Summary: Remember the conversation between Reese and Shaw on the roof? Yeah, so does Shaw. And she doesn't believe a word that came out of his mouth. Time for a new tactic.
Author's notes: This one came out of a series of conversations with Chellero which lead to threats if I didn't write it, so she's to blame. Unfortunately, any mistakes are mine. Thanks as always to Chellero and PiscesChikk for the ideas, talks, & friendship.
You know, I shouldn't give a shit, I really shouldn't. But his answer was such a...non-answer. His voice was threatening, his words forced. He was lying. And he knew I knew...which is why he turned the conversation back on me. But hey, that's what he's trained to do.
Joss Carter, on the other hand, is not. And as much as I didn't want to give a shit, I couldn't seem to help myself. These two were a puzzle I wanted to solve and damned if I wasn't going to pull out all the stops.
I thought she was going to come out of that amazing leather dress she was wearing the other night when I showed her my Nano. Honestly, it was a bit of a turn on...another woman getting hot over a gun? How often does that happen? Um, hardly ever. I really wish I'd seen Reese's face when she'd done that. I'm not blind; I did notice that he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. Oh, and he was pretty damn worried that she might not have had her piece on her. I wonder if she noticed? She's not stupid, not by a long shot, but when it comes to him? I'm not so sure.
Finch didn't need me tonight, which is good because I had plans to show off that gun.
It was almost funny when I asked Reese for her phone number. He got that look, the one he gets when he's suspicious of something or someone. He squints, his lips pull into a tight line. I actually had to reassure him I didn't have any malicious intent. A girls' night at the range, I told him. Well, it was mostly the truth. I just didn't tell him I also planned on getting her drunk enough to ferret out the information I apparently couldn't leave alone. These two...just friends, my ass.
So, that leads us to where we are right now: high on cordite fumes and booze and trying to fend off the men who think that two single women in a bar are fair game for wandering hands. Maybe I need to show them the ultimate cockblock I have nestled at my back...
We'd been here about an hour, drinking, making small talk when I decided we'd had enough small talk...and that she'd had enough to drink to be...pliable.
"So, Joss, not interested in any of these fine specimen?"
She laughed around her drink. Throaty, sexy. Damn. Either she needs to stop or I need to stop drinking.
"No. I have enough drama in my life, thank you. What about you? Someone special in your life or are one of these guys gonna have a shot with you?"
"No, no one and these guys couldn't handle me. You can't tell me you don't have a bunch of guys after you."
She took another sip of her drink, her smile dimming a little. "Not that I'm aware of. A single mom, a cop? Not exactly dating material."
"Who said anything about dating? I'm talking about sex. Sex doesn't have to involve dating. In fact, I prefer it that way."
She turned on her stool and appraised me. "You don't want the intimacy, just the act?"
Got me in one, Joss.
"Basically. I don't have the time or the patience for relationships. I get what I need and move on."
I watched her nod, contemplating that statement. It was really interesting that she didn't seem to judge me for it. I think I could like this woman a lot.
"I don't have the time, but I have the patience, I guess. And I have Taylor to consider."
"Yeah, I get that...but you gotta scratch that itch every now and then."
She looked around the room to make sure no one was close by. "If I need an itch scratched, I can do that myself."
My eyebrows shot up and I couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out of me. Damn. I leaned in close to her, "But it's so much more fun with a partner, isn't it?"
She toasted me with her drink, a wide grin lighting her face. "Girl, you ain't lyin'."
I signaled the bartender and ordered us another round. She was going to need it. I had a feeling I was too. It had been a long time since I'd considered a woman...and it killed me to know there was no possible way.
I leaned against the bar and rested my chin in my hand. "So...your perfect man...describe him for me."
She shook her head. "No such thing."
"Pretend there is. What would he be like?"
I could tell she was letting that question rattle around a bit. She was messing with the straw in her lips. I had to swallow my groan. "Well? It's not that difficult a question."
The corner of her mouth quirked up a bit. "No, but I would have said something completely different a few years ago. Now I'm not so sure what I want."
I nodded, understanding more than she could possibly know, "Yeah, tastes change."
