Kate was running late.
Although the Wesley Nash case was solved, Reardan had insisted Kate stay and do all the required paperwork while everything was still fresh in her mind. Filling out/typing out forms was the least favorite part of her job, but it was a necessity.
At last it was completed and Kate rushed to the university. Arriving in no time, she took a shortcut across campus to get to Daniel's class. Glancing at her watch, she was playing it close. If luck was on her side, she might get catch the last ten minutes of Daniel's lecture.
She swung the door to his class open, and was glad to see that Daniel was still lecturing. Being that his lectures were always mesmerizing, few students looked towards the back of the room when Kate opened the door. As silently as she could, she crept over and sat in the last seat of the last row.
Daniel was concluding his talk. Dressed in his usual layered clothing with the tousled hair and dark- framed glasses, he looked as intellectual and attractive as always. He looked up with interest when he saw Kate covertly take a seat.
"There are many reasons why we listen," Daniel stated, now seeming to be more energized as he spoke to his students, "We listen to obtain information, to understand, and to analyze. Yet, as it turns out, we are no good at listening at all!'
There were smiles from a few of the students who agreed with him.
"In fact," Daniel continued, "in chapter 8 of your book, it states that we remember only about 50 percent of what we hear. Think about that! When you walk out of here, you will only recall half of what I said."
Lewicki, who had been sitting on the side spoke up, "Is that why you talk twice as long as required, Dr. Pierce?" he asked.
Some chuckles could be heard as Daniel gave an acknowledged nod.
"Mr. Lewicki's jesting won't seem so clever when he sees his next paycheck," Daniel joked as Lewicki looked repentant before going back to writing in his notebook. Daniel then continued on.
",,,You ever watch how two people interact? In most case, it is not active listening because each person considers his or her own opinion as being more important. Thus he or she is listening more to his or her's own voice, though each might pretend otherwise."
The students seemed to recall that very situation in their own minds as they nodded in agreement.
"It's not that we're arrogant," Daniel explained, "It's just how we are wired; it's human nature. The only time conversations really flows is when one person's opinion matches the others. That's when real listening happens without effort. Speech is triggered by passion, a worry, a judgment or a realization. A friend will tell you about his day not because that person wants you to be well-informed, but because it is on his mind and he wants to get it out. Respect that and he will not only be grateful, but he will take more of an interest in you..."
This time as he scanned the room, Kate caught his eye. An uncontrolled smile broke out on his face before he continued, "So do more listening, less talking and the world will listen to you..."
Afterwards, everyone filed out of the room. Daniel's back was to Kate as he erased the board, although he was well aware that Kate was slowing descending down the aisle stairs. When finished, Daniel turned around in high anticipation of Kate.
"That was quite a lecture you delivered today regarding listening," Kate said, taking the last two steps before coming up to face him.
"I'm sorry...did you say something?" Daniel teased.
She smile, " I just hope, Daniel, this wasn't the reason why you called me here...to use me as your straight man..."
A slight pause, as Daniel's expression turned solemn.
"No, that wasn't the reason I called you here, Kate."
Daniel stood watching her, a barely detectable motion beneath his stillness.
Kate sensed the shift of mood, "Daniel?"
Wordlessly, he reached down for something he had concealed in in his desk. Kate curiously maneuvered left, right and every way, but was still unable to see what he was pulling out from the drawer. When he straightened up, he had a knowing smile on his face, but she could not see what he held in his hand.
Kate was baffled, "What did you just do? What is it, Daniel?"
At last, he brought forward what he had been hiding from her view.
Kate gasped as she stared at the small bouquet of three white daisies, meticulously wrapped in yellow tissue paper, he held out to her.
"I want to officially ask you out, Kate" his voice quivered slightly, and it caused a fluttering inside of her.
"Daniel..." she was speechless as she accepted the bouquet, "They're lovely..."
"I hope this is okay," " he said, referring to the flowers, " I'm not good at this romance thing."
Daniel hoped he wasn't making a fool of himself. But from Kate's expression, he think he guessed correctly. He watched as she brought the bouquet up to take a quick sniff before she looked gratefully back at him.
"This was very sweet, thank you, Daniel, and I would love to go out with you.." Kate responded.
Daniel felt a warmth chased over him at her acceptance.
"I don't want to disappoint you, Kate," Daniel remarked, the words taking on a double meaning, "You deserve so much more."
"And, Daniel," she pointed out, "you have always been... so much more..."
Daniel couldn't believe what he was hearing. This was better than any hallucination he could ever conjure up. Kate was right here, she was looking at him expectantly and willing to go out with him. His senses were filled with wanting to be closer to her, to indulge himself in the feel of her softness.
