A/N: Alright, here we go. The Tag. Might be one of my favourite parts of this whole series. Because it is.
317 TAG: The Awkward Afternoon After
The flowers were mocking her.
She didn't even know what they were doing there, sitting on her kitchen counter inconspicuously. In a vase.
They'd come with their own damn vase.
Like he'd known she wouldn't have one.
He had known she wouldn't have one.
And okay, she didn't have one. But he needn't be so smug about it.
Sometimes that man really deserved a good smack.
Why had he sent them?
Jane didn't send her flowers.
That's not who they were.
Lisbon balled her hands into fists as she glared at the unexpected burst of colour in her kitchen.
This was getting out of control really quickly.
She didn't like it.
They were pretty though.
A dozen peach tulips. Sitting there on her counter, matching her walls charmingly.
He'd probably known they'd do that too.
She approached them warily. She'd already read the card. She'd more than read it, she'd memorized it.
"Dear Teresa, I saw these and thought of you. Patrick."
Short, sweet, to the point. Not overly romantic at all, really. (But again, since when did romance come into it at all?)
Lisbon resisted the urge to pick it up and read it again.
Maybe it wasn't a big deal. Maybe she was over-thinking this. After all, this was exactly the sort of thing Jane would do. He was a self-confessed romantic, and, well, it wasn't like he'd gotten her roses or something. Something that had definite implications…
Except that he'd never sent her any kind of flowers before. Before, when… He'd taken her out to dinner a couple of times, but he'd never given her anything.
Now, after she'd let him spend the night in her bed for the first time in months, he was sending her flowers.
And she didn't know how to not read something into it.
Something that she probably shouldn't. And didn't want to.
(Did he want her to? Oh god…)
For one, it was Jane.
For another, they were friends now. Good friends.
Things were different now than they were before.
Things were harder to explain away.
She knew Jane now. Probably better than anyone alive. And he knew her. She cared about him. He was her friend.
And apparently she wasn't convenient. He'd said that the night before, multiple times. And in a tone of voice that…
Anyway, he'd said it. To her.
Right before she'd slept with him. Again.
She'd ask herself why she'd done that, but she already knew the answer to that question.
(There were several answers actually, and only a few of them had to do with the fact that Jane really could do the most surprising things with his hands.)
She wasn't going to lie. She'd enjoyed their evening. Then the next morning, and not just because he'd made her breakfast.
He'd still been there, with an arm wrapped around her waist, holding her to him.
When they finally did get out of bed he'd made her laugh over coffee (and tea) and eggs. Afterwards, with one last kiss he'd ducked out of her apartment, claiming he needed a change of clothes, but he'd see her later.
It'd all been surprisingly not strange.
Lisbon thought she'd been dealing with it all very well actually.
Then the flowers had arrived.
Why the flowers?
Why now? And why, after all this time, was Jane sending her flowers?
Did he mean for things to be different?
She wasn't sure about… about that. She wasn't good at that. And even if she was, it was Jane.
She needed to nip this in the bud.
So to speak.
Lisbon sighed, and ran her finger along one of the petals.
Stupid things even smelled nice.
And they looked so pretty sitting there.
It would have never even occurred to her to buy flowers to set off her décor. They did kind of suit the place.
Still, this was bad.
She was still staring at them, biting her lip when she heard the knock.
Lisbon opened her door warily, already knowing who would be on the other side. "Hi," she said, irritated when she heard the nerves in her own voice, so god only knew what he'd picked up on.
"Hi," Jane said with a smile that she could only (honestly) describe as affectionate. "Can I come in?"
Lisbon opened the door wider and stepped aside warily. Jane seemed awfully cheerful, even for him. He practically bounded into her apartment, eyes darting around like they always did. They paused when they reached her counter. "I see you got my flowers," he remarked, his smile widening as he turned back to her.
"Yeah," Lisbon agreed managing to drum up a half a smile.
He frowned. "Don't you like them?" he asked, taking a step closer (right into her damn personal space), and looking irritatingly concerned.
"They're lovely, Jane," she told him truthfully after a second.
"Patrick," he corrected firmly.
She ignored the not-so-subtle interruption, "But you didn't, don't, need to buy me flowers."
"I know I don't need to," he said in exasperation.
Then Lisbon realized that apart from his concern, Jane was also a tiny bit amused; he'd been expecting her objection. Bastard.
Maybe she really would smack him.
"Honestly Jane," she told him huffily. "I wasn't expecting anything"
"That's the point," he clarified as he crowded further into her personal space, backing her against the counter. "That's exactly the point."
She plowed on, ignoring the intimidation (and distraction) tactics, "And they're lovely," she repeated. "Last night was lovely, but well, you know as well as I do it was never about flowers with us."
"And yet I sent you flowers," Jane reminded her gently, brushing his fingers against her wrist.
"Well… yes," Lisbon was forced to acknowledge, her pulse skittering.
"I sent you flowers," he repeated firmly. She shivered at his tone. Because she knew him. And she knew what he meant, what it all meant; she'd known all along. And it was exactly what she'd been afraid of. Jane wrapped an arm around her waist.
"Jane…" she said, trying to keep her voice firm.
He raised an eyebrow.
"Why?" she whispered, her hand reaching up to toy with a stray spoon on her counter.
He stopped her fidgeting by picking up that same hand and brushing his lips across her knuckles.. "Because you deserve them."
"Not what I…" Lisbon said with a nervous shake of her head.
"I know," he assured her.
She dropped her forehead against his chest. "Patrick…"
"And because I wanted to," he admitted.
"Do you like them?" he whispered, asking the question for the second time. And this time she caught the faintest hint of uncertainty in his voice.
And somehow that meant more than anything else ever could have.
"Oh yes," she all but sobbed against his neck.
He wrapped his other arm around her, exhaling in relief. "Good."
Lisbon let herself hold onto him too. "I'm not so sure…"
"Neither am I, but I don't care anymore," he admitted, pulling back to look her in the eyes.
He smiled at her then, and she couldn't help smiling in return. "Of course you don't," she said with an indulgent shake of her head.
But if Jane was insulted he certainly didn't show it. Instead he kissed her.
Which Lisbon also didn't really mind.
Especially since she could still smell his damn flowers.
And God help her, but she really did want the terrifying things.