Author: Jade Hunter
Disclaimer: None of the characters and properties of Numb3rs belong to me.
A.N.: Because, really, there has to be a good reason.
They wonder why he doesn't make his move. His dad, Charlie, even David. After all, he and Terry did date successfully at the Academy, and only ended up breaking up - quite amicably, to boot - due to neither of them wanting to do the long distance thing. And now that they were in the same area...
He'd told his father that it wouldn't be a good idea because of the fact that they worked so close together.
True, but not the entire truth, nor the main reason.
Because, really, just because they weren't together in the romantic sense didn't mean that he didn't care about her. Didn't mean that her being pinned by gunfire in a shootout wouldn't clutch at his heart and make it difficult to breathe.
The real reason was far more simple, and yet, far more complicated.
She still wore her wedding ring.
When he had transferred here and found Terry as his new partner, he had, of course, noticed the ring immediately. Seeing as how he hadn't exactly been pining away for her in the course of the years that had passed, he hadn't been hurt or anything. Especially since he'd been engaged to Kim at the time. And then the ring arrived in the mail with a "Dear John" letter, and he had buried himself in his work. Over time, he had gotten over the fact that he and Kim weren't meant to be - though the fact that she had broken things off through a damn letter would always sting.
Terry had been good to him during that time, understanding, too, and that was when he had found out she wasn't technically married anymore. The husband had turned into an "ex" a few months before he had moved back. At the time, of course, it hadn't brought him undying joy, since he had been hurt and still hung up on Kim. But as the hurt of Kim faded with the passage of time, and the friendship with Terry renewed and revitalized better than ever before, he began to wonder.
Why did she continue to wear the ring?
She was definitely divorced - it wasn't just a separation. They had parted on somewhat friendly terms, Terry had said, both of them signing the papers like adults with little fuss over property and money and such. Despite the images of agonizing court battles the word 'divorce' brought to mind, he could believe that of her.
But she still wore the ring.
Sometimes, when he let himself wonder, the question plagued him incessantly, keeping him awake in the middle of the night, distracting him from paperwork. What possible reason would a woman have to keep wearing her wedding ring when she was divorced? It didn't help that the possible answers were even worse. Because a part of her regretted the divorce. Because she still loved the husband guy, even if she couldn't be with him.
At that point, he would wrench his thoughts away from the topic, because continuing on that vein would only lead to frustration.
There were days when he thought about asking her. He knew she would answer him honestly - she always did, which was one of the things he prized most about what they had. But a part of him was afraid to ask, because he was afraid of the answer. A part of him thought that it was best if he never found out why.
And as long as he didn't know why, there would always be that doubt. As long as there was that doubt, Don Eppes would always have his half-truthful reasons for not making his move on Terry Lake.