The neon light poured on her slim frame, shifting colors from red, purple, blue to green, which consequently dyed her white silk blouse, glowing in the darkness of her office. Her digits tapping the control board, shifting pages on the laptop before her. No news could surprise her any more. With no progress on pro bono cases, nor any clue about Memo 618, she had been wondering at work these days. The office hour was over like an hour ago. She stayed not for the unfinished work, but waiting for her date, a spontaneous offer via text earlier that afternoon.
“How about I taking you to someplace nice tonight?”
“I’d love that.”
“Okay, pick you up after work.”
“See you then.”
It had been an hour, even though it only took a 30-minute drive from his work place to hers. Killing time by browsing news randomly became her priority choice, except those Tik Tok videos popped from Marisa.
A major part of her kept constant as the invincible and incomparable Diane Lockhart, but she, herself, could tell, very unwillingly, that something had changed. It is always said that we are what we are connected to. Something in her changed, or more accurately, something was lost from her. Yes, now she had two perfect partners. Adrian and Liz, they were passionate, idealistic and unyielding, just like her. Together, they could fight for the battles that they saw just and righteous, to their last breath. Together, they could hold hands, facing the darkness of the black-out Chicago, reclaiming their faith in law and appreciating the power of love. Standing with them, she was still that Diane Lockhart, who was always ready to fight a good fight.
It was the other day at court, when the judge called on her.
“I ruled in your favor. Why don’t I get a smile. I don’t know why women don’t laugh anymore.”
Preposterous as the judge was, he was right about one thing, she did laugh less. Her symbolic husky laugh was heard on rare occasions. Graceful and elegant as she had always been, clad in her fabulous pantsuit or stunning dress, she never lost her demeanor even when she burst into the wildest laugh. She used to be much more perky, dry-witted, and sometimes even childishly humorous, but only when he was around.
They made harmless jokes on each other. They drunk shots together, celebrating another victory in lawsuit or the termination of his suspension. They danced with her hands on his shoulder and chest, and his hands clinging to her distinctly slim waist. They could be so innocently attractive to each other, never sexually, but intellectually and spiritually, more intimate than friends and less attached than family.
Will used to bring out the brightest and funniest part of her. Of course, her husband brought changes to her as well, but her teasing with Kurt was apparently mixed with the ingredients of romantic feelings and sexual implications. With Will’s company, it was always so innocently easy, with no intention to impress him or any other hidden desire. They could both lean on the couch in their laziest manners, wielding a whisky tumbler in the air and laughing their heads out on the fawning yet vain pitch at Lemond Bishop. She would suppress the turbulence against him caused by Eli and David Lee, like lessoning two grumpy children. He would confront the governor about him withdrawing the supreme court judgeship from her. They never hesitated to fight for each other, although there were also times, when they went at each other’s throat, which usually turned out to be misunderstandings. But at the end of the day, they would raise the tumblers, again.
“Hey.” Her eyes rose from the screen and landed on the man at her door, who was trying to look cool while adjusting his breath in the least palpable way.
“Hey.” She replied in an unusually soft tone and shot him a big smile.
“Sorry for the delay. Caught up in traffic, but we can still make the appointment.”
“It’s okay, so which restaurant did you make the reservation?” Rising from her chair, she reached out to get her coat and purse.
“What restaurant?” His eyes thinned, questioning.
She paused on her steps toward him, head tilted. “What rest…Arn’t you taking me to dinner?”
He could not help chuckling while shaking his head and giving a quick glance on his shoes. “No, it’s the firing range.”
She stared at the grinning face of her husband with wide open eyes and a half-open mouth.
Kurt was busy focusing on the road, while peeking at his wife on the passenger seat with the slightest movement of turning his head. After a weirdly long silence, Diane licked her previously-pursing lips.
“I, I don’t think I’m in the mood of shooting.”
Finally, she spoke. There was no other sound in the world that could bring more joy than his wife’s voice. He turned his head, studying her profile. The fluttering eyelashes, the perfect curve of her nose, the rouge bottom lip now pressed by her front teeth, and the thick lock of her shining hair made a flawless silhouette.
“God, what have I done to deserve this?” He asked himself silently.
