Gail meets Holly at her going away party.
“Come on Gail,” whines Traci. “Just come to the Penny.”
“I don’t see why we, or really I have to go, I have no trouble with you going,” complains Gail. “I don’t even know the person who’s going away.”
“That’s not the point.”
“It kind of is,” insists Gail. Traci had made detective a couple of months back and had started dealing with people in the forensic building, Gail still working the streets rarely has any interactions with the forensic nerds.
“They were the forensic pathologist for our division, and now they are going to San Francisco for some other job, and we are just going to say thanks for all your hard work and good luck,” Traci tells her fellow rookie.
Gail groans. She knows Traci has a point, but she really doesn’t want to go to a crowded bar where there will probably be speeches and too many people to talk to. Traci smiles at Gail. “I heard the lab was picking up the bar bill.”
“Nough said,” says Gail jumping up from her bench in the lady’s locker room, “grab your purse woman, let’s go.”
Traci laughs as Gail stumbles to gather her own belongings so she can get to the bar faster.
Traci and Gail enter the Penny. First thing Gail notices, besides all the people being extremely chummy, is the really large banner hung above the bar that reads, “Thanks Dr. Stewart!” Gail doesn’t know who this Dr. Stewart is, but definitely knows no one needs that large of a banner, going away or not. Gail realizes Traci is tugging on her sleeve to get her to the bar. Gail follows.
Gail orders a margarita from the bartender while Traci walks over to Steve to say ‘hello,’ Gail makes a gagging noise behind their back as she waits for her drink. She contemplates sitting on the stool, but decides against it knowing she could get trapped on the stool if the wrong person comes over to her and starts talking. She thanks the bar tender as he passes the margarita over, she takes a thirsty drink, happy to have this somewhat quiet, peaceful moment even though she’s surrounded by so many.
Somebody within ear shot orders a jack and coke, Gail knows what she’s going to drink next, well maybe next next, this margarita is super good and she’ll probably want one more. She puts her order in, one margarita and one jack and coke.
Traci comes to stand next to her again but this time with her brother. She stands at the bar listening to them for a little bit but then decides, nah, she’s not up for this yet. She has one more sip of her drink and grabs the other two fresh drinks that were just placed in front of her. She gestures with her head to Traci and Steve to indicate she’s heading over there, motions with her two drinks that she needs to give one to someone else and the two leave her be, letting Gail leave the bar area. Steve and Traci turn their attention back to each other, allowing Gail to make an extremely easy escape to the hallway and slip into the mop closet.
Gail sits in the mop closet of the Penny; she still can’t believe she allowed Traci to talk her into going to a “going away party” for someone she doesn’t even know. Luckily she’s done this before, not going to a “going away party” for someone she doesn’t know, but hiding in this mop closet, which means she’s planned ahead and brought her two drinks with her. The margarita that she is currently sipping, but also that jack and coke that she will drink next. She looks around the tiny room, still the same from when she and Steve would play in there while their parents had a few drinks with their coworkers. She looks to a particular corner where there’s a hole and smiles, she can’t believe nobody’s patched that up yet. Gail stands up to reach inside and pulls out a few colour pencils and candy she had stashed in there. She puts the pencils back and turns the candy over in her hand, wondering if the candy is still good. She slips the Rockets in her pocket for later and throws the chocolate bars back into the hole, knowing that chocolate sadly doesn’t last, but sugary candy definitely does.
She sits back down on the milk crate she had turned over and puts her feet up on another. She sighs, wondering how long she can stay hidden here. She didn’t have a particularly rough day at work, just regular calls and forms to fill out. She was paired with Dov, so she did have to listen to him drone on about Chloe, but generally speaking she doesn’t mind being paired with him. She brings her margarita up to her lips to take a sip when the door to the mop closet suddenly opens.
“Oh,” says a glasses wearing brunette, “I didn’t realize anyone was in here.” She stands in the doorway; there goes her plans for avoiding her “going away party.” She continues to stand there and stare at the blonde sitting on a milk crate with a margarita in her hand. Not sure what to do, she adjusts her glasses, not wanting to go back into the main part of the bar. So she stands there.
Gail, deciding that this person had the same idea to hide in a mop closet can’t be all that bad, plus her fiddling with her glasses is super cute, motions towards the other crate she just took her feet off of.
The brunette momentarily surveys her options and easily decides to sit on that milk crate across from a blonde drinking a margarita. She quickly sits down.
Gail takes her time taking her sip, allowing the margarita to hide some of her face from the newcomer, giving herself time to survey this new addition to the mop closet. Dark brown hair that matches the dark brown eyes that are behind thick rimmed glasses. Wearing a dark blue button up top, showing just enough cleavage, and form fitting jeans. Gail decides she can stay. “Is this your first time?” asks Gail.
The newcomer is completely lost, not sure what this blonde woman is referring to, questions, “first time?”
“Hiding during a festivity, specifically here at the Penny…”
“This isn’t yours?”
Gail lets out a laugh, “ha!” She lifts her margarita and adjusts her gaze to the jack and coke, “no,” she answers. “I came prepared.”
“I see that,” the brunette looks enviously at the two drinks. “Drinks would have been a great idea,” she laments.
Gail not wanting the other lady to leave decides to share, “here. I’m Gail by the way,” she offers her drink that she hasn’t touched yet, which she then voices, “I didn’t take a sip from it yet.”
Holly eagerly accepts the drink and takes a sip hastily, taking a second enjoying the bubbles on her tongue. “At this point I would drink it even if you had spit in it. I’m Holly.”
“One of those days, Holly?” Gail makes sure to use her name. Gail has no clue where that came from, she doesn’t do small talk. The brunette simply nods her head, Gail smiles to herself; Holly’s not much of a small talker too, good.
“Come here often?” Holly rolls her eyes at herself, Gail raises an eyebrow. “I mean the mop closet, some of the things you said made it sound you hide at parties often and that you are familiar in particular with this mop closet. I didn’t mean for that to be a pick up line, a beautiful lady like you probably has a boyfriend.” Holly can’t seem to stop herself; she keeps talking, this always happen when she’s nervous and face to face with a pretty lady. Why is she nervous? Well, she just accepted a job offer three time zones over, and it’s not like she’s having second thoughts it’s just her life is here and now for whatever reason she decided she needed a switch, so she applied for a job, got the job, and accepted the job. She flies out tomorrow, today was her last day at work in Toronto, and tomorrow she’ll be in San Francisco.
