When It Rains
Pairings: Stephanie/Ranger & Merry Men(Core Team)
Rating: Eventually NC-17
Spoilers: Anything & everything up through Sizzling Sixteen is fair game…I can never remember what book what stuff happens in.
Disclaimer: Not mine Stephanie and her world belong to Janet Evanovich, which if you are reading the fanfiction…you probably already knew.
^Spoken Aloud Thoughts^
AN: I'm very sorry for the interruption in the Postings of my other Fics…this one WOULD NOT leave me alone.
Ending of an Era
Another day, another skip. Another skip, another blown up Piece of Shit automobile. My name is Stephanie Plum and I'm a Bond Enforcement Agent for the Vincent Plum Bail Bonds Agency. Currently I'm in the final on again part of an on again/off again relationship with Detective Joe Morelli. I've known Joe for freaking ever, but things just weren't working out. For this very reason. See my latest car just went kerblewy, and of course police and fire and rescue show up and with them my cop 'boyfriend'. And what does Detective Morelli have to say? Not 'are you okay?'. Not 'did you get hurt?'.
Nope Detective Joe Morelli has spent the last 18 minutes ripping me a new one. Going on and on about how much I stink at my job, how bad I make him look, how incompetent I am. "Cupcake, you need to leave this shit to the professionals. You are pathetic, always getting covered in shit I'd rather not look at let alone touch. How can you be such a colossal fuck up?"
"OH hell no!" Lester Santos said as he charged up to us. "I know you didn't just call Beautiful a fuck up. Did you not notice that her skip is cuffed to the fucking light post? She might have lost her car but she didn't fucking loose her skip. She is damn good at her job. I don't know what her personal capture rate is, but the rate for the ones she has worked for Rangeman is 100 percent. So just back the fuck off." Lester works for Rangeman Security. The Security firm owned by my mentor and best friend (and one time lover) Ranger Manoso. Usually I'd tell you that Lester is the happiest of the Merry Men (My nickname for the very hot, sexy men who work at Rangeman); but right now he is well and truly pissed.
"Lester it's ok…don't worry about it. Joe was just-"
"Being a verbally abusive asshole?" Bobby supplied from where he stood glowering next to his field partner.
"What? No..Joe was just being Joe. He always acts like this when something blows up around me." I said defensively.
"Bomber, we got here almost the same time he did. Over the years, I'd always assumed that he looked you over and assured himself that you were ok. That his comments were just
His post adrenaline let down…but nooo, this asshole doesn't care if you are ok. He doesn't even let the EMTs look you over before he starts spewing the absolute bullshit that was coming out of his mouth." Man Bobby was quite pissed. He rarely cusses, and never around me. I crossed to Bobby and Lester, hoping that if this went south after what I had to say, I could keep them from doing anything rash.
"It's really not that bad Bobby. I'd come to the conclusion that this back and forth thing wasn't working. That I was never going to be what he wanted and that he isn't what I want." I said in a calm, soothing voice.
"WHAT?" Morelli yelled. "You are exactly what I want. I love you. What do you mean that I'm not what you want? What do you want Manoso and his fucking thugs?" Joe yelled. Huh didn't know a person could turn that color.
"He isn't what I want." I repeated less calmly. He is really messing with my serene. "He may be what the 'burg wants…But I'm not 'burg, not really. Never have been and never will be. He is what my mother wants…but I'm done trying to please her I'm never successful any way." It was at this point that I got logorrhea. "God as if the disaster that was my first marriage wasn't enough to show the whole world that I should never be married. But no, my mother refuses to acknowledge that someone may want to be more than a wife and pop out heathens every few years. And so what if I do want Ranger and his guys. They support me and they help me and they hide training in conversations so that I get better. They stand up for me when the man who claims he loves me is shouting that I'm a fuckup."
"If you want to be the Rangeman whore, and fuck a whole tribe of spics and niggers and whatever the hell else, don't come crying back to me. You don't want to marry me but you'll open your legs for the thugs and criminals at Rangeman…and you call Joyce a slut." Morelli shouted.
Maybe I went into one of those fugue states, maybe I was possessed by the spirit of Ralphie from A Christmas Story, I really have no clue. But next thing I know I'm straddling Morelli waling on him like there is no tomorrow. "Say whatever the fuck you want about me. But you keep them out of it. Those men have taken bullets for me. Those men have hunted down psychos for me. I would do the same for any of them; I would die for them. Those men mean more to me than you and your weak ass idea of love will ever even be able to contemplate. You don't get to talk about them like their race has any bearing on anything other than the color of their beautiful fucking skin. They are not thugs and criminals either they are heroes. They have metals from the goddamn President of the Fucking United States of America, so don't talk about shit you are too stupid to understand." At this point Lester managed to drag me off Joe, but I can tell you he's going to have to do some serious talking to explain those bruises.
