Musings in the Dark: The End of a Love Affair (3)


The End of a Love Affair (3)

           Kit went to a nearby restaurant and brought back a bag of absolute sinful goodness: big bacon double cheeseburgers, seasoned fries from Five Guys, and stopped by a bakery for thick slabs of chocolate cake.  We enjoyed the caloric volcano that was our meal while watching another SyFy cheese biscuit: ‘Sea Snakes.’  I discovered that he and I had that in common: an appreciation for mediocre sci-fi scripts, bad acting, and cheesy F/X, and nobody delivered like the SyFy channel. 
            After wiping my chocolatey fingers on a napkin, I covered my mouth to stifle a very loud unflattering burp.  Kit looked at me and chuckled.
            “Nice,” he said.
            “Excuse me,” I said, smiling.  “That was fantastic, but I know I’m going to pay for this later.  My little one is going to keep me up because of all that grease.”
            “Do you know what you’re having?”
            “I’ve decided it’s better if I don’t.”
            He nodded.  “Do you have a preference?”
            “Fair enough.”  Then a dark look passed over his face.  “That’s all that really matters, Zuri.”

When the movie ended, Kit rose, dusting off his jeans.  I stared at his body, really seeing it for the first time.  I normally saw him in suits, but never like this.  It was certainly a nice view.  I hadn’t had a view like that in a damn long time.  Briefly, I wondered if Kit had a girlfriend, but then put the thought out of my mind.  He wanted to be my friend.  And frankly, that was fine with me.
Was it?           
“Zuri, I have to go.  Thanks for letting me hang out.  I enjoyed myself.  I haven’t had a chance to lounge in a long time.”
I got up to walk him to the door.  “I had a good time too.  It’s a shame we never took the time to talk like this before, but that was all my fault.  I’m sure you tried, but—”
He waved his hand, as if blowing off my last comment.  “Not all your fault.”
“I’m glad you came by, Kit.” I said.  It was refreshing, having a man in my house that did not hog the conversation or talk incessantly about work.  “We’ll have to do this again sometime.”  That last rolled off my tongue so easily I didn’t realize I’d said it until he looked at me.  And then I found myself caught in his dark-eyed gaze and decided I meant it.
After a long moment, Kit smiled.  “I’d like that, Zuri.” 
He turned and left.  I locked my door and had to sit down and gather my thoughts.  Something had happened today; something I hadn’t expected and certainly was not prepared for.

I met with Louis Brady, the A.D. Monday morning and explained my reasons for wanting to transfer out of Violent Crimes.  He looked at me for a very long time.
“Zuri, you are an asset to this field office.  I can’t say that I blame you, after everything you’ve gone through, but you are irreplaceable.  First off, you are the smartest, quickest agent I’ve ever worked with and your work is always impeccable.  Never mind your innate skill with firearms.  And you can work with and handle J____, which I can assure you no one else can.  Does he know you’re leaving?”
“He’ll figure it out soon enough.”  My words were cool, my tone anything but.
Louis shook his head.  “So you’re going back to Quantico to be a firearms instructor?”
“The hours are good and it’s not that far from my house.  It’s time for a change.”
“I understand.  They’re going to get an awesome teacher for Hogan’s Alley.  Zuri, I’ll see to it that this transfer goes through.”  He made some sort of note on the application.  “So, you’ll be with us for another three months or so?”
“Until my baby is born.”
He nodded again.  “Well, let me be the first to say that you’ll be missed.”
I nodded and stood up.  He wasn’t the first, but he might have been the only other to do so.  Truth be told, I was going to be happy to get out of that field office and away from those covertly bigoted bastards who smiled in my face, but were quick to throw me under the bus at any given opportunity.

