A/N: Well, here we go. This is part one of my entry for the jello-forever monthly challenge. This month's prompt is Love Songs. Naturally that made me immediately think of crack-fic. Actually, I'd had the idea for this fic for a while, but never got around to writing it. It only required minor tweaking to fit the prompt so it seemed like a good time. This is in the same universe as "If you can't beat 'em," but you really don't have to read either.
I do not own any of the Mentalist characters or any of the songs or song lyrics mentioned in the fic.
This fic is poking fun at commonly used fic clichés. Any similarity to anyone's actual fic is unintentional and I hope no one will be insulted as it was all done in good fun, and also because I love clichés (as well as subtle mockery and not so subtle sarcasm). So without further ado, I give you the first half of the fic. I hope to have part two up in the next couple of days. It's actually almost done.
Listen to the Music
Well I know,
You know better
Everything I say
Meet me in the country for a day
We'll be happy
And we'll dance
Woah, we're gonna dance the blues away
Woah oh yeah
And if I'm feelin' good to you
And you're feelin' good to me
There ain't nothin' we can't do or say
Woah baby, let the music play
Woah oh, listen to the music
Woah oh, listen to the music… -The Doobie Brothers
Lisbon was driving across the country with her consultant enjoying what she considered a period of blessed, blessed calm. They'd already been in the car for the better part of the day, and Jane's constant attempts to amuse himself were wearing on her last nerve. The consultant seemed to realize that he'd nearly exhausted her patience and was now sitting quietly, lost in thought. Lisbon decided to calm down a bit, cursing her luck that she was the one that had to accompany Jane on the four hour drive to their suspect's hometown. Because of the length of the trip they'd almost certainly have to stay overnight and that meant likely a good 36 hours as Jane's primary source of amusement. Not that she disliked the consultant of course, but he could be… trying.
She'd resigned herself to her fate earlier that day. There was nothing else for it. Cho, ever the dutiful son, had a family dinner. The agent had told Lisbon privately that if he made work the excuse to miss another one his mother might disown him, or worse. Lisbon had grinned and been about to ask what "worse" could possibly be, but one look at her right hand man's unusually serious face (even for him) caused the question to still in her throat. She'd let him off the hook, telling him he could be in charge of things on the Sacramento end. Van Pelt was busy teasing apart their victim's finances making Lisbon loathe to pull her away from her task, and the thought of sending Rigsby alone with Jane on the errand made her stomach twist. That left her as the someone that had to accompany Jane on a visit to their suspect's hometown to find more evidence proving that he'd strangled three women by tying sets of headphones around their necks.
Ah well, she supposed she should count her blessings. At least Jane wasn't teasing her about that strange (but oddly pleasurable) day they'd shared several weeks ago. Lisbon was relieved that he hadn't brought it up. She'd thought things would be awkward. Not that anything too scandalous had happened of course. She'd just had what was quite possibly the oddest day of her life. Also she'd kissed her consultant. But the odd thing was, for some reason or other, both of them had just decided not to mention it. Not that she wanted to mention it, she really, really didn't. She didn't want to get involved with Jane. There were too many complications, and the fact that she was technically his boss probably wasn't even in the top three. Let's face it; the man practically had a sign saying "Bad Idea" around his neck. But it was strange how effectively they were both pretending that the whole thing hadn't happened. In fact, apart from some semi-awkward moments between Rigsby and Van Pelt, no one was referring to anything that had happened that day. It was like the whole thing was a dream. If she hadn't had the paperwork filed away in her office from the day's case she'd be tempted to believe that the whole thing had been some sort of hallucination brought on by a combination of overwork and Jane's insanity.
As for herself, other than the odd compulsion to press her fingers to her lips and giggle girlishly from time to time, she didn't seem to be suffering from any after affects. Well other than an occasional slight change in the lighting around her, making everything look softer and less distinct, like a dream sequence on a cheesy soap opera. This was almost certain to be accompanied by the sound of tinkling bells. But since neither of those things was particularly concerning, Lisbon decided to go back to her plan of pushing it from their mind. After all, it was most likely a symptom of stress, or some sort of rare bug her entire unit had contracted for the day. She was inclined to go with stress, if only because it meant that she could place the blame for the entire episode squarely on Jane's shoulders.
He could be handy like that.
