Disclaimer: Characters belong to Stan Berkowitz. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: My Houston Knights stories are not new. This is the first time, however, that I will be able to archive all of my stories (over different fandoms) in one place. I'd still love feedback. So drop me a line and tell me what you think!
I yanked my fishing rod and tackle box from the Jimmy. Muttering, I stomped toward the river's edge and set my gear down. Still muttering, I crossed my arms and stared sullenly at the tranquil vista before me, daring it to make me feel better.
"Damn it! I need to relax. That's why I came out here!" The last I yelled out toward the towering trees that created a pleasant canopy over the deserted lake. My words echoed before losing themselves in the wind.
"Sighing, I sat down and pulled on my waders. Tugging them on, I reached for my reel and stood up. Making sure my hook was properly baited; I moved quietly into the water and let the fishing line fly. It was only then that I allowed myself to think about what had drove me from Houston at four a.m. this morning.
Joseph LaFiamma. My new partner.
God, what had I done to deserve such an overbearing jackass who dressed more like he was supposed to be on a cover of a magazine than like a cop. It had crossed my mind a time or two in the passed two months since meeting my new partner that LaFiamma would throw a hissy fit if he ever got dirty. I sure didn't need a prima donna tagging along with me.
But it hadn't mattered what I wanted. All of a sudden I was saddled with a new partner that I was gonna have to break in like some ornery colt.
And he sure was ornery. He hadn't been in Houston five minutes when he was already yellin' at me about callin' his name over the airport intercom. Just standing there listening to him rant made my blood boil. Who did he think he was anyway?
Apparently, he was Joseph LaFiamma, and you damn well better pronounce the last name right. I couldn't believe he was sitting in my jeep, tugging at his ear and practically yelling at me that his name meant "the flame." It's something I'm not gonna forget anytime soon that's for sure.
We were at odds from the get go. The first night he was in town, I took him to Gilley's. Hey, you have to give me points for bein' neighborly. Just because he was actin' like a person with no manners didn't mean I had to. 'Course it was a big mistake. We ended up starting a brawl. There we were, swinging it out like pros when Gilley fired his shotgun into the air. We ended up takin' it outside.
There was a tug on the line which brought me back to myself. For a minute there, I'd forgotten I was fishin' in Galveston. Reeling in the bass, I slipped it off the hook and placed it in the Styrofoam ice chest I had brought along and propped up on a big rock. As I baited my hook once again, I realized I wasn't as tense as I had been. It sure had been a good idea to come out here. I needed to get away.
As I let the line fly again, my thoughts returned to the night of the fight. I had to smile as I remembered how it had ended. We ended up laughing, almost like we were friends. Afterwards, we had gone back to his place where we had both cleaned up and had a few beers.
'Hmm, that's funny,' I thought. 'I actually had a good time.' We had spent the rest of the evening talkin' and he made the best spaghetti I'd ever eaten. That was one point in LaFiamma's favor. He was a damn good cook. Not that I'd ever tell him. He's gotta swelled head as it is.
Day and night. The sun and the moon. The Aggies and the Longhorns. We couldn't be anymore different. I approached things slowly and in a roundabout way. I took my time and eased into it. I guess I'm what you called laid back. Joey, on the other hand, was quick to get into a suspect's face. He wasn't considerate of widows' feelings nor did he care if you were rich or poor. Joey treated everyone the same.
As the line drifted with the current, I had to think about that. My partner had what a Mexican friend of mine would call "juevos". I had to respect him for that. Heck, maybe I even admired LaFiamma for it. Politics was never an issue. Joey never played the game. I like that. Makes him a damn fine cop even if he's a little pushy and disrespectful.
There was another tug of my line and I again pulled up a bass. Repeating my earlier movements, I throw the line in again and thought about my changing feelings. Having LaFiamma for a partner really wasn't as bad as it seemed.
Sure, there were times when I'd have like nothin' better than beat the crap outa him, but he was a good, honest cop. Most people wouldn't think that, knowing Joey's family. When your uncle's the head of the mob, they can't help think LaFiamma's dirty. I know better than that. If there's anything about Joey it's that he's straight as an arrow. Even question his integrity and you're liable to get yelled at. All you have to do is ask that FBI woman who thought Joey was workin' the wrong side of the law in that case involving my former teammate. What a fiasco that was. But Joey and I managed to overcome it and get the bad guys as usual.
Man, I actually said it. Maybe not out loud, but I said it. Joey and I. LaFiamma and Lundy. That's what we were known as around the station. We weren't a pair, but more like a single unit.
I guess it's something I hadn't realized until now. Something that both McClaren and Beaumont had figured out a long time ago. Yeah, we were different; we saw things from opposite sides of the lookin' glass. But that is what made us so damn good.
I shook my head. Our experiences, our way of thinking, even the way we dress is different. It's what gives us the edge. Separately, we pretty good cops with more than average intelligence. As a team, we were a force to be reckoned with. Why hadn't I seen it before?
I smiled ruefully and reeled in another fish. 'Maybe because I'm just as pigheaded as he is,' I thought.
Suddenly, it seemed as if my partner and I did have a few things in common. Maybe this partnership thing wasn't gonna be so bad after all. We might even become friends.
I gathered my gear and stowed it in the back of the truck. I no longer felt in the mood to fish. I had caught enough and now all I wanted to do was go home. Looking at my watch, I noticed it was only an hour before lunch.
Peeling off my waders and tossing them in the back, I climbed into the driver's seat and started the engine. If I left now, I could make it home by noon and maybe make the fish for lunch.
Surprisingly, a grin split my face. I wondered if LaFiamma liked seafood.
"Sounds like a plan, Lundy. Time to show your partner you can cook as well as he does."
I pulled out of the clearing and headed for home…and my partner. Things were gonna work out after all.