More than Precious Seconds – Friendship
He was really looking forward to Friday. It was a hectic week, and they did manage to solve two outstanding cases. He was damn pleased for this time they didn't have to rely on Charlie's algorithms to get the crooks.
Come Friday morning, they went about their duties as normal as can be, and he quietly went out a bit early during lunchtime. He went off without telling anyone, and he didn't want to answer any questions.
He walked quickly to a small but unique shop which specialized in Indian clothing. He passed by many times during lunchtime with the gang, and he remembered that Megan had oohed and ahhed over the silk scarves and long shawls called Pashmina.
He had wanted to get Amita's feedback, but he didn't any anyone to know. So it was a no go. He thought of asking one of the admin ladies named Teena, who was partly Indian, but he was afraid they would gossip and get the wrong impression.
The best choice was to go and get it himself. He roughly knew what color she liked, and he could ask the shop assistant for guidance.
He was really lost for choice. There were many varieties - long ones, short ones, full length or half length and the colors were like a rainbow. He gave the shop assistant Megan's height and coloring, and she showed him a few. He saw the one he liked immediately. It was a long pashimina of turquoise, bluish green with some embedded sequins at the bottom. It was really lovely, and it suited Megan to a T.
The price was right, not too expensive, and he got it gift wrapped and went off.
He went to the car park where his SUV was. He put the gift inside the glove compartment and went back.
He had taken a long time and had no chance to get lunch. He thought of getting sandwiches at one of the ground floor shops, but then his cell rang.
"Donny? Where are you?"
"Oh hello Dad, you're looking for me?"
"Yes, you did not come yesterday, and we had leftover roast chicken. I made into sandwiches for you. I'm at your table, and your team doesn't know where you are."
"Hold it Dad. I had to run some errands, coming back up now. Thanks!"
Thank goodness, saved by dad. He would get lunch after all. He went up and saw his team eating away.
"Hi Don. Where did you go? Your dad brought sandwiches for all of us."
"Well, you are lucky. Actually Dad was bringing me lunch, and he took pity on all of you." His eyes crinkled at the sides, and he smiled at his dad. "Thanks dad. You need not bring food for these greedy fellas. Just bring extra for Megan."
"Hey!" Colby and David called out.
"Thanks Don, for thinking about me. Thanks Alan. This is very good, but I can only finish one piece. Who wants the other?" Megan asked, and she nodded to Don who shook his head.
"No, my portion is enough. Those greedy fellas might want it."
"I don't mind." Colby said and took it from Megan. "Thanks, greedy or not, I do not look a gift horse in the mouth. Thanks Mr. E. This is extra delicious."
"Oh you're all welcome. I had roast chicken yesterday and was waiting for my boys. None of them turned up."
"What happened to Charlie? I was busy yesterday, Dad, told you not to expect me." Don said.
"Charlie went off with Amita to see a show. And Don, I did the roast chicken because I wanted you to come to dinner and to look at some documents. Stan and I did get a contract to upgrade a building, and there is some jargon in the documents I wanted you to look at."
"What about Charlie? Can't he do that for you?"
"Charlie said you're more adverse with these documents. He said you do a lot of reporting in your job, so you'll know the jargon better."
This earned a lot a sniggles from David and Colby, and they quickly excused themselves before Don said something.
Don looked at Megan, gave a sigh and said, "Alright, I'll do it after work on Saturday."
"No, Donny can you come today? This evening? I need to go over it on Saturday morning with Stan before the clients come over later in the afternoon."
"Aw, dad, I can't tonight. I have something on. I'm sorry. How about before I go to work on Saturday? I'll come by in the morning."
"Well…. If you have something on, it can't be helped, alright Saturday morning. I'll have breakfast ready for you, around 7am?"
"Maybe you can cancel your appointment? " Megan looked pointedly at Don.
"No!" Don nearly shouted, and he quickly apologized, "Sorry Megan, but this is very important to me. Dad, Saturday morning it is. I'll come over bright and early, or maybe I'll sleep over at Charlie's after my appointment."
Soon Alan left after getting Don's promise to come and look at his documents in the morning.
Don left after Megan around 6pm. They didn't say much. Don muttered "see you at eight?" when he got an opportunity to get Megan alone after Colby and David had left.
"Alright. I'm off to get myself prettied up."
Don watched her go off; turned to clear up his own table, and soon left the office.
At Mario's, 7.30 pm.
"Allo Don, your table's ready. Same one in the alcove where you will get all the privacy you want."
"Thanks Mario, how's the family?"
"Fine,fine. Thanks to you, Vincente is going to start his training at the Police Academy soon. My youngest girl, Gina, is taking a culinary course. She wanted to expand this restaurant, and in order to do that, she wanted to learn the trade, mind you not from her father but from the world's famous chefs she said. Ai ya ya…" Mario complained to Don.
"Well, that's good. Glad to be of some help to Vincente. Gina's good, she'll learn more, and maybe she'll open another restaurant." Don said patting on Mario's back.
Don knew Mario way back when he came to California to be near his family when his mother was sick. He had brought Charlie and his dad here on many occasions, so Mario too knew of his family and he of his.
After a bit more chatting, Mario led Don to his table and got a passing waiter to get a light wine for him while waiting.
"On the house, Don. Enjoy," he said and went off.
If he didn't know who to expect, he would not have recognized her. She had her hair clipped back halfway, leaving strands falling down. It looked very sexy on her. He stood up , eyes crinkling at the side. He bent down and kissed her cheek. "Lovely vision." He muttered.
Megan looked at him, like seeing him for the first time. 'No, stop thinking about that. It's just a farewell dinner from a boss.' She reminded herself.
"Thanks Don, and I hope that the food's good."
