Bear was losing patience with Root.
“Are you sure about this?” she asked again. It was times like this that he envied Shaw’s ability to roll her eyes. “I’m not happy that she said she would do it all again, Bear,” Root explained...again.
Bear let out a long sigh. He had seen how Root was able to get Shaw to do almost anything, so he was confident of a resolution. He had suggested she bring Shaw a treat bag though; just like the kind they took with him to the park. But Root said no. She didn’t want to feed Shaw to get her to comply. He disagreed, but in the end, they went empty handed.
“You realize you’re asking me to go to her mother’s to have this discussion?” Root asked him, just to be clear.
“Power in numbers,” he barked.
But while Root was making her way there, Shaw was already on her way out.
Shaw’s attempt to argue fell flat at her mother’s. What kind of a former CIA operative doesn’t express their opinion, she wondered. Still unsure of how to handle this, she thought over the list of who else she could talk to. It was a pretty short list. She decided she needed someone who was objective; someone who wouldn’t panic that the wedding was off, and who wouldn’t hold back on their opinion. In other words, someone who would say something so Shaw could get upset and yell, letting out the pressure that was building inside her.
She needed the Kid.
Getting into Harold’s building was a piece of cake. Getting into his apartment was even easier. She had to guess which bedroom was Genrika’s, but the giant picture of Albert Einstein on the door gave it away. However, getting the tween to wake up was another matter. Shaw tried subtlety first. She tossed a soft pillow at her head. Then, she gently shook the bed, hoping to break the pre-teen’s slumber. “Nerds,” Shaw said, rolling her eyes and shaking her head at how soundly the girl slept. Finally, she bent down and whispered in Gen’s ear: “You’re report card just came and there’s a B on it.”
Shaw had to pull back quickly, as Genrika shot up from her sleep upon hearing the horror.
“Shaw?” Genrika said, trying to command her eyes to focus.
“Oh, hey, Kid,” Shaw said, like they just ran into each other on the street.
“Shaw?” Gen asked again, trying to figure out what she was doing there. “Are you okay?”
That was a question Shaw always answered in the affirmative. “Me? Sure,” Sameen said, sitting in a chair and looking around the room. “Where’s all the Disney themed stuff, Kid?”
Gen slowly crossed her legs and got more comfortable, her eyes still heavy with sleep. “I have to get into a good school, so I’m kinda serious.”
“Kinda?” Shaw scoffed without realizing it. “What about being a kid and having fun?”
“I write programs that help children in poverty stricken areas learn,” Gen said, not believing for a minute Shaw stopped in to see how she was doing.
“Oh, that’s… great,” Shaw said, unsure of where this conversation was going. “So, Kid, the wedding’s off,” Sameen dropped the bomb.
“WHAT?” Gen said, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. She shoved her feet into her sensible slippers and stood in front of Sameen. “What does that mean?”
“It’s not happening. Root is….Root wants…okay, Root said…,” Shaw said, tempted to dump this all on Root, but couldn’t. “I screwed up,” is what came out of her mouth instead because she was sitting with an innocent. “Look, sometimes adults don’t see eye to eye on things.”
Shaw’s admission was making the junior sleuth suspicious. “What did you do?” she asked and her tone wasn’t accusatory the way Fusco’s would have been. Gen sat back down on the bed now so there was no avoiding eye contact for Sameen.
Shaw started to act like it was Gen who just broke into her bedroom. She got up from the chair and paced around, looking at all the advanced textbooks on the shelves. “You understand all this stuff?” Sameen asked, trying to change subjects.
“Yes,” said the kid who understood a great deal about human behavior, too. “What happened?”
“God, you’re pushy,” Shaw tried, but it fell flat. “Fine! I’ll tell you,” Sameen caved and sat back down in the chair across from the inquiring mind. “I went to my old apartment and not because I wanted to, but because someone suggested that we not be together the night before the wedding. Make a note, Kid – don’t listen to anyone. Anyway, my friend, Cole was there and he was in trouble and I helped him, but I didn’t text Root about it because I didn’t want to disturb her and I didn’t want her to be in danger. Turned out, we needed Root’s help and she found us and actually, did a great job of saving us. And that should be the end, right? But she wanted to taaalk about it,” Shaw said dramatically, dragging out the word. “Which really, in my book, rarely helps.”
Gen listened carefully and watched Sameen’s body language. “What happened?”
“I said I’d do it all over again if I had to. Not the part about running out of ammo, just the part about not telling her,” Shaw clarified.
“Hmm,” Gen said, getting the gist of the issue.
“Hmm – what? You think it’s my fault, right?” Shaw barked.
“I’m thinking how scared Root must have been to think you were in danger and she didn’t know it,” Gen started.
“Yeah, well she’s got an all seeing app for that,” Shaw added.
“Still, imagine if you were here with me now and unbeknownst to you, Root was in danger. When you found out, wouldn’t you be upset that you didn’t know?” she proposed.
