Kendall pressed one final key, and Buster took over, applying her own self-written algorithms into the program. The few minutes it would take for the process to run gave her time to lean back in her chair and rest. Her thoughts, inevitably, went back to the lean, taut, sweet and adorable blonde detective that she'd been seeing for the past month.
Her lips curved in a smile of remembrance. Their initial worries of how to handle their co-workers once they found out lasted for a day, maybe a day and a half. Due to Janson and Travis' gossip milling, pretty much everyone found out within a couple of hours. Kendall didn't mind at all, but she knew Wes was more reserved and got defensive when others dove into his personal life.
But beyond his initial worries that they shouldn't do "this" in the office, beyond the first teases of "Wow, Wes is dating," there'd been nothing. They'd settled down into talking and flirting/teasing at work, and a few times a week, had dinner, went for walks, saw a movie or two, or just hung out at each other's places. They'd hit the museum a couple more times so Kendall could see the rest of the exhibits. She'd refused, though, to take advantage of his members card again.
They did, however, hit "their bench" a couple more times, but, to her disappointment, cuddling, kissing and pawing over and under clothes was as far as they ever got. Kendall wasn't an overly sexual person, but she wanted Wes, you know, that way. Physical attraction to the blonde hottie came way before she got to know him, and by the way he looked at her, the feeling was very mutual.
When she did strive to push a little bit more, extending a kiss a bit further when they parted, or stealing a hand up under his shirt - he loved that, she knew - he'd accept it, but then pull away after a few more minutes, leaving them both panting.
Well, she thought, as Buster dinged that he was done with her work, maybe this weekend would serve as a turning point in their relationship. If something didn't happen soon, she'd maybe put on her big girl panties and out-and-out ask him what was up.
Friday night she spent alone as Wes and Travis had to finish up a case, and she offered to meet him at his hotel room Saturday for some lunch and togetherness. Kendall had found out a couple of weeks ago how well Wes cooked, and he was gently teaching her.
"So," Kendall said, leaning against the counter as he stirred a heavenly smelling pot of sauce. "I got a call this morning. I'm going to be an aunt."
"Congratulations," Wes said with a smile.
"Yeah, well," Kendall said with half a smile and half a laugh.
"Isn't it supposed to be a happiness-inducing situation? I don't have any siblings, so –"
"I am happy," Kendall replied. "Babies are cool, especially when they're not yours, and you can hand them back."
Wes laughed at that and asked, "Which sister is this?"
"Kenley, my younger sister."
Wes thought back quickly to Kendall's family makeup. Three girls, Kendall's the middle child. The oldest was five years older than Kendall, married with three children, and the youngest –
"Wait," Wes said. "Kenley's the one who just graduated, right? From WVU?"
"Yep," Kendall said, sneaking a finger in the sauce to take a taste.
"I don't remember you saying when she'd gotten married."
"Yeah, right," Kendall scoffed. "Kenley married, that's a good one."
"But she's having a baby."
"Yeah, about four months along now, I think she said."
Wes returned to stirring the pot, blatantly ignoring Kendall's unhygenic finger dipping. He gave up that argument last time, when she argued that a man who French kissed her on a daily basis should have no problems with the germs on her finger.
"What do your parents think about that? Having a baby out of wedlock – She is going to have it, right?"
"What are you getting at, Wes?" Kendall asked. "Only married people can have children? That's not how it works."
"Ha ha, I know how it works," he said. "But it's preferable, don't you agree? I mean, Kenley just graduated, and now she's gonna have a kid? Guess she'll have to move back home with your parents."
Kendall's stance slid from leaning against the counter to straightening up, arms across her chest with every word Wes said. "Kenley lives with her boyfriend, who is the baby's father. They graduated tgoether and both are suitably employed. She will take leave once baby is born, but then return to work. Does this meet your standards, Mr. Mitchell?"
Despite the heat from the stove, Wes felt the temperature of the room drop at least 10 degrees within the last minute. He slid the pot off the burner and turned the heat off. He'd somehow angered the lovely redhead to his right, and he wondered what he'd done to earn her wrath. He was just looking out for her, and really, her family, as well.
"I just think children brought up in two-parent homes fare better," he explained.
"The baby will have two parents, Wes."
"He could leave whenever he wanted, though, with no repercussions."
"Yes, he could," Kendall agreed. "But then again, so could she. A marriage license doesn't change that."
She shook her head, not quite believing, of all things, this would be the subject of their first argument. "What if I got pregnant, Wes?" she asked. "Would you insist we got maried, just to conform to your archaic notions of what makes a family?"
His eyes flickered with a handful of emotions before he replied, "You want to have a baby?"
"Wes, that's not the point," she said, her arms dropping down in defeat.
Not even knowing what her original point was, or what she expected of him, Wes hung his head in frustration. "Well, it's irrelevant, no matter what, 'cause we're not having sex, so there's not even a risk of it."
The ten degrees of temperature drop in the room suddenly went to 50 as Kendall's head snapped up, and her eyes bore into his. "No, we're not."
Then, without another word, she turned on her heel and walked out of the kitchen. Wes heard her heels clicking across the hotel room, presumably picking up her bag and jacket, but it wasn't until he heard his door click open and shut that reality set in that she left.
In one heart-stopping moment, a sense of déjà vu swept over him. Not just one instance, but flashes from his entire life – friends, lovers, his wife all walking out on him.