“Relax nerd,” says Gail. “I don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend for that matter.”
“Oh,” says a somewhat surprised Holly, feeling somewhat happy, and then remembering she really can’t act on this new knowledge.
The two sit in silence sipping their drinks. Not saying much, not sure what to say.
Holly’s phone starts to chime; she drags her phone out of her pocket. Looks at the time and starts to stand. “This has been fun Gail, but I have to go.”
“Wait, what? Where are you going?” questions the blonde.
“I have to go, it was nice to meet you though, I wish we had met sooner,” Holly says truthfully. With that she leaves the mop closet.
Leaving Gail sitting there with two empty glasses, not sure what Holly meant by wishing they had met sooner, they met know. Good enough, right? Gail wonders if she should return the glasses to the bar, she wished she had given them to Holly to return so she could slip out that back door, no longer wanting the Penny’s free drinks tonight, still not knowing who this mysterious Dr. Stewart is. Gail stands up and brushes her pants down, stretches, and decides to leave through the back exit.
It’s been three weeks that Holly has been at her new job, her new city, her new apartment. She knows it sounds ridiculous but she still feels jet lagged, she lays on her new couch at eight o’clock at night forcing herself to say up so she can sync her system with the new time zone. Her new job makes her work regular nine to five hours, no over time, and she has to take her one hour lunch break. She tried working through her lunch a couple of times, her boss told her she couldn’t eat at her desk, she didn’t really want to eat in the staff room so she walked back to her apartment where she found out how comfortable her couch really is.
As she lays there at eight o’clock at night, she wonders what she’ll do tomorrow, Saturday; she gets weekends off and tries to decide what she should do. She still has yet to really explore the city. Her phone chimes. She grabs her glasses from the coffee table and puts them on; she picks up her phone, she sees the message is from an unknown number, regardless she reads the message, “so you’re the Dr. Stewart who was leaving.”
Holly scrunches up her face, not recognizing the number; she does clue in that the area code is from Toronto, but has no idea who this is. She’s about to type something along the lines of questioning this person when she receives another message. “This is Gail from the mop closet.”
Holly wonders how she got her number, and why she was in the mop closet in the first place. But first she types, “isn’t it after eleven in Toronto? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” She hits send before she remembers that it’s Friday, and Gail from the mop closet might actually have a life and might actually be out with people, which would make sense as to why she would be up at eleven o’clock at night on a Friday, not everyone lies on their couch at eight o’clock on a Friday night willing themselves to stay up later.
Before Holly continues to internally smack her forehead she receives another message, “I just got to work. I’ll be up for at least another eight hours.”
Who goes to work at eleven o’clock at night, wonders Holly. Holly’s about to ask that when another text comes in, “Sorry, I have to go, my partner and I were called to a scene for back up.”
Well that answered Holly’s questions. Gail’s a cop, which is why she is at work at eleven, it also explains why she was at the Penny the other night. The Penny known for being a cop bar, not that others can’t go there, but most of the business is from cops. It also explains how Gail got her number, sort of, maybe not. Who would have Gail asked for Holly’s number?
Holly receives another message, “can I text you later?”
Gail beams as she reads Holly’s text message, “yes :)”
“Why are you smiling?” questions Dov, her partner for the evening. “Did that lady you met the other night finally give you her number?”
“Uh…something like that.” It actually took Gail a while to get Holly’s number. She had no idea who she was, since they were at the Penny she assumed that maybe she was a cop from a different division, so she looked her up in the directory, but no results of a Police Officer Holly. Gail thought about it for a day or two, how was she to find this Holly person again, until she remembered that people from the Forensic Lab were there that night at the Penny celebrating. It wasn’t until she was sent to the lab for some results and told to sit quietly while a doctor retrieved them for her that Rodney, whom she recognized from various crime scenes wandered into the room. So, Gail actually got Holly’s personal cell phone number from the lab tech Rodney, but Dov didn’t need to know that. She promised Rodney that she wouldn’t intimidate him or his coworkers for a month, so far she has not had to bother him, but you just never know, day by day, week by week things can change, but for now she has kept her promise.
“What is she saying?” asks Dov.
Gail quickly decides whether she should tell Dov to mind his own business or if she should actually tell him what Holly just said. “She says, ‘yes J’.” Gail decides on the latter knowing that-
“Yes, what?” questions Dov.
Knowing that him not knowing what the yes is for would actually annoy him more. Gail smiles to herself and slips her phone into her pocket, preparing herself for what she’s about to encounter.
Holly drops her phone back on the coffee table, why did she say yes? She wants to go to bed and sleep until Monday morning. Well now she has a reason to stay up, to see what the blonde from the mop closet wants. Holly smiles to herself. May as well get comfortable, she thinks. Holly gets off the couch, goes into her bedroom and changes into lounge pants and a loose shirt, she walks into the kitchen to grab a beer from the fridge, on her way to the couch she picks up the remote and turns on the tv. Ooooh, Nova, she thinks excitedly as she pops her beer and sits down.
A couple hours later Holly receives a text, “are you still up?” Holly reads it and is about to respond when another one appears, “I probably should have waited to text you until tomorrow, with the time change and all.”
“It’s okay,” texts Holly. “I’m still up.”
“Okay. Phew… :)”
“Normally I would be sleeping,” Holly doesn’t know why she’s telling Gail that, she thinks about erasing it but her fingers have already typed more, “but PBS has been playing back to back episodes of Nova and theyve all been very interesting.”
Holly receives one word back, “nerd.”
Holly laughs. “So this is why you wanted to text me later, to call me names?”
Holly receives a text instantly, “sorry.” Three more dots appear on her screen.
Uh oh thinks Holly. I was only joking, it’s hard to convey that through text. So she types it, “I was only joking.”
The three dots disappear. They appear again, but then they’re gone. She finally receives “ha?” The three dots appear on her screen again, Holly utters a sigh of relief, she doesn’t know why but she is glad the blonde is talking to her, she’s glad the blonde somehow got her number, she’s not exactly sure what the two of them are doing, but she is happy to be talking to someone outside of work. She then receives, “how come you didn’t tell me youre the doctor stewart who was going away?”
