lead up details. I don't need to know who was where and what you did with the whipped cream!"
"Who did what now with whipped cream?" he was back at her side smiling handing her a drink. Service was always quick when you owned the place, not so much when you played games with the bar phone.
He glanced at the two women and did a double take when he realised, whilst Lanie was looking mischievous, Kate was blushing and deliberately not meeting his eye. Oh, he had walked in on some naughty girl talk. He caught Lanies' eye and winked.
"Err, Lanie said she wants a sundae."
She almost reached up and smacked her self in the head. Why did she say that?
"A sundae?" He didn't look convinced, glancing between the two women, trying not to smile.
"Yeah, didn't you Lanie?" she elbowed her friend in the ribs, following the lie through "you said you really needed a sundae"
"I think you need one more than I do." Lanie said smiling sweetly.
Kate's eyes flew wide at the real implication of those words and she felt her cheeks burn, cos she did! She really did need a… 'sundae'.
He went to say something but stopped when he caught Espositos' eye, the man shook his head slowly, eyes fierce, the implication clear. Don't mess with girl talk.
"Five minutes!" Lanie said pushing both men with the palms of her hands, she stated it again more firmly when he pouted at her "you can be apart for five minutes."
The men left, one more reluctantly than the other, and found a table.
"So," Lanie said rounding on her "what did he do when you told him?"
"Told him?" She asked innocently scrunching her eyes, waiting for an explosion of reaction from her friend, maybe even a smack!
"You haven't…and you were gonna…" Lanie reached forward and whacked her across the arm. "What is wrong with you?"
"I don't know" she said sighing, before taking a rather large swig of her drink.
"That man would run through fire for you,"" Lanie said poking her with the tip of her finger. "Hell, he did!"
"I know" she said again thinking back to when her apartment had blown up, he'd broken down the door and literally run through the blazing building to make sure she was alive.
God! Lanie was persistent tonight.
"Its… scary" she finally stated knowing she sounded a bit pathetic and teenagery.
Lanie laughed, "You, with the gun and terrifying eyes, are afraid of that…" she pointed off into the bar. At a table in the corner the two men sat laughing as he balanced a stack of…yeah, ok, beer mats on his forehead.
She smiled softly, watching him. Then it fell from her face as she turned back to her friend. "Its gonna hurt Lanie" she said quietly after a few seconds "when he…. If he….."
"He's not gonna break your heart" Lanie stated confidently reaching a hand across and slipping it through her arm, tugging her close, they stood still staring at the two men chatting happily at their table.
"How do you know?" she groaned frustrated.
Before Lanie had a chance to answer Esposito said something to him and he turned to look at her, grinning.
"That right there," Lanie said pointing "that goofy look on his face when he's looking at you," she felt a nudge in her ribs "that goofy look on your face because he's looking at you. You should tell him, right now!"
"That's what Alexis said" she smiled remembering.
"I like that kid." Lanie grinned "Seriously, let yourself be happy."
"Trying" she said honestly, then she scrunched her eyes and made a decision "Will you do something for me?"
"Hell yeah," Lanie said pulling her towards the corner booth where the men sat waiting for them. "its not anything kinky is it?" she waggled her eyebrows making them both laugh.
They reached the table and sat down drawing the gaze of two very confused men who raised their own eyebrows, as the women sat giggling like teenagers. Kate leaned across and whispered in her friends ear, turning to smile at him as she did. Knowing she had his undivided attention and loving the play of confusion across his face. Lanies eyes went wide for a second before she smiled and nodded.
Scooting back into the booth next to him, she caught sight of his hand, palm up, under the table. He was offering to hold her hand, subtly, away from prying eyes. She stared at his hand for a few seconds, if she was in this, she should be in it properly.
She'd basically sworn to Alexis and Lanie, not to mention herself, that she wouldn't break his heart, she'd let herself be happy, she would love him back.
So she lifted his hand from under the table, and pulled it across her shoulders, leaning into his side and sliding towards him. The shock in his eyes annoyed and delighted her in equal measure.
She didn't want him to be shocked she was here anymore, she wanted him to believe she believed in them. At the same time she loved to surprise him, watch the gears turn as he tried to figure her out. She would have to work on new ways to do that. Fun ways. Ways that would leave him in no doubt what so ever that she was well and truly in!
