Ressler walked into their shared office. He draped his coat across the back of his chair as usual. Only something was different. He looked up and noticed that he was not the first one in for once. Her coat was placed in a similar fashion across the back of her chair. His head snapped up quickly as he glanced around. He couldn't see her. He moved from their office and towards the kitchenette area to grab a coffee. As he began to return, he looked up and saw Liz exiting Cooper's office. Ressler quickly changed his direction from heading to the office they shared to Aram's desk, where he was beginning to shrug off his coat.
It had been just over two weeks since He had almost kissed Liz. He had gotten so close, but within the last few seconds backed out. Since then, he had done anything possible to avoid being alone with her for long periods of times. He was thankful at the lack of cases, allowing him to do so. Aram began to speak to him as they usually did, having a brief catch up on their evenings. But this time was different. He was distracted as he cast his mind back to that night.
They had gone for a drink after closing a challenging case, they would class it as a celebration, but did not think that was an appropriate term. They left the bar and were awaiting a cab when the rain started. Liz had left her coat in at the post office as it had been a mild evening. To protect them both from the April shower, Ressler held his coat over bother of their heads. She stepped in closer to him, sheltering and finding comfort in the warmth that radiated from his body. They were facing each other. And even though they had had a few drinks by this point, neither were drunk. They remained in close proximity, looking at each other for longer than anticipated. Their eyes locked. Ressler's eyes flicked from hers to her lips and back again, followed automatically by his tongue running across his lips. They were close. Physically closer than they had ever been, without actual contact being established. He began to dick his head down, and she leaned towards him. Their lips were inches apart and his eyes bolted open and he saw a cab approaching. He leaned to the side and hailed it down for her. And watched. He watched as so slowly realised what had almost happened. As she slowly stepped away from him and in to the cab. He remained still, watching as the car took her completely out of sight.
Liz walked passed the two men and smiled politely. Avoiding eye contact with Ressler and she headed into their shared office. He watched as she walked. Things had been mildly awkward between the two of the since that night, luckily Red had kept his distance and not brought them a new case.
"Ressler, my office please?" Cooper's voice filled the practically empty space. Ressler tilted his head upwards to look in the direction Cooper was stood and responded with a short, sharp nod. He placed his coffee cup down on Aram's desk and began ascending the stairs, fiddling with his tie as he did so. Once inside the office, he closed the door behind him and took a seat opposite his boss.
"Good morning, sir." Ressler started.
"Reddington has given us a name" Cooper began and noticed the physical tensing across Ressler's shoulders. "But for us to be able to catch them, we need you and Keen to go undercover. The pair operate out of a night club, and get their clients from couples who approach them repeatedly."
Ressler blinked. He clenched his jaw, more to check that it had not fallen open out of shock. "You want Keen and I to go undercover. In a night club. As a couple?"
"Yes. And we'll need it to be a convincing act."
Harold Cooper continued the brief surrounding the pair they would be trying to apprehend. Ressler missed most of it. He heard the key points, and nodded along as his boss spoke. But most of the information washed over him. He managed to keep his stoic, interested face in place the rest of the time he was in there. As he got up to leave, so did Cooper. Following him out of the small office and placing a file in his hand. Ressler silently hoped this was the brief he had just ignored.
Ressler headed straight to his desk and opened the file. He knew she was in there. He could feel her eyes on him as he read. He purposely avoided looking up from the file, his hand rubbing the back of his neck. There was a thick layer of tension in the room, he ignored it continued to read the file, reaching the final paragraph to discover their undercover details.
Liz knew by the generic expression on his face that he had not completely understood what they were required to do. She remember the night as well as him and it didn't phase her. She had wanted Ressler to make some sort of move for a while now. He was so hard to read. He never made his intentions clear.
The victims were all couples who had frequented a local club the weeks prior to their demise. The couples were all ages between 28 and 34, attractive, healthy and physical in public. Agents Ressler and Keen are required to take go undercover as a couple frequent the club and try to be the ones taken. Failing this, keep an eye on the place and be ready to take action.
His head snapped up and met her gaze. "So… I guess you know what we need to do then." Her strong gaze made him shift with discomfort. He looked as though he was in shock. She internally smirked as she thought about the ways she could tease him with this. But she decided to play the slow and honest game with him.
"Um… yeah." His hand went to the back of his neck again and rubbed. A habit of his when he was uncomfortable. "Guess we should talk then." She nodded her agreement.
"Not here. Let's talk later tonight. My place or yours?" She knew this would make him uncomfortable so played on it and ended her question with a smirk and a wink. She was definitely going to enjoy this.
Ressler shifted again in his chair and broke their eye contact. Did she seriously just do that?! "Uh, I think…" He was cut off by a sharp knock at the door. Reddington entered and removed his hat and held it in his hands
"Lizzie. Donald." He smiled at both of them. "I believe you know about the next case?" He waited and saw a confirmation nod from them both. "Excellent. Dembe will give you an address. Be there at 7pm sharp. I want to have you both measured for the clothes you will need. You won't need to pack too many of your own clothes. You will be sharing a hotel room though, to keep up appearances, should you be followed." Red glanced at both of them then turned and exited the room. Dembe took a step further in and handed Ressler a business card with an address on and a room number written on the back. He turned and left the room. Leaving it in a tense silence once again.
