Summary: We don't get to choose who we love.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Dick Wolf, René Balcer and the actors who bring them to life. No harm intended, no money made.
Archive: Anywhere else, just ask
Feedback: Please! It's always welcome
The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience … not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.
-- Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910), Russian novelist and philosopher.
Chapter 1 – Resolution
"Oh… yes… Bobby…" Hot breaths steamed the crook of his neck. "Plee… please…" gasped past his left ear. "Please… say it…" she whimpered.
"Baby… you're so beautiful…" he whispered into her skin. Two staccato heartbeats later, she cried out his name and bucked up to him. He clenched his teeth as his impassioned mind screamed for her. Alex! Groaning loudly, his self-control shattered and flowed from him into her.
He moaned softly while his body slowed and finally stilled. Slick with sweat and breathing hard, Bobby let his head drop next to hers on the pillow. Eyes still closed, he slid his tongue along the soft, salty-sweet skin behind her ear. He felt her shiver and smiled. Pleased with his success, he repeated the wet caress, only this time she turned her head and pulled away from him. Realizing that he still weighed her down on the mattress, Bobby rolled off of her, re-arranging the blankets to shield her heated skin from the cold of the air-conditioned room.
With a deep sigh of satisfaction, he reached out, expecting the warm, soft curl of her body against his. Instead, she rolled away and slid from beneath the covers. He finally opened his eyes and caught a too-brief glimpse of her naked curves before the bathroom door closed behind her. Relaxing back into the pillows, Bobby picked a hair from the tip of his tongue and licked his dry lips.
"Hey babe…" he called out. "Was there any wine left?"
The bathroom door opened and she stepped out dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. Bobby frowned. It wasn't like her not to crawl back into bed with him. Much as she liked foreplay, Bobby sometimes thought she enjoyed cuddling and caressing afterwards more.
He propped himself up on an elbow and his frown deepened as he took in the slump of her shoulders and the miserable expression on her face. "Wh-what's wrong, Denise?"
Her eyes narrowed and she scoffed a sound of disgust. "Now you say my name." She glared at him angrily then turned on her heel and left the room.
"Denise!" Bobby scrambled out of bed, took two steps toward the door, but thought better of confronting her while totally naked. Instinctively suspecting that he needed protection against vulnerability, he grabbed his jeans off the floor and quickly pulled them up his legs, jerking up the zipper while trotting down the hall to find Denise.
She was in the living room, sitting in the side chair with her arms crossed over her chest and one leg hooked over the other. Her free leg swung wildly with agitation and her eyes glistened with unshed tears.
Confused and worried, Bobby knelt in front of her, careful to avoid her free leg lest she felt the need to use it on him. Gripping her shoulders, he caught her eyes with his and then let his hands slide down to her elbows. "Baby…" he stumbled, unsure of what to say but recalling something about her name. "Denise. What's wrong?"
Her muscles stiffened beneath his grip as she wrapped herself more tightly in her defensive wall. Bobby stayed silent and desperately tried to read her eyes, hoping to glean some insight into what offense he'd committed between the moment she'd called his name in ecstasy and the one where she exited the bathroom in anger.
"I want…" Denise's voice shook and she stopped. Her leg stilled and she brought one hand up to nervously rub at her throat as she studied him. She tucked her hand back beneath her arm and tipped her chin in challenge. "I want to know who you're making love to."
Dumbfounded, Bobby sat back on his heels and tried to decide if she was being serious. "I, ah…" he fumbled for a reply, but his mind didn't seem to comprehend what she was asking. "I…" Bobby tried again, but got no further than the first time. He took a deep breath and relaxed a little. He could handle this. She couldn't possibly think he had enough free time to be seeing anyone else.
Bobby reached out and caressed her cheek. "Denise… there's no one but you," he said gently. "You know that."
She leaned away from his touch. Sighing, Bobby let go of her and rested his hands on the arms of the chair. "You really think I'm sleeping with someone else?" He was pleased that none of his irritation bled through in his voice.
"That's not what I said," she replied coolly.
