Word Count: 2,318
He'd been surprised that he'd been able to pull off taking Saturday off without being called in to work. Not that he was complaining. His not being called to a scene meant no one had died.
Sunday had been equally uneventful. He'd been surprised when Claire not only didn't seem to mind him wanting to spend the day watching football, but she even joined him for a little while.
So far the quiet weekend had continued on into Monday. His morning so far consisted of putting the finishing touches on some case files. When the phone at his desk rang, he was sort of happy at the prospect of being called out somewhere.
"Someone here to see you, Detective."
"Yeah? Who is it?"
"Says her name's Claire and that she's bringing you the lunch you forgot at home?"
Lee closed his eyes, picturing the look on Adam's face quite clearly. No doubt he was picturing all sorts of unsavory things. And he would pass those things on to any cop who would listen for the rest of his shift.
"Thing is, she's far too pretty to be hanging out with a lug like you. So, I figured I'd call to be sure she had the right place before I sent her back."
"Ah," he said, glancing in his desk drawer. Sure enough, it was devoid of his usual packed lunch. "Thanks, yeah, I'll be right up."
"You don't want me to frisk her?"
"No," he said quickly, which was met with Adam's jovial laughter and then the sound of a dead phone line.
He stood from his desk and walked toward the front. He wasn't really worried about Adam frisking her, but he didn't want her given a hard time either. Or being exposed to Adam's lewd comments. He hadn't even realized he'd forgotten his lunch.
She'd distracted him that morning.
Any living, breathing man would have been seeing her clad in only a towel. Even if it was only a glimpse. He'd been running late and she was early getting ready for class. She'd been going from the bathroom to her bedroom. Just a few seconds. A flash of a good deal of leg. Her bare back as the towel rode low on her there for some reason.
It was enough, though, apparently.
"Hey," he said when he saw her.
"Hi, sorry. I didn't know if you'd be able to leave or anything if you forgot it."
"No, that's great. Thanks. I appreciate it. I hope Adam didn't give you a hard time. Word of advice, just ignore most anything he says."
"Most anything? How do I know what to ignore and not ignore?"
"If it's bad and about me, ignore it," he quipped.
"I see. I'll remember that."
"Are you going to be late for class because of me?"
"No, my first one isn't for an hour yet. I was going to the union and hang out with this girl I met who's in a couple of my classes."
"Oh, right, good, you're making friends."
He took the lunch in question, taking a moment to look at her. She always dressed and looked nice, but today there was something different about her that he wasn't sure he liked. She was dressed in a skirt and top, nothing fancy but the skirt drew attention to her legs - which were very nice. And the top drew attention to parts of her he had no business even thinking about.
So, whom was she dressing like that for? Was it really a guy she was meeting? Not that she'd have to lie to him. He hadn't placed any kind of rules on her aside from no drugs - or anything else illegal - in his house. Being a cop, he didn't think that was an unusual request.
"Yeah, a couple."
"Okay, well, I'm going to go," she said.
"All right, enjoy class."
"Yeah, right," she said with a roll of her eyes.
"Hey, at least you're finally able to take classes you want to take."
"That is true."
She turned to leave and he noticed that her stockings - he wasn't sure how he knew they were stockings but they were - had the seams up the back. Her shoes had no back and there were little black bows at the back of each ankle.
He coughed a little and she turned, looking a little concerned.
"I'm fine. Go. And you look nice, by the way."
"Thank you," she said, and if he didn't know better he thought she blushed. She walked the few steps toward him and kissed him on the cheek. "Very much."
"You're welcome. And thanks again for bringing my lunch. I appreciate it."
And just like that she was out the door, walking into the Phoenix sun. He stood there watching for a minute, holding his lunch. He probably looked like an idiot, but he couldn't stop from watching her for anything.
Stockings. She had to wear stockings.
Adam was there faster than he could blink. He gave a low whistle, evidently watching Claire walk just as Lee was.
"That the girl you were with Saturday night?"
"How do you know about that?"
Adam patted Lee on the shoulder and gave a laugh.
"Everyone knows about that, Lee. So, is it?"
"Yeah, I was with her Saturday night."
He gave a low whistle.
"I see. She's definitely worth starting a fight over."
"I didn't start any fights," Lee said.
"I heard it came pretty close."
"It did not. Not even close, just some guy still wet behind his ears not thinking clearly."
"You set him straight, though, right?"
"Yes, I did. With words."
"So, home, huh?"
"She said you left your lunch at home."
"Yeah, I do have one of those. Don't you, Adam?"
"Har har. What's she doing at your home when you're not there?"
"Maybe she's the cleaning lady."
"Let me know what company she works for so I can get me one of those, too."
Lee walked away. He hadn't really envisioned her path crossing with his work life very often. Saturday had been his doing and he was off-duty. Today, though. Her bringing him his lunch, a lunch he'd forgotten at home would suggest intimacy. Not that he minded, but it'd be a lot nicer if he was actually on the receiving end of the intimacy that would be part of the rumor mill within an hour's time.
He put his sandwich in the community fridge, the rest he brought to his desk. Man, he wasn't going to hear the end of it because once Adam got done telling the story there no saying how distorted it will have become. He moved his mouse, bringing the screen back up he'd been on when Adam had called.
