DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NCIS OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!!!!
Lady’s a Mystery
When the elevator arrived Tony glanced to see who might be getting off out of habit not really expecting anyone of interest to appear. The day had been slow going and those type of days seemed to be endless days of boredom. He quickly got to his feet however when he saw a familiar face that he hadn’t seen in years.
“I don’t believe it,” he exclaimed walking around his desk intent on reaching her before she arrived in the squad room.
“Don’t believe what?” Ziva asked looking to see what had piqued her partner’s interest.
Ziva stood to watch where he was heading. An older woman with red hair touched with gray was about to walk toward them when Tony stopped her. She was surprised when he spoke to her as she was looking around for someone.
Tim’s curiosity caused him to stand up slowly and guessing Tony’s intention warned him, “I wouldn’t Tony,” just loud enough to reach his partner’s ears.
Tony waved him off. Tim could only shake his head knowing no good could come out of interfering.
As Tony introduced himself to the woman, the others looked on. “May I help you?” he smiled offering a hand in greeting. “I’m Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo,” he said hoping to get her name in return.
She smiled coyly, “Of course you are.” She shook the offered hand, “I’m looking for your boss, Agent Gibbs.”
“Who is she?” Ziva asked Tim as she walked to the front of her desk where Tim had made his way to better see the disaster in the making. Both watched with heightened interest at what Tony would do next.
“She’s an old friend of Gibbs,” Tim explained. “He never talked about her, but from time to time she would show up to pick him up after a case or drop something off for him here. This was back when I first started here. One day she was around and then we never saw her again. We figured they split up or something.”
“Huh,” Ziva contemplated the information. “I am not too surprised. She looks very much like Gibbs’ type.”
“My type of what?” Gibbs asked coming up behind his agents. He looked to where they were looking and smirked at the sight of Tony talking with his old flame.
Ziva and Tim cringed not seeing their boss’s face. They wondered if Tony would escape the repercussions of his actions. They were surprised when Gibbs gently pushed between them not seeming too bothered by Tony’s interference.
Having not gotten her name indirectly Tony asked, “And who may I tell Agent Gibbs is looking for him?”
“A friend,” she answered cryptically spying the man she’d come to see approaching. She gave Gibbs a wave and stepped around Tony who frowned his frustration.
“Jethro,” she greeted as they came face to face.
He kissed her cheek and gently took her elbow to lead her away from the trio of observers.
When Tony returned dejected, Tim asked, “So did you find out anything?”
“Only that she is as elusive as Gibbs,” he replied before dropping in his chair.
“Well perhaps she’ll be around again and this time we can discover who she is,” Ziva returned to her seat. She enjoyed a good mystery after all.
“I think we should stay out of Gibbs’ love life. It’s never appreciated,” Tim half smiled knowing he’d be right in the thick of the investigation of finding out the identity of the mysterious red-head.
Gibbs escorted his friend to a conference room. Once she was seated he poured her a cup of coffee and sat next to her.
“Thank you,” she lifted her cup to take a sip.
After they each drank from their cups, Gibbs having brought his own along with him, he stared at her waiting for her to explain her appearance.
Under his scrutiny she put down her cup before beginning her reason for coming to the Navy Yard.
“It’s been awhile,” she smiled meeting his gaze.
“Uh-huh,” he agreed without wanting to interrupt her.
Nervously she added, “I’ve missed you.”
Frustrated, but still intrigued Gibbs encouraged, “Cut to the chase Gloria.”
She smiled at his natural approach to gaining information, “You haven’t changed much,” she laughed lightly. “I was hoping we could pick up again,” she finally spoke her desire.
Gibbs put down his cup and narrowed his eyes at her. Their relationship had been one of mutual understanding. They had known each other as young children back in Stillwater until her family moved to Ohio. Neither had been looking for a serious relationship when they met up again as adults. They served each other’s needs without making too many demands on the other. They had stopped seeing each other when her career had taken her across the country.
The end had been amicable. A few phone calls had been shared during the first year, but by then they both found other interests. None that had equaled what they’d once shared. Finding someone not looking for any ties wasn’t all that easy.
“It could be just like before,” she put her hand over his resting on the table. “That is as long as you aren’t seeing anyone.” She suddenly wondered if she mad a mistake showing up unannounced. It was the way they’d always been, so it was habit.
Thinking of the most recent woman he’d been with and her sudden need to escape from her past, he debated his answer. He wanted to help her rid herself of the problems, so she could stay around, but she all but ordered him to let her go on her way. It had been Samantha’s strong resolve that had attracted him to her. Ironically it would also be what deflected him away.
Now Gloria was here. He knew what to expect from her and the offer was very tempting. He was going to have to take some time to think about it. Despite her belief that he hadn’t changed, he knew he had.
He put his free on hand over hers covering his other hand and patted it. He couldn’t stop the smile that inched its way onto his lips. She had been a good match when they’d been together. Maybe there could be more in their future.
