Miami, the city with everything. Pork sandwiches, an incredibly overburdened police force, killers walking around free (at least until I get around to them).
And now, one thing I know I can't get anywhere else. I glance over at Lumen, she looks so beautiful in her red dress. I suppose the one good thing about tonight's outing is that it's given her a reason to dress like this. Now if only I could get a car that could drive for me while I stare at her.
Unfortunately, we'll be lucky to be on time as it is, and this is just another occasion where being late will cause problems for both of us, making a difficult evening even harder. After so many amazing date nights, I guess it was inevitable that we would have to do something less fun. I always hear guys complaining about the boring stuff they have to do to keep their girlfriends happy.
Fortunately, I'm actually with someone whose idea of fun is the same as mine.
My sister, however, is another matter.
We arrive at the restaurant a few minutes late, Quinn and Deb are already seated. Deb shoots me an angry look as we arrive.
"Traffic", I say simply.
Lumen and I take our seats, focusing on the menus in front of us.
I knew it was only a matter of time, Deb's kept a safe distance from Lumen so far, I get the feeling she was worried she was right all along and Lumen would leave me again. That she would have to struggle not to say 'I told you so' when it happened.
But after almost three months together, and the way the kids have finally started to warm up to her; I guess Deb just had to take a closer look.
"So how have you guys been? I know things have been busy lately, but what have you been up to all summer?" She asks in her best fake casual voice.
"Oh, you know, taking care of the kids, work, couple stuff." I say, glancing at Lumen with a smile. I never knew how much fun it was to have someone share private jokes like this.
To be fair, we have been busy with work, and taking care of the kids has been my top priority... but I imagine "couple stuff" doesn't usually mean our normal idea of a date.
My mind flashes to last weekend and Jose Zapata, the dentist with a penchant for molesting women under anesthesia. That is, until he screwed up and left enough evidence for one of his victims to go to the cops. Then he graduated to murderer.
Such an easy thing, have Lumen schedule a last minute tooth cleaning at his office on Friday, after everyone else was gone. For a sloppy rapist, Zapata's office was remarkably clean.
"Well, how are the kids doing; any luck on the apartment search?" Deb asks excitedly.
"I've looked at a few places, pretty much anywhere big enough for me and the kids will mean having to sell the house so I can afford it. Astor's not too happy about that, but we definitely don't have enough room in my apartment." I reply, some of Deb's enthusiasm catching on at the thought of Astor and Cody agreeing to stay with me now that summer's over.
"They've gotten a lot closer to Lumen lately," I say with a smile.
"Well, you can't underestimate the appeal of new clothes and game systems," Lumen says with a shy smile.
Deb looks shocked. "Wait, you bribed the kids with clothes and toys?"
"She took the kids shopping Deb, Lumen just wanted to be nice, it's not a bribe," I respond.
"I was just saying it was a good move. I'm not saying it was wrong, I'm saying it was smart" she replies.
Dinner arrives, and the awkwardness is finally broken by having something to eat. Much as I care for Deb, I'm hoping this will inspire her to make this the last double date she organizes. I can't imagine anything more tense and uncomfortable than this.
"Excuse me for a minute, I need to use the restroom," Lumen says.
"Yeah, I'll join you; you boys play nice while we're gone." Deb smiles as she get sup to leave.
Sitting alone with Quinn, I have more to say to the victims on my table than I have to say now.
"So... Dex, anything new going on at the lab?" Quinn says.
"Yeah, we just upgraded the equipment last month."I say.
"Oh, was the old stuff... not working anymore?" He asks.
I consider 'accidentally' cutting myself with my knife to make this stop.
"No, but it was getting pretty old, should have upgraded before now, but it's tough with the budget cutbacks." I reply, Quinn and I try just sitting silently.
