A/N: Here we are! The last chapter! Thank you, reader, and a special thanks to who found the time to leave me a review. Huge thanks to my awesome betas, Diane and Sharon. After 'all this angst' I'll try to write something happy! I promise, Diane!
Chapter Eight: A New Normal
Jack arrived early on Monday morning. The office was still empty. Walking down the corridor, he stopped to look through the glass toward Sam's desk. There were awards and degrees, but no pictures. Her desk was a perfect 'office desk'. All that an observer could have discovered about the desk's occupant was her name, her studies and her excellent shooting skills.
There is nothing personal there. She is hiding her personal life like she hid her life with me. All I really know about her is what is seen on the desk – work. We never talked about our past, we just 'seized the moment'. I wonder how she is doing. I guess I'll know in an hour or so. Will she be able to hide her hurt, her anger? I know we will be able to work together-- we are both professionals--but probably it will be uncomfortable for a while. It was all my fault. We will both have to live with my mistake.
Shaking his head, he went into his office and sat at his desk. He lowered his head and rubbed his eyes.
The first time I saw her was here, in my office. I needed a new agent for the squad, and Van Doren let me choose among three agents--two men in their late thirties and a young woman with less than six months of field experience. I don't know why, but she totally caught my attention.
"So, Agent Spade, why would you like to work missing persons?"
"Everyone knows the MPU is the place to be in the FBI, and I want to be with the best."
At the end of the interview we shook hands and she added, looking directly into my eyes, "So, what are my chances of getting this assignment?"
I was intrigued by her intelligence and her self-confidence. Her answers were direct and she never hesitated. She seemed to know all about MPU. She did her research; she knew what she wanted. She looked right into my eyes when she talked to me. There was also a mystery about her, or maybe, just like my dad, I've always had a thing for blondes.
When I told Vivian that we would have a new agent, she wasn't too happy about my choice, and maybe she was right.
"Vivian, Van Doren accepted my request. We have a new agent. She is starting Monday."
"What is her background?"
"Her name is Samantha Spade and she comes directly from Quantico."
"No, Quantico as FBI Academy."
Vivian immediately questioned my choice, "What? What are you thinking adding another rookie now? I am already working with Danny. I can't take on another newbie!"
"Don't worry, Viv. I will take care of her training. You keep working with Taylor."
I was constantly amazed and intrigued by Agent Spade's ability. She was intelligent, curious, dedicated…and, a breath of fresh air. Little did I know how she would change the unit and how much she would affect my life.
While Jack was remembering how Samantha entered his life, she was getting dressed at home. The day ahead of her could be one of the hardest of her life.
I feel like I am moving in slow motion. I am getting ready for work, but it is as if I am looking at someone else doing it. My routine is the same as every day, but my mind is in overdrive. I don't know how I managed to match my pants, blouse and jacket!
She wore the necklace Jack gave her and took a last look in the mirror.
This will be a reminder to him every time he looks at me. Yes, Sam you can do this. You are a professional. You can't let Jack see that you're hurt.
She entered the bullpen with a cup of coffee in her hands, just as she would have done every other day. She sipped her coffee and pretended nothing had changed. Without looking toward Jack's office, she went to her desk. She tried to pretend, but she felt as if everyone was looking at her. She looked up and no one was.
"Good morning, Viv."
"Samantha, hi, are you feeling better?" Vivian asked, while she put her gun into her desk drawer.
"Yeah, just a stomach flu, thank you. I am sorry I missed the party. I bet it was great!"
"Oh, yes! And the girls put on a little dancing show for Jack."
"How sweet! I'm sure Jack was thrilled. He loves them. Everything they do makes him happy."
Jack was observing Vivian and Sam's exchange from his desk. He had followed Sam with his eyes since she made her appearance in the office. She looked normal.
She is very good at hiding her feeling when she wants. She could be a perfect liar. And she made me a liar too.
The first time I lied to Maria was because of her. It was late and we had just finished our reports. She came into my office to give me her report before going away and I felt the need to stop her. I wasn't ready to go back home. Or was I really not ready to leave the office… and Samantha?
"Hey, Sam, I need to wind down before I go home; do you want to grab a drink?"
"Sure. Give me five minutes."
Five minutes. How your life can change in five minutes... I phoned Maria and I told her that there was a problem, that I had to wait for a report from the police and I would be very late.
"But you said you solved the case, what do you have to wait for? Can't it wait until tomorrow morning?"
"I'm sorry, Maria. But I have to hand in the report tonight, and I have to be sure all the paperwork is in and complete. You know how you lawyers can be… Give the girls a kiss for me. Good night."
It was strange, but I didn't feel guilty. And it became easier and easier to not go home.
I really liked training Sam; she was smart, she was curious, she was blond and she was also very ambitious. She spent late hours at the office and I felt compelled to stay too. I started to find more and more reasons to work with her. I don't know why, but I felt the need to be near her. She probably noticed. She had been interested in me and my work since the beginning, but at some point we didn't only work together anymore – we spent time together. We started to share our dinners and, then, her bed.
How did we end up so close?It is still a mystery. Maybe Sam bewitched me. What did she find in me? I never asked. I was too scared of having to answer the same question.
The ring of the phone diverted his attention from his thoughts. It was Olzyck. There was a new case. Everything would be normal again. But, it would be a new 'normal'.
Jack arrived in the bullpen with some files. A new case. Jack and Samantha locked their eyes for a moment and then Jack started to present the case. Vivian felt something wasn't right, there was tension in the air. Something happened, something between them. But as Jack assigned the tasks, all went back into work mode.
"Vivian and Danny, do a background check, then call me. Sam, come with me. We have to speak with the family."
He called me Sam. He lost the right to call me that. My name is Samantha and that is what he will call me.
"I'll wait for you in the garage," Sam said as she played with her necklace.
She is trying to tell me something. That necklace… she isn't going to make things easy for me. I have to get her alone so we can talk; I need to know she is all right. We cannot just ignore what has happened.
When Jack arrived in the garage, Samantha was already in the driver's seat. He joined her and then asked what he knew he had to ask.
"Sam-antha, is everything okay?"
"I am fine, why wouldn't I be?" and she turned her head toward the street as looking into his eyes was too painful.
Is he really asking this? He is a piece of work!
"Stop it, Jack. I need time to work this out. Things will get back to normal soon. I'm sorry, I forgot the address… uptown?"
A pensive Jack murmured a yes.
She is right, we cannot erase the past. But, what will the future be? Yes, we will get back to normal, and it will be a 'new normal'.