Lunch of the Long Knives by DD Agent
I do not own The Closer or any of its characters, or its settings
It was a nice restaurant, across from the LAPD building. Brenda was still mulling over the last case she had wrapped up and the FID captain was looking over the menu, tapping her fingers against the table. Their working lunch wasn't going so well. Captain Raydor had asked after her husband and the rest of her squad, and then they had reverted to silence that was typical of people who were uncomfortable around each other.
The waiter walked past again and gave Brenda a look, so she decided to pick up her menu and see what there was on offer for lunch. If she was honest she wasn't hungry, which was probably the first time that had ever happened to her. But this was also the first time that she and Sharon Raydor had ever been in a social setting, and it concerned her.
Perhaps if Brenda had taken the breakfast invitation on the day of her interview with the Mayor, things wouldn't be as awkward as they were now. Of course, if wishes were horses she would be running a stable. Brenda was terrified that they would get into an argument in the middle of this quaint little lunch restaurant. However, Brenda was more scared about how she considered the FID Captain in the first place.
Brenda didn't have any friends in Los Angeles, and oddly that didn't make Brenda upset. She had always been solitary, preferring the company of men to women when she did socialise. Working in the CIA had thwarted any relationship she had had except for the one between her and Will. It was hard to go out and enjoy the company of someone who didn't know what you did for a living.
So oddly it had hit her, whilst waking up to her stomach churning, that Sharon Raydor was the closest thing to a friend that Brenda had. There had been Irene Daniels, of course, but their relationship had always been coloured by the fact that Brenda was her boss. She had her team, her boys in blue, but still the same problematic power dynamic remained. Sharon Raydor not only rebuked this relationship, but constantly challenged her authority.
"You look deep in thought, Chief. Is everything okay?"
Brenda looked up from the menu, registering her words only as sounds. She remembered calling Sharon her friend as an introduction to her parents, and she had sort of meant it but also sort of hadn't. Everyone in her team, including the strait laced Captain had looked surprised. Who knew it was actually true?
"Sorry, Captain - Sharon, a lot on my mind. Oh, the waiter's back. I'll just have whatever you're having," Brenda mumbled, putting down her menu. Howhad that woman become her only friend?
Sharon put a hand on the waiter and smiled at him. "Could you give us another few minutes please, Pete? Thank you." When the waiter walked away, Sharon looked over at the Chief. "Are you okay? I thought you'd be excited by death by chocolate."
"There's death by chocolate?" Brenda looked up from her collapsed position over her arms. "Did you order it?"
"No, I went for a fruit salad. I'm not a big fan of chocolate."
Brenda further collapsed onto her arms, shaking her merlot filled glass so much Sharon had to move it over to the other side of the table. People were looking at them and wondering what was going on. Sharon was not especially good at dealing with people, so she poked the blonde in the shoulder. Thankfully no tears escaped her. She wasn't very good at dealing with crying women; the only crying females she dealt with were her beautiful girls.
As the Chief picked her head up from her arms, Sharon noticed she looked upset. Finally she spilled what was bothering her. "How on earth can we be friends if you don't like chocolate?"
Sharon's mouth opened and then closed again. "We're friends? I thought you said that because you couldn't very well say I was your adversary in front of your parents!"
It was now Brenda's turn to look like a fish. "We're adversaries?"
"Well," Sharon cocked her head. "We're certainly not friends. But I think we've moved on from trying to one up each other at crime scenes. So…colleagues?"
"God that's even worse."
Sharon started to chuckle at the predicament they were in, trying to decide whether they were friends or enemies, or somewhere in between. Her daughter used the term 'frienemies' to describe them whenever Sharon brought Brenda up in conversation. Pete the waiter came back and Brenda took a quick look at the menu, making sure to order an 'extra large' death by chocolate. Sharon then returned her wine glass when it seemed the blonde was getting better.
Once Pete had gone with their order, they reverted back to silence. Neither one of them was sure what to say to the revelation that they were almost friends. Sharon secretly checked her phone to see the time and make sure she had no missed calls from her girls. Brenda kept taking sips of her wine to keep her mouth occupied so she looked like she had a reason for not talking. When she was about to finish off her second glass, Sharon decided to break the silence.
"My mother is always on at me to make friends. Always inviting me over to her club to meet with all the daughters of her stuffy pals. She thinks I should still keep in touch with all the girls I met at my debutante ball."
Brenda's face lifted, and she resisted a snort although she could see in Sharon's face that she expected one. "You were a debutante?"
Sharon leant back in her chair with her own glass of wine. "The Raydors are old money. We're an old LA family, and as such we're all expected to live that life. I did for a time, but I got bored with it. My grandfather was a cop, and he always had this ridiculous happy smile on his face when he got home from his shift. So I decided to join the LAPD."
Brenda watched as Sharon's face hardened when talking about her mother, but brightened when talking about her grandfather. She wondered what else she didn't know about the Captain, and as her gaze turned sad, wondered what had happened to her grandfather.
"My parents don't understand the commitment I make to my job," Brenda started.
As Pete came around with their starters, Sharon nodded in agreement. "Mine too. My mother hates the hours I work, and she thinks I should be working on charity fundraisers with her instead of keeping this city safe."
