Disclaimer: I do not own the characters/settings in the story below. I am only borrowing them – and will not be financially benefiting in anyway. No copy right infringement is intended.
Author Notes: So, I started this story for defyingnormalcy's birthday – several weeks ago – and it's taken me an age to finish...but it's the thought that counts though, right *big grin*?
Happy Belated Birthday!
This story is set several weeks after 'Champers Darling' which was set a couple weeks after Friday Night Drinks at Browns...so I guess it's now a series? This one is considerably more angst ridden that it's predecessors. Apologies, considering the time that has elapsed between the three parts – a refresher will probably be needed.
Thanks again to mellow_mel for her ever-patient beta work :)
Andrea sat alone, hunched over a file in Major Crimes Interview Room 1.
The DDA stretched out the tight muscles in her neck as she scribbled notes into the margin of Big Hazard’s written statement. Sighing, she paused temporarily to look at her wristwatch. Today's deals had taken decidedly longer to make than expected; it was almost 9pm and she hadn't even eaten yet. Her stomach growled in protest as she turned to the final page of notes and tried to focus on the inked scrawl before her.
Today had been difficult; Andrea hadn't spent much time in the murder room recently – which for the most part was intentional. Ever since Sharon's revelation at Gavin's party that she had been 'dating' Andy Flynn – the DDA had avoided their combined company like the plague.
'I know it's happening - I don't need it shoved down my throat.'
Andrea closed her eyes tightly for a moment in an attempt to focus at the task at hand – but her mind was too far gone. All of the thoughts she'd been working to suppress all day started to seep through her exhausted defences.
With a groan, Andrea admitted defeat and dropped the hand holding the pen to the table. She pinched the bridge of her nose with the other – applying pressure to ease the tension headache that was surfacing behind her eyes.
It was all so confusing.
Sharon was her friend – and despite Andrea's opinion of Lieutenant Flynn, he seemed to make her friend happy...so why can't I just be happy for them too?
Why, every time that she saw them together - did she feel like she'd been punched in the gut?
Until the party, Andrea had just put any thoughts she'd had about Sharon down to Gavin's incessant teasing having planted a seed...but ever since that night – she'd not been able to get the brunette out of her head. It was ridiculous, really; even though nothing had ever happened between them...even though it never could...it still felt like something had been taken away...
Andrea inhaled sharply at the first prickling of tears and gathered her paperwork from the desk. 'I need to go home – now.'
But the very instant that Andrea got to her feet, that split second when her guard was down - the door opened and the object of her misguided affections entered the room.
“Hi,” Sharon smiled. “Are you heading out?”
Andrea, having glanced over at the brunette briefly – quickly diverted her gaze to the file in her hand and cleared her throat. If Sharon were to look into her eyes right now, Andrea feared she may see into her sole.
“I'm just finishing up,” the blonde reached for her briefcase. "I could've used a translator to decode Big Hazard's statement...”
“What ever happened to the art of calligraphy?” Sharon joked.
“Right,” Andrea nodded with a tight smile, summoning the courage to meet Sharon's gaze – albeit temporarily – before she placed the statements into her briefcase.
As Andrea packed the last few items from the desk into her bag, silence crept into the space around them; the quiet that would once never have existed, now festered between them at every opportunity. It was a reminder to both women of the awkwardness surrounding their friendship.
The DDA of course had apologised for her comments about Andy at Gavin's party, yet she had done so at arms length - keeping Sharon on the periphery ever since. She knew that she really owed the other woman an explanation for her behaviour, but the truth would be too damaging to their friendship for Sharon hear...and too painful for Andrea to articulate.
“Are you guys done for the day?” The blonde asked, cutting through the silence with forced sincerity as she removed her blazer from the back of the chair.
“We are, yes.” Sharon took a few tentative steps towards the table, from where she had been hovering by the door. “Rusty and I are going out for dinner – and wondered if you wanted to join us?”
It was an olive branch – Andrea knew – yet as much as she hated the ever expanding distance between them, being around Sharon today and sharing a confined space with the 'happy couple' – it had been both emotionally and physically draining. It had made her bitter, it had made her mood fowl; already Detective Sykes and Rusty had bore the brunt of her acid tongue – and if she didn't go home now, she knew that they wouldn't be the last.
“Rusty?” The DDA asked as she shrugged on her jacket and un-tucked her hair from inside the collar. “I'd think I was the last person he'd want to be spending time with...” At Sharon's frown, Andrea continued. “I didn't mean to be so irritable about Alice – it's just been a long day and...”
“Oh, no. Rusty is just fine,” Sharon dismissed Andrea's guilt with a wave of her hand. “He needs to understand that his work as a journalist will rub people the wrong way from time to time – it's character building.”
“All the same,” Andrea offered her friend a tired smile as she picked up her bag and took a step towards the door to leave. “I'm really exhausted and...”
“Andrea, wait - ” Sharon interjected and took a step towards the DDA; so out of character was this for the usually collected Captain, that it stopped Andrea dead in her tracks.
The women were now closer than they had been in weeks; Sharon was but a hairs breadth away and despite Andrea's mind screaming for her to run for the hills – she remained rooted to the spot.
“For what?” She finally asked, her voice was hoarse - almost a whisper; her expression unguarded as she held Sharon's gaze for the first time that day. For the briefest moment, Andrea thought she glimpsed recognition in Sharon's eyes – before they clouded over with concern.
