Disclaimer: Not mine. I do own Matt though. :D
A/N: Okay guys, I decided I needed to get the last chapter of this one up before I did anything else. I'm trying to end a few so I'm not so overwhelmed by United. Anyways...I'm updating Family Revelations next and then you'll probably see another one for United because that story is just so easy to write. Enjoy the final chapter of this one.
It had taken several days - until a week after New Years - for Lisbon to convince herself that it really was okay to visit her favorite coffee shop again. She felt a little guilty for bringing Jane, letting his fingers caress the small of her back through her clothing. She didn't want to rub it in Matt's face that she'd strung him along, toying with his emotions while always pining for another. Matt had said he was fine, said that he understood but she still felt bad about the way things had turned out. Her relationship with him was still friendly - at least she hoped it would be - while her relationship with Jane was still under question.
The blond consultant stayed at her apartment most nights, joining her in the bed without having to sneak in late at night but they hadn't taken it any further. They kissed and burrowed into each other at night for the warmth of another human being, living and breathing but neither had been brave enough to try anything. Not just yet, not when things were still so fragile. Lisbon was okay with it, she wasn't pushing for anything physical and she knew that it'd happen eventually. The 'play it by ear' thing had its downs, as well as ups.
The shop hadn't changed much, the Christmas decorations were gone. The smell of coffee still being the first to greet you as you walked through the door and Lisbon inhaled deeply to catch the comforting aroma. Jane took notice, rubbing her back softly and leading her to what he knew was her favorite booth. She didn't ask how he knew, he'd never been there when she was actually sitting in it but she figured he'd go off in tangents about stuff she didn't really care to hear. Her mind was keeping her too preoccupied anyway. Thoughts of Matt running through her head, keeping her eyes from settling on one particular thing or person. She was searching for him, looking for those soft brown eyes and when she shot his brother, Mark, a questioning glance he pointed to the back.
"Patrick, can you sit tight for a minute? I want to talk to Matt for a second alone." There was no jealousy in his eyes, no hunch of his shoulders as he nodded and Lisbon had to admit that it was nice to see him nonchalant about it. It seemed as though she'd convinced him that Matt was her friend, her really good friend and nothing more.
Leaving Jane in her booth, she quickly walked around the counter as if she were allowed and stepped into the back. It didn't even cross her mind that she was a customer and technically shouldn't be allowed but Matt had always let her. She hoped that wouldn't change. As soon as she entered the small kitchen area, she was greeted by startled brown eyes and a half smile that warmed her heart. He looked as though he hadn't shaved in a few days but other than that, still the same.
"Teresa!" Relieved that he sounded pleased to see her, Lisbon threw all caution to the wind and closed the distance between them, throwing her arms around him. She hugged him tightly, reveling in the feel of him reciprocating the warmth of the embrace. She'd missed him but she'd been too ashamed of herself until now. "It's good to see you."
"Yeah, I needed a little while to adjust to everything."
"Coffee's on me today." Lisbon shook her head to decline the offer as she pulled back from the hug. She wasn't going to start something like that again, it only had her feeling guiltier than before.
"I can pay, I want to. You keep giving me free coffee and you'll go out of business. Besides I brought someone with me."
"Is that okay? We'll leave if you..."
"No, it's fine Teresa. I believe I should apologize to him anyway, and to you. I'm sorry about Christmas and the arguing." There was an honesty in his chocolate eyes that had her placing a hand on his arm. He was such a sweet man.
"It's fine, forced me to confront some things." She didn't mention that technically it was her ex-boss that forced it. "We okay?"
"You really do worry too much, we're fine. The thing with Patrick work out?"
"Uh, we're still sorting through some stuff. Kind of one day at a time, it's iffy." Leaning back against one of the counters, Lisbon crossed her arms over her chest and offered Matt a small smile. "I want to thank you for everything Matt. You've been amazing through all of this and I know that you....care about me. I know this isn't easy for you."
"I do care and I won't lie, I am a little broken hearted but I'll be okay. I'm a big boy, I can handle it." Ducking her head, she gave the floor beneath her feet a once over. She knew she'd hurt him but to hear him actually say it somehow made her feel worse. She felt as though she were rubbing it in by showing up, even more so considering that Jane was with her but she couldn't stay away. She felt close to Matt, he was the closest thing she had to a best friend - as elementary as the term sounded, it fit. He was there for her when she couldn't turn to Jane or anyone else and that made him someone she loved. "Come on, cheer up. Your friendship means more to me than being mad at you for something you had no control over."
Deciding another hug just wouldn't cut it, Lisbon pushed off the counter and closed the distance between them to give him a friendly, chaste peck on the lips. There was nothing romantic about it, on either one of their parts. She was trying to show how much she appreciated his words. To her it felt like the kind of kiss she'd shared with her brothers. The thought struck her as a little odd, she didn't know when she'd stopped seeing him as a prospective love interest and started seeing him as the more brotherly type but she didn't want to waste all day trying to figure it out. She had better things to do.
"There's not many men like you."
"I'm taking that as a compliment." A smile lit up his face, drawing one from Lisbon's lips as well. It was contagious and she couldn't help but catch it. "I should get you, your coffee."
Following him back out into the front of the coffee shop, she let her heart flutter when Jane's unruly locks came into view. They were still working out the kinks but she loved him, she loved her kitten named Snow, she loved knowing she wasn't alone and that she had people to talk to, and she loved Matt in a strictly friends-only kind of way. She hadn't bargained for any of those things when she'd struck up a relationship with the dark haired coffee man. She just thought he was nice to talk to, nice to listen to and she'd seen him as a potential lover but now she had Jane. As unfair as it seemed, she wouldn't have ever been able to fully give herself to Matt so the cards she'd been dealt made sense.
