I just wanted to forget about everything. About Stroh, my despondent son, Davis - all of it. Walking into the condo I dropped my things off next to my desk in a loud thud, it was louder than I intended and caused Andy to look up from the dining room table.
"Hey, everything okay?" He asked.
"No, no it's not." I replied a bit flippantly.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No, not really." I said, knowing that wasn't entirely true, but feeling done going over things.
Thankfully he dropped the line of inquiry, probably knowing I wouldn't say anything anyways. "I picked up some soup and salad from Whole Foods if you want some? I wasn't sure if you had gotten something to eat already." He offered.
I suddenly felt a little bad for being annoyed, "Um, yeah thanks I think I'll warm up a little soup. I'm not terribly hungry but should eat something." The way he looked up at me confirmed that was what he was thinking, but wasn't going to say to me - he knew better when I was in one of my moods.
We sat and ate together in silence, it was a mostly comfortable silence. I was surprised that I didn't mind having him in my space when I felt like being alone, he seemed to understand when I needed to be left alone and gave me the time to do that. I still miss having the condo completely to myself - no kids, no partners just me. I wouldn't trade what I have now for what I had five years earlier, but I can't deny wanting my cake and eating it too. Dammit, now I want some cake. After Andy's heart attack we threw out all the tempting sweets from the house, I was never like Brenda, but I certainly enjoy a piece of dark chocolate salted caramel every now and then.
"So how did it go at the range," he asked moving away from the table to clean up his dishes.
I gave him an incredulous look, "How did you know?"
"Sharon, I make it my business to know everything there is to know about you," he replied. I looked at him with suspicion and he added, "That and I may have seen you down there a few times over the years. It didn't take much to put two and two together."
I sat in silence, stunned by this revelation, "But you never said anything."
He wiped his hands and closed the dishwasher, "No, it wasn't my place. If that helps you cope then who am I to question it. Besides if it makes you even more of a bad ass why would I ever complain?" He said throwing me a signature Flynn smile.
"Hmm," was all I could mutter.
"So, did it help?" He pressed again for an answer.
I nodded, "I feel better than when I went in, so I guess it helped." I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue, so I stopped talking waiting to see if he would say anything else, when he didn't I opened my mouth to excuse myself, but that's not what came out. "I'm just feeling out of sorts Andy, there's so much going on right now and I'm having a hard time keeping everything in check and under control. You know? And now Howard drops the bombshell that Stroh might be back, and," It was out before I even realized I said it, and I couldn't take it back.
"What do you mean Stroh is back?" Andy asked interrupting my anxiety-fueled ramble.
"Um, yes, well," collecting myself, "very thin reports that he might have been spotted in Pennsylvania. Honestly Andy, after reading over the report the evidence seems as far-fetched as him being in Cyprus a few years ago. I don't think we have anything to worry about, really, it was more just the shock of hearing his name again after all this time that did me in." I told him, really though I was telling myself. Trying to reassure myself that this wasn't something to be concerned about, be aware of yes, but no need to alter my life because of a veiled sighting.
Andy let out a sigh before moving towards the dining room table and sitting next to me, he took my hands in his before speaking again, "OK. Will you let me read the report?" He asked more calmly than I anticipated.
"Yes, it's in my bag," I replied gesturing towards my desk.
"Thank you," he paused and I moved to get up from the table, "wait," I sat back down, "were you going to tell me?"
And there it is, "Honestly, no I wasn't going to worry you about it, and before you ask I'm not planning on mentioning it to Rusty at least not tonight. He has enough going on with Gus right now."
He looked at me for a second, "OK. Well thank you for telling me and for letting my read the report for myself. I agree holding off on telling the Kid, until we know more."
I couldn't understand why he was being so calm about this, I honestly expected him to fly off the handle about both Stroh and me not planning to tell him about it, "Andy, are you upset with me?"
He stood up and moved back into the kitchen, "Well I can't say I'm thrilled that Stroh may be resurfacing and I'm not happy that you didn't plan to tell me. I know when you last faced him things were different, you were on your own. But now, I'm here and what happens to you, happens to me. We are in this together and I think I deserve to know these kinds of things, I would hope that you'd trust me with this kind of information - not just as your boyfriend but as your Lieutenant. Stroh impacts all of us Sharon, he has a reason to come after any one of us."
I knew he was right, about all of it. I've probably been on my own too long, I'm not well-adapted to having others to count on, to be there by my side to get through these kinds of things, "I'm sorry Andy. It wasn't that I didn't trust you, it's just that I guess I worried about your heart and whether the stress of everything in my life would be too much for you. I come with a lot of baggage you know?"
"Sharon, I come with plenty of baggage on my own - as you well know. We have so much baggage we could easily fill the underneath of a 747. That's not the point though Sharon, it is that we are a team now - my baggage is yours and yours is mine. And when it comes to Stroh he's everyone's. As for my heart, sweetheart I'm fine. You know that. My last check-up went well, while I still don't understand how I could have had a heart attack in the first place, it doesn't matter because things are healing just fine. The stent they put in his doing it's job." He tried to reassure me, but I could feel the emotion rising up within me once again.
