It was his own fault. He'd created a monster.
What had started out as a couple of late-night, passionate episodes in Autopsy had branched out into nearly-getting-caught, lust-filled quickies virtually …everywhere. Jimmy Palmer was starting to understand what it was like to be Tony DiNozzo. Well … Tony DiNozzo in college, maybe. Even Palmer had to admit that Agent DiNozzo had been less likely to brag about weekend conquests and make jokes about his love life lately. But that was beside the point. He, Jimmy Palmer, had to do something about Agent Lee.
Don't misunderstand … Jimmy thought Michelle was the most exciting thing to ever happen to him. She was fun and flirty and cute and hot and brave and armed and she loved sex. But that was it. All they had was sex. And as much as Jimmy thought he'd never be admitting this out loud – ok, so it was out loud to a corpse, but still – he was kind of looking for more.
"I want someone I can talk to, you know?" Jimmy said to the inanimate body lying on the table in front of him. "I want to take her to dinner, sit on the couch together and watch movies; I want her to help quiz me on my classes and maybe, occasionally, make me breakfast or give me a neck rub at the end of the day. Is that too much to ask?"
The corpse did not respond.
Jimmy sighed. He was supposed to meet Agent Lee again tonight. At 8pm near the supply closet. Jimmy shook his head. They'd already done it in the supply closet. And the locker room and the walk-in cooler in the morgue and the parking garage and the men's room on the third floor (the one no one ever goes into because someone died in there two years ago and the I.T. guys who work that floor are very superstitious) and the elevator (once they'd made sure there were no cameras or microphones, although Michelle had thought that might be really exciting) and the evidence lock-up and even in the parking lot. Jimmy was tired of sex. He wanted a date. A real date.
It was almost New Year's Eve, and Jimmy thought it was the perfect time to set up a real date with Agent Lee. Agent McGee helped him get a dinner reservation at a great little place in Georgetown, and Dr. Mallard had used a contact to get him a chauffeured limousine to take them on a moonlit tour of the monuments after dinner, ending at the National Mall, where they'd be able to see the New Year's Eve fireworks. If Jimmy could just keep Michelle from wanting to have sex in the limo, he felt certain that it would be a wonderful, memorable night. Maybe he could tell the chauffeur to leave the divider screen down, no matter what. Then again … that probably wouldn't matter to Agent Lee.
The date was arranged. All he had to do now was ask her.
That night at the supply closet, Jimmy kissed Michelle and then pushed her away, holding her against the wall and not letting her do anything more. She thought it was a game and was getting kind of excited, which was actually getting Jimmy kind of excited too, but he cleared his mind and willed himself to stick to his game plan.
"I want to ask you out on a date," he said. She stopped squirming and giggling and looked at him with a wary expression.
"What?" she said.
"A date. A real date. Where we wear clothes and go to public places and eat and maybe dance and then go home and have a nightcap." He said it all quickly, as he'd rehearsed it. "No sex. Just a date."
"No sex?" Agent Lee said, with the beginning of an angry expression forming on her face. "What? Not good enough?" She pulled out of Jimmy's grip and it was clear that even if he wanted to do it in the supply closet tonight, that wasn't going to happen.
"No, no, no, no, no," he said, trying to quickly placate her. She was, as he'd noted earlier, armed. "The sex is wonderful," he said. "I just want … more."
"More sex?" she said, now totally confused.
"No," Jimmy said, nervously adjusting his glasses. "More relationship."
She stared at him, obviously not knowing what to say.
"New Year's Eve," he said quickly. "I'll pick you up at 7:30." He leaned over, kissed her hastily on the cheek, and left.
By 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Michelle and Jimmy both had to admit that the "real date" thing had been a good idea. Sure, it was awkward at the beginning, with Jimmy refusing to play footsie with her under the table, and not even noticing that she wasn't wearing underwear when he picked her up (she ended up putting some on because, well, it was cold out and she didn't want to try and explain to her parents how she'd gotten frostbite … there). She couldn't believe that he'd actually pulled her into the hallway at the restaurant after the footsie incident and told her to behave herself or they'd just go home right now – in separate cabs. He was serious about the "date" thing.
Still, it had all worked out. It had taken Lee a while to warm up to the idea of conversation, and Palmer nearly blew that by totally forgetting his list of topics and having to wing it. He kept thinking, "What would Tony do?" but that didn't get him where he wanted to be. However, once he amended it to "What would Agent McGee do?" then he had much better luck.
They'd ended up talking about Jimmy's classes and why Michelle wanted to join NCIS and they laughed about some of Dr. Mallard's stories and shared their general fear of Officer David and Agent Gibbs (even if they did think that Gibbs had definitely mellowed out lately). They drank wine and ate lobster pasta and fed each other little bits of dessert and then had after-dinner liqueurs in their coffee. It was very romantic.
By 11:30, the couple was sitting in the limousine, watching the very beginnings of a massive fireworks display that was breaking just beyond the Washington Monument. The monument tour had been beautiful, with all the bright lights sparkling on the snow. Both of them had been content to simply hold hands and look out the windows as Washington DC passed along outside. (Well … "content" might be taking it a bit too far. Michelle did keep trying to put her hand on Jimmy's thigh and belt and butt, and he had to hold her hand more out of self-defense than romance, but still …)
It had been a nearly perfect night, and the fireworks were now the icing. Palmer and Lee were tipsy and all touchy-feely, and the limo driver had, against Palmer's strict instructions, discreetly raised the privacy screen. Both for their privacy as much as his "I so do not want to watch this" sensibilities. The less seen in his profession, the better.
Jimmy's glasses had been removed and put carefully on the back ledge of the limo near the window, along with his tie. He and Michelle were watching the fireworks and making out in the back of the limo in a pattern that was clearly escalating towards something more. Jimmy had been adamant about having one date – about going this one whole day – without sex. And he was doing his best to stick to that. Just when he thought he'd have to either give in or walk away, the final fireworks volley broke over the Washington Monument, and you could hear revelers all through the park yell "Happy New Year!"
And then it was one minute after midnight on January 1. A whole new day.
Jimmy pulled himself away from the amorous activity he'd been partaking in and looked at the beautiful, flushed, slightly askew woman in front of him. Michelle smiled suggestively and raised her eyebrows, slowly licking her lips and moving the strap of her dress down her shoulder.
What the hell, Jimmy thought. He'd kind of always wanted to have sex in a limousine too. He just hoped that they sanitized the leather seats after each fare. He'd have to ask Dr. Mallard about that …