“I just...” Sharon faltered, her teeth worrying her bottom lip briefly before continuing. “Andrea, are we okay?”
“We're fine Sharon,” Andrea answered flatly and took a step backwards, dropping her gaze to her feet.
“Because it feels to me like you have been trying your up-most to avoid spending time with me...”
“That's ridiculous,” Andrea rolled her eyes; absently switching the hand in which carried her briefcase. “You're being ridiculous, Sharon.”
“I just keep wondering...” Sharon crossed her arms over her chest and furrowed her brow – the way Andrea had seen her do when pacing the murder room floor on a case. “If maybe I've done something to upset you...”
“You haven't...” Andrea felt the the blood rushing to her face. She couldn't tell Sharon the real reason for her avoidance – not like this – not here. “I've just been caught up art work...”
“I'm worried about you, Andrea.” Sharon's tone took on a sympathetic lilt. “You don't answer my messages – you send other lawyers to work my cases...when I do see you, you look exhausted...”
“I'm fine, I...” If things were difficult now, Andrea's revelation would surely increase the awkwardness tenfold.
“Ever since that night at Gavin's party...” Sharon pressed on – despite Andrea's protests – leaving the blonde no choice...
“I'm seeing someone!” Andrea announced - somewhat snappily – leaving the brunette a little dumbfounded.
“You...” Sharon's frown deepened. “You're what?”
“I'm seeing someone,” Andrea answered, this time with more confidence.
Sharon's eyebrows crept slowly upwards; her mouth formed a perfect 'O' - but no sound escaped her throat.
“Jessica,” Andrea fabricated on the spot. “I met her at Brown's.”
“Well,” Sharon's expression shifted into what Andrea could only describe as was a side ways smirk – it was almost a smile - but something appeared to be hindering it's development. “That's great news,” the left side of the Captain's mouth finally completed her smile. “Why didn't you tell me?”
“As I said,” Andrea painted on her own smile. “I've been caught up with work – and you're a fine one to talk,” the blonde teased – but her tone was void of humour. “Lieutenant Flynn...”
“Well, that's entirely different,” Sharon retorted, her smile still in place but her cheeks colouring with a blush. “Andy and I are not dating...not really...So...when do I get to meet the lovely Jessica?”
“Wait,” Andrea shifted her weight on her feet . “I'm sorry,” now it was her turn to frown. “ I thought that you and Lieutenant Flynn were...?”
“Oh no,” Sharon answered quickly. “Nothing like that...”
“Nothing?” Andrea asked, disbelievingly – her eye brows retreating to her hairline. “Nothing since Gavin's party?”
“No...no not really...” Sharon dropped her gaze to the floor.
Andrea was unsure if the Captain was embarrassed by the glacial pace of her relationship with Andy – or wasn't being entirely truthful. The DDA wasn't entirely sure how to respond to that – and looking at Sharon almost squirming under her scrutiny, she wasn't sure that she should.
Her heart beat a little louder in her chest; had she really been worked up all these weeks over nothing?
“Well,” Andrea finally found her voice. “It sounds as though we've got some catching up to do...”
“It appears we do,” Sharon smiled a tight smile, the strain of their conversation evident in her expression and Andrea suddenly felt a pang of guilt. Her friend had been reaching out – perhaps needing to talk – and she had shot her down every single time.
“How about this Friday night?” Andrea piped up, shedding the pessimism of the past weeks and reaching out to her friend. “Drinks at Browns?”
Sharon looked startled, like they were the last words she expected to fall from Andrea's mouth. “Okay,” she smiled genuinely – the happiness reaching her eyes – and in that moment Andrea realised how much she'd missed her friend. “I'd like that.”
“Okay then...” Andrea matched her smile. “As long as nobody commits a Major Crime within the next 48 hours - it's a date.”
As she moved to leave, Sharon followed closely behind. “Will...Jessica be there too?”
Andrea paused, her hand on the door handle; she had almost forgotten about her newly created 'girlfriend'. 'Oh God!' She mentally kicked herself. Why do I do these things to myself?'
She glanced over her shoulder at Sharon – but when she caught a glimpse of her expectant expression, Andrea realised that the Captain didn't want the imaginary girlfriend to be there any more than she did.
“Maybe not,” she shrugged, feigning nonchalance as she opened the door and stepped into the dimly lit murder room. “Gavin is still in Boca and he'd kill me if you got to meet Jessica without him...so...”
“All right,” to Andrea's surprise - Sharon seemed convinced; in fact she didn't appear even the least bit suspicious.
“So...I'll see you Friday?”
“Goodnight, then...” Andrea turned to leave.
“Goodnight,” the DDA heard Sharon respond as she made her way to the elevators – feeling much lighter than when she had arrived.
However as she closed the door to the murder room behind her – the DDA's elation was short lived. Realisation dawned on the blonde that just because nothing had happened between Sharon and Andy so far – it didn't mean that it never could.
Andrea had a decision to make; either she shut-up and put-up, or she told Sharon exactly how she felt. Never had she had she entertained the theory that her feelings for Sharon may be reciprocated...that was until the Captain's odd reaction to 'Jessica'.
Although the thought of coming clean about her emotions filled Andrea with a sense of dread – it was that glimmer of optimism she would cling to, until Friday night at Browns.
This series will be continued eventually – but planning weddings on 2 different continents has me on the verge of becoming bridezilla...and time is in very short supply!