What the hell? Now she really had him stumped. Christ! Women could be so complicated.
Bobby jumped up with restless energy and paced a few steps in front of her. Scrubbing at the back of his neck, he tried to rein in his frustration so he could calmly figure out what the hell was bothering her.
"You said… you want to know who I'm sleeping with."
"I said… I want to know who you're making love to."
Jesus! Bobby threw his arms wide. A rose by any other name… "Denise. There's been no one else. I haven't wanted anyone else." Her response was to look away from him and shrug one shoulder. "Even if I did want someone else, there hasn't been time and you know it. The Tagman case alone…"
"I know there hasn't been time for someone else," she interrupted. "You barely have time for me."
He paused and cocked his head, studying the angry tilt of her jaw, her completely closed and protective body language. The leg once again in furious motion.
"What are you saying, then?"
She glared at him for several long moments before her leg stopped and the tight grip she held on her torso relaxed. Bobby watched as she seemed to slowly melt, her body sagging into the chair and the anger in her eyes dissolving to sadness. Denise looked totally defeated. He was about to kneel down and gather her into his arms when she spoke in a trembling voice. "You're bringing someone else to my bed."
Bobby's heart thudded against the wall of his chest and his breath clogged. He now had an inkling of where this was heading. And he saw in her eyes that she knew.
"Denise…" he croaked around the tight lump of guilt in his throat.
"No, Bobby… please," she closed her eyes tightly. "I believe you've never lied to me. Don't start now." Denise looked back at him, her eyes honest and pleading. "I don't really want to know who she is… although I have my suspicions."
His heart now slammed against the truth. Bobby shifted his weight to one foot and placed his hands on his hips. Pursing his lips, he looked away from her and shook his head in self-disgust. How the fuck did you let it come to this?
"I'm going to take one shot at being an adult about this," Denise's voice was now ominously calm and she reached out a hand to him. "Come back here," she said softly.
He obediently went back to kneel in front of her. At this moment, he would have given her just about anything she wanted – guilt and remorse had a tendency to do that to a man. He placed his hands on her arms and rubbed small caresses with his thumbs. "Denise… what… ?" What? What tipped her off? You're a selfish sonofabitch, Goren, if you expect her to tell you!
"Shhh…" she hushed him with a finger over his lips, as if she knew his inner arguments. "You used to say my name… when we made love," she gently gave him his answer. "You used to whisper it in my ear. You'd call out for me when…" her voice broke and her hand brushed some errant curls behind his ear. "I can't remember the last time you said my name."
How could he fix this? "Denise…" What could he possibly say to make this right again? "You don't have to do this," he cajoled, knowing that she was leading up to ending it all. "There's no reason."
"But there is," she insisted and the hand that had been caressing his curls came to rest on his shoulder. "I'm falling in love with you, Bobby, and unless you can say the same…" Denise trailed off and let the question hang in the air.
He would have given her just about anything, but he couldn't give her that. Not honestly. He'd never lied to a woman about being in love. It was a line he was never able to cross and Denise recognized that he wouldn't be crossing it now.
"I… I care… so much for you," he said fiercely.
"I know," her voice trembled softly. Denise pulled away from him and re-assumed her defensive posture. "But it's time."
In the long, lonely cab ride home, Bobby berated himself and called his fantastical and imaginative inner mind every kind of fool and sonofabitch for allowing thoughts of his partner to invade what he had with Denise. Curiously, he found he was also blaming Eames for insinuating herself into his libido. If she just understood him less. If she stopped amusing him with her wiseass humor. If her smile was a little less attractive. Her eyes a little less golden.
If she'd just stop being who she was, maybe he could've given Denise more of a chance!
– End –
A/N – Okay. So this is set after 'Interlude.' It's the second story to act as a bridge between 'Vengeance' and the upcoming 'Lex Talionis' (it may have given up on me, but I haven't given up on it). There may be another chapter to this story, I don't know. But for now, I'm considering it complete. Next in the storyline is the first CI fic I ever wrote (as elfluvr)... 'Indivisible.'