I didn't know he lived in the building, didn't even cross my mind when I moved in. It's not as if I really interact with either of them much; I'm still kind of new, just started getting put in the field. I grew up in Maryland, trained at Quantico, and then they sent me way the hell out here to sunny California. When I first came, they didn't even know what to do with me.
According to my supervisors at the Academy, I showed promise with behavioral psychology. The upper-ups answered that comment with those meaningful head nods that you'll only ever see suits do. Then I was informed, that regardless of that promise I showed, they have no open positions in that area. It was then decided they'd ship to California, and put me in further training courses until they figured out how to best utilize me.
The first day I walked into her class I just didn't know what to think. I heard rumors about Agents Lehman and Flannery--they're legends back East. I expected her much older, washed of all femininity, and carrying one hell of a chip on her shoulder. In other words, I expected her to be the wicked bitch of the west. That's what happens to a lot of women in law enforcement. They're forced to give up being a woman, and still get hell from their male coworkers. It leaves them cynical, distrusting, and angry as hell. Not all women, but enough.
I was afraid that would happen to me.
I took a seat all the way in the back corner, the same place I always sat through college and grad school. And I'd never been so happy I chose that spot. Minutes after I sat down, a guy sat down beside me, a really nice looking guy. He was older than me, but not in a, eww, he could be my dad sort of way. It was more like, he's probably more mature than the guys my age, and I'd love to drag him into a dark closest somewhere. The dark, almost black hair that wasn't particularly styled, and deep brown eyes had me sold. There was this enticing rebel vibe about him, though in the FBI, rebels are still pretty square. Regardless if he was bad or good, he was positively delicious.
Then Agent Lehman walked in, and I assumed she was another student. She was smiling, and was talking to a few people like they were friends, just chatting. I found out later that the couple she spoke to, and they were a couple, actually were her friends. But that first day, when she stepped back from them, and called us quiet, I nearly swallowed my tongue. She was years away from forty, as feminine as women get, and really very pleasant. Of course, not long after that I found out who she went home with at night, and well, I'd pretty damn pleasant if I got to take him home too.
I'd turned to that nice looking guy next to me, and asked if she was really Emily Lehman. He was puzzled, almost amused by my question, but nodded, and the asked what I'd expected. So, I told him the wicked bitch of the west. That got him laughing hard enough to disturb the class. She turned her head in our direction, and looked irritated until she saw him, then she sort of smiled and raised an eyebrow at him. He shrugged. That's when I figured that they must know each other.
Later that afternoon Jerry, who'd been a year ahead of me at the academy, and was also transferred to LA, informed me that the guy I spent the whole class ogling, and having some rather steamy fantasies about. Well, that guy was actually her, as in Lehman, the class instructor's partner...and lover. Jerry cracked up as I was turning red. The next class I had with her was just a little awkward. Thank god neither of them could read minds.
I spent the next six months going to Agent Lehman's class on crisis negotiation, another class on developing psychological profiles, and acting as a grunt for either the negotiators or profilers, whoever needed me got me. According to my supervisors I was very observant and could pick up most of what I needed just by watching. Again, I think it was a lame excuse for not knowing just what to do with me, but I wasn't about to complain. I got to watch the best crisis negotiators and profilers on the west coast at work.
And, you better believe I watched.
I noticed that what they say about LA is true--everyone out here is beautiful. Somehow even the federal agents out here all seem to have to the pretty gene, or at least the nice-to-look-at gene. That is one hell of a gene, let me tell you. As you can imagine, I grew to like LA pretty quick. Sun always shining, pretty people everywhere you look, job I was growing to love. What's not to like about that?
Still, I tried to keep my head down around Agents Flannery and Lehman, but I just couldn't help but notice them around. They were very professional most of the time. Even when he popped in on a class, he behaved himself until it let out...most of the time. There was that one time he stormed in covered in red paintball splotches, and seemed rather desperate to talk to her. Generally, you'd have to be paying attention to notice they were a little more than friendly.
They were like celebrities in a way. We were all on the outside, listening to the rumors about what went on inside. Only their four closest friends ever seemed to know what, if anything, was going on. I saw them acting bizarrely, not quite chasing each other one day. It was almost as if they were black ops mode or something. She was avoiding him, but she was doing it with a smile, and he wasn't about to lose the game. I remember thinking how the Discovery channel should do a piece on the bizarre mating rituals of FBI agents.
There was this one day that's still kind of a mystery. They were in Arizona or something, and just disappeared. At least that's what I heard. Kyle, a friend in IA (really, really good friend) told me they lost communication with them for hours, and I saw the boss, SAC Carerra that day, she looked worried. Kyle told me they got them for a couple minutes, and then communication was cut off as they heard Agent Flannery shouting at someone not to shoot. I remember that for about two hours, everyone thought they'd been killed by Mexican drug dealers.
