Winnie Camden was having a staring match with her mobile phone and perilously close to losing. All she could think of as she stared at the little screen was the man in the picture on her wallpaper. Everyone in the whole damn department would mock her if they knew she had that picture on her phone so she could see that moment and relive it every day when the things she heard through her headset got to be a little bit too rough for her very human side.
Thankfully most people only saw her lock screen, the one that got her plenty of teasing as it was. Winnie couldn't help being a huge fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, she'd loved it since she was a kid. When she'd come into the SRU, that love had only grown, particularly after meeting a certain studly Italian who looked like a puppy and had Superman nerves underneath that toasted almond skin who loved it as much as she did. Winie let herself sigh in a short little breath for a moment as she continued to stare at her phone. God what a cutie, she thought, and the muscles discreetly covered up in that photo pushed him from the cutie category straight into hottie territory. He'd shaven that afternoon, too, before the party and slapped on that cheesy Romeo-lover cologne; sometimes Winnie wondered if he wore it for the sole reason to tease her. She'd done that once when they'd gone to the Goose after shift and he'd told her over a picther of Labatt Blue and a hot game of eight-ball he was thankful she had to wear her uniform at work so he wouldn't get distracted by her choice of blouses. Winnie had looked down at herself, and felt a slick rush of lust when she realized the angle she was standing at allowed him to see right down the scoop neck of her lipstick red top to her boobs. She'd cheekily told him that those were the only pair she was keeping tucked in a pocket, only realizing how ridiculously dorky she'd sounded later that night in bed, when sleep refused to come since she could still smell that hideously guido-esque cologne.
The noise of footsteps behind her had her pressing the button to darken the screen so she wouldn't be busted for oogling the picture and it was a good thing she did. She clenched her jaw as she offered up a smile while trying to fight off the blush. Of course it had to be not only the newlyweds but the man of her wallpaper dreams.
'Afternoon Mister and Missus Braddock,' she greeted Sam and Jules. 'What's got you rushing back here so fast, is honeymoon over that quickly?'
'Nah, I just needed to get a few things for my doctor's appointment tomorrow that I left in my locker.'
Winnie blinked, sitting up a little straighter. 'Doctor? Is everything okay?'
'Nothing six months and childbirth won't cure,' Spike teased his friend, elbowing her ribs sweetly.
'Oh!' Winnie forgot her heartache over Spike for the moment, rounded her desk to embrace Jules and Sam with one of her trademark squeezing hugs. Apparently, it was something Jules had forgotten a little when she let out a little 'oof' and patted at her biceps.
'I forgot she's a hugger,' Jules laughed, and Sam slapped Spike's shoulder.
'How about your woman lets go of my woman, there pal?'
'She's not my woman.'
Jules felt Winnie freeze against her, and her arms dropped like a puppet who had suddenly had the strings jerked. It would have gone over the guys' heads but she saw the little light of hurt in Winnie's eyes only another woman would see, noticed the stiffness of her movements as she sat back down at her desk, stuffed her mobile back in her pocket. She turned back and gave Spike a pointed look.
'Well, maybe that's just because you don't try hard enough, young man,' she needled him, then looped her arm through her husband's to haul him towards the locker room before he could be witness to what would surely be The Talk she hoped Winnie and Spike would finally have. Spike watched his friends go, waited until they were out of earshot before turning around and scooting around behind the desk to pull up a chair beside Winnie. He knew it was stupid, dumbass thing he'd said to her and he'd seen how abruptly her cheeriness was turned off.
'Hey, mama, got something for you.' Spike swallowed, noting how Winnie was staying focused on her computer screen. 'Okay, let's make this quick because you can't stay mad at me, I don't like it. I was a jerk for saying that and you are a very pretty and nice lady who will forgive me because I'm cute.'
Winnie wanted to curl her lip in a sneer, then glanced down when she felt his head on her shoulder. The laugh erupted out of her before she could help it - he was doing his 'good doggie' guilty eyes look, where he thrust out his lower lip and batted his big eyes at her. 'Alright, alright you idiot. What do you have for me?'
'This, check it out.' Spike turned his phone to her, sat up straight. 'Photos from the little shindig.'
'The little shindig?' Winnie shook her head. 'I doubt Sam and Jules would appreciate having you call the biggest day of their lives a little shindig.'
'I'm Italian, alright, I know what weddings look like. But..' Spike trailed off, scrolled to the picture of Sam and Jules sharing their first kiss as husband and wife. 'They are so happy so I suppose I can make an exception for something small and tasteful.'
'The fact they are you best friends has nothing to do with it?'
'Well, maybe a little.'
