Cheryl closed up her last case file of the night, and stretched. Good god, it was already almost nine o'clock, and she was thoroughly beat. It was spring in LA, and rather than let them enjoy it, the Bureau had to bullwhip it's already overworked public servants into auditing their work, in an attempt at spring cleaning. That meant that all her negotiators had to go through their cases from the last year, and make sure that every blank spot was filled out appropriately.
They were also requesting each employee, Special Agent level and above write a report, citing their cases, about what they could have done to improve their performance. Cheryl had never gotten groans quite like she had as she explained that request from the upper-ups. Hell, it took every ounce of restraint she had not to groan with them. Even Emily groaned, and she usually showed more restraint then her male colleagues.
It was Thursday, and they'd had the week to get it done. Almost everybody had finished though, and she was done with what she'd been given to work on. Frank was taking care of HRT, and they were almost jocks; no one was expecting Shakespeare from them. Most of the cases were out of their control anyway. It was all on the negotiators shoulders to make it work, Cheryl to step in when it didn't, and then Frank and HRT made an assault. As long as no hostages got killed during it, they did good.
Cheryl yawned, and turned out her light, throwing the strap of her bag over her shoulder, and making for the door. Any whackos pick up guns tonight, and the LAPD better handle it themselves, she was too damn beat to bother. She pulled her door open, and froze when she heard a feminine giggle.
She had a pretty good idea where it was coming from, but began to follow the noise anyway, walking almost silently. The light in their cubicle was on, even though the overheads had been turned off hours ago. Of course, they were still camped out, working. Matt and Emily had twice as many cases as the rest of the negotiators, so they had twice as many files to go through. They were the best, and when you're in a crunch, you give it to the best.
"Em, we've been at this for hours, my eyes are starting to bug out. It's time to go," Matt all but whined to his partner.
"We've got to finish this so we can hand it off to Cheryl. Think about how rough this is on her," Emily pointed out. Repeating that in her head was the only thing keeping her from throwing her hands up and saying 'screw it'. If they didn't do their work, Cheryl would be the one to suffer, not the idiots who ordered them to do it.
"She can't possibly have it worse than I've had it all week." His voice was playful, a challenge.
"Oh yeah, how has it been so hard on you?"
"I've been forced to sit here all week, staying until nine every night, with you only inches away. No touching, just working, and by the time we get home, we're both too beat to do anything." His hands were already on her arms, pulling them closer together. Emily grinned widely.
"You know, I haven't had an easy time with that either," she told him coyly.
"That's good...because, if we don't get out of here soon, I'll have to have you right here." He leaned in kissing her deeply.
Cheryl's eyes widened, and she was very close to disrupting their foreplay. What did she tell them about in the office? If Matt weren't so damn horny all the time...though she didn't recall him being so bad when they were partners. And more surprisingly, Emily was just as bad; she couldn't keep her hands to herself either. They must bring it out in each other.
The kissing sounds stopped, and Cheryl was relieved for a few moments. Then she heard them speaking again, quieter, almost in whispers.
"Let's do a few more cases, then we can go home." Emily's voice, not teasing anymore, but heavy with feeling. Cheryl smiled, ever-responsible Emily. She turned, about to leave, when Matt's disappointed voice broke in.
"And be too tired to move."
"Yes, but then we can leave early tomorrow, and maybe get Cheryl to keep us offcall this weekend. We'll have the whole weekend to make up for this work." Cheryl nodded to herself; they'd busted their asses this week, she'd give them that.
"I love you. Have I told you that lately?" Cheryl's eyes widened again at Matt's response. There were the sounds of soft kissing again, and then Emily's voice.
"Yes, actually. When you hopped in the shower with me this morning...I love you too." Cheryl grabbed onto the cubicle next to her to keep herself upright. She hadn't expected to overhear that, she hadn't expected the couple to be so far along in their relationship. She didn't have to wonder if they meant it either, their tones left no question.
"Have you thought about what we talked about this time last week?" Matt's voice was soft, and suddenly serious.
Cheryl saw Frank heading toward her from the elevator, and he opened his mouth to speak. She waved him quiet. Sure she felt a little bad eavesdropping on her friends, but they were the ones discussing personal matters at the office. And, it was too damned interesting now to stop.
"I did, I just still don't know if I'm ready to do that. It's a big step, and it's not as if we don't see each other enough; we share an eight by eight cubicle." Frank's eyes widened at hearing Emily's voice, and he began gesturing silently. Cheryl waved him quiet again.