            I sat down at my desk and sighed.  Two more cases sat on my already cluttered desk.  Kit was there, reading a case file.  I looked at him.  “Good morning, Kit.”
            “Good morning, Zuri.  And before you ask, J____’s gone.  He said something about a clandestine meeting with one of his informants; that you’d know where he went.”
            “Oh,” I said, waving that off.  “What are we dealing with?”
            “Double rape and murder; two of them.  The cases are similar, but the locals don’t want to say if it’s a serial or not.  But my review of the files makes it possible.”
            I picked up the phone.  “I’ll get us a car.”
            J____ eventually joined us in Alexandria, but Kit and I were too engrossed in our investigation to care.  He didn’t like being ignored and we ended up having an argument; one where I allowed my already volatile emotions to go out of control.  Kit had to pull me away and it took me a long time to calm down.  When we took time off for lunch, Kit found a diner not too far from the sheriff’s office.  I was starving and couldn’t pick anything I wanted to eat because everything sounded good.  I finally decided on the chicken fried steak platter and Kit placed our orders.  We were talking about the next scheduled SyFy marathon when J____ came in and sat next to me in the booth, rudely pushing me to one side.
            “J_____!  What the hell!”
            “Sorry, Zuri,” he said.  “I just got a lead on this case.  According to—”
            Kit looked angry.  “Do you mind, Agent J_____?  We’re at lunch!”
            J_____ ignored Kit and looked at me.  “I need you to come with me and meet with this guy who says he knows who’s behind the killings.”
            I closed my eyes, feeling my blood pressure rise.  “I’m.  Having.  Lunch.”
            “We need to go, Zuri.  He won’t wait around for long.  I’ll get you a burger or something on the way.”
            I started to speak, but Kit beat me to it.  “No.”
            J_____ looked at him.  “I don’t believe I was addressing you, Agent Eastman.  This is between Zuri and me.”
            “Agent Troy is my partner now.  I think you’ve forgotten that.”
            J_____ looked at me and actually grabbed my arm.  “Zuri, we don’t have time for this.”
            “I’m not going,” I said.  “I’m hungry and I’m having lunch.  Let me go, J_____.  Let me go.  I’m not going with you.  I’m done trailing in your wake like a groupie.  If you want to meet with that guy, then go on.  But don’t expect me to follow.  I’m getting reassigned.”  I carelessly tossed out that last part, wondering if he even heard me.
            You would have thought I sucker-punched him in the face, but it was evident he didn’t hear that last.  “What is with you, Zuri?”
            Kit looked at me.  “I’m going to say this once.  Leave Agent Troy alone.  Get up and walk away, J____.  I won’t have you coming in here and deliberately upsetting Zuri again.  Either you shut up and join us for a nice quiet lunch or you can get the hell out of here.”
“Or what?”
J____’s tone was sharp, but Kit was impassive.  For a second, I wondered which one of them would win in a fight.  I thought Kit might.
“There is no ‘what.’  You are not going to upset her anymore.  Whatever you do, it won’t be that.”  Kit’s voice was calm, controlled.  “So decide.  Either shut up and have lunch with us, or leave us alone.”
J_____ obviously had deduced the same thing.  His eyes took on a wary look and he got up and stalked out of the restaurant. 
I took several deep breaths and sipped some tea.  “I don’t get it.  How can he be so obtuse?”  I was really hurt by his actions.  I guess a lot of it could be due to my overactive hormones, but truth be told, I was hurt.  J_____ was different now.  He wasn’t the man I used to know.  After everything we’d gone through the past seven years; after all that we’d shared, after everything…to be so thoroughly ignored and disrespected by a man I loved for stung.  When I calmed myself, I looked at Kit and saw that he was angry.
“Zuri, are you okay?”
“I will be.”  Then I looked Kit in the eye.  “I used to love him, you know.”
He touched my hand.  “You don’t need this.”
“Tell me about it.”
“You want some time alone?”
“No.  I just need a moment.”  I put my fingers against my eyes and wiggled them, took two deep breaths and slowed my pulse.  I was already tired and my feet hurt and I decided to put the incident with J____ out of my mind.  I wasn’t about to let him ruin my day.  When I opened my eyes, I caught Kit staring at me.  The expression on his face was thoughtful and there was a light in his eyes that I hadn’t seen before.  I looked at him; he smiled sheepishly and looked away.  I couldn’t help but grin. 
“Busted,” I said.
He grinned and it lit up his face.  I found myself staring at him and then I found myself wondering about that, as we waited for the food and then as we ate.  Had I been completely unaware this whole time?  Had I, in my obstinacy and rejection of Kit as my partner, missed something serious?  Something significant?  It was one thing to show up at my house under the pretense of wanting to be friends, but the look on Kit’s face was more than mere friendship.  Suddenly, I was warm all over and there were butterflies in my stomach not caused by my child.  It became difficult to look at him while eating.  I was grateful for the food; it kept me from having to look in his eyes.  The silence was companionable, as it had to be due to my hunger.  I was wolfing down everything on my plate, totally unembarrassed.  I did notice, however, that Kit was sneaking looks at me between bites of his steak.  I couldn’t help but smile.  His concern for me made a lot more sense now.  As had his unexpected visit to my house.  Friends, indeed.

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