A/N: This was written for a challenge on Tumblr called Upstead Love Songs. Words in bold are lyrics from "Friends Don't" by Maddie and Tae. Hope you enjoy! Happy reading!Jay and Hailey were sitting on Hailey's couch, having a drink and enjoying each other's company. They had eaten deep dish pizza from Bartoli's as a late dinner while watching the Blackhawks lose to the Blues. Now, it was nearly midnight and they were still sitting there. The TV was playing some random night time talk show that neither one was paying attention to. Their work talk had turned to lighter topics which had now turned to sitting in comfortable silence.
Hailey leaned her head against the back of the couch and looked at Jay. She couldn't help but be drawn to him. She loved all the freckles that dotted his face and his bright blue-green eyes that always held so much emotion. She loved the small smile that was currently on his face, showing that he was content with the current situation without having to say a word. Her gaze fell to his lips. The lips that she so badly wanted to taste. But she was scared. She loved their relationship… partnership… friendship? She wasn't sure what to call it but she knew she didn't want to mess it up or lose it completely by telling him how she felt. At the same time she knew that what she felt went deeper than just partners or even friends. What held her back was not knowing how Jay, her partner and best friend, felt.
They were elite detectives in the best unit in Chicago so Hailey wasn't surprised when she heard Jay's voice next to her. "I can feel you staring. You want to tell me what's going on in that head of yours?"
Hailey closed her eyes before turning her head to the ceiling. "Not really but…" She took a deep breath knowing that what she said next could change their relationship. It could make it better but it could also rip it apart completely. Hailey didn't know if she could go on if she didn't have him in her life. She also knew that she couldn't keep going not knowing how he felt. She sat up and turned her body to face him. "What are we?" asked Hailey in a small, timid, almost shy voice that Jay had never heard before.
Jay looked at her, his eyes filled with confusion and questions. "What do you mean?" he asked. "We're partners… and friends," he said slowly, confused as to why she was bringing this up now. He knew somewhere in the back of his mind, where he refused to acknowledge, that at some point along the way he had begun to develop feelings for her that went beyond just partners and friends. But, he didn't know if he was ready to admit those feelings to himself, let alone to Hailey. The last time he had a workplace romance it ended disastrously and left him struggling more than he could put into words. He had gone off the rails, made decisions he would never have previously made, and Hailey had been left to pick up the pieces. He didn't know if he was ready to open his heart again but he could tell that she had been thinking and he needed to hear her out. "What do you think we are?"
"Well, obviously we're partners. And I consider you as one of my best friends. But I'm not so sure that just friends would be an accurate description of what we are anymore."
Jay sat up and turned to face her after hearing this. There were so many emotions across her face and in her eyes. He could see fear and apprehension along with a few others that he couldn't quite name. "What do you mean?"
"Jay. We don't act like just friends and we haven't for a long time. Friend's don't cancel other plans just to make sure the other is okay. Friends don't have conversations with nothing but their eyes like we do. Friends don't call you in the middle of the night just because they felt like saying hi."
"I'm not understanding," said Jay interrupting. "I didn't think those were bad things?"
"Jay, they're not but please. Let me say what I need to say or I may not be able to get it out."
"Okay. No more interruptions. Promise."
"Friends don't talk about the future and put each other in it. Friends don't get chills with every accidental touch. Friends don't stand around playing with their keys finding reasons not to leave. Friends don't almost say I love you when the other gets hurt. Friends don't do these things but we do. One look in your eyes and there's something. You can lie to me and say you don't feel something. But I know there is something there. I can't keep pretending that we're just friends. It's been a long time since I saw you as just my friend and it's been an even longer time since I saw you as just my partner. I don't want to lose what we have but I can't keep going on like this pretending that there's nothing but friendship between us. I know we've both been burned by workplace relationships before but…"
Jay couldn't take it anymore. He leaned over, put his hand on the back of her neck and kissed her. It was a short kiss but full of so many pent up emotions. When he pulled back he could see the surprise in her eyes. "Hailey, you mean so much to me. I don't know what we are or how to define… whatever this is. But why do we have to? Let's see where it takes us. Because no matter what we call this, we're good and we're always going to be good."
Hailey couldn't help but smile back at him. Remembering when he first said those words to her a few years ago when they were watching an interrogation. "You never cease to amaze me Jay Halstead," she said as she moved closer to snuggle against him.
He leaned down and kissed the top of her head before pulling her closer into his arms. Even if they didn't know exactly what they were, he knew in his heart that he never wanted to be anywhere else but where she was.