The way her lovely, shimmering eyes smiled at him was the thing that finally undid him.
Daniel reached out to Kate's waist and pulled her closer to him. As he held her against his body, he could feel her quivering at his touch. Breathing jerkily, he then lowered his head to hers.
This time when Daniel fitted his lips over hers, the kiss was soft, slow and effective. Sensations raced through Kate's body and pooled low in her stomach making her knees weak. For a breathless moment her heart beat fast beneath the pressure of his exploring mouth.
When they separated, both felt the stirring passion between them.
As Kate looked down appreciatively at the flowers she lovingly held between them, her soft expression suddenly changed to one of calamity.
"Kate," Daniel appeared concerned "What?"
She looked devastated as she showed him the bouquet of daisies, now compressed and slightly worse for wear after being caught in the middle of the embrace.
"My daisies! They're crushed!" she looked crestfallen at the sight of them.
Daniel tried to hide the smile at something that was not a big deal to him, "Don't worry," he said, softly , "I got them on sale."
Kate looked at him, not sure if he was kidding or not, until she saw the sparkle in his eyes.
"Oh, if that's the case... " Kate played along, "I'll just toss these in the trash, then ."
"Hey...!" Daniel responded.
Instead, Kate reacted the exact opposite way of what she said, lovingly tending to each flower, attempting to straighten each individual petal, while Daniel looked on, sincerely touched. She was still trying to work the flowers as she spoke.
"Well, " Kate seemed to come to a decision, "After much debate, I've decided to keep these. With just a little water, I think they can be revived."
"...don't forget to give them a lot of attention," Daniel reminded her.
"Oh, don't worry," she looked up and held his gaze, "...I plan to give lots of that!"
As Daniel watched her, he once again was grateful for the change Kate brought about in him.
Before he met Kate, Daniel had been someone who never sat for a quiet moment, someone who needed to be constantly thinking, constantly moving. Anything to keep him from thinking about his condition. But now, he wanted time to slow down, to appreciate everything around him, He wanted to...stop, and smell the daisies.
Daniel held out his hand to her.
"Are you ready for our date?" he asked, his voice not quite sounding like himself.
Kate was surprised.
"We're going to start the date now?" Kate swallowed, "In the midmorning?"
"Is there a problem with that?"he asked, "because no way in hell am I going to wait until tonight to see you!"
She tilted her head with a smile, "How can I resist such a romantic invitation...you've completely won me over with the 'hell' part, you know."
"I always found it works with all the ladies," he teased, "at least in my hallucinations."
Kate smiled and then confidently reached over and placed her hand in his. Daniel's hand was so large and strong in comparison, yet it seemed to fit perfectly in hers.
"You are very good with romance, Daniel, " she decided.
His eyes looked tenderly into hers, Then, let's romance away, Kate."
It was a beautiful day as the sun shone down on the Chicago university campus.
Daniel and Kate strolled hand and hand, through the vast expanse of green grass, through the sweeping trees, and through the classic Midwestern-style Gothic architectural buildings.
At one point in their walk, Daniel listened carefully as Kate related a story to him about her latest FBI escapades. Her narrative was hilariously entertaining, causing Daniel to laugh outloud.
(Daniel's ending voiceover,:) "Life doesn't always turn out how you plan. You may wish for the Yin but instead you end up with the Yang. But whatever journey you choose, the ultimate goal in life is to find a way to connect with one unique person..."
...Meanwhile, back on campus, students trekked back and forth to their designated classes, They barely gave a glance at the attractive couple who was totally immersed in conversation, oblivious to the outside world.
(Final Daniel voiceover:) ..."and once you've connected with that special someone, all you ever want to do for the rest of your life is to be there for him or her...to talk, to laugh... and to listen...
(Cue ending music)
*An ivy-strewn facade of a university building is seen *
Oh wow, that was a bit fluffy! But I wanted Daniel and Kate to have their happy ending. This was so much fun to write! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I know everyone is so very busy and I am forever grateful that you've spent time reading this story. I hope somewhere in at least one of the chapters, you've managed to squeeze out a smile.
I am putting on the finishing touches of my new story "Hazy." I've worked very hard on it and can't wait to post it!
Thanks to the following wonderful readers: JMC, SallyT, Forthedefense, Broken-Rose-Thornesxoxo, Katarina97, Perception Fan, DianaW, Amanda, EverydayisFun, Happyhere, Red Hearts, and OnlytheFacts...and also, thanks for all the nice readers who put me in their "favorites" and/or "alerts". You've made me so happy!
I am truly humbled by...this whole experience! Thank you!
Please let me know what you thought! Please review...
...May you always keep a little romance in your heart!