“Nicole?” She didn’t move. “I know you’re not asleep.”
They’d gone to bed, Nicole not having said another word to Alex even as she packed her clothes for the next morning. She’d received an email with the details of her flight, telling her it was at 9am. Meaning she’d have to leave early and Alex didn’t want to leave being on bad terms with Nicole. If distance did anything, it made things like this worse.
“Nicole please.” She tried again, propping herself on her elbow, looking at her. “I don’t want us to fight tonight. And I really don’t want to leave tomorrow morning with you being mad at me.”
Alex waited a few seconds, waiting for Nicole to respond. Giving up, she lied back down but Nicole finally spoke. “I don’t want that either.” She turned on her side to look at Alex. “I’m just worried about you.” She reached out and touching her cheek with the back of her fingers.
“I’ll be fine.” Alex tried to reassure her.
“You don’t know that.” Nicole told her.
Alex only sighed.
“What if something happens to you?” She repeated her question from earlier that night, only more calmly.
She really didn’t know how to answer that. Because there was no guarantee that she would be alright, especially with this case. But Alex knew the dangers of her job, it never mattered until now, there wasn’t anyone waiting for her to come back home safe. “That’s never mattered until now.” Alex told her slowly.
“I know.” Nicole nodded. “But now it does.” She looked at Alex waiting for her to respond and she nodded.
“And it’s not just me anymore.” Alex responded, knowing what Nicole was going to say. “I forget that some times…” She paused, having difficulty getting the words out. “Because it has been just me for such a long time.” She stopped again and looked away from Nicole, a loose strand of hair falling over her face.
Nicole tucked it behind her ear.
“And I still can’t believe you’ve stuck around this long.”
She went silent for a moment before speaking again, “I’m going to be fine Nicole.” Alex told her. “And I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Nicole nodded reluctantly.
“You know I love you right?” Alex asked, feeling a slight tug in her chest.
Nicole looked at her, surprised by what she was hearing. “Of course I know that. Why would you even need to ask me that?”
Nicole knew Alex needed a little reassurance every now and then, she’d ask similar questions a lot, but she’s never asked her that. “And you know I love you too, right?”
She looked out the window as the plane took off. Alex thought back to Nicole and how much she didn’t want to leave New York and be away from her for this long. No matter how long it took to catch the killer, Alex knew it would feel longer just because she was away from Nicole. Their goodbye kiss probably lasted a little bit too long and Nicole still lingered on her lips. “Be safe. I love you.” Her words still echoed in her ears. God, this is not going to be easy. Alex found herself thinking. She felt a little out of character feeling that way, mostly because it had been less than an hour since she’d last seen Nicole.
Dropping her bags on the hotel room’s floor, Alex reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. She unlocked the screen, the clock read 1:04pm, Nicole would probably be at home or with her friends.
“Hey,” She answered on the second ring.
“Hey,” Alex greeted back with a smile. “I just got to the hotel.” She told her.
“Did you get there okay?” Nicole asked.
“Yeah,” Alex nodded to herself. “Are you at home?”
“I’m at Robin’s place with her and O.” Nicole answered. “When are you going to the station?”
“They said they’ll send a uniform to take me there, considering how I know next to nothing about this place.” Alex said lightly.
Just as Nicole was about to say something, Alex spoke. “I’m sorry, I have a call coming in from one of the agents.”
“No, no,” She brushed it off. “It’s fine.”
“I’ll call you after I get back, okay?”
“Yeah, even if it’s late.” Nicole told her.
“Even if it’s late.” Alex smiled before hanging up and answering the other call.
Walking in through the entrance of the station, Alex was met a tall, handsome detective with hazel eyes and brown hair. He greeted her with a smile and introduced himself as Detective Daniel Anthony – who went by Atom because “It sounds cooler than Anton”. It was his case before the feds took over, detective Atom didn’t really know why until they’d explained it to him, telling him about the murders in New York. He was still working on the case, only Special Agent Wallace Cage and his team was taking point. It was a slow day with not much to go on and Alex catching them up on the case. There had been two murders in the last two weeks, victims killed the same way as the ones in New York. Both were homicide detective who didn’t really know each other, hell, they weren’t even from the same station.
“I think we should call it a night.” Agent Cage told them around 10pm.
Everyone in the room nodded, grabbing their things and beginning to walk out. Alex remained a moment longer, taking her phone out of her pocket and looking at it for the first since leaving the hotel. There were a couple of texts from Nicole, asking her how the case was going, whether she’d eaten anything all day, and to remind her to be careful because if there was one thing she knew about her girlfriend, it was that Alex was the most reckless person ever when it came to her work. Alex texted back, saying they just called it a night and would call her as soon as she got back to her room.
