Short note: It was so nice to see all those story alert notices in my inbox today! Especially since all of them were from people whose stories I have been reading and loving! That is a lovely feeling :) Thanks for reading!


A large glass of wine in her hand, Sharon curled on her couch, feet tucked under her. A movie was playing on the television, a romantic comedy, and though it was one of her favorites, she hardly noticed it. Her mind was fixed on a different couple, a certain assistant chief and his favorite deputy chief.

When she had arrived at her house, she had tried to push the last few events of the night out of her mind. Her sadness turned to anger—at Will, at Brenda, at herself for allowing herself to be vulnerable. After her divorce she had sworn she wouldn't let herself be hurt again. Up until Will Pope she had been quite successful at that.

Channeling anger into productivity she ruthlessly set about weekly household chores—laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing every flat surface she could find. That finished, she got in a rigorous workout on her elliptical machine—more rigorous than was probably wise, she was sure she'd be feeling it in the morning. Excess energy spent, she showered and dragged on pajamas, black yoga pants, dark green tank, and a soft, flowing black sweater to wrap up in. She microwaved some leftovers for dinner. She ate quickly and cleaned up after herself. And she cursed herself for glancing at the phone every few minutes the entire time, hoping that she was wrong, that Will really would call. That he wasn't spending his evening reliving history with a certain Georgia peach. But the phone remained silent, like the rest of her house.

Sharon grabbed the wine bottle and headed for the couch, turning on the television, hoping the movie would provide a distraction. She toyed with her damp, curling hair and couldn't help her wandering mind.

She'd had no illusions about Will Pope when she had agreed to go out with him the first time. His history was no secret around the office. He had cheated on not one, but two wives, and had hired a former mistress to head a prestigious new division of the LAPD. And his lingering feelings for Brenda were just as well known to their fellow officers. Sharon had known all this, but had agreed to go out to dinner with him anyway. She couldn't deny her attraction to him, they had been flirting subtly (and not so subtly) for a while, and she figured she could give him the benefit of the doubt. It really wouldn't be a hardship to spend an evening with the handsome man and get to know him better. She had plenty of practice dating without letting herself get too involved.

She was shocked, though, to find Will to be so much more than she expected. She had known that he was the job, dedicated to LAPD. She was surprised to find that his dedication had so little to do with advancing his career, as she had originally thought, and more to do with a real passion to live up to their motto, to serve and protect. They had connected over that, as she had opened up to him about FID, the commitment her team showed daily, and the difficulties of being separated from their fellow officers. They had bonded over children, though his, from his second marriage, were much younger than hers. She'd had no idea he had sole custody of his kids, and couldn't help but smile at the warm look that crossed his face whenever he talked about them. She found Will to be funny and kind, guileless and charming. Sharon wasn't sure exactly how, or even when, but she had fallen for Will Pope, fallen hard.

Which she found especially painful tonight, clutching her wine glass, all alone on her couch.

She was considering just going to bed, even though it wasn't very late, when a knock sounded at the front door. She padded in sock feet to the door and checked the peephole before opening it. She arranged herself carefully in the doorway, clearly not inviting her visitor in. "Evening, Chief," she greeted him coolly.

"Hey," Will grinned broadly, unperturbed by her demeanor and leaning against the doorjamb. "I was hoping to surprise you."

Sharon hummed, crossing her arms against the chilly air. "Well. I'm surprised."

He seemed to notice her frosty reception of him had nothing to do with the temperature. "Is—is it okay? I mean that I just came over? I was going to call, but I wanted—"

"To surprise me? Yes, you said. What's wrong? Chief Johnson get tired of you?" She couldn't help the jab, and she relished the shock that flashed across his face. Yes, she knew, and damn him for thinking he was getting away with anything.

"What are you talking about, Sharon?" He stamped his feet to stave off the cold, regretting having left his coat in the car. "Can we do this inside?"

"There's really nothing to do, Will. Have a good night." She made to close the door, but he flung out an arm to stop her progress.

"Wait, wait, Sharon! What happened? What's going on?"

She flung the door open and took a step onto the porch, causing Will to step back in surprise. "What's going on? What's going on is this, Will, I will not play second fiddle to Brenda Johnson! I will not be your back-up plan!" His face went from earnest surprise to confused shock as Sharon's voice got louder as she continued. "You couldn't wait to join her tonight, didn't give me a second thought! Tell me, what were those dates we went on? Nights she wasn't available, or just marking time until she'd see you again?" She railed on, stepping even closer to him. "I'm done, Will, you can find someone else to cool your heels with, because I am done!"

She barely had the words out of her mouth when Will's lips crashed down on her own. Her surprised moan echoed into his mouth as he deepened the kiss, and she couldn't help responding in kind. Her hands fluttered helplessly for a moment before finding purchase on the sides of his face, and she felt herself being walked backwards, guided by his hands clutching her upper arms.

When they broke the kiss, Sharon's eyes fluttered open to find herself and Will standing in her foyer. Still clutching on to each other, Will leaned his forehead against hers. "I wanted to do that all night," he whispered, his blue eyes honest when she met them. "And after you left it was all I could think about."

He pulled back a bit to look at her properly. "Sharon, you are in no way my second choice. The only reason I left to sit with Brenda tonight is because I thought it would look too suspicious if I turned her down. I know how important it is for us to keep this thing between us quiet." He and Sharon had discussed the hazards of dating with their ranks and positions. They had agreed, she more adamantly than he actually, that discretion was a must for any kind of relationship beyond a professional one.

Will continued. "I wanted you to stay, I told you that. But I knew you and Brenda… I didn't want to push you. So I watched you leave and the whole time I was there I was thinking about you, and practically biting my tongue to keep from shouting to the whole of Major Crimes that you and I are… well, whatever we are." He raised an eyebrow at her. "But what are we? Are we a 'we'? Because, Sharon, there's nothing else that I want more. No one else."

Sharon processed this slowly, took in Will's confession and the sincere, heartfelt look on his face, and the way her lips were tingling, already craving his kiss again. She didn't resist. Stretching up on her toes, she looped her arms around his neck and sought his mouth with hers, controlling the kiss this time. She knew she wouldn't find the words to answer him as fully as she wanted to, so she let the kiss speak for her, pulling him even closer and opening his mouth to hers, tasting, caressing, exploring.

When they pulled back again, they were both smiling. Sharon ducked her head, blushing faintly. "I'm sorry, Will—"

"No, Sharon," he cut her off, not wanting to hear any more. "It's my fault. I'm sorry I gave you the wrong idea. I guess I didn't make my intentions clear enough."

"I'd say your intentions are pretty clear right now," she grinned at him, leaning back lightly against his arms around her waist.

"Maybe we make a deal to keep things that way? Be upfront with each other and really see where this thing is going?" They had both had enough failed relationships to know that making this last would take some effort from both of them.

"Deal," she agreed, sealing the pact by brushing her lips lightly against his again.

He returned the light kiss, then pulled her back for a lingering one. "I should tell you then," he said pulling just far enough away that she could feel his breath on her lips as he spoke. "Until you kick me out, I don't intend on walking back out that door tonight."

She smirked at him before slowly removing herself from his embrace. She sauntered toward the still open door, and paused by it, hand on the knob as if considering asking him to leave. After letting him squirm for a short moment, she closed the door and flipped the lock. "I know you won't."