“That wouldn’t happen,” said the former operative confidently.
“How come?” Gen asked.
“Because Root would tell me,” Shaw said and then stopped in her tracks.
Gen not only led Shaw where she thought she needed to go; she let her hit her head on the reality.
“Dammit!” Shaw said when she realized what she said.
Gen let her uninvited guest think about what she had just said. Shaw would look away, her eyes darting back and forth in her head as she thought over this revelation. Then, she’d look back at Gen whose expression merely indicated that it was Shaw’s own confession.
A few minutes later, it came to her.
Shaw realized that she couldn’t do things the way she used to. It wasn’t fair to Root.
“Hey, Kid, I gotta go,” Shaw said and started to walk out. She turned back, grabbed Gen and pulled her into a hug. “Thanks,” Sameen said.
“See you in a few hours, Shaw,” Gen said, yawning and returning to bed.
While Sameen was seeking counsel, Root was trying to find her at Azar’s. The doorbell rang only once this time and Azar answered it, since she was already up.
“Samantha,” she said warmly, and took Root’s hand and pulled her into a hug. “Sameen has already left, I’m afraid. But come in, please. Hello, Bear,” she greeted them.
“Do you know where…?” Root was asking when Azar turned and gave Root a knowing look.
“You have at least two ways of finding her,” the older woman smiled.
“Oh,” Root replied. “You mean the machine and Bear.”
“Actually,” Azar smiled as they went into the kitchen where she poured Root a cup of tea she knew she wouldn’t touch. “I meant…,” and Azar touched the side of Root’s head and her chest.
“Maybe” Root blushed because she doubted herself. “Did Sameen…?”
“Tell me? Yes, in her own way. Samantha, do you know what I have seen almost every time I see Sameen? The fight going on inside of her, to be different from what she thought she had to be.”
“What do you mean?” Root asked.
“There is the world that Sameen used to live in, and then, there is her world with you. Sometimes, she forgets which one she's in. Sameen is fighting her worst possible foe to remain in that world, Samantha. She’s fighting herself. Her head is telling her that she has all these skills to survive, and her heart is telling her that she needs to do things differently with you,” the wise woman shared.
“I want Sameen to be just the way she is,” Root said.
“Well, that didn’t work out so well last night for you two,” Azar gently reminded her future daughter-in-law.
Root stood up quickly and looked down at Bear. “Makes sense,” he barked.
“I have to find her,” Root said and started out of the room quickly. She turned back long enough to thank Azar.
Root stepped outside and grabbed her phone at the same time that Shaw was texting her.
“We need to talk,” the exact same message was written, sent and received. Followed by the second duplicate; “I’m sorry.”
They were at locations equidistant to the Penthouse, so both women rushed to meet there. Shaw stopped walking when she saw the tall figure of her partner moving out ahead of the few pedestrians stopped at the light. Her heart leapt in her chest and pounded, as if it were a beacon, trying to pull her towards Root.
When Root saw Sameen, tears welled in her eyes. Nothing was more important than the two of them being together. Eyes locked on each other, the two women walked until they met outside their door.
“Root,” Shaw said, wanting to get her prepared confession out, but her lips were engulfed in Root’s kiss.
“Shaw,” Root said, when she let go, but Sameen’s entire head was offline now.
“Finally!” Bear barked and walked inside, too tired to do anymore for them.
“I’m sorry,” the two women said at the same time.
“Sameen, there isn’t anything about you that I want you to change,” Root said, her forehead touching Shaw’s as they spoke.
“You’re my reason for wanting to do things differently, Root,” Shaw shared.
“Let’s go upstairs,” Root said, taking Sameen’s hand and playfully pulling her inside.
“What are you two doing out?” the doorman asked. “Don’t you two have a wedding to get ready for?”
“Yes,” Shaw agreed. “We do.”
The two rejoined lovers rushed into the elevator, where Bear patiently waited for them.
“Good job, Bear,” Shaw praised him and made him happy.
The two women entered the apartment and kissed. It was Root who pushed Sameen backwards, telling her how glad she was that she was back.
“I’m sorry, Root. I forget that I can do things differently with you sometimes,” Shaw confessed as she leaned back against the dining room table.
“I’m sorry, too, Sameen. I lost it when I thought you weren’t safe,” Root said and found it absolutely necessary to touch Sameen to make sure she was okay – again.
Hands roamed, clothes were carefully discarded until Root pushed plates out of their way and gently pushed Sameen down on the table. There was no resistance, not push and pull this time. This time, there was just the physical expression of both women happy to have each other back.
“I don’t ever want to spend another night away from you,” Root said as her hands massaged Shaw’s aching body.
“Same,” Shaw said and then pulled Root on top of her as their bodies intermingled. “Ever.”
The lovemaking drained what little energy the couple had and they collapsed on the oversized couch, cuddling under blankets.
“We have plenty of time,” Root assured Sameen as they both drifted off to sleep.
One of them really should have set an alarm clock.