"Well, where ever we're going to talk, we need to do it before that." Lizzie smirked and finished her statement pointing at the card Ressler was holding up.
"Come to my place." His eyes finally looked up and connected with hers again. "Come to my place once you're sorted after and I'll drive us both there after we've spoken. I'll have some food ready by the time you come over." She nodded. They continued their days work as normal, with high tensions in their office. By the time it hit 5pm they were both relieved they could finally leave.
"So, I'll see you in about an hour?" Liz rose from her chair and put her coat on. Ressler copied her actions, standing and putting his own on. As he lifted his coat to reposition it on his shoulders, Liz could not contain her smirk. "I remember that look. You, lifting your coat above your head like that I head like that I mean." She eyed him then left their office. Ressler stood, still holding his coat slightly off his shoulders. He waited until she would be in her car then made to leave.
He groaned as he stopped his car outside his apartment. This was going to be a very uncomfortable evening. He glanced at the time and saw it was only 5:15. He had plenty of time. He walked up to his door and let himself in, removing his shoes and coat in the entrance way. He loosened his tie as he walked towards the kitchen of his apartment. He made swift work of turning the oven on and pulling a pizza out of his freezer. He shrugged to himself. It was better than nothing. He quickly placed the pizza on to a tray and into the oven and made a b-line to his shower.
He washed his hair free of his gel and began to lather his body with shower gel. As he washed himself he thought about what to say to Liz. He could not think of any explanation as to why he almost tried to kiss his partner. But he knew she deserved an answer.
He got out of the shower and dried his hair and began to dry his body off when there was a knock at the door. He glanced at his phone and saw it was 5:40. He frowned slightly as he wrapped his towel around his waist as he walked over to the door. He opened it to Liz who was dressed in trainers, jeans and a sweater. She looked so different compared to her usual work attire. He stepped back and allowed her to enter. She looked down at him, smirking. His eyes widened as he remember he was still only in a towel. "I'll be right back." He mumbled as he headed to his room and closed his door behind him. Liz stayed still as she waited. A smirk in place on her face the whole time.
He walked back out wearing a pair of straight legged jeans and a flannel shirt. He held a pair of socks in his hand and leant on the back of a chair to put them on before heading back to the kitchen. He came out a few minutes later with two plates containing pizza. He placed them both on the table in front of his sofa and sat. Gesturing for her to do the same. Which she did. The sat at opposite ends, turned slightly to face each other.
"So, we need to talk." Liz started as she picked up a slice of pizza and began to eat. Eyes locked on to her partner the whole time.
"Yeah." He agreed, sighing heavily. He made no move for his food. He couldn't do anything other than try and speak at this moment as it took all his concentration to do so. "Look, Keen. I'm sorry for what happened. What almost happened a few weeks ago." His eyes were trained on her face. Waiting for a reaction, that didn't come. She simply continued to stare at him whilst eating her pizza. "I shouldn't have tried to kiss you. I don't know whether is everything that's happened lately, or the drink. But I almost crossed a line. And I'm sorry." He dipped his head after he noticed a slight change in her reactions. She smiled as she nodded lightly, accepting his confession.
"I don't want you to be sorry Ressler." A sigh escaped her as she shifted one leg under her to face him completely whilst she spoke. "I really don't want you to be sorry for anything. I don't think you crossed a line. But, this case. You're ok with it right?"
He smiled slightly as she spoke. "Yeah. I'll be fine with it. Things can't get much more awkward between us than they have just been. Right?" His smiled turned into a smirk as he finished speaking.
A silence fell between them. This time it was more comfortable than the last few weeks had been. It was not the same as a month ago. But he could cope with this.
"Ready to go?" His clock said it was 6:37. The hotel was only 10 minutes away, but he dare not be late. Lizzie rose to her feet and slipped her trainers on again and waited by the door for him to join her. He never noticed her taking them off. But assumed she had done so when he went to change. He pulled on his tan boots and laced them up, before grabbing his keys and opening the door. They drove to the hotel with the radio on as the only sound. The whole way Lizzie has been staring at Ressler. Enjoying the way the evening sun light shaped his jaw. She noticed that his hair looked different. Softer. She watched the way the air con blew what would usually be his quiff and noted that he hadn't put any gel in it. They arrived at the hotel at 6:53
The engine stopped and Ressler looked over and noticed Keen looking at him. Her gaze felt heavy but he couldn't help but stare back at her as the light illuminated the green tones in her eyes. The corners of his mouth lifted slightly in a weak, brief smile. They both exited the car and made their way to the room indicated in the card. As the doors to the elevator slid shut Liz turned to Ressler and spoke the first words between them in almost 30 minutes.
"Just for reference." He turned to face her also, providing his full attention. "I wouldn't have stopped the kiss." He ducked his head at he confession averting his gaze and attempting to hide any embarrassment showing on his face. The elevator doors opened signalling their arrival on the correct floor. Before stepping out of the elevator, Liz placed her hand on his forearm noting how strong it was under the soft fabric of his flannel, and leaned in slightly to him. "I definetly would not have stopped anything that would have followed." She released her grip on his arm and stepped out of the space and headed down the corridor. Turning her head over her shoulder as she did so and winking at him.
He knew he definitely did not imagine that. He allowed himself a moment, cleared his throat and started to move and follow her.