Speaking of Jane, he'd been amusing himself by searching for an acceptable radio station when the one they usually listened to cut out some time after leaving the city. She noticed the one that he'd found, while certainly not objectionable, was playing some awfully appropriate music. It had started with Leaving on a Jet Plane, progressed to Traveller's Tune, On the Road Again, Life is a Highway, King of the Road and was now playing Sentimental Journey. She assumed they must be having some sort of themed program but found it odd that the announcer hadn't mentioned it.
Lisbon let the music relax her. Sure the long drive hadn't exactly been fun, but in the end it hadn't been horrible. At least the scenery was beautiful. Her companion wasn't too bad to look at either… Now where on earth had that thought come from? She hadn't thought about Jane like that since, well, since the day that was not spoken of. Sure, objectively she recognized he was attractive, but it wasn't really something she'd ever let herself notice. It was completely inappropriate.
They passed a road sign indicating that the town of Harmony was only another couple of miles away. This seemed to prompt Jane to break his silence. "So Lisbon," he asked cheerfully, "What's the plan for tonight?"
"Well, it's probably too late to meet the local cops or tour our suspect's home, let alone questioning anyone who might have known him. We'd be better off just checking into our hotel and starting in the morning. I'll call the local sheriff to let him know we've arrived, and then maybe we can grab a late dinner or something," she told him.
This plan seemed to suit Jane just fine. "Yes, far better to get a look at things in daylight and when we've had more sleep," he agreed easily, noticing with some amusement that Lisbon obviously hadn't been expecting such ready agreement. "You look surprised my dear, why?" he asked her.
She allowed herself the luxury of smiling back. After all, no point in making this trip miserable for the both of them. Far better to let herself enjoy Jane's company, especially when he was being reasonable. "I'm just not used to such easy agreement from you," she admitted. "Not unless you've already got some plan worked out. But I don't see how you could have since we haven't even gotten into town yet."
Jane grinned then, "Not to worry Lisbon. My only plan at the moment is to stretch my legs as soon as we get to our motel. Four hours on the road is a bit much for me now that I've grown unused to the traveler's life."
Lisbon acknowledged the point with a wry nod. What she wouldn't do for some good food, a hot shower and a soft bed. "You know, you never did tell me about that," she remarked.
"Tell you about what?" Jane asked innocently.
"Nice try. Travelling. You told me your people weren't carnie folk once, but come on Jane, it's obvious your life was hardly settled. You did promise to tell me about it sometime."
"And so I will," Jane promised. "But sometime when we're not so tired, and when we're not in the middle of a case."
"We're always in the middle of a case."
"Now Lisbon you know as well as I do that's impossible. Being in the middle of a case implies by its very nature that at some point we must be at the beginning as well as the end."
"Oh hush," Lisbon told him good naturedly.
"Ah ha!" Jane exclaimed effectively changing the subject, "Isn't that the hotel?"
It was. And it was with some relief that Lisbon turned into the parking lot.
Unfortunately her relief was short-lived. "What do you mean the reservation's only for one room?" she demanded.
"I'm sorry Ma'am," the receptionist told her apologetically. "We only have one room reserved under that name and I'm sorry to say that otherwise we're completely full."
"But I have two confirmation numbers right here. See look, we've reserved rooms 113 and 114."
"I can see that Ma'am, and I don't know what to tell you," the man told her sounding truly apologetic.
"Oh you have no explanation for this do you?" Lisbon asked him, trying to remain calm.
"No, as a matter of fact this establishment doesn't even have a room 113," the receptionist admitted easily.
"What do you mean you don't have a room 113?" Lisbon demanded, clearly shocked. "How was I able to reserve it earlier today then? And are honestly telling me that you have a room 112 and a room 114 but not a room 113?"
"I am. You're more than welcome to go and see for yourself. If you walk down the hallway you'll see a room 111, 112, 114, 115 and so on, but unfortunately no 113."
"Well why the hell not?" Lisbon snapped, feeling unreasonably angry over the mix-up.
The man shrugged, "I don't know, superstition? I've never really thought about it."
"And so room 113 what, just disappeared overnight?" Lisbon asked scathingly.
To her shock the receptionist appeared to seriously consider her suggestion. "Well, I suppose that's a possible explanation, but it seems highly unlikely…" the man trailed off in thought.
"Oh never mind," Lisbon snapped as she repressed the urge to hit the man on the other side of the counter. "I don't suppose there's another hotel in town?"