Winnie laughed again, this time feeling no edge of melancholy in it when she caught the light scent of his truly god-awful cologne. Her insides went squishy as memories flooded her from the night of that picture.
The SRU Christmas party at the Blue Goose, their favourite hangout, had been one of epic proportions. The boss had swung it so they would get to have their night of team together-ness right before the twenty-fourth, when they'd all been given three whole days off to spend with their families. Winnie wasn't sure if she should go along - she wasn't technically part of the team - but when Spike had been giving Leah shit about begging off, he'd pointed to her and said, 'Winnie's coming too, so you can talk to her since Jules and Sam will probably be getting tangled up in the tinsel. Right Winnie?'
'Of course,' she'd stammered out, and Spike had winked at her before turning to Leah in triumph.
'See? Winnie will be there for girl bonding and mocking us.'
Winnie had held her tongue until Leah had stomped away, opening her mouth to protest to Spike. She'd shut it once more when he'd turned back to her and passed her a strip of bar-tab tickets. 'We're heading there for around nine. Wear something pretty, especially that stuff you're wearing now. You'll be getting free drinks all night. I'll see you later.'
Winnie wasn't quite sure what to think but she'd gone home the moment her shift was done, and sprinted through the shower, tamed her long black hair into some kind of style. It was a bar party so she decided on tight black jeans and a festive green and silver top with warm but stylish black leather boots. Because Spike had made a point of it, she'd dabbed on a little extra perfume and made sure to put on her favourite lip colour that brought out the fullness of her mouth.
She was checking her purse for ID and her badge and her off-duty piece when the buzzer for her security door on her apartment. Curious, she went to the intercom, pressed the button. 'Hello?'
'Hey Winnie, it's Spike.'
'You ready to go or what?'
'Yeah, just gimme a few minutes.'
'You got it.'
Puzzled but willing to play along, Winnie grabbed her keys and locked her apartment. When she reached the lobby of her building, she felt her stomach hitch when she saw Michaelangelo Spike Scarlotti in dark jeans, a black leather jacket and a blue and black striped oxford shirt with the top two buttons popped open. He was looking down the street so he didn't see her approach. God he looked tasty, she thought as she shoved open the door.
'Well hello handsome.'
Spike turned, felt the spit in his mouth dry up when he saw Winnie was most definitely out of uniform; nothing about the statueesque nature of her body was left up to his prurient imagination anymore. Well maybe a little, seeing as she wasn't wrapped in his arms, in his bed and making love with him. Then nothing would be left to imagine because it would be reality.
'Hello yourself,' he replied in a voice he was surprised didn't crack like he was going to junior prom and seeing his date for the first time. 'I figured since I ripped you away from Saturday night plans, I might make it up to you by picking you up. Cab's on me.'
'Call me Mike.'
'Mike.' Winnie looked at him, tried to hide her curious smile. 'Why do you get called Spike?'
'Story for a different day.'
He whistled for a cab, charmed Winnie when he held open the door for her. He gave the directions for the cabbie and then pulled out his phone to take a picture of them. 'There, proof for my mother I do go on dates with girls.'
'She doesn't think you date?'
'She thinks I make it up that I'm too busy sometimes to date, other times I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm gay.'
'Well, you are a fabulous dresser.' Winnie reached over and fingered the leather lapel of his jacket, then sniffed at him like a bloodhound. 'But there's no way you can be gay, not with cologne that bad.'
'I happen to like this stuff, but that's another story-'
'For another day,' Winnie finished for him. 'When will that other day be?'
Spike wanted to say, 'when it's just the two of us and no work' but that would send the wrong message. Instead he winked at her. 'When pigs fly.'
They'd bantered like that the whole night, arriving at the Blue Goose squabbling like an old married couple - naturally Ed had to point that out to them but it was hard to take the sergeant seriously when he was wearing fuzzy felt reindeer antlers on his shiny bald head; the left one had a christmas ornament attached and the other had mistletoe. Being a wise woman, Winnie ducked away to find Leah who did indeed look grateful to see her. They spent the evening hanging together because as predicted, Sam and Jules kept on disappearing conveniently and the boys were mostly wrapped up in their own games of pool or darts or watching the UFC fight.
When Ed came over with a fresh round of what the bartender cheerful called 'Christmas Spirit' - vodka, gin, cranberry juice and raspberry sourpuss - he gave them each a shot of whiskey and followed it with loud smacking kisses on their cheeks.
Winnie watched him walk away humming Joy to the World, looked at Leah who was lining up her own shot on the pool table. 'How much has Ed had to drink?'
