Thanks for all the reviews on "And She Jumped Him"! Here's another installment of my Haven writing. No real timeframe indicated, just a moment.
Disclaimer: Not mine. At all...which is vaguely disappointing...
No matter what the name plaque on the back of it says, as far as Audrey Parker is concerned the bench she and Nathan are sitting on is theirs. It may, in actual fact, be dedicated to Joe and Carla Monahan (whoever the hell they are), but the two law enforcement officers spend at least two days a week planted on the bench, their lunches split between them, while they enjoy either a quiet friendly silence or a conversation about things past.
Today, it's a combination of both.
Audrey has half of her lobster roll on a napkin in her lap while Nathan finishes the other half for her. They've been quiet since they left the station, a sure sign of something between them, and she's well aware of the fact that to the casual observer they look like a couple. She doesn't particularly care.
"You ever been in love, Parker?" Nathan asks suddenly. The question startles Audrey just enough that she drops her sandwich on the grass at her feet. She looks at it, then glares at him. He sighs. "I thought you were paying attention," he says. He unwraps his turkey and Swiss and hands her half. "I'll get you another one tomorrow."
She takes a bite of the sandwich. It isn't half as good as the lobster roll, but she's hungry and it'll do.
"Once," she says after she swallows the bite of food. Nathan says nothing, just raises an eyebrow. She rolls her eyes. "It didn't work out."
"Obviously," he drawls with a small smirk.
She just barely stops herself from sticking out her tongue at him. "What about you, Tin Man?" She steals a chip from his bag. "Ever been in love?" Nathan's jaw sets a little and she sighs. "You started it, Nathan," she says quietly.
"Never," he says, his voice barely audible above the sea breeze coming up off the docks below. Audrey pauses, another stolen chip midway to her mouth, and stares at him. Finally, after what feels like an eternity, he turns his head and looks at her. "Don't," he says.
"Don't look at me like that, like you pity me for it."
"I don't pity you," she says and he scoffs. It's her turn to frown at him. "I envy the hell out of you."
Nathan's too surprised to say much and so when Audrey stands up and walks away, her arms wrapped over her middle against the chilly September air, it takes him a moment or two before he has the sense to get up and go after her. She's hit the jetty by then and as he reaches the end, she turns to look at him, and in that instant he feels something in the air between them, something tangible and strong, and it leaves him feeling as though he's been knocked backwards.
He takes a deep breath, begins to walk down the jetty towards her.
"He broke my heart," she says when he's close enough to hear. Her cheeks look wet. "It took me three years to get over it. I haven't dated since, haven't wanted to."
"I'm sorry I brought it up," Nathan says as he reaches her side. "I didn't know…"
"How could you?" she asks, a small smile on her lips. "Not like we talk about the past all that often."
Nathan considers that for a moment and realizes she's right. They don't know as much about each other before they met as they do about each other now, the versions of themselves as who they are right this moment.
"I lost my virginity at 17," he says and Audrey's head turns quickly, her ponytail slapping against her cheeks. He grins, a little embarrassed. "The whole meteor shower thing," he says. "It was the last time I felt…anything." He sighs, jams his hands into his pockets, his shoulder brushing hers. "Until I met you."
She turns to face him, then, and there's a hint of insecurity in her eyes that makes him want to grab her by the shoulders and hug her. "Me?" she asks and he nods. "Why me?"
He smiles a little. "Why not you?"
"I can think of a million reasons."
"A million's a pretty big number."
She frowns, thinks for a minute. "Okay, fine. Three. I can think of three reasons."
He's desperately trying not to grin. "Well please, Officer Parker, regale me with your reasons."
"Regale?" she asks, her lips twitching. "Really?" He motions for her to continue. "I'm impossible to live with."
"Have you ever lived with someone?"
"Well, no, but I've been told…"
He shakes his head. "No good. I spend pretty much every waking hour with you and I don't find you impossible to live with so that's not gonna work. Give me another one."
"I'm stubborn and pig-headed and focused beyond what's normal on figuring out if this Lucy woman was my mother."
He shrugs. "Everyone has hobbies." He points to himself. "I'm a crafty kind of guy, you know this." He pokes her shoulder with a long finger. "You're into history. Next."
She's grasping at straws, he can see it on her face, but she's also beginning to realize what he did when she turned and looked at him a few minutes earlier. There's something there, something tangible in the space between them. Nathan thinks it's always been there, from the moment he pulled her out of the rental car, but he can't be sure. All he knows is that it feels different now.
"I'm broken," she says simply.
They look at each other, the wind whipping around them as the weather changes out to sea.
"I don't think you're broken," he says, reaching out to move her hair out of her face. His hand lingers on her cheek and he feels the electric tingles in his fingertips, the nerves registering skin on skin. "Anything but."
She smiles, turns her head slightly to the left, and kisses the palm of his hand. He feels it all the way down to the soles of his feet. "You owe me a lobster roll," she says.
"That I do." His hand drops to his side and he feels almost cold from the loss of contact. "How about one for dinner?" he asks, impulsive.
"Are you asking me out on a date, Nathan Wournos?" she asks, grinning.
He shrugs. "Might be. You sayin' yes?"
She turns and heads back up the jetty to the bench. "Might be," she calls over her shoulder.