A/N: The idea for this first chapter came from The Danish Writer's "Drabbles." She's a 14 year old in Denmark who graciously gave me permission to take her idea and run with it. Thanks, Danish Writer!
Pros and Cons
Beckett looked at her paper. She was so adept at shutting him down, and so sure that they shouldn't date, that she had accepted his challenge. This was stupid. He had said he would write down all the reasons they should not date if she would write down why they should.
When he posed the challenge, she could only think of reasons they would crash and burn quickly, so she was certain his list would end up much longer than hers. It seemed like an easy way to get him to quit asking so they could get back to work. He imposed a five minute time limit and began writing immediately. He hadn't stopped.
She began writing slowly, making herself try, since obviously he was trying. "Great smile." She fidgited for a second. "Great dad." She smiled. "Always has my back."
The ideas started coming a little quicker. "Learned how I like my coffee just by watching." "Loyal." "Kind." "Generous." "Tender." "Best friend." "Good to his mom." "Would give me anything I wanted." "Would never hurt me on purpose."
She snuck a peek at him. He was biting his tongue while trying to think of more reasons why they shouldn't go for it. She smiled and kept writing.
"He's adorable." "So strong." "So smart." "Fiercely protective." "Hates to see me upset." "Not pretentious." "Takes care of me." "Makes me feel safe." "Makes me have fun."
His phone beeped that the timer he'd set had run out.
She looked up. He was grinning. Yeah, no. That wasn't supposed to be how he looked after listing all the reasons to not be with her.
She looked back at her list. These were all simply good things about him, not necessarily about the potential them.
"This is stupid." She crumpled her paper and threw it in the trash can then walked off to find something to busy herself with. She knew without looking that he was pouting.
He tried to shake it off. Why did he keep trying? She wouldn't even look at him. He watched her go into the ladies room.
Then curiosity got the best of him. He needed to see what she wrote. He wanted her to see what he wrote. But he didn't want to argue about it.
So he placed his list on the center of her desk. He pulled her list out of the trash. And he left.
She washed her hands even though she hadn't used the toilet. She just needed an excuse to be in there. She couldn't be next to him right then. They were best friends, partners. She couldn't keep thinking all those things about him. No matter how much she wanted to. No matter how many nights she'd fallen asleep trying to push away the same thoughts. No matter how many times she'd failed and fallen asleep smiling. No matter how many days those thoughts would sneak up on her, one at a time, just from looking his way. It would blow up in their faces.
But listing them all out was a little overwhelming. All those things that are just him, plus a few more that she thought but didn't have time to write before the phone beeped. Like "Amazing kisser." Yeah, there was that one time. She looked in the mirror and told herself to get it together. Act like it didn't happen, and go back to work. Denial always works best with him. Except when it doesn't.
When she returned, she was surprised to see his seat empty. She looked around the bullpen and in the breakroom. He was gone.
She flopped in her chair, hoping her rejection didn't wound him too bad. She blew out a long exhale then went back to her paperwork.
But it had been moved off to the side of the desk, stacked neatly. And in the center of the desk was his half of the sheet of paper she had ripped down the middle for them to write their lists.
She placed one hand over her eyes, spreading it to put pressure on her temples with her thumb and middle finger. Did she really want to read this list?
She couldn't stop herself.
"Cons. She's a control freak. I'd annoy her too much. I'd spoil her rotten. She doesn't like me to pay for things. I'd move too fast, wanting forever. She'd be scared by that. She could crush me completely. She'd never risk her heart like this. Knowing what she's really like, outside of my fantasies, would be too distracting. I'd never get any work done. I'd make her lose control in every way I could think of. She's not ready for that. And she'd never get any work done, either. Our fights could be ugly. I don't deserve her. She's too extraordinary to settle for me. If it ended, I'd never find anyone else who makes me feel like she does. I'd probably give up trying."
Her heart pounded. Surely he'd planned this. That was too deep, too revealing, and he looked too happy after writing it for it to have not been premeditated. But… so what?
She looked in the trash to review what she'd written. It wasn't there.
So he's reading my list. My simple list about what I love about him.
She re-read his list. He knows me too well. She focused on key words about her. Control freak, scared, would never risk her heart, not ready. Yep, he's got me pegged.
There were implications. Lose control. Never get work done. Fights… which would lead to making up. She smiled at those thoughts. She was sure that part would be good. She could add "Sensual," "Passionate," and "Sexy," to her list.
But there were other words she didn't believe. Wanting forever. Could crush me. Fantasies. I don't deserve her. Too extraordinary to settle for me. Never find anyone else who makes me feel like she does. Probably give up trying.
He couldn't be serious, could he? He's the most perfect man she'd ever met. Annoying at times, but that was part of his charm. He had no business wanting her. He could find women much more worthy than she. She wasn't even close to being in his league… they weren't even in the same sport. If she fell for him, she'd be ruined for anyone else. There would be no coming back.
She read it again. What am I supposed to do with this?
It wouldn't do for one of the boys to notice this. She folded his list to slide it into her pocket. And when she removed the torn paper from her desk, she found a yellow Post-it underneath, with his handwriting. "But it would be worth it."
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I've got 5 chapters of this written already. I'll post a new chapter every day.