1. On the morning of her first day of work at the 2-7 Elaine wakes up a whole hour before her alarm is set to go off. She has no patience for a big breakfast and settles for yogurt and a banana; her stomach is too jumpy for anything else. Traffic isn't bad this early in the day so she gets to the precinct 30 minutes before she has to clock in.
Marty, the other aide for the Major Crimes department, is quietly sipping a cup of coffee as she boots up her computer. "Your work station is the one by the door," she says almost too chirpily, while pointing at a desk with mountains and mountains of files on top of it. "Let me catch up with my e-mails and we'll take those bad boys to Archives, okay?"
Elaine nods back. She puts her purse away and starts separating the files by case numbers.
2. Like everyone during that first week, Elaine falls for Fraser's charm. How could she resist being attracted to a man who, in Frannie's words, "could be Count Van Swann's twin"? Things between most of the women--both married and single--and a few of the less-discreet men of the 2-7 get heated as an office pool on who will be the first one to "land the Mountie" is born.
One afternoon, she's having leftover pasta for lunch when the Duck Boys walk in the breakroom making cracks about all the transfer request forms spilling out of Welsh's in-box. She nods hello at them as Gardino and Huey keep talking while getting some sodas.
"Hey," Gardino says, "how much would do you think the odds would change if people knew he had a foot fungus problem?"
Elaine stops eating. What?
Huey flicks the tab and gulps his cola for a long moment. He throws the can in the thrash like it was a basketball. "You know, Louie, sometimes I wonder how you ever made it to detective." He shakes his head. "There is no way on God's green earth that the Mountie would have something wrong with him, least of all foot fungus."
Gardino sips his soda. "Now you're going to tell me that they don't have foot fungus in Canada?" he snorts.
"No, what I'm saying is that there is a reason why the pool keeps growing. In any case," Huey says, "I don't think the odds would change much if he had such an ailment--the Mountie is like the Holy Grail to women. At least, that's what Marty told me. By the way, Debbie from Records is still the favorite to get him."
"Oh yeah? What are the numbers?"
"7 to 1," Huey answers. "That the highest one out of all of them."
They walk out of the room while arguing about probabilities and possible Canadian-American diseases.
Though not an actual police officer, not only is she one of the few women in Major Crimes, but she's worked alongside Ray and Fraser during many a case. Fraser could fall for her. Maybe. She looks at her half-eaten plate and puts her fork down in annoyance. Something has got to give. Soon.
3. Elaine is horrified at how far into the abyss Fraser has fallen. Arrested for stealing thousands of dollars in connection to an old robbery? Ray keeps walking around, trying to figure out ways to keep Fraser from sinking further into disgrace. Lt. Welsh has everyone work through every piece of evidence, half-hoping that something will come up. Even with everyone rallying around him, Fraser closes himself right up. She volunteers to take him something to eat after he's booked, if only to offer a few words of comfort.
What she finds is a body whose soul is almost all torn up. That's not Fraser behind the bars; it's a wild animal (a wolf) or something unimaginably cold (a glacier). She stops herself from shuddering and slides the tray over without saying anything at all.
4. After Fraser's shot and the super-bitch has fled, Elaine goes home and calls Damon, her older brother, who graduated from the Academy two years ago. He listens as she pours out all the rage and frustration and exhaustion she's kept in during this past week. At the end of it, she is at once tired but comforted.
"I'm being silly for letting myself fall for someone who won't ever see me the same way, right?"
Damon's tone is mellow. "I'd say he's been the foolish one for not taking notice of you. Anyways, whatever happened to all that "Cagney and Lacey" talk I had to endure back when you first got to the 2-7?"
Her shoulders drop. "I don't know, D. Sometimes all of that seems so far away."
"Well, baby girl, maybe it's time you look for greener pastures."
Elaine snorts. "I'm not a cow, Damon."
"Never said you were," he laughs and something begins to ease inside of her heart. "I'm just saying it's time for you to see where Life will take you next."
"All right, wise one." She smiles while looking around for the good bubble bath liquid. "Night, Damon and thanks for, you know, being there."
"Can't let little sis down. Bye."
You never do, she thinks, placing her cordless phone back on its cradle.
Half-floating, half-sinking in the tub ten minutes later, she reminisces on her romantic life and realizes that she has had a lifetime of relationships with people that are all kinds of wrong for her. Three of them had turned out to be gay (with one in the closet), one was married and three had been a not-so-winning combination of stalker-con artist losers.
She considers what she likes to call "the Fraser dilemma" through every possible outcome, no matter how absurd.
