"So, let me get this straight." Lester walked around his desk and stood in front of Jess and Becker.
He pointed to Jess. "You decided to go out into the field, armed with Chinese food, to visit Captain Becker while he was staking out a building that potentially contained a time travelling psychopath bent on killing us all."
"Yeah." Jess pursed her lips. "That sounds about right."
Lester narrowed his eyes at her. "Then you disobeyed Captain Becker's direct order to stay in the SUV until back up arrived and followed him into an unknown building, without the proper attire, in the dark..."
"At least I substituted the Chinese for an EMD," she interrupted. "It had a flashlight on the end," she added quickly when his glare deepened.
Lester sighed. "Even so, Jess, you placed yourself in a situation where you had to attempt to defuse a bomb."
"Attempt?" Jess scoffed. "I put myself in a situation where I successfully defused a bomb."
The corner of Lester's mouth turned up slightly. "So, it would seem."
Becker took a step forward, so he was between Jess and Lester. "She saved my life, Sir," he said solemnly.
Lester signaled for Becker to continue. Becker nodded and gave Lester his account of what happened.
"I stepped on a pressure pad that activated the bomb, so I couldn't move to defuse it without setting it off. The next thing I knew, she was there. I tried to talk her through defusing the bomb. It seemed pretty straighforward until she revealed the wiring. There were two wires, both the same color. She had to pick the right one or..." He made an explosion sound and mimed it with his hands. "I told her to leave me and save herself, but she refused."
He paused for a moment, his words sinking in. "She stayed," he said incredulously.
Lester glanced over at Jess. She gave him a hopeful look and he bit back a smirk. "So, you've said, Captain."
Becker cleared his throat. "Anyway," he gestured to Jess, "She is a hero. She deserves a medal, not a punishment."
Jess was surpised by his declaration. She felt her cheeks heating up and smiled brightly.
"I'll take that under advisement," Lester said, "For now, I'd like a moment alone to speak with her."
Becker's eyes widened. "Sir, that's not necessary..."
"I'm sorry," Lester deadpanned, "Did that sound like a request?"
"But Sir, she didn't..."
Lester sighed impatiently. "Captain, you are dismissed. I will not say it again."
"Sir, I..." Becker tried again. This time it was Jess who cut him off.
"It's okay. Go, before you get yourself in trouble."
Becker looked at her uncertainly. She fluttered her hands up and down in front of her. "Shoo," she said, motioning to the door.
He walked toward the door. "I'll wait for you outside," he said over his shoulder as the door closed behind him.
There were a few moments of silence before Lester spoke.
"Well," he drawled, "I'd say that's progress."
Jess plopped unceremoniously onto the chair facing Lester's desk. "Unbelievably slow progress."
No doubt about that, Lester thought. "So, the bomb was an interesting turn of events," he said, deciding a change of subject was in order.
Jess made a face. "Tell me about it."
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I am," Jess said honestly. "Aside from the impending death, the rest of the evening went pretty well."
Lester leant back against his desk. "Did you remember the prawn crackers?"
"Of course. You told me they were his favorite."
Becker pulled a chair up to the front window of Lester's office, trying in vain to hear Jess and Lester through the sound proof glass.
Lester's face was impassive and Jess had sat down with her back to him, so he was unable to get a good read on the situation.
What if Lester was reprimanding her? Wait...why? Jess was brilliant. Truly brilliant.
She saved him.
Just checking to see if you smiled and you do.
Your friends figured it out. They stopped her.
You were brilliant today. You can't save everyone. You saved two people as well.
I'm not leaving you. I'm not leaving you.
Becker's heartbeat quickened as the memories crashed over him. He smiled, realization dawning, and wondered how he didn't see it before.
Jess saved him a long time ago.
Lester thought for a second. "Ironically, the bomb actually worked in our favor."
"Weird, right?" Jess laughed humorlessly.
"You defused a bomb," Lester said proudly. "Surely, he must have thanked you in some way?"
Jess smiled fondly. "We hugged...well...technically I hugged him. I ran straight from the bomb into his arms, but his arms were open when I got there and he hugged me back...for a while...and he told me I was brilliant. Then I pulled away and told him that I knew I was brilliant..."
Lester smirked. That sounded like Jess.
"...and then he smiled and there was a second hug. He tucked his face into my neck and I really thought he was going to kiss me..." She trailed off and let out a heartfelt sigh. "The back up team chose that moment to arrive and he let go of me and started giving orders to his men."
Lester raised his eyebrows. "That's it?"
"That's it," she affirmed.
Lester didn't look impressed. "It's been two days since the incident," he said, "Has he done anything else?"
"He..." Jess mentally sifted through the past two days. Her face dropped when she realized all she could come up with was, "He held the door open for me this morning."
Lester shook his head. "Dear god, that man is thick."
