A/N: Thank you for the reviews they are greatly appreciated!
I have a strong working knowledge of the human body and how the mind works but I will never understand the mind of a woman; especially, not this woman. Bomber, in a lot of ways, is like a sister to me, which is how I know that even though the thought process comes across as convoluted, it makes sense to her and she always gets her man. Her instincts rival Rangers. If they ever get their shit together they will be an unstoppable team!
The woman however cannot sit still to save her life! We've been sitting a block away from the only apartments on Sheridan Street waiting for Baker to make an appearance. Les is walking the perimeter while Steph and I scope out the complex from the SUV.
Steph shifts in her seat, plays with the hem of her shirt and taps her foot against the dash. "Problem?" I ask trying not to let any of the fidgeting annoy me. I carefully keep my face neutral but not blank because I know blank faces drive her crazy. "Naw," she sighs, "I'm fine."
I take a deep breath. I have been around long enough to know an "I'm fine" means just the opposite. "What is it Steph? You know you can talk to me."
She sighs." I'm not sure what to say," she says. "I just thought someone would remember...THERE!" She sits up pointing. Sure enough there is Baker walking across the apartment complex with Les on his trail. "Grab the gun in the glove compartment if you are getting out of the car," I instruct opening my door. She makes a grumbling sound but I hear the glove compartment click open and her exit the vehicle behind me.
Before I can confront Baker, Les has him face down on the ground and cuffed. "Who's the bitch?" Baker spits. Steph steps closer and swiftly kicks him in the ribs with her steel toed boot. "The one who found your sorry ass!" she growls and kicks him again. I wrap an arm around her waist and pull her back as Les lifts Baker to his feet. "Watch what you say about our partner or I'll let her walk your sorry ass into the station and take out her frustration along the way." As the last few words left Lester's lips Steph lunged forward and Baker flinched. Les chuckled, secured the skip and climbed in beside him in the backseat. I tossed Steph the keys and we headed for the police station. We drop the skip off and collect our body receipt. "We keep up this pace and we'll have the whole stack done before dinner," I tell no one in particular.
My phone rings as we pull out into traffic to find skip number two, whom Bomber says will be hiding out at his girlfriend's place. "Yo." I look over at Steph who is concentrating on merging into traffic. "Yep. Affirmative. What time? Got it." Click. I look at Les and he nods.
"I don't know which is more annoying," Steph says scowling in the rearview mirror, "that all you Merry Men have ESP and have full conversations without speaking a word or the rotten Rangeman phone manners." Les and I both laugh at that one and get a dirty look.
"What time is your dinner with Ranger?" Les asks. "I dunno," she answers and catches herself. "Wait, how did you know about that?" Les grins. "Beautiful, just because you two were in the alley doesn't mean it was private."
She chews on her lower lip obviously taking that information in and examining it.
Walking through the office I can see the natives getting restless. There is a hum in the air because of this special occasion. It is important to all of us and me most of all. This is the first time when I have been in town and the cop was out of the picture. It seems to be for good this time. She insists that it is and I am inclined to believe her.
When babe is involved a surprise has be planned like a black op top secret mission. She is too inquisitive for her own good sometimes. The guys are so excited. It is funny to see BAMFs planning a party to the very last detail, particularly one that doesn't include strippers and mayhem. It took nearly all my tact and training to subdue Mrs. Plum and Mary Lou and convince them to let my men handle it. Everyone has played their part to the hilt. Even Mrs. Plum. I was in the Plum kitchen trying not to laugh as she left the phone message that she would not be available for dinner that Steph would need to make other plans. No one has mentioned her birthday. If I know my Babe, she is stewing on that thinking everyone forgot about her birthday.
Realizing I still need to call her and set a time for dinner, I go into my office and shut the door.
"Hey that's my line!" I chuckle.
"Batman!" she exclaims. I can hear the smile in her voice. I get lost in that thought for a moment. "You still there?" she asks.
"Sorry Babe, distraction. So how are you and the two stooges doing?"
"Good. We picked up Baker and it looks like Les and Bobby got Standoffer."
"Seriously, the skips name is Standoffer?"
"Yeah," she sighs, I don't think he had the nerve to try anything. Les was playing with his knife as he approached the door and I saw Bobby take off around the back in case he tried to make a run for it. How did your day go?"
"Good, a little boring… I am looking forward to our date Babe," I said wishing I had her all to myself tonight. With any luck she'll agree to the little surprise I have planned for after.
"Is this a date Ranger?" she asks.
"When two people agree to go to dinner, get dressed up and make prior arrangements to do so , yes I would call that a date," I said trying to keep the twinge of hurt I was feeling out of my voice.
"I didn't want to just assume," she said quietly. I resisted the urge to sigh knowing my big mouth had caused this doubt. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time but now I am beginning to see how misguided my efforts were and the damage it caused.
"Babe, I'll pick you up at 6 at your apartment. Be ready for a full night of wining and dining maybe a little dancing."
"Really?" she asks. "What's the occasion?"
"No occasion," I smile hearing the doubt beginning to subside a little. "I just really want to spend a great evening with you. Is that alright?"
"Yes, I'm looking forward to it too, Batman."
"See you at 6 Babe."
"So what time is your date? Do we have time for one more?" Les asks.
I look at my watch and grab the next file. "Yeah, it's 2:30. We should be able to catch Tostiosi dropping off his grandma at Stiva's. The Brubacher funeral is having an afternoon service since most of the attendees aren't allowed to drive after dark." Bobby looks at me like I have two heads. "What?"
"How do you know all this stuff?" he asks.
"Never underestimate the power of the Burg gossip mill. People across town would be calling my mother about a blow up with me and Joe before we had finished yelling at each other!"
Both Bobby and Lester got a strange look on their faces.
"You ARE done with the cop for good, right? Les asks. It is obvious Bobby wants to know the answer too.
I suddenly feel a little defensive, but before I can build up a head of steam and go all rhino on their asses Bobby jumps in to diffuse the situation. "Now Bomber, don't get upset, we normally wouldn't butt into your personal life, but as your friends, hell you are like a sister to a lot of us….we care about you and this rollercoaster ride with Morelli isn't healthy. He doesn't lift you up and support the extraordinary woman that you are! Besides," he says wrapping me up in a big hug and stage whispering into my hair "I think you love Ranger as much as he loves you." I stiffen and look over Bobby's shoulder to see if Lester heard what he just said. I'm guessing from the bugged out eyes and expression he did. Lester clears his throat and says "Bob, I don't think Rangeman would appreciate us commenting on his personal life or Steph's."
"No," Bobby insisted, holding me tight, probably to keep me from running away to Denial Land where I am the resident queen. How did he know I love Ranger? Was it that obvious?
"Only to people with eyes," Bobby answered reading my mind. "It needs to be said Les. Steph, Ranger loves you. He shows it every day in every way he knows how. I know he has said some stupid stuff to you but look at his actions. Promise me you'll think about what I've said. We love you and want you to be happy." He says and kisses the top of my head and releases me. Les leans over and kisses my cheek. "What he said. Now let's go get our last skip of the day, I've got plans tonight!" Les wags his eyebrows and climbs into the driver seat.