This story began with a prompt: "I woke up alone." And it spawned this story. I'm not a big FFN poster, but if people are interested, I will clean up the next parts of the story and post that as well.
I woke up alone this morning.
Normally, that wouldn't be so unusual. After all, most days, I go to bed alone, so it's probably best that I wake up alone.
Last night was different. When I closed my eyes last night, she was in bed with me. At least, I think she was in bed with me. I briefly wonder if it had all been a dream, but her side of the bed definitely looks like it has been slept in.
I wonder when it became her side of the bed. Perhaps it's best to not dwell on that. Regardless of who it belongs to, the spot is currently empty.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Things took a bit of a weird turn last night. I could blame the tequila shots, but my mind was clear when I kissed her. Or maybe she kissed me. That part's a little bit fuzzy, but in a good sort of way that makes me roll over and bury my face in her pillow, just to see if I can smell her perfume.
I don't think anyone would argue that the potential has been there for a long time. I think we knew it, too. I don't want to say that I was being unfaithful to any of the other women I was dating, but if I'm honest with myself, she was always more important than any of them. I told myself that's what friendship was all about. Bro's before Ho's and all that. But that didn't explain why I got jealous anytime she went on a date or mentioned a man that I didn't know. Not that I would ever admit it.
Really, it's probably pretty impressive that we held out as long as we did. I'm pretty sure that everyone thinks we've been sleeping together for a long time. Of course, if you use the word literally, we have been. I'm not sure when it became a routine, but I still blame her. One night, she convinced me to go on a run with her after work. It had been a stressful day, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. Of course, I forgot that she runs five miles every morning just for fun. I thought my feet were going to fall off. She laughed, but by the time we made it back to my place, I had convinced her that I deserved pizza and beer. We ended up popping in a movie, and by the time it was over, it was pouring out and she was a bit too tipsy to safely drive home.
Sure, it would have made more sense for one of us to sleep on the couch, but we somehow both ended up in my bed. And a trend was started.
Thursday nights became our nights. Running, dinner, a late movie, and then spending the night. Sometimes at her place, sometimes at mine, but we always ended up in the same bed. And it felt strangely normal. She'll never admit it, but she likes to snuggle when she sleeps. I don't mind.
Last night was different. A rare Saturday in the office led to a couple of rounds of drinks at the bar, which somehow led to four of us doing shots. We were crammed into a crowded booth, but I wasn't about to complain about her leg pressed against mine or the fact that to fit comfortably, my arm had to rest on the back of the booth behind her. And so what if I occasionally twisted a piece of her hair around my fingers? I'm known for my ability to fidget. She didn't threaten me, she she clearly didn't mind.
As the others headed out, I walked to the bar to settle our tab and she lingered, waiting for me. As I rested my forearms on the bar, waiting for the bartender to return with my credit card, she leaned in next to me, her back against the bar, her arm brushing against mine. She casually scanned the crowd and then looked at me with a smile. I smiled back. She opened her mouth to say something, but was preempted by the bartender returning with the receipt for me to sign. I scribbled something on the line, leaving what was very likely a preposterously large tip, and turn back to Ziva.
"Ready?" I asked.
She nodded and let me lead the way out of the bar. The crowd had picked up, and while she's an expert at weaving through people, I tend to get left behind when she does that. It's easier if I lead the way. Conveniently, it's also easier if I hold her hand while I do so. Not that I mind, of course. It might be the only reason I enjoy crowded bars, in fact. We make it outside and she pushes her hair out of her face with her free hand. I wasn't quite ready to let her hand go, so I made a quick decision. I gestured down the street. "My place is close, if you don't want to bother with the Metro or a cab," I suggested casually, the invitation to spend the night left unspoken.
She appeared to ponder this for a moment and then nodded in agreement. "That sounds nice. Perhaps we could finish the movie we both slept through the other night."
"Hey, speak for yourself," I countered, as we began the walk. "I saw the whole thing. You were the one who spent the evening in dreamland."
She laughed, the sound echoing on the quiet street. "Tony, you were snoring!"
"Hate to tell you," I replied, grinning at her. "But that was all you. I don't know how you ever managed to stay hidden during your crazy undercover Mossad days. That snoring would wake the dead!"
She turned to me with a slightly evil smile. "Maybe I simply took care of anyone who noticed."
In past years, I might have been concerned by this sort of statement, but things between us have changed. Sure, she could kill me with a paperclip. But I trusted she wouldn't. At least, probably not. "Right," I responded. "I always forget. Don't antagonize the assassin."
She replied with a laugh and wrapped her arm around mine, huddling against me in the cool evening chill.
It wasn't long before we were inside my apartment. And then the night took an interesting turn.