"Nope!" he said rather cheerfully. "We're the only one. I could put you on a waiting list should another room become available and offer you a complimentary breakfast for your trouble though."
"Thanks ever so much," Lisbon muttered as she grabbed the keys before wandering over to Jane, who, she noticed, looked far too pleased about the latest development.
Jane was, in fact, very pleased. After Lisbon had threatened to throw him from the vehicle if he didn't stop pestering her earlier, he'd noticed how unbelievably attractive her eyes were when she was angry and he'd been able to think of nothing but their kiss several weeks prior. The fact that it had barely crossed his mind in the interim he put down to repressed feelings finally erupting given the right circumstances (ie. him and Lisbon alone for an extended period). Whatever the cause, Jane was certainly not going to let this opportunity of wooing his favourite little spitfire slide. "Oh cheer up Lisbon," he told her as they turned towards their room. "After all there's a good chance the room has two beds," he added, while fervently hoping that wasn't the case. "I'm sure everything will be fine," he said soothingly.
"You'd better hope so Jane," she told him, "Or believe me when I say, I will find a way to blame this on you."
"Of that I have no doubt," Jane told her as they wandered past the disproportionately large gap between rooms 111 and rooms 115. Lisbon slid the room key into the keycard slot and opened the door. Just as she'd dreaded the room did in fact only have one bed. She let her shoulders slump in defeat.
"Don't worry about it Lisbon," Jane told her cheerfully. "I'm such an insomniac that I probably won't sleep anyways. I can just make myself comfortable in the chair," he told her helpfully, knowing that with her nurturing nature she'd never agree to that plan.
Lisbon sighed, "Don't be ridiculous Jane. You need to at least try to sleep. We're two mature adults; I'm sure we can share the bed."
Jane's smile grew behind her back. "If you think you can keep your hands off me."
"We can put pillows down the middle if it would make you feel better," Lisbon told him dryly.
"Oh, that's alright Lisbon. I have absolutely no objection if you decide to take advantage of me," he told her pleasantly.
Lisbon just gaped at him, her mind unfortunately conjuring up images of what taking advantage of Jane in the admittedly rather large and comfortable looking bed would entail. She mentally shook herself. What on earth was wrong with her?
Lisbon was about to take Jane down a peg or two with a cutting remark when suddenly all the lights went out.
"Oh, what now?" she groaned.
"Relax Lisbon," Jane told her. "I'm sure it's just a temporary power outage. The lights will probably be back on shortly."
He looked like he was about to say something else when he was interrupted by a knock at the door. He opened it to reveal a smiling hotel employee. "Hi," she told him. "We're not sure how long the power outage is going to last, and we can't find any flashlights,"
"Of course not," Lisbon muttered. "They're probably all in room 113."
The woman ignored her, "But we are providing all of our guests with complementary candles and matches just in case power isn't restored quickly."
"Thank you," Jane told her with a smile. "While you're here, I don't suppose you could recommend a place to go for dinner nearby? May as well go to dinner since we've got no power anyways," he told Lisbon, who nodded.
The woman smiled perkily, "Sure," she told him readily. "I'd recommend Perfect Cadence, it's actually just down the street from here. You could probably walk to it. It's definitely the best restaurant in town. Pretty popular with the locals."
"Thanks," Jane told her again.
Lisbon just grabbed her purse as Jane held the door open for her.
"Oh," the woman added as an afterthought. "I almost forgot. If you're off to the Cadence then you're in for a treat tonight." She paused for effect. "Tuesdays are karaoke night!" she told them cheerfully.
Jane's face lit up in pure glee but it was all Lisbon could do not to sink to the floor and cry.
They arrived at the restaurant only to be informed that the power was also out there as well. However, the restaurant was still able to serve dinner due to the fact that several pieces of the cooking equipment were gas-powered. The rest were running off a small independent generator that was only able to support the remaining cooking apparatus, and apparently, the microphone necessary for singing. And so Lisbon's hopes that the power outage would somehow get her out of karaoke night were dashed. It didn't matter what she said, she knew Jane would get her up on stage somehow, even if she dreaded it.
Still, when they wandered into the restaurant, Lisbon's mood couldn't help but improve. Although none of the overhead lights were working, the owners had managed to compensate nicely using strategically placed candles. Candles that added warmth as well as a pleasant, spicy scent. In this frame of mind Lisbon even graciously allowed Jane to pull her chair out for her, offering him a smile in thanks.