She'd made a friend that she knew would always be there and to her, that was what mattered the most. Her relationship with Jane was still rocky and not quite clear yet but when he smiled, she always forgot the hard times and painful memories. When he offered her a wide grin as she sidled over to the booth, she felt that familiar stirring in her stomach, the burn low in her belly and she fleetingly wondered when he planned to up the ante. She was a woman, she wondered sometimes - this moment being one of them - when he was going to take it further than kissing and touching.
"Nice chat?" There was a hint of teasing in his voice and she plopped down with a huff.
"Told ya, you worried for no reason."
"Shut up." Balling up a napkin, she tossed it at him playfully and squealed softly when he threw it back - hitting her in the cheek. She was about to continue the war when her steaming cup of coffee appeared and then the battle didn't seem as important. "Ooh, thank you."
"It's free and don't even think about arguing Teresa." Matt knew her too well, she'd already opened her mouth to protest but quickly closed it with a frown. She could sense the tension between the two men, though they both appeared fine. Grasping the cup in her hands, she softly blew on the hot liquid before bringing it to her lips and urging Jane with her eyes to say something.
"I, uh, I believe I owe you an apology Matt. I shouldn't have come to your apartment on Christmas, I shouldn't have said the things I said."
"We're both at fault for that. I said things I shouldn't have said too, so I apologize. No hard feelings?" With a slight roll of her eyes, Lisbon decided their apologies would have to do. She'd expected something more but she shouldn't have, they were men. When they shook hands and smiled politely, she knew things would get better. The nerves she'd felt upon entering the coffee shop were gone and the guilt for bringing Jane was slowly waning.
"Now that we've all kissed and made up, would you like to join us?" Slightly startled by Jane's sudden mention of kissing, Lisbon blushed a little and awkwardly shimmied over to the window to let Matt slide in next to her. She wondered if Jane knew she'd kissed the man now sitting beside her, if so he didn't act jealous. He shouldn't, it wasn't anything to be jealous over and it wasn't anything she felt guilty for. She'd probably tell him later though, just to be honest about everything. She'd hate for it to come out later and seem bigger than it was.
Numbly sipping her drink, she listened as the two important men in her life talked about random things. They were getting along better than she'd imagined and when Jane asked for a copy of the pictures Matt had hanging on the wall - the ones of her - she turned red. It wasn't because he'd asked, it was because he'd called her beautiful in the process and Matt agreed, asking what size prints he'd like. She wasn't used to people asking for copies of her picture, especially in such a setting. Especially considering these were the two men she'd been so torn between, it just seemed a little strange and yet they acted as though it was fine.
She joined the conversation once every few minutes, just so they knew she was paying attention and didn't start questioning if she was alright or not. Somehow they'd ended up talking about her kitten, which morphed into the topic of what each of them did for New Years and then she lost track. It felt great to talk to Matt again, to really talk without feeling as though her heart was being torn apart. She'd thought that Jane might be a little jealous once she found herself fully immersed in a playful argument with Matt but if anything he seemed more intrigued by their interaction than anything else. Things weren't one-hundred percent awkward free, some topics brought on long pauses and cricket-chirping silence but she knew it'd get better.
She didn't plan to stop visiting Matt anytime soon and she knew there would be more times that she brought Jane along. He was part of her life, so was the dark haired one next to her and she wanted both of them to see that she'd found a way to have both the men she wanted. She wanted them to see that they didn't need to dislike each other or act possessive in any way shape or form because they both meant so much to her. She loved them. One as a friend, one as something more.
They stayed in that little booth in the corner for over an hour before Jane mentioned being ready to go. Lisbon had simply agreed, giving Matt a warm hug and linking her arm with Jane's as they walked out into the fresh air.
They hadn't made it through her front door before she blurted out the fact that she'd given Matt a quick peck on the lips. Jane wasn't upset, he didn't seem to care. He actually chuckled when she explained her reasons and she'd been confused by his lack of response when not that long ago he was seething at seeing her in Matt's clothes.
The answer he gave her when she asked why he wasn't mad, was one she'd never thought of. He wasn't mad because he didn't need to be. That was his answer, he said he knew all about her feelings for Matt changing from a could-be romance to a more sibling based kind of thing. Turning it into a joke, he pressed his lips to hers, murmuring that he hoped she wouldn't cheat on him with her brother. The teasing didn't last long, the kiss heated up leaving them both gasping for air and Jane tugging gently on her the hem of her shirt. Hearts accelerated when his fingers brushed the bare skin of her stomach, mouths quickly re-aligned and legs stumbled their way through the living room.
Lisbon didn't even notice Snow until Jane pulled her shirt over her head and let it drop on the ball of white fur. Startled, the cat ran with a hiss, causing laughs to bubble up from both of them. It had scared them, making them jump and cling to arms for support as the white flash, darted under their feet. After a few minutes of calming down, a longing stare and Lisbon pressing soft kisses along his jaw, she decided it was time to take their activities to a more comfortable area.
Grasping Jane's hand in her own, she led him up the stairs and attempted to ignore the flopping in her stomach when they reached the bedroom. He'd been in there plenty but this was different. They'd never undressed each other or been seen by the other in anything less than sleep wear. They'd never done anything more than kissing, and most of the time those were nothing near passionate but verging more on the tender side instead.
It was easy to tell that this would be it, that moment when they both realized what they wanted, what they needed and despite the shaky start, Lisbon was ready. He was too - it was in his eyes that he had one thing planned. She was suddenly extremely grateful that she hadn't forced herself to be with Matt, that she hadn't taken the easy way out.
a/n: The End. :D