Title: Just Another Day
Pairing: Goren & Eames
Summary: Alex Eames hates Valentine's Day. Can Bobby make her change her mind?
A/N: This was written for the Valentine's Day fic-a-thon at ci_fans_unite on livejournal. As per usual, I'm writing it at the last minute. I just hope that I don't screw it up. My prompts were 'lace' and 'leather'.
Detective Alex Eames didn't look up as she moved through the bullpen to her desk. It was days like this that she was grateful that their desks were the first one through the doors. She looked up and noted that her partner was already happily at work at his desk, pouring through their current caseload. She grumbled a 'morning' or something of that nature and set about getting the day started.
Detective Bobby Goren watched her for a moment. He could tell from her posture and mumbled greeting that today wasn't going to be a good day. For either of them. Especially with her in a 'mood' as he liked to call them. "Do you have the LUDS from the Morelli case?"
She rolled her eyes and picked through the small pile on her desk. "Here," she groused as she passed him the three inch file. "Those are just from the last two weeks."
His eyes widened slightly as he took the file. "This would be my stack for an entire year..." When she looked up with that wrinkled disgusted look, he added, "My personal line, I mean..."
She nodded and returned to her task of reading the M.E.'s report for the tenth time. Nothing was jumping out at her, and it annoyed her. She didn't know why it annoyed her so much today.
Oh! Yes, she did. Today was Valentine's Day, and she had already been slapped in the face with that realization at least ten times that morning. She rolled her eyes and snapped the file folder closed. "I'm going for coffee. Want me to pick you up something?"
"Why didn't you get it on the way in? You just got here," he stated before really thinking about it. It wasn't like she ever put her work off on him, so he couldn't even fathom what had prompted those words to leave his lips.
Her eyes held a fire that he was not used to having directed at him. "Thank you, Captain Obvious." She pulled the file to her again. Who needed coffee anyway? She ignored his attempts at apology over the next two hours and even dumped the coffee he had ordered for her when Detective Ryan had headed out for a coffee run. "Eames..."
She looked up then, meeting his eyes only briefly. "You know if you make a dent in that paperwork now there is less to do when it's over."
He rubbed the back of his neck and returned to his attention to something with a little less attitude. His paperwork. The hours passed in an uncomfortable silence.
Looking up as she stood, he asked timidly, "Time for lunch?" He wasn't sure, but he thought he saw her give him the finger as she walked away. Someone peed in her Cheerios that was for damn sure.
He decided to just skip lunch all together and put the finishing touches on his report. He had just finished signing it when she returned. "Alex, I..."
She looked up, startled at the use of her first name. He rarely used it, but when he did, it made her heart skip a beat. She put her hand up. "Before you start, I want to apologize. I wasn't angry with you. I just...I hate this day."
He leaned forward. "It's just another day..." But who was he kidding? It wasn't just another day. It was the day set aside to make the one you loved feel special. Only the one he loved didn't even know that he loved her.
She shook her head. "You say that, Bobby, but it's really, really not." Her voice was soft, and he was sure he noted a hint of sad too.
"Have dinner with me?" He had his palms flat on the desk, but he looked up at her. He hadn't said it where the whole squad room could hear, but he knew she had heard him. "I mean, we won't get a reservation anywhere this late, but I can make a mean spaghetti, and then there's that homemade dressing that you like."
She didn't allow herself to over think it. "Yes." She would have dinner with him. What woman in her right mind would pass him up? So what if her expectations and his were two completely different things. She was forever his partner. Nothing more.
He sat back, relaxing as the rest of the day went without a problem. He grabbed his coat. "Hey, Alex?"
She looked up then. "Yeah?"
"I'll be at your place to pick you up at seven." And with that he was gone. He didn't leave any room for argument. He wanted to make this a happy memory for her. So what if his expectations weren't the same as hers.
Alex quietly rummaged through her closet for anything suitable to wear that didn't make her feel like she was going to work. She had several 'maybe' outfits laid out on her bed, but nothing that really screamed to be worn. She considered calling her sister, Liz, to ask for her advice, but that would lead to questions that she did not feel up to answering. Especially about her partner and herself.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Glancing at the clock that read a quarter to six, she moved to the shower and stepped under the steaming hot spray. She washed and conditioned her hair, and then shaved her legs. She shut off the water and toweled off.
Standing naked in front of the mirror, she reached up to wipe away the steam that had collected there. She wished her mind would slow down and quit making more out of the night than it was. It was just two friends getting together for a nice meal and some conversation. Nothing more than that.