All that accompanied by a sense of love, frustration, and anger. This time was worse, for some reason. In the past, he'd told himself that he didn't care, and he hid behind logic and knowledge that he was the one in the right.
Now, though, Kendall's distraught face, her back disappearing through the door broke something in him.
He felt a flash of physical pain coursing through his chest. Damn, he thought, was he having a heart attack? A few seconds of self-diagnosis threw away that argument, though. The symptoms were all wrong.
A voice in his head, now, annoyingly sounding like Travis said, "No, you dumb ass. Your heart's breaking. She's walking away from you, and you can't stand it."
No, he couldn't, he thought, as he headed out of the hotel room.
"Kendall!" he shouted, running through his hotel room, half in hope that she hadn't gotten too far.
When he got to the outer hallway, the ding of the elevator caught his attention, and he turned. "Kendall, wait!"
Her step towards the open elevator faltered, and he ran down the hallway toward her. The attendant stepped out, and Wes mentally crossed his fingers.
She shook her head at the uniform-clad man, and Wes exhaled in a sigh of relief. When the doors slid shut again, he raised his hand to her arm, but she fliched, and he knew he'd done worse damage than he realized.
That raised her eyes to his, and he saw the glassiness of unshed tears.
"Kendall, please, come back inside. I'm really sorry. Can we – can we talk? Please?"
Wes couldn't remember ever apologizing so much in one sentence, but at that moment, he would get down on his knees if it meant erasing that look off of her face.
She swallowed and nodded, walking past him back up the hallway. Wes followed, and then hurried ahead to open the door for her. Step one done, he thought. She was back inside, but once he closed the door, he saw that she stopped three steps in.
Wes began to unload then, saying he believed a family consisting of married parents and children was the best way to go, 'cause it's what he grew up in, and it's the only way he'd known.
And though he's never met her family, if they were half as sweet and smart as she was, they'd make loving and wonderful parents. That got her smiling a little bit, but she still wasn't moving and refused to meet his gaze.
Now the other half of what he needed to apologize for. "As for what else I said, I mean, you'd make a wonderful mother. Your son or daughter would be funny and smart, and probably be able to shoot a gun straight their first time around, too."
She was blinking now, wiping at her eyes and dropping her bag onto the floor. And now, Wes thought, the final point. His mouth opened and closed, wondering how to explain to her that he'd been wanting to be with her, naked between the sheets, since before the kitchen incident.
"As for us coupling, I mean, I didn't want you to think I was like Travis, you know, only wanting you for sex, and then –"
"Wes, you know I don't think that."
He took a hesitant step toward her. "I know you don't. But –"
"I – I haven't had sex since Alex and I separated," he finally said. "And since I was faithful to her, and we were together so long, my, umm, sexual partners don't even reach the double digits. Really, you're the first woman I've been with this far in a year and a half. I don't want to screw this up."
"Oh, Wes," Kendall said, giving up her defensive position to take a couple steps toward him.
"I've enjoyed every moment I've spent with you, Kendall. I don't want to rush this."
Kendall cleared the rest of the space between them and raised a hand to his cheek, forcing him to meet her eyes. "Wes, I don't want sex to be end of this. If you don't want to, we won't. I like spending time with you, being with you. Being able to call you my boyfriend."
Wes chuckled, half in relief that she was near him again and not crying, and half in being designated her boyfriend.
"What's so funny?" Kendall asked.
"I'm your boyfriend, huh?" he asked.
"We've been dating for a month," Kendall said with a smirk. "I believe etiquette books call this a relationship, making you my boyfriend and me your girlfriend."
Wes' eyes widened in mock wonder. "There's a book for this?"
"Ha ha," Kendall said, rolling her eyes at his silliness. "I just want you to loosen up, Wes. You need to not let what others do and expect dictate what happens here. Can you do that for me?"
Wes lifted a hand to hers, twining their fingers together between them. "I can try."
"Good. Now, there's no one else here," she said. "You're off duty. I'm off duty. Without thinking of the consequences or what happens tomorrow, what do you want to do, right now?"
A dozen scenarios went through Wes' mind as to what he, indeed, wanted, and they all lead down to falling on his knees and thanking whatever higher power allowed this wonderful woman in his life. He settled for something else entirely, though. A scenario that revolved around making the beautiful, smart, and sweet woman standing before him know just how he felt.
"Well, I am kind of hungry."
She took a deep breath and breathed out a sigh. "Okay, then. Want to head back into the kitchen?"
She took a step in that direction, but his grip on her hand stopped her. She looked up at him, and was caught by a look that she'd only seen a few times before, though this time, it was twice as burning and lust-filled.
"Oh, that kind of hungry," she breathed out.
Wes nodded, and with a tug on her hand, brought her body back to his. Her stumbling step brushed their bodies together, and Wes used her surprise to grasp her face in both hands and kiss her soundly.
When he let her up for air a minute later, he began to walk backwards. His knowledge of his hotel room's furniture served him well, 'cause he didn't want to miss one moment of wonder and awe and happiness in Kendall's face. He didn't release his hold on her jaw until the backs of his knees hit his king-size bed.
A/N In my notes, I wrote "and thus commence the bed bouncing" after that last line. LOL Go, Wes! Think our boy will mellow out now? I hope so, too.
Half of this chapter is what I wrote during vacation, and really, I have nothing else written. Hmm, what happens now? hmm, hmm, hmm.