He stood pulling her up with him. “I’ll call,” he told her with a warm look.
She nodded knowing the next move would be up to him. “I hope that you do.”
He escorted her from the conference room and led her down the hall in front of the Most Wanted wall to avoid his still most interested agents. They watched their boss give another kiss to the woman’s cheek as she backed into the waiting elevator. Without glancing their way she raised a hand and waved to them a smirk appearing as the doors closed.
Before Gibbs turned to head back their way, they dropped back into their seats to resume their work. When he reached the squad room he stifled Tony before he could ask, “Not a word DiNozzo.”
“Boss..” Tony began wanting to fulfill his curiosity.
“Not happening,” Gibbs replied as he sat down at his desk and deliberately ignored the questioning faces of his team.
Ziva sent a quick text to Abby: The mystery lady has left.
Abby grinned and hurried from her lab to the conference room Ziva had earlier ascertained Gibbs had taken his unidentified ‘friend’. She pulled on her glove as she took the coffee cup left behind on the table and scurried back to her lab to check for prints.
She managed to retrieve a few discernible prints to run a scan on, but knew she had to be careful that it wouldn’t run too long. She got an immediate match on Gibbs’ print- no surprise.
The other ran undetected. “Darn. It had been such a good idea,” she thought. She sent the negative results back to Ziva who gave her teammates a barely perceived shake of her head.
Tony slapped at his desk in disappointment gaining the attention of his boss. “Fly,” he flipped his hand at the non-existent pest.
Gibbs glared but returned to his own paperwork. He knew that his agents were up to something. It would be an exercise in futility if they were trying to garner the identity of Gloria.
She had nothing in the system for them to find. He had to give them props for trying though.
When he’d finally gotten home at the end of the day he sat in his living room with a beer relaxing on his couch. He leaned against the back and put his head back losing himself in thought.
Gloria Dawes. He smiled at the memory of their first meeting after saying goodbye in Stillwater when they were just kids. It was almost fate that put them together again.
His first wife, after Shannon had filed for divorce. He couldn’t say it was a surprise. He hadn’t been very fair to her even though he did care for her in his own way. There was just too much pain he couldn’t get past, not to mention the secret he carried with him about his revenge.
Gloria worked for his attorney. She knew all the ins and outs of the divorce decree, but passed no judgment on him. It didn’t take long to dissolve the short termed marriage. Neither had brought much as far as property into it, other than the house. A settlement was amicably reached with both retaining their own belongings and short term alimony he agreed to pay.
He felt it was the least he could do until she settled on her own. She had been kind enough to not fight to sell the house, so he gave her a fair settlement to find her own place.
Gloria had barely spoken to him, but he sensed a connection between them. Nothing had come from that, but each time he returned to his attorney, she was there. She learned he was a man focused on his career who wanted a woman for companionship, but for some reason he couldn’t foster a relationship that carried with it a commitment.
She herself had a couple failed marriages. The men she married didn’t like coming second to her career. After Gibbs’ third divorce she offered him her card inviting him to call and maybe do coffee.
It took a few months but he eventually called and together they discovered a mutual liaison. It was comfortable and fulfilled the need they had to have someone they could turn to while also having a life separate from any demands of commitment.
When she was offered a position in a legal office in California, she knew she had to accept. It was hard to let go of the connection they shared, but he supported her success and didn’t try to delay her decision. She had wished then that their relationship could’ve been more, but also realized that would’ve made any future together impossible. He didn’t look back on his failed marriages. They were mistakes, but what they had had been right. It was just time for a change.
He rubbed his hand over his face. He didn’t know if he was ready to have Gloria back in his life. No doubt that she would be a distraction, but she had been more than that in the past. He certainly wasn’t looking for anything permanent, but the situation with Samantha Ryan didn’t seem resolved.
He owed it to Gloria to be free to focus on her, even on a temporary non-committal basis. He looked at the new card she had given him flipping it between his fingers.
He would call her. He just needed a little more time. He wondered if his agents would ever get close to figuring out who she was. He shrugged. It wouldn’t matter much if they did. She knew how to keep her distance from them. He had shared stories about his team and their cases before, but she really had no desire to attach herself to that portion of his life.
They both wanted someone to be there to help keep the loneliness at bay.
He recalled the memory of their childhood. His friends use to tease him about her being his girlfriend, though they were years away from entertaining that sort of relationship.
They had shared a mutual crush in kindergarten. They exchanged special valentines and an occasional smile here and there. Still her news about moving seemed to make his heartache.
She moved when they were eight years old. He remembered how sad she looked sitting all by herself on a swing at the park. His friends had urged him to go and talk with her. He was glad they got the chance to say goodbye before her family moved away.
He sat up putting his elbows on his knees. He dropped his head and regarded her card as he held it in his hands. He smiled. In the morning he’d give her a call and maybe they could meet up the following night. He could explain how things were in his life and together they would decide the course their relationship would go.