Bobby and I sat together at the kitchen table with the laptop between us as we pored over the information on the data stick.
Moran was right.
There was so much here that it would've taken reams of paper to print it all out.
And it was going to take us countless hours to make sense of it.
We'd started out with the agents' financial information, but as expected, there was nothing cut and dried.
No one had any abnormal deposits into their accounts.
No one had unusual spending habits.
None of them were especially well-off.
"Was it too much to hope that Beemer would have regular unexplained cash deposits?" I said in a low voice, mindful of the ever-present bugs.
"We'll keep digging. Hassan didn't get that kind of loyalty for free," he replied.
And he was using his preferred covert technique of whispering directly into my ear, which he followed up with a series of kisses in that same general vicinity.
He'd learned over the course of our weekend at Logan's that my ears are very sensitive and he liked to exploit that. Not that I mind, of course.
I sat still for a moment, enjoying the attention.
"Let's take a break," he said between kisses. He slipped his hand over my lap and grabbed onto my chair, scooting me closer to him.
"And do what?"
My whole body was tingling from his attention and I was really close to dragging him over to the corner of the room. Especially when he ran his hand up my arm and then into my hair, turning my head so that he could kiss me fully.
We let it go on for longer than we usually did while on camera, but I guess maybe we were both getting numb to the idea of being watched.
When he finally pulled away, he stayed close and kept his fingers entwined in my hair. I hadn't cut it in awhile because he'd mentioned once that he really liked it long. Kind of like he'd grown a beard because I mentioned that I thought it made him look sexy.
"Let's go for a walk," he suggested.
Not exactly what I'd expected him to say, but still a perfect idea.
So we shutdown the laptop and hit the street. It was a little past nine in the evening, so it was just beginning to get dark.
He took my hand in his and we started down the block.
"Is your dad okay?" he asked me.
"Yeah, he and my mom are both good," I told him.
I was glad that I'd taken the time to call earlier. It seemed to mean a lot to my dad that I'd remembered his birthday.
"They're probably worried about you."
I'd told Dad that I had been assigned to head up a narcotics task force.
He had done a stint with them himself back in the day, and he understood that an undercover with them often meant a considerable amount of time incommunicado.
And it's not that I couldn't have told him the truth about what I was doing.
I could've. I mean, who would he tell?
But narcotics he understood.
Quitting the NYPD to work undercover for the FBI in an effort to track a dirty agent who had ultimately been responsible for blowing Ross' cover, who himself had been working undercover for the Bureau….well, that might be a little too much for him.
"He's okay," I answered.
"Does he know that you're working with me?"
"No. He…he heard that you…um…"
"Got fired?" he supplied.
For some reason, I still had trouble saying it. It had been four months, and it had been for the sole purpose of our investigation, but still…maybe it was because no one knew that it hadn't been for real.
And I didn't like how it made me feel to know that others thought I'd summarily fired my best friend simply because I'd been ordered to do so.
"Yeah, he heard about that. He was pretty upset with me," I admitted. "He said that sometimes friendships were more important than the job."
"I guess he'll be surprised when this is all over, huh?"
"I think a lot of people will be surprised."
"It really bothers you, doesn't it?" he asked knowingly. He let go of my hand and instead put his arm around my shoulder, pulling me closer to him.
"You know that I would never do that, right?"
"Of course," he said quickly.
"I'm serious," I insisted. It was suddenly extremely important to me that he know how much more important he was to me than any job. "And when we finish this case, if Moran won't take us back because of our relationship, then I'm okay with not going back."
He was quiet for a minute as we continued to walk.
"I need you to promise me something," he said at last.
"You don't even know what I'm going to say."
"It doesn't matter. You wouldn't ask if it wasn't important."
By this point, we were nearing the pier at the end of 26th Street, so he fell silent again as we walked out to the end of it.
We sat down on a bench and looked out onto the Hudson River.
"If Moran follows through with the offer of captain, I want you to take it."
"He won't. After he moved Maas to Deputy Chief, he gave the position to Captain Callas. You know that. And she's not termed pro-temp."
"I know," he agreed. "But I don't think that your offer was just part of the show. I think that he hoped you'd stay and work from the inside. I'm betting that when we go back, he'll find a new home for Callas."
I wasn't sure what to think about that.
He didn't want to be my partner anymore?
"Don't read too much into that," he stated, and it was a little eerie how he could read my mind.
"You don't know what I'm thinking," I argued lightly.
"Yes, I do. You know that you're the best partner I've ever had."
"And yet you suddenly don't want to work with me anymore."
"Alex…" he whispered, and his use of my first name in this unrecorded location caused a fluttering in my stomach. He turned toward me on the bench and covered my cheek with his palm. "I would love nothing more than to spend every waking minute with you. But I'm not going to be responsible for holding you back. And that's what I'd be doing."
"Assuming I want the job."
"You do. I know how much it hurt you to walk away from it. And you did it for me."
"Because I love you," I reminded him. "I'd do it again in a second."
He smiled and rubbed his thumb along the area just in front of my ear.
"I can't get enough of hearing you say that," he replied. "But you shouldn't have to give up your goals for me. You took that lieutenant's exam for a reason. We talked about that. At the time, you told me that you weren't expecting anything to come of it, but if it did, then you'd have a lot of thinking to do."
"Because then I'd be torn between wanting to stay with you and wanting to better my career," I admitted.
"Well something did come of it. And I knew it would because you're too smart and ambitious to get overlooked. And now you don't have to worry about staying with me. You can move up in the department and you'll still always have me."
