A/N: My first "Closer" fanfic. What would happen if fate dropped another Southern woman into the Major Crimes division, even temporarily? Reviews are most welcome! Thank you!
Disclaimer: I do not own or operate "The Closer."
Chapter 1: Introductions
From the day she walked in, and Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson introduced her, "Y'all, this is Detective Kelly Hargove, homicide, Huntsville, Alabama police department," Lieutenant Andy Flynn's life had been much more difficult. Another Southern woman in his life, by God. He didn't know if he could handle it.
On the surface, the two women couldn't have been more different. Brenda was slender and willowy and had, as Andy once observed, "great legs." Kelly Hargrove was sturdy, curvy and outweighed the deputy chief by at least 50 pounds and was about five inches over the chief's five feet even. The chief had a good sense of humor, but tended toward the serious. Detective Hargrove's laugh bubbled over at least a hundred times a day. She found everything amusing, especially Lieutenant Provenza, which tickled his ego and made him go to great lengths to keep her amused. Her wry observations about the top brass kept the whole squadroom in stitches. The chief made a constant effort to keep her emotions firmly under wraps (even if no one was ever fooled), while Kelly Hargrove's temper boiled over, white-hot, but cooled as quickly. But they were both still from that mysterious section of the country known as the South.
"How long will Detective Hargrove be with us, chief?" asked Lt. Provenza.
"About six months, lieutenant," Brenda answered. "She's the one on the exchange program with Detective Daniels."
"Oh, O.K." That was Lieutenant Mike Tao. "I saw your record. You have a couple of impressive arrests under your belt."
The detective grinned. "Not mine alone, I can tell you. We've got a great squad down there. But I know I'll learn a lot from you guys. I'm glad to be here." Her accent, while distinctly Southern, was different from the chief's. It was a little faster, a bit more clipped. But that lilting cadence was there. It irritated Andy. Made him feel odd. Like his skin was too tight or something. She shook hands with him and gave him a thousand-watt smile. Now why did his heart want to race, just a little?
He returned the smile. "Glad to have you with us," he said.
"Have you seen much of the city, detective?" asked Detective Julio Sanchez.
"Not a lot. Flew into LAX day before yesterday and slept like the dead for about 12 hours. Lord, what a flight! You know, really, the only tourist trap I'm truly interested in seeing is the Chinese Theater. Rodeo Drive would be cool, too, but the theater would be wonderful."
"I'd love to show you around, Detective," Lt. Provenza said.
"That would be so nice of you," she answered. "But please, call me Kelly. All of you – when it's just us, call me Kelly."
Probably, Provenza was just being nice, Andy thought. Kelly Hargrove really wasn't Provenza's type. So why did it bother him that it might be more than just being nice?
Two weeks later, Andy walked into the squadroom about 7:30 a.m. Kelly was already at her desk, working on some background checks. She looked up at him. "Mornin', Andy."
"Hi Kelly," he said. "What are you doing here so early?"
She grinned. "My clock's still on Central Time. It's 9:30 in Huntsville. I couldn't sleep, so I decided I'd come on in while it was still quiet."
"Can I get you a cup of coffee?"
"That would be real sweet of you."
Andy brought in two steaming cups and Kelly took a sip. "It's good. Thanks."
"You're welcome. You drink it black?" he asked.
"Is there any other way to drink it?" she said with a smile.
"Not to me." Andy decided Kelly's personality wasn't quite as hard to get used to as the chief's. Or maybe he was just getting used to being around Southerners.
"So, how did the trip to the Chinese theater go with Provenza?" he asked.
Kelly laughed out loud. "We had a good time. That man is a trip! I didn't believe half the stuff he told me."
"Good thinking," Andy said dryly. "His usual crap, I'm sure."
"Yeah, but it didn't bother me. He's a good man. He's just so funny. He's sweet, though. Bless his heart," she said.
Andy cocked his head at Kelly. "Tell me, what exactly does that mean? Chief Johnson says it sometimes."
Kelly grinned. "It's sort of a qualifier, I suppose. Kind of saying, 'well, you have to excuse him' or something like that. It can mean a lot of things, depending on the context."
"God, Kelly, when you say stuff like that, you sound like an English professor!"
"That's my major, Andy. I was going to teach, then ended up at the police academy."
Andy shook his head. "I can't figure you Southern women out."
That got another grin and a wrinkled nose. "That's the whole idea, sugar," Kelly answered. "You're not supposed to figure us out. Until we want you to. If then."
Something in Andy's pulse jumped at that "sugar." "Is that so?" he said.
"That's so. See, the women's libbers had it all wrong. A strong Southern woman always controls the relationship. She just lets the man think he's in control. Everybody gets what they want, that way," she said, looking over her glasses at him and giving him a sassy wink.
To Andy's shock and dismay, the picture cleared for him. The Southern accent, the whole Southern belle mystique thing didn't irritate him. Not in an angry way, anyhow. What he really wanted to do was take Kelly Hargrove in his arms, kiss her breathless and prove he was definitely in control.
Kelly sensed the change in the atmosphere and turned back to look at Andy. One hand was clenched at his side and he was staring intently at her. There was definite heat in those brown eyes, too. His whole body was tense, and Kelly had the feeling that, if they were somewhere not subject to prying eyes, she'd be getting the kiss of her life, right now. Not that she would mind so much. Andy Flynn was one sexy man. She just hadn't been tuned in to him before. She was now, though.
At that interesting moment, two voices sounded. "I'm telling you, chief, this don't feel right," Provenza said.
"What are you talking about?" Brenda asked.
"Just that I don't think that ziphead was telling me everything he knew," Provenza answered.
"He will, then. Give him some more time to think about things. Good morning, Lieutenant, Detective."
"Morning chief," Flynn answered.
"Hey, chief," said Kelly.
Andy shot Kelly another smoldering look that made her think he intended to continue their conversation at another time. She looked forward to it. It was always -stimulating- to match wits with a man who made her toes curl like Andy Flynn did.