I think ALL of us including Mike and Dean the EMTs and Carl and Big Dog were shocked by what happened next. Joe clambered to his feet and grabbed my arm. "You are under arrest for assaulting a police officer." He said and he read me my rights.
I could see Lester and Bobby starting to come out of their shock induced stupor. Shock was quickly being replaced with Rage. "No Guys. It's what he wants. Go get Tank and have Connie meet us there. I don't want to have to be with this putz any longer than absolutely necessary."
"You know Morelli, you wouldn't have the balls to pull this stunt if Ranger wasn't in the wind." Lester growled out.
"Joe, you made your point. Now take the cuffs off Steph." Carl Costanza said trying to sound calming. Got to love Carl, known him since kindergarten.
"Yeah she wasn't beating you cause you are a cop…she was beating you cause you are a dick." Big Dog said jokingly. Guess he was trying to diffuse the tension with humor.
Morelli just told them to butt out of it. He dragged me over to his car and slung me into the back. Something else could have happened, but since I managed to his the other side door hard enough to knock myself out.
When I came to, Morelli was leaning into the back of his car shaking me awake. "Come on Cupcake." He said dragging me towards the cop shop. His hands were a lot tighter on my arm than they needed to be. He dragged me to the booking desk. ^Oh God must Hate Me^ was all I could think, when I realized that Officer Gaspick was on the desk today. Damn I really could have used Robin today.
"You finally think you have something that can stick?" Gaspick asked Joe, giving me what I can only describe as a snide look.
"Assaulting a police officer." Joe said with a smirk. "Sit on her if you can…maybe we can make it so she's not arraigned tonight."
Gaspick gave Joe a hard look. Then he laughed, "she finally broke up with you huh…from the look of your face I take is she found out about the side thing you have with that nurse from St. Francis?"
"What the fuck?" I yelled. I was a bit too pissed to care about the crowd I was drawing. "You just called me a whore in front of God and everybody…claiming I'm cheating on you with a whole bunch of men who look at me like I was the sister they never had…but you are fucking some nurse from St. Francis…fine Joe, you want to arrest me for assaulting an officer, take these damn cuffs off and let me be really guilty."
"He CALLED you a what?" a very familiar voice broke through the station.
"Chief Hawser, Sir!" Morelli said with a gulp. He whipped us around to face his chief.
"Get those cuffs off my goddaughter, before I bust you down to traffic cop." Uncle Mickey said as he closed the distance between us. "What exactly are you trying to charge her with?"
"She assaulted a police officer sir." Morelli said carefully.
"Were you there in an official capacity?" Uncle Mickey, my dad's best friend growing up, the best man at his wedding asked in the calmest tone I'd ever heard from him. When Morelli shook his head, Uncle Mickey continued. "If you were not acting in an official capacity, why were you there Detective Morelli?"
"She's my girlfriend sir." the douche-bag answered.
Uncle Mickey gave him a hard look. "So you were there to check on her?"
"Oh please all he did was berate me and call me a fuck up. Then he had the nerve to call me a whore because my co-workers stood up for me. Not to mention that he called the Rangemen several pejorative and derogatory names. Racial Names, Uncle Mickey." Maybe I was tattling…but so, I'll be damn; if I was going down, so was he.
"If you called her that then this is obviously a disagreement between two former connections. As for the Rangemen, calling them anything other than heroes means that obviously you need to go to sensitivity training again Officer Morelli. Now uncuff Stephanie, before I have you in front of IA for abuse of power."
Chief Hawser was in full effect as Tank came in with Connie and (whoa) Lula. "Chief Hawser, good afternoon sir. Officer Morelli has seen fit to arrest one of Rangeman's employees for assault; however we have clear evidence that she was provoked beyond reasonable thought." It took me a minute to notice that cd in Tank's hand.
"Morelli, uncuff Stephanie. We'll take this to my office."
Thirty minutes later, Morelli was busted down a pay grade and had a plethora of classes he had to take to keep his shield; and according to Tank, I was moving into Haywood for a while.
"But why? I don't have anybody after me?" I asked confused.
"Look, skinny ass white girl, I just spent over thirty minutes in the friggin' cop shop just because Supercop decided to play fast and loose. Your crazy Granny can break into your place. Please just do as the big guy asks and stay at Batman's until Morelli gets over his latest snit." Lula said. Probably she had a point.
"But, but…it gets so boring when I stay there when Ranger's out of town." I said rubbing my wrists.
"Well, I'd come and keep you company, but I've got me a hot date tonight with a bigun' he's tall and broad, and makes me feel all dainty and shit. Why don't you get Tank and the Boys to come up and ya'll all chill out and watch movies or something." Lula suggested.