"Good morning, Detective Scanlon."
"Morning," he said in response, glancing at the officer in question. She was nice looking, always had a smile and a kind word. At least for him. He glanced at her legs, covered in uniform blue.
"Nowhere near seamed stockings," he muttered before setting back to work.
His day evolved from there. Some might say it got better, he wasn't so sure. He'd opened his lunch at his desk midway through his shift to find she'd written a note on a napkin. It didn't say anything flowery or poetic, merely told him she hoped he had a nice day.
Not a bad thing in and of itself.
Harmless, well-meaning. Nice even. He'd never had anyone to put notes in his lunch before.
The bad thing was that he found himself smiling after reading it. Couple that with some very inappropriate thoughts he'd had a time or two during the day about those legs of hers. Thoughts he chastised himself for immediately.
She was too young for him.
He was supposed to be watching out for her.
His friend trusted him to keep her safe.
Not just a friend, a fellow cop trusted him to keep her safe.
Well, it had made for a very long day.
There was a Diamondbacks game on tonight, which he was looking forward to watching. Relaxing a bit. He was somewhat surprised the focus of a good many of his thoughts during the day wasn't home. She was done with classes pretty early in the afternoon. Glancing near his feet, he saw the evidence she had been home in the form of her backpack.
Her bedroom door was open, which meant she'd come back and gone he imagined. It was probably for the best. He was sort of afraid some of his thoughts would be obvious. Of course, he imagined someone who looked like she did was probably used to that type of thing.
He poured himself a glass of milk and headed to the couch after drinking it and rinsing out the glass. The game didn't start for a while yet, but catching some news would be all right. He wasn't involved in anything right now for the job, but that didn't mean there wasn't stuff going on in his city.
He must have dozed off. He'd missed the news and currently there was a game show on he'd never be caught dead watching.
Couple that with Claire talking to him about…
"Did you want me to make it then?"
"What?" he asked, realizing he must have been more deeply asleep than he'd thought.
She padded into the room and he thought for a minute that he was still asleep and dreaming.
"You weren't awake, were you?"
"Uh, no, sorry."
"Well, I didn't think so at first, but you responded to me when I said hi and stuff, so I just thought maybe you were zoning out or something."
"I was doing an exemplary job of showing you why Matt Parkman entrusted you to my care."
She rolled her eyes, which shouldn't have been at all attractive. Perhaps it was the fact she was standing in his living room in nothing but a bathing suit. A two-piece bathing suit. He'd seen suits that covered far less than hers did so it wasn't risqué or anything. Not that he would have minded. He closed his eyes, shaking that thought from his head. When he opened his eyes again, he couldn't help but notice that she had a nice hue to her skin that suggested she'd been laying out rather than swimming.
"I wasn't even home. So, my question was that I pulled some chicken from the freezer this morning to thaw. Did you want me to make dinner?"
"Oh, no, I can get it," he said, switching the channel, hoping he hadn't missed too much of the D-backs game.
She glanced at the TV, catching sight of the game.
"I can do it. I'll just change real quickly."
It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her not to bother changing, but he stopped himself. He needed a cold shower and maybe to rethink staying home tonight. He was certain it was the fact she was here, in his condo, sharing his space that was getting to him. He wasn't used to cohabitating with anyone, and she was attractive, so it was bound to happen.
"Nah, actually, I think I'm going to go out for a while," he said.
He had a woman friend he saw from time to time that he was pretty sure would be up to a spur of the moment call from him. They were nothing steady or committed, but she was usually up to visits from him like the one he had in mind at the moment. Surely, that would get these thoughts out of his mind.
"Okay," she said, frowning a little.
She looked so … disappointed, if he didn't know better. And that thinking was going to lead him into trouble.
"So, you get the place to yourself tonight, no baseball."
"I don't mind baseball."
"I know, but knock yourself out. Watch whatever you want," he said, getting up and going toward his room to change.
He heard her door shut not too long after his. He changed from work clothes into something more casual. He flipped open his phone, glancing at his bedroom door as he scrolled through his contacts and found the number he was looking for.
"Hi, it's Lee."
'I was beginning to think you'd fallen off the planet.'
"Not quite, just been tied up with some things. You know how it goes."
"You up for some dinner tonight?"
"Or I could bring something."
'Which would you prefer?'
"Chinese?" he asked, answering her question.
'Sure, why not? You know what I like.'
'Okay then. I'll see you in a while.'
He hung up, slipping into his shoes before checking himself in his mirror to ensure he looked all right. He thought he did. He wasn't sure what Mandy thought of him some of the time. Things didn't get that deep between them. It wasn't solely physical, he did take her out and things but they just didn't talk much about their relationship or their feelings for one another.
Claire's door was still closed when he came out of his room. She wasn't anywhere to be found and judging by the sound of music coming from her room he assumed she was holed up in there. He took out his wallet pulled out a $20 and set it on the counter.
"In case you want to order something in," he wrote on a piece of paper, leaving it next to the money. She was starting a part-time job next week at the mall. She hadn't asked him for much in the way of spending money in the time she'd been here and other than more groceries than he usually bought she wasn't costing him much so he didn't mind shelling out some tonight.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com