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if you were falling, then I would catch you.

After they’re done screaming, they both leap out of her bed, clutching bedding to their chests. Boyle wraps up like he’s a mermaid, t-shirt be damned, and Gina clutches a discarded body pillow to her front.

"Crap!" She shouts, and looks around her room at the discarded clothing, at his stupid bandaged hand, at the light streaming in through the window.

"How did this happen?" Charles whines, rubbing his free hand through his hair.

"Alcohol, obviously. I’d never sleep with you sober.”

Charles doesn’t even have the grace to be offended. “The last thing I remember is doing shots with Rosa.”

"See, that was your first mistake. Rosa can drink everyone under the table."

Boyle presses his hand to his forehead, trying to remember, and Gina almost feels sorry for him, except all of that was in all of this and she’s not about to pity anyone but herself just yet. “Get out of my house,” she says flatly.


"Get dressed and get out."

Boyle gives her a long look, his deep-set eyes making him look like a kicked puppy, and Gina feels herself wavering, but then he grabs his clothes and turns away, pulling them on in rough tugs, only letting the sheet fall when he’s presentable. He walks out of her bedroom — and her apartment — silently. The door slams shut behind him.

Gina throws the pillow across the room and makes a frustrated noise, tugging at the roots of her hair.

you need a light? I'd find a match.

Teddy transfers to the precinct and ends up sitting in Charles’s desk. Boyle moves to Jake’s old desk, and Gina moves her monitor to block Amy and Boyle.

"It’s like the worst sex dream ever," she whines to Carlene, the two of them at the diviest of dive bars. "Except it was real, ugh!"

"Have you been having sex dreams about him?" Carlene’s expression is shark-like.

"What? No!" Except for that one time, but Gina was pretty sure it wasn’t a sex dream so much as a sex memory, which is worse because it had been good, better than she expected by far.

Carlene presses her fingers to her temple and Gina feels the hair on the back of her neck stand up. “I sense that you’re lying.”

Gina swears and knocks back the rest of her drink. “Fine, it was just one time.” She grabs Carlene’s other arm. “You gotta help me out. It’s not gonna happen again, is it?”

Carlene does her hand-to-temple thing again, only she holds it for way longer. “The spirits aren’t being very clear. It might, it might not.” She pauses. “It probably will.”

Gina groans and buries her head in her arms. “Nooooo,” she moans, voice muffled by her arms and the table. Carlene pats her on the back a couple times before wiggling her fingers flirtatiously at a guy across the bar.

the way you say good morning

It happens again.

This time, though, they’re both stone-cold sober. Gina remembers every second of it, the way he puts her on top, the way his hands scratch down her back, the way he doesn’t complain when she gets rough, pinching his skin and pulling his hair. She bites his shoulder and he flips them over and after that all Gina sees is stars.

Afterwards, they’re lying side-by-side staring at her ceiling and catching their breath. Charles asks, “I thought that wasn’t gonna happen again?”

Jake’s been gone and she’s going through a dry spell, and she gets the feeling everyone isn’t telling her something, which is completely unacceptable. “I lied,” she replies flippantly. “I’m allowed to do that.”

"Okay," he says, and reaches for her, as if to cuddle.

She slaps his hands away. “No cuddling!” She rolls over onto her stomach and falls asleep, face turned away from him.

When she wakes up, she smells coffee and something cooking. She gets out of bed and pulls on her favorite robe, the one she accidentally-on-purpose stole from the fancy gym in Downtown Brooklyn. When she walks into the kitchen, Charles is there, making pancakes and humming Jimmy Buffett under his breath.

"You’re still here?" she asks, surprise coloring her voice.

He glances over his shoulder at her. “Sit down, I’ll bring you a plate.”

So she does, and he brings her a plate of pancakes and a mug of coffee made exactly the way she takes it. She takes a long drink, her hair pulled back from her face and wearing no makeup, watching him cook over the rim of the mug.

"I’m seeing other people," she says suddenly.

"Okay," he responds, focused on the skillet.

"You’re really okay with that?" she sounds incredulous and maybe a little shrill even to her own ears.

"We can both see other people. Just let me know how many." He points at her plate. "Eat."

She rolls her eyes and sets her mug down, cutting into her short stack. The first bite is like coming home, the pancakes crisp and fluffy and soft. It isn’t fair he can cook.

He brings his own mug and plate and sits across from her. “Also, why do you own a turntable?” He points to the living room, where the turntable and milk crate full of Klezmer records sits under a see-through plastic tarp.

"Jake’s fault," she says around a forkful of flapjack heaven. "The massage chair is his fault, too."

"Sounds about right." He smiles faintly.

She narrows her eyes at him while she chews, waiting until he cuts into his own short stack. “When are you going to tell me he’s undercover?”

if you are chilly, here take my sweater.

Jake comes back, a cut on his left cheek and dark circles under his eyes. Gina teases him a little, but when his expression doesn’t soften, she gets worried.

She helps him move out of the apartment in Brooklyn Heights, surprised that he boxes up the nicest things he has in the place and places all of it in the corner meant for Goodwill donations.

"You sure you wanna give those away, Maverick?" She'd guess it was at least three grand in clothes alone.

Jake looks at her, expression distant. “Yeah. I earned them, and I don’t want them.”

“‘Earned’?” she echoes.

He shrugs and hefts the box up, turning away from her. “Leo had me do some stuff.” His voice is so cold that Gina shivers. He doesn't elaborate and she doesn't ask any more questions.

