“Kurt, where are we going?”
“Plan B.” He smirks at her confused look and gives a squeeze of her hand.
The driver starts the car.
“No, it can’t be.” Her eyes narrow, as if she already knows.
“The firing range again?” She complains.
He cracks up on hearing her answer. He recalls the surprising look on Diane’s face last time he took her for shooting when she was expecting a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant.
“I really got that into you, didn’t I.” He cannot stop laughing, “Maybe another time, but no.”
He nibbles his lower lip, tasting her questioning eyes for two more seconds.
“I’ll take a day off tomorrow, and it’s been a while since the last time I attended to my farm. I’m thinking maybe we can have a long weekend there, away from the city noise and inhale some fresh air.”
“But I have to…”
“No, you don’t. You’re going to call in sick tomorrow and spend some quality time” Kurt shoots her a determined look, “just with me.”
Diane eyes his silver hair pulled back from his forehead and then his sparkling orbs in the milky moonlight pouring through the side-window. Known him for more than a decade, she is so sure that it is his honesty, integrity and stubborn idealism that attract her the most. Sometimes, she forgets just how handsome he is.
“Yeah, what the hell. Let’s go to your cabin in the woods.” She gives him a knowing smile then adds, “Our cabin.”
The cab pulls over in front of a small pub.
“We need to go get some grab. I don’t think I’ve got any food left.” Kurt takes Diane's hand and helps her get out of the car. “And it won’t be a pretty picture in the fridge if I did.”
“They make the best chicken burger. It’s a pity that you don’t eat fried…well anything.” Kurt shrugs and opens the door for her. Diane rolls her eyes and slides in. He grabs every chance to tease her limited choice for diet.
The inside of the pub is larger than she expected with a bar on the right side, a few tables arranged in the middle, and even a very small stage a few feet from the bar. It’s quite late. One table is occupied at the corner, and two middle-aged men are chatting at the counter with beers in hands. Four young men sit on the stools next to the stage enjoying their Whisky and laughing at something they’ve been talking about. A guitar and a bass are leaning against the stage. It seems that the band has finished their routine and is enjoying their leisure time.
Kurt chooses a table in the middle. He helps her slip off her coat and pulls out the chair for her. He shoots a hesitant look to the band while seating himself and then returns his eyes to his wife. Diane adjusts herself on the chair, tucks a strand of her golden hair back, looks around with curious eyes, examining the brick wall, the pictures hanging, and every breathing creature in the pub and finally drops her eyes on her husband, who is now studying her with a lopsided smile.
“What?” She is always the one to break the silence.
“It’s just,” He thins his eyes and looks at her up and down. “You look so amazing in blue. I mean, you look amazing in anything. But this color, good lord.” His eyes sweep her neck and then the skin of her upper chest.
“Actually, it’s called royal blue.” She blushes, bracing her arms over the table and returning his husband’s gaze with a girlish smile.
“I know.” He leans to the table, narrowing their distance. “The same color you wore on our first date when you insisted on leaving before left me a very convincing tongue kiss.” His eyes linger on her ruby lips.
“May I take your order?” Interrupted by the waiter, Kurt braces his back to the chair and lets out a light cough to hide his embarrassment.
“Yeah, uh, I’ll have a chicken burger.”
“And for the lady?”
“Do you have mashed potatoes?”
“Yes, anything else. Today’s special is spaghetti and meatballs with extra gravy.” The young man offers.
“No, thank you. That will be all.” Diane gives him a grateful smile when the waiter leaves.
“That will be all? I thought you must be hungry.” Kurt asks, frowning.
“I am. But it’s too late. I’m not allowed to eat anything at this hour.” Diane answers in all seriousness.
Kurt rolls his eyes.
“Come on. You wouldn’t put on weight with only one meal.” He argues.
“Well, that’s the excuse for people who CANNOT keep a balanced diet.” Diane arches her eyebrow.
“Now you make me feel guilty.” Kurt feigns a depressed look.
“Sorry, something about you just makes me want to tease you.” She giggles and reaches for his arm, brushing his forearm then holding his hand.
Sometimes, they don’t need words to fill the silence. He loves watching her and the way she watches him back. The slightly lifting corners of her mouth, the softness in her teasing eyes, and behind those beautiful eyes, the soul of gold. There’s no doubt that he fell in love with Diane the moment he laid eyes on her in her office, but a stronger feeling was confirmed on their first date after she left him an unfinished burning kiss and strode away. That was the coolest thing he had ever seen in a woman, which he also found quite cute. How could he not go after her?
