Misty prided herself on being practical, especially when it came to her love life. It wasn't until Luke came around that unconventionality started crossing her path. That ended about as well as she figured it would. It had only amounted to a one-night stand that caused her more trouble than it was worth, no matter how toned his abs were. Plus, after Mariah Dillard managed to get away with everything and come out looking like a damn Avenger, Luke and Claire started doing the whole star-crossed lovers torn apart by unforeseen circumstances thing. Misty did not want a piece of that pie. Last she heard, Claire got Luke's case to be taken on pro bono by some up and coming lawyers out of Hell's Kitchen. Misty recognized one of them as half of the duo who put the Kingpin away. He was apparently working with Hogarth, Chao, and Benowitz, along with his partner, Marcy Stahl, who Misty had encountered more than once if a suspect decided to lawyer up. They were working hard to get Luke acquitted, but Misty had her own leads and problems to face. Mariah and Shades not being the least of them.
Which made her current location problematic, to say the least.
She glanced to her left, where Colleen was cuddled into her side with Danny pressed against the younger woman's back. The moon hanging over the Upper West Side caused blue-white light to flood in through the window of the fancy penthouse apartment that Danny owned. It bounced off Colleen's flawlessly dyed red hair and Danny's shiny black mane, brushing wispily against his warm brown skin, scarred from the fight they had just barely managed to escape from.
Misty wasn't even entirely sure how she ended up here. Three hours ago, she and Danny had been trying to save Colleen from falling down the same hole that Luke had: being framed for a crime she didn't commit. Misty had only been involved at Claire’s request. The former nurse didn’t want to see her self-defense teacher go down. Misty hadn’t even wanted anything to do with it. She still needed to get Mariah’s ass, and Ridley wasn’t making it easy, holding the threat of suspension over her head because of her “distrust of the system”. Now Misty was buck naked with two teeny-boppers in bed with her.
She shook her head and quietly began trying to slip out of bed.
"Misty? Where you going?" Colleen asked groggily, blinking up at her with confusion. She looked so innocent. It only made Misty feel guiltier.
"I'm just going to the bathroom. Go back to sleep, we don't want to wake Danny." Colleen nodded in response, cuddled closer to Danny's chest, and let her eyes fall closed. Misty hesitated before bending down and pressing a kiss to her forehead. Colleen let a small smile slip onto her lips, and Misty felt her heart slam in her chest.
Get it together, bitch, she chastised herself in her head.
She slipped out from under the sheets, grabbed her cell phone along with Danny's discarded shirt, and then tiptoed out of the bedroom. She practically jogged to the bathroom and pushed the door shut once she got there. She slipped her arms through the sleeves of Danny's button-up while simultaneously punching familiar numbers into her phone. She tapped her foot impatiently as the line rang. She kissed her teeth as she was sent to voicemail before hanging up and calling again.
"Boy, you better pick up this phone," she mumbled to herself angrily.
"Hello?" A voice said on the other end.
"Sam! I know you saw me call you before," Misty hissed into the receiver.
"I'm kind of busy," he replied. Misty's brow furrowed.
"Why do you sound out of breath?"
"I'm on the treadmill."
"Since when do you own a treadmill? I thought you preferred jogging."
"Well, being a fugitive puts a damper on being in public for..." Misty rose an eyebrow as Sam took a long pause.
"...extended periods," he finished, sounding like the words were punched out of him.
"Mom bought a treadmill for Steve and me to, uh, make up the difference."
Something about that sounded fishy to Misty, but she rolled her eyes and plowed ahead.
"Whatever. I need you to cut the workout short and come pick me up."
"I can't. I'm, um, I'm not home."
"I thought you said you were on the treadmill?" She countered dubiously.
"Yeah, at the gym."
"If you're on the treadmill at the gym, why'd your mother buy one?" Misty shot back, her eyes narrowed in suspicion.
“This is why I always knew you’d make a good detective. Because you’re so damn nosy.”
"Misty..." Sam groaned. Misty paused. She knew that sound: the way his voice sounded pulled taut, and he could only say her name as a moan or a groan. They'd spent whole nights together during their short relationship before he deployed to Afghanistan. She would tease him for all he was worth and garner this same response. Her suspicions were answered as a new voice joined the conversation.