Oh, thinks Holly. She types back, “I honestly thought you knew”
Those three dots appear again, bouncing around, one two three, one two three, up up up, down down down. Then gone. Holly counts backwards from ten, hoping that Gail will say something. She does. “ok”
That’s it? questions Holly. Holly was expecting some lengthy reply and all she receives is ‘ok’, that is not ok. She stayed up for that? Holly forces a yawn, trying to get herself ready to sleep again. “Wellll, its getting late here” Holly sends.
More dots appear on her screen, but like she thought they were gone. “Im going to bed, goodnight Gail. Have a good rest of your shift”
After things weren’t left as Gail wanted to, she texted Holly the following day with some random fact. Holly naturally texted back with more information on top of that fact. And that’s how they’ve been communicating for the past month and a half, random texts not really about anything and completely about nothing. It was once every couple of days but now it has become a daily thing. Holly’s at work, waiting for some results in the lab with a coworker, when her phone pings. “Is that the results?” asks Ella, the two expecting word from the university’s lab across town. Holly checks her phone and smiles. Ella answers for her, “not the results.”
Holly caught up looking at Gail’s lengthy reply asks, “pardon?”
“Nothing…sigh,” Ella stands up and cracks her back, “I just wish the results would come in faster, ’cause then we can go home early.” Ella does a silly dance.
Holly hums her agreement.
“Who are you talking to?”
Nosey coworkers. “A friend from back home,” Holly picks up her phone to type some reply back when she gets another message. Gail who seemed somewhat reluctant to write more than two letters has found the ability to type in sentences.
Ella looks at Holly when she hears the ping again, hoping for those results. She’s about to ask, instead Ella witnesses Holly’s cheeks reddening, “not the results,” states Ella. “Are you sure you’re just friends with that person?”
“Hmm? Sorry. What?” Holly a little bemused from the last text Gail just sent.
“I asked what’s your friend’s name?”
“Her name’s Gail.”
Ella smiles to herself. “It’s got to be tough, leaving your home and moving for a new job, it’s good you two have kept in touch.”
“Funny thing,” says Holly, “but we actually only became friends after I moved here.”
“Oh,” Ella looks perplexed, “did she move to San Francisco too?”
“No,” Holly finally looks up from her phone and over at her colleague.
“Then how did you-”
“The results are in,” shares Holly. Thank god, she thinks, I did not want this conversation to keep going. “The results are positive, it’s working.”
“That’s good,” says Ella. “When we come in on Monday, we’ll try it again, just to make sure we have the same results, but we are done for today, it’s getting late.”
Holly nods her head. Holly stands up and begins to clean up their work area, organizing and collecting all her papers and what not. Her phone pings again.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Ella smiles at her.
“She can wait. I’ll help clean up first. Then we can go home.”
Gail waits five, ten, fifteen minutes, but no response from Holly. She must have gotten her results, thinks Gail. She slips her phone back into her pocket, cleans the burger wrappers off of the table in the staff room and goes in search of Chris, to see if he is ready to go back on patrol. Gail’s confident that she will get a response later that night from Holly, knowing Holly wont be able to not respond.
She pokes her head into the men’s locker room, “Chris! You ready?”
“What?” questions the man, “We just got to the station, you want to go back out already?”
Gail looks at her watch, realizing it has been less than half an hour, but shrugs her shoulders, no point them waiting around at the station, Gail will just keep looking at her phone, she needs something to do like being out on patrol. Chris doesn’t need to know this though, “yes,” she yells into the locker room.
She hears some grumbling from within the locker room, she has no idea why he’s in there or why he didn’t join her in the kitchen area for their break, “fine, be there in a minute,” she hears his locker door slam.
“I’ll be at our car, I’m driving!” she yells.
Gail walks through the precinct with purpose, the sooner she gets to the car the sooner they can get back out on patrol, the sooner they get back out on patrol the sooner time will begin to fly by and their shift will be over. Not that Gail doesn’t want to work, she loves her job, but just some days there are other things one would rather do.
“Gail!” Traci calls to Gail from the detective’s offices.
Gail turns around to see what her friend wants, “you going to the Penny after shift?”
Honestly Gail hadn’t thought about it, sure it’s Friday, and they have had a rather productive week, she was able to help Traci close a case, but she was truthfully looking forward to going home and watching some tv… and checking her phone. “Can I let you know after shift?”
Traci smiles at her, “of course, stay safe out there.”
“I’m always safe, plus Chris is my partner, what could go wrong?”
“TGIF, am I right?” Holly hits send, she places her beer on the coffee table and flops onto her couch, she grabs the remote. She turns on the tv and a NOVA program is already on. She texts Gail again, “and NOVA is on, can this day get any better?”
Gail texts Holly back, “so, you like Nova?”
“Why? Aren’t you some big-time scientist?”
Holly laughs, “NOVA’s science is still science, its like a soft science, but its still science.” Holly defends what is quickly becoming her new favourite program.
Once again it’s Friday and the two seem to be texting uninterruptedly, “are you on shift again?” Holly hits send but then types, “or you got nothing better else to do then to text some gal on the other side of the continent?” she laughs at her own joke, even though it is pretty much true for her. Holy takes a sip from her beer.
Gail texts, “I was but now Im at the hospital.”
Holly’s smile does a 180, no longer laughing at her own joke, she frantically types, “what? why? Are you ok”
“Pretty much, my partner and I took fire today, so our vests are a write off, but other than that…”
“What do you mean a write off??”
“They’re filled with holes.” Holly gasps, but continues to read. “Luckily all the bullets hit the vests, so we will just have some nice bruises, I can already see some of mine, so we’re at the hospital for just in case purposes, Oli says ‘go’ so we go.” Holly can’t believe what she is reading. “On the bright side, I get tomorrow off, one day under fire, the next day off.”
“What?!?!” Holly watches those little dots jump around.
“And a couple of days of desk duty just to be on the safe side…”
“Safe side of what?!?!” She continues to watch those dots.
“Sorry Holly, I have to go”
Those dots are gone. Holly wills the dots to come back, to appear on her screen. Where did Gail go! “What the fuck Gail!” Holly says aloud. She grumbles something. She realizes she may as well type it, “what the fuck Gail!”