“Walk you out?” Detective Atom asked as Alex began walking towards the elevator, still looking at her phone and realizing for the first time he was still there.
Alex put it away and gave him a polite smile, “Sure.”
“Do you maybe wanna get a drink?” He asked as they stepped out of the station.
“I can’t.” Alex did her best at a polite smile. “There’s something I need to do.”
“Oh come on.” He tried. “You said this was your first time in Miami, I don’t think you have anywhere to be. And I’d like to get to know you, you’re captain had a lot of nice things to say.”
Alex let out a sigh, “My girlfriend’s waiting for me to call her.”
“Girlfriend?” Milton’s face fell. “Oh, I…”
“I’ll see you tomorrow, detective.” She told him as she walked away towards where the car she was to be driving was parked.
“Hey,” Nicole greeted as she answered the call, lowering the volume on the TV.
“Hey,” Alex replied with a yawn as she sat down on the bed. She had called Nicole as soon as she got back to her hotel remove.
“Long day, huh?”
“Yeah,” She replied, letting herself lie down on the bed, her legs still sticking out.
“You should sleep.” Nicole replied.
“I will.” Alex dismissed it. “How was your day?”
“Boring, uneventful.” She replied. “How’s Miami.”
“So far…” Alex started. “Tiring and uneventful.”
They talked for a while, both of them losing track of time. Alex was straining to keep herself awake but hearing Nicole’s voice made her feel a little better about not having seen her all day. Nicole on the other hand was still wide-awake, she had a slow day but knew that Alex would be tired and she really wanted her girlfriend to get a decent amount of sleep.
“Get some sleep okay?” Nicole told her, about to hang up.
“Yeah,” Alex closed her eyes, nodding to herself. “Don’t stay up too late. Whatever you’re watching can wait till tomorrow.”
“I’ll be in bed before the sun comes up.”
“I’m kidding.” She giggled and Alex could hear the smile in her voice. “Good night, babe.”
“I love you.”
“Love you too.”
It had already been over a week. And there was nothing to show for other than another missing homicide detective, Glen Dickson. The team knew they didn’t have more than a day till they found the body. It took five days since the detectives went missing for them to be found dead; same as a few years ago in New York. It was more than just a little frustrating, and they desperately needed their killer to slip up. All the kills were perfectly consistent; even the bruises on the arms and torso were almost identical. Alex didn’t have anymore insight on the murders than the FBI or Miami PD did at this point and she didn’t see the point of her still being here. Being away from Nicole was also probably one of the things she liked least about being here. They talked everyday at least once, FaceTiming whenever they got the chance and texts throughout the day; but it wasn’t the same as having her by her side. Being able to touch her. Hold her. Kiss her. She really needed to close this case and go back home.
“We got nothing.” Atom spoke up from his desk, throwing his pen on the desk in frustration.
“We’ll figure it out.” Agent Vie responded, still looking at the murder board…or rather boards.
“Optimism is great detective,” He started, walking up to her. “But it’s not getting us anywhere right now.”
“Any ideas, detective Woods?” She asked.
Alex looked at her, gently shaking her head, “Unless the killer slips up somehow, I don’t think we are going to get anywhere with this case. We know nothing about the guy.”
“Okay,” Agent Cage spoke up. “What do we know about him?”
“That it’s a him.” Atom replied.
Cage nodded, “How do we know that?”
“We caught a glimpse of him on a surveillance camera back in New York.” Agent Vie replied.
“Yes, but it was too far away to make a face.” Alex added with a sigh, she’d lost count of how many times they’d been over it. “We know he has a beard…or did back then and what we think is a scar on the side of his face.”
“Can we estimate his height from that?”
“No.” Atom spoke. “It was a half shot…” He looked at Agent Cage confused, unsure of why he’d even ask that.
“Unless we can figure out who this guy is before tomorrow or we’ll have another dead cop on our hands.” Cage told them.
“And we don’t know that?” Detective Atom asked sarcastically as the others shot him confused looks.
If one thing was clear to Alex from the start, it was that Detective Daniel “Atom” Anthony and Special Agent Wallace Cage did not get along. Hell, Cage didn’t even get along with his partner, Special Agent Maya Vie. Alex mostly tried to stay out of his way, interacting mostly with the detective and agent Vie.
“How’s Alex?” Ophelia asked from across the table. She and Nicole were at The Hourglass. They’d been out the entire day and decided to stop there for a coffee before going back home.
