Chapter 11 – Unwrapped
"Sir, take in a deep breath," said the paramedic. The spa's night manager was so shaken by the evening's events that he required oxygen. When he saw Nell, he yanked off the oxygen mask and waved.
"Miss Jones, Miss Jones! Thank you for all you and Miss Blye did. Things could have been a lot worse without your quick thinking. You ladies are a credit to NCIS."
"Thank you. How are you feeling?"
He took another puff of oxygen before answering. "Better, but my heart is still pounding."
Nell smiled. "Get some rest. I'm sure these gentlemen will take good care of you." She moved off to explain to the guests what had happened and to try to soothe frazzled nerves.
"Miss Jones." Nell turned around to see two large SWAT guys approaching.
Deeks and Kensi reached the terrace as the SWAT officers, Miller and Hernandez, were chatting up Nell.
"Debriefing or flirting?" wondered Kensi.
"Looks more like flirting to me," said Deeks. "Watch me straighten out these jokers."
Kensi shrugged. "Go for it."
"Are you really an NCIS agent?" Miller asked Nell.
She narrowed her eyes and waved her gun in front of him. "No, I'm a kindergarten teacher with a weapon."
Hernandez held up both hands. "Hey man, I wouldn't mess with this one. She may be small, but she's lethal."
"If you want to see small and lethal, you should meet my boss," said Nell.
Deeks walked up to the little group. "Guys . . . hey, guys. Nell-a-saurus here is on my team. Yeah, that's right. She's NCIS. And she's taken. Trust me, you do not want to tangle with her guy, Ball-Buster Beale. He can inflict some serious damage on you and you wouldn't realize it until it's too late."
Nell's eyes widened and she struggled not to burst out laughing.
Miller and Hernandez exchanged a look. "We got it, Deeks. We're just getting Nell's statement.
Kensi joined the group. "Everything okay?"
"Miss Blye, we'll need to debrief you, too," said Miller.
Deeks noted how the men checked out Kensi and was not amused. "I've already done that, guys."
"I'll bet you have, Deeks," said Miller. "On more than one occasion."
"I'm not liking your tone, dude," replied Deeks with a steely glare.
Kensi cleared her throat. "Excuse me, if you boys have finished your little pissing contest, I'd like to go get cleaned up. What about you, Nell?"
"More than I can say."
"Miller, Hernandez. Let's go. You too, Deeks," yelled the SWAT commander from across the yawn.
"Copy that," answered Deeks as the other two officers moved off. "Ladies, walk with me." He slung one arm around Kensi's shoulder and the other around Nell's.
"I'll be glad to get back to our team Monday where we have mutual respect and understanding and don't work with a bunch of assholes," said Deeks.
The girls laughed. "Can you believe Miller tried to write his phone number on my hand?" said Nell. "Now I'll have to fumigate it."
Kensi's face scrunched up. "Yuck."
"Let's not tell Ball-Buster Beale about that," said Deeks.
Kensi gave him a weird look. "What?"
"I'll explain later," said Nell.
"Deeks! Get in the van now or you'll be walking back," said the commander.
"On it." He reluctantly released Kensi and Nell. "Enjoy the rest of your stay at the Lotus Petal Spa." When they turned to go, Deeks gave Kensi a little pat on the butt.
She jumped. "Yeow! What was that for?"
"Until Monday." He grinned and gave a mock salute.
Once inside the surveillance van, Deeks remembered the picture of Nell with cucumber slices on her eyes. He had been interrupted before he could send it to Eric, but now he scrolled through his phone and sent it.
Nell and Kensi showered again and fell into their beds. Just as Nell's head hit the pillow, her cell rang. She sat up. "If that Miller character managed to get this number I'm gonna . . . Oh, Eric, hi."
Kensi gave her a thumbs up and rolled over on her stomach.
"That's was an interesting pic you sent," said Eric.
"Turban, cucumber slices on . . . oh, wait. You didn't send that?"
"No. But I bet I know who did."
"Kensi?" ventured Eric.
"Not even close."
"Did someone hack your phone?"
"Deeks is the only one who could have sent it."
"Deeks? How? Is he there?"
"Actually, he just left." Nell related everything that had gone down.
"So much for a restful weekend," said Eric when she finished. "But you and Kensi are okay, right?"
"We're good. Exhausted. Hey, how's the anniversary party going?"
"Funny you should ask. I was about to send you some pics that explain it better than I could. Hang on."
Three pics popped up on Nell's phone. "Uh, maybe you should explain." The first pic was a woman on a stretcher followed by a man passed out at the table and finally, a group pic where Eric's clothes appeared to be wet and his glasses were askew.
"Okay, aunt Jean fell doing the chicken dance and may have broken her hip. Then uncle Rudy made one too many toasts. The man never could hold his liquor. And last, but not least, the obligatory pic of all the grandkids right after my cousin Lionel pushed me in the swimming pool." Eric sighed. "Yeah, that kinda sums up the party."
"You poor baby," cooed Nell.
