I sighed as he closed the door behind me. Leaning against the door, I felt my energy seep out of me. It had been an exhausting two weeks. Between my work at the University, and helping Jim with a high profile series of murders, I was worn out.
Finally the murders had been solved, and my classes were over for a few weeks. Hopefully I could finally get some well-needed sleep.
My tired eyes adjusted to the darkness of the loft, and focused on the one lone blinking red light of our answering machine. I was almost afraid of answering it. With a sigh, I pushed the play button. While the messages rewound, I made my way into my room. I needed a long, hot shower before I started dinner.
The messages began playing and I half listened to them while I thought about what to make for dinner. After two messages regarding a book I had ordered at a local books store, the familiar voice of my partner filtered through the air.
"Chief, you haven't started dinner yet have you?" The recorded voice paused for a second. "I'll be home around five. We're going out to dinner." The click signaled the end of the message, and the machine started to rewind.
I blinked at the machine, half expecting it to explain what just happened. Something did just happen. Didn't it?
I shook my head, dislodging the confusion, which had settled there. Going out? As in the two of us?
I thought about that for a second. I didn't want to read too much into the message. Most likely, it was just a friendly dinner. Nothing special. A simple meal between friends to celebrate the closing of the recent murder case.
Still... what if?
I shook my head again, dislodging any hopeful thoughts and made my way to the bathroom.
It didn't take me long to shower and dress, so when I heard Jim's key in the lock, I was just finishing. I knew he was standing at my door before I actually heard the knock, so it wasn't a surprise when the door opened and he walked in.
"You get my message?" Jim asked quietly.
I turned to face him. There was an odd look on his face. One I don't think I'd ever seen, not directed at me. "Yeah. What's up?" I asked moving towards him.
Jim smiled slightly at me, and placed a gentle pat against my stomach before disappearing out of my room and heading up the stairs, calling his answer over his shoulder.
I'll see. That's what he said when he left me to get dressed himself. Well, it's been nearly two and a half-hours, and dinner is finished, and I don't see things any clearer.
"So, you going to tell me what this is about?" I asked him, one more time, hoping maybe this time I'll get an answer.
Jim just smiled at me, again, in that way he has. The one that turns my insides to jelly. "No, I don't think I am."
I quirked an eyebrow at him. "Your not?"
Jim shook his head slightly and kept smiling. "If you can't figure it out yourself, Junior, I'm not going to spell it out."
There was a teasing note in his voice, and I wanted to believe it was for the reason I was thinking, but I couldn't chance that I might be wrong.
"You gonna give me a hint?" I asked cautiously.
Jim shook his head at me, his lips quirked slightly.
"Well, is this about finishing up the Masterson case?" I asked just as our waitress brought our check over.
Jim paid for it, silencing any protest I could have made about his paying for the meal. Once we were alone again, he turned back to me and I got the distinct impression he was focused on me, completely, and that he was waiting for something. What I wasn't sure.
"The Masterson case?" I reminded him.
"I heard you the first time. Sentinel, you know?" He chuckled slightly. "And no, it has nothing to do with the Masterson case, or the PD, or the University, or Simon, or Joel, or Connor, or anyone else other than you and I."
"O-kay." I drew the word out, as if making it last longer would give me the time to figure out how I ended up in this weird alternate universe, and if I really wanted out of it.
Jim stood up and pulled on his jacket. I sat in my chair, unmoving until he handed me my own jacket. I took the hint and stood up. After the several minutes it took for us to leave the restaurant and make our way towards his truck, I decided to try again.
"So... is this a... date?" I asked cautiously, not even believing the words escaping my lips.
Jim turned to me and that was definite amusement I saw in his eyes. "Got it in one, Darwin."
My mouth was off and running before I could stop it. "No, actually it took several tries." I stopped walking and waited a second for him to stop as well. When he did, he turned towards me expectantly.
"Just so we're clear." I began. "This is a date. As in dating... you and I, together."
Jim came closer to me, and kept moving until he was inside my personal space, his body nearly touching my own. "Is there another definition?" He asked softly.
Then his lips were on mine, and there was no more confusion. Not for me, not for him, and definitely not for us.
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