Much, much later the same day, Lisbon and Jane headed across the yard to Angel's fence. Lisbon carried a huge pitcher of sangria she had mixed for the dinner, Jane carried the appetizer tray he'd procured from his favorite deli. Angel had left the gate open, and the pair eased through, Lisbon still a tad apprehensive about strolling in unannounced after her inadvertent little encounter of a few hours' previous. The backyard and pool area was deserted, however, and Lisbon set the pitcher on Angel's picnic table before slipping out of her coverup and wading into the pool.
"You coming in?" She floated on her back and addressed Jane.
"As soon as I set this in Angel's fridge, I will." Lisbon's response to that was to flip herself over backwards and swim to the deep end of the pool. Jane watched her with a sigh, then headed in through Angel's open back door. Angel greeted him warmly with a hug and a peck on the cheek.
"Hey, handsome. Where's T?" Francois wandered through about then, shook Jane's hand, smacked Angel across her backside, and headed out the door. Angel watched him fondly.
"She already dove in. Can I set this in the fridge until dinner? The olives are stuffed with cream cheese. I'm afraid they'll ooze in the heat."
"No problem. I'll make a spot…" Angel trailed off as Francois bellowed her name from the backyard.
"ANGEL! Get out here NOW!"
Angel immediately raced out the door. Jane hurriedly placed the plate on the fridge shelf and followed her. He had barely exited the house when he was slammed against the wall, the breath huffing out of his lungs in a painful whoosh. Francois held him by both shoulders, a look of pure rage on his face. Angel looked like she wanted to cry.
"What did you do to her, you bastard?!" Francois' nose was less than an inch from Jane's, the spearmint from his gum invading Jane's nostrils with a sickly sweet stench.
"What did I do to who?" he began, and then caught sight of what had caused the commotion. Lisbon's back. The livid bruises stood out against her pale skin like a neon sign. "Oh. That. Well…"
"HEY! Let him go, Francois! Jelly, get him off of Patrick!" Lisbon had turned to see the commotion and came flying out of the water so fast Jane wasn't sure she'd even bothered with the stairs.
She ran up the pool deck and shoved between Francois and Jane.
"WHAT the HELL do you think you're doing?" Lisbon's face was the color of a raspberry. Francois took a step back in the face of her fury. Angel pulled herself together enough to interject.
"T, don't hurt him! He was trying to help!"
"Help? How exactly is assaulting my boyfriend helping?"
"The same way your boyfriend assaulting you is acceptable." Francois found his tongue, but kept his distance. Probably a wise move on his part. Jane thought. Lisbon on a tear was nothing to be taken lightly.
"Assaulting me? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Your back, T. You're all black and blue!" Angel's voice rose an octave. Jane actually thought she might cry.
"My back…" Lisbon seemed to shrink back to a normal size, compared to the behemoth that had stormed the deck. "Oh, that."
"Well, they both have the same story, anyway." Francois snorted. Lisbon turned to him.
"It's no story, you idiot. How dare you jump to the automatic conclusion that just because I have bruises, Jane caused them?"
"Well…" Lisbon actually blushed. "Yeah, he did." Francois' hands tightened into fists again.
Lisbon raised a hand. "Not in the way you're thinking. I swear. I'm not hurt."
"The how? How did you get them?" Francois had relaxed visibly, but was still teetering on the brink.
Lisbon turned to Angel. "If he weren't your honey, I'd tell him to mind his own business, since we only just met and I can't fathom why my bruises should bother him." She continued, cutting Angel off before she could respond. "Without going into gory detail, they were an accident. I'm fine. Patrick has beaten himself up enough without anyone else adding to it, and I think someone around here owes someone else an apology."
Francois actually flushed under her glare. He turned back to Jane and offered his hand.
"Sorry, man. I just lost it. I have issues with women being hurt." Jane shook the offered hand.
