Author's Note: Fabulously un-beta'd. I haven't written anything not school related in so…freaking…long. I needed to do something. And, I was sitting here and I had this thing in my head. "It's not normal…" I didn't know what wasn't normal. I had no idea if this was going anywhere. But it went where it went and it's tiny and short and nothing really happens, but it something. I think it might be something more, as well. So, I'm not marking it complete. I might want to explore this a little more. We'll see. But, for what it's worth, this is proof I'm still alive. :-)
It's not normal the way he gets a tiny thrill just from seeing her name scrawled across the bottom signature line of a case file. The brilliant white paper is smooth and cool beneath his fingertips when he traces the loops in the B of her last name. It's not normal, he thinks again. He taps his fingers across her name and waits – familiarly the hairs on his thighs stand on end and tickle between his skin and the fabric of his slacks. How can she possibly do this to him? How can just her name, scrawled hastily and with frustration, cause a visceral reaction in him?
He chuckles wryly. It's not just her name that can do it to him. Earlier in the day it was catching a whiff of her perfume when he unfurled her raincoat from where it had been shoved to the floorboard in the backseat of his SUV. When the goose bumps flared across his shoulder blades he chalked it up to the fact he hadn't seen her in three days. Chalked it up to the fact he wouldn't see her again for twelve more.
He wipes a hand across his mouth to hide a grin from the people on the outside of his glass walled office. She'd been flustered at the airport when he dropped her off. He knows she'd have rather taken a cab. She hates the displays at the airport when people hug goodbye and kiss hello. He suspects her feelings on the subject have more to do with the fact she hasn't had that in her life, really, so she doesn't have quantifiable data on what it feels like to know someone is either going to miss you or has missed you.
A couple years back he went with Angela to pick her up after a long trip to some hot country. She'd debarked looking wilted and damp despite the recycled air on the plane. But she looked bright and happy in a way he doesn't often see her look at home. He knows, while she loves the work they do together, her heart is with those remains in far off places that couldn't ever be identified but for her and a possible handful of other people around the globe.
It's dinner time. He has half a mind to head over to the diner but he can't convince his body it wants anything more than a slice of cherry pie and a glass of cold sweet tea. She'd seriously disapprove and that makes him smile again. No, it's not normal the way she makes him the happiest of all when she's not around.
See, it's the knowing she's coming back. It's knowing she'll be soft and gentle when she returns because even if she won't admit it – even if she can't name it – she'll have missed him. And he'll know it. It'll make him feel big and strong and he'll be that alpha male she always accuses him of being. Oh, she says it with scientific authority but he sees, out of the corner of his eye, her little smile of approval. She likes those tendencies in him. He can't explain it – not when it comes to a strong woman like her. But he knows she likes it.
No, it's not normal. She's not normal. He likes that about her. He likes that she can make the hairs on his legs tingle and make goose bumps rise on his skin. He likes that he can't help but grin when he thinks of her. She's not normal and feeling the way he feels about her and not doing anything about it isn't normal. But it's what puts them together, it's what makes them tick. It's not normal. It's Temperance Normal.