Title: Stereognosis

Author: Beth Pryor

Rating: K

Summary: Breaking up is hard to do, even when you're Don Eppes.

Disclaimer: Numb3rs is owned by the folks who have created it and put it on the air. I also don't own Cheap Seats, but if you've never seen it, you should definitely check it out. Hilarious!


Stereognosis

She'd been gone for hours. The replay of the game had long since ended. Of course, the Bruins had lost. Another goalie left the game with an injury, too. It had just been that kind of day. The only time he'd left the room was to bring a twelve pack in from the kitchen. He hadn't thought a six-pack would be enough. It wasn't. That's one thing he'd been right about today. Now, well past 2 am, he was working on number 8. Only four more were left. He'd already seen Sportscenter an hour earlier, so he reached for the remote beside him and switched the station. He stopped on Cheap Seats where Ron and Jason were reliving the 1996 National Spelling Bee in all its glory. The kid approaching the mic, a 12-year-old from Tacoma according to the graphic, with bright orange hair sticking out in every direction, a first smattering of acne across his pale cheeks, unfortunately thick glasses and khaki pants about two inches too short, grabbed his interest for some reason. So he stopped. The kid was obviously anxious; the cardboard placard around his neck proclaiming him number 62 bounced up and down on his bony chest every time he sucked in or blew out a breath. Don half expected him to pull out an inhaler at any moment. Instead, when he reached the mic, he stood stoically in the center of the stage as the moderator gave him his word.

"Stereognosis."

"Could I have a definition please," the kid asked, revealing a mouthful of shiny metal.

"The ability to perceive the form of an object by using the sense of touch," offered the moderator.

The kid asked for a sentence, language of origin and a few other questions before he began spelling.

"Stereognosis. S-T-E-R-E-O-G-N-O-S-I-S. Stereognosis."

Ron and Jason made the expected comments about the kid's impending difficulty in high school as Don grabbed the remote again. He flipped off the set and stood, reaching for the table on which to set the half-drunk bottle. He quickly found himself weaving back and forth, wavering on the line between drunk and really drunk. He grabbed the edge of the table, his fingers scraping across a cool metal object and knocking it to the floor. He bent down, keeping his hand on the table for support as he groped the floor in the dark in an attempt to locate the item he had displaced.

After a second, his index finger brushed against it. Dropping onto the floor between the bed and the table and drinking in the inky blackness of the room as his eyes slowly adjusted to the lack of light, Don turned the object over in his fingers to identify it. It was the key. Her key.

Although his sense of touch had allowed him to recognize the item's form, it couldn't explain what the object actually meant. But Don was a pro at this. By now, he knew exactly what it meant.