Indisposed

Date Night

Monday morning

“Deeks, is your cell on?” Nell called down from the landing.

“It should be.” He pulled it from his pocket and checked. “Oops. Now it is,” he said as he punched a button. “Why? Did I win the lottery and they’re calling to congratulate me?” He gave a goofy grin.

“Not exactly. You should be getting a call from Assistant District Attorney Alison Hanes in a minute.”

“There she is,” said Kensi. The flat-screen behind Deeks’ desk was tuned to the local morning news. She pointed to a tall, smartly-dressed blonde being interviewed about a recent bank robbery suspect.

“Wonder what she wants with yours truly?”

“Yeah, I wonder,” said Kensi flippantly. Deeks’ eyes were glued to the screen. “She’s hot!” Deeks threw out with a quick glance back at Kensi.

A scowl settled on Kensi’s face. “Not a real blonde.”

“Obviously.” He turned and gave Kensi a slow once-over. “I don’t like fakes. Besides, real brunettes are way hotter,” he said with a leer. “Sizzling, in fact.”

“Is that right?” Kensi’s eyebrows shot up.

“Absolutely.”

Kensi nodded slowly. “Good to know.”

Deeks’ cell rang at that moment. He continued to ogle Kensi as he answered the call. “Yo, Marty Deeks here.”

“Detective Deeks, this is ADA Alison Hanes.”

“What can I do for you, Ms. Hanes?”

As he listened, his grin faded and was replaced by a frown. He walked away from the bullpen and paced up and down the hall, occasionally running his hand threw his hair.

Kensi leaned back in her chair and watched him. After about ten minutes, he shoved the phone in his pocket and returned.

“Two cases I worked back in my LAPD Max Gentry days are finally going to trial this week.”

“Now? After all this time?”

“I know. After untold bullshit delays and motions, the slow wheels of justice are turning.”

Kensi threw up her hands. “Great. I’m finally cleared for fieldwork and now you’ll be gone. What am I supposed to do?”

“There’s still more cold cases.”

“Not the answer I was looking for.” Kensi rolled her eyes.

“Help Eric and Nell?”

“They’re better off without my so-called ‘help.’ I’m more of a hindrance. Besides, they like being in their own little universe.”

“Like us when we’re doing surveillance?” Deeks tried to make a joke, but his smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. Kensi could tell his mind was somewhere else.

“Max Gentry, huh?”

Deeks sighed. “Yeah, good old Max. Look, I have to go downtown to meet with Lt. Bates and then with this Hanes woman. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.” He paused and studied Kensi. Just remembering his Max Gentry days seemed to sap his strength, pulling him down into a dark place, a place where he didn’t have Kensi to watch his back.

“I’ll call you later, okay?”

Kensi reached out and touched his arm. “You better.”

He slung his messenger bag across his chest.

“Deeks . . . it’ll be okay.”

“I know.” He gave her a final glance and left.

Up in Ops, Eric surreptitiously looked around. Vanessa and Richie were hunched over their computers, obvious to everything and everybody around them. Richie made a snarky comment and Vanessa playfully punched his shoulder. He gasped and recoiled in mock horror.

Kensi and Deeks, version 2.0, thought Eric.

From his peripheral vision, he saw Nell frowning as her fingers flew across the keyboard. She was tracking a money-laundering trail.

“Nell, a word?” he whispered.

She looked up. “Yeah?”

“I was wondering . . . do you have plans tomorrow night?” He resisted rubbing his palms down the sides of his cargo shorts, but he tapped his left foot nervously.

“No, nothing going on. Why?”

“Do you know what tomorrow is?”

“Uh, Tuesday.” She looked at him curiously. “Are we playing 20 Questions?”

“It’s our, uh, anniversary. I mean, our work anniversary.” A huge smile lit up Eric’s face.

Nell thought about it for a second and smiled. “You’re right.” She leaned in closer. “You have something in mind, Beale?”

“Actually, I do.”

“I’m all ears.”

Eric hoped she wouldn’t find his suggestion lame. “What if we go to the big electronics show at the Convention Center and dinner afterwards?”

Nell nodded as she considered it. “I like it. Hey, we could ask Vanessa and Richie, too.”

Eric shook his head. “Oh no. I want it to be just us.”

Nell was ridiculously pleased. “Okay, so it’s a date.”

“Yeah, a date,” confirmed Eric. Yes!

Sam and Callen were walking back from the shooting range when Callen’s cell rang.

“Yes, Hetty.”

“Mr. Callen, the San Diego Police contacted me and requested our help with a case. I believe it may be related to what Ms. Jones is working on.”

“How did the San Diego PD know you were there? You’re on medical leave.”

Hetty shot a glance at Migs as she sat at the breakfast table reading the morning paper. “People have a way of finding me.”

“Obviously.”

