Author's notes: At long last... this is the final story in the "Welcome Home" series, which follows Brenda to Atlanta after she leaves Major Crimes, and her return to LA after doing a lot of soul-searching and experiencing some personal growth. The first story in this series was "Thirteen Days, Seven Hours, Thirty-Six Minutes," the second was "Photograph," and the third was "The Second Daughter." You will all be pleasantly surprised to learn this is story will relatively angst-free.
I am trying something new here. I am posting both an M-rated and T rated version of this story. You only need to read one version or the other of each chapter; they won't differ except for the naughty stuff will be tamed down for the T versions, so pick your poison, clean or smutty. This way, I am hoping everyone will get to enjoy a romantic Brenda/Fritz story that fits their comfort level. I do apologize to those of you who follow me that you will get spammed with two e-mails each time I update.
But for those of you who like things steamy, and you must or you wouldn't be reading this version, it's about to get pretty hot in LA. It's been a month and Fritz's engines are roaring, so believe me, there will be a lot of hot sex.
Thanks for Kate Rosen for editing this and catching all my sloppy mistakes.
And before you start what I'm sure will end up being a very long story, please make sure to read the wonderful works by my partners in crime. Don't miss Kate Rosen's "Something Better," ManateeMama's hilarious "Girl's Night Out" (rumor has it she's got more stuff coming soon) and ProcrastinationQueen's "Letting Go." I am humbled by the influx of new Closer fanfic talent who love Brenda/Fritz as much as I do.
Fritz decided on red roses. He hesitated while in the florist, tempted by the soft petals of a bouquet of small pink roses with their delicate spray of baby's breath, because he knew how much Brenda loved pink. But after minutes of indecision, he finally chose red roses, the color of fresh blood, because he knew when Brenda came down the corridor at LAX toward where the visitors had to wait, the vibrant shade would catch her eye. He hoped he would catch her eye, but a bouquet of a dozen red roses bought at one of LA's high end florists wouldn't hurt. Besides, the flowers were only the first of many surprises he had waiting for her.
Brenda was coming home after being in Atlanta for exactly 29 days, four hours, and twenty-three minutes, and Fritz had stopped at the florist on his way to LAX to pick her up. And he felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. He rubbed the tips of the satin petals against his lips and thought about Brenda's sweet mouth, so soft and yet so demanding. He imagined running this very rose gently down Brenda's body, and the look on her face from the gentle touch. He shook his head and forced himself to stop thinking such things, needing to focus if he was going to get to the airport on time.
He couldn't sleep the night before, tossing and turning and thinking about all the things he would be doing with his wife exactly 24 hours later. He definitely wanted to take care of his massive erection brought on by images of Brenda's head bobbing between his legs, but he was determined to save every bit of sexual energy for their reunion. Around 3AM he got up and pulled off his tee-shirt, which was stuck to his sweaty chest, and took a cold shower, something he had never done before but only seen in the movies. It helped, and he went back to bed, concentrating hard on baseball stats and nothing else until he finally fell asleep.
He took the whole day off to meet Brenda at the airport, even though her flight wasn't due in until 3 o'clock. He woke up around 11, feeling like he had finally gotten some quality sleep after tossing and turning out of sexual frustration most of the night. He took a nice long run, and then a relaxing shower, making a point to use the shampoo and soap Brenda liked to smell on him. He had a little problem deciding what to wear, and had to laugh at himself for acting like a woman. He wanted to look nice for her, but it was the middle of the day, so a suit was too dressy. He settled on a pair of khakis and a maroon button-down Brenda had bought him for Christmas. Taking one last look at himself in the mirror, he packed up the car and headed out. Even with his indecision and dawdling while picking out roses at the florist, traffic was light, and he knew he was going to arrive at the airport ridiculously early.
