Oh god, I am SO sorry that this took so long. There was the holidays, then writers block, then my life kind of exploded, then more writers block... But we're back! Please be kind, I'm a bit rusty.
"Henry, the only way that tie is getting straighter is if I pull out a ruler." Abe flicked through the file he was reading as he passed his father looking in the mirror for the umpteenth time.
Henry dropped his hands from the black fabric around his neck and clasped them behind his back in an effort to stop fidgeting. "I think I'll have a cup of coffee." He announced heading towards the kitchen.
"Make it decaf" Abe quipped. He put down the papers and followed. "I don't get what's with the nerves. It's a dinner with Jo."
"It's not just dinner with Jo, Abraham." Henry said. "It's a second chance. A very rare and possibly undeserved event that I fully intend on making the maximum effort to take advantage of."
"Well, you say it like that and I'm getting nervous." Abe opened a cupboard and produced a small bottle of liquor. "I usually just use this for making that biscotti you like but it's also great with coffee." He aimed to pour a shot in Henry's mug but the doctor covered the cup with his hand.
"I'm fine, thank you." Henry took his cup and moved to look out the window.
"Yeah, sure you are. That's why you're waxing poetic about second chances like an old novel. You need to relax and-"
"Act normal?" Henry finished.
"You? Impossible. Settle for being yourself." Abe poured a shot into his coffee before putting the bottle back. "Besides, she'll see right through anything else. She knows you too well." He tried to go back to his paperwork but kept glancing up at Henry every five seconds. "What time are you picking her up?"
"We're meeting at the restaurant at 8." Henry kept watching the traffic below and assumed by the lack of follow up questions that he had left the room. The coffee cup in his hand became suddenly lighter as Abe took it and placed it on a nearby table. He then offered Henry his coat. "It isn't that far away."
"Walk slowly, and in the wrong direction for a bit. It'll take your mind off things." Henry looked at him suspiciously. "Trust me." Henry sighed. If there was one person who knew how to relieve pre-date jitters it would be Abe. It was obvious he was bested, so he took the coat.
Jo sat in the cab nervously tapping her fingers on her purse. She really didn't want to be late and traffic was questionable at best. She found herself actually watching the tiny tv in the back of the cab, desperate for distraction. On the bright side, she did get four out of five questions correct on the short Jeopardy segment.
The cab pulled up in front of a small Italian restaurant. Jo noticed Henry standing out front doing his best impression of a patient man. He appeared greatly interested in reading the curb side menu, however he had his pocket watch firmly in his right hand and was standing in such a way that he could observe the cabs pulling up without gawking at them.
Henry watched as the cab slowed and stopped five feet away. When Jo paid, the driver must have complimented her appearance. She laughed and looked away while brushing her hair behind her ear which was something always did that when she was caught off guard. Henry approached and grasped the opening car door. He held it while Jo stepped out and closed it behind her.
"Hi" Jo smiled, trying to subtly straighten her dress from where it had shifted getting out of the cab.
"Hello" Henry returned the smile. "I'm certain I'm not the first to say it, but you look lovely."
"I clean up pretty well." She jokingly brushed off. "So do you, by the way. It's not that different from normal, but I haven't seen that suit in awhile."
"Yes, well I got quite a few compliments last time I wore it." He bit his bottom lip slightly as a teasing grin slipped on to his face. "It seemed like a good choice." Jo arched her eyebrows at the insinuation. She remembered exactly when Henry had worn that suit last, and who he had been with. It was her, and that evening had ended extremely well. Remembering they were trying for a fresh start versus a walk down memory lane, Henry changed the subject by offering his arm. "Shall we?" Jo nodded and looped her arm through his as they headed to the entrance.
Henry endeavoured take the brunt of errant shoulders and precariously balanced food trays as the waiter guided them through the restaurant. He stood behind her with a hand at her side so she knew he was still there. Once they were seated, their usual easy conversation and banter began to flow and he relaxed. Abe was right. While it may be a special dinner, it was still simply sharing a meal with someone close to his heart. They talked about work, mutual acquaintances and the various silly things that they encounter while out and about in a city like New York. While they waited for their entrees Henry launched into an animated story about Abe's competitive obsession with a discount home furnishings store that had opened three blocks from the shop.
