Talking Things Out
Callen, Sam, Kensi, and Deeks had departed the Mission long ago. Eric and Nell were wrapping up their review of surveillance video. All day long Eric had been on pins and needles waiting for Nell to re-visit the “girlfriend” comment. Fortunately, supporting their team kept them scrambling all day with no time for personal chit-chat.
Out of the blue Nell asked, “So. . . why did you imply I was your girlfriend?” Her eyes were still on her computer screen and Eric was caught off-guard. His fingers paused over his keyboard.
On the other side of the room, Vanessa suddenly laughed. Not a polite little ha-ha, but a genuine laugh. Nell and Eric looked at each other with wide eyes, which was their shorthand for What the heck?
“Oops, sorry guys,” she said as she continued giggling.
“Yeah, sorry, Eric, Nell,” said Richie.
Eric turned his head slightly and noted that Vanessa and Richie were huddled close together. “No problem. Humor is good.”
Eric turned back to Nell and dropped his voice. “Richie was being such an obnoxious little twit that first day and . . .”
“You had to get the upper hand?” finished Nell.
“Something like that, I suppose.” He sighed. “Are you going to kill me?”
Nell acted like she was pondering her options. “If I did that I might have to work with the new guy on McGuire’s team.”
A pained look crossed Eric’s face. “Ooh, there’s something weird about him. Who puts peanut butter on their hotdog? I wouldn’t recommend him for anybody’s partner.”
They worked in silence for a few seconds. Nell tried not to laugh.
“You know, there is a way you could redeem yourself,” she said.
“Oh yeah, how?” asked Eric eagerly.
“Sushi. Okay. Any particular kind?”
“That new place in the mall,” said Nell. “Sushi Palace.”
“Oh yeah, it’s getting rave reviews,” said Eric. “Great. It’s a date!”
Nell gave him the What the heck? look again.
“Uh, I mean, it’s a dinner with a friend. It could even be a working dinner where we talk about . . . work.”
Nell shook her head. “Don’t think so. We talk enough about work, at work.”
“You’re right,” agreed Eric. “So it’s just sushi among friends.”
“Sushi among friends. I like that plan,” said Nell with a smile.
“Me, too,” said Eric. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
“Oh, and I have half of a cheesecake at home that my caterer neighbor gave me. I really shouldn’t eat all of that by myself,” offered Nell.
Eric’s eyes lit up. “Are you trying to seduce me with food, Ms. Jones?”
Nell reached for her jacket and shrugged. “It is what it is.”
The Next Morning
Kensi checked her watch again. Then her eyes drifted to the clock on the wall behind Deeks’ desk. His still empty desk. It was rapidly approaching the time for her to leave for her doctor’s appointment. Deeks had dropped her at work earlier, then went to have his teeth cleaned.
It shouldn’t take this long to get plaque scraped off your teeth. Unless the plaque is as hard as his head.
She called his cell, but it went to voice mail. She waited five minutes and tried again. This time he answered.
“Deeks, where are you? I have to go to the orthopedist this morning.”
“I know, I know. You’ve only reminded me every hour, on the hour. There’s a big wreck up ahead.” He craned his neck to try to see around the car in front of him.
“Nobody’s moving. But I’m almost to the exit so I should be there soon. We’ll have plenty of time.”
“You don’t understand. They’re very strict about appointments. If I’m late, they’ll re-schedule me. That CANNOT happen. I have to get this stupid thing off today and get cleared for fieldwork! I can’t take another day sitting at this desk.”
“Fern, calm down. Look on the bright side, at least you’re not in labor.” Deeks smiled to himself. He hoped one day they’d be in that situation. But not today. He allowed his mind to drift.
Kensi in the passenger seat, her favorite tee shirt - which was probably one of his - stretched tautly across her huge pregnant belly, as she alternately panted and cursed him.
He chuckled and took a big slurp of his banana smoothie. The hygienist was a bit rough this morning on his teeth. Then she tried to give him her phone number. Better not mention that to Kensi. She was worked up enough already.
Her loud and frantic voice pulled him back to reality. “Don’t be a moron, Deeks.”
“It’s what I do best. Okay, traffic’s moving again. See you soon.” He ended the call and moved into the exit lane.
Twenty-five minutes passed and Deeks was still not at the Mission. Sitting at Hetty’s desk, Callen and Sam looked at each other.
“Look, I can take her,” said Sam. “There’s nothing happening here and nobody’s gonna have any peace until she gets that boot off.”
“You are so right, my friend. Go,” urged Callen. “Go quickly.”