Fritz had been so busy running around at home that he forgot to check his cell phone, and it wasn't until he was in the silence of his car that he heard the "chirp" that indicated he had received a text. At the next stoplight he pulled out his phone, and seeing that the text was from Brenda, he cursed to himself for letting his phone out of his sight. It read, "Fritzy, my flight was delayed an hour. Now I have to wait even longer to see you!" Fritz groaned. Poor Brenda was stuck at the Dallas/Forth Worth airport for an extra-long layover, and he didn't answer her back. She was probably bored out of her mind and a little pissed. He started to pull over and text her back, but then he remembered that she would be in the air and couldn't use her phone. And now I'm going to be at LAX an hour early, all wound up with no Brenda, he thought. Crap.
Not being able to think of any errands to run along the way, and with Brenda's bouquet sitting on the passenger's side of the car, her big surprise all in order and not needing any finishing touches from him, he proceeded to the airport. He mumbled a few curses when he saw the hourly parking rate, but he knew why he was really upset. He felt like all he had been doing for the past month was waiting to see Brenda again, and just at the cusp of being reunited…he had to wait even longer. His patience had officially worn off. He wanted his wife. Now.
Fritz missed the pre-September 11 days when you could watch people walk off the plane. It always felt so great to be able to greet someone right when they landed, instead of having to head them off on their way to Baggage Claim, like he would have to do today. Roses in hand, he positioned himself as close to Gate 31 as he could get, and kept checking the monitor in hopes that the words next to American Airlines Flight 679 would miraculously change from "Delayed" to "On Time." He paced back and forth, trying to work out some of his tension, and occasionally stopping to play a round of "Words with Friends" with Jerry to distract himself before he resumed pacing. After taking his turn and scoring a whopping five points, he looked up to see an older woman with a bemused expression on her facing staring at him. Warm eyes met his.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone so agitated at the airport before," she said in a friendly voice. "You must be waiting for someone special."
Fritz turned to her, glad for the distraction. "Yes, I am," he replied. She was in her mid-sixties, but in typical LA fashion, was very stylish, well groomed, and quite attractive. "I'm waiting for my wife. She's flying in from Atlanta today."
"Ahh. What a lucky woman she is," she nodded to the bouquet in Fritz's arm. "Has she been gone long? Not that I mean to pry. I'm just a nosy old lady who longs for the days when a handsome man greeted me with roses."
"You aren't prying, and you certainly don't seem old to me," Fritz answered, liking the kind woman. "And she's been gone for a month." Without intending to, Fritz found himself telling this stranger about Brenda's mother dying and how she had just quit her job as head of Major Crimes, and decided to spend time with her sick father before starting her new position. He left out the part about Phillip Stroh, because he didn't want to horrify this complete stranger, to whom he was already divulging too much personal information. Even though Fritz was an eight-year veteran of AA, he still wasn't someone who was comfortable spilling his guts to people he didn't know, so he was surprised to hear himself go on and on to this woman. It was probably nerves, but it felt good to talk to someone about how much he had been missing Brenda. Jerry was sick of hearing about it and had no qualms telling Fritz as much.
"My goodness, the poor thing! That's an awful lot to deal with," the woman said. "But she must be a tough one, your wife, being so high up in the LAPD and all. You must be very proud of her."
"I am," he said, feeling himself get choked up. He meant it, too. For all of Brenda's faults, Fritz had a profound admiration for what a strong person she was. He doubted anyone else could cope with two career-threatening lawsuits, two near-shootings, finding their mother dead, and being attacked and almost killed all within a year's time and live to tell the tale. Fritz knew Brenda stuffed her emotions down and what was often an illusion of strength was really denial, but in Atlanta she seemed to learn how to really mourn, how to cry. Not only that, but she was asking him for help, stating what she needed, and reaching out when she was hurt instead of brushing him off with her usual "I'm fine!" Fritz was heartened by the changes he saw, and hoped that if any good came out of Willie Rae's unexpected death, it would be Brenda's finally being able to connect with her feelings instead of burying them with work. She was so good at running away, his girl, and he crossed his fingers that all the trials she had gone through had taught her how to stand still for once.