"Yes, the best Italian, I've tasted so far. You'll enjoy it." Don raised his hand and immediately Mario came around.
"Ah.. didn't expect you Mario, aren't you busy in the kitchen?"
"Yes, but I wanted to ask you if you will want your usual or you want something else."
"Your choice, give me the best. I've told my friend here, that you have the best Italian I've tasted so far."
"Ah…yes, Don the best, at least around here. Alright I will give you my special tonight, and if you don't like, you don't pay."
Megan laughed, and Don said, "Mario, meet my friend Megan. Megan this is Mario, owner and chef of this restaurant."
Mario snagged a passing waiter and ordered the same wine for Megan, and told Don he will personally prepare their dinner.
"Wow, personal attention from Mario. You two must know each other very well. Have you known him long?"
"Since I came back here, over four years ago. Try his food. You might want to bring Larry here, lots of white food." Don smiled.
"Don't joke about my friend," Megan was not scolding, she had a smile on her face.
They talked about their work, their family and their friends while eating the delicious meal.
They were having coffee with their dessert. They told Mario they cannot stuff themselves anymore, but Mario insisted that they try a small portion.
It was Mario's famous Tiramusu in a very small, dainty glass container.
"Ohhh… this is lovely. I must come back here if only just for this. The food's lovely too. I will definitely bring Larry here."
There was a short silence, then Megan spoke.
"Don, I know you must have felt something, for I do too. No, no, hear me out. As partner and friend, you're the best. But as other, I don't think it will work. Much as I would like to, us both being in the same profession will definitely cause a rift. We won't be able to help it because it is the way it is."
Megan continued, "That's why, Larry and I clicked . I needed someone outside my profession. I needed a calming person with me. After all the stress of the office, it is very good for me to have Larry. I know what everyone's thinking. I must be nuts to go for a nerdy professor."
'No, Megan, I think Larry's good for you too. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but it just happened. I believe you're the only one who understands me. You're the only who could profile me, well besides Dr. Bradford," Don stated, looking intently into Megan's eyes.
"You know about my other relationships with Nikki, Kim, Terry, and you know what happened. I have tried again with Liz, but it didn't work out either."
"Don, I can't tell you how to go about your love life, but you must give everything a chance. You can't jump into bed with someone, and then want to spend the rest of your life with them. It will frighten them off. Give the relationship a chance to gather some grit, sand and even dust on the way. It might be dirty, or it might come out very clean after some time. If it's not working even if you cleaned it up, then you can say at least you gave it a chance to progress. Much as I like to see you get married and have a bunch of kids, I can't help you there. You're my friend, and yes, I do feel something more than a friend sometimes, but it is not to be. I am very glad and happy to have my Larry. I love that dear man very much."
Megan looked down at her cup of coffee, picked it up for a sip, and looked at Don.
"Well, I do envy Larry very much for having such a beautiful girlfriend. Why do the nerdy ones get all the beautiful girls? Look at Charlie. Well, Ok he's cute. I know why the female population in CalSci want to be in his class, but Larry? How did he end up with a beautiful FBI?"
"Hey, I resent that. No, no, it's OK, he's all mine, and thanks for the compliments."
"Megan, I have something for you, a small gift. Don't go overboard with the thanks. It's just my way for thanking you for being my friend, my support and good team mate, partner for these past years. I wish you all the best, and I want to say, anytime you need help or just a friend to talk too, you have my number. Anytime, anyday." Don handed over the gift.
"Don, thank you. I have something small for you too. Just a way to say, thank you for being my friend, a shoulder to lean on when the cases got to me. Thank you for extending your family to me. I love you guys." Megan handed a small oblong box to Don.
They both opened their presents. Megan exclaimed with Oohs and Ahhs and wrapped the light, silky Pashimina round her shoulders. It did look beautiful on her, and it matched the dress she was wearing too.
Don opened his, and it was a beautiful slim no frills Parker pen and the inscription said, "Don Eppes, Best Boss and Friend."
"Thanks Megan, it's a very nice pen. Thanks for the words too. "
They were sitting too far way from each other to kiss, so he reached out and squeezed her hand. Megan smiled.
Soon they were out of the restaurant, and Megan was still wearing her new Pashimina when Don helped her with her coat. Don put on his, and they both went out.
Mario's was situated just across a large park, and the night was cool, and Don suggested they take a walk round the park to get rid off the excess food. Megan nodded, and she looped her hand over Don's, and they walked slowly to the park.
There were quite a number of couples sitting on the lawn or on the benches. Don and Megan just walked slowly, and when they were almost back to where they started, Don pulled Megan to him, and he kissed her. He gave her a deep kiss, and Megan returned the kiss, and it was sometime later when they pulled apart.
Don looked at Megan and he didn't want to break the spell. He just took her hand, and they walked back to the car park.
He took her to where her car was, and he waited while she rummaged for her keys. She clicked the lock, and Don opened the door for her. He bent and kissed her on her lips.
"Thank you very much Megan. See you in the office tomorrow, Take care, alright?"
"Thanks Don. You're going to Charlie's place now?"
"Yes, I promised, didn't I? Drive carefully."
Megan nodded, and Don stood aside and after a last wave, she was out of the car park.
Don went back to Charlie's, and he did read the documents and explain them to his dad and told him that he should get a certain clause out before they agree to take the job.
He arrived at the office at his usual time which was early. He put his pen deep inside his drawer and started the morning with another coffee from the break room. This was his second cup. He had one made for him by his father just an hour ago.
It was almost lunch time that Megan called out to Don, David and Colby.
"Guys, I have something to say to all of you."
With grateful thanks to my friend Marilyn for the beta.
( Bye bye Megan (Diane Farr) Best of everything to her.)