"At least we didn't have a fire and get raided by SWAT." Eric went silent for a moment. "But I think I could have handled that better than dealing with my goofy family." Wisely, Eric did not mention that his family thought "Nettie" was his fiancée.
"Something to be grateful for," said Nell. She yawned widely. "I gotta go to sleep now."
"You know, I could crash Deeks' social media accounts for 24 hours to punish him for sending unauthorized pictures."
Nell thought about it. "Nah. He's basically a good guy. I'll find some other way to get back at him."
"Okey-dokey, Nell-a-saurus. Go to sleep now."
The Following Friday Night - 11:50 p.m.
Deeks held a slice of pepperoni pizza in his right hand while working the TV remote with his left hand.
Bummer. Nothing interesting to watch.
The doorbell rang. Deeks looked at Monty who was on the other end of the couch chewing on a bone. "Are we expecting anyone?" The scruffy dog glanced up with a hopeful look.
"Yeah, it might be her," said Deeks. "And you're in her spot." He tossed the remote down and approached the door.
"Deeks?" A familiar voice was heard on the other side.
Deeks turned to Monty and gave a thumbs up. He unlocked the door and almost dropped his pizza. Kensi stood there in a short, belted grey trench coat and black stilettos.
A bit of pepperoni went the wrong way and Deeks began coughing.
Ho-lee shit. She took my suggestion. No, not mine, Nigel's. Wait! Does she know I'm Nigel? Is she messing with me? Who cares? She's here!
He got the coughing under control and peered outside. "Kens, this is a surprise. Is it raining? I don't hear any raindrops." He narrowed his eyes at her. "Hold on, are you working undercover without me, your partner?"
Kensi pursed her lips and planted one hand on her hip. As usual, Deeks was monopolizing the conversation and she couldn't get a word in.
"I called you earlier, but it went to voice mail," continued Deeks.
"I got the message. I was at my mom's."
"How is your mom?"
"Good. I like your mom." Deeks flashed that killer grin that always sucked Kensi in.
Exasperated, Kensi said, "I didn't come here to discuss my mom; I'm here to make a statement."
"A fashion statement? Because I gotta say I'm liking this look." He slowly scrutinized her from head to toe. "Mysterious . . . and sexy as hell." He pointed to the trench coat. "Did that coat come from Hetty's wardrobe?"
Kensi pushed past him into the living room. Deeks smiled behind her back. "Come in. Want some pizza?"
She spun around. "No, I don't want pizza. And does it matter where this came from?"
He shrugged. "Not really. Hey, are you going clubbing? I could change in five seconds and go with you."
Her sharp tone arrested Deeks' babbling.
Kensi sighed. "I'm trying to say something important here."
He swept his hand in a magnanimous gesture. "Sorry. Please, continue. What's your statement? Should I get a pen and paper?"
"Can you be serious for one tiny moment?"
"You have my complete and undivided attention."
Something was vexing Kensi and he was pretty sure he knew what it was. She had revealed a deep-seated fear to 'Nigel.'
"I know what I want, but I need to know what you want."
Deeks finished off the last of his pizza. "What I want? Maybe another beer?" When Kensi didn't reply, he went on. "I'm guessing that was the wrong answer. Could you be a little more specific?"
Kensi stood there another moment, then blurted, "Are you interested in Talia?"
There, I said it.
"What? Talia? Why would you even think that?" Deeks tried to look appropriately thrown off guard by the question. "Oh, wait. Are you perhaps referring to the last time Talia came to the Mission? We were only talking."
Why does Kensi have to make our relationship so complicated? Boy meets girl, girl resents guy, then slowly guy wins girl's heart. At least, I hope so.
He invaded her personal space and reached for the trench coat belt. "Maybe you should take off your coat and sit down so we can discuss this." Kensi took a step back.
"Not so fast, mister. Talking? I recall you couldn't take your eyes off her chest."
Monty jumped off the couch and went to Kensi's side with tail wagging. "Hi, Monty." She reached down and rubbed him behind the ears.
"Monty, do you mind? Your mom and I are having an important discussion." The dog plopped down by Kensi's feet and looked back and forth between them.
Deeks looked up and met Kensi's stormy eyes. "Well, okay. I suppose I'm guilty of that. But . . ." He held up a finger when Kensi started to interrupt. "But you know very well she does that to get a rise out of you."
"And to get a rise out of certain parts of you," challenged Kensi.
"Wow. Did you really just say that?" He wanted to laugh, but Kensi would pulverize him and rush out into the night.
"This was a bad idea," said Kensi as she fished in her pocket for the car keys. She took two steps toward the door. "Goodnight, Deeks. See you Monday."
Deeks jumped in front of her. "Come on, Kensi. Wait! Okay, I'll admit if I didn't know you and care about you, I'd be all over Talia. Without question, she's an attractive woman. And she knows it. But . . ."
"But?" prompted Kensi.
Deeks kept stepping toward Kensi until he forced her back against the front door. When she didn't push him away or knee him in the crotch, he reached up and ran his fingers through her hair, examining each strand. "But Kensalina, Fern, Princess, Sugarbear, Wonder Woman . . ."