“I can’t believe you remembered.”
“What?” Kurt wakes from his drowning to her eyes.
“The color of my dress that night. Most men are slow to that kind of thing. Normally, they don’t ” she lowers her voice, “don’t even remember the color of the underwear.”
A smug grin creeps on his face.
“Talking about underwear, I remember vividly how I undressed you that night.”
He pulls her hand and leans closer. Mesmerized by the scent of her perfume and the sight of her bright eyes, curved nose and quivering lips, he tilts his head when Diane mirrors his movement and closes her eyes.
“Your chicken burger, sir.”
“Would you just please!” Kurt yells.
“Anything wrong?” The waiter places the plate on their table, kind of confused by Kurt’s reaction.
“Nothing, he means thank you.” Diane explains with a smile. After the waiter leaves, she turns to him.
“Don’t get grumpy.” Head tilting, her tone sounds like comforting a child.
“Apparently they know you love their burger more than anything.” She can’t help giggling at the disappointed look on Kurt’s face.
The waiter leaves after putting down their drinks. Making sure the young man is back to the kitchen, Kurt pulls his chair closer to Diane’s. She takes a sip of her Chardonnay and almost chokes when Kurt moves closer with his elbow touching hers.
“Since when you became so clinging?” She makes fun of him, yet with tenderness in her eyes.
“Since forever. I hid it well.” He jokes yet followed by a soft sigh.
She can sense a hint of relief as well as anxiety in his eyes.
“Don’t worry about me, Kurt. Look, I’m fine.” She consoles him.
“How can I not? I thought someone was after you.”
“No one was after me. It’s a misunderstanding.”
“I didn’t mean tonight. What about the visitor in my office, the SWAT team, and the NSA?” He realizes his slip of the tongue the second he finishes the sentence, but it is too late.
“The NSA?” She asks with questioning eyes.
Kurt leans back to his chair and retrieves his hands from her hold, scratching the skin behind his ear and shooting another look to the band next to the bar, and then he turns to her again.
“Well, uh, I meant, when you were about to be indicted. They must have been listening to your phone.”
It occurs to her that he might still be uncomfortable to talk about her involvement in Tully’s case. She reaches out to grab his hand and holds it tightly with both of her hands.
“I will be careful. I promise.” She says softly, shooting him a steady look.
Kurt nods gently, then grabs his beer and takes a sip. “So close.” He thinks.
It’s not that he enjoys being the unsung hero. His top priority is always her safety and how it would make her feel. Diane would definitely blame herself if she knew Kurt was dragged into the mess she caused. She didn’t tell him not only because of their political positions but also the illegal approach she resorted to, which, she herself was not proud of, either. The idea that he knew about her intentional hacking of the election system would embarrass her. He will never let her know that she had a fan in the NSA or what he has done to protect her.
“Did I forget to tell you that I missed you? It’s been so long a week.” The firm hold of his calloused and warm hand always gives her strength whether in reality or her dreams.
“I miss you, too.” He responds to her gaze. Being sure that the waiter won’t interrupt them again, Kurt narrows the gap and leans closer. With an emerging smile, Diane closes her eyes.
Startled by the noise, Diane flinches. Kurt turns his head to the band and frowns.
The guy with long red hair, who is now apologizing to the other guests, just dropped his glass.
“I hope nobody got hurt.” Diane looks to the direction of the little fuss these young men have caused.
Kurt turns and stares at her seriously like he’s struggling with his thought.
“What’s wrong?” Noticing the look on his face, she asks.
He keeps the stare for one more second before grabbing his beer and taking a huge gulp.
“I may regret this, but…” He suddenly stands up, takes off his jacket and hangs it on the back of the chair.
“Regret what?” Diane is confused by his unusual behavior, when he begins to roll up his sleeves.
“It might be an impulse, but please don’t judge me by what I’m gonna do.” He pats her shoulder before walking in the direction of the band, which makes her more confused and worried.
She watches Kurt starts to talk with the young men, but she is not close enough to hear their conversation. She sees the red hair look surprised at first but soon smile back to Kurt and give him a playful punch in the arm. The young man reaches in his pocket and hands something to Kurt. Not until Kurt heads for the stage, swiftly picking up the electric guitar and flipping it skillfully in his hand, does Diane realize what the young man just gave him. It was a pick.
Her widened eyes follow Kurt’s strides to the stage. She blinks twice to confirm it’s not a dream.
“Oh my god. What’s is happening?” She covers her mouth with her slender fingers.