“Poor Callen. Had to ditch his date,” said Deeks. “See, it’s a good thing we work together.” He and Kensi stood by their cars in front of the Mission. The moon was full and shone down on them like a spotlight.

“We don’t know that. Maybe she’s waiting for him at his house.”

“Or maybe he’s speeding to her place.”

Kensi shrugged. “Does it matter? And why are you so interested in Callen’s personal life all of a sudden?”

“Hell, I’m just glad the guy finally got one.”

Kensi tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn. “Whatever. I’m going home.” She hesitated and considered her declaration at the beach a few hours ago. “Are you coming with me . . . or what?”

Deeks smiled slowly. She was shivering in her cute little sundress and her eyelids were drooping. “As much as I’d love to, Fern, you’re about to fall asleep standing there. Anyway, I’ll be there tomorrow night. Remember, you’re wowing me with dinner.”

“Of course.” She was equal parts excited and nervous about it.

Deeks unlocked his car and snagged a hoodie from the backseat. “Put this on.”

“It’s not that far,” she protested.

“I know, but I don’t want my girlfriend to get sick.”

Kensi started a bit when he said that. “Fine. I guess you can have the last word this one time.” She slipped it on and rubbed her hands over her arms. “Nice,” she sighed. The immediate warmth was welcome, but she especially liked scent that clung to it.

All Deeks. My Deeks.

Deeks pushed her back against her car. “Don’t worry. The big boys have already left.”

“But Eric and Nell. . .”

“. . . are bent over their computers conversing in geek-speak.” He dropped his head to kiss her before she could say more.

Kensi’s arms went around his neck and she forgot all about cases and coworkers, except the coworker pressing against her.

Inside the Mission

“Ready to go, Nell?” called Eric.

Nell put on her jean jacket and slung her purse over her shoulder. “More than ready.”

They headed for the door and Eric pushed it open, then abruptly jumped back. “Whoa! PDA in progress.”

“What? Who? Vanessa and Richie?”

Eric’s eyes widened. “Densi. I know it’s in the back of everyone’s mind, but I’ve never witnessed it firsthand.”

“Out of the way,” said Nell. She eased the door open for a peek. “Wow.” She turned back to Eric. “We can’t leave until they do.”

Eric looked over Nell’s head. “Come on, guys. Take it elsewhere.”

Finally, Deeks and Kensi separated and got into their respective cars and drove away.

“Strange. They didn’t leave together,” said Eric.

“Maybe one is following the other to his or her apartment.”

Eric thought about it for a minute. “That could be. Hey, want to get breakfast? I’m starving.”

“Now? It’s 2:30 in the morning.”


Nell grinned. “So . . . that sounds like a great idea. I’m thinking blueberry pancakes.”

“Done!” agreed Eric. “We can take my car and then you could, uh, stay at my place because, you know, in a few hours we’ll have to be back here.” He jiggled his car keys while waiting for her answer.

Nell’s eyes narrowed. “Are you trying to take advantage of me, Beale?”

“What? Me? No way. I’m only trying to be a good partner. You know, thinking of what would be convenient for my partner.”

“What would I do about clothes for work?”

“Uh, good point.” Then Eric had an inspiration. “Wait, you have your go-bag, right? Hetty says you’re always to have that with you.”

“I do,” she nodded slowly.

“So . . . would that work for you? I mean, is that a good plan?”

“I believe that will work.”

They were parked side-by-side. Nell unlocked her trunk. “What about my weapon? Should I bring it, too?”

Eric glanced at the small, flat box where her service weapon was secured. “That shouldn’t be necessary. You might be tempted to shoot me if I snore.”

Nell burst out laughing. “That would not be conducive to good partner relations. But I’m sure Kensi has wanted to do that to Deeks on more than one occasion.”

“Does he snore?”

“No idea.” She lifted the go-bag and slammed the trunk lid. “Let’s go, Beale. I can smell those pancakes from here.”

Callen’s House

The security system had turned on a couple lights, but contrary to what Kensi and Deeks thought, no one was waiting inside for Callen. He walked to the kitchen to grab a beer and his cell rang.

“How was your case?” asked Gemma.

“It’s ongoing.”

“Yeah, I know how that is.” She paused. “I enjoyed dinner.”

“Me, too.”

“I have to ask, what happened with Kensi and Deeks?”

Callen gave a chuckle. “They were a bit sandy when they showed up in Ops. I don’t even want to speculate about what they were doing.”

Gemma laughed, too.

Callen decided he liked her soft, girlish laugh. “Oddly, Hetty didn’t bat an eye, yet she comes down like the Gestapo on anyone trying to eat up there. One time she threatened to write me up for sneaking a taco in.”

“I’d like to see Hetty in action.”

“Beware, she may be small, but she’s lethal.”

“Don’t forget our bet.”

“No way.”

“You won’t cheat, will you?” asked Gemma.

“Me? I am a paragon of virtue,” declared Callen.

“We’ll see.”

Callen was smiling. “You’ll have to trust me. Can you do that?”

“Goodnight, Callen.” In her hotel room in downtown L.A., Gemma smiled and switched off the light. She really wanted to see where this thing with Callen was going. It would help immensely if they were in the same city. Her last relationship fell apart when the guy, a government accountant, was transferred to San Francisco.

I hope that DEA job comes through.

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