Adventures at the Mall

“This might take longer than I thought,” said Kensi. Four people already stood in the customer service line at the bookstore. Three stood quietly while the first woman argued with the clerk that the book she was holding was not the book she had ordered.

“The night is young,” said Deeks and remained rooted to her side.

Kensi pointed to the opposite wall. “There are a bunch of magazines over there. Maybe even some new surfing ones.”

Deeks regarded her. “Uh huh, trying to get rid of me. I’m onto your plan, Kensalina. But I’ll give you your space.” He ambled over to the wall of magazines where – surprise! – he did find a new surf one.

He positioned himself where he could peruse the magazine and still keep an eye on Kensi. He thought she might yet pull a fast one on him.

Finally, Kensi’s turn came. The previous exhausted clerk went on a dinner break and was replaced by a grandmotherly-type woman.

“I gave my granddaughter one of these when she got married last year. Are you a newlywed?” asked the clerk as she slipped the book into a bag.

“Newlywed? Uh, no. I wanted to impress my . . . oh no, here he comes.” In her peripheral vision she saw Deeks striding toward her with a magazine in his hand.

The clerk turned her head. “Oh, he’s very handsome. I bet after you try a few of these recipes on him he’ll pop the question.” She smiled and nodded approvingly.

“All done, Kens?” asked Deeks as he placed the magazine on the counter.

“Good to go.” I can’t wait to see the look on his face.

Deeks paid for the magazine and said, “You can just put it in Kensi’s bag.”

“Good luck, dear,” said the clerk as they left.

“We don’t need luck with our relationship, only a bed,” said Deeks. He looked her over from head to toe. “Was granny there telling you her favorite positions?”

Kensi gasped in horror. “Your DNA totally needs to shut up. Sometimes I can’t believe the things that come out of your mouth.”

“Are you ready to buy me dinner?” asked Deeks with a laugh. He reached for the bag and a minor tug-of-war ensued.

“Stop it!” Kensi hissed. “I should yell for mall security.”

“You won’t do that.” Deeks wrestled the bag away from her, ripping it in the process. “Moment of truth, Kens,” he gloated.

She pursed her lips. “Fine. Check it out for yourself.”

“Oh, I will.”

He stuck his hand in the bag and withdrew the book. His shocked expression was priceless.

“Easy Cooking for 2,” he said. “Recipes for the Kitchen-Challenged.”

Kensi smirked and jabbed a finger to his chest. “You lose! Now, where’s my dinner?”

He flipped through the book. “Here’s one for lasagna. I like lasagna.” He shrugged. “Just throwing that out there.”

“So? A lot of people like lasagna.”

“Fair enough.” Deeks gave a little smile. “Since we’re together all the time, I can only assume that I’m to be your guinea pig.”

“Did I say that? You know what happens when you assume. Maybe I’m going to practice them on . . .on somebody else.”

Deeks scoffed at the idea. “Name somebody.”

Me and my big mouth, thought Kensi as she felt her face going pink. “Maybe Agent Sabatino.”

“That guy? Hah! He knows to stay away from you.” Or he should if he knows what’s good for him.

They stood in front of the bookstore staring at each other while other shoppers swirled around them.

Is Deeks boasting or did he actually tell the FBI agent we’re a couple? Kensi couldn’t be sure of anything, but the thought gave her a little thrill.

Deeks reached for her elbow. “Come on, Betty Crocker. What are your taste buds craving tonight?”

You! I would love to kiss that grin right off your scruffy face.

Kensi sighed and tried to project indifference. “I don’t know. Surprise me.” She let Deeks lead her to the food court.

She slid into a hard plastic chair. “One surprise coming up,” said Deeks. As soon as he walked away, she quickly scanned the cookbook’s table of contents.

Okay, lasagna, page 12. Got it.

Before she realized it, a Styrofoam container heaped with spaghetti and meatballs appeared in front of her.

“Wonderful,” she sighed.

“Dig in,” urged Deeks. They did and for a couple minutes, no conversation was necessary.

As they ate, Deeks became aware of three teenage boys at a nearby table watching them. They were big, tattooed guys with the build of football players. Okay, more than likely they were leering at Kensi and couldn’t care less about him. But the situation didn’t sit right with Deeks. You didn’t survive long as a cop without paying attention to such things.

Kensi was focused on her carb-fest. She even snitched one of his meatballs when she thought he wasn’t looking. Discreetly, he eased up the hem of his tee shirt so that his detective’s shield was visible on his belt.

Kensi finished eating and Deeks gathered their trays to dump in the trash can. He passed the table where the boys sat, briefly making eye contact. He overheard one say, “Hey JoJo. Boyfriend’s a cop.”

“How do you know?” asked the one wearing a baseball cap.

“My cousin’s a cop in Jersey and he has a badge like that. We screw up one more time and coach said we’re off the team.”

The one called JoJo wisely considered that for a moment.

“Forget that shit. Forget her,” he said. “Let’s get outta here.”

Deeks took his time emptying the trays and laughed to himself. Yeah, you do that. And erase any stupid ideas you have about my girl.

He returned to the table. Kensi was still slurping her soda. “Why are you flashing your shield?” she asked.

“Sure you’re not checking out my assets, Fern?”

Kensi gave him a dirty look.

“See those three guys by the water fountain? They were having less-than-pure thoughts about you.”

Kensi cut her eyes in the direction he indicated. The guys looked over their shoulders as they scuttled away.

“You’re making that up.”

“They watched you the whole time we were eating. When I passed their table, I overheard them.”

Kensi sent them a glare. “Maybe I should go pistol-whip them.”

“Forget those clowns,” said Deeks. “We’re having a nice evening. Why spoil it with violence?”

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