The man really looked ridiculously good by candlelight she mused. The light playing over his handsome face. He looked softer somehow, more vulnerable as he sent her a soft smile from across the table.
"See, now, isn't this better?" he asked her softly.
Lisbon had to admit it was, and said so, as she resisted the urge to reach for his hand. And okay, seriously, what was going on? She'd have to remember to ask the server what was in those candles, because it was clearly affecting her mental abilities.
In order to distract herself she opened her menu and started looking over it quickly, refusing to meet Jane's eyes.
Jane also opened his menu, but he was only pretending to study it. Lisbon by candlelight was a sight he'd never thought he'd see, and now that it was in front of him wasn't something that he wanted to miss. She was less foreboding, more open. Sure, the candlelight wasn't due to any desire for romance, but because of a localized blackout. Still, Jane was nothing if not an opportunist. And he wasn't going to pass up an opportunity when he saw one. Between the candles and the opportunity to serenade her he was sure he could finally make some headway with his Lisbon, something he'd decided he'd wanted more and more over the course of the last three hours.
Jane tore his eyes away from his beautiful colleague. If she caught him he doubted she'd appreciate it. Besides, he figured he'd better have at least glanced at the menu by the time the server arrived.
Moments later a woman approached their table. "Hello, I'm Tracy; I'll be your server tonight."
"Hi Tracy," Jane told the younger woman, shooting her his most charming smile. "I'm Patrick and this is Teresa."
Lisbon tried to hide her amusement, shooting the woman a benign smile and sending her a friendly nod.
Tracy smiled wider at Jane, "Alright, well, I just thought I'd let you know about our specials for the evening while you look over your menus. Lately we've been having themed specials. Tonight's is 'All aphrodesiacs, all the time.' To start we've got oysters on the half shell and an arugula salad with tomato and artichoke. The main course this evening is steak topped with mushrooms and garlic and served with asparagus, followed by a dark chocolate cake with strawberries and bananas on top. I'd recommend the cake in particular. It's delicious and particularly effective."
There was a brief moment of stunned silence at the table, before Tracy recollected herself enough to add perkily, "Alright, well I'll let you think about your orders and I'll go grab you some water."
"Did that honestly just happen?" Lisbon asked, somewhat stunned.
"Yup," Jane told her, though even he was surprised by this turn of events. After all, he'd assumed his karma was terrible. Perhaps bad karma expired more quickly than he'd thought…
Lisbon shook herself and turned her attention back to the menu in front of her since there was no way in hell she was ordering one of the specials. She didn't want to even think about what Jane was planning.
To her surprise when Tracy returned he only ordered one of the appetizers, shooting her a slight grin as he did so. She smirked back, she couldn't help it. His expression was too over the top. When Tracy left he turned his attention back to her. "I feel the need to assure you," he told her, "Since we are sharing a bed this evening, that your virtue is still safe. I just happen to enjoy artichoke."
Lisbon smirked, "That's what they all say," she shot back.
Jane's eyes lit up pleased. Against all odds she was in a good mood again. Excellent. Lisbon in good humour was always fun, and he planned to enjoy it while it lasted. "I'm just saying, if you wanted to get that sinful sounding desert later Lisbon, well, I wouldn't take it the wrong way."
"No, you'd just tease me about it endlessly."
"No I wouldn't. I'm not always out to embarrass you Lisbon.
"I know that Jane," she told him honestly. "Sometimes other people are your target."
Jane just grinned.
To Lisbon's surprise dinner went surprisingly well. Jane was well, Jane was being nice to her. She'd known the man could be charming, practically everyone who'd ever met him knew that. But usually she wasn't able to enjoy it because she was waiting for the other shoe to drop. So being out having a meal with Jane when he wasn't being a lunatic was nice. She even let him persuade her into splitting the chocolate cake for desert, laughing off his suggestive eyebrow raise.
She should have known it was too good to last.
As they were finishing their desert the owner announced that karaoke would be starting any minute now and interested parties should go speak to the piano-player in the corner. Lisbon caught Jane's eyes across the table. "No," she told him firmly.
"Oh come on Lisbon! We could do a duet! It'll be fun."
"No." she told him again. "Absolutely not."
"Why? You need to loosen up a bit Lisbon. It's not like anybody in the room even knows who you are," Jane couldn't help pointing out.