"Excuse me? Did you just say 'Misty'?" Steve asked. His speech was slurred slightly, and his voice sounded rough. Misty pushed away all thoughts about where his mouth had just been and what he had been doing.
"I'm on the phone with her," Sam replied defensively.
"You are not seriously on the phone with me while you're having sex with your boyfriend?" Misty groused.
"I was doing this first. I wasn’t about to stop. Besides, you called twice. I figured it must be important."
"Kind of, yeah."
"Steve's eyes are drilling a hole into the side of my head. I don't think he's going to let me saying your name while he was going down on me go, so please make this quick."
"It's about Danny... and Colleen." Sam sighed in response.
"… shit. Two minutes, Steve. Five tops."
"Misty," Steve said in response. She'd never heard her name sound more like an accusation before. She wasn't particularly mad about it.
It wasn't that she didn't like Steve, per se. He reminded her of Luke in a way. They were both all chivalry wrapped in a sexy package. There was none of the cliché tension between the current partner and ex-partner that existed in every rom-com ever. It was more the fact that Sam following this guy had led to him being a fugitive from multiple international police organizations, and Misty was a part of law enforcement. The fact that she knew where they were and wasn't doing shit about it wasn't just illegal, but could result in the loss of her job if anyone in the force found out about it. Misty loved Sam and knew he loved Steve, but she blamed the captain for putting them in this position. She blamed Sam for having the smart idea to hide in plain sight at his mother's place. She blamed Darlene for being so damn good to her that she couldn’t dream of betraying the older woman’s trust by turning the two men in, even though she should. Furthermore, no one in Harlem was going to rat Sam out. Darlene was too respected a figure in the community for that, so they were all safe. For now.
"I promise I will make it up to you, babe. Misty'll make it up to you too," Sam crooned to Steve.
"I'll do what now?" Misty asked.
"Do you have any idea how pent up we've been? We've had to sneak quickie blowjobs for two months. Finally, Mom is out of the house for the whole night, and you decide to call."
"Darlene actually left y'all alone in her house?"
"Fish asked her to help him, and Retta sort out all of Pop's girlfriends. They're all fighting over his things since he didn't leave a will. Mom was practically like a sister to him, so they thought she could help mediate with them." Misty shook her head. As much as she loved Pop, he had a cavalcade of women under his belt, some from his old days, and some from his new and not all of them within his age group.
"You think I'm gonna end up like Pop?" Misty asked suddenly. She was always able to be vulnerable with Sam. She hadn't been that way with a whole lot of people, but having grown up side by side with him, played basketball every day together, sent letters back and forth through his tours and her college years and the police academy and seen him at his lowest after he was discharged, there existed a level of comfort between them that she didn't have with many others.
"What the hell are you talking about? Is this about Danny and Colleen? What happened there anyway? Thought they annoyed you."
"I'm with them."
"No, I mean I'm with them. I'm in Danny's house right now with him and Colleen. They are naked in his bed, and I’m hiding in the bathroom."
"I hope you didn't call me to talk you out of it, because I don't think I can."
"It's already done."
"Congratulations. I don't see the problem."
"You don't see the problem? You mean, other than the fact that he has the power of a dragon's molten heart and she's a samurai? I'm a 36-year-old woman sleeping with a 26-year-old and a 24-year-old. If that ain't robbing the cradle..."
"You're all consenting adults. It's not like you're marrying anyone, it's just sex." Misty stayed silent.
"Right? Because if one of them put a ring on it--"
"Don't worry, I'm not engaged. I literally hated them both last week.”
“Knowing you, you wanted to bang them the second you met them, and you hated that, so you decided to hate them.”
“Or I was busy trying to take down a corrupt politician and got interrupted thanks to a feud between ninjas and samurais, giving my anger against them justification and credence.”
“If that’s how you want to look at it. I say you wanted them.”
“Of course you don’t see a problem with that, because you’re robbing cradles right next to me.”
“Hey! First, depending on how you look at it, Steve’s older than me. Secondly, physically he’s 30 and I’m 37. Seven years for us isn’t an age difference to write Chris Hanson about. Thirdly, my guy has a legitimate reason to not know the power that is Curtis Mayfield. You know, since he was frozen in the Arctic during our teen years.”
“Oh my god, they probably don’t know who he is.”