"Yeah, but it's not the same. Work is work. Home is different. I can hold you and touch you at home; I don't think Cheryl would appreciate me doing that here." Damn straight, she would not appreciate them getting cozy in the office.
"That's what lunch breaks are for, Matt." Frank and Cheryl shared a pained look; they didn't need to know that. But that's what they got for eavesdropping, right?
"So what then? You don't want to move in with me?" The only thing that kept them vertical after hearing that, was the hurt tone in Matt's voice. Poor guy.
"No, I didn't say I didn't want to, I'm just nervous about this. I tried living with a guy once before, and everything went to hell in a couple of months. I'm afraid of that happening with us." Her voice was soft, imploring, and her eyes held fear.
"I get it, but wouldn't it be better to learn we make each other miserable living together sooner, rather than later?" Matt picked up her hand, stroking the back of it softly with his thumb.
"Ignorance is bliss." She offered a half grin and a shrug. If they weren't going to work out, she didn't want to know yet. One day eventually, they'd have to find out, but until then she was going to enjoy being in love. Really being in love, for maybe the first time in her life.
Matt smiled at her, still gently stroking her hand. Then a thought occured to him, one that made him panic a little. "Wait a minute, this isn't about...you don't want to wait to be married, do you?"
Cheryl stopped breathing, and stood staring at their cubicle, while Frank's eyes grew ten sizes, and he began gesturing frantically. Cheryl was quick to quiet him again, sending him a warning look and grabbing his hands. No way in hell, was she leaving after that comment.
"What?! Of course not!" Emily's voice went an octave about the almost whisper they'd been using.
"Alright, relax. Just asking."
"I'm not fishing for a proposal, I'm not trying to be difficult, and it's not about you. I love you, you know that, so don't sound so hurt again." She smiled at him, and Matt looked mildly embarrassed. He was hurt by her reluctance, because he couldn't understand it.
"Then move in with me," he insisted, running his hand over her thigh.
Emily grinned at him, and bit her lip, but didn't answer.
"Come on now, just think of the benefits. You'll never have to drive home at midnight, because you just realized you have no clean clothes. You'll always have company in the shower...in that otherwise lonely, huge bed...in the kitchen...even the living room." Each of the pauses in Matt's sentence were punctuated by the sounds of kissing.
Frank struggled not to laugh at Matt's very male response, while Cheryl rolled her eyes heavenward, and grabbed Frank's arm to drag him out of the CNU. They'd stayed plently long enough, and heard more about their two good friends that they should ever know.
Frank started cracking up as soon as they were out the door, but Cheryl was just trying to drive out the imagery in her head.
"How are you not picturing that in your head?" Cheryl asked, shaking her head.
"Because, listening to them, it's pretty clear they aren't going to make it home. We'll both be looking at their cubicle differently now." He was barely standing he was laughing so hard.
"Frank!" Cheryl scolded him, face twisted in disgust.
Meanwhile, there were still two people in a cubicle, oblivious that they'd had an audience, and inching so close, they were practically on top of each other.
"So basically, you're saying that I'll get laid whenever I want if we live together?" Emily was trying to be serious, but it was a battle she was losing.
"I'd like think I worded it less tacky, but basically, yeah." Matt didn't give her time to respond, but pulled her into his lap, and captured her lips. God, it had been a week, a whole week since he'd touched her more than just curling up next to her in bed. He was about to explode.
He wasn't alone. As Matt kissed her neck, and ran his hands along her body, Emily threw caution to the wind. They needed to work, but it wasn't going to happen unless they took care of another very pressing need.
She reluctantly eased herself off Matt's lap, and grabbed his hand, leading the way toward the interrogation rooms. She pulled him into the viewing room between the first two interrogation rooms. She didn't bother with the lights, but locked the door, and reattached herself to her boyfriend.
Matt didn't ask questions, but began the struggle to remove clothing. If Emily wanted to use the viewing room for a much more enjoyable purpose than it was intended for, he certainly wasn't going to stop her. Besides, now that they'd started this, he couldn't wait till they got home to finish it.
Twenty-five minutes later they were back in their cubicle, plowing through case files, and feeling much better.
I've got a raging case of writer's block on the next part of the Cleo series, so it may be some time before I get it posted. Hope you all enjoyed this story though. Thanks for reading and please review!