She comes to my place, because we're less likely to be caught. The first time, I'd gone to her place, but he'd come by with takeout at 9:30, and was immediately suspicious. He nearly growled at me as he inquired why I was there. I offered that I'd stopped by with paperwork before their meeting tomorrow, and fortunately I had, though that was secondary to my reasons for being there. It was a plausible excuse—he'd had an off-site meeting that had run late—but he gave me a cold stare before grudgingly offering to share the Thai food he'd brought. After we'd finished, it was clear he expected me to go.
I went to her place one other time, but he'd stopped by even later, after a stakeout, and bearing Chinese—so I beat a hasty retreat, ostentatiously shuffling the paperwork I'd claimed we'd been working on. She called the next day to apologize, and said she'd make the excuse of a rescheduled karate class for the next night, so she could come to my place.
The third week she offered that excuse, he complained, and threatened to threaten her dojo. So we cut back to once every two weeks, and she told him she was taking instructor training at her dojo. Once, he'd called her with a case and offered to pick her up at her class—it had taken her five minutes of arguing before he'd conceded to let her drive herself to the scene.
But we continued to meet, despite the risk of discovery. She couldn't get from him what I could offer—he would only react with judgment, or scorn, were she to ask. Though they were not romantically involved, she was loyal to him, in all other ways, as a wife, and he was possessive of her, as I would be were I in his place. She's stunning—in beauty, in intellect, in grace.
I didn't understand their relationship, and I'd tried hard, as if it were my life's whole work. But they defied definition—those looks they'd exchange, shutting out everyone while they communed silently. Communing was really the only way to describe it—and yet, because they didn't share certain formative experiences, or an intellectual approach to life, there were gaps in their otherwise seamless meeting of minds. She had a different view of the necessary indulgences.
This was where and how I understood her, and I was flattered, proud and amazed, when she'd approached me. To that point, our relationship was almost strictly professional, though we'd socialized once or twice after work. But since then, we'd forged a different bond. I'd agreed it had to be secret—she had too many other obligations more important than the limited ways in which she would let me be there for her.
I wondered sometimes how he'd react if she ever told him about us. I was terrified of him, frankly, but what she needed from me drove her, and I was powerless to say no in the force of her determination. Perhaps he'd be angry at her deception and avoidance. Perhaps he would mock her, which she'd allowed me to see wounded her more than any argument they might have about a case. But I knew, too, that she would someday call our time to an end, and it would be back to official, at-work interactions. For now, I would simply enjoy the time we could share together.
- - -
"So tell me again why it's necessary for an otherwise competent, feminist character, to be chained to an alien named Jaffa the Hutch while wearing a metal bikini? Clearly, he's of a different species, and cannot copulate with her."
"Jabba the Hutt."
"And why does she have to be constantly placed in situations of peril, from which she has to be rescued? She knows how to shoot a gun and is quick-thinking enough to get out of danger herself, without the bravado and testosterone-laden shoot-em-ups that the Solo character is always engineering."
"You're overanalyzing. It's a Hollywood movie—the bikini, while symptomatic of Hollywood's sexual objectification of women, is unfortunate, but the larger mythological significance of the story, the epic battle between good and evil, more than compensates for the sexualized pandering. And they have to have the romantic tension between those two characters, because the other, the knight, has other demons to slay. The distraction of a romance for that character would detract from the director's goal to highlight the purity of purpose necessary for the attainment of good, as compared with the more practical needs met by the other two characters."
"I see what you're saying, but it's a faulty approach to storytelling, much less myth-building. Without the practical foundation, the idealist has no basis from which to pursue his goals. They are intertwined, one necessary to feed the other. I still think the two male characters should be made into one. It would certainly enhance communication, and prevent the need for flying all over the Dagoba system in the Millennium Eagle."
"Falcon. Millennium Falcon. But you're right. Maybe you should try your hand at screenwriting."
"Thank you. Maybe I will."
She returned her view to the screen. She was far less argumentative than she had been when we began, more willing to suspend her disbelief. She'd be a pop culture genius in no time.
- - -
They were arguing again, he angry at her following him in to a scene, asserting his protectiveness in an alpha-male manner that was a poor mask for his deep feelings for her, his fear for her safety.
She was frustrated, angry that he was missing her point, and she skewered his logic, pinning him to the wall with an analysis of his behavior. She explained that he was conflating his role as a protector of innocents with his status as her partner, thereby ignoring her ability to protect herself.
"You're stifling me, and it's going to backfire on you. Your attention needs to be on catching these criminals, and you're depriving yourself of the backup I can provide if you'll let me. I know you care about me, and believe me, I care about you, but I would never dream of preventing you from doing all the things you're capable of."
It was one of those "tractor-beam" moments, one of their staring contests that was so hard to decipher, but this time, I think I knew who would win. He blinked, and glared.
"Damn, Bones, get out of my head, will you? How do you do that?"
She smiled. "Jedi mind trick."
I was so proud of her—I broke out in an ear to ear grin.
He caught my smile, then, out of the corner of his eye. I shouldn't have done it—his peripheral vision is so much keener than other mere mortals'. He whipped his head toward me, the heat of his glare nearly scorching me.
"What are you smiling at, Sweets?"