Holly looks up at her tv screen, no longer wanting to watch anything. She turns it off. Holly is not sure what to do. She has never been in this sort of position before. She cares about Gail, she rather likes Gail, sure they met under weird circumstances, but she truly enjoys the friendship, a friendship that feels like it has the potential to be something more. Holly can’t get Gail off of her mind. She wants to know the other woman is okay; maybe see for herself, mind you flying back to Toronto is out of the question but maybe they could Skype or Facetime together. She texts Gail, “could we maybe video chat?”
About half an hour later, a half hour of Holly frantically pacing her apartment, not knowing what to do, Holly receives a response, “no,” those three pesky dots appear on her screen, now what? she thinks, fearing the worst. “Maybe I’ll call you sometime, but not tonight.”
Those dots appear on her screen again. Holly waits patiently. “I don’t know who Gail is texting, but this is her friend Traci. The doctor gave Gail some pain killers saying the adrenaline would wear out soon and she would be in a lot of pain. She gets extremely chatty on pain killers. I was wondering why she was so quiet in the hospital, but this explains it, she’s been talking with you. I’m going to take her home now, she needs her rest. Goodnight.”
Traci? Holly questions, the name rings a bell. Holly sighs. “Perfect,” says Holly aloud to her empty apartment. “Now what do I do?” She gets up from her couch, notices her beer is empty and grabs another from the fridge. “Nothing really to do,” she once again says aloud. She sits back down and stares out her apartment window. She wonders whether a walk would help to clear her head, to get rid of her antsy feeling. She doesn’t want to just sit here; Gail made it clear they would not be talking more tonight; Holly’s mind is made up. She takes one more sip of beer and places it back in the fridge; she decides she’ll go for a walk. Holly grabs her keys and heads out into the hallway; she shuts the door and locks it. She walks towards the stairs and makes her way into what’s rest of the day’s light. Within Holly’s apartment her phone rings.
Holly gets back from her walk; she locks the door. Her apartment is dark, she lost track of time wandering through San Francisco. She notices her phone flashing, indicating someone left a voice mail. Without getting her hopes up too high, thinking that maybe Gail actually did call her, she dials into her voicemails. The automated voice tells her she has, “one new message,” she hits play. “Holly dear, it’s mom. I’m just calling to remind you about your father and mine’s anniversary dinner that you agreed to come to at the start of next month. Now Holly, that’s almost three weeks away. You said you’d come; please make sure you actually take time off. You already used the ‘I forgot’ excuse once; you can’t use it again, unless you come up with a different- NO! forget I said that! Holly please take the time off and come home to celebrate my anniversary with our family. Call me when you have time. Good night. I love you.”
Holly sighs, she completely forgot about her parents’ anniversary… she feels like a terrible daughter, she has been busy though, with her new job, new apartment, and what not. She opens her reminder app to write something so she’ll request the time off on Monday when she gets to work.
She was really hoping that message was Gail. Holly grabs her unfinished beer from the fridge, as she shuts the fridge door she realizes, she’ll be in Toronto, Gail lives in Toronto, Holly wants to see Gail. Now Holly is looking forward to going home to her parents’ anniversary dinner. She mentally tells herself to bring it up to Gail next time they’re talking.
Holly takes her beer into her room, where see her unfolded laundry. She sets the beer down to straighten up her room, knowing she wont be able to sleep in a messy room.
Gail grumbles as she rolls onto her belly. The pain is too much that it wakes her up. She reluctantly sits up in bed. She grumbles again. She sees a note on her bedside table in Traci’s handwriting, ‘Take these pills after you’ve had some breakfast. Don’t forget you and Chris have the day off, take the day to feel better. Oh! And you should probably read your text messages. Call me if you need something. T.’ Gail grumbles again, she reaches for her glass of water she left by her bed and grabs the pills, she pops them. One. Two. She lies back down. How stupid could she and Chris be? Did they read the situation wrong? How could a simple domestic dispute end in her and Chris getting a full round each in their safety vests? Hopefully when she goes in tomorrow and reads the other responding officers reports everything will be cleared up, but for now all Gail wants to do is go back to sleep.
Just as she closes her eyes, beginning to feel the pain ebb away, her limbs starting to feel heavy she remembers the last line of Traci’s note. ‘Read your text messages.’ What does that mean? she thinks. But it’s too late, Gail’s already asleep.
“Saturday,” Holly says to her empty apartment, “what to do with you?” She walks into the living room area and sees her phone and last night’s excitement comes all racing back to her. She checks her phone out of habit as well as curiosity, to see if Gail maybe texted her this morning. Nothing. Should she text Gail, something simple like how are you feeling, or should she just leave it be and let Gail contact her. Holly decides on the latter. She moves to the kitchen and starts the coffee maker; she grabs some bread to put in the toaster. She looks out the kitchen window and sees it’s a beautiful day. She decides maybe she will text Ella and take her up on that offer of showing her around the city, get a local’s insight, where to go where not to go.
Gail wakes up for the second time that day. She has to go pee rather desperately. She sits up fast in bed and winces, grabbing onto her sides, she gingerly gets out of her bed and goes to the bathroom. When she exits the washroom she hears voices in the kitchen, she feels her stomach growl and realizes she hasn’t had anything to eat since breakfast the day before. She finds Traci and Dov sitting at the kitchen table.
“How are you feeling?” asks Traci.
Gail lifts her shirt up to show her former classmates the welts that have formed on her abdomen, Traci leans over about to touch them, Gail quickly lowers her shirt and glares at her friend, “never better,” Gail rolls her eyes.
“Is that because of the pain or the text messages?” asks Traci.
“Pain. What text messages are you talking about?” asks Gail who has her head stuck in the fridge deciding what looks edible.
“The ones you sent to your friend. I think you may have scared her.”
Gail’s head reappears with a slice of pizza in her mouth and another in her hand, “did I text you weird stuff again?”
Traci shakes her head. “I don’t know who you were texting.”
“Uh-oh,” says Gail. “Oh well, it was probably Steve, I’m sure he’ll have some great jokes for me when I see him next, he knows what I’m like on pain meds.”
Traci shakes her head again, “it wasn’t Steve.”
Gail scrunches up her face, who would she have texted. She finishes her pizza and has a glass of water. “How’s Chris?”
Dov answers, “sore.”
Gail nods her head, “he still asleep?”
“Yes,” answers Dov, “are you going back to bed?”