“Unless they’re hipsters. That Danny kid strikes me as the type, but then again, maybe it’s just the weird aura coming off him because of the other dimensions or whatever the hell his deal is.”
“See? You can’t even call him a man; you call him a kid. What the hell am I doing?” Sam was silent for a moment.
“Why does it matter so much?”
“What do you mean?”
“Steve’s glaring at me, so I’m going to cut to the chase. I know you didn’t call me because you thought I would talk you out of this, you know I won’t. So level with me, what’s really going on?”
“I'm just... I'm not so sure this is just sex, and I don't know if I'm okay with that.”
“I’m going to be frank: your dating history sucks ass. You’ve always run from relationships. I’m pretty sure the only reason we dated was that you knew I going to deploy, so we probably wouldn’t last. Then, when I came back from Afghanistan, I was a mess, and there was no way you thought I could sustain a relationship with you, even if you don't want to admit that. But before that, when I spent half of high school hung up on you? You would’ve never gone for it because you don’t give relationships a chance. On the off chance that someone manages to worm their way into your life, you wait for the first excuse to dump them on their asses. I’m not going to do you the indignity of pulling out all your receipts, but I trust that you’re introspective enough to know that about yourself.” Misty opened her mouth on a protest before shutting it.
It was true. Before Danny and Colleen, the most she’d done in terms of recent dating was Luke, and that was just a one-night stand. She wasn’t expecting to see him again. She never followed up with her shortlived lovers, but they all were special to her in some way. They were all little glimmers of connections she otherwise shied away from. She was four years away from the big 4-0, and on top of that, she had no plans of having children. Those two facts narrowed her romantic prospects drastically. Add to that the fact that she was a cop and, again, her choices were chopped in half. On the off-chance she did find someone who didn’t mind these things about her, she’d meticulously search for something wrong with them. They had to be a cheater or have a baby mama somewhere or a jail record or hell, maybe they accidentally kicked a puppy once or something. Maybe that stemmed from a self-esteem issue, or maybe she just really like being alone. She and Scarfe had a pretty good rapport a la misery loving company. Either way, Danny and Colleen were different.
“Look, Misty. Maybe you need two people with you. Maybe that’s just…” Whatever profound thing Sam was about to say was cut off as there was a sudden shuffling, and then Steve’s voice sounded on the other end of the phone.
“Misty, you are a great person. You deserve to be happy and loved. It’s so great that you have that gift literally sitting in a bed a few feet away from you. You should go enjoy that. We’ve gotta go. Good luck. Bye.”
Misty stared at the phone as the call ended before shaking her head.
“Thanks, I guess, Steve.” She shook her head and sighed before a knock at the door made her peek up. Danny opened the door a second later and poked his head through.
“There you are. Colleen thought you jumped out the window or something.”
“It was a near thing. I didn’t want to be arrested for streaking, though. I’m already in the doghouse with Ridley enough.”
“Hmm, people will think you’re having some sort of midlife crisis.” Misty’s jaw dropped then.
“Are you making fun of my age, mister?”
“I would never,” Danny replied with an impish grin.
“If I didn’t think you’d enjoy it, my foot would be halfway up your ass right now.”
“Ooh,” Danny commented with a lecherous grin.
“Now there’s an idea,” Colleen added in a sleep heavy voice, peeking into the room. Her red hair was mussed and sticking up in places.
“Y’all are both nasty,” Misty said, looking between the two.
“You like it,” Colleen protested.
“In fact, I think you might love it.”
Misty could hear the subtle implication in her words, and even though her heart stuttered, her stomach dropped, and her brain blared with alarms to RUN RUN RUN, GET OUT NOW, she held fast and let herself soften, if only a little.
“You might be on to something, but that’s not a concept I have nearly enough sleep to investigate right now.”
“Of course. Old women need their nap time, Col. Let’s not disturb her,” Danny said solemnly. Misty stared him down, and he met her gaze innocently for all of five seconds before he bolted out the bathroom door, Misty hot on his trail.
“Help me, Colleen!” Danny called back.
“I’m Switzerland, don’t involve me!” Colleen called back as Misty gained on Danny.
She didn’t know what this was supposed to be or whether this was right, but for now, she wasn’t going to stress on that, she was going to have fun and be happy. If that involved wearing out a couple of 20-something year olds, well only she and God could judge her for that.