Tiny snowflakes fell softly around them as Detective Karen Bettancourt walked along the New York city sidewalk with her partner, Detective Jim Dunbar, at her side. Cold winds buffeted their faces and, as the temperature continued to drop, a thin, patchy sheen of ice began to appear on the ground.
It was this last development that caused their pace to slow fractionally and Jim's grip on Karen's arm to tighten. Until being partnered with him, Karen had never really thought about the difficulty ice could pose to someone who couldn't see it and either brace themselves or avoid it all together.
Thanksgiving would be the first holiday since Christie had left Jim, claiming she just couldn't take the stress of being married to a cop. The excuse rang false to Karen. After Jim had an affair, he'd had made amends to Christie, but one had to ask if she stayed because he'd been shot so soon after the affair had been revealed instead of due to real forgiveness. Then there was the elephant in the room, the fact that the shooting had left Jim blind, not an easily surmountable obstacle. Karen thought Jim had done a hell of a job acclimating, trusted his skills as a detective, both in investigating crimes and to have her back, if it came to that. But still, she knew it had to be tough, not only for him, but for Christie.
But that was no excuse for letting Jim return home one night to find all of his wife's things suddenly missing from their apartment. That was just cruel.
As was their way, she decided not to mention his careful pace or any of her contemplations, instead choosing to say, "Hey, I forgot to tell you, you're coming to my mom's for dinner."
She could imagine him blinking behind his dark glasses. "Excuse me?"
"Thanksgiving," she clarified. "You're not gonna mope around your apartment with Hank all day. You're coming with me to Mom's. Believe me, nothing will be more distracting than an apartment full of loud people and good food."
"Do I get any choice in this?"
"No," she said. "I'm making a unilateral descision. How's your Spanish, by the way?"
Jim was smiling a bit now. "No tan bueno," he said with a small sigh. After a moments pause, he softly added, "Gracias."
"De nada," she demured, patting his fingers where they were wrapped around her bicep. "Tu eres mi socio…y amigo."
She could see Jim working her sentence over in his head and he admitted, "I got everything but socio."
"Partner," she told him. "We'll work on that before next Thursday, but don't worry. English is usually more common anyway at these things."
"Okay," he chuckled. "That's good cause I think Hank'll be confused enough."
"What?" she teased, "You mean the dog isn't bilingual?"
"He is, actually," Jim told her, "English and German."
Karen laughed so hard it was her, not Jim who almost fell victim to the stealthy ice patches. Winter was upon them, she though as she righted herself and noticed soft Christmas music leaking out of a nearby store. Happy holidays indeed.