In From the Cold

Chapter 9

Bobby POV

I was soaking wet.

So was Eames.

I know this because as we'd walked into the bar, I'd had to work really hard to not be obvious while I stared at how her clothes were molded to her body.

And trust me. They were molded perfectly.

I couldn't stop the shot of arousal that rolled through me at the idea that one day, maybe one day soon, I'd be able to see that body first hand.

Without the wet clothes.

Because she loved me.

And I didn't suspect that just because declarations had been made that we'd now be jumping into the bed together. At least, not in a way any different than we already did, but still…we'd surely get there someday soon.

A wide grin crossed my face just at the thought, and beneath the table, I slid my hand onto her thigh and gave it a little squeeze.

"So, what gives?" Logan asked when he came back from the bar with three glasses in his hand. He set them on the table and then sat down in the seat across from us and looked at us expectantly.

"About…" Eames replied noncommittally.

"Well, I leave town for a year and I come back and the city's gone to hell."

"Where'd you go?" I asked him.

I was stalling the inevitable because I knew that he was going to get around to asking what me and Eames had been doing kissing like that. And surely he'd noticed the wedding bands.

But I was trying to determine exactly how much to tell him.

"North Carolina," he replied. And I wouldn't have been more surprised if he'd said that he'd been on the moon.

"What's in North Carolina?"

"Exactly," he answered. "You know, I thought I needed to get away from this place. And when I got the offer to head up a small town police department…I had to give it a shot. But it turns out I've got too much New York in me. Who knew?"

"I did," Eames said with a grin.

"Yeah, I did, too," I added.

"Well, thanks for the heads up on that one."

"I don't remember you asking," she reminded him.

"No. I know. And even though it wasn't for me, I think it was a good thing that I left. It makes me appreciate this place that much more."

"How long have you been back?"

"A month. I'm sorry that I wasn't here…you know, when Ross…" He trailed off, but then he lifted his glass and said simply, "To Captain Ross."

We all took a drink from our glasses, and then he set his down on the table and looked at us seriously.

"So tell me what's going on."

I looked at Eames and I could tell that she was debating the same thing as me.

How much do we tell him?

"There's a lot going on," she said at last.

"I can see that. Wheeler told me that you fired him a few days after the funeral," he said, tipping his head in my direction but still looking at her. He almost looked accusatory, and I appreciated his support even though it was misdirected.

"You've spoken with her?" Eames asked, ignoring his statement.

"Yeah. She decided not to go back to the department, but she still has friends there."

"And what else do her friends say?"

"Eames, what happened? What is happening?"

At her continued silence, he turned to me.

"So she fires you, and you're okay with that? You guys were kissing out on the sidewalk. I mean, I always thought there might be something going on, but…"

"Okay, here's the thing," I said. "We're…working on something. Okay?"

"Something. That's all I get?"

"What do you want us to say, Logan?" Eames asked.

He looked back and forth between us and then sat back in his seat.

"You're right. I'm sorry. I guess I'm just itching to get back into the game."

"What makes you think we're in the game? You said it yourself. We don't work for the NYPD anymore."

"I'll back off," he agreed. "Let's just catch up. So you guys are an item now? Or is that part of this thing you're working on that you don't want to talk about?"

Alex let out a sigh and propped her head in her hand, with her elbow resting on the table.

My hand was still on her leg, and I was starting to get distracted by that.

Because the air conditioning was on in here, and I'd felt her skin cooling as it dried, and so I'd begun to rub my hand back and forth over her thigh in an effort to warm her up and in the process, I'd managed to shift the damp fabric of her skirt until it was mid-way up her thigh.

It had been unintentional, but still…so now, half of my hand was resting on bare skin.

And I know.

I'm a grown man and the idea of touching a woman on the leg shouldn't be so all-consuming.

But considering that I'd been living with her for more than two months and I'd been constantly tortured with the sight of said legs every night when we went to bed and yet I hadn't been allowed to touch them, at least not like this, so well…surely it's understandable as to why this might be a distraction.

And I know this wasn't the time or place, although you know what?

It kind of was.

Because we were off-duty and we were in a place where no one knew us except Logan and who was he going to tell?

Really, who was he going to tell about any of it?

It might actually be kind of nice to have someone who knew the whole story instead of only being able to share parts of it with different people.

I squeezed Eames' leg again to get her attention.

She tilted her head to look at me, with her cheek still resting in the palm of her hand.

Her damp hair, which had grown fairly long in recent months, was brushing against the table and as she settled her bourbon-colored eyes onto mine I had to force myself to stay focused.

But I had a knot in the pit of my stomach and a buzzing feeling in my head and a tightening in my groin just from the way she looked at me.

Never in my life had I wanted a woman so much.

And now that I knew I could have her…that she wanted me too…was it any wonder that I couldn't think of anything else?

"Um…yeah, okay, well, maybe I should leave you two alone," Logan said suddenly, breaking my lustful trance.

"No," I said, although I continued to look at Eames. I asked the question without saying a word and she gave me a subtle nod.

Soon enough, I'd be able to look at every inch of her, I reminded myself.

So for now, I made myself look away.

"This can't leave the table," I began.

"I had a feeling," he remarked.

"We're serious," Eames added.

"I'm in," he said with a slow nod. "You can trust me."

So we told him.

About what had happened with Ross, the suspected mole, the fake suspension and subsequent firing.

"And so you quit to go undercover with him?" he asked Eames. "They bought that?"

"We told them that we're in love," she explained. "Obviously the department won't go for that, and then when they forced me to fire him, that was the last straw."