“Probably. I only came out for food.”
Dov nods his head, “my shift starts in an hour,” he looks at Traci, “are you staying?”
“We don’t need a sitter,” grouches Gail.
Traci used to Gail’s temper says, “no, I have to watch Leo, I only stopped by to see how they were doing.”
“Good,” says Gail. She knows her friends only want to help, but she’d rather they give her her space, if she wants their help she’ll ask for it, well…that’s not exactly true, but still, she’s an adult, let her live her life in solitude if that’s what she wants to do.
Traci looks at her watch, “I should get going,” she looks at Dov, “want a lift?”
Dov looks at his roommate then back at Traci, “yes, thanks. Let me go grab my bag.”
Gail continues to stand in the kitchen eating her cold pizza while she watches her friends prepare to leave. “Good,” says Gail again, “this way the house will be quiet.”
Traci gives her a sad smile. Traci and Dov leave the frat house. Gail goes for another piece of pizza from the fridge. She leans with her back against the counter, surveying the room. She heads to the door to make sure they locked it before heading back into her own room. She sees her cell phone lying on her bedside table. She remembers what Traci said about texting someone; she grabs her phone and opens up her most recent text strand which happens to be to Holly, uh-oh.
She reads her texts. Shit. She sends a message to Holly, “sorry.”
*ring* Holly’s phone rings, typical Monday, she’s running late for work, she’s trying to balance her files, grab her key and answer the phone. She answers her phone, “hello?”
“Hello?” Holly does not recognize the voice.
Holly doesn’t have time for this, “who is this?” she takes her phone from off her face to read the name.
“It’s me nerd.”
Only one person calls Holly nerd, “Gail?” she asks as she reads Gail’s name on her phone.
“Why are you calling me, we normally text.” Holly balancing her files in her arm along with her travel coffee mug as she tries to lock her apartment door. She completely overslept, she either didn’t hear her alarm or she ignored it, all she remembers is she was having the most delightful dream.
“I was feeling chatty.”
Holly shakes her head to dislodge her thoughts and get herself back on track to getting to work on time. “What’s your long distance plan like?”
Gail slightly confused, my what? “My what?”
“Your long distance phone plan, what’s it like?” Holly makes her way to the stairs, seeing the elevator still has an out of service sign on it.
Oh, phone plan. “I honestly don’t know, I wasn’t going to talk for long…” now feeling that this was a completely horrible idea.
“I was actually going to text you later,” says Holly as she is now outside, in the California sun, walking to work, she hadn’t heard from Gail all weekend besides a simple ‘sorry’ and an ‘I’m okay’ text sometime on Saturday. Holly didn’t know how to respond to that, so she didn’t, thinking she would eventually text her something completely random, but nothing came up.
“You often do…”
“No, I mean, well yes, I do often text you…” Holly sighs, she’s feeling frustrated, and her day has barely begun. “I’m going to be back in Toronto not this weekend but next weekend, it’s my parents’ 40th anniversary. I was going to let you know, and maybe if you wanted to we could grab a drink or something.”
“Oh,” Gail was not expecting that.
“It’s okay,” says Holly, “we don’t have to meet up.”
“No, I’ll see you, I just have to look at my work schedule, maybe switch shifts, let me know when you get in to town.”
“Okay then,” Holly has reached her work, normally happy with her short commute, but today she wishes it were just a bit longer, “sorry Gail, I have to go, I just got to work.”
“That’s okay, have a nerdy day nerd.”
“Thanks Gail, you too.” Holly asks, “how are you feeling?”
“A little sore, but I’ll live, I have desk duty for at least a week, the bruises are all over my torso and hurt to turn from side to side,” Gail stops herself from saying more, completely surprised she said all of that, any of that.
A pause, neither has hung up yet, “erm Gail?”
“You’re still going to text me right?”
Gail hears the worry in Holly’s voice. Worry that now they have talked on the phone and have plans to meet up in person this will change their this, their friendship, their relationship, their this. Whatever this is. “Of course,” says Gail. “Who am I going to learn useless information from?”
Holly laughs, “okay. Of course, right,” Holly laughs again, “thanks for the call Gail. Have a nice day.”
And she’s gone, Holly’s hung up. Gail keeps playing it back and forth in her head, Holly’s laugh, damn, thinks Gail.
Holly flies in to Toronto early on the Friday, lucky for her her parents’ anniversary party isn’t until the Sunday. She gets a taxi to go to her parents’ house where she is happy to be spending the weekend, knowing she can take a nap after her flight. She’s excited to be seeing Gail tomorrow, the blonde has to work the Friday, but then has the rest of the weekend off. They made plans to meet each other at the Penny again, not in a coat closet this time.
Earlier that week, after a hard day at work Holly went out with some of her coworkers for a few drinks, she may have had one too many, because when she was texting Gail that night she totally texted something she would have never texted if she was completely sober. Gail texted back a smiley face, so Holly thought nothing of it, kind of, other than she should not text people she barely knows that well while she is slightly intoxicated.
She makes it to her parents’ house, excited to see them but more excited for her bed. Also slightly excited to see her blonde friend tomorrow, and hoping that it wont be awkward. She likes Gail and she hopes she hasn’t ruined anything between them, she’s also a little bit nervous, they’ve never really spent any time together. Holly’s return flight is on Tuesday morning, giving her approximately four-ish days in her home city.
Gail’s already at the Penny, she happened to work that Saturday morning having to cover Chloe’s shift who’s currently out of town, Gail gets to the Penny after her shift, she’s talking to Traci at the bar. The door opens, Gail’s been looking up to make sure she spots Holly when she walks in, but it’s just Dov, who wanders over to his two fellow rookies. “You look nice Gail,” he comments. Gail scrunches up her face and doesn’t comment. Traci sniggers. “What?” asks Dov, “what did I miss?”
“Nothing,” says Traci who picks up her drink and moves to the table where Andy and Chris are waiting for them.
Dov follows her asking, “what? Come on Trace, just tell me, you know Gail wont tell me, so you have to,” he practically begs.
Gail laughs to herself as she watches her two friends walk away. Behind her she hears someone timidly ask, “Gail?”
Gail’s about to turn around and unleash hell, she turns around to Holly, “oh. Hi.”
Holly smiles her lopsided smile, “not this again. Full sentences please.”
