Tag to 'Girlfriend of the Year'. Andy & Sam.
Workplace romances are always complicated, no matter how trivial it is. She chose Luke because he was like a fancy dress which made her look good, not because they had anything in common. She chose him because he was 'safer' and it seemed like a very smart decision. But deep down she knew that she didn't want to be anything like the cop he was. His vision was simply terrible. She'd rather quit the force than become like him.
So he left and she was not sad or desperate or even angry, she was barely upset. Upset he refused to talk. Her life was heading in this general direction lately, getting involved with guys who refused to talk. I'm not involved with Sam and Luke has every right to be mad at me, she thought. She frowned. No, he has not! I didn't sleep with Sam! She shrugged. You didn't but you cheated anyway. Sort of.
On the other hand, when you're in love and you're dumped, aren't you supposed to feel something? Something else than 'what I am going to do with all this food, it's going to waste'? Of course, you are. When your boyfriend walks out on you, you don't feel just upset; you're supposed to be devastated. And still, the only thing she could think of was calling Sam. Trace's been wrong all along, she did get involved with the wrong guy. Except that he was not her training officer. She had made the wrong choice for the good reasons, whatever they were. What was it with these rules anyway? Swarek was her training officer, big deal! How much less complicated was it to date a detective, really? Deep down, she knew the reasons. When you're involved with your partner, you're most likely inclined to make the wrong decisions and put him at risk or put others at risk to protect him. And she was a rookie. No fraternization allowed.
"Trace? Is it a bad time?"
"Andy!" Traci cheered, "aren't you supposed to have that girlfriend of the year diner with Mr Perfect?" she whispered in the phone. "Stop it Jerry, I'm on the phone!"
"You at the Penny? Luke's there?"
"Luke's not with you?"
"He found the jar, Trace. We had a fight."
"Oh my... Andy, I'm so so... Jerry, I'm surprised you made detective, can't you see I'm having a private conversation here? Andy, I'm sorry, I have to get Leo at my mother's in a half hour but I will call you later, sure thing."
"No, I just… no, nothing. Take care of Leo. I'm good, I'm good. I'll see you tomorrow Trace. Kiss Leo for me."
She was pacing now, resisting going to the Penny to see if Swarek was still there. Why would she feel compelled to turn to Sam every time she needed a shoulder to cry on? Sure, the attraction was there, but there was something else she was longing after, their close familiarity and his friendship. She knew first hand that there was definitely more behind his gruff and distant persona. And she missed it. What the hell! She'll find a pretext. Voicemail. Again. She almost hung up before realizing that he'll find out she'd called him.
"Sir, it's me, And... McNally. I… I thought, I mean, I wanted to talk to you about a… I'm sorry sir, I shouldn't have called."
Way to go McNally. That was a good move, she snickered, returning to her previous pacing. She almost hit the ceiling at the sound of her ringtone.
"I'll be there in ten," he blurted out before hanging up.
Sam was coming over. She didn't anticipate that. She just wanted to talk, to hear his voice really. How could she miss him when they have been fighting non stop since she's been back from her leave of absence? She opened the door to her apartment and he brushed passed her. He smelled of alcohol and Cologne and his face was hard.
"What's going on McNally? This better be good because I'm tired."
"Nothing? You want to listen to the message you left me? THAT is not nothing! Are you still having nightmares or trouble sleeping since the shooting? How many times did you meet with the shrink?"
"It's not like that…"
"What McNally, spill it out, we don't have all night here."
"Luke dumped me."
He glared at her, barely concealing a smirk.
"And why is it my problem? McNally, this is not Rookie Anatomy. I'm your partner, not your girlfriend."
"Traci has Leo tonight."
"Oh so I'm your girlfriend? Okay." He surrendered and spread his arms on his sides, palms facing her then pointed an accusing finger to the wine bottle sat on her coffee table. "In that case, I hope you've got something else than that cheap California wine. I'll need some ammo."
"That's my girl. I love what you've done with the place," he smiled, "do you plan to move in any time soon?"
"I didn't have time to settle down," she smiled back, "I was kind of busy chasing bad guys."
"Oh, that's what it's called?"
She went beet red and gave him the glass. She turned her back on him to hide her embarrassment. He was right. She thought he was a bad boy. But she didn't know him then. She sat down and finally managed to hold his gaze without turning into jelly. He wasn't going to make it easy.