"Because I'm a CBI agent and I'm here for a case," Lisbon told him firmly, but not without a little hint of panic. She'd just known he'd try to make her sing. "This isn't a vacation Jane. I'd prefer if our suspect's family didn't see me up there singing if it's all the same to you."
"Psh…" Jane told her, waving away her objections. "Our victim's family isn't here tonight. I've already scanned the crowd. Nobody has the appropriate body language or dominant genetic facial markings. Besides you're allowed to take a dinner break."
"Oh come on Lisbon, or is your voice just that bad?" he asked, hoping to goad her into it.
"I guess you'll never know, because I'm not getting up there," she replied.
Jane pouted briefly, before becoming cheerful again. "Fine, spoilsport. But I'm definitely signing up."
"I'm not stopping you," Lisbon told him. "And I could always use a laugh."
"I might just surprise you woman," he told her as he sprinted towards the piano in the corner.
Lisbon rolled her eyes and got ready to listen to the singing. The first woman who got on stage treated them all to a half-decent rendition of "You might think I'm crazy." As she got to the section on "But I think that you're wild, When you flash that fragile smile," Lisbon couldn't stop her eyes from searching out Jane in the corner. To her shock he was already watching her intently. She held his gaze for a minute (specifically until the singer got to the section on "And it was hard so hard to take,
There's no escape without a scrape") before turning it back to the woman on stage. She was followed by a twenty year old kid singing "Somebody told me," by the Killers rather poorly. When Lisbon glanced back at Jane to her surprise she noticed he was still watching her. She decided to ignore him.
Ignoring him became difficult when he was the next one on stage. "Hello everyone," he said into the mike. "Can everybody hear me?" After a couple of people indicated from the back that they could, Jane continued. "Excellent. I'd like to dedicate this song to the lovely lady that I came with, the one glaring at me over there at the table in the corner. Hope this cheers you up Lisbon."
Lisbon glanced around the room, annoyed at Jane for bringing her to pretty much everyone's attention. Now this, this was exactly what she'd wanted to avoid. She scowled and turned her attention back to Jane, who was still grinning at her. Who knew what the idiot was about to sing. With her luck it would be something idiotic like "Secret Agent Man," or more likely, something specifically designed to embarrass her as much as possible. Good lord, if he started into "The Bad Touch" or something…
With all her misgivings it was something of a shock when she heard very familiar chords coming from the corner. He wouldn't, would he? But… but…
But even as she tried to convince herself otherwise, there was no denying it. Jane was currently serenading her with "2 become 1" by the Spice Girls, an incredibly earnest expression on his face.
Candle light and soul forever
A dream of you and me together
Say you believe it, say you believe it
Jane sang. And good Lord, his voice was good. I mean, of course it was, what wasn't Jane good at? And sure, this song was one of her favourites, but did he not see how utterly inappropriate it was? She was his boss and he…
Come a little bit closer baby, get it on, get it on
'Cause tonight is the night when two become one
Lisbon was sure she was staring. Jane wasn't honestly propositioning her via Spice Girls lyrics was he? This had to be some sort of joke, didn't it?
I need some love like I never needed love before
(Wanna make love to ya baby)
I had a little love, now I'm back for more
(Wanna make love to ya baby)
Set your spirit free, it's the only way to be
She felt herself getting angry. This was completely inappropriate, and wrong, and okay yes, a little flattering, but still, completely inappropriate. And when he got down from that stage she was going to tell him so. If she didn't just kill him first.
Silly games that you were playing
Empty words we both were saying
Let's work it out boy, let's work it out boy
But there was something in his voice, something she couldn't quite identify (maybe it was knowledge of his impending doom, a part of her brain suggested). She guessed it was kind of sweet. It was one of her favourite songs after all. She felt her lips curving into a smile. And no one had ever sung to her before. It was sweet… She rested her head in her hand as her eyes softened. There was no denying he looked good up there. Even if the lyrics were inappropriate, he did have a good voice. And he was definitely singing to her. He hadn't taken his eyes off her for even a second.
Lisbon felt herself sigh, before she roughly jerked her brain back in line. What was wrong with her? She was mad at him, wasn't she? Why on earth did part of her want to throw herself into his arms? She should have known that chocolate cake was a bad idea. Lisbon spent the rest of the song alternating between being angry and charmed as she desperately tried to keep some sort of neutral expression on her face.