Unwilling to admit it, but all he could think of right now was a song from The Sound of Music, the classic musical his wife forced him to join her watching a week ago.
“Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”
If she knew what was going on in her husband’s mind, she would be so amused to be in the right mood of doing anything.
“You will be, once you’re firing the gun.” He reached out to grab her left hand resting on her laps. The grip was so tight, and his hand was callused but warm. Pressing a kiss on her ring finger, he then fixed his eyes on the road again. He knew she’d been struggling at work recently. Although she promised him that she would drop it not only for herself but for him too, he knew so well of his wife that he was positive she wasn't over it. If it was not for the fear of losing her, he would support her pursuit of justice with all his strength, since her idealism was one of the many things he loved about her. But when it came to the well-being of the love of his life, he could just cut himself loose from the guilt of being selfish.
“You’re outrageous.” She cast a slightly angry look at him, yet couldn’t hold it but end up smiling.
He turned his head to her, gazing at her ocean-blue eyes, then lingering on her lips.
Her girlish giggle made her move forward a little bit from the seat.
“I did not apologize.” He was playing with fire.
Rolling her eyes, she gave him a whimsical smile. “Don’t you push it, dear.” She retrieved her hand, still holding his, and caressed the back of his hand with her slender digits.
HE made her happy.
Caught in that thought, she looked through the side window, taking in the night view of the glistening gulf alongside the road.
“Why is there this attraction to guns? I don’t understand it.” She shot the question, with eyes not leaving the window.
He turned his head, with a lopsided grin.
“I think you DO understand.”
“I only know why I find it exhilarating when shooting, getting out my aggressions. But what about you? Is it something about masculine domination or the desire of being powerful?”
“It IS powerful, not about me though, but the ammunition and the science behind it. And…” He swallowed and fixed his eyes back to the road again.
She could not leave it like that.
“And?” She cast an inquiry look.
“Never mind.” He replied hastily, eyes still on the road.
“Well, if you refused to say anything, I could only guess there might be an unresolved relationship with a republican woman or the lost-in-touch first love, who happened to support the Second Amendment, resulting in your unconditional and enduring attraction to guns.” She finished with a flirty and jealousy arching of her left eyebrow, waiting for his defence.
A big grin took on his face. He slightly shook his head and gazed at her ocean-blue eyes again, but then the grin left him gradually, and his earthy-green orbs were filled with affection and tenderness.
“And…” He emphasized with a pause.
“And it was guns that brought YOU to my life. How could I not appreciate that?”
Her heart swelled on his words. Recollections came back like slides of projection.
She was on the phone whining about her fight with Will, leaving him waiting on the chair, with nothing else to do but run his eyes all over her.
She hung up, apologized and slip a few questions, but she could not help checking him out with her prying eyes while exchanging information on the case.
Plaid shirt, worn-out jeans, flannel jacket, God, what a tacky belt buckle! His choice of wardrobe was definitely not to her taste, but something about this man just made it impossible to take her eyes off him.
She was always the confident and dominant one on most occasions. She never doubted her appearance or manners. If anything, she could usually sensed the admiring eyes from other associates and lawyers and greedy stares from the men she did business with. On these occasions, not once did she doubt the way she presented herself. However, in front this ballistic expert on their first meeting, she felt a bit nervous, and most of all, he made her doubt.
“Is my hair good? Do I slouch? Do I show too much cleavage or… too less? Wait, did I offend him?”
The meeting was ceased from his side, with an offer of a second one, even before she realized it.
She watched him stride out of her office and leave the door open for the next visitor in a very gentlemanlike manner. Covering her mouth with her fingers, she giggled like a school girl. She figured she had been visited by a Marlboro man, but what she did not expect was that this old-school cowboy, who made her nervous like a thirteen-year-old school girl, would turn out to be the very man, with whose company she felt the most relaxed and unguarded.
They shared an intense and affectionate gaze at each other momentarily. Then his eyes were back on the road, and she shot a look at the view outside the window again. In silence, she just had one more reason for her own secret attraction to guns, a fact she wouldn’t like to be revealed in the face of her republican husband, except that he already knew.
“Who knew I loved cowboys?” She rejoiced in her own thought.
Dipping her head, she fumbled her three-tiered wedding ring dearly.