Lawson flopped onto the couch in his living room, sighing as he surveyed his handiwork. Glancing around he saw the rose petals scatted from the doorway all over the living room floor.
'That's going to be a pain to clean up,' Lawson thought to himself. 'But so worth it.'
Continuing around the room he made sure he had everything in place. Candle, unlit, had been placed around; some on the tables, others on the TV stand and even some on the floor. As his eyes flicked around the room to find where had placed the lighter, his focus was drawn to the mantle shelf. There sat two tea-light candle holders shaped as snowmen, Shannon had bought the twin snowmen their first Christmas together.
Leaning back into the couch he started to reminisce, thinking back over what had led them, especially him, to this point.
Shannon still teased him today about the fact Lawson was a green-eyed monster. It had taken him to nearly losing her to a private security company for him to actually do something about it. He had spent so energy denying it. From the moment Shannon joined TR old feelings of attraction had re-awoken in him. He had firmly told himself, 'No you're her boss…it's unethical…You cannot go there.'
But at the end of the day, he couldn't fight it anymore. He had spent time monologuing internally that day when they were forced to with that Shmitt guy.
Part of him was saying, 'Let her go…she doesn't even know what you feel…she deserves better…she's obviously very attracted to Shmitt.' Beating himself up and putting himself down was one thing that Lawson was amazingly good at.
Then everything would turn in his head…'No, remember that night at base after Kronin was caught in that shack…yes, you were slightly drunk…but there was something there…you can't deny it. You wanted her there and then.'
It took time, but it soon became clear in his head what he really wanted. Yet he still couldn't shake that unethical feeling. 'Well,' he had reasoned in her head, 'if she does leave TR, it's not all that bad. We wouldn't be working together…' But before long though doubts about Shannon working with that Shmitt guy crept into his mind….'Lawson,' he thought, 'snap out of it, you haven't even told her about your feelings.'
Lawson began to chuckle as he thought back over that fateful day. God, his mind had been working overtime that day.
As she had walked back to him that momentous day in her investment property, he just knew he wanted her. TR uniforms….there is no romantic way to get them off…especially the way Lawson was ripping at hers. Nevertheless it was special. It was a memory that quite regularly replayed in his mind.
It hadn't always been smooth sailing either. Shannon had had a crisis soon after they embarked on their relationship. They hadn't gone public with it at the time and while it was exciting to have a huge secret, it had also put a huge amount of stress on Shannon. She knew the longer they took to tell everyone, the worst she was going to feel. She had been scared of how the others would look at her and treat them. She after all was technically sleeping with her boss, her superior. Car rides in TR1 were also becoming frosty.
Lawson thought back to the night when it had all come to a head. They had gone out for dinner that night and emotions were running high. It had been a very tense meal and Lawson couldn't work out what he had done.
Shannon had refused to invite him in for a drink when he dropped her home. Lawson, being the stubborn person he was, had followed her down the path and then jammed his foot in her doorway in an attempt to find out what was really bothering her.
"Shan…," Lawson called, peering around the door, trying to catch her eye. "We need to talk…"
Shannon sighed and slowly opened the door. She couldn't resist those dreamy brown eyes. Silently she made her way to the living room assuming Lawson was right behind her. She could feel his presence and it took all of her willpower not to turn around and throw herself at him.
Sitting opposite each other, a coffee table separating them, both waited for the other to start. Moments ticked by….Nothing.
Lawson took a deep breath. "Are you going to tell me what the problem is?"
"Are you asking as Senior Sergeant Blake? …Or as Lawson, my nosy supposed friend?" she snapped.
"Neither," he replied. "I'm asking you as your boyfriend."
Shannon gave a weak smile upon hearing the statement. That was what she had wanted to hear. Lawson just had a way of making her feel at ease.
"It's just…" Shannon began, her voice starting to quiver.
Lawson made his way over and sat down next to her, taking her petit hand into his strong warm one. His other hand snaked its way around to her shoulder, rubbing circles around her shoulder blade.
"It's just," Shannon began again, "everything…and nothing at all."
Lawson kept silent, knowing that it would just take Shannon a while to get everything off her chest.
"It's the fact that you're my boss…We ride in the same car…And no one knows. Everything is going to change when team finds out! They are going to think I'm the team slut…first Josh and now you. People are going to think that I'm just sleeping with you to get ahead…It's not fair!" she blurted out, before dissolving into tears.
"Shan…" Lawson gently whispered "What can I do?"
"Tell everyone at base….And get me out for TR1 if needed," she sobbed.
"Why do you want out of TR1?"
"I can't handle it…I know everyone is going to gossip about us, about me. If I'm out of TR1 it's at least it's doing something to separate our private lives from our work lives," her tears slowly subsiding.
"So is that what you want? Is that where you want us to go? Forward?" Lawson tenderly probed.
Shannon looked up at Lawson through teary ears with a surprised look on her face. "What do you mean Lawson?"
"I was trying to confirm whether I'm still in your life," Lawson confessed. "I thought that you were mad at me about something. Or that you wanted out."
"You silly bugger," Shannon chided gently, leaning up to place a kiss on his nose. "I'm just concerned about work."
"Don't you worry about that," Lawson commented. "We'll cross that bridge as we come to it," he finished as he pulled her into him and snuggled into the couch.
"Communication," Shannon said, "something that we should always keep working on," she finished sleepily.
Lawson smiled and nodded in agreement. Closing his eyes Lawson pulled Shannon closer and settled down for the night.
Lawson was always grateful for that conversation two years ago, for a negotiator he wasn't very good at words. He was hoping to be good at them tonight.
Smiling wryly he pulled out a little black box from his pocket, snapping it open to admire the jewel that sat in there. A simple white gold setting of a diamond in a four claw setting, with a diamond pave on the shoulder of the ring and two small diamonds set in rose gold set in either side. He was very proud of himself for picking it out all by himself.
He was pulled out of his little imagination land by the ringing of his phone.
"Lawson Blake," he greeted.
"Lawson…its Kerry," the worried voice of his boss came down the line.
Lawson's face fell. "Kerry! What's going on?"
"Lawson…its Shannon. There's been an accident. You need to meet me at hospital."
The ring box tumbled out of his hand and the ring bounced to a stop onto of a rose petal. There it laid unnoticed as Lawson rushed out the door.