He pulled out his iPhone and, after flipping through several pictures, came across the one he was looking for. He and Brenda had gotten into the habit of sending each other pictures several times a day, and this was one she had texted him two days prior with the message, "less than 48 hours to go!" In the picture Brenda is standing outside of her parent's house, wearing a pink floral sundress with thin spaghetti straps. Her hair is down and wildly curly, the way he likes it. Her nose is slightly sunburnt, and she is smiling at Charlie, who is taking the shot. Fritz showed his phone to the older woman, who put on her glasses too look. "That's Brenda," he said, not able to keep himself from smiling.
"Oh, she is beautiful! The two of you must really turn heads," she said. "I bet no one thinks she is a cop. She's just a little slip of a thing."
Fritz smirked. "Yea, no one thinks she's a cop until she opens her mouth. Brenda can be pretty scary."
"Lucky you." He rolled his eyes theatrically.
Fritz realized he had been babbling about himself, and hadn't asked the woman a single question. He had another 30 minutes to wait, so he might as well make friends.
"Are you also waiting on the flight from DFW?" She nodded. "Who are you waiting for, if I may ask? Oh, I'm Fritz, by the way." He extended his hand.
"Lily," she said, shaking his hand with a surprisingly firm grip. "And yes, you may ask, because I'm pretty excited too. My granddaughter Alexis is coming to visit for two weeks before school starts. I haven't seen her since Christmas."
"That's great!" Fritz said. "How old is she?"
Fritz groaned. "Oh, I feel sorry for you." He regretted it as soon as he said it. Lily's smile faded. "Oh, I shouldn't have said that, I didn't mean..." Fritz had stuck his foot in his mouth and he knew it.
"Why would you say you feel sorry for me?" Lily raised an eyebrow. "Not a fan of teenagers?"
"That was really rude of me," he said. "It's just that a couple of years ago, Brenda's niece Charlie came to visit for a few weeks. Charlie was 16 and completely out of control." Fritz shook his head. "She caused a lot of trouble in a short period of time."
"What kind of trouble?" Lily asked. "I'm curious. I raised three daughters, and I'm wondering if you can possibly surprise me."
Fritz found himself oversharing yet again with the older woman. He told Lily about the marijuana Charlie's friend mailed to her, and the subsequent pot brownies she made. And that Brenda, a chocolate addict, ate three of them. To his surprise, the dignified older woman started laughing so hard she covered her mouth with her hand.
"Wait a minute. Your wife honestly had no idea she was eating a pot brownie? And she couldn't tell she was getting high? Didn't she go to college?" Lily looked at him in mock disbelief as she fought to calm herself.
"Well, Brenda never smoked pot before. She always planned to go into law enforcement, so she didn't do any drugs in college. She didn't want to jeopardize future background checks if she went into government, which she did."
Lily wiped her eyes and shook her head in amusement. "Oh, that really must have been funny for you, though, to come home and find your wife baked and having no idea something was wrong with her."
Fritz found absolutely nothing funny about it, and was surprised the elegant grandmother in front of him did. "No, actually, I wasn't too amused," he said coolly. "I'm in recovery, and it would have been really bad if I had eaten one of those brownies."
Lily's face fell. "I'm so sorry, Fritz. I didn't mean to be insensitive. "
Fritz felt like a jerk. Why did he have to get all serious, on today of all days? Now Lily would go away and he would have no one to talk to for the next-he looked down at his watch-22 minutes. "Don't feel bad, I guess I don't have much of a sense of humor about those things. I'm a federal agent, and with Brenda being at the LAPD and me in recovery, well, pot brownies in the house are not a good thing."
"And I'm so sorry I laughed," Lily said. "You have to understand, I was a flower child in the 60's. Pot brownies were a staple in my commune. It is just amusing to me to think of someone getting stoned and having no idea they were doing it!"
Fritz tried to picture the woman in front of him, wearing a Chanel suit and matching purse, makeup tastefully applied, her thick, shiny gray hair done up in a French twist, living the life of a hippy. He just couldn't do it.