“I gave your number to Detective Ryan-Davies. Expect a call soon.”

“Copy that.”

“What’s up, G?” asked Sam after Callen ended the call.

“Possible case with San Diego PD. A detective should be calling me with more info.”

“Hetty can’t stop working, can she?” laughed Sam.

An hour later, the call came through. Callen listened and was curious about the woman on the other end. “Sure, I can drive down this afternoon,” he said.

Sam and Kensi were following up on a possible lead Nell had uncovered earlier. Callen phoned Sam to update them.

After Callen left the San Diego PD, he called Ops. “Nell, I need the address of Hetty’s sister. I want to surprise her while I’m down here.”

“Sure thing.”

In the background, he heard keys clicking.

“Sending the address and GPS coordinates now,” said Nell.

“Thanks. Everything good there?”

“No problems.”

“See you tomorrow.”

It only took 15 minutes to reach Mig’s house. Hetty answered the door, almost as if she’d been expecting him.

“Mr. Callen, come in. How was your meeting with the detective?”

He took a moment to study Hetty. Her expression was all business.

“Interesing. When I arrived, she was interrogating a Russian convenience store owner about a robbery. In Russian. No interpreter. How often do you think that happens?”

Hetty’s eyebrows rose in question. “I imagine a lot of convenience store owners are interrogated every day in regard to possible crimes.”

“In fluent Russian?”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my many years in this job, Mr. Callen, it’s that surprises can lurk around every corner.”

“Surprises. Right. My gut tells me this isn’t a surprise to you.”

“Maybe your gut is telling you it’s time for dinner. Might I recommend Dimitri’s Kitchen? Small, but excellent. It’s not far from here. I’m sure Nell can get you the address.”

Migs walked in at that moment. “Ah, Mr. Callen. I would have known you anywhere. I’m Marguerite, but everyone calls me Migs.”

Callen glanced between the two sisters. “Eric was right; you guys are identical.”

Migs chuckled and Hetty smiled. “Well, we must be off,” said Migs. “It’s the opening night for the French Impressionist retrospective at the museum.”

“You can thank me later, Mr. Callen,” said Hetty as she and Migs left him standing in the driveway.

Callen stood there puzzling over the afternoon’s events. Clearly, Hetty was pushing him toward Gemma Ryan-Davies. And maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. The detective was attractive, intelligent, and in the same line of work.

A car turned into the driveway next door. A woman got out. Callen was sure his jaw dropped.

What the hell? She lives next door? Hetty, you have some explaining to do.

Gemma was as surprised as Callen. “Agent Callen. What are you doing here?”

“You live here?”

“Of course. I thought Hetty told you.”

“Must have slipped her mind.”

“Did you have more questions for me?” asked Gemma. She was at the back of her SUV opening a dog crate. A large dog bounded out.

“Russian wolfhound,” said Callen.

Gemma smiled. “Yes. This is Charlemagne. But I call him Charlie.”

Charlie barked and ran around the front yard, happy to be home.

Callen debated for a moment and then decided to go for it. “You know, Hetty recommended Dimitri’s Kitchen. Are you familiar with it?”

“Oh, I love that place! Wonderful borscht. It’s a couple miles from here.”

“Maybe you could show me where it is,” suggested Callen.

Gemma scrutinized him.

“What? You think I’m stalking you? Just dinner. We can take separate cars.”

Gemma smiled. “I have a gun. I’m not worried.”

“I have a gun, too,” said Callen.

“Then we’ll both be safe.”

“Touché, Detective,” laughed Callen.

Back in Ops

“Night, Kensi,” called Nell.

Kensi looked up from where she was poring over her cookbook. She was hoping Deeks would come back soon. “Got a minute?”

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“Have you ever made lasagna?”

“Yeah, I made some last week.” Nell peeked over Kensi’s shoulder.

“Getting domestic, are we?”

“Something like that.”

“Would this happen to involve a certain detective?”

“Maybe.”

Nell gave her a ‘you’re not fooling me’ look.

“Okay, yeah. I want to show Deeks I’m more than just an agent and a sniper.”

“That’s admirable. But he’s already crazy about you. He’s only waiting for you to give him the green light.”

Kensi looked hopeful. “Did he say anything?”

“Nope. Your guy doesn’t ‘kiss and tell.’”

“What about your guy?” asked Kensi.

“My guy?”

Kensi gave her the same look.

Nell looked around. “Okay, we have a date tomorrow night,” she said and proceeded to tell her the plan.

“Sounds perfect . . . for you guys. I can’t imagine Deeks going to something like that unless it involved model trains,” she laughed.

“So . . . when are you attempting the lasagna?”

Kensi sighed. “Whenever Deeks is through with court. Hey, maybe I should make a small batch for practice.”

“Not a bad idea,” agreed Nell.


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