Having a crush is one thing. Waiting around for him to react to her in any other way than with panic (she's seen it firsthand) might make her grow unnecessarily bitter. "Not this time, buddy." Elaine closes her eyes and leans back against the tub, enjoying the certainty that comes with making up one's mind. Maybe Frannie knows a single guy or two?
5. Because of her status as a civilian aide and as someone who was there from the very beginning, Elaine ends up spending a few afternoons coaching Ray "Vecchio". No one will say it, but people--even Welsh--are nervous about Fraser's return from his latest vacation. The idea of having two Ray Vecchios is pretty ridiculous. That the new/old one is miles away from behaving, let alone looking, like the old/old one is in Huey's words "a possible time bomb."
Today, Ray is helping her carry some of the old Ray's files back to Interrogation Two. "So . . . how crazy do the cases get when the Mountie is involved?"
Elaine studies his boots, dark jeans and black t-shirt topped with the kind of hairdo her grandma would call "electrified". He is possibly thinner than the old Ray and has a nervous type of energy that is sure to drive Fraser crazy. A part of her can't wait to see the day when Ray meets Fraser. "You have read the files, right?"
He puts his folder pile next to the one she put down. "Uh-huh?"
She cocks an eyebrow. "Well?"
"The vault thing?"
"Yup, that happened."
He squints back at her. "And the Santa Clauses case?"
"I know it sounds crazy, but Fraser and weird . . ." She shakes her head. "They ought to get married." Picking up a random file and flipping through the first few pages, she starts the grilling. "Okay, what can you tell me about Herb Colling?"
As it turns out, Fraser takes on new/old Ray with minor trouble. Everyone, from Thatcher and Welsh on down, breathes a huge sigh of relief.
Being one of the few people who have spent a lot of time with the new Ray, Elaine's not really surprised how things went down. Ray has a certain flexibility that hides how good of a cop he is.
She notices that Fraser seems happier nowadays. It's a little strange, but then working at the 2-7 is like having a ticket to the Twilight Zone.
6. Elaine doesn't expect to know, to learn the real relationship between Fraser and Ray. As a matter of fact, the only thing in her mind when she opens the door to Interview One is her grocery list.
It is not as if she's caught them doing anything explicit, thank goodness. Ray's hands, his fingers, are entwined with Fraser's and both men are leaning towards each other. She is temporarily shocked at seeing the two of them in such an intimate moment. Soon, however, a single thought forms in her mind: "They've got each other and all is good with the world."
Fraser's eyes grow wide as Ray does a double-take. Both men are blushing yet both seem reluctant to let go.
"I'm just here for the file," she says to no one in particular. "If you're done with it, that is."
Ray nods and it is then that they separate. Fraser's face is redder than his uniform.
"Oh, OK. Thanks," she says as Ray hands her the file, carefully not meeting her eyes. The room is so quiet that her steps reverberate far longer than usual.
"Thank you," Fraser finally says, his tone implies much more than mere politeness.
Unsure of what to say, Elaine decides to play things cool. "'kay. See you tomorrow, guys." She thinks she's smiling before closing the door behind her. Walking down the hallway, there is a moment when her vision blurs. She makes a beeline for the bathroom, but stops short just as she gets there. What exactly was she tearing up for? A relationship with Fraser that never happened?
Elaine thinks back to the conversation she had with Damon almost two years ago. She straightens her back and heads to the Records department.
After taking care of the file, she goes back to her desk and picks up a pen and the entrance application that, up until this morning, was at the bottom of the second drawer.
7. Elaine steps through the doors marked "MORGUE"; her skin getting goosebumps almost immediately. She waits until Mort turns around and stops humming a song that is vaguely familiar even though it's opera (not her favourite genre) before speaking to him. "Hello, Mort."
"Good morning, beautiful lady! To what do I owe the pleasure?"
She takes in his bright smile and the blood-spattered plastic apron. It's such a contrasting image that she's not sure whether to laugh or throw up. She settles for holding up a thick manila folder. "I--I have some paperwork for you to sign."
Mort nods. "How soon do you need it? I have a couple of fresh ones, you see," he says as he points at two sheet-covered bodies. "Daniel called in sick today and I'm afraid I'm running a little behind."
Rather than look at him, Elaine stares at the covered remains. "Lt. Welsh said he wanted everything back by Friday." She turns her gaze to him and takes the plunge. "Also, I was wondering if you could write a recommendation for me. I'm applying to the Academy."
"Well, good for you." He is radiating pride. "Life, you know, it's for the living."
Yes, it is, Elaine thinks. The time has come to see what lies ahead.