Gail laughs, “hi nerd.”
“Don’t just ‘hi nerd’ me, I deserve a hug.”
“Deserve?” Gail questions, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes, you really scared me the other day with your gun shot texts.”
“Okay,” agrees Gail.
Holly doesn’t let Gail change her mind as she quickly hugs the blonde. Gail counts to three in her head, she pats Holly’s back signaling for her to release. She hears Holly make an unagreeable noise. Gail counts to five in her head and rubs Holly’s back, once again hoping for Holly to release her. Holly says, “not yet.”
Gail, who is starting to enjoy the hug, decides enough is enough, “Holly, I don’t normally hug people, let alone in public, you need to let go of me or others are going to expect this kind of treatment.”
Holly laughs. “Just tell them we haven’t seen each other in a very long time,” she tries to give Gail what she thinks is a good enough excuse, certainly a reasonable excuse.
“I don’t think that will work,” says Gail as she is finally released from Holly. She takes a quick glance at her fellow rookies and sees them all with faces of confusion, “yeah, that’s not going to work,” she mumbles to herself.
Gail’s sipping on a margarita and Holly a jack and coke, both sitting at the bar. “I feel like I need to apologize in person. I know I texted you an ‘I’m sorry’, but I still feel weird.” Gail quietly says, “I didn’t mean to scare you with my gun shot texts…” Gail doesn’t know what else to say, does she explain it’s a part of her job, or does she allow Holly to ask any question she wants, or hopefully leave it at this.
Holly sees the sincerity on Gail’s face, sees how truly terrible she feels, “it’s okay,” assures Holly, “you’re safe.” She touches Gail’s arm to assure herself and Gail. “But if you still feel weird about it, you can make it up to me by buying the first two rounds,” Holly smiles at Gail.
“Only the first two rounds? I was expecting I’d have to buy all night!”
“What? You would have bought all night?”
Gail gives her a funny look, “well not anymore, not that I now know it’s only going to take two rounds.”
“Darn,” says Holly.
“You missed your chance nerd.”
“It’s okay, I’ll survive.” Holly gives Gail a lopsided smile, happy to finally be having a conversation with the blonde in person.
Gail orders two more drinks for them, she gestures to an open tall table, they pick up their drinks and walk over to the table where they can have a little bit of privacy. Gail sits atop the one stool, Holly debates sitting across from her or next to her. She decides to sit across from the blonde. Holly asks once they’re all settled, “you’re feeling better?”
“Oh yeah,” says Gail, “those first few days were terrible, it hurt to move, I had desk duty, but now I’m back out on patrol, I was out there today, and I felt great.”
“You had to work today? I thought you had the day off?” Holly asks kind of confused as to why the blonde didn’t tell her, but then she tells herself, Gail is her friend, nothing more, Gail doesn’t have to tell her whatever she doesn’t want to, but what Holly really likes about them is that they talk, that they do tell each other stuff.
“Shifts change,” Gail shrugs her shoulders, like it’s no big deal, because it is no big deal, shifts change. “How was your flight?” Gail internally cringes at her obligatory nice question one asks another after they just travelled somewhere, when did she start doing obligatory nice things?
After Holly decides she doesn’t want another jack and coke, Gail suggests they share a pitcher of beer. Holly’s not ready to call it a night, and nods her head. After finishing that pitcher, Holly goes to the bar to get them each one more pint since Gail doesn’t have to work tomorrow, as far as she knows. Gail just smiles happy at her new friend’s style.
Both feeling nice and tingly from the booze and are now completely comfortable with the other, their stools somehow migrated next to each other and are now sitting shoulder to shoulder, sharing silly smiles and laughs at the other’s comments. Holly can’t help but stare at the blonde, she so badly wants to touch her, but noticing how she reacted to the hug earlier feels that that wont go over well. Her eyes also keep lowering down to Gail’s lips, wondering how soft they are. Holly internally debates with herself, you can’t kiss her. But I want to. She’s your friend who lives three time zones away, do you really think kissing her is a good idea? I didn’t say it was a good idea, I just said I wanted to. She’s funny, she’s kind, she’s easy to talk to, and that fire behind her eyes, I just find that so attractive. Don’t do it, you’ll regret it later. What if I just kiss her cheek or something… Holly tries to negotiate with herself. “Thank you to agreeing to have drinks with me,” bold Holly decides to go for it, she kisses Gail’s cheek, she doesn’t leave Gail’s personal space, “don’t take this the wrong way, but,” Gail nods her head for Holly to continue, “but I forgot how beautiful you are.”
Gail smiles a toothy grin and bumps their shoulder’s together, “we should fix that,” she fumbles for her phone, “you take a picture of me and I’ll take a picture of you, that way I’ll finally have a photo for your number.”
Holly retrieves her phone off the table, they simultaneously point the camera in the other’s face and *click*. They look at the result and laugh, Holly quickly takes another picture of Gail, whose face is all lit up from staring at the picture she now has of Holly on her phone.
“Hey!” Gail scrunches up her face, “I wasn’t ready for that one.”
“That’s okay, it’s a good one.”
“But I’m smiling in it.”
“I don’t want people having pictures of me smiling.”
“Weird, but okay, I’ll take a different one then.” Holly leans over to kiss Gail’s cheek again, this time snapping a picture of it. Holly looks at the picture, the blonde’s face went from grumpy to surprised. “Nope, not smiling in this one,” says Holly.
“Good,” says Gail, reddening from Holly’s second kiss.
“We should do this again sometime. I like talking to you…in person. Talking in person is just so different from texting. I get to see your facial expression, I also get to hear the sarcasm in your voice as opposed to reading the extremely helpful texts seconds after the first one saying ‘that was sarcasm.’ I mean texting you is great, but talking to you is a lot of fun too.” This time Holly reddens.
“Calm down nerd,” Gail laughs, never really experiencing one of Holly’s rambles before, “how do you suppose we do that nerd? Meet up again?”
“I don’t know, I’m in town for a couple more days, I have to be at my parents’ party tomorrow,” Holly clasps Gail’s hands, “my siblings are all bringing people, want to be my date?”
Gail scrunches up her face, not fond of that word, especially right now, especially since her mother has started setting her up on blind dates again, something about some clock ticking, Gail want listening, she just knew she had to say yes or else she would face her mother’s rage.