Jess gave him a dejected look. "You would think saving his life deserved flowers or chocolate or a simple thank you." She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes and she took a deep breath to calm herself down before continuing. "Is it even possible for someone to be that emotionally handicapped?"
"Apparently," Lester said, sounding surprised at the revelation.
Lester shrugged. "We wait until he figures it out."
Jess sniffled as the tears found their way to her cheeks. "I'm sorry," she said, wiping them away with the sleeve of her cardigan. "It's just..." She huffed quietly, trying to find the right words to describe how she felt. "...It's been over a year- and he's worth the wait- but what if the reason it's taking so long is because he doesn't have any feelings for me?"
"He does." Lester said confidently. "Emotions just aren't exactly his forte."
Jess gave him a relieved look. "Oh," she said, "Well, when do you think he's going to figure it out?"
"I think he just did." Lester looked out the glass window at the front of his office. "Obviously, subtlety isn't his forte either."
Jess arched an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
Lester kept his eyes fixed on the window behind Jess. She turned around and felt her face flush. Becker had pulled a chair up to the window and was watching them intently. He had his arms folded across his chest, his EMD resting at his feet. His face fell when their eyes met and he leapt from his seat.
Becker pushed the door open, much more forcefully than necessary. "Why is she crying?" he demanded.
Jess frantically swiped at her cheeks. She thought she'd erased all of the evidence of her earlier break down.
"Calm down, Captain..." Lester stopped, the wheels in his head turning.
"Why is she crying?" Becker repeated, enunciating each word.
"Because I yelled at her." Lester retorted, hoping his words would have the desired effect.
"What?" Becker asked, his voice higher than usual.
Jess frowned and glanced up at Lester. The mischievous gleam in his eyes told her what he was playing at, so she stayed silent and watched the scene unfold.
"I yelled at her," he repeated nonchalantly. "She disobeyed a direct order."
"To save my life." Becker barked, moving closer to Jess.
He took her hand and gave her a small smile before pulling her to her feet. "It's okay," he whispered.
Becker turned to Lester and gave him a menacing look.
"That's charming," Lester muttered.
"I'm taking her home." Becker announced as he walked through the door, Jess in tow.
Jess wasn't going home and Lester knew it. She had a strict work ethic that not even Becker could interfere with...for long anyway.
Still, Lester did his best to sound annoyed. "Very well," he called after them, "But I expect you in here early tomorrow, Jess."
The head of security missed the knowing look Lester gave Jess and the grateful smile she gave him in return.
Lester pulled out his mobile and dialed a number. "Amy?" he asked when a woman answered. "James Lester. I'm going to need you to start your shift early today. Jess had some important business to take care of and has taken an early lunch break."
He ended the call and caught a glimpse of Jess' hair as Becker lead her down the hallway toward the locker room. "Come on, Becker."
"Come on, Becker." Jess said, gripping his forearm with her free hand. His strides were long and she was teetering after him on her heels. "Stop!"
Becker let go of her hand when they reached her locker. "Get your things," he said as he turned to face her.
Jess shook her head. "I'm fine, really."
"You're going home, Jessica."
"I don't need to go home, Becker."
"He yelled at you." Becker growled, glaring at Jess' locker.
"Lester?" Jess asked, surprised by the sudden change in coversation.
Becker nodded. "After everything you did, he had the audacity to yell at you."
"Well...I did disobey a direct order," she said, feeling the sudden need to defend her boss. After all, Lester didn't actually yell at her.
"Thank you for that," he said sincerely. "I owe you my life."
Jess waved her hand dismissively. "Chocolate will do, Captain." She smiled. "Or, you know, shoes. Loads and loads of shoes."
Becker smirked. "Chocolate and trainors. Got it."
Jess swatted his arm. "Heels." She pointed to her neon pink wedges for emphasis. "If you buy me trainors, I will..." She tried to think of something threatening.
"...acquire some stealth?" Becker offered.
"Hey!" Jess protested. "I'm stealthy!"
"Oh, please." Becker scoffed. "I could hear you coming before you even left the SUV."
"Is that so?"
She quirked an eyebrow. "Then, how is it that I was able to scare you in the parking garage?"
"I wasn't scared, Jessica."
"You nearly shot me with an EMD!"
"Fine," he said, "I was momentarily caught off guard."
"Scared," Jess sang.
Becker glared at her for a few seconds. "Okay," he conceded. "I was scared..."
She smiled triumphantly. "I knew it."
"...but not because of that."
Her smile softened as he took a step toward her. "I thought..." He rested his hand on her cheek and she leaned into his touch. "...I thought I was going to lose you."
His eyes searched hers and she gave him a reassuring smile. "You didn't."
"...but I could have."
Jess shook her head, causing Becker's hand to drop. "Not possible."
Becker gave her a quizzical look.