"No worries. At least I know now that if I'm ever not here, she's got backup next door." He turned to address Angel. "What's to say she didn't get them at work?"
"T always tells me when she gets hurt on a case." Angel responded. "Especially before you came into the picture. If she was going to need someone to look in on her, I was the one she would call. But she didn't mention getting hurt. And if it didn't come from work and she didn't mention it…"
"I see." Jane nodded. "I apologize, too. We should have said something, but since we had it cleared between us, I guess we neither of us though to mention it."
"T?" Angel piped up again. "How did you get those, if I can ask? They're perfect lines. Did you fall.?"
Lisbon actually blushed. "Id rather not say."
Angel caught on. "Nope. I want to know. Come on, T, give out."
Lisbon huffed. "Fine. But not in front of these two. Let's go in and I'll tell you, I promise."
"That's not fair!" Francois whined. "Fine reward for trying to be the knight in shining armor. I don't even get to hear what happened. I told Angel how our breakfast got here. I think we're past the point of embarrassment at this particular juncture." Now both Angel and Lisbon were blushing.
"Oh, hell. Come on, all of you." Lisbon turned and headed into the house, the trio following in her wake. She strode to the library and waited till they were all assembled. Then she turned to Jane.
"Pick me up, Patrick." He waited a beat, then did as she asked. "Back me up, you know how." Jane eased Lisbon back until her back and neck were in close proximity to the shelves.
"See, Jelly, they line up, right?"
"Yes! But how…" Angel trailed off. "Oh. OH!" She burst into a fit of giggles. "T! Why didn't you just tell me?"
"Set me down now, please, Patrick." When he did, she rose up on her toes to kiss him, then turned to face Angel and Francois. "Now, that would have been an interesting conversation, wouldn't it? 'Hi, Jelly, your boyfriend is gorgeous, and by the way, mine is insanely jealous and just banged me in your library to prove who I belong to.'"
Angel had plopped down on the sofa by this point, tears of mirth pouring down her face. She tried to draw in a breath, snorted, and burst into another gale of laughter. Teresa finally started laughing as well. Francois looked amusedly at Jane.
"You were jealous? Why the hell for?"
"You'd have had to be there. I spent a weekend watching her drool over this random guy on the television, and a week later, he turns up next door and she takes leave of her senses. God help me if Jelly had happened to be dating Johnny Depp." Now they were both laughing.
"Angel mentioned that T had a huge crush on him. I know him well enough to say hi, but I'll never tell."
"Thanks for that." Jane turned to the door. "Need a hand with the grill while these two hyenas collect themselves?"
"I heard that!" Lisbon's voice followed him out of the library.
"So, is he any good?" Angel paused the food processor.
"Jelly!" Lisbon blushed again.
"Hey, you never have had anyone to speak of that I could dish with you about. Now I can. Come on, T, throw me a bone. How is it?" She dipped a spoon into the pico de gallo and offered it. "Here, taste."
Lisbon dutifully took a bite. "A touch more lime juice and a shake of salt." She went back to cutting up onions and peppers for the fajitas they were having.
"All right! He's amazing. Jelly, it's the best sex I've ever had. He's insatiable. I don't think there's a room yet at my house we haven't christened."
"Not to mention one here." Angel interjected dryly.
"Yeah. Sorry about that." Lisbon's apology was waved away.
"No need, no need. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. And all because you had a fit over Francois! Speaking of, I hope you weren't offended this morning. Francois was completely unaffected. And I was so distracted I didn't even hear the gate."
"Are you kidding? Offended? It's your backyard! But my face was so red when I got back home that Jane knew something was up. By the time he got it out of me, he had found the bruises. And after I convinced him that he hadn't hurt me, he was extremely interested in what exactly took place."
"So, you told him?"
"In graphic detail."
"And if he's anything like what I'm assuming, based on your description…how long have you been out of bed?"
Lisbon cackled. "We took a breather about half an hour before we came over to shower and get dressed."