"Probably not a great idea, Lu." I said dragging her across out in front so Tank wouldn't hear us. "I've been too broke to buy tastycakes, and I haven't been with Joe since we broke up last time." I whispered.
"But, girl…you two got back together over a month ago." She said shocked.
"Scheduling conflicts. I kinda wondered why he didn't press the issue, but finding out about the nurse, it makes sense." I said with a shrug. "Anyway…I really shouldn't be left alone with all those good looking men. Especially since you and me both know none of them look at me like that. It's cruel and unusual punishment."
"Especially since you are more than half in love with them anyway." Lula said sagely.
"How did you know?" I gasped. "I mean, no. I'm not. I mean…shit."
"Tank played the whole thing on the way over here, so we'd know what we were dealing with. You actually said that you loved them all but that you would live and die for your boys. Connie and I figure that meant Ranger, Lester, Bobby, Hal, Cal, maybe Hector," she paused for a second. "And Tank."
"Lula, you know me. I would never…"
"You will. You can." She said stopping me from talking and stopping us both from walking. "I know ya'll think I'm just crazy Lula, but I watch ya'll, and I listen. Those guys love you and each one of them watch you almost as much as Batman does." She took a deep breath and continued. "Not a one of them gets a fair shake with bitches here. All any of these snooty bitches here see when they look at them is meat. Big, dumb, sexy meat. But you see them. You look past the scary and see the sweet. Even that crazy muthafucker with the tattoo on his head."
"But what about you?" I whispered.
"I'm never gonna be nobody's wife, Steph. You saved me, body, mind and soul. And Tankie loves you way more than he ever did me. I might be a bitch…but I'm not evil. If you and Tank get together, I will be the biggest supporter you will find." Lula got a lecherous look on her face and added. "Though I gotta ask…can I watch? I mean I ain't a pervert, like Vinnie or nuthin', but I can't see how your skinny ass could take the manstick Tankie's got."
We looked at each other and just started laughing. Tank and Connie came over and dragged us to the car. "Ok Tank. I'll go to Haywood. But I really need to go get that skip and turn him in. got to make rent."
"Little Girl, you know we have more research than we can ever get done. If you were broke why didn't you come and make some money."
"Well, with Ranger in the wind…I wasn't sure if it would be okay." I said quietly.
"I bet you been mooching dinners off your momma too…never mind she drives you nuts." Tank said shaking his head. "You never have to ask. We love you. None of us want you homeless…unless it will finally get you to move into Haywood permanently." I shot him a 'burg death glare. "What we worry about you in that dinky apartment? You move to Haywood…it would make it a lot harder to collect stalkers."
"Maybe…but what if you guys get sick of me?" I whined.
"Never gonna happen Little Girl. You are one of us and today only proves it. By the way…you don't have to worry about that skip, he'd in holding at Rangeman. You can take him in tomorrow. Lester and Bobby couldn't be trusted anywhere near the cop-shop today, or they'd have taken him on in for you." Tank gave me a smile. He has a great smile. We'll go and grab your stuff and that spoiled rat of yours…oh and grab a couple of distraction outfits. We'll see if we can't get you some extra cash."
We dropped Lula and Connie back by the office and headed to my place on Hamilton. I packed my laundry basket without really thinking about it, I kept replaying the conversation with Lula over and over in my head. What if she was wrong…but lord help me, what if she was right.
I made sure I put in some of my Rangeman uniforms and took a few minutes to struggle over distraction clothes. After all I had no clue what would be called for. So I threw together four outfits. Typical club, slutty pool hall, classy happy hour, and borderline call girl; figure those will cover everything. By the time I came back out front, Tank had gathered Rex and his food and sundries. He'd even taken out my trash. Thank the Lord, cause I almost forgot about it.
"Ready?" He smiled when I nodded. "Wanna stop by McDonalds and hit the Red Box?" Again I nodded. By the time we get back, the core team will be off the clock. We can all veg out in front of Ranger's big ass TV, with some beers and some action flicks. It'll be great."
I texted my boys with the invite. Of course I included the information that we were swinging by McDonalds to get the movies…they of course texted back with their orders. It took us another hour before we made it back to Haywood, thankfully most of the guys had come down to help us schlep all the stuff but to Ranger's apartment.
While the boys got everything set up, I headed to the bathroom and took a quick shower. When I was done I came out and looking through my basket, realized that every piece of lounging apparel I'd brought with me was well slightly naughty. Shoot. My hormones must have packed for me. I threw on a pair of black shorts that had SEXY written across my ass in pink and a pink tank top that had the word SEXY on it also, just in black. Thank goodness that I'd shaved and moisturized everything this morning.
I tried to be nonchalant as I headed out to join the guys.