"I know Andy," my voice broke, "I know that, it's just I can't get that image of you collapsing on the floor out my head." I finally let the words out, the thought that's been haunting me for weeks now. The vision paled in comparison to anything else she had witnessed with Andy - the one exception being the night of his stabbing. "I just came so close to losing you again and it scares me."
He pulled me in tightly, wrapping his arms around me, "I know sweetheart, I know and I'm sorry about scaring you like that. It scared me too - the thought of losing you and everything else that I have in my life right now. But I'm here now and we need to thank God for that blessing, and begin to move forward, to keep living. We've been granted a second chance." I felt him kiss the top of my head as I leaned my head against his chest listening to his heart thump away. It was a comforting sound, one that I found myself seeking out more and more during the night.
I looked up at him and we kissed, gently at first and then I felt him deepen it. Initially, reluctant I pulled back, "Andy, we can't."
"Sharon, we can, you know we can. The doctor said six weeks, it's been eight. He said if I could go up a flight of stairs that I would be just fine - well I can go up three without any issues. At some point we need to take that next step, we can't just live in fear that something will happen if we are intimate." His voice sounded strong and assuring, and while I knew what he was saying was true I had trouble believing it.
"I know what the doctor said Andy, but I can't help being worried about you." I said nervously.
Andy pulled away from me slightly, "Are you sure it isn't something else? Maybe this isn't what you want anymore?"
"No, no Andy, that's not it. I'm just concerned that's all. I want to be with you, in so many ways - believe me it's been a long two months for me too." I said trying to impart some confidence that he wasn't the problem, the situation was the issue.
"So if I'm not the problem, and we both want each other, then what's the problem Sharon. Why are you so reluctant to even try to move forward. I mean we've hardly kissed. We don't have to make love right out of the gate, but it would nice to just lay naked with you and touch you."
I could tell he was trying to make an effort to make me feel more comfortable, "Okay, if you don't mind taking it very, very slow then I think it would be nice to just be with you for a little while. Especially after the day I've had."
He pulled me back into a warm embrace, "Thank you, Sharon. I'm fine taking a slow pace, who knows it could be fun like that - just like old times." He said winking at me as he pulled me down the hall into our bedroom.
Andy shut the door while I stood in the middle of the room, I knew what he wanted to do next and I wanted him to do it just as badly. He dimmed the lights and slowly pulled off my jacket. Then unbuttoned my blouse letting it fall off my shoulders. I lifted my arms as his hands went to my waist and he tugged the camisole out of my trousers and then over my head. Moving around to my back he placed a kiss on my shoulder, then the other, and unclasp my bra. I let out a soft moan as my body shook at his touch, it had been far too long since he had touched me like this. Still behind me he reached his arms around me to unbutton my trousers, he circled back to face me and knelt on the floor kissing my stomach before unzipping and pulling my slacks down to my ankles. I placed my hands on his shoulders as I stepped out of each pant leg and stepped aside. He caressed my legs as he made his way back up to me.
Standing in only my panties, I began loosening his tie and undoing the buttons of his dress shirt. I pulled the ends out from his black slacks and let it fall onto the floor. Mirroring his earlier actions he rose his hands as I lifted his undershirt over his head and allowed my hands to caress his chest, sliding down to the button of his pants. Zipping them down, I reached my hands around his waist and gave them a little tug as they fell onto the floor. As he stepped out of them and kicked them aside, I moved my hands into the waistband of his boxer briefs squeezing his butt as I hooked my fingers onto the elastic and pulled them down.
Andy moved towards the bed pulling back the comforter and I followed him. He sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled me into him, standing between his legs. His hands ran up and down the my sides, it felt so good to be touched again. I felt all the tension from the day begin to slowly chip away with each caress. He pulled me down onto the bed with him, laying on top of him. He was giving me an opportunity to listen to his heart again, to hear that everything was okay and it made me relax. Andy's hands moved to my back, his fingertips were just barely ghosting over my skin making it feel electric and I let out another pleasurable moan. His hands moved under my panties and cupped my butt before trying to scoot the offending lace item down. I lifted my hips up to make his work easier. When finally our skin touched each other we let out a mutual sigh of both relief and comfort. We both needed this, he was right, I had been scared and it was keeping me from being with him fully. Eventually, I rolled off his chest and curled myself into his side, careful to not bump my cheek. We continued touching and caressing one another, but I still didn't feel comfortable going all the way tonight.
Andy pulled the covers up over us and I felt myself beginning to drift off. As much as my body was crying out for release, my mind was exhausted. I let out a low hum of satisfaction, this was definitely a good start to getting our relationship back on track, tonight this was enough.