Summary: Carlton's pretty sure that this level of excitement should be illegal. At the very least, it is almost definitely hazardous to his health. Pretty obviously, a sequel to Dating 101. Lassie/OC and Strong Lassie/Jules friendship.
A/N: Now that I've reached my official summer, I can concentrate on relaxing and personal creative writing, which includes fanfiction. ;) As mentioned, this is a sequel to Dating 101. You should probably read that one first if you'd like to fully understand the background on this one.
Chapter One: Shoot With Me
Through unspoken agreement, Juliet becomes Carlton's dating coach (although he'd rather have his face doused in pepper spray than actually call her that).
Before his second date with Elizabeth, Juliet arrives at his apartment once again. She helps him go through a preliminary check list: she asks if he has everything he needs, she approves of his attire, and she rattles through several different should-nots and definitely-do-nots. She also goes through reminders: ask questions, be polite, keep your temper, smile.
After everything is set and he's ready to leave to pick Elizabeth up, Juliet stops him at the door with a gentle hand on his arm "Just have fun, Carlton." she smiles.
He nods, too nervous to say much else. And then they leave the apartment together.
This time around, Lassiter feels no great sense of fear as he makes his way up to Elizabeth's door. He knocks confidently, and when she opens it, he smiles with real excitement.
"Hi, Carlton. How are you?" she asks.
"Great, how are you?"
"Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah, just hold on. Let me grab my gun and my gear."
Oh, he nearly melts on the spot.
Elizabeth returns with a purse on her arm and a holstered gun in her right hand. "Got my ammo, protective glasses, and ear plugs in my purse." she says, winking at him.
His eyes, however, don't leave her weapon. "What kind of --"
"You'll see soon enough," she smirks. "Let's go."
She closes the door behind her, and his sense of excitement increases a couple of notches.
Once in the car, he finds more courage to speak. "So, how's your week been?"
"Pretty good. Nothing too interesting...how about you?"
"Same," he replies. He decides not to mention that thinking about this date has been a particular highlight of his week, because he doesn't want to come off as too obsessive or anything.
"Hey, you're sure it's okay for us to use the Department shooting range? I am a civilian, and I don't want to get you into trouble..."
Lassiter snorts. "Yeah, and I'm the Head Detective. I think we'll be okay." He doesn't mention that he checked with the Chief, just to be sure. He also doesn't tell Elizabeth that the Chief was so excited about the prospect of him having any date at all, she quite possibly might have let them have the whole station to themselves for a night.
"So is it any good? I imagine it's a bit more comfortable than the public range...although that does have its merit."
Carlton considers the question. He knows what she means about the public range. It's located just near city limits, and is little more than a bare stretch of desert with a small hill to keep shots from extending for miles. There's a line for targets to be hung up, and not much else. It has a certain appeal to Carlton, sometimes, when he feels the need to be completely alone in ways even the SBPD shooting range can't provide him. But other than the guarantee of solitude, it's a pain to travel to, and deadly hot in the summer months. For the most part, he prefers the in-house range the Department offers.
"It suits me pretty well," he answers finally. "You know, its convenient. Plus, we've got a lot of gear. You probably didn't even have to bring your goggles and ear plugs...we've got plenty."
"I figured as much, but you know, I prefer my own."
"Can't argue with that," he nods.
The familiar route to the department is a short one, and it isn't long before they're stepping inside Carlton's place of work. They get some curious looks from some of the officers, not because Carlton's here off-duty (that happens so often that no one is really sure when he is actually on duty), but because he's never been seen with a non-officer, non-suspect companion.
And she's a woman, no less.
Buzz nearly walks into a wall as he stares openly at the pair.
Carlton smirks and leads Elizabeth through the department without stopping, and together, the two make their way down to the in-house shooting range.
She eyes the place with curiosity. "Pretty nice," she says.
He just nods, already feeling himself getting into a tunnel-visioned shooting mode. He takes his gun from his shoulder holster. Switches off the safety. Puts goggles on. He watches as Elizabeth pries a velcro portion of her holster up and pulls out her weapon. Easily identifiable as a Glock, although what model he isn't yet sure. "May I?" he asks.
"Trade," she smirks.
He gives in easily to her request. They make the switch carefully, his revolver into her hand, her Glock into his.
He's always loved the sturdy build and crisp look of Glocks...
"Nice fit for you?" he asks, getting a grip on it and pointing it safely at the ground.
"Suits me. This one is seriously heavy-duty, though." she says, remarking on Lassiter's revolver.