“She’s good.” Nicole said, looking down at her phone. Alex had only texted her in the morning to let her know she was leaving for work and it was past 6pm now so it was a little worrying that Nicole hadn’t heard from her all day. On the other hand, she figured they’d found something on the case and that Alex was busy.
“I’m fine.” Nicole replied, looking at her friend.
“It’s been over a week,” She reminded her.
“Yeah,” Nicole nodded. “The case is going slow. They don’t have much to go on so…”
“Does it feel weird being away from her for this long after spending like the last few months…living together?” Ophelia asked casually.
“It does.” Nicole smiled. “I miss her, yes. But…it’s work. And it’s important to her. I mean it’s a serial that got away once already, so it is really important.”
“Any idea when she’s getting back?”
“No,” She shook her head. It didn’t bother her that Alex was gone, Nicole understood, it was work and it meant a lot to Alex. Also stopping a serial killer was a big deal and something that really needed to be done. But yes, she missed Alex, it wasn’t the easiest thing to be away from her this long. Calls and FaceTiming helped but it wasn’t the same as seeing her in person, being able to hold her at night, having Alex next to her while watching TV, making sure she was alright after getting back from work. “What about you?” Nicole asked Ophelia, changing the subject.
“What about me?” She asked innocently.
“You and Lincoln.” Nicole stated. “How are you doing after…?”
Ophelia let out a soft sigh. “I’m fine.”
It had been two days since she broke up with Lincoln and despite what she’d just said, Ophelia wasn’t fine. Although it was her that ended things, she was still torn up about it. Things were getting a little rocky and neither of them were actually happy around the other anymore. They wanted different things, Lincoln wanted things to be more serious and Ophelia wasn’t really up for that. This might also be a good time to mention that Lincoln had proposed to her…causing Ophelia to freak out. But they talked it out and the two of them were fine for the next couple of days. After that…neither Nicole nor Robin were sure what really happened but things kind of just fell apart with them. About a week of that passed when Ophelia realized this was going nowhere good and the best thing, for both of them, was to stop seeing each other.
“Are you sure?”
“I don’t know.” She shrugged. “I really liked him but…I don’t really want anything that serious, you know?”
“I miss you.” Alex said. It had been two weeks and they were finally starting to make progress on the case. They’d gotten out pretty late, only a little before midnight and Alex was tired. But she hadn’t had a proper conversation with Nicole in way too long so she decided she needed that more than an extra hour or two of sleep.
“I miss you too.” Nicole told her with a small smile.
Alex smiled at the image of Nicole on her phone. Video calls were the best they could do and it was definitely better than just a phone call. “How are you? I feel like we haven’t really talked in the last few days.”
“We haven’t.” She said.
“I know and I’m sorry, I’ve been so busy it’s just…” Alex apologized.
“No, no, it’s fine.” Nicole stopped her. “I totally get it. It’s work and it’s important. I mean hunting down a serial killer is a big deal and it’s not like this is how it’s always going to be. Just a little while.”
Alex went silent for a moment; she doesn’t know what she did to deserve someone like Nicole in her life. It was more than just nice of her to be so understanding about this, not too many people would’ve been okay with it; being away this long, not knowing when she’s really coming back, barely getting the chance to talk for two whole weeks, and not to mention the fact that even normally, she worked ridiculously late hours and wasn’t home most weekends or holidays. Nicole was more than anything she could ever ask for, and Alex felt like she wasn’t enough for her.
“Alex.” Nicole pulled her out of her thoughts. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Alex nodded, trying to find something to say, something to tell Nicole how much she meant to her, how much she loved. She let out a soft sigh out of frustration. “I just really love you.” Alex told her. “And I feel like I can’t say that enough time.”
“You already do.” Nicole smiled.
Alex didn’t say anything for a few seconds, looking away from Nicole before softly muttering, “I don’t deserve you.”
Nicole’s face fell, her tone changing to a more serious one, “If you don’t stop saying that, Alex, I swear to god.”
She sighed, her voice low and quiet. “But I don’t.”
“Listen to me,” Nicole started and Alex looked back at her. “You are more than anything I could’ve ever asked for, okay? And I love you more that I thought was possible. You mean the world to me, alright? And I need you to know that.”
Tears stung the back of her eyes, threatening to spill if she spoke a word, so Alex just nodded slowly.
“I love you, and nothing can change that.” She told her.
Alex sighed after a moment. “I can’t wait to get back home; I really miss you.”
“Me too,” Nicole nodded.