“No wonder you fell, Kensi. These shoes are worn out. There’s no grip left on the soles,” said Deeks. “When are you going to buy some new ones?”
“Believe it or not, that was on my ‘to do’ list for this weekend.” She shifted on the stretcher to get in a more comfortable position.
Deeks gave her a look. “Sure. You said that last weekend. And the weekend before that . . .”
“Okay, I had every intention, but I was helping my mom paint her kitchen and pick out new appliances.”
Deeks sat on the side of her stretcher. There was a chair alongside it he could have used, but he decided that was too far away from Kensi.
“Uh huh. Mom time is good. But now you’re all mangled up as a result.”
“Like I don’t know that?” she snapped. “And when are they going to do those stupid x-rays so I can get out of here?”
“Patience, Fern. When they release you, we’re heading straight to the mall. We can get new shoes and maybe have one of those specialty pizzas. Sound good?”
Kensi flopped back against the pillow. “Duh! I can’t try on new shoes with a broken foot.”
“You don’t have to try them on. Just get your size in your favorite brand. Problem solved.”
Kensi blew out a sigh. “Fine. But you hate the mall,” she reminded him.
“I do when you make me look at 20 shades of red nail polish. ‘Deeks, which is better – the fire engine red or the scarlet kiss or the crimson passion?’” he said in a sing-song voice. Instinctively, he leaned away from her to avoid the slug he knew would be forthcoming.
She shot him a dirty look. “I thought you wanted us to spend more time together outside work. Like we aren’t together 12 to 18 hours every single day. I can barely tie my shoes sometimes without you wanting to help.”
When Kensi was all riled up like this, Deeks just kept on pushing the envelope. It took real effort not to laugh at her. “I do like to spend time with you. Now if we could move from the cosmetics department to say, the lingerie or swimsuit department, the mall experience would be perfect. I have no problem offering opinions in those areas.” He gave her a cheeky grin and a wink.
“You talk way too much,” she said.
“The question you should be asking is, ‘Deeks, do you prefer this crimson passion bustier or the midnight black one?’ to which I would respond, ‘Gee Kens, I don’t know. I’d really have to see them on you to give a definitive answer.’”
That gave her pause for a moment. Deeks was a shameless flirt and half the time she didn’t know if he was being serious or just talking to hear himself talking. It was no secret that he wanted to advance their relationship, but she was still on the fence about it. They had a good – make that great - thing already, so why mess it up?
“Gee Deeks, would you prefer a bullet in the foot or the kneecap?”
Deeks shuddered. “That’s harsh.”
Callen left Nell in the outpatient clinic and proceeded to the emergency room. He flashed his ID at the desk. “Federal agent. I’m looking for Kensi Blye.” The nurse directed him to her cubicle. As he approached, he could hear Kensi and Deeks having one of their typical weird conversations. Something about bustiers and bullets. He shook his head in amusement.
He pulled back the curtain and saw Kensi’s foot elevated on a pillow. It was swollen and already turning purple. Her face was beaded with perspiration and she was frowning.
“What the hell? You realize this was a training exercise, don’t you? Not a WWF smackdown.”
“It was a hostage rescue scenario and I was the hostage.”
Callen looked at Deeks. “You didn’t rescue her?”
“If they’d let us work together, this wouldn’t have happened. You know I always take care of Kensalina.”
Callen’s phone chirped with a text. “I gotta go pick up Nell.”
“Where is she?” asked Kensi.
“Outpatient clinic. She has the flu. Probably be out for at least a week.”
“That’s terrible,” sighed Kensi. “I don’t know which is worse – flu or this.” She pointed to her throbbing foot.
“They’re both bad,” said Deeks. “How’s Eric going to function without his partner?”
Callen shook his head. “Good question. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for that.”
“See, the universe does not like it when you separate people who are meant to be together,” said Deeks ominously. “Eric and Nell; Deeks and Kensi. Need I say more?”
Kensi was restless again. “You probably need to say less and get me some damn pain pills.”
Callen chuckled and left to get Nell.
A nurse appeared, unfortunately not with pain medicine, but with another form for Kensi to sign. While she was occupied, he heard quiet laughter on the other side of the curtain. He eased it back a fraction and saw an elderly African-American man hooked up to a bunch of beeping monitors.
“You two sound like me and my missus,” he laughed. “Over 55 years and always snapping at each other.”
“Is that right? Where is your wife?”
The man’s smile faltered a bit. “Moravia passed last year.”
“Sorry to hear that,” said Deeks. Hospital conversations were often awkward. He pointed to the monitors. “What are you in for?”
The man indicated the left side of his chest. “The old ticker’s acting up again. But my son-in-law is a doc here so he’ll get me fixed up.”
A tall, harried-looking physician came around the corner. “Pops, there’s a bed ready in the cardiac unit and Doreen’s on her way.”
“Doreen’s my youngest. She’s a doctor, too. Delivers babies,” confided the man.
Deeks nodded. “Well, good luck to you, sir.”
“Thank you.” The man pointed to the curtain. “Young man, you’ve got a spunky one over there. Don’t let her get away.”
Deeks smiled broadly. “Trust me, I won’t.”