'I think he and Sophie got into the Christmas spirit before they got here with a couple shots of homemade wine,' Leah replied in her usual smooth style, let her eyes flick up to the Scarlotti versus Wordsworth and Parker round robin match. 'Spike looks nice.'
'He can't keep his eyes off your ass.'
'That the funny water.' Winnie held up her glass, wiggled it a little. 'Besides, that's the point of wearing jeans like this, to have my ass be noticed.'
'So...it's bad that a fine son of Rome like that wants to unwrap you for is own little Christmas toy?'
'I'm no one's toy,' Winnie snapped with a little more force than she meant.
Leah held up her hands in surrender. 'Sorry girl, meant no offense.'
Winnie trailed off when Spike wandered over, appearing to be getting into the Christmas Spirit himself. 'Now why are you two lovely ladies hiding yourselves all the way over here,' he asked, draping an arm over Winnie's shoulders, 'when you could be lis'nin' to me an' Parker comment on how all the men in here are idiots for not making a move on either of you.'
'Maybe they'd be scared off by you being so friendly,' Leah commented, hiding her smile with a sip of her drink and discreetly picking up Winnie's phone, selecting the camera app. 'Could be they think you two are an item, Spikey.'
'Ohhh yeah, that's right Leah.' Spike waved her off with a sloppy grin, and pulled Winnie in tight. 'They probably are jealous of me for having such good taste, right?'
'Something like that.'
'Oops look at that!' Ed the Drunken Reindeer wandered over with a fresh picther of cocktails and stopped so he was standing with the mistletoe hanging right above Winnie and Spike. 'Look, look, lookie-look.'
'Ah, yeah, no,' Winnie laughed. 'I don't think-'
Her words were cut off when Spike pressed his lips to hers, nipping at her lower lip with a little bit of clumsiness. Winnie thought her bones were going to melt if he kept it up, or worse, they'd be just like Sam and Jules sneaking off for some private time, only it wouldn't be private because they were trained observers and would see them go. Before she could react, he put his hand to the small of her back and pulled her close, throwing her off balance and forcing her to press her hands against his chest. It was so deceiving the way his uniform his the solid strength of his chest; she could smell his cologne only now it wasn't ridiculous - it was intoxicating.
Winnie felt her defenses go down, and would have sighed, but Spike was pulling away from her and giving Ed a satisfied smirk.
'Does that satisfy your voya- vori- your pervy needs, there, Rudolph?' Spike slurred at Ed who just grinned and wandered past them - apparently they were a detour on his way to accost his wife with his own kisses. Spike turned back to Winnie who was looking rather dizzy. 'Hey, you feeling okay?'
'Never better.' Winnie turned and grabbing her drink, drained the whole thing, then refilled her glass. 'Merry Christmas Sp- Mike.'
'Merry Christmas Winnie. I gotta take a piss.'
Winnie made a non-committal noise, watched him go to the men's room. She let her hip slump against the pool table as she steadied her balance. She'd forgotten Leah was nearby until the woman said only one word.
'Wow,' Winnie echoed. 'Wow is...so not the word I was thinking of.'
'What were you thinking of?'
'A few little dirty words that have no business coming from me and directed at Spike Scarlotti.'
'Words like 'bite' 'suck' 'lick' or 'fu-'
'Leah!' Winnie hissed at her, which only made Leah laugh.
'Winnie, we're in a bar, not a convent. You should follow him in there, finish off that kiss.'
'I'm not going to do that, Leah. I'm no one Christmas toy.'
'Then just remember this moment girl because instead of choosing to go after a hot hot-blooded man tonight, you're choosing to go home with a photo and a memory.'
Winnie's blood drained when she saw Leah holding up her phone to her, showing her the tasteful and rather artistic shot she'd taken of Spike and herself all but trying to swallow each other whole.
Spike felt a little sick at the look on her face - she'd gone to a dreamland, probably remembering some kind of great past love as he showed her pictures of Sam and Jules. 'I was asking if you were going to the reception tonight.'
'Yeah, I am. I never miss a chance to go dancing or drink champagne. I'm sorry I couldn't be there, though.'
Winnie shook her head with a laugh. 'Spike you were there.'
'I mean I'm sorry I you had to miss it too, too.'
'Too, too.' She glanced up, saw the look he was giving her and felt her insides go squishy at the liquid longing in those beautiful eyes. 'I-'
But his named was called out by one of the Team One members and instantly the glands were put in check because they were needed. She called out to Spike to be careful, and once he was gone with the others she pulled out her mobile phone again and looked at her wallpaper, at the moment of pure bliss she'd had with him and asked herself the question she'd asked a million times since that night. Why oh why hadn't she followed through on that kiss?