Holly sensing the hesitation, changes the wording, “how about my plus one? That way we can hang out more,” she says somewhat timidly.
Gail smiles, “I can do that. I am way better plus one material.”
Holly gives Gail a lopsided smile; she takes her last sip of beer, looks at her watch and gasps. “It’s already after 1, I didn’t realize how late it is, we’ve been here for hours,” she looks around the bar only a few people are left, “I should get going, I don’t want my parents to worry. I have to help them set up for the party tomorrow; it’s going to be a busy day.”
She slides off of her stool, Gail does the same. “Do you need a ride home or something?”
“No, I’m catching a cab.” Holly puts on her coat; she meant to have dinner with her parents tonight, just the immediate family, not like what tomorrow is going to be, with extended family and close friends. She gives Gail a hug, “this has been fun, I’m so glad you got my number, which you still haven’t told me how you got…” waiting for Gail to divulge her secret, when Gail doesn’t say anything she continues, “I’ll see you soon.” Holly releases Gail and walks out of the bar into the cold night.
Gail sits back down on her stool, takes another sip of the beer still in her glass, ‘I’ll see you soon’ she says in her head, as in tomorrow since she asked me to go to her parents thing or when? WAIT! Did I actually agree to go to a party with people I don’t even know?
Does Gail go, does she not go, is it weird to go to someone else’s parents’ anniversary, a family one has never met, with someone they kind of barely know
Thanks for reading
Gail doesn’t know what to do; she’s lying on top of her bed hoping that everything will become clear. After Holly left the bar last night, Gail sat back down and finished her beer. The bar tender came over with a shot of tequila because, ‘it looked like she needed one.’ Gail thanked him and downed the shot; she grabbed her coat, and somehow made it back to the frat house. Chris and Dov were still up and had a bunch of questions for her, mostly who’s the brunette. She faked a yawn and went straight to her room; she must have fallen asleep at some point because now it’s morning. She’s slightly annoyed with herself for not closing the blinds last night, the burden of going to sleep so late when it’s pitch black dark outside and now being woken by the sun rise at, she looks at her clock, 6:48am, 6:48AM! She internally screams, this is my day off! She grumbles as she rolls out of bed, taking the one step to her window to close the blinds, she flops backwards back onto her bed and pulls the covers back over her, willing herself to go back to sleep.
*beep* Gail’s phone makes a noise. Gail doesn’t even bother looking, she doesn’t care who it is, she just wants to go back to sleep. Maybe everything will be clearer when she wakes up a second time.
Holly’s helping her family put up decoration, rearrange the furniture, and make sure the floors are clean. She likes the idea of the party being at her parent’s house, but she doesn’t want to have to clean it all up tomorrow. She wishes she would have booked an early flight and avoided the cleanup. No, that’s a lie, she would have felt guilty if she left her parents and siblings to clean all of this up on their own, she’s fine with having to cleanup her parents’ house, maybe begrudgingly, but still it’s okay.
Holly had fun last night with Gail, she’s slightly concerned that the blonde hasn’t texted her at all today, but she’s sure it’s fine. Holly is happy that the police officer agreed to come to her parents’ party and spend some more time with her. Holly thought about texting her to come early and help with the set up that way she could meet her family ahead of time, but then thought better of it having remembered how the blonde was complaining about having to do extra work, having to clean up her roommates’ mess, a mess she did not contribute to, so Holly left it as is.
Gail moved from her room to the couch, and is now playing video games in silence with Chris. She continues to tumble over the thoughts in her head, whether or not she should go to the party. Sure she wants to see Holly again, but does she want to see her in that kind of setting. A party for Holly’s parents’, people she has never met, doesn’t know anything about them not even their names…
Gail read Holly’s text after she woke up at a more respectable hour. It contained the address and the itinerary, cocktails at 4 and dinner at 6. The idea of free dinner and booze is a selling point, but still Gail continues to sit on the couch playing some racing game with Chris.
She thinks back to having to go to Frank and Noelle’s wedding, her boss and coworker. She wouldn’t have gone to that one either if she didn’t have to. She hates those things, people laughing, people caring; it just does not interest her. So she continues to play games with Chris.
“Alone again Holly?” Holly’s older sister asks her, finding her sitting in the study alone, the party well under way, plenty of people there to talk to.
Holly managed to slip away from an old family friend in order to go check her phone to see if Gail texted her, to see if she was still coming. “Kind of,” says Holly, “just waiting on someone.”
“You invited someone?”
“Not all of us could marry our high school sweetheart…” Holly says with an edge of sarcasm.
“Who’s to say you couldn’t, I hear Tim is getting divorced, so I mean, you totally still could,” Cindy says as she watches her little sister roll her eyes, she pats Holly’s leg to make Holly scoot over and share the couch. She sighs as she sits down.
“Cindy you have a great life, a loving husband, two and a half kids,” Holly places her hand on her sister’s very pregnant belly.
“I know you prefer to work with bones but you’re a doctor, and I didn’t think I’d have to explain it to you that this ‘half’ a kid will eventually become a full one,” she jokes and smiles, happy to have this quiet time with her sister.
“Three kids already, and who’s to say you’ll stop there?” Holly ponders.
“Oh no, I’m done after this one, I already told Alfred, that this is it. They’re small now, but what happens when they get bigger, they’ll need more space, we’re going to be crammed as it is when the third one is born, and school. Don’t get me started on school, we’ve already started putting some of our paycheques away for their college fund, but three kids…” she starts to breathe heavily.
“You guys will be fine, you clearly know what you’re doing, but if you do ever get in a pinch, I’m sure mom and dad can help you, or me, I barely have any expenses right now,” Holly offers.
“No, we’re fine,” Cindy sniffs. “It’s just the future, you don’t know what it holds and it’s hard to plan for it.”
“Very true…” Holly takes a sip of her cocktail. “Completely sober you is a bit of a buzz kill,” Holly jokes.
“Ughh…this is nothing. I’m all hormonal now, I cry at the drop of a hat, it’s ridiculous,” she grabs a tissue from her pocket that she keeps in there for times like these and wipes at her eyes and blows her nose. “Ugh,” she says again, “I’m exhausted. I do not want to clean all this up tomorrow.”
“I’m sure everyone would understand if you stayed home tomorrow.”
“No, I’d feel bad.”
