***Part Three***
Word Count: 1,698

The Chinese food had been eaten a while ago. There were some leftovers along with the plates and everything they'd dirtied. Mandy probably hadn't anticipated Lee turning on the Diamondbacks game and paying more attention to it than her. When she'd mentioned her bedroom his reply of 'in a minute' hadn't been received too well.

He couldn't blame her.

That had never been bad between them. He didn't think of it as them using one another. There'd been a couple of times he'd gone to her not for sexual release but as a diversion from his need for things he would just assume jump off a cliff than start using again.

He'd joined her in bed after the game. He was attentive to her as he always was. He knew what they had and he tried to ensure she didn't end it because of his own selfishness. His body, however, wasn't responsive as it usually was after the foreplay they both enjoyed. He wasn't completely lacking in response, but not enough for him to find his own release. Not for lack of trying on either of their parts. That really wasn't why he'd come here tonight anyway. Well, maybe it was in a roundabout way.

"What's on your mind?" she asked finally when it was clear what had happened was all that was going to.

He glanced at the clock, realized he'd been in her bedroom for going on three hours. He had never had this problem before, not even when he'd been using. There were times he hadn't cared to have sex because he'd desired satisfying other fixes more. When he'd wanted to, though, his body had been more than willing and cooperative. She understood because she was an addict, too.

It was how they'd met, neither had waited the recommended year to make changes in their life. Not that what they had could have ever been called a relationship. Maybe back then it could have turned into one, but Lee firmly believed they'd both just wanted to prove there was something normal in their life. Untainted by the drugs.

"Nothing," he said, sitting up. Planting his feet on the floor, he eyed her. She was pretty, similarities existed between her and Elena. He'd be a fool to deny that. He'd never been one to have a type or so he'd thought.

"I should go," he said, grabbing his underwear and pants, sliding them on before finding his shirt.

"You sure? You can stay if you want to, Lee."

"I know, Mandy," he said, leaning down to kiss her before sliding his shirt on over his head. "I don't think I'm going to do much sleeping tonight."

She smiled, a saucy, seductive one he'd seen many times on her. Usually it did wonders toward getting his attention firmly on her and what she could do with that mouth. And, boy, could she do wonderful things with that mouth.

"Well, if sleeping isn't on your mind," she said, patting the spot next to her.

He smiled, taking hold of her hand and squeezing it. It was a tempting offer, but he realized Claire would probably worry if he didn't come home. Or think he was a major asshole for just leaving as he had and not coming home. It wasn't her fault he found her attractive. She lived there, so surely she had the right to wear her bathing suit to and from the pool. And the towel thing the other morning, well, he didn't expect her to dress and undress in the bathroom.

"I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you next time."

"Oh, I know you will," she said with a wink.

He found his shoes, sliding them on.

"Lock the door behind me," he said.

She'd already started following him to the door. Naked. He felt his body stir, thought about changing his mind and getting back into bed. He just wasn't sure he wanted to deal with the humiliation if it happened - or rather didn't happen - a second time.

"I will."

He paused on the other side, listening for the deadbolt and chain to slide into place. Confident she was tucked safely away in her apartment, he left.

He didn't drive home right away. He stopped at an all-night diner for a cup of coffee and to collect his thoughts. They were rather jumbled so hard to untangle. He left about an hour later no clearer in his thinking than when he'd gotten there. Other than realizing he was going to be dead on his feet at work tomorrow.

He got home only to find Claire asleep on the couch. The TV was still on, a music video channel from what he could tell. He stopped at the small coat closet and grabbed a blanket he kept there for just such occasions.

He draped it over her and stepped away, turning the TV off.

"Mm, hi," she murmured.

"Hi," he whispered.

"You just got home?"

"Yeah," he said.

Had she been worried about him? Tried to stay awake and wait for him? He hadn't thought of that. Of course, he hadn't been thinking with his brain when he left. He wasn't used to having anyone at home waiting for him either.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"What?" he asked, surprised by the question.

"I don't know. You just left so suddenly. I wasn't sure I know it has to be weird having me here. I mean, if I'm cramping your style or you want the place to yourself for a while just tell me."

"And you'd go where?"

She didn't say anything at first.

"Well, I have a couple of friends at school I've made. And I don't know, there's places to go."

"I'll keep that in mind," he said, though he knew he'd never tell her to leave.

"So, you didn't want me here?"

"I didn't say that, Claire."

"No, but you just said you'd keep it in mind."

"Yeah, for if I ever need the information."

"Oh," she said, sitting up on the couch. The blanket fell to the floor as she shifted.

"I'm sorry if you thought I was mad."

"I just wasn't sure. I almost called my Matt."

She'd really been about to do that? All because he'd left? If she knew the reason he'd left she probably would call Matt and have him put her under someone else's care.

"No, if it ever gets to be a problem I promise I'll tell you and we'll call Matt."

"Do you work in the morning?" she asked, standing and picking the blanket up from the floor. She folded it.

"Yeah," he said simply.

"All right," she said, setting the blanket on the couch and walking toward him. His reaction to seeing her up close in her pajamas told him that whatever his problem at Mandy's was had been a short-lived one. Christ, she wasn't wearing anything that should get him going. Shorts and a tank top. He'd seen her wearing things like this before.

He reached for her shoulder, sliding a finger just under the strap of the tank top. He skimmed her shoulder with his thumb. He heard her breath hitch at the touch and his body reacted as it was supposed to. Definitely nothing wrong with any part of him.

Would she let him kiss her? She eyed him and he wondered what she saw. And then it dawned on him what she probably saw. Him straight out of someone else's bed. Hell, he probably smelled like Mandy. He'd certainly touched, tasted, and kissed enough of her to have that be the case.

He drew his hand away from her instantly at that thought. Crap, what the hell was he doing?

"I'll see you in the morning."

"O-okay," she said.

She didn't come out of her bedroom while he was getting ready for work the next morning. He knew she had class and was tempted to knock to see if she had overslept. Except, if she was avoiding him, very possibly mad at him (rightfully so) she wouldn't respond well to that. So, he'd let her be, though it'd been tempting to leave his lunch to see if she'd bring it to him again.

"Long night, Scanlon?" Adam asked.

"Yeah, didn't sleep well."

"I can't say as I blame you."

Lee rolled his eyes, let the guy think what he wanted. There was no use saying anything one way or the other. If he denied it, he'd just think he was lying.

He checked his cell phone's voicemail seeing the icon that showed he had a message. Mandy's assurance that they were all right and hoping he had a good day left him feeling a little empty. Usually, her messages after a night together left him anticipating the next time.

His day passed by for the most part uneventful. This was good from a detective standpoint, bad for his mindset. It left him time to think. By about two o'clock, he would have given anything for a trial to have to prepare for. Something. Anything. He wanted to go home. Finally, at three o'clock, he checked out for the day. It wasn't as if he wasn't contactable on his phone.

He found himself disappointed to find his condo empty. Unlike most days when she'd come home from school and just gone on to do something else her backpack was not by the door. Her door was open, no sign she'd been home or where she might be.

He went to his room, taking a quick shower. He already had that morning, but coming home and remembering what he'd contemplated doing last night made him feel as if he needed another one.

He ate dinner, reheating some of the chicken and rice Claire had evidently made the night before while he'd been out. He noticed it then, his note from last night and with it the twenty he'd left. Only it was crumpled up as if she'd balled it up and tossed it onto the counter that way. Like she'd been mad. It hadn't been there that morning, so she'd done it since he left for the day.

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