Danielle Santino was used to disappointment. Before working for Marshall Pittman, she had been disappointed in her practice. She was disappointed in her husband. She was disappointed with herself for having been so blind to his infidelity. She was disappointed in the lack of progress TK had made. She was disappointed in the way her relationship with Matt fell through. But tonight, Danielle Santino felt no disappointment.
"You're sure the kids are gone this time?" JD asked, wrapping his arms around Dani as she unlocked the front door. Impatiently, he nipped at the back of her neck.
Giggling playfully as she opened the door, Dani replied, "Absolutely." Taking JD's hands and pulling him along, they entered the house and quickly closed the door. JD pulled her to him again and pushed her against the door as she said, "I even told them tonight was date night, so they know not to come home."
JD leaned in closer and whispered, "Well, I'm glad they finally know about me and trust me enough to leave us alone."
"I think it's more like they're afraid of what I might do if they come home," she whispered back conspiratorially. Letting out a slight chuckle, JD closed the gap between them and kissed her tenderly.
Dani sighed contently, moaning lightly against his lips.
No. This was certainly anything but disappointment.
Before either of them was really aware of it, they were upstairs in Dani's bedroom, with fewer clothes than ever before. Dani stood in her bra and pants while JD had managed to take everything off but the navy boxers he put on that morning. The kisses were no longer tender. Instead they were hot, demanding. And as they worked to remove the few pieces of clothing that kept them from finally consummating their relationship, Dani thought nothing of disappointment.
Until her phone rang. Frowning at first, she ignored it and JD laughed in approval, covering her lips with his own once more.
By the time it rang again, she and JD had made it to the bed. To keep her mind otherwise occupied, however, JD unfastened her bra and eased it off of her shoulders.
When it rang a third time, she could no longer ignore it. She pulled JD away from her breasts, gave him an "I'm sorry" kiss, and stormed over to answer it, disappointed that her evening could be so easily disrupted.
But it wasn't disappointment that flooded her heart when she looked at the caller ID. She quickly glanced back at JD, anxiously watching her, and walked outside the room.
Dani took deep breaths. She wasn't sure why the fact that Nico was calling her made her feel so guilty, so ashamed. But doing everything she could to calm down, she finally picked up the phone.
"Dani, finally," he said, breathlessly. "I was beginning to worry."
"Nico, what's the matter?" Dani asked, panic setting in.
"Nothing. Nothing. It's just, you weren't answering your door and then you wouldn't answer your phone, and I saw the lights on." He paused. "I was just worried."
Clutching at her chest Dani replied, "Nico, I appreciate your concern, but not all of us have skeletons in our closet that come out to get us."
"Forgive me, Doctor," he answered. Dani shook her head, silently reprimanding herself.
"I'm sorry, Nico. I really do appreciate your concern. It's nice to know someone's watching out for me." Her breath caught as she realized – "Nico, are you outside?"
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
The panic returned. Nico was outside her house. JD was inside her bedroom, expecting… well… expecting her. And she was standing in the hallway bare-chested. She began to contemplate, wondering what the best course of action would be. How could she get JD out of her house and Nico inside, without either of them seeing the other? How could she get dressed before either of their… needs took over?
It was Nico who waked her from her revere. "Doctor?"
Dani swallowed hard.
"Of course not. Just give me a minute and I'll be right down." She hung up without saying goodbye, without waiting for a reply.
It was then she realized that there was no hope of escape. Reluctantly, she walked back inside her bedroom.
"Listen, JD, I'm really sorry. There must be some emergency. Let me just see what's going on," Dani said as soon she entered. She walked straight to her clothes, hurrying to cover herself.
"That's okay, Dani. I'm not going anywhere," JD replied. She looked up to find him under the covers, his boxers lying suspiciously on the floor. She sighed.
"Look, I'm really sorry, but these emergencies tend to take all night." She pulled on her shirt and walked over to the mirror, smoothing her hair (if Nico had seen that…) and straightening herself.
"I thought your kids knew not to interrupt," JD said sitting up.
"They do," Dani replied. "This has to do with work."
"Dani, it's a Saturday night. Are you used to this sort of thing?" Dani turned around and looked JD in the eyes for the first time. He sat there, disappointment evident in his eyes.
"JD, I'm sorry. I really am. You're welcome to stay, but I have no idea when I'll be done. I wish I didn't have to do this, but it's my job." She walked over to him and gave him a quick kiss, blushing at little. (Nico is downstairs, she thought. What are you doing?) Then, without a glance back, she walked out the doors. With a deep breath she walked down the stairs and went to the door.
Through the curtain she could see Nico. He was wearing a navy blue sweater and black slacks and was looking through the door expectantly. Dani stopped there for a second, enjoying the fact that she could see him, but he couldn't see her.
He seemed nervous, anxious. Maybe he was really worried, she thought. He kept looking at the ground and then back up again, waiting. When he started to pace, Dani knew that she couldn't wait any longer.
Nico's sigh of relief was visible as soon as he saw the door open. He knew, as soon as he saw her, that he had been worried for nothing.
Nico had been trained to notice that which others tended to overlook. It was easy for him to tell that she wasn't alone. And suddenly, instead of worry, he was filled with loneliness. Suddenly, he felt guilty. He shouldn't have come. He could have called. He could have texted her. Or come by in the morning. Any number of possibilities would have been better than the one he pursued.
"Nico?" Dani began. He shook his head.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I shouldn't have come." Dani blushed, embarrassed that she could be read so easily. She tried to deny it.
"What makes you say that?" she asked.
"Dani, I know," he replied. He put his hands in his pockets and looked at the ground. Dani shook her head.
"Nico, look, why don't you come in? Can I get you a drink?" She took his arm and pulled him inside, closing the door behind him.
"I just wanted…" Nico began before she interrupted him with –
"How about some coffee?"
It was then that everything fell apart. They looked up to see an unkempt JD walking down the stairs. At least he has his clothes on, Dani thought as she realized everything was ruined.
"Is everything alright?" JD asked. Seeing Nico in the doorway, he said, "Oh, hey Nico." Dani struggled to find her voice. Instead, Nico spoke.
"I should go," he said simply. He watched as JD completed his decent down the stairs and put a possessive arm around Dani's waist. Nico turned and started toward the door when Dani stopped him.
"Wait!" she said. "Whatever it was you wanted, it must have been important to come all the way over here." She smiled shyly at him, encouraging him to go ahead.
Slowly Nico regained his composure. "Coach called a meeting for tomorrow at 9:30. I just thought you would appreciate the heads up." He dug his hands deeper into his pockets and shrugged noncommittally. "Anyway, see you tomorrow." Before walking out the door he said, "Nice to see you, JD."
"You, too," JD replied.
"Nico!" Dani called, momentarily stopping him in his tracks. "Thank you." Nico swallowed.
"You're welcome." Dani gave him a sad smile.
"Goodnight," she said. Nico just nodded and with that he was gone.
Dani sighed as he closed the door. Her head was swimming. She had no idea what to think, or what to feel, and was only vaguely aware of JD as he began to speak. She replied without really thinking about what she was saying.
Her mind was still swimming as they walked back upstairs. It was swimming when JD started to kiss her and peel off her clothes once more.
Her mind didn't stop even as JD buried himself in her.
She was numb to his advances and felt guilty once more as she contemplated that thought that left her speechless: "What was Nico thinking of me now?"
It was this question that kept her awake long after JD fell asleep, satisfied and satiated.
She had no answer.