A/N: Originally this was supposed to be part of the new story, but this lunchtime conversation grew and took on a life of its own. The end result was too light compared to the tone of the rest of the story. I thought it might make for a fun one-off. Enjoy! (Connie was a character from 2nd Season...)
Characters do not belong to me. No profit being made. Just for fun and writing experience.
It was just after noon on a chilly day in April when a brown Ford Galaxy pulled outside of the 38th Street Pub and Grill. Two overworked and hungry plain clothes detectives exited their vehicle and walked toward the door. They had been on stake-out just three blocks away and decided to take a Code 7 and grab some lunch.
"So, you've been here before?" Lieutenant Mike Stone asked.
"Used to come here sometimes with Connie. She had discovered it along with some of her coworkers down at the paper," replied his younger partner, Steve Keller.
"Ah. So this place has 'memories' for you. You are okay to eat here?" Mike nudged.
"Mike, I'm a guy. I can eat any where and any time. Besides the food is really good and they have televisions around the bar so you can catch the weekend games."
"Or the daytime soaps?"
"I think they try to keep it to game shows," Steve cracked. "But they have good food - sandwiches, chicken wings, whatever. And the owner has quite a bit of 49er and Giants memorabilia."
"This doesn't strike me as a place Connie would like. I mean, it's basically a sports bar," Mike noted.
"Yeah, but their specialty is seafood. And Connie is a real nut for oysters. She'd order a dozen every time we'd come here. I can't stand them, but it was interesting to watch her slurp them down."
"Do tell, Buddy boy," Mike grinned and leaned forward.
"Well, the owner brings them in from all over. The Bay here, the gulf, Alaska, New England,.. She'd get a variety and they would bring them to her on a platter. She'd sit there across from me and knock them back. The juice would run down her chin. You don't know how many times I wiped her face with a napkin. It was messy, but oddly intriguing at the same time."
"Is it true what they say about oysters?"
"Whatever do you mean?" Steve feigned innocence.
"You know…was she…ahem…romantic afterward."
"I'll never tell. But I will say I never her took here in the middle of the day when I knew I'd have to get back to you and the office."
They were escorted to a booth near one of the back windows. Mike looked around at the busy lunch crowd, as Steve opened up a menu. The older detective noticed a group of young women looking their way. As his eyes connected with theirs, they quickly turned away. Not knowing what to think, Mike simply raised his eyebrows and opened his own menu. Steve was oblivious.
After a quick perusal, Mike found a corned beef sandwich that was calling his name. He closed the menu and looked back at the young women. There were three or four - it was hard to tell at that angle - and once again, they were looking at the table where he and Steve sat.
"Steve, do you know those girls over there?"
Steve looked up and took a quick glance. "Oh…yeah…terrific. They are friends of Connie's. Just my luck. I don't see her, though, so maybe we're okay."
Two seconds later, Connie joined the girls. "Sorry, I'm late, ladies."
Mike grinned, "You spoke too soon, Buddy boy." He looked back at the table of women and saw that they were now pointing Connie to the direction of Steve.
"Aw, no..." Steve whispered. But she caught his glance. She smiled and he felt obligated to nod back. But then her attention returned to her friends.
Mike and Steve placed their order - a corned beef and fries for Mike and a fish filet for Steve. As they awaited their food and drink, Mike teased, "Perhaps you should order the ladies a round of oysters."
"Ah, shucks," Steve responded. Mike rolled his eyes at the pun.
"That was really bad."
"It was the best I could do. I'm under stress from an ex-girlfriend," Steve grinned.
After they ate, Steve thought they could slip out after paying their bill. But as they waited for the server to bring back the change, Connie approached the table.
"Hi Steve. I didn't expect to see you here. Aren't you a little far from the station?"
"We had business nearby, Connie. How are you?" Steve politely responded. Mike squinted at Connie as he sought to identify whether she had an unusual sheen on her chin.
"Very well. I'm here with some of the girls from work. I think you've met most of them."
"Yes, I believe I did."
"They sure remembered you," Mike offered, completely unsolicited. Steve shot him a quick glare.
"You know, Steve, maybe some time we can go have a drink and catch up. We don't have to avoid each other. No matter what, I think we can still be friends, right?"
"Sure, that would be fine." Steve breathed a sign of relief as the server returned the change. "You know, we do have to run. Connie, it's been great seeing you."
She smiled, "I need to be going too. Bye, Steve."
Steve nodded and got up quickly. Mike struggled to keep pace as they left the restaurant.
"Well, Buddy boy, that was awkward."
"Yes, it was."
"Why did you two break up anyway? Was it still the same issue that she had about your work?"
Steve and Mike got into the car as the younger detective answered, "You mean the 'convicts are victims too ' line that she was trying to strangle me with? That was a big part of it. But really, it boiled down to the fact that she just wanted me to be someone that I'm not."
Steve continued as he started the car, "You know, she introduced me to her family. That was a disaster. Her grandmother liked me - older women generally do. And her kid sister. That happens a lot too. But her parents and her brother were not at all friendly.
Her dad, especially. He didn't like me being a cop. The mother was put off by the fact that I wasn't on the local social register. Her brother - I think his name was Biff - gave me the cold shoulder too," After a pause, he finished, "They just thought she could do better. So there you have it."
Mike reflected on that for a moment. You have got to be kidding me, someone better?
"What does her dad do?"
"He's a tenured professor of literature over at the university. A man of letters." The last part, Steve declared with a elitist accent reminiscent of Thurston Howell III.
"Well you are a man of numbers…"
"How so?" the confused younger officer asked.
Mike paused for a second and grinned. "357, .38, .45, .22 and a 9 millimeter. Ha!"
"Oh," Steve groaned as he put the car in drive. "Now that was bad…really, really bad."