"Only the best. Is this the only weapon you own?"
She laughs. "Of course not. I have three registered weapons. A Smith and Wesson pistol, and two Glocks. I'm thinking about buying another gun, too. Not sure what kind yet."
"Hmmm..." He carefully hands it back. She returns his gun as well.
"Should we start?" he asks, trying to keep his eagerness subdued.
"Sure thing." Elizabeth grins.
She readies herself as he sets up a target. From her purse she draws out a box of ammunition and loads her weapon. She puts on goggles and puts in ear plugs.
He puts in ear plugs, too. Once everything is set and checked, he turns to her. "Ladies first!" he yells, hoping to be heard.
She grins and nods. She gets into a stance, arms extended and steady. He watches from slightly off to her side. She looks calm and deadly. He waits and she shoots.
Again and again, she fires the gun. The blasts charge him with adrenaline, even though he has yet to fire his own weapon.
O'Hara wasn't lying. She's a good shot. The target is ripped apart by bullets. One goes through the heart area, another goes cleanly through the shoulder. Her aim is precise and skilled.
The way Elizabeth handles a weapon may very well be the sexiest thing he's ever seen.
When she's done, she turns to him with a confident smile. "Impressed?" she yells.
He grins back. "Hell yeah!"
He can see her laugh though he can't hear it through his ear protection.
She steps aside so that he can take his turn. Instead of reloading – as she could be doing – she watches him. He finds himself really wanting to impress her, too...
The gun in his hand is his life-line, familiar in all the best possible ways. He takes his stance, steadies himself. Calm and cool. Eyes sharp, hands gripping firmly but not overly tight. He's got this covered.
He braces himself for the recoil, and he pulls the trigger in one instant. The blast hits him, as does the scent of gunpowder. It's enough to give him another adrenaline surge, and he can feel his blood pounding in his ears and fingertips. Pull the trigger, again, again. His careful aim mimics hers. A shot to the heart. A shot to the shoulder, then the other. A hip shot, just because he can. Two more to the heart region...
After the final bullet has been expelled from his weapon, he breathes out heavily. He's charged, wired – of course, its not really anything new: shooting has always been what makes him feel most alive. He lets his hands fall to his side, keeps his gun pointing to the floor. He pulls off his goggles and removes his ear plugs.
For a second, he almost forgets he's not alone, but is reminded when Elizabeth's hand finds its way to his arm, just beneath his shoulder. It's a subtle gesture, but intimate and perfect in its way. He looks over at her, and their eyes meet.
"Impressed?" he asks quietly.
She smiles into his kiss.
Neither one quite so tentative as on their first date, they let the kiss last. Deep and warm, natural and easy. He feels like he's falling. Into what, he won't hazard a guess.
And then they both hear them: footsteps.
They break apart and swivel on the spot.
Buzz stops in his tracks, his gun in one hand, a pair of protective glasses in the other. "Oh, sorry, Lass-"
"McNab!" barks Lassiter, flaming with both embarrassment and anger. "What are you doing down here?"
"I just wanted to practice...I can go, I guess..." Buzz replies, flustered.
"Yeah, you sho--"
"Aw, let him stay, Carlton." Elizabeth appeals quietly in his ear. "And introduce us, while you're at it."
He sighs, lets the anger recede as her hand finds his and squeezes slightly. "It's okay, McNab. You can stay."
Buzz blinks. "No, really, I can go. It's no prob--"
"You're fine, McNab." replies Lassiter, and his tone leaves little room for argument. "And I want you to meet my..." he pauses and wonders if this was a trap.
"Friend. Really good friend." supplies Elizabeth, smirking slightly.
"Really good friend," repeats Carlton. "Elizabeth Henson. And this is Buzz McNab."
"Nice to meet you, Buzz."
"You too..." he says, sounding slightly confused. "I'm just gonna be...over there, shooting." he says, pointing down to the far end of the range.
Carlton nods and turns away. He lets Buzz walk away to his own corner and get himself settled. Soon, the sounds of his shots reverberate around the range.
"Why'd we let him stay again?" asks Carlton.
"Because we don't need the whole range, and he's a cop, and it's sort of part of his job...right?"
"I guess," Lassiter grumbles.
"Hey, we've still got our guns. And lots of shooting left to do."
He smirks. "Oh, yeah, we've definitely got more shooting to do."
A/N: I only have a limited knowledge of guns, shooting, and the gun range. But that's why I left out anything too detailed, and I think it still worked. If not, suspend disbelief. A couple more chapters to come soon. Reviews greatly appreciated.