It was shortly after that, maybe a few weeks, that I was finally given a real job title. Junior Agent and Trainee for the CNU, aka grunt. Basically, I'd do what I was before, except with the new title, I spent more time in the CNU than with the profilers. The new formal title also meant I got a pay raise, and that meant a better apartment. The one I'd been living in was basically a glorified dorm.
I swear when I went to look at the apartment, when I signed the lease, when I moved in, I never once saw Matt Flannery in the hallways. Never in the elevator, laundry room, by the mail boxes, unlocking the front door. Nope, nowhere. In fact, I didn't see him, or his girlfriend until I about two months after I moved in. Then I wished to hell I hadn't.
From what I heard, Agent Flannery went to Colorado, Denver I think, to testify on a case they had a while back. There was some sort of fiasco, and he ended up stuck there for about a week, waiting to testify. Now, in my opinion, a week away isn't such a long time, but I'm not sleeping with him. For Agent Lehman, I suppose it might have felt like a millennia. Looking at him, I could certainly understand that.
Anyway, not to digress. The day he came back, I was in the little alcove with the mailboxes retrieving my mail. I heard the elevator ding, and someone come out to the lobby and went toward the front door. They open it, and then voices. He said his buzzer must be broken, she said she'd missed him. It was her voice I recognized first, having been listening to it at least twice a week for nine months now. It took me about two seconds to decide I was an ass for not recognizing his voice immediately too.
I swung around, too shocked to tell myself not to, but they didn't see me. They were so busy staring at each other, I was able to get a good look before whirling back around and trying to melt my body into the wall of mailboxes. I'd seen enough. Agent Lehman was wear a dark knee length coat, and nothing covered her legs. At least nothing that I could see, and I'd never seen her in a skirt or dress. However, I was more than willing to believe that she was dressed...until I heard him say something about his neighbors thinking he ordered a call girl.
Oh sweet Jesus.
She giggled. Special Agent Emily Lehman, top Crisis Negotiator, my superior and professor, actually giggled. Then she said something I couldn't understand except for the purr. Oh yeah, she purred, as much as a human being could. I spent the next several seconds trying to burrow deeper into the mailboxes, and pretending to be immensely interested in a Sears catalogue. Never have lawnmowers been so fascinating.
He groaned, and I mean groaned. As in, she was doing something he really liked, right there ten feet from the front door. I was trying to tell myself they wouldn't do anything too dirty in public when I heard him give her warning, his voice low. He told her if she'd didn't move back two inches right away, they may not make it up the stairs.
Oh. My. God.
I stood there, biting my lip to keep from crying out my horror, until finally I heard the elevator ding closed. I took the stairs up to my apartment, running them two at a time, so that I could get to the safety of my apartment as quick as possible. I fell on my futon shaking. That was just something you don't ever, ever, ever need to hear about your coworkers. EVER.
The door to the apartment above me closed, and I heard footsteps cross the floor. Whoever lived above me was home. He or she was either really quiet, or never home, maybe both. Anyway, I didn't mind having him or her above me for that reason. I was able to settle down, to relax from a long day. I was shaking the recent events out of my head when I began to hear noises. As an adult, I knew exactly what these noises meant, so I grabbed the remote to turn on the TV. I had my finger on the button when I heard the male half of the orgasm call out a familiar name. Then the female half called out another familiar name. I froze like a deer caught in really bright friggin headlights.
Now, you might think that I'd rush to find a new apartment, or make sure they knew I lived in the building so they wouldn't grope each other in the hallways again. You'd be wrong. It's too damn hard to find a decent, affordable apartment in LA, I wasn't about to give this one up, just because of a little...discomfort. As for making sure he knew I lived in the building, what if he asked me which floor, which apartment number? Do I tell him the second floor? Do I lie? Or would I just get so freaked out, I'd blurt out that yes, I live right below you, and heard you riding your girlfriend?
I decided to keep my mouth shut, and hide from them. Juvenile maybe, but it was the best I could do. At least it gave Kyle a laugh.
As it turned out, an incident a few months later pretty much stopped them from coming around. A really creepy guy who had a thing for Agent Lehman filmed her and Agent Flannery having sex in his bedroom. The grainy, black and white video made it to every news station in the country. Everyone knew it was her, but only the people at the Bureau, and I guess their friends and family outside, knew it was him.
I rarely saw her in the building after that, and only saw him much less. I figure they were both pretty freaked out about that, and were staying primarily at her place. God knows, if that had been Kyle and me on that tape, I wouldn't have set foot in that apartment ever again. I'm not an exhibitionist, and regardless of how friendly they get in the hallways, I didn't get that vibe from them either. After all, that was when they thought no one was around.
After that the only time I saw him in the building was when he had a duffel bag in his hands, either coming or going. I wondered how he never wrinkled his shirts during the trip. I can't really see him picking up an iron, and I don't really see her doing it for him.