As Jane finished his song to thunderous applause (his voice had been significantly better than she'd expected) Lisbon decided not to kill him. After all, she'd never have an alibi. Besides, it was probably all Jane's idea of a joke since they were sharing a room. Probably. Almost certainly. She hoped.
Besides, he'd looked so dreamy up there, the dulcet tones of his voice washing over her and the candlelight bringing out golden glints in his hair. She wondered what it'd be like to run her fingers through it…
Luckily Lisbon didn't even have to shake herself out of her thoughts this time. Jane did it for her.
He waited until the applause died down before starting his plan, "That's for you Lisbon," he told her. Then he proceeded to get the crowd even further on his side. "My partner," he explained to them all. "She's saved my life too. More than once. Wonderful woman. Really, you should all get to know her." Lisbon tried not to squirm as every eye in the place turned back towards her. "Unfortunately," Jane continued, his grin turning slightly evil "She's a bit too shy to get up here and sing. Which is a shame because I'm sure we'd all love to hear from her, wouldn't we?"
The small smile Lisbon had managed to drum up froze on her face. She. Was. Going. To. Kill. Him.
Jane was seemingly oblivious to the murderous glare she was sending his way, "Maybe with a little encouragement…" he suggested.
Delighted, the crowd burst into applause and several people sitting near her urged her to get up there. She tried to decline graciously, but they were having none of it.
"Come on Lisbon," Jane added from on the stage. "It'll be fun. And we're all friends here."
Realizing there was nothing else for it Lisbon stood up and made her way over to the piano player to confer amid thunderous applause.
"There we go. Excellent." Jane said. "Well, I guess we'll just have to wait while Agent Lisbon picks herself a song then I'm sure we're all in for a treat," he said with a grin.
Pleased with himself Jane moved back to the table and settled in. Even if she killed him afterwards it'd totally be worth it. There was something endearing about Lisbon when she wasn't completely in her element. Besides, even if she was horrible he'd flatter her back into good humour.
Lisbon took a deep breath as she approached the microphone. She wasn't all that comfortable in front of people. Oh sure, when she was addressing crowds as Agent Lisbon it was one thing, she was sure of her authority then, but at times like this… Well, this was the part she'd always hated.
Jane noticed her extreme insecurity from his position even as she tried to hide it. He frowned. Lisbon, insecure? He didn't quite like it. Maybe he shouldn't have forced this on her.
Then Lisbon opened her mouth and all thought of somehow putting a stop to this flew from his mind.
She was utterly fantastic. She'd chosen to sing Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now". Jane couldn't quite believe what he was hearing. While he'd been good, some might even say great, Lisbon was in a league of her own. Her control, the quiet power behind her voice. She was magical. Jane wouldn't have been surprised if a chorus of songbirds started singing backup. He was completely under her spell, and he wasn't the only one. Not a soul stirred while Lisbon sang, a vulnerability and emotion she rarely showed shining through. She was amazing, unbelievable, phenomenal, superlative. It was like the second coming of Susan Boyle, but you know, far more attractive. Somehow, despite the fact that the room was lit by candles because of the power outage, she appeared to be in some sort of spotlight, like an angel come down from heaven. And Jane couldn't tear his eyes from her. How had he not known that Lisbon knew how to sing? And if she could sing like this why on earth hadn't she wanted to? He got lost in her voice as Lisbon sang about things she didn't understand, and maybe never would, about love and illusion.
I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all
When Lisbon finished singing the hauntingly beautiful melody she was met with thunderous applause as the crowd immediately jumped to their feet. Lisbon thanked them awkwardly before hurrying off the stage. Jane rushed to meet her by the piano behind which she was trying to hide.
"Lisbon you were fantastic!" he told her sincerely.
She blushed and looked away briefly. "Thanks," she told him softly.
"Why didn't you tell me you could sing like that?" he asked her quietly.
She shrugged, "I haven't done it in a while," she admitted. "And I've never liked singing in front of crowds."
"Still," Jane told her, still in awe. "When'd you learn?"
"When I was little," she admitted. "My mother… my mother taught me."
Jane stilled at the reference to her mother, unsure of what to say. Her reticence to sing made perfect sense now. He should have realized it would bring back painful memories. Between the two of them a whole heck of a lot of things seemed to. Doing pretty much anything always involved treading through an emotional minefield. In the end he just nodded, resisting the urge to wrap his arms around her. She wouldn't appreciate it. He settled for briefly threading his fingers through hers.