When the silly nicknames caused Kensi to roll her eyes, Deeks knew he was getting through to her. She put her hands on his chest. "Stop!"
"Wikipedia . . .Wifey. Wi-fey."
The way he repeated the last one caused a flip-flop in Kensi's stomach. He leaned in as if to kiss her. "Ahhh," sighed Kensi as her eyes closed.
He pulled back at the last moment and whispered. "You're the only one I want. We're yin and yang." He rested his forehead against hers.
Kensi's eyes flew open. "Ugh! You're such a tease." She moved her right hand. For a second, Deeks thought she was going to slap him. He grabbed her wrists and grinned. "I'm a tease? You're the one who showed up at my apartment late at night, wearing who knows what under this sexy little coat. Or maybe you're not wearing anything. Maybe it's all Kensi under there. I think it's high time I found out." His hands slid down to the belt and paused there.
Kensi chewed her bottom lip. She put her arms around his neck. "Kiss me and I'll think about it."
Deeks grinned. "I can do that." He pulled Kensi flush against him and gave her a proper kiss. When they separated, she guided his hands back to the belt. "Go ahead."
"You're sure?" asked Deeks.
An eye roll from Kensi. "Hurry up! You're spoiling the mood."
"We have a mood? Like we have a thing? This is better than Christmas morning," said Deeks. Slowly, he untied the belt and opened the coat. A wave of her perfume hit him.
"Wow!" he gasped. He felt robbed of speech. She hadn't exactly taken Nigel's advice, but the result was still spectacular. Black lace push-up bra that barely contained her generous breasts and tiny matching panty and garter belt. "Wow!" he said again. "What gave you this idea? Because this is freakin' awesome!"
Kensi was breathing like she'd run ten miles on the beach. This caused her breasts to thrust out even more. The movement was not lost on Deeks. She felt a moment of feminine triumph over Talia.
"A conversation with a recent new acquaintance. I think he was right."
Deeks' eyebrows shot up. "He? Really? You're talking about stuff like this with a guy? A guy who isn't me?" Wait, he is me, but she doesn't know. Does she?
Deeks stood motionless and speechless, a rare combination for him. He wanted to drink in every detail of his beautiful Kensi. He blew out a sigh. "Wow."
"That's three times you've said that. Your vocabulary is quite limited tonight."
"I'd like to meet the guy who put this idea in your head and personally thank him," he said at last.
"Okay, it was Nigel the masseur at the spa. He was totally amazing. I can still feel his hands working out the tension in my shoulders." Kensi was almost hyperventilating remembering the experience.
Deeks nodded slowly. "Nigel, you say? He sounds like a talented guy."
"You can't even imagine. I'd love to return to the Lotus Petal for another session with Nigel."
Deeks couldn't contain himself any longer. He was tired of Nigel getting all the credit. It was time to trot out the British accent.
"No need to motor that far, luv. Nigel is at your service tonight. All night."
Recognition hit Kensi and maybe some embarrassment, too. A flush climbed up her neck. Her eyes grew huge and her jaw dropped. Then she clenched both fists.
"Ugh! I knew there was something familiar about Nigel," she hissed. "His touch. Even his cologne. Your cologne, I mean. I can't believe you did that to me! It was rude, it was deceitful, it was . . ."
"It was exactly what you needed, Kens." He took her fists and slowly coaxed them open. "Does Nigel need to remind you how to relax?"
"Nigel said it was like being in the confessional, but you abused my trust."
He dropped the accent. "Come on, Kens. It wasn't like I broadcast your worries about Talia on Facebook. Worries that you see are completely unfounded. I see it as a good thing because it opened our lines of communication. And communication is vital to any relationship. Don't you agree?"
Kensi seemed conflicted. "Yes, but you still took advantage of me in a vulnerable situation."
Deeks sighed. "Okay. If you want to leave and forget any of this happened, I'll understand. I'll be disappointed, but I'll understand."
Kensi stood there for what seemed an eternity. Deeks could almost see the gears turning in her head as she debated what to do. Finally, she pulled the coat together loosely. "I need a beer."
"Beer is good," nodded Deeks. "Have a seat."
Kensi sat in her usual spot on the couch. Deeks went to the kitchen and returned with two beers. They took a few swigs and stared at each other.
"I'm still mad at you," said Kensi.
"Stop grinning like the cat who swallowed the canary," said Kensi.
Deeks dropped his smile. "Sorry. Can we call a truce?"
"Maybe." She stared into his cobalt-blue eyes. She couldn't deny she wanted to feel his lips on hers again and his hands on her body.
Deeks or Nigel. Does it matter what he calls himself? He's still my guy.
She touched her bottle to his. "Truce."
Deeks nodded and tried not to smile. "You know, Fern, maybe what happens in Santa Barbara . . ."
"Can turn into an amazing experience," finished Kensi.
"You took the words out of my mouth."
Setting her beer on the coffee table, Kensi said, "It's warm in here." She fanned her face.
Deeks broke into a mega-watt smile. "Let me help you with that coat.