She set about to doing her hair and make-up. She pulled on a pair of lace panties and a matching bra. She couldn't help but wonder if he knew what she was wearing under her clothes, if it would make his heart skip a beat or two? She inspected the outfits on the bed for the tenth time and finally settled on a pair of black slacks with the red sweater that her sister had gotten her for her birthday. She stood in front of her full-length mirror and examined herself from every angle.
She had to admit that the regular routine at the gym was doing more to her than her daily running regimen ever had. Her curves were soft to those that took the time to notice that she was more than just her job.
Bobby had to go to five flower shops before he had salvaged enough flowers to make her bouquet. That would teach him to wait until the last minute to try and get anything done right on Valentine's Day. Especially in a city this big. He glanced at the arrangement on his passenger seat smiled. She would love them.
He had even made her a small gift box of her favorite candy. Skittles of all flavors. He gripped the wheel a little tighter as he the heat in his gut seemed to have a life of its own. He took a few deep, cleansing breaths as he pulled up outside her apartment complex. He moved his leather binder into the back seat as he grabbed the flowers and the candy and climbed out.
He looked up at what he knew to be her living room window. He shut the door and loosened the top two buttons on his shirt. He didn't want this to be too formal, but he didn't want to look like he couldn't dress nice for even a casual date with his partner. He moved toward the door and buzzed to let her know he was waiting to be let in.
"Bobby?" her voice came across the intercom.
"Yeah. Can you let me in?" Then he heard the door release, and he hurried inside and to the elevator. He didn't want her coming down to meet him. He wanted to do this right. He kept second guessing his decision to bring the flowers and candy. He considered tossing them, but he decided against it as he faced her door.
He brought his hand up, knocking softly. His hands were sweaty, and his feet itched to pace. He kept himself under control. Their eyes locked as she opened the door and he thrust out the candy and flowers. "These, um, these are for you. Happy Valentine's Day, Eam...Alex."
His stammering was one of the most endearing things she had ever seen. Especially tonight. "Thank you..." She pulled the flowers to her nose and sniffed. "They are just perfect." It had been at least ten years since she had gotten flowers for any occasion. She inspected the goodie basket. "Bobby, it looks like there is a whole months supply of Skittles in here."
"Nothing but the best for the best." He met her eyes for a moment and gave her a boyish grin. "You want to put those in water and then we can go?"
She nodded. She stepped back. "Come inside. I'll just be a minute." She glanced at him over her shoulder.
He stepped inside and shut the door behind him. He had been in her apartment on several occasions over the last eight years, and he never tired of looking at the pictures she had hung on her walls. She always changed them when a new event in her family's lives had come to pass. He found himself smiling at the Christmas pictures she had framed from this past Christmas. He brought his hand to the glass and touched her smiling face.
She had returned quietly, wanting to observe him. She loved watching him as he lived vicariously through her photographs. "I wish you had taken me up on the offer to join us," she admitted softly.
He turned then. "Me too." And he really had. He would have been there, too, but he had promised Lewis a trip upstate to see his family. He held out his hand to her. "Ready?"
She stepped forward and took his hand gently. Her hand felt so small as his fingers entwined with hers. "I hope you are hungry. I even made dessert."
She smirked. "You know I can always find room for that." She grabbed her purse and jacket off the back of the couch.
He opened the door for her and they slipped out into the hall. "You look beautiful tonight, Alex." He was often taken aback at how she didn't look anything like the fierce NYPD detective that had his back before every work day ended. He glanced at her, catching her eyes for a brief moment. "Not that, um, you don't look beautiful every...every day. I just mean..."
There was that stammering again. She squeezed his hand and said softly, "I know what you mean, Bobby. And thank you."
Bobby glanced up as he put the finishing touches on his spaghetti. He picked up the bottle of wine and offered to refill her glass. When she held it out, he met her eyes. "If you'll have a seat, I'll get the salad."
She sipped at her wine and moved to the kitchen table. "You didn't have to go through all this trouble just for me..." The table was set elegantly with a white tablecloth and candles. They weren't lit, but she thought the set up was just beautiful.
He fixed her a bowl of salad and applied just the right amount of dressing for her and placed it before her. "You are no trouble, Alex. No trouble at all." Their fingers brushed as he reached for her napkin. He felt little sparks shooting up his arm to his heart. He opened the napkin and placed it in her lap.
Her fingertips tingled. She looked down as he moved to light the candles. She looked up when the lights dimmed. "Oh!"
He assured her, "Tonight, you are going to feel like a woman. I know I don't always treat you the way you deserve, but I promise that I will never stop trying."
He held up his hand and shook his head. "No, Alex. I know you put up with a lot from me, and I don't think I've ever told you how much you mean to me." He sat across from her and placed his own napkin in his lap.
Their eyes met over the flickering candles. The flames illuminated her beautiful amber gold eyes and his heart skipped a beat.