“Show up late then, sleep in,” Holly tries to compromise, “you need your sleep, your body and baby need it.”
“You are the doctor…” Cindy trials off, but then switches subjects, “so who is this mystery woman and when did you meet her, cause you’ve only been in town a couple of days and you were out last night with your friends…”
“Friend,” Holly corrects, “her, I was out with Gail last night. She’s beautiful, bright, and blonde,” Holly starts to describe her, but gets distracted as her phone beeps so she looks down only to be disappointed with a ‘words with friends’ notification, dammit Lisa!
“Does she have blue eyes?” Holly nods her head, “and is she a business woman or a baker? No wait, a banker?”
“What, no? She’s a cop.”
“Sorry, I was just going off the whole descriptive words that start with a ‘b’. So she’s supposed to be coming tonight?” asks Cindy.
“She said she would, I asked her last night, then sent her the address this morning. She did have to pick up an extra shift yesterday even though she was scheduled off, so maybe she got busy,” Holly says hoping that that is the answer.
“Maybe,” says Cindy. “How long have you known her, hopefully not just last night...”
“No, we met about four months ago now.”
“Four months ago, and this is the first I hear of her?”
“Well, we mostly text, yesterday was the first time we hung out in person.” She glances at her phone again, hoping to see if she missed a text from Gail, but still sees that the last text is the information that Holly sent over that morning. She sighs.
“So how did you meet then?”
Holly pulls her eyes away from her phone to look at her sister’s, “at my going away party.”
“And what?” not really seeing the whole picture, needing some more information.
“She got my number and we’ve been texting quite regularly since,” Holly says with a smile.
“So, let me get this right, you met her, you left and the only way you keep in touch with her is by texting. And you thought it was a good idea to bring her to our parent’s anniversary party?” Cindy playing the protective older sister role as well as the realistic older sister, making sure her sister doesn’t get hurt, hoping that her sister doesn’t get hurt from this lady that she has never met.
Holly getting a little defensive of the relationship her and Gail have constructed, they have a relationship don’t they, she wouldn’t want to label that relationship, but they certainly have a relationship of sorts, “we’ve also talked on the phone-” She says even though she does understand her sister’s point, and they really only talked on the phone that once. “You’re probably right, it’s probably best that she didn’t come, or isn’t coming, I don’t know…”
“Wow, you really like her,” Cindy says sympathetically, she places a hand on her sister’s back. “But come on Holls, think, what did you really think was going to come of this, you’re not staying in Toronto, you have to go back to San Francisco. What were you hoping from this? Did you really want to start something?”
Holly sighs again, she totally gets where her sister is coming from, but she likes Gail. She feels that maybe Gail likes her too and that, now that she thinks about it maybe…maybe she hasn’t thought this through very far.
Gail is tired of playing video games, she has moved back to her bedroom, lying on top of the comforter. She sees her phone’s screen light up, she grabs it thinking that Holly has texted her asking her where she is. Gail knows that’s not going to be the case though, if it was, Holly would have texted Gail sooner, sometime earlier in the day not now at eight o’clock at night. She looks at her phone anyways; it’s a text from Oliver reminding her she starts afternoons tomorrow. She sighs. Gail feels bad, but she’s not really sure why she feels bad. She’s blown people off before, where she’s agreed to go to something but then never shows, but this time it feels different. She did want to spend time with Holly, she just didn’t want all of the add ons. She curls into herself and stares at her bedroom’s wall. She picks up her phone again and sends a text.
The night continues to progress, cocktail time is over, dinner is over too. All the dishes have been washed and put away. Most people who are left are those really close to the family, not just those who are there for the well wishes, those who have been there from the beginning of the Stewart’s relationship, some who even attended the wedding. Everyone’s sitting in the living room have a nightcap enjoying a more quieter aspect to the night.
The phone in Holly’s pocket chimes. She forgot it was there, having given up on the blonde. She unlocks her phone and reads her message, “sorry”
Gail’s not sure what to do. She once again feels she owes Holly an apology. Why does she keep doing this? Why is it so difficult to be a friend? Why is it so difficult to be a good friend to Holly? Gail tosses and turns in her bed before she finally decides she should set her alarm so she can wake up in time, wake up in time to be able to do everything she has to before her shift starts.
Holly’s not sure what to do. She feels she owes Gail an apology. Why is it so difficult to be a good friend? Holly tries to come up with a reason to see the blonde before she leaves Toronto, but so far her mind is blank. She kind of wants to ask Gail, if she has time off and wants to, if Gail would want to come visit her in San Francisco. Holly sighs. She gets the vacuum out from her parents’ closet and starts to vacuum, directing her little niece to move the stools so she can vacuum properly without any obstructions.
Gail knocks on the door, hoping Holly’s there. She can hear noises coming from inside. She has shown up at the Stewarts’ house a day after the party. Flowers in hand she knocks at the door again. Cindy opens it, “hello?”
“Hi,” says Gail, “is Holly here?”
“Yes, one moment please,” she turns inside the house and yells, “Holly!” She looks back at Gail and smiles, realization hits her a second later and her face morphs into a surprised look, “blonde, beautiful, and blue eyes,” Cindy kind of gasps, “you’re the cop.”
“Do I know you?” asks Gail, even though they have never met, she can tell this is Holly’s sister, with the dark brown hair and the dark brown eyes, similar facial features and tones of voice.
“Um…no…oh, here’s Holly,” she maneuvers her way out of the doorway and back into the house. “She is very beautiful,” she whispers to her sister as they pass.
Holly is confused as to who her sister is talking about. She gets to the front door, “Gail? What are you doing here?” She steps onto the front porch and closes the door behind her.
Gail offers up the flowers, “these are for you, or you can give them to your mom since you’re leaving tomorrow, but I thought it would be nice to bring you flowers,” Gail says rather fast.
“Um,” Holly still is confused. “Thanks, they’re beautiful,” Holly accepts the flowers and sniffs them, “but why did you get me flowers?”
“I’m sorry…again, and I figured it was too early to buy you a couple of drinks from a bar, so I figured flowers would be better.”
“Good choice, it is only 8am, but you didn’t have to apologize. I should be the one apologizing,” Holly’s about to say more but feels like they’re being watched, she turns around and spots her sister and nephew watching from the window. She smiles at Gail, “one moment,” she walks inside