Now resting comfortably against his side, she raised herself up, using his thigh as leverage, and planted a soft wet kiss to the sensitive skin where his ear met his jaw.
The silence was broken by a gagging noise and a loud 'awww'.
"We should sit somewhere else," she whispered loudly, making sure the other couple heard her before sitting up "we could use the privacy." she laughed at the way his eyes shot wide. Then she turned on her friends, death stare in full force "Is there a problem?"
Esposito shook his head grinning at her, before settling his eyes back on his beer bottle, whilst Lanie being Lanie took a sip of her drink and carried on staring before saying
"Oh no, I'm good."
Chapter 9: Love was made for me and you!
She tried to get him to stand up and dance but he was playing hard to get. He was going to ruin all her haphazard planning if he didn't move.
He shook his head refusing when she tried again, hunkering down in his seat, stretching and yawning saying he was 'oh so comfy.'.
She tried glaring and pouting and got nothing, she was on the verge of stamping her foot when she had an idea.
She leant across the table pulling him close, before whispering in his ear, hot breath causing him to shiver as it met his skin, making her smile. "Come dance with me, please," she pressed her lips very, very softly to his earlobe before murmuring even more quietly "I have three words for you."
He shot up out of the seat, catching her arm as he knocked her off balance, before he moved towards her
"Oh yeah? three little words?"
"They are small yes" she said smiling seductively and stepping back, she held out her hand
"You coming Castle?"
She laughed at his face as he took her hand and followed her. His eyes flashed wide, then scrunched in annoyance before he pouted.
"You're a tease," he said still trailing her, his feet stomping like a grumpy childs "and just plain evil."
She turned to face him, stopping them mid stride as she did. Taking in the look on his face, part playful, but part genuinely disappointed. She didn't want that, she wanted him to be smiley and happy again
"Love you too," she said laughing as she leant in and kissed him quickly on the lips, stopping him before he could respond. It popped out, quick and simple, easy, and not at all how she expected to declare it. She felt like slapping herself, it wasn't how she wanted it to happen, she wanted it to be…more.
"Well that was….understated." He said finally smiling wide.
"What did you expect?" She tilted her head questioningly, trying to hide her own surprise and annoyance at herself "A sky writer?"
"Might' a been nice."
She smacked him lightly on the chest and he captured her hands in his, a smile lighting up his face. She tried to pull free but he was refusing to let her turn back around. So they went very slowly, eyes locked, her walking backwards, him following and steering her through the crowd of people that had gathered to dance. His fingers tracing circles where their skin touched, warmth igniting in her under his touch.
Eventually they stood almost in the middle of the dance floor, facing each other. He finally released her hands and she trailed her fingers softly up his chest before slinking them around his neck and leaning in.
"I do, you know?" she whispered, her head level with his ear as she spoke. Trying to redo the blurted confession, she should have made it more memorable, like he had! Like he always did.
"Huh?" he said distracted as her fingers played with the hair at the back of his neck, and she stood so close to him, how was he supposed to carry on a normal conversation now. His mind was lost in images of her draped across a bed as his fingers splayed over her bare skin. Now her words danced around his head 'love you too' . So natural and simple as if she had been saying it for years. Perfection.
"Love you, idiot" she said smacking him lightly in the back of the head. He kept them swaying to the music gently as she talked, moving in small circles, unaware of the people surrounding them.
"Oh, I know, you were the only one in denial," he laughed looking at her face, she looked so indignant.
"What do you mean you know?" she asked watching him, mischief playing in his eyes and as it dawned on her she almost yelled "You KNEW? Why didn't you say anything?" she said hitting him in the chest again, harder this time.
"Hey now," he said dropping her waist with one hand to rub lightly where she had hit him "ball was most definitely in your court."
"You knew I heard you?". She looked completely perplexed. "When you told me you loved me? Even though I said I didn't?"
He nodded "I had my suspicions."
She dropped her head onto his shoulder and growled "I'm…confused."
He laughed again, drawing her head up, his eyes soft with understanding.
"You needed time," he said simply "and at least this way…" he broke off looking at her intently.
"This way what?"
"This way I got to hear you say it back!"
"You didn't think I would?"
"I hoped" he rotated them slowly again, their eyes still locked.
"But you weren't convinced?" there was something playing in her eyes that he didn't like, doubt, worry. He wasn't sure. He squeezed her tight for a second trying to bring her back to the moment.