"I'm surprised you can walk at the rate you're going. Ever hear of pacing yourself?"
"If you had that in your bed, would you be worried about pacing yourself?"
"Who said anything about a bed? Bed optional!" Both girls howled at that remark.
"So, how about you? Is Cesare as good as I had him built up to be in my little Roman fantasy?"
"Probably better. Maybe it's the dual-language thing, but he has a tongue that…well, never mind."
"Jelly! I told you!" Teresa was almost whining.
"He's talented. Super talented. Did the show ever show anything, anatomy-wise?"
"I'd have remembered."
"Yeah, you would have. He's massive. If you hear screaming from over this way, don't mind us."
"Likewise. Good talk, Jelly. Now, let go of the processor. That stuff is supposed to be served cold." The remark cracked both of them up and they hugged until the laughter subsided.
Finally, Angel wiped her eyes and picked up the pico bowl. "We better go eat."
"Right behind you." Lisbon grabbed the sliced veggies and tortillas and followed Angel out the door.
"So, no hard feelings?" Francois dumped sliced chicken and steak on the grill's flat top.
"Nah. All good. I was horrified when I saw her back this morning. I swore I'd never touch her again."
"Bet that went over well." Francois shifted the meat. "Hand me the lime juice?"
Jane passed it to him. "She threatened to kill me."
Francois let out a guffaw. "Yeah, you don't threaten the supply. I found that out fast."
"As if I could stop." Jane looked wistful.
Francois moved the grilled meats to a platter and covered them with a tinfoil tent. He turned to look at Jane. "I hope you don't mind, but Angel told me a little about you. I was so sorry to hear about your family. That must have been beyond comprehension."
"Thank you. It was, for the longest time. But Teresa has been incomparable since the day I met her. I think I'd probably be dead or institutionalized if it hadn't been for her."
"How long have you been with the CBI?"
"Around five years or so, I'd say."
"And how long with Teresa?"
Jane grinned. "Going on three weeks, in the biblical sense. But much longer, in other ways. She was…my savior. She's gone to bat for me more times than I can count and put up with more than any woman, boss, or even wife ever should."
"So, can I ask what kept you from getting together sooner?" Jane looked up. "I know, we barely know each other. Tell me to MYOB if you want. I'm just curious. Angel says Teresa's talked about you forever. But you didn't hear that from me."
"I needed to come to terms with a lot. She was afraid of being a replacement for my wife. It happened they way it needed to, I suppose. We're comfortable together now. If it'd been different, it might not have worked out as well."
The conversation was broken by the sound of the girls entering the kitchen. Teresa started chopping veggies on a cutting board, and a food processor whirred to life. Jane started to call to them that the meat was ready when he heard the processor stop and Angel's voice ask, "So, is he any good?"
Jane looked at Francois and put a finger to his lips. They both eased over to the open window in unison and crouched below the sash.
A few minutes later, both men were grinning from ear to ear.
Later that evening, after they climbed into bed, Jane rolled to face Lisbon.
"If I ask you to do something for me, will you?"
"Depends on what it is. I know you too well to blindly agree. What do you want me to do?"
"Wear a skirt tomorrow. Bring slacks in case something comes up, but will you?"
"I want to surprise you."
Lisbon narrowed her eyes at him. "I thought we agreed no sex at work."
"You said that, not me. We won't do anything you don't want to do, but will you please wear a skirt? For me?"
"Fine. I'll wear one."
"Thank you." Jane kissed her deeply, and pulled her against him. "Are you tired?"
"I am. Do you mind if we just sleep tonight?"
"Not at all. Sweet dreams." Jane snapped the bedside lamp off, buried his nose in Lisbon's hair, and closed his eyes.
They were both asleep within minutes.
Smut next chapter! And SO SORRY for the delay, two full time jobs and a toddler don't leave me a lot of time. Thank you for reading!