It's always odd trying to talk to Quinn. He seems to feel some gratitude for my faking the blood work that kept him out of jail, and for not mentioning seeing him steal money from a crime scene. For my part, I have to be a little grateful that he's finally decided to give up searching for a connection between me and Rita's murder.
And honestly, I could forget almost all of that, since he seems to make Deb happy; those two seem to spend most of their time together now, on and off work. But the fact that he actually thinks I would ever intentionally hurt Rita, that his idiot private detective came after Lumen and I... well, he's lucky I live by such a strict code.
Code or no code though, looking at him now I imagine how it would feel to have him on my table, how easy it would be to finally get him out of my life.
My little fantasy is interrupted when Lumen and Deb arrive. We pay the bill after Quinn and I do the customary fight over who actually gets to pay; Lumen and Deb roll their eyes and smile.
We drive back to Lumen's place, since I need to get back home, I know I'll just have to drop her off and go.
"You need to try and get over everything Quinn did Dexter," Lumen says in a stern voice.
"What, we just sat there, I didn't do anything."
"I saw the way you were looking at him, I know that look, remember? I know exactly what you do when you get that look in your eyes."
Oh, right. "I try, it's just hard for me... I'll work on it." I really mean that, I want Deb to be happy, she deserves someone.
Lumen rolles her eyes, I know this one, this is the look she gets when she thinks I'm missing something obvious.
"I don't think this is just about what Quinn did, I think you're jealous."
"Jealous of what? Deb's my sister, I want her to be happy, and I don't think of her that way."
This time she laughs.
"I didn't mean you were jealous that way, I mean you're jealous of all the time they spend together. You may not tell her everything, but you like spending time with your sister, and now she spends most of her time with Quinn."
I consider this, Deb was always the one saying we needed to have more brother and sister time. I was so used to her asking for me to talk more, do more things with her; I never thought much about it before.
Most of her relationships lasted a few weeks, and outside the bedroom it never seemed like she was all that interested in actually doing things with most of the guys she dated. I was always the one she wanted more attention from. Lumen has a point.
"Ok, but what am I supposed to do? I do want her to be happy with someone. Even if you're right about everything, it doesn't seem like I can do anything about it."
I stop the car, Lumen gives me a weird look.
"You can realize you have someone else to spend time with, someone else who you can talk to now. Besides, Deb does like spending time with you, maybe this time you can be the one to ask her do do something together. I don't know her that well, but I get the impression she'd like that. For now though, I did some research and I think I've found a more fun way to spend next Saturday night." She takes out a file from under her seat.
I look inside, Victor Quintero, suspected Chilean war criminal; recently released for murdering his boss due to the search warrant being thrown out. I smile at her. "It's a date."
She kisses me on the cheek and gets out. "I'll call you tomorrow, maybe after the kids are in bed we can get started."
"She seems to know you better than you know yourself Dexter," Harry says.
"It's weird, having someone who I can tell things to," I smile.
"I'm happy for you Dex, I'm glad I was wrong about you finding someone."
"Well, it's not like I've told her everything about myself, what if one she learns something she can't deal with?" I frown at that.
"That's what dating is for normal couples, getting to know each other a little at a time. Besides, every relationship you have had has been about making changes so you can fit into their life. Lumen's trying to make changes so she can fit into yours. Or didn't you notice what was in the file she gave you?"
I look at the file again, murderer who got away on a technicality, background indicates history of violence and likelihood to kill again, nothing unusual... except his boss was a man. Looking at Lumen's research I can't see any evidence that Quintero has ever killed a woman. Since she came back into my life, all of my (our?) victims have been men who sexually abused and killed women. Looking back I suppose I thought that was what Lumen wanted, what she would be most comfortable with.
Was this really Lumen trying to fit into my life, is this some kind of test for me?
I start the car, as confusing as this is, I need to get home. But I am sure our next date night will be a lot more interesting than this one.
I've recently had some free time, and since I enjoyed writing my last story so much, I decided to do a sequel. Reviews are always appreciated!