Kensi was standing at the aquarium, feeding the doppelgangers. “Again, I’m waiting on my partner,” she whispered. “Maybe I should trade him in for a new one.” She did a double-take. She could have sworn her angelfish was giving her a disapproving look.
“Just kidding. I wouldn’t trade beach boy for anything.”
Sam came up behind her. “Come on, Kens. Let’s get that thing off your foot. You can rip into Deeks later.”
“Oh, I will. You know I will.”
Sam picked up his keys and laughed. “Hate to be in his shoes.”
Barely ten minutes had passed before Deeks rushed into the Mission. He halted and scanned the empty work area. “Kensi! Kensi, where are you?”
Callen was coming down the steps from Ops and saw the worried look on Deeks’ face.
“Relax, Deeks. Sam was available and drove her.”
“But I was supposed to take her,” he whined. “Stupid traffic was a bitch.” Deeks felt anything concerning Kensi automatically, by extension, involved him. After all, they were a team, through thick and thin.
Callen felt a moment of sympathy for the detective. Deeks and Kensi were very close. Sometimes he wondered if perhaps they were too close. “Don’t worry, he’ll look after your girl.”
“Yeah, she is my girl,” mumbled Deeks.
Callen’s cell rang and he moved toward Hetty’s desk. “Yes, Director. I was about to call you with that info.”
Deeks dropped his messenger bag on his desk along with a box of donuts. There was nothing to do but get to work on the cold cases again.
Two Hours Later
Kensi bounced into the Mission ahead of Sam. She wore sneakers, a big smile and waved a piece of paper in her hand. “Clearance to return to fieldwork, per Dr. Cantrell.” She handed the form to Callen.
“Somebody’s a happy camper,” he said as he perused it.
“Yep, no more boot for me.”
“Unless it’s a black leather stiletto that you can grind into my instep,” said Deeks from his desk.
Kensi gave him a look. “That is an excellent idea. Especially since you weren’t here to take me to the doctor.”
“That was not my fault. There were circumstances beyond my control.” Deeks flashed his goofy grin.
“Whatever. Ooh, donuts!” She opened the box and grabbed one. “You’re forgiven since you brought these,” she said as she stuffed the chocolate goodie in her mouth.
“Thank goodness. I was really worried about that. Not!” laughed Deeks. He moved over to sit by Kensi as they again tackled cold cases.
“Wouldn’t you know, I’m finally able to go out and there’s no place to go. It’s like a sick joke,” complained Kensi. “What happened to all the criminals?”
“They’re probably trying to sign up for Obamacare. Try to enjoy the quiet time,” said Deeks.
“I’m not exactly a quiet kind of person,” said Kensi.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed. Except when you’re engrossed in Titanic.”
Without warning, Kensi shrieked and grabbed Deeks’ leg.
“Yeow! What the hell, Kensi?”
He was so startled, he snapped his pencil in two. She found out.
“I lied, okay. I didn’t eat the last chocolate crème-filled donut. I hid it for later when you have a sugar crash. See?” He yanked open the middle drawer of Callen’s desk. There was said donut, resting on a paper towel.
“Donut? What? I don’t care about that! Some . . . some small furry creature just ran out from behind that file cabinet.” She made a frantic gesture toward the opposite wall with her left hand while maintaining a death grip on Deeks’ thigh with her right hand.
“Whoa, Fern. Are you sure lack of sugar isn’t causing a hallucination?”
“I am not hallucinating! I know what I saw.”
Sam walked up. “What’s all the ruckus over here?”
“Kensi thought she saw something.”
“I did see something and it ran toward Hetty’s area.”
“Yeah, I don’t know. Mouse, rat . . . something!”
“You know the pest control guys were here last week. Maybe they stirred up a nest of something,” said Sam.
Kensi could wrestle a man twice her size to the ground or pull the trigger on an armed terrorist with no hesitation. But subject her to some type of rodent and she turned into a squealing, hysterical teenage girl. It was a sight to behold! Deeks wanted to laugh, but it was kinda hard with Kensi’s hand cutting off the circulation in his leg.
“Maybe it was one of those little chipmunks. They’re all over the courtyard,” said Deeks.
“I’ve seen them, too,” said Sam. “My daughter thinks they’re cute.”
“All I know was that it was a blur and it went in that direction. I only hope it didn’t go in the women’s locker room,” said Kensi.
“Don’t worry. I’ll protect you, Fern,” said Deeks as he tried to unclamp her hand from his thigh.