Author's Note

The Thin Man movies, the ones I mention in the story, was about a husband and wife detective team, played by William Powell and Myrna Loy. Six in total, from 1934-1947, it was the suggestion that marriage could be fun. I highly recommend them, they're great.

As for this short story, it takes place in the episode The House, my spin on why Frannie was acting so wierd during that scene.

Just Frannie

It's 8:30, and I got an appointment with my favorite afghan, my old pals Nick and Nora Charles from the Thin Man Series, and a slice of homemade pie with cool whip cream on top. Yeah, my name is Frannie, and I walk on the wild side. So sue me. When you work twelve hours a day, who has energy for excitment? My feet are killing me, I got a splitting headache, and my eyes are so sore I think they're seconds away from crossing. But I got a good day's work in, and not to blow my own horn, but maybe I made a difference.

Before I can call it a night, I got to get back to Lil about a set of bones. When I was a girl, I was obsessed with stories about pirates and treasure, and wanted to be a treasure hunter. Now I study the clues of forensics, the human body and the trail it leaves behind my treasure map, the lab my home away from home. I think I got the better end of the deal, even if it's as far away from glamorous as it can get.

I turn the corner, and come to a dead stop. My mouth goes dry and my heart skips a beat. As far as infatuation goes, it's pretty basic. And Scotty Valens is the guy whose got me tied up in knots. I feel like an idiot. Here I am, thirty-one years old, and I got some guy, (so what if he's gorgeous) making me act like an eight grader.

Maybe I'm just regressing because I'm going through a dry spell. Okay, a drought would be more to the point. It's been what, close to three years since I've had sex, since my ex dumped me. Geez, now I'm depressed. Or maybe I'm regressing because I didn't really start the dating game until I was in college, and have had sex with a whopping total of three guys in my adult life. I was a late bloomer, plagued with acne, braces, and glasses all in one foul swoop. It wasn't until college that I came into my own, and even then, it took me a while to get into the swing of things. My sister accusses me of being too picky, and who knows, maybe she's got a point. But at the end of the day, I got to look in the mirror and live with what I see.

It's a moot point anyway, because all Scotty sees when he looks at me is just Frannie from the lab, nothing more than a lead for one of their cases. I guess I could chase after him, but I have the feeling it would a exercise in humilation, and that's just not my style. Besides, it wouldn't be nice to give the cocky detective a heart attack. And anyway, I heard he has a girlfriend. They aren't together anymore, but it's sort of an open secret he's still hung up on her. I already got a headache on my hands, I don't need two.

Taking a deep breath to level out my system, I casually stroll up to their cluster of desks. I focus my attention on Lilly, seeing how long I can put off facing Scotty, so I can be as professional as possible. But it's too much to hope for apparently.

"Hey Frannie," he greets with a casual friendliness, and just the sound of his voice has got my pulse to jumping.

Writing myself off as pathetic, I can't control the smile that takes over my lips, the one that means somebody get's to you. "Vay-lens," I say by way of response, messing up his name on purpose. I figure if I'm a smuck, that oughta cover myself.

Lilly aims a smug grin at him, seeing right through me, he's a typical guy though, and is totally clueless. He looks stumped, and mouths 'what the &#$-' at her, then sees me looking at him, and cuts himself off. Well, at least he hasn't got me figured out, and I got to mess with his head a little. All in all, not a bad way to end the day.

Amused she might be, but eventually, Lilly get's down to business, and asks about the bones. I tell myself to knock it off, and follow her lead. The sooner I do, the sooner I can get to that pie.

I lean down over the desk, getting back to my area of expertise, where I'm safe. "For all I know your dead guy could have played Rachmaninoff. No signs of breaks or fractures on the fingers." Lilly looks startled, and I don't blame her. It blew me away too, totally contradicting what they told me when they dropped off the poor fella's remains. Lilly repeats what she told me earlier, about the fingers being broken with pliers.

"Wouldn't you be able to see that?" Vera asks the obvious, what everybody was thinking.

"Yes. And I'm telling you those fingers were as good as new." Evidence doesn't lie, people do. But why mention that? It's not like they don't already know it.

Scotty's spacing out, and I can't resist baiting him. "Valens, you a little stumped?"

He comes back to earth, faces me. "No, I got it. Those ain't Hank's hands." His voice is challenging, a confidient smile curving those lips...DON'T stare Frannie, an inner voice snaps at me.

Our eyes lock, and I feel like my stomach is melting. Down girl, he's just backing up that he knows his stuff, not checking you out. With a small shake of my head I break the eye contact before I loose it.

They talk some more about their case, and I try to pay attention, keeping my focus off Scotty. After a few minutes, I decide I'm calling it a night. "Well, sorry I couldn't be more helpful guys," I cut in. "I'll see you later." I'll go home, and then I can unwind, and try to forget the obtuse guy who has me tied up in knots.

"You going home, Frannie?" Scotty asks, getting to his feet, putting on his jacket.

"That was the plan."

"Let me walk you down," he offers. Cocky maybe, but a gentleman. Now, that's a dying breed.

Obviously, I'm a glutton for punishment, because I agree. He get's his stuff from his locker, I get mine from the lab, and we walk side by side out of the building, to the parking lock. We're so close I can feel his body heat, and my hormones are kicking in. They're a little rusty, but still in working order. I try to think of something to say, something witty, something catchy. My tongue get's tied up, and I blow it. It's total silence all the way down to my car.

"Thanks," I manage to spit out when we make it, and he aims one of those naturally charming smiles.

"No problem. See ya." I nod, and we just stand there for a minute, and for a second I bat around asking him out for a cup of coffee sometime in my head...my treat. Coffee's pretty harmless, right? Nothing datey about a shot of caffeine, it could come off as totally casual.

But before I can make my move, he's moving away, and I figure it's just as well. It's a bad bet, and besides, it'd make things all awkward, since I'm just Frannie from the lab.