"They do." She downed half of the new drink before continuing. "I guess I just want someone who understands me, you know? Who doesn't try to control my life because he's the man in the relationship. I'm a strong woman. Been single a long time. I do shit on my own. I just want...a partner. Someone who recognizes my independence but is always ready to help if I ask for it. Someone who will let me do the same for him without it being a blow to his ego. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt if he was tall and easy on the eyes. I do have standards, you know."
"Of course you do."
We both laughed. Me, because she'd just described the man I knew had a major thing for her, even if he had denied it when questioned. Her...well, she was drunk. Alcohol brings out the giggles in some people. I'll never understand that...just makes me feel dizzy.
She turned her head and smiled at me. "Yeah?" She wobbled a little on the bar stool. "Sam. I think I'm drunk."
"You are. And you know something else?"
"You just described someone we both know."
Her brows knit together and this crease formed on her forehead. It took her a minute, her alcohol-soaked brain trying to connect the dots, to figure out the men we both knew. The second she did, her eyes grew wide and she shook her head, her finger waving in the air. "No. Nope."
I watched with a smirk as she pulled out her phone and shut it off. She might have turned hers off, but I had no intention of doing the same. Let them listen. Maybe he'd get a fucking clue.
"We are not having this conversation, Shaw."
Uh oh. "Again, why not? He's exactly who you just described."
She went to stand, but I had to catch her and hold her up. "Can we just go? I think I'm more than done drinking."
"Sure. Come on, we'll share a cab."
Once we'd settled in the cab, I knew I had a limited amount of time. "Joss..."
"Don't, Sam, please. I can't even think about that." She leaned her head back against the seat. Oh, but she was thinking about it. She was thinking about it hard.
"Why? Because you know I'm right? I mean, look at the man; he's sex on two legs. And he only has eyes for you. You could get that with a snap of your fingers."
"He does not."
"Are you kidding me? You're obviously blind."
"Besides...even if he did...Zoe. I can't compete with that."
That stopped me cold. Was she fucking kidding me? "You really don't see it, do you?"
"Sam, please." Her voice was tired and resigned. It was bullshit and I couldn't even believe she thought that. Had she not noticed how often he called her just to check in? To check on her? To make sure she knew he was there if she needed him? The man was far gone.
"No. Fuck, no. You think he feels something for Zoe? The only thing he feels for her is a quick jolt of lust. He might like her, might even respect her, but does he feel something deeper? No. He reserves all that for you."
She sighed again and I could feel my frustration building, something that surprised me to no end. She was a capable, beautiful woman but for her to think that a guy like John wouldn't be interested? That was bullshit.
As we pulled up outside her building, I couldn't help my smile...or my little dig to her drunken lack of self esteem. There, in the shadows, was the object of our conversation. I needed to drag her attention away from the window.
"So...just tell me one thing..."
"Do you find him attractive? At all? Do you feel anything for him?"
She sat up and put her hand to her head. "God, Sam, you're relentless. If I answer, will you leave me alone about this?"
I nodded, holding back my smile. "Sure. If you answer me honestly. And I'll know if you don't."
She looked at me with those big eyes and smiled a small, humorless smile. "Yes, he's definitely attractive. Yes, OK? And yes, he's the reason my tastes have changed over the last couple of years. I can't get him out of my head. And it's ridiculous, because it's never going to happen."
I waited a beat. As the door to the cab was opened from the outside, I just smiled. "I wouldn't bet on that. Hi, John."
Her head spun around so fast to face him, she groaned with the movement. She then turned and glared at me, muttering under her breath. "I hate you. You have no idea."
I leaned in close so only she could hear me, "I don't think you'll hate me in the morning. Get you some of that, my friend."
Reese stood outside the open door, "Everything OK, ladies? Joss, your phone is off." He held out his hand to help her out of the car and cut an accusing glare at me. I just shrugged and smiled.
As Joss got out, I couldn't help myself, I really couldn't. "John, she's had a lot to drink, you might want to help her inside."
"It's under control, Shaw. Call Finch; he has something for you."
I knew, just from the look he threw my way, that we'd be discussing this later. Although, if things went the way I thought they might, I'd never hear a word about it.