Fine Wine Friendship by DD Agent

I do not own The Closer or any of its characters, or its settings

Over their little working lunch, Sharon had noticed Brenda's love of wine. She talked about Merlot for about twenty minutes; how her aunt had given her a glass at her eighteenth birthday party and from then on she had been hooked. After the lunch, the FID Captain had mentioned about taking Brenda out again, somewhere she knew that Brenda would love. If she was honest, Brenda had been dubious about spending more time with the brunette. Fritz had encouraged her to accept the invitation, and that was how she had found herself in Sharon Raydor's car on a Saturday afternoon.

They had driven for an hour into the Californian country side with some mild conversation about work. Brenda was fiddling with her hands, and Sharon was enjoying the sunshine and what music came over the radio. Eventually they drove over a dusky little road through a vineyard with an arch over it saying 'Raydor Wine'.

Brenda turned to Sharon, filling in the blanks. The FID Captain grinned as she turned the car up the path. "My father makes wine. Thought we could have dinner, sample his crop that's well aged? You can meet my parents; it's only fair now I've met yours."

The trip was suddenly looking more pleasurable to Brenda. She had been keeping off her wine at home since her conversation with Fritz, so an evening sampling some Californian wine seemed like a good idea. "Will your mother tell me any embarrassing stories about you?"

Sharon giggled. "Most likely she'll tell you about the time I lived in a tent in the living room for two months because my Dad snored and I couldn't get to sleep. I was five at the time and their room was right next to mine!"

Brenda couldn't stop laughing as the Captain drove the car up the drive of the vineyard. She could certainly see where the Captain got her money for her car and her clothes, the vineyard was thriving. When they pulled up to the end of the driveway, Brenda felt the same warm atmosphere that accompanied going to her own home, and she could see it in the Captain's face.

They got out of the car, and Sharon turned to her, looking a little worried. Brenda wondered what was wrong.

"Brenda, I'd really like us to be friends. I don't have a lot of them, and hey if it means you get free wine, what's the harm?" Sharon suggested, looking awkward about asking if she could be friends with the tall blonde.

Brenda felt guilty in that moment, wondering if she had been that bad…recently. She had always had difficulty making friends, and keeping them. Despite trying everything to avoid it, she had actually enjoyed her lunch with the Captain. It wouldn't hurt to get to know her better. Her mother liked her, which was a point in her favour.

She reached over and gave the brunette an awkward hug, trying to reassure her. As she felt Sharon put her arms around her, Brenda tried to remember the last time a friend had hugged her. Probably at her wedding, which seemed a life time ago. They pulled back from the hug, and Sharon gave her a weak smile.

"We're friends, Sharon. I thought I made that clear at Christmas?"

Sharon resisted the urge to shoot back with a remark, and instead turned her focus to her family home. A dog raced from the house and threw itself into Sharon's arms. She ruffled his neck, holding onto him close. "Charlie, say hello to Brenda."

The dog moved over and put his hands in Brenda's. She scratched behind his ears and watched as someone else came from the house. Charlie raced back over to his master, who she assumed to be Sharon's father. He looked like her, same tall build, same brown hair and same green eyes. He ran over to them and hugged his daughter in the same way Charlie the dog had done, engulfing the woman.

"Brenda this is my dad, Antonio Raydor," Sharon presented, beaming from ear to ear.

He shook Brenda's hand. "Please, call me Tony. Sharon's told us all about you." He coughed. "She told us all about you when you were giving her grief last year." Sharon hit her father on the arm. "What? I was polite about it! I'm glad you're both friends now though, you two are far too old to be carrying on vendettas." Sharon hit him on the arm again and he had to wrestle his daughter's arms behind her back. "Careful Sharon, or I'll ground you. I'm glad you love wine, Brenda. All of Sharon's friends so far have been beer drinkers."

Sharon shook her head and trailed after her father as he and Brenda discussed wine and her favourite Merlot. Taking Charlie with her, they went into the house. It was built on the hill, and it was quite large. A four bedroom house with a large estate - a perfect place for children and now grandchildren to grow up in. Brenda looked over the place, impressed. Family photos were scattered all over the walls, including several ones of Sharon as a young girl.

They walked into the kitchen, and Sharon introduced Brenda to the woman marking papers at the table. "Mom, this is Brenda. Brenda, this is my Mom, Amelia Raydor. She's an Ethics professor at UCLA."

Amelia took off her glasses and smiled at the blonde that was now sitting at her kitchen table. "It's a pleasure to meet you Brenda. We've never met a female friend of Sharon's before, actually. All her friends have been boys. She was more interested in going to a baseball game than her Prom."

