At the Mall

Clomp, clomp, clomp.

Kensi grimaced as she and Deeks made their way – slowly – to the mall entrance. The knee-high walking boot was annoying. So was the fact that her right jeans leg had been cut to accommodate the unwieldy contraption.

“Ugh,” she grunted.

Deeks was instantly concerned. “What? Are you okay?”

She halted and gestured to her leg. “I’m far from okay, beach boy. These jeans are history, my foot hurts like hell, and I’m stuck at home for the next two days.”

“Not to mention you’re tired and hungry as a bear, which means your crankiness level is off the charts.”

“I am not cranky! I am only stating the facts,” said Kensi in a raised voice. Several people turned to stare at her. She took no notice of them as she directed her disgust at Deeks.

“Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that, Kensalina.”

Approaching them was a ready-to-deliver-any-second pregnant woman. They moved to the side to let her waddle by.

“I can’t imagine what you’d be like pregnant,” said Deeks under his breath.

“I’d probably have you to blame for that condition,” she snorted, eyes still fixed on the woman.

Deeks laughed and pumped his fist. “That’s what I’m talking about!” He’d discovered over the past couple years that a stressed out Kensi sometimes let little things slip out. Little nuggets of truth disguised as crankiness.

“Did you maybe want to get started on that condition tonight? Those pain pills help you relax so . . .”

“Zip it, Deeks. The only thing you’re doing to me tonight is feeding me.”

“Well, it’s a start.” He regarded her with a knowing look. “But it will happen.”

She glared at him. “You’re just overflowing with confidence and an inflated ego, aren’t you?”

“It’s the only way to roll, Fern.”

Out of nowhere, a skinny teenager wearing a black hoodie and baggy pants darted past the pregnant woman and snatched her shoulder bag. She screamed and nearly lost her balance as her shopping bags went flying.

“HEY!” yelled Deeks. “LAPD! FREEZE!”

He sprinted after the kid while Kensi tried to console the woman. Other shoppers rushed over to offer help. They guided her to a bench to sit down. A businessman pulled a bottle of water out of his briefcase and thrust it into her hands.

The woman clutched her huge belly. “Ma’am, are you okay?” asked Kensi She fervently hoped this didn’t cause her to go into labor. “Is there someone I can call for you?”

“My husband. He works over there.” She pointed to an office building across the street.

Deeks caught up to the punk and wrestled him to the ground. The whole thing was over in a matter of seconds. An overweight mall security officer jogged up and, after taking a few deep breaths, slapped handcuffs on the guy.

“I know my rights, man. I got rights,” whined the kid.

Deeks hauled him to his feet. “Yeah, you have the right to buy a belt to hold up these ridiculous pants. They don’t even cover your scrawny butt.” He paused and rubbed the side of his face. “And what about my right to not have my face slammed against the pavement? Feels like someone took a Brillo pad to it.” He looked at the perpetrator again. “Although, nice touch with the polka-dot underwear.”

A ripple of laughter ran through the small crowd that had gathered for the takedown.

“If you want to come back to the security office, we have a first-aid kit there,” offered the portly guard. “Got some antibiotic cream and stuff.”

Deeks gingerly touched his face again. “Thanks, man, but this is a blip compared to a bullet in the gut.”

After giving a statement to the guard, Deeks and Kensi finally got to the food court and had their pizza. “Sorry, no beer with those pain pills,” said Deeks. A still cranky Kensi had to settle for a large soda.

An hour later, they had eaten, bought Kensi a new pair of shoes, and were headed to the car.

“Take me home,” whined Kensi. “I gotta get off this foot.”

“My place or yours?” asked Deeks.

“Yours is closer. But do I have any clothes there?” Kensi was ready to crash somewhere, anywhere.

Deeks thought for a moment. “Maybe some sweat pants. I’m not sure. However, clothing is always optional there. Monty won’t mind and neither will I.”

Kensi was in the back seat with her leg propped up. She looked at Deeks in the rear view mirror.

“I knew you’d say something moronic like that.”

Deeks grinned. “Can’t blame a guy for trying.” They stared at each other for a moment.

“Seriously, you can wear my sweats and a tee shirt. It wouldn’t be the first time. By the way, have you seen my blue Sea World tee shirt? I’m pretty sure I was wearing it at our last movie night.”

Kensi feigned ignorance. “What Sea World tee shirt?” Even as she said it, she could visualize the shirt in her dirty clothes pile.

Deeks narrowed his eyes at her. He knew she had it. And she knew that he knew.

He started the engine. “That’s what I thought.”

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