"Will I?" I asked, and I didn't mean for it to sound like I was asking for any kind of commitment, but the thought had crossed my mind more than once that this situation we were in was merely perpetuating our relationship.
He leaned down and kissed me, so sweetly and tenderly that it brought tears to my eyes. He had a knack for infusing his emotion into each kiss and there were times when it was almost overwhelming.
And then, as we sat on the bench and kissed with increasing passion, it started to rain.
I suddenly felt like laughing.
"Why does it always seem to rain when we're having life-altering conversations?" I asked him, holding my cheek against his and feeling his beard against my skin.
"I have no idea, but I think I like it."
I pushed my fingers into his hair and kissed him again, suddenly desperate for affirmation of his feelings.
He didn't let me down.
He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me impossibly closer, continuing his assault on my mouth until at last we each pulled away breathless.
"Alex, I love you. I loved you before this assignment started, and I'll keep on loving you long after it's over. If you want some kind of commitment from me, some grand gesture of undying love and loyalty…well, I'll give it to you. I'll give you anything you want. Because I'm not going anywhere. Not ever."
I held his gaze and I was struck by the sincerity behind his offer.
He would actually marry me if that's what I wanted.
"I don't need anything but your word," I told him. Just knowing he was willing was enough.
"You have it. I mean it, I'm not going anywhere. This wasn't a whim or a convenient fling. This is it."
"Okay," I said with a nod.
And I couldn't help but smile.
I wasn't sure why I felt so emotional and needy tonight, but it was nice to be able to be myself and be honest about it.
"And I promise," I added.
He smiled back at me and I leaned my head against his shoulder.
I didn't expect that Moran would actually attempt to put me back in that office, but if he did…well, I'd take it.
And I'd be the best damn captain that department had ever seen.
"You know that means you'll be taking orders from me, right?" I asked him after a minute. I still had my head against him and I could feel him chuckling.
"And that will be different…how?" he teased.
I barked out a laugh, but then I was assaulted by an old and painful memory.
I got up from the bench and walked over to the railing so that I could look down into the water.
It was fully dark now, and although the pier was dimly lit, the water was pitch black.
The rain continued to fall and we were both soaked to the bone, but it was still warm outside.
Bobby followed me to the edge and put a hand on either side of me, trapping me against the wooden rail.
He was close, and I could feel every inch of him against my back.
And that was appropriate.
The closeness, I mean.
Because emotionally, I felt closer to him than I'd ever been with any person in my life.
"I got offered my shield in 1996," I said suddenly. "Did you know that?"
"You were with Vice," he said, leaning his head down next to mine so that I could once again feel the softness of his beard on my cheek. "I thought you got it in '97."
"I did," I said. "But it was offered to me in '96."
He was quiet for a minute and I waited for him to grasp what I was telling him.
"So, they wanted to promote you sooner and you turned it down?"
"Because Joe hadn't gotten the nod."
That was the first time that I'd said those words out loud.
And as they escaped, the rush of emotion that I'd felt at the time hit me with amazing strength.
"My captain told me about it," I continued. "And I was so excited that I called him while he was working. And right away that pissed him off because he was working. He was in narcotics at the time, but as an officer, not a detective. And he'd graduated the academy a year before me."
"So he got upset that his wife was outshining him," he said knowingly. He moved one hand from the rail and slid it across my stomach, anchoring me to him.
"Upset is a really nice way to put it," I said. "He took an early lunch and met up with me in a diner down the street from his precinct. He convinced me that if I took the promotion, it would make him look bad, and he'd never hear the end of it. He made me feel like I had done something wrong."
"No, I know that I didn't. And I know that I should've taken the promotion anyway, but at the time…well, at the time I felt like I was making the choice between my marriage and the job."
Again, words I'd never spoken.
And it was why my gut reaction to Bobby's request for a promise had been no.
Because even if he thought he meant it now, how would he feel about it once I was his boss?
"Loving someone means wanting to see them succeed and being happy for them when they do," he said quietly. "It's not a competition between us."
"You really believe that, don't you?"
"I do. Would I have made you promise me if I didn't?"
"No," I admitted on a sigh. Bobby was nothing if not honest.
And he'd always respected me, from day one. There wasn't a chauvinistic bone in his body.
"Well, it may be a moot point," I said. "First we have to find our guy, and then we have to convince Moran to bring us back."
"He'll bring us back," he said confidently. Then he stepped back from me and I turned around to find him looking at the sky. "You have a thing for rain, don't you?"
"Yes, I do," I said as I wrapped my arms around his waist. "I'm sure I don't need to spout off the symbolism to you."
"No. It's cleansing. It's conducive to purging the soul and it offers a fresh start."
"Or maybe I just want to make love in it," I countered.
He dropped his eyes to mine and quirked an eyebrow at me.
I glanced around us and then looked back at him.
"I don't see anyone, do you? I've purged my soul, and we've promised each other forever," I reminded him as I moved my hands down over his butt. His shorts were soaked through and I could easily feel the tight muscles through the damp fabric. "I think we need to seal the deal."
"You're a dangerous woman, Eames."
"Are we back to Eames now?" I teased as I moved my hand around to the front, slipping it between us and pushing hard against his burgeoning arousal.
"We might end up on Youtube," he warned me as he once again backed me against the rail.
At one time, there was no way in the world I would've considered what we were about to do.
Maybe my time under surveillance had turned me into an exhibitionist.
Or maybe it was just that Bobby made me hotter than any man ever had before and it was hard to control myself around him, I don't know.
I wasn't going to take the time to analyze it.
Not when he had his hands under my skirt.
"Well we'd better make it good then, don't you think?"