This lasted until they broke up. He spent that week or so barricaded in his apartment, moping from what I understand. His two HRT friends dragged him out once, but I saw that happen, and he wasn't exactly complacent. That was the first major fight I knew them to have, and it must be said that everyone at the Bureau was thrilled when it was finally over. For one, they were unpleasant to be around (not that I had that problem), and two, it was just so sad to watch them. They both looked so heart-broken that week or so they weren't together.
Fortunately, that didn't last long. Their second fight (and the only other one to my knowledge), was shorter, barely a night. But in my opinion it was worse. Maybe that's because I actually saw a sizable part of this one. Still she was pissed, in that, 'he's lucky to have kept possession of his balls' sort of way. She was very unhappy when I saw her go into the elevator--I was still coming in the door, and she didn't see me--and she was seething when they were both downstairs ten minutes later.
I was at my mailbox again, after realizing I forgot to get it on the way up. I swear to god, the next apartment I get, the mailboxes are going to be the kind right by the door. No more hidden alcoves. I've learned way too much about my neighbors just because I was getting my mail. My body tensed, and I moved closer to my mailbox. This time the only catalogue I had to study was Victoria's Secret, and I'll tell you that is exactly what I want my neighbors to find me pressing my nose into. Not weird at all.
Anyway, she storms out of the elevator, him behind her, pleading with her to stop and listen to him. He must have gone to grab her or something, because her voice came out, almost quiet with her controlled anger. She told him to keep his hands off of her. That was the first sign that it was a bad fight.
Then the actual fight started, and as they went back and forth it got louder and faster, until I had trouble following them.
She couldn't believe he'd do that, she thought they were serious, that had something. She worded that more eloquently, but it all went so fast.
He didn't do it.
Not what she heard.
Since when did she listen to rumors?
Since she heard it from more than one person, whose sight she trusted.
He went silent.
Is she still just a Bureau thing? I could hear tears weighing down her voice.
That stunned him. Did that really still bother her?
Not before today.
Then it got quieter for a while, and faster so all I could make out was words. Trust, Anya, hurt, damn it, kiss, scared, way out, angry, trust, etc. My head was spinning when they suddenly cut themselves off.
He spoke again, his voice quieter, and words punctuated by her sniffles. He swore to her, promised her that he did not kiss "her". "She" kissed him, and he didn't reciprocate, but "her' tongue was already halfway down his throat so it may have looked different. He didn't even like Cassie Morris.
Cassie Morris? The transfer from Washington? The newest negotiator in the CNU apparently had some boundary issues. No one liked her much already, too abrasive and egocentric, but this...people were going to hate her for this. You don't screw with a happy couple, especially one your colleagues like.
Did he really not kiss her?
Of course, he didn't. He wouldn't risk what they have for anyone, especially that woman. He was hurt she believed he would.
There was another long silence before she spoke, her voice shaky.
She was sorry, and he was right. She was still insecure about them, she was scared the other shoe would drop and it would all go away. She didn't want it to go away, she didn't want him to go away.
I still had my back turned, cowering by my mailbox, but I could almost sense him touching her.
He loved her, and he wasn't going anywhere.
She loved him too, and she did trust him, but part of her was still scared of what they had.
He was a little scared too, this was new territory for him.
She could learn not to be scared, she just needed time.
She could have that, he was in no rush...but, would it be too soon to ask her to move in with him?
Whoa, what? I was not expecting that. Neither was she, she went silent again. Long enough to make him uncomfortable.
It's okay if it's too soon for her, he didn't want to pressure her. That jolted her into speech.
No. No, it wasn't too soon, he just caught her off guard. She did want to live with him.
They stopped talking then, and began kissing. At least that's what it sounded like, I was still staring at the latest fashion in overpriced thongs. Beads. Seriously, are they out of their minds? Ouch.
Just one thing...her voice broke in again...she didn't want to live in his apartment, or her apartment. She wanted them to find a new apartment. Their apartment.
He laughed. He loved her.
She loved him too.
They finally went back into the elevator and started ascending heavenward, and I was able to breath again, and stop studying lingerie. Their voices had held so much emotion as they spoke to each other, and they seemed so...not fragile, but human.
That's the problem with celebrity-type figures, you forget that they're actually human. The rumors, the view from the outside, makes them seem sort of surreal. Especially these two. They're there, you can see them, reach out and touch them, but besides physicality they're very abstract. Tonight, listening to them confess being afraid of being in love with each other, hearing them actually admit to loving each other. They became undeniably real to me tonight, and so surprisingly human. It was difficult to comprehend.
He moved out of the building, and into a new one with her, less than a month before I moved out of my apartment and in with Kyle. Neither of them ever found out that I lived in the building, and I never told anyone what I'd witnessed.