Lisbon felt his fingers and resisted the urge to gasp. It was all of a sudden too much, between the candlelight and the singing and mentioning her mother… She needed a change of subject. Luckily a distraction came in the form of the pianist she'd almost forgotten in her distress.
"He's right you know," the man said. "You really are fabulous. Both of us thought so."
"Thanks," Lisbon told him sincerely, before pausing confused. "Wait, both of you?
"Yup," the man said. "Me, and Forte."
"I'm sorry, who's Forte?"
"Why the piano of course," the pianist said slowly gesturing to the instrument like that should have been obvious. It was as he moved his hand that Lisbon realized the man wasn't actually playing the piano. The keys appeared to be moving of their own accord. "That's his name."
"His name," Lisbon repeated slowly.
"Yes, well his stage name at least." the pianist admitted. "His real name's Steve, but obviously he needed something flashier than that to get anywhere in this business."
"Of course," Lisbon said, not entirely sure how else to respond.
She may have been imagining things, but Lisbon was sure the piano was slowly inching closer to her.
The (fake) pianist smiled. "Ah, it appears Steve has a bit of a crush. Must be that pretty voice of yours. Your eyes aren't bad either. Don't worry he's completely harmless."
Behind her she heard Jane stifle a laugh. "Seems you've got more than one admirer tonight," he told her with a significant look.
Lisbon shot him an annoyed glance. She was in no mood for his games now and she searched for yet another topic of conversation. Suddenly she grinned brightly, "So, the Spice Girls huh?" she asked Jane.
He grinned back, all gravity forgotten (though her beautiful voice was still haunting his thoughts), "Thought you'd like that," he told her. "It was all for you, you know."
"And how'd you know I like them?" she asked curiously.
"You told me," answered proudly. That had been one of his better ideas.
"When you were hypnotized," he said, his tone mater-of-fact.
"WHAT?" Lisbon asked angrily. She'd let him hypnotize her in an attempt to clear her name from a murder charge and he uses the opportunity to, to…
Jane seemed oblivious to her anger. "I wanted to find out more about you," he admitted cheerfully.
"Argh!" Lisbon practically screamed nearly disrupting an off-key rendition of "Barbie Girl." She stormed back to the table more quietly.
Jane frowned, "I thought it was romantic," he admitted to the pianist, who merely shrugged in sympathy.
Jane figured he'd better give Lisbon a minute or two to cool off, so he listened to a mediocre version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" from his position next to the pianist and his apparently sentient instrument before making his way towards the table. He found Lisbon speaking to the owner of the restaurant who was clearly showering her with praise, something that was obviously making the Agent increasingly uncomfortable.
"I'm flattered," Jane heard her say, "But there's really no need…"
"Oh, but I insist," the man replied, over-riding her objection. "For one with a voice such as yours it would be a pleasure to pay for your meals. Really, they're on the house."
"Well, actually I'm here for professional reasons so I wouldn't even be paying," Lisbon tried again.
"Even better!" the man said, "Surely the government would welcome any opportunity to lower its expenses."
Jane decided to intervene and hopefully get himself back on Lisbon's good side in the process, "Ah, normally we'd love to," Jane explained to the man. "And it's not that we don't appreciate your generosity, but there are protocols. And you have to see how it would look, two CBI agents getting free meals from a restaurant. People might wonder what you're getting in return you see. Not that we're accusing you of anything, but you know what people might say. And we wouldn't want Agent Lisbon to get in trouble now would we?"
Their host was immediately apologetic and understanding, "Of course. How silly of me. I'll say no more, but let me just say, you're both welcome here anytime."
"Thank you," Lisbon told the man sincerely.
She frowned briefly at Jane as he sat down. "Aw, come on Lisbon, don't be mad," he wheedled. "It was just a bit of teasing."
She sighed, before giving in. She knew she'd never be able to stay mad at him. "Fine, but you hypnotize me again and I'll remove one of your limbs."
They lapsed into silence, this one comfortable. Jane resisted the urge to break it for once when he saw that she was relaxing. Suddenly he heard a familiar opening set of chords.
"I love this song," he said in a tone of practiced nonchalance.