He nodded, and I could literally hear the gears turning in his brain.

"So outside earlier…that was because it's your cover? Are you under surveillance?"

"We have been for more than two months," I told him, without confirming or denying the reason for our earlier kiss.

"See, we just wrapped up a case for the Bureau tonight. We had to be a married couple," Eames said, holding up her left hand to show him the wedding band that was still on her finger. "The bust was made in Central Park, which was why we're on this end of town."

"But we're off now," I added. "For two days. Then we report to the federal building on Monday."

"So you earned their trust and now you're going to be on the inside. Very nice," he complimented. "And this guy…what's his name? Maas? You trust him?"

"He hasn't given us a reason not to," Eames said with a shrug. "He's been keeping in contact with us. And they're supposedly holding our jobs for us until we can find the Bureau mole."

"And possibly a department one, too," I said. "The only two people who know about this are Moran and Maas."

"That would explain what Wheeler said," Logan commented.

"Which was what?"

"I guess Nichols drops by from time to time to check on her and the baby. She said that he's been pretty upset with what happened to you guys, and by the fact that Ross' killer was set free."

"Well, tracking Hassan may be what helps us find the mole," I told him. "Whoever dropped a dime on Ross had a stake in keeping Hassan free. We need to find out why."

"Do you have any suspects?"

"I've got an idea," Eames said with obvious loathing. Which reminded me of something.

"I'm going to have a chat with him first thing Monday morning," I told her pointedly.

"With who? About what?" Logan asked.

"Why?" she asked me, both of us ignoring his questions.

"You know why," I said. "You think I didn't see what he did?"

"What who did?"

"I'll have a talk with him," she countered. "I can take care of myself."

"I know that you can," I agreed. "But Alex…"

"Wait, Alex? Guys, come on!" Logan shouted in frustration.

I ignored him a minute longer as I silently argued my case.

That dickhead Beemer had felt her up when he'd put her under arrest because he knew that we couldn't say anything about it.

And I'd kept my mouth shut. Barely.

But come Monday, all bets were off.

At the very least, I was going to have him written up.

Or…I could let her do it, I realized. Because yes, she could take care of herself and just because we were now in this…thing…that didn't mean that I was going to start fighting her battles for her.

"You're right," I said at last. "You do it."

She smiled at me, and then she shivered, so I started to take off my jacket, but it was just as wet as she was.

"Take off your jacket, Logan."

But he'd seen her, too, and was already standing to remove his suit jacket.

Like I said, he's a good guy.

I took it from him and then held it out to her, and I was glad to see her put it on without an argument.

I had trouble knowing when chivalrous gestures were a good idea or a bad idea with her, but I figured that she couldn't get mad at me for having good manners.

She settled back against the seat and I slid my hand back over her thigh. A little higher this time than it had been before. She smirked at me briefly and dropped her hand beneath the table, covering mine with her own.

Logan cleared his throat and got our attention.

"So, you two were going to tell me who your suspect is and then you started off on some other conversation that you completely left me out of, and then you called her Alex, which you never do, so…"

"Agent Stahl's partner, Agent Beemer. He's a jerk, but we're not sure if that makes him guilty or not," Eames said. "Anyway, we had to get arrested tonight to avoid being made, and let's just say that he took his time when he was patting me down."

Logan held her gaze for a minute and then gave her a sharp nod and looked over at me.

"Okay, so when are we going to beat the crap out of this guy?"

"You're not," she said, although she was smiling when she said it. "I'm going to report him."

"Alright," Logan conceded. "But if he gives you any more trouble…"

"I'm all over it," I assured him.

"You are, aren't you?" he asked with a grin. "And you called her Alex. This whole couple thing isn't just an act, is it?"

I glanced at Eames, since she was the one who'd denied it when we were out on the sidewalk, but she gave me a nod.

"No, it's not," I admitted. "I mean, it was in the beginning…sort of…but, it's not anymore."

"Moran is going to love that."

"Exactly," she agreed. "Which is why we're keeping it our little secret."

"Okay, well, hey…I think it's great. The department rules are a crock anyway," he said casually. "I mean, who knows each other better than partners, right?"

"Where are you working?" I asked him suddenly since it occurred to me that he was wearing a suit.

"I had an interview today," he said, gesturing to his tie. "I've only been back for a month, so I'm still unemployed as of yet."

"Where was the interview?"

"Nassau County. They love me out there," he said with a wry grin.

"You're going back into police work?"

"I never really left it. I moved to Southport a few weeks after quitting MCS, and I spent a year running their department. And now I'm back here, so…yeah. Police work is my life."

"Let me know if you need a reference," I offered with a smile.

"Yeah, that'll go over well, huh?" he replied. "Okay, so here's the question. What can I do to help?"

"I don't know," I admitted. "Nothing right now."

"Well, actually not nothing," Eames spoke up. I looked over at her curiously, waiting to see what she was going to say. "How big is your place?"

"You need a place to stay?" he asked in surprise. "Um…yeah, I've got a guest room. I mean, it's not big, and it's not very well furnished, but…it's yours if you need it."

"Just for the weekend," she said, shifting her eyes over to mine and giving me a smile that went straight to my groin. "We need to fumigate our place."

"You've got bugs?"

"Government bugs," I explained without taking my eyes off of Eames. She tightened her hand on mine and then moved it a little higher.

"I hear you," Logan said in understanding. "Yeah, no problem. I'm actually about four blocks from here. You guys ready?"

"We're ready," Eames replied.

"Uh huh," I said. "We are definitely ready."

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