"That was a good game," Sharon shot back, making her father laugh from the kitchen. He had gone back to the cooker, adding more red wine to the lasagne he was making.

Amelia put away her papers and turned to Brenda, interested in finding out more about her daughter's friend. While her husband cooked, she asked questions about her family, her background and her husband. She told stories about Sharon indeed camping in a tent, about her and her brother trying to make their own wine and she showed Brenda pictures of all three of her grandchildren.

"We went skiing up in Utah for Christmas, it was lovely," Amelia mentioned as Brenda sipped some water. Sharon was helping her father and trying to hide the barbecue sauce he liked to put with lasagne. "Even with Sharon being a little late, it was perfect. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Apart from Tony, who doesn't like the cold. If it was up to him we would go to Sardinia for Christmas."

"And next year we will! Or Rhodes, one of the two. Somewhere hot, where you can barbecue on Christmas Day." Tony smiled as he placed a couple of plates of food down in front of them. "Let me go get some wine and then we can get stuck in!"

Tony produced a beautiful bottle of Merlot to have over dinner, and they sat down to eat. Brenda watched Sharon interact with her family, and saw how they loved her while gently teasing her - the sign of a comfortable family. The huge family picture over the mantle spoke of a running blue line. Two of Sharon's uncles were police officers, or were. There were three candles that were unlit but burnt down in front of the picture. Sharon watched her eye line sadly, only toying with her dinner.

"Hey, have you heard back from Katie or Danny yet?" Tony asked as he discovered the barbecue sauce from under the sink where Sharon had hid it.

"No, but Chris is a good guy, he'll keep them out of trouble," Sharon stated. Brenda looked confused, so Sharon filled her in. "My brother Chris has taken my two, Katie and Danny and his daughter Lizzie to Disneyland for the day."

"That's nice of him."

They talked a little about Chris and Sharon started talking endlessly about her children, much to the amusement of her parents, who were just as bad. They were a small family unit, but they were as close as could be.

"So have you met the nice man Sharon is dating?" Amelia asked, finishing off her lasagne. Sharon immediately stilled. "He came over for dinner last week, such a polite gentleman. Will, a good strong name."

Brenda dribbled some of the expensive wine down her chin as she turned to her new friend, who was blushing into her salad. It couldn't be, there was no way it could be who she thought. Not after the lecture, the snide remarks. "Will? Will Pope?"

"Yeah, that's his name. Tony made some off colour joke about being a lapsed Catholic," Amelia teased her husband, who immediately grabbed and finished off the bottle of wine.

Brenda turned around to see Sharon who was eating lasagne with gusto, trying to make herself either sick or full enough so she couldn't explain to her new friend why she was dating the Assistant Chief of the LAPD. After dinner, Amelia and Tony went to go find a bottle of wine to go with dessert. That left the two women alone.

Sharon took a sip of her water and turned to her new friend. "I know what you're going to say."

"That you're sleeping with Will to get promoted?" Brenda stated, savouring the moment. But she couldn't drag it out any longer, and she continued on. "I was thinking about it. But I doubt you'd let your parents meet Will if he was just a lay. You seem really close to them."

Sharon nodded, looking at the family picture above the mantle. "We are: my Mom taught me about ethics and my Dad taught me about family. After my ex husband, my kids father, I haven't really dated anyone. Will was the first person I've brought home to meet them since him."

"You must really like Will."

She nodded enthusiastically. "I do, I really like him a lot. We've been dating for a year or so, on and off. More off, than on. At Christmas we became on again, and I wanted him to meet my parents. He already met my brother this summer."

Brenda toyed with the wine glass, before smiling. "I hope you and Will are happy, I really do. Both of you deserve it." She turned back to the glass. "Plus, this way anytime you make a crack about me sleeping to the top I can shoot back with this."

"Duly noted. Although it's hardly sleeping to the top, Will could be fired at any time."

Sharon's eyes twinkled with the come back, and Brenda couldn't help but smile. It seemed that despite their new found friendship, there was still going to be a healthy dose of sniping between them. Brenda didn't mind, she found she was actually enjoying herself. The kitchen door opened and Tony and Amelia came through carrying dessert.

"We have wine! And cheesecake. I think its chocolate cheesecake - you a fan of chocolate, Brenda?" Tony asked as he tried to find a corkscrew.

The two women looked at each other, and burst out laughing. The Raydor's didn't know what was going on, they just sat back down and cracked open a bottle of wine. The two women calmed and dessert got under way. Before they did, Tony raised his glass and made a toast to new friends. It was a new year, and both Brenda and Sharon were glad they now had a friend to enjoy it with.