"Any ice?" he quipped, dangling his glass. Déjà vu. "Don't," he waved at her dismissively. "I'll help myself." He opened the freezer and chuckled. "Oh, I see, you put me on ice. Is it working?"
She hung her head. "It was Traci's idea."
"That's not what I asked," he pushed, his voice gentle.
She shook her head, unable to look him in the eyes. "No, no, it' not."
"So, if you don't mind, I'll take myself out of your freezer," he abruptly turned around and caught her staring. "Unless you're against it?"
"No, please do, that's precisely how Luke found out about us."
He exhaled and closed the fridge, leaving the jar on its shelf. "About us? There is no us, McNally."
"I know," she yelped, "that's what I told him. There's nothing, less than nothing."
"Nothing? Okay. You sure about that? Assaulting me, putting your tongue down my throat, all the groping, stroking, moaning, that was nothing? What are you McNally a former porn star?"
She winced. "You know what I mean."
"As a matter of fact, I don't."
"He said that too," she said in a low voice.
"Enough with Mr Homicide. Told you he was a decent cop, never said I like him. If he were a decent guy, he wouldn't dump you on a hunch."
"What has it got to do with anything? I cheated on him!"
"Ohh, just when I was getting the wrong idea. What is it Andy, nothing or something? You can't have it both ways."
So he was back to Andy now, she thought. "I know." She faked a smile. She felt miserable. Why was she discussing her love life with Sam?
"I shouldn't have given you the cold shoulder these last couple of weeks, no wonder you put me on ice. We really need to talk Andy."
"I know. I tried."
"I know you tried and I was an ass. Back to Callaghan. What does he know? He's a detective, he's not psychic."
"That's your favourite word? Could you elaborate for me please?" he sat down on the couch, facing her.
"He told me he's not blind."
Sam nodded. "Yeah, yeah, body language, blah blah blah."
"I guess he can connect the dots if he wants to, that's his job."
"Which dots? McNally, we're not having an affair. What kind of dots are you talking about?"
"I told him it was only one night," she volunteered, her cheeks turning red.
"One night? What does it even mean?"
"That's what he said."
"McNally," he took a deep breath and leaned towards her. "I'm an idiot, and I'm going to regret it but let me help you with that. Secrets are meant to be broken…"
"Same," he smiled, "but if you didn't say a word of what happened the night of the blackout… yet, don't."
"But he said that secrets…"
"Secrets? We all have secrets, for god's sake, we don't live in a perfect world. What do you want? To rub what happened in his face or to get him back? You do yourself a favour, you don't say anything. As far as he's concerned, you were in shock after the shooting, he wasn't there to hold your hand, so you went to my place and we had a talk. Period. No fancy explanation. No details. I patted you on the back, you cried, you were confused and you felt guilty afterwards because you should have come to him for comfort instead of me. I'm your partner. He'll understand. Is that clear, McNally?"
"Crystal clear, sir."
"So we're good?"
"Sure? You're not going to rape me again are you?"
He was rewarded by a giggle.
"Do you want me to pick you up tomorrow? We have an early start. 6:30's okay?"
"I can take the bus."
"I know you can. See you at 6:30 then. Sharp." He stood up and sat his glass near the sink. "Don't move. I'll see myself out. Just one thing McNally. What stopped you?"
Her head sank to her chest. She bit her lip and finally gave him the doe-eyes treatment. "The lights…"
"The lights?" he rolled his eyes and smiled. "Good."
"Yeah. I guess it's easier to dim the lights than trash a TV, and I'm partial to my 60 inch plasma screen. Tomorrow then."
She heard him stroll down the stairs. She felt better. She felt great actually. She stood up, tossed the food in the trash and switched off the lights. She was brushing her teeth when she thought of the jar still sitting in her freezer. She ran across the apartment to retrieve it. She was going to let it warm up on the counter when she changed her mind. She took it to the bathroom instead and put it in the tub.
She had a long shower. By the time she was wrapped in her towel, she fetched the post-it. She wiped condensation off the mirror and tried to make it stick but it didn't work. With a sigh, she took the damp paper to her bedroom and placed it near her wrist watch. Sam was right, it was going to be a short night.