"Do you?" Lisbon asked distracted, her eyes darting around the room surreptitiously. She was still annoyed with Jane for tricking her into getting up on stage and all the attention that had resulted from it, both human and instrumental. And now the news would almost certainly make it back to the CBI and her secret would be well and truly out. She'd kept it a secret for a reason. She wasn't embarrassed by it, but she didn't like the attention, preferring to be known for her abilities in the field, not on stage.
Jane looked over at her, his brow furrowed. This wasn't how this conversation was supposed to go. "I have to say Lisbon, I'm a little hurt."
"Hurt?" she asked confused. What was Jane going on about now?
"When a song you loved started playing and I was made aware of it I immediately offered to dance with you. Now one of my favourite songs starts playing and you barely acknowledge the fact."
Lisbon resisted the urge to pinch the skin above her nose in frustration. "I'm sorry Jane," she said, trying to think of a way out of her predicament. She really wasn't in the mood to dance. But then, she glanced at Jane, and the way he was looking at her, well, she'd only every seen that look once before, on the day that was not mentioned. And as she looked her ear was caught by the beauty of the song. Apparently the pianist wasn't just there for show, he actually sang sometimes too. When asked about it later Lisbon would insist that she'd gotten caught up in the lyrics and hadn't known what she was doing. Because without even realizing what she was doing, and certainly without her consent, she found her lips curving into a friendly smile as she asked, "I'm sorry Jane, would you like to dance?"
Jane felt his own grin mirror hers. Ah, that was better. "I'd be delighted Lisbon, thank you for asking. But remember, no funny stuff."
"Of course not," she said with a smile as she allowed herself to be led to the floor as "Falling Slowly" started playing. She had to admit, it was a beautiful song. She let herself relax as she listened to the lyrics.
I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out
Lisbon couldn't stop thinking about the lyrics to the song and how accurately they mirrored her relationship with Jane. Well, except for the bit about a slow development. The feelings between her and her consultant seemed to develop in spurts and then completely disappear without even a hint of warning, but that was beside the point. The song was still unbelievably appropriate. It was then that she made the horrible mistake of catching her partner's eye.
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now
Jane was watching her very closely, his expression one that could only be considered endearment. Lisbon knew was getting swept away by the combination of lyrics, the smoothness of their dancing, his closeness and his facial expression but she couldn't do a thing to stop it. She went to move closer, taking a step that would put their bodies in closer contact.
Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won
Unfortunately at that moment Jane had decided to spin her gracefully to impress her. However, Lisbon's unexpected forward motion caused her spin to become slightly uncontrolled and resulted in her toppling over a pop can on the floor and losing her balance completely in the process. To his credit, Jane managed to catch her before she hit the floor, but not before she'd managed to wrench her ankle.
Lisbon's swift and rather unladylike curse broke the spell of whatever had been brewing between them. Jane led her quickly to the nearest chair. "Are you alright?" he asked, his concern evident.
"I'm fine," Lisbon assured him, feeling mildly embarrassed. "It's not twisted too badly. I bet if I put some ice on it it'll be fine by tomorrow."
"I admit when I imagined you falling for me I didn't have anything quite so literal in mind," Jane commented.
Lisbon's heart gave an almost painful thud. Jane had imagined her falling for… Okay, seriously, what the hell was wrong with her? Since when did she lose herself in his eyes on the dance floor? Since when did she think about Jane falling for her? I mean, other than the day that she never thought about, except for today obviously… she frowned, irritated with herself. What on earth was going on? "Shut up Jane," she decided to settle on. "And can we please go back to the hotel?"
"Of course Lisbon," he said readily holding out his arm, amused when she ignored it pointedly, preferring to hobble out under her own power.
Jane just ambled after her and threaded his arm through hers so she had no choice but to let him help her. When she started to protest he cut her off, "Don't worry about it Lisbon. If it makes you feel better you can think of my motivations as selfish. After all, if you're injured who will save me when I inevitably anger one of the locals?"
"That's true," Lisbon muttered as she let Jane assist her back across the street to their hotel.
Neither of them noticed the baby grand following them at a discreet distance until they heard the unmistakable strains of "I could have Danced all Night."
Lisbon's scowl deepened. "Oh, shut up Forte," she scowled, while Jane tried to conceal his chuckle.
Forte just looked mildly crushed by her rejection and slunk off into the bushes to nurse his wounded ego. It seemed his love was not to be wooed by the musical genius of Lerner and Lowe. And he'd been so hoping she'd be up for a duet…