The orange walls seemed to burn a little brighter on this spring afternoon, and the paper cup in Ray Cruz's hands felt dry as he sipped coffee and—despite the two sugars and cream—burned a trail of fire down his throat. His heart thudded against his chest and he could hear the blood beating in his ears. That plus the jetlag did not bode well for a happy Ray.
Ray Cruz had always been a sweet talker. It was just his way. It was how he had come to where he was now. Hell, he certainly would not be sitting in the break room of NCIS in Washington if not for his sweet talking. He had always considered himself mildly attractive, but one does not get a girl like Ziva David on just that. She was gorgeous and hard to get. And yet here they were.
"I've missed you," Ziva said to him, with a grin. She was so happy to see him. A long distance relationship was one thing but it had been months since she had seen him last.
Ray's eyes fell to the floor. He didn't want to go through with this. "I missed you too," he murmured in reply.
Her smile faded the slightest. "What's wrong?"
He sighed and gazed into her beautiful eyes. "Remember the box I gave you last year?"
"Uh-huh," she answered.
"I still have the ring. But I have been thinking…" he paused.
"Yes?" Ziva said, expectantly.
"I can't ask you to marry me."
Her face fell, and her brows curved downward. "Why not? Did I do something wrong?" she asked, gesturing to herself with her hands on her chest.
"No," he told her, grabbing both her hands and holding them tightly.
"What about your promise?" she asked, her head down. "What about all the things that you said?"
"When I gave you the box, I was promising you fidelity. I was going away and I had to know that you trusted me."
"Now, it wouldn't be right."
"Why wouldn't it be right?" she asked, raising her voice, letting go of his hands and standing over him "Because…you go away all the time? Because you don't want to leave me? Because there is another woman? What is it, Ray?"
He stood too. "I can't marry you," he told her softly, "because when you came down here with me, you left your heart upstairs, with the man that sits six feet away and wears expensive clothes."
She squinted in confusion. "You…you think I'm in love with Tony?"
"I know you are. And the feeling is mutual." He stroked her cheek. "It just wasn't right with us." With those words, he walked away from her.
"If this was not right then I do not know what is," she called after him.
"Go talk to Tony. I bet he knows," he replied sincerely, and left without another word.
She flopped down onto her chair, resting her head on her hands. With a sigh, she called out:
"You can come out now, Tony." Her voice had little motivation, though.
He came round the corner with his hands stuffed into his pockets, feeling guilty for listening, and even more guilty for being caught.
"Is that true?" he asked her, and she looked up at him. "Are you in love with me?"
She just stood from her seat and started to walk away. Swiftly, he grabbed her arm and spun her round to face him. She was so close he could feel the tickle of her breath on his skin. Carefully, he put a hand to her neck and pressed their lips together. He expected her to pull away. She didn't. Her tension melted at the feeling of his mouth on hers, and her inhibitions floated away.
He pulled away just the slightest, and the tiniest gasp escaped her lips as they formed into a tiny smile.
"Good," he said, and kissed her again.