"He goes in at least twice a week. When he returned he rants and raves about the shoddy replica antiques. He claims stores like this contribute to the downfall of quality modern furnishing." Henry shook his head amused as he took a sip of water.
"Hmm where have I heard that one before.?" Jo teased.
"Ah," Henry paused, unable to come up with a satisfactory argument. "It is possible we have rubbed off on each other a bit over the years. Bound to happen."
"I can only imagine what he must have been like as-" Jo caught herself before she said the words 'as a kid'. "When you two were younger."
"Imagine what you see today," He explained. "But shorter and with even more energy if you can believe that to be possible."
"Must have kept you on your toes."
"Still does." Henry beamed proudly. Jo couldn't suppress a matching grin. He was completely adorable in that moment.
"I wonder sometimes how I didn't see it before." She took a sip of her drink. " A lot of things about you make so much more sense now."
"It is hard to imagine the impossible." He said. "It's only a little harder than imagining I would ever get a chance at a lovely evening like this with you again."
"Trying to charm me Doctor Morgan?" Jo flirted.
"Only if it's working." He tilted his head a little as he looked her in the eye. A warmth passed through both of them as they quietly shared the moment before being interrupted by their waiter.
While Jo had managed to talk Henry out of picking her up for their date, he wouldn't dream of not sharing a cab and seeing her home safe. Anyone else she would have found the insistence annoying, but for some reason when it was Henry, she didn't mind. He asked the driver to wait and walked her to her door.
"Do you ever miss your old house?" He asked as they approached the apartment building.
"Not as much as I thought I would." Jo admitted. She had moved out of the home she and Sean had owned in Washington Heights a year earlier. "It was really too big for one person. I like this place."
"Me too." Henry agreed. They stopped at her door and the nerves of earlier in the evening returned full force. "Thank you, for letting me take you to dinner."
"Well thank you for taking me." She answered. "So I guess, maybe I'll see you tomorrow? You know, depending how work goes."
"Yes, yes of course." He paused briefly before leaning in and giving her a small kiss. He pulled back nervously and saw a pleased look on Jo's face.
"Goodnight Henry." She said as she turned and opened the door.
"Goodnight." He made his way to the cab and gave the driver directions to the antique shop. Tomorrow was likely to be a good day.
The next morning, Henry was already up to his elbows in paperwork when He heard a single knock on his office door. He looked up to see Mike standing there arms crossed. "Detective Hanson?"
" Henry, we gotta talk." Henry nodded and Hanson closed the door. "I know you and Jo are starting up again."
"You do?" Henry challenged.
"I may not have your, gift, knack, whatever but I'm still a homicide detective." Mike sat in one of the office chairs. "Jo's not in for another 15 minutes and yet there is a bagel and coffee sitting on her desk. Now that's something I haven't seen happen in about, three months?" Henry knew he was busted.
"We went for dinner." He stated.
"I hope you know what the hell you're doing." Hanson leaned forward. "Because I really don't want to have to kick your ass."
"If you are referring to my previous error in judgment, I can assure you that I am making amends." Henry said solemnly. "I have made many mistakes in my life Mike. This is not a chance that will be squandered." He stared down the detective. Hanson eventually nodded and stood to leave.
"Alright, I've said my piece, better get back before I get busted for meddling."
"Too late." Both men turned to see Jo standing in the doorway looking serious. "Now if you're done with the big brother routine, we've got a body." Jo stepped aside to allow Hanson to pass, patting him on the shoulder to show she wasn't too annoyed. She turned back to look at Henry. "Parking lot in 5?"
"Of course." He said with a smile. She smirked and nodded, following Mike out of the morgue. Henry grabbed his coat and scarf. It was going to be a good, and busy day.