Brenda took a bite out of her calamari, and brandished her fork at Sharon. "It's even worse with partners. Fritz hates how much I work. I get it, I work odd hours but I love my job! It is hard to find someone who can deal with that!"
Sharon smiled as she dug into her salad. "That is the very reason that I am divorced. Jeremy couldn't deal with how many hours I was working. Plus he thought I had feelings for one of the detectives I was working with at the time."
The atmosphere grew less tense as they exchanged stories, talking about work but in a personal way. Brenda reached for her glass of water, not wanting to get through an entire bottle of wine and decided to share more.
"My first husband thought I was having an affair with some guy I worked with - even wrote me up about it. Of course the whole thing was bogus, I never did anything with that guy," Brenda explained, needing to tag the information on the end so Sharon didn't think she was constantly having in-office relationships.
A curious smile overcame Sharon's face, one that she had never seen on the Captain. She giggled. Actually giggled. "Well unlike you, Chief, I actually did do something with my guy. After I was divorced, of course. We went on a date, but things didn't work out so well."
"Anyone I know?" Brenda asked, knowing that the Captain had been at the LAPD for twenty years.
"Andy Flynn." She said it so straight, without any shame that Brenda almost dropped her glass in shock.
"Is that why Andy joined AA?" Brenda immediately raised her hand to her mouth, remembering that sometimes she needed to engage her brain before speaking, especially to the woman in front of her. "That didn't come out like I meant it to. And by that I mean it was to remain in my head."
Sharon, thankfully, laughed off her choice of words and smiled. "It was a different time, when I was younger, much younger. When I thought you could find someone at work you could fall in love with and have a lasting relationship with." She paused. "Naïve; very, very naïve."
Pete came and cleared their dishes, and Sharon reached over for Brenda's bottle and took a glass of what she was drinking. Sharon had opted for having the house wine, not ordering an entire bottle for herself. She filled the glass to the top and started to drink it. Her hand was shaking slightly.
They didn't talk again until their main course had arrived and had been set down in front of them. Brenda had been watching Sharon slip down memory lane, and polish off her bottle of wine in the process. She sipped her glass of water and observed as the Captain merely picked at her food. She had a thought, based on something her mother had said at Christmas, and wondered if she would alienate the woman even further if she brought it up. Ah well, it wasn't like they were best friends.
"So, I take it that you've done something a bit naïve recently?" There was no answer, but Brenda didn't give up that easily. "I take it you've slept with Will Pope then?"
Sharon dribbled the remainder of Brenda's merlot down her chin at the question. She hastily reached for a napkin to clean herself up; all the while staring at Brenda with the sharpest look she had ever seen her give. The brunette seemed tongue tied, so Brenda decided to continue on the conversation for her.
"Let me guess, Will slept with you and didn't call you?" Brenda put it out there, hoping it was not the case. Will had seemed to grow up in the last few years ever since Estelle had divorced him. The anxiousness over losing his job had seemed to return his fire: standing up to Taylor, going after that boy. She just hoped he wasn't returning to his old ways as well.
Sharon shook her head, finally giving an answer. "I didn't call him. Well, I'm ignoring his calls and avoiding him when he comes over to the Bradbury Building." She paused, signalling the wine waiter for another bottle. "Can we talk about something else now? Your complete unprofessionalism when it comes to inter office relations, perhaps?"
"Well you'd be the expert on that," Brenda returned, putting down her fork. "After all the grief you gave me."
"Chief, I think we've both got an idea of what goes on behind closed doors at the LAPD, and what people will do to get ahead. I hear your husband is becoming very close with Chief Delk."
Brenda didn't want to talk about Delk. She didn't want to talk about her husband persuading her to take the job of Assistant Chief. She didn't even really want to talk about Sharon Raydor's complicated relationship with Will Pope. All she wanted was her dessert, and to throw something at Raydor's head. That woman got so ridiculously under her skin; she knew exactly what buttons to push. Maybe it was because they were so very much alike.
She made a quick decision, and as Sharon turned her back to talk to the wine waiter, Brenda threw a bread roll at her head. Sharon turned around, confused by what had just occurred. But as Brenda burst into laughter, Sharon couldn't help but do the same.
The two women shared a look as their barely touched main course was taken away, and dessert was brought out. But they grew quiet as the reality of their conversation sunk in, until Sharon couldn't help but speak.
"I…sometimes…" Sharon didn't know how to finish her sentence to explain her actions, or explain her own broken heart. So Brenda took pity on her, and finished her sentence.
"It's a rarity, but sometimes you find someone who means more to you than the job. You want to risk everything, but more often than not the job is with you longer."
Both women smiled, and decided to move on. Brenda tucked into her death by chocolate, while Sharon speared pieces of fruit. They would never be best friends, not like the two women sitting in the table over from them, laughing in posh suits on a lunch between meetings discussing the latest fashion lines and gossip in the office. Brenda and Sharon had two guns and two badges at their table, and both of them knew how to use them. They could never be adversaries again, like they had at the start of their relationship - there was a mutual respect now that hadn't been there before.
As they were getting up to leave the restaurant - Sharon was paying - Brenda knocked over her wine glass onto Sharon's. Thankfully both were empty, but the clink of the glasses made both of them jump. It would be the closest thing to toasting their new friendship that there would be.