Later, when Jake is moved back into the place he sublets from her — “I put it on AirBnb while you were gone,” she admits; he shrugs again and she wants to shake him, yell at him, anything to get a reaction from him — Gina goes to Boyle’s and ties him to his headboard and leaves oval-shaped hickeys on his chest and red lines on his back that don’t fade for days. When they're done, she lets him cuddle her, and she doesn't think about why.

your head is aching, i'll make it better.

"I’m worried about Jake," Gina says, while they’re straightening their clothes in Babylon.

"Me too," he replies, threading his belt through the loops of his slacks. "I don’t think he’s sleeping."

"I’m pretty sure Amy’s cheating on Teddy with him," Gina says bluntly, toying with her necklace.

"What?!" He drops the belt in surprise. It falls to the floor, and he has to start over.

"I saw her going to his place around 9:30 last night," she admits, and wonders when Boyle became someone she confided in. "I was gonna bring him dinner when I saw her go up with a takeout bag."

"Are you going to tell her?"

Gina turns to the mirror and fluffs her hair. “Nah. Why waste good blackmail material when I can get her to do me a favor later?”

the way you call me baby

"Let me take you to dinner," Charles says, expression earnest.

Gina feels panic wash over her. “I can’t, one of my other boyfriends and I already made dinner plans.” It amazes her how good of a liar she is sometimes.

"What about tomorrow?"

"Other boyfriend."

"The day after?" He’s starting to sound frustrated.

"Floorgasm show," she replies, and that one’s real.

"I’ll be there," he says, smiling, and leaves before she can protest. Jake watches from his desk and smirks. He’s been getting better, the shadows fading, but Teddy just left for the Eight-Two and Amy’s been looking harried. Gina glares at Jake, who just grins, mouth wide and teeth flashing white in the ugly fluorescent lights.

i'd buy you rogaine when you start losing all your hair.

Gina grabs Boyle and motions for Rosa to follow and they huddle in the fire stair, on the landing that no one ever uses. “They’ve been fighting for a week and a half,” Boyle says, sounding panicked.

"Santiago thinks it’s her fault," Rosa says shortly, arms folded across her abdomen. "Told me herself."

"And Jake’s looking bad," Gina adds. "The other day, he and Sarge got into a shouting match in one of the interview rooms."

"What do we do?" Boyle frowns, looking back and forth between the two of them.

Gina suddenly wonders if Boyle still wants to date Rosa, and pushes the thought out of her mind. “They need to talk it out.” She pauses. “Or shout it out.”

"Babylon," Rosa says tersely. "It’s private, no one will hear them if they get loud," she adds, glaring at the two of them. Charles turns red and Gina simply shrugs; she’s been a screamer since she was nineteen, or so said her then-boyfriend Javier. "And neither of them know about it. We can trick ‘em down there no problem."

"I’ll get Jake," Gina volunteers.

"Santiago," Rosa replies.

They both turn to Boyle, who looks back and forth between them. “I’ll…keep lookout?”

Gina beams. “Good, Boyle. You’re learning.”

sew on patches to all you tear.

She's half-way set to bolting when he spots her.


She swears loudly inside of her head and then pivots on her heel to face him. "Hiiii, Charles, funny seeing you here!"

Charles glances up at the poorly designed banner above her that reads, "Smorgasburg Gourmet Food Truck Rally," before tilting his head at her. "I can't tell if you're being sarcastic."

Gina sighs. "Look, um, you came to my show last week, and you kept talking about this all week so I figured..."

She can't read the expression he's giving her, which is scary because Gina can always read Charles, mostly because Charles only has about three modes. Whatever this is, it's uncharted territory.

After a moment, he blinks, and whatever tension was there is suddenly gone. "You're allergic to strawberries, right? And you don't like Greek yogurt."

"Yes," she replies slowly, off-balance. She's voluntarily outside before noon on a Saturday; this is already pushing it for her.

"I can work with that," he said, and beamed. He gestured for her to go first and then kept up a nonstop chatter about experimental chutneys and cutting-edge innovations in kimchi while Gina wrestled with herself about holding his hand in public.

'cause I love you more than I could ever promise.

"What are we?"

Gina looks over at him. They’re in her bed this time, sprawled out on top of the covers. The winter is ending but her heat is still on full blast. She can still feel how flushed her skin is, still feel the sensation him of between her legs. “We’re sleeping together,” she replies flatly.

"What if I said I wanted us to be exclusive?"

That panicked feeling comes back, and Gina feels her walls slam back into place. “What, did Rosa finally stop sleeping with you on the side?” Her voice is thick with sarcasm.

He props himself up on an elbow. “I haven’t been sleeping with anyone but you!”

Gina won’t admit that the same has been true for her since about the time Jake came back. “That’s a shame,” she says instead.

"Is that all you have to say?"

She hears herself talk before she can stop herself. “Did I stutter?”

He gets out of her bed and gets dressed. “I’m done,” he declares, and leaves. She sits up but doesn’t chase after him. Gina Linetti has never chased a man and she won’t start now.

The front door of her (Nana’s) place slams, and it seems to ring in the silence.

and you take me the way I am

"I lied," she says, holding the Argos Bakery pie and standing at the threshold of his ex-wife’s new boyfriend’s basement apartment.

"That’s what you do," he agreed. "That and dance."

She brightens at that. “You think I’m a good dancer?”

"You are magnificent onstage," he says, and there’s nothing but honesty in his face. Gina thinks of guys before who looked at her askance when she mentioned her dance troupe, about how even Jake didn’t attend her shows and always had the worst excuses for missing them. Thinks about Boyle in the front row, holding flowers and beaming.

"I’m sorry. I’m not good at monogamy. Or apologies. But," she hesitates. "I’m willing to try."

Charles shrugs and takes the pie out of her hands. “We’ll figure it out,” he replies, and steps aside to let her in.