"You're a complicated woman, Detective" he said trying to make her laugh, but it didn't work.
She stopped them swaying by suddenly going completely stiff in his arms. He panicked, just a bit, was she going to run? Or worse yet, was he about to wake up?
She pushed him back, quite roughly, and his mind jumped back to this morning in the break room, she had had the same look of determination in her eyes when she pinned him against the wall and kissed him. His heart began to beat faster. She was scary when she did that, hot, but scary. He liked it. No, he loved it!
She took his face in her hands and pulled him down towards her until their eyes were level. Her fingers soft but insistent, grazing his cheeks, his ears and his jaw as she drew him towards her. Her lips pressed against his softly at first, skimming, teasing! He threaded his fingers through her hair, pulling her gently until she tilted her head back and he could deepen the kiss before he moved, laying his lips to the underside of her jaw, kissing his way softly down her neck and across the bare skin of her collarbone and shoulder. He did this for seconds, or hours or years, before moving back to her lips. She skimmed her tongue along the sensitive skin of her bottom lip, catching his in the process and making him shudder. That brought her back from the brink - he had been dominating the kiss and it was hers, her turn to prove something, to draw him in, to make him moan!
She kept her eyes wide as she kissed him, watching him, desperately needing to see the belief take root, but almost as soon as her lips met his and parted, his eyes had drifted closed.
She caught his lip with her teeth roughly and pulled, drawing him down towards her. His hand reached out to catch her face again, but she intercepted it, snagging his wrist and guiding it down the length of her body. His fingertips skimmed her bare shoulder, fluttered lightly over her rib cage, catching on the material of her dress as he tried to stay her movement, but she kept it going until it hung, straight, in between them. Then she repeated the motion, slowly moving his hand up her thigh, grazing her hip, before she brought it to rest on her waist.
She laughed lightly against his mouth as his fingers gripped hard before launching herself back into the kiss, her kiss.
Lips met, crushed together, tongues fought clashed and battled and she threw everything into the kiss that she could. She poured unsaid confessions of love, hope and desire into every swirl of her tongue, every caress of her lips. Each stroke of her hand made to convey emotion, each touch screaming for him to believe, to understand.
She pulled back breath ragged, his eyes opening slowing on a sigh, and before he had a chance to come fully out from under her spell, and before he had a chance to launch into a speech oh his own, she started talking.
"I say it back" she said fiercely " I love you, I don't want you to leave me either, everything you said when I was dying, I say it back. I love you. Everything you did that showed me, I will show you back, I. Love. You!"
His eyes swam at the declaration. She held his face, staring at him, eyes wide with relief and happiness.
"Ohh… wow" he said
"Yeah" she said as if he was only just catching on, her eyes widened further, head nodding.
"Well, why didn't you say something sooner?" he demanded laughing, squeezing her waist where his hands remained.
"You just have to ruin all the moments don't you." she said fighting a smile.
He pulled her tight to him, so they were somehow impossibly closer than they had been before. Her arms slipping around his neck again.
"Sorry," he said sincerely looking into her eyes as they softened, belief full and shining back at her "I do know! You love me."
"And you love me," she said smiling, slightly awed yet happy, content.
They swayed quietly for a few minutes, a little too lost in each other to speak. But then, as he always did, he broke the silence.
"So, dancing?" He asked
"Yeah" she said grinning at him almost shyly.
"Why dancing? You didn't want to when I asked you before."
"No," she said "but then I had an idea, and I asked Lanie to put on a song for me."
"Are you getting your own back for the phone thing?" he asked, looking around gleefully "Am I about to be embarrassed by something, in spectacular fashion, in the middle of my bar?"
"Sadly no," she said laughing watching him, "but I will remember for the future how very much you love public humiliation" she shrugged "I just wanted to do something…"
"Yeah?" she rolled her eyes at herself.
"Such a girl!"
Almost as if on cue the song they had been twirling to ended and a new one, the one she had chosen, started playing.
The soft strains of a jazz band suddenly filled the bar, the steady beat making them sway faster.
"Hey," he said smiling "I love this song."
"Me too" she said laughed "its very…"
"Us?" He finished for her leaning in.
"Exactly!" she said, and as his lips closed over hers (and she pretended she didn't hear the Lanie squeal from across the bar), the dulcet tones of Nat King Cole filled her ears.
**L is for the way you look at me…**