She sighed dramatically. "Have you learned nothing?" She poked him in the chest, her eyes dancing playfully . "I'm brilliant, Becker," she said, "There was no way I was going to cut the wrong wire."
He smiled, really smiled, and wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her to him. She squeaked and instinctively lifted her hands, which ended up settling on his chest.
He leant forward, so his forhead was resting against hers. "Will you have dinner with me tonight?" he asked quietly. "Chinese? My place?"
Jess made a thoughtful sound and pretended to think about it. "On one condition," she said after a few moments.
"And what would that be?"
"No bombs this time," she said cheekily.
He chuckled and closed the space between them. The kiss was firm and demanding, like they were making up for lost time. When they finally pulled away, Becker had Jess pressed up against her locker and they were both breathing heavily.
Jess pouted. "I should probably get back to work," she said, even though it was the last thing she wanted to do right now.
Becker brought his hand up and cupped the back of her head. "The ADD isn't going anywhere," he said before pulling her back to him.
This time when they pulled away, Becker was seated on the bench in the middle of the room with Jess straddling his lap. They stared at each other for a couple seconds, confused by their positioning, before bursting out laughing.
"How did we get in this position?" Jess asked.
Becker shrugged. "You tell me. You're the one on my lap."
"True, but you're the one holding me there." She pointed out.
"True." Becker tightened his grip on her hips. "And I intend to keep you there," he said, attempting to pull her down once again.
Jess slid off of his lap with a breathless laugh and he followed her. "We really should get back to work now," she said, finding herself pressed up against her locker again.
Becker grinned wickedly. "You're probably right," he said as he began to trail kisses down her neck.
"That's not fair," Jess breathed.
"Who said I played fair?" Becker hummed against her skin.
Jess lifted Becker's face to meet hers. "Five more minutes," she said before smoothing her lips over his.
Thirty minutes later, Jess found herself sitting on one of the small tables in the corner of the room. Becker was directly in front of her, holding onto her thighs, which were wrapped around his waist. He broke the kiss to nibble at her ear.
"How long have we been in here?" She asked, stifling a moan.
"Five minutes," he murmured.
Jess glanced at her watch. "Times six."
"Huh?" Becker lifted his head to meet her eyes.
"We've been in here for thirty minutes." She gave him an amused look. "What would you have done if there was an anomaly?"
Becker smirked. "Carried you with me." He kissed her lightly on the lips. "I only need one hand to shoot a dinosaur," he said after pulling away.
"And what if someone had walked in on us?" She challenged.
He shrugged. "Dinosaurs aren't the only things I can shoot with one hand."
Jess laughed and ran her fingers through his hair. "Well, Lester is going to shoot us if we don't get back to work."
"Yeah we should probably..." His voice trailed off as his lips drifted back toward her neck. This time Jess intercepted him.
"Becker!" She giggled, covering her neck with her hand. "Seriously!"
Becker took a step back. "Okay, okay." He took her hand in his. "I'll walk you back to the hub."
She smiled and kissed his cheek.
He groaned. "It's going to be a long shift."
"It'll be worth the wait." She gave his hand a gentle squeeze.
He smiled and kissed her forehead.
"Oh, by the way," Jess said as they stood in front of the doors to the Ops room. "Lester didn't actually yell at me."
Becker frowned. "He didn't?"
"Nope. He wanted you to think that, so you would admit your feelings for me."
"How did he know? Christ, I just figured it out."
"Lester knows everything."
"Apparently." He tilted his head. "Wow. Am I really that...that..."
"...emotionally handicapped?" Jess smirked. "Totally."
Becker gaped at her. "Wait," he said, putting it all together. "You were crying because of...me?"
"You sure took your sweet time admitting it," she teased. "I was beginning to think it was unrequited on my part."
"It isn't- wasn't...it never was...what I mean is..." he stammered. He sighed in frustration before saying, "I'm not really good with emotions."
Jess nodded. "So, I've been told."
"Lester?" Becker asked with a mixture of annoyance and disbelief.
Jess raised her hands. "What can I say? The man is perceptive."
His eyes softened. "I'm sorry it took me so long."
"Don't be," she said cryptically, "You're going to make it up to me."
Becker narrowed his eyes playfully. "Oh, I am. Am I?"
"You are," Jess confirmed. "Starting with tonight and ending whenever I see fit."
"That's hardly fair," he said. "It's not like I meant to keep you waiting," he added, leaning in for a kiss.
Jess turned her head, so his kiss landed on her cheek instead of her lips.
He tipped his head and gave her a curious look.
She batted her eyelids innocently. "Who said I played fair?" She said as she turned on her heel and walked toward the ADD.
"Tease!" Becker called after her.
"You would know!" Jess replied without looking back.
The two walked off in different directions with matching smiles on their faces.
Lester nodded approvingly as he watched the pair from his office. "Good man."