She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and smiled. "I think I know, Bobby."
His eyes widened slightly. "You do?" When she nodded, he asked softly, "Am I out of line?"
She shook her head. "Of course not." Her hand slid across the table and slipped over his. "I'm perfectly fine with it."
He turned his hand slightly, catching her smaller one in his. He stroked the back of her hand and whispered, "Really?"
She squeezed his hand slightly. "Yes." Her heart beat wildly at his touch. She felt like she was walking on air even though she still in her chair.
The rest of their meal was spent they talked quietly. She had him laughing with stories of Nathan and his antics. She loved his laugh. It was so calming, but it jolted something inside her that made the butterflies kick up in her stomach.
She had even insisted on helping with dishes. They stood side by side, she rinsed while he washed. Everything felt so right, like they were right where they were supposed to be. She glanced up at him. "Tonight has been perfect, Bobby. Thank you."
"It's not over yet," he assured her. He rinsed and dried his hands as she rinsed the last dish. He handed her the dish towel to dry her hands then. When she was finished, he took her hand and led her to his living room.
He pushed play on the cd player and waited as the music started. It was a soft jazz number. He pulled her close, placing one hand at her hip and the other curled her fingers into his and was paced at his chest. He slowly swayed with her. "Dance with me?"
She chuckled soft and teased, "Aren't we already?"
His eyes danced with laughter. "I suppose we are..." His breath caught in his throat when she placed her head on his chest and closed her eyes. She smelled like a mixture of lavender and vanilla. He breathed her in as they moved slowly to the music. "You smell good," he murmured.
She tightened her hand in his and whispered, "Thank you." She had already loved him for a long time, but she was falling in love with him all over again tonight. "So do you."
He closed his eyes as that song ended and another one began. He murmured, "Do you want some more wine? Or are you fine dancing another song?"
She looked up at him. "I like dancing with you..." She gave him a soft smile, tilting her head.
He nodded and pulled her close again. This time he spun her out and watched her eyes light up as he pulled her back in again. He laughed softly. "I've got to keep you on your toes."
She laughed again. "You always do, Bobby." And he did. She never knew what he was going happen from one moment to the next. In the beginning, she had hated it, but now it was sort of a dance they did in the interrogation room. She had learned so much from him, and he had learned from her.
They spent the next hour sitting on his couch drinking a glass of wine. She relaxed so much that her shoes were off and her knees were tucked up under her chin as they talked about their teenage years and the trouble they had both gotten into.
He chuckled loudly as she told him about the boy that snuck in through her window late one July night. Her father had caught him, naked and trying to hide in her closet. "You're pulling my leg, right?"
She shook her head. "I kid you not, Bobby. I was so mortified that my father had found out that I was not a virgin, and he didn't speak to me for three weeks. But that boy..." She fanned herself and waggled her eye brows. "Was Joe."
Bobby's eyes widened. "You married him? I would have figured any boy that ran into your father like that would have ran in the other direction when he saw you coming."
She shrugged. "It was love at first sight. Or first kiss rather. I kissed him at my girlfriend's party on a dare. We were inseparable after that. I really loved him." She got a far away look in her eyes for a brief moment. She then met his eyes. "It's taken me this long to really let him and our life together go..."
When Bobby looked away, she reached across the back of the couch where his hand lay and tangled their fingers. "And that's because of you."
He looked up then and their eyes locked. "Yeah?" When she nodded, he pulled her just close enough to place a chaste kiss on her lips. When he pulled back, he had a boyish grin on his face. "I should take you home."
She pretended to pout. "But..."
He held up his hand. "We've waited this long, Alex. I'm not about to screw it up by rushing it. I want to do, um, do this right."
As they stood, she moved close to him and hugged him. "You already are, Bobby." She felt his arms go around her and for the first time in as long as she could remember, the hole she had in her heart that missed Joe the most, felt filled.
The drive back to her apartment was spent in easy conversation about anything but work. It felt good to have him to talk to like that. She looked down at their entwined hands and sighed softly. "I don't want this night to end."
He parked outside her building and killed the engine. After climbing out, he moved around to her door and helped her out. He cupped her cheek. "I don't either, but we have to work tomorrow. We need to be...somewhat rested. Besides, didn't you say you'd go bowling with me tomorrow night?"
She smiled. "Is that a second date?" When he nodded, she leaned up and kissed him tenderly on the mouth. "Then bowling it is."
When she started to step away from him, he stopped her. "I'm doing this right, Alex. I want to walk you to your door. Say good night properly."
Her heart skipped a beat. "Then what are we waiting for?"
They moved hand in hand into the apartment building. He asked her softly, "I think this Valentine's Day was okay, right?"
She nudged him with her hip. "You mean it's not just another day?"