Fritz thought back to that night. Okay, Brenda was really funny. What was even funnier was how horny she was. After he got off the phone with Amy's mother, Brenda set down her Cheetos and attacked him. He had gently pushed her away, too irritated to kiss her, not to mention Charlie was in the other room. Brenda stuck out her lower lip at his rejection, and then promptly dropped to her knees and started undoing his zipper. He had to bodily haul her up and drag her into the bedroom, where after several attempts to try and put her to bed and resist her aggressive advances, he relented. She wasn't going to stop until she got what she wanted, and she wanted to fuck. She threw him on the bedand got busy sucking his cock, not bothering to take of either his clothes or hers. After getting dangerously close to the edge several times from her persistent oral attack, he begged her to stop, so she crawled over him and began to clumsily remove his clothes. She lifted up her dress and, to his surprise, her underwear was gone. He wondered vaguely if Charlie got Brenda into some other type of trouble that evening. The time for thought was short, though, because she climbed on top of him and rode him relentlessly. "Slow down," he hissed, but she just pistoned away, her face a mask of rapture. She was loud, and every request to lower her voice was ignored. She used his cock as a dildo, bouncing up and down to bring him as deep inside her as possible without bothering with kisses or caresses. When she climbed off him, rolled onto all fours, and gave him an impatient look over her shoulder, he thought, I kinda like stoned Brenda. He entered her from behind and she howled in pleasure, pushing back into his thrusts, commanding him to go harder, faster, deeper. She started begging at top volume for him to make her come, and he reached around and found her clit. It was hot and swollen and god, was she wet. Her moans converged into yells and when she came, she screamed his name. How can Charlie not hear that? he thought. Before he had the chance to come, she pulled forward and they were no longer connected. She crawled around to him and whispered, "I want to swallow you. On your back, now." H just about exploded from that. He dutifully lay down, and she again attacked his member with her mouth, this time deep throating him and playing with his balls until he came with a roar. When he was gasping for air, Brenda stood up and took off all of her clothes. He opened one eye and admired her beautiful body. She clumsily climbed back up on the bed and over him, and worked her way up his torso. "I want you to fuck me with your mouth, Fritz," she said huskily. Fritz hadn't recovered from his orgasm yet, but her words and her taking what she wanted, and well, it was hot as hell. She straddled his face and slowly lowered herself. Normally Fritz had to persuade Brenda to do this, because she was convinced she would smother him. I love this, he thought as he grasped her inner thighs and positioned her right above his mouth. It was so damn hot to have her grinding and panting on his face. He licked her stem to stern, and she ground down. He spread her knees wider and brought her pussy next to his lips, and he began a symphony of licks, sucks, bites, finger thrusts... whatever it took to send her over the edge, and when she came she shuttered and moaned, and then screamed a series of curse words. Fritz was so hard again by then he just wanted to roll her on her back and fuck her, but he controlled himself to let her enjoy her afterglow. She was barely recovered when a loud knock came on the wall that separated their bedroom from Charlie's. "Oh shit," he groaned. Brenda, still too high to be embarrassed, looked at him and said, "fuck her." And then proceeded to scoot her ass against his groin and guide him into her dripping pussy. She was like that all night, hot and horny and demanding, and it was amazing. The next morning when she awoke with a pot hangover, she squinted at him disapprovingly and said, "Fritz, I can't believe you took advantage of me in that state."
He was pulled out of his reverie by Lily clearing her throat. "Sorry, I was just thinking," he said, trying not to sound like he was just daydreaming about fucking his wife. "Well, Lily, I guess I don't have to ask you where you stand on the issue of legalizing pot," Fritz said. Realizing he had been monopolizing the conversation, and any more X-rated flashbacks of Brenda could be dangerous, he said, "Hey, why don't you tell me why Alexis is the kind of 16-year-old that my niece isn't?"
Fritz enjoyed talking with Lily so much that he forgot to look at his watch for several minutes. Lily's stories about her talented, artistic granddaughter held his attention, and he was relieved to find out that not all teenager girls were as self-absorbed as Charlie was. I must be getting old, he thought. Soon I'm going to start sentences with, "kids these days!"
When he realized a significant amount of time had passed, he forced himself to keep his arm firmly wrapped around the bouquet of flowers instead of looking at his watch. He knew his impatience wasn't going to make her plane land any quicker. He shifted his weight and realized he really needed to go to the bathroom. A quick glance to the TV monitor confirmed that Brenda's plane hadn't landed yet, so he asked Lily to hold the roses and headed to the Men's room. He didn't want to waste one post-debarking minute with Brenda using the facilities. He took care of business and washed his hands, scrutinizing his appearance in the mirror. He had gotten his hair cut two weeks ago, and it was the perfect length. Although Brenda said she liked the brush of gray at his temples, he didn't, and he had his stylist Michael use some coloring and erase it. I have really turned LA, he thought to himself, combing his hair and popping in a breath mint. I am now dying my hair to look younger. All in all, he thought he looked pretty good for a man staring down 50. His recent weight loss wasn't the healthiest, brought on by missing Brenda and overexercising to fill the void, but at least he was in good shape. He was acutely aware of all the male attention Brenda garnered when they went out in public, and he always wanted to make sure she never found him unattractive and started to look elsewhere. He had always secretly worried that humdrum sex was just the price you paid for being married, so he was very pleasantly surprised to find that their sexual chemistry only grew stronger with time. The more secure Brenda felt in their relationship, the more adventurous she became, much to his perpetual surprise and delight. He wouldn't have imagined, in their first few months of dating, that she would some day being tying him up with silk scarves while wearing lingerie that would make a Fredrick's of Hollywood model blush, forcing him to watch her get herself off with her vibrator while he was growing crazy with desire and the need to touch her. Brenda was quite adventurous, and she loved sex as much as he did. She was every man's dream.
His mind, and body, were drifting off again. He splashed is warming face with cold water and took a few calming breaths to quell his nascent erection. Soon, he thought. But not now. Control regained, he tossed his used paper towels in the bin and left the Men's room.
Lily held the roses out to him as he approached, her face glowing. "I am so glad you're back, Fritz!" she said excitedly. "Look." She nodded in the direction of the monitor. Next to "American Airlines Flight 679, Dallas/Fort Worth," was the word "Landed." Oh thank god," he said, relieved. "I thought it would never come." He looked at the clock on the wall. The flight was an hour and fifteen minutes late. Don't planes ever land on time anymore?
Fritz began to bounce on the balls of his feet again, and after several minutes and a few passes back and forth while Lily watched him with a bemused expression on her face, people started walking down the corridor. They were greeted and hugged, and Fritz looked at them jealously. No Brenda.
"Oh, of course," he groaned. He forgot about Brenda's post-flight ritual. After flying anywhere, she always stopped at the bathroom as soon as she deboarded, saying not only did she have to pee, but she needed to freshen up. "Somethin' about flyin' makes me feel so dirty!" she would say. "Plus, I wanna look nice." Fritz would end up waiting outside the Women's room for 15 minutes while Brenda brushed her teeth, put on deodorant, reapplied makeup, and fussed with her hair. And since she hasn't seen me in a month, he thought, she is going to be in there twice as long, to make sure she looks nice for me. He wanted to cry from impatience.
Someone squealed. A young girl with long, cinnamon-colored hair and freckles was running toward Lily, who threw open her arms to receive her. "Gigi!" the girl cried. "Oh, I am so glad to see you!" The two hugged and whispered to each other, Lily stroking the girl's hair.
Gigi? Fritz thought to himself. That's not what I called my grandmother. Sounds like a stripper name. The flow of people from Brenda's flight walking toward him had thinned, but there was still no sign of her. He knew she would be the last one to appear.
Lily touched Fritz's shoulder. "Alexis, I would like you to meet my new friend, Fritz. Fritz and I have been chatting for the past hour while we've been waiting for your plane. He's here to pick up his wife who is coming in from Atlanta. He hasn't seen her in a month, and he's a little anxious."
Alexis smiled. She was a pretty girl, makeup-free but with a pierced nose. "Nice to meet you. Glad you kept my Gigi company." She wrinkled her forehead, as if concentrating. "Hey, the lady who sat next to me on the plane was from Atlanta. She told me she hadn't seen her husband in a long time too. She said she's a cop, which is funny, because she's kinda batty."
Fritz couldn't believe the coincidence. "Did she have long blonde hair and a strong Southern accent?"
"Yes! Her name is Brenda, and she told me all kinds of stories about working for the LAPD. Hey, was I sitting next to your wife?" Alexis had turned toward Fritz, seemingly more interested now knowing he was attached to the intriguing stranger she met on the plane.
Fritz grinned. "Yes, you were. And you must be really special, Alexis, because Brenda normally doesn't like to talk to people on planes."
"That's funny, because she talked nonstop. Said she was nervous about finally getting to see you after so long. So she kept telling me all these stories about when she was in charge of this major division of the police department here. Hey-" she leaned closer to Fritz- "did she really meet Whit Coleman?" Alexis's eyes were wide.
"Yes, I believe she did. Right around the time the world found out he was gay."
"What a waste," murmured Lily.
"And was she really beat up by a bride when she messed up the wedding because the funeral held right before had a girl in the same coffin as the dead guy?" Alexis' hazel eyes were wide. Fritz imagined that some of Brenda's stories would make their way into Alexis's "what I did this summer" obligatory essay for school.
"Oh yes, that and so much more. I can tell Brenda kept you very entertained," he said, grinning at the girl. "But it would take a lot longer than a 3 hour flight to hear all the good stories."
"And she told me she investigated a case of a murdered Santa!" the girl said excitedly. "I mean, who would kill Santa, that's-oh hey, there's Brenda now!" Alexis raised her arm and waved.
Fritz swung around and looked at the near-empty corridor leading from Gate 31, and he spotted her immediately. She wore a dark red wrap-around dress that tied at her hip, and the slit showed a good deal of leg each time she walked. Her hair was down around her face, and, as he suspected, she looked like she had just put on fresh lipstick. She was gorgeous. She was looking straight at him, clearly trying to catch his eye, and his heart started to race and his breathing grew rapid. The arm holding the roses began to droop, and without being asked Lily took them. He locked eyes with her and the entire world melted away. She was even more beautiful than he had remembered her, and her 1,000 watt smile directed at him lit up the entire terminal.
Brenda started trotting toward him, and when she was within hearing distance, she called out his name. He waved, but was so anxious that his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth. People cleared out of Brenda's way after she almost knocked over an old man in her path. Closer still, she broke into a run. Lily pulled Alexis out of the way so Brenda would have unfettered access to Fritz, and he lunged forward to grab her just as she threw herself into his arms. Her large purse swung around and hit him on the backside, but he didn't care. "Fritz, my Fritzy!" Brenda squealed, and he held her small body close to his, and all the dreams he had over the past month came true at once.
"Brenda, honey," he tried to say, but found his voice choked with tears. Brenda pulled out of his embrace a bit, at least as far as he would let her and gazed up at him. She rested a small hand on his cheek and gave him such a look of love that he stopped caring that he was in public. He kissed her with all the force of his loneliness, of his desire for her, of his longing. She kissed him back with equal ferocity and abandon. At last they pulled back for air and when they did, the small group of people who had gathered around them clapped. Brenda, who hadn't realized they were creating a scene, shrugged out of Fritz's arms and hitched her purse to her shoulder, her cheeks crimson. Fritz, on the other hand, wanted to take a bow. See what a beautiful wife I have, he wanted to say. See how much she loves me.
"Whoa," he heard Alexis say. "I had no idea old people acted like that."
Brenda and Fritz looked at each other and laughed. Their audience dispersed, and Fritz gently took her hand, bringing the knuckles to his lips for a gentle kiss. He put his mouth next to her ear and whispered the words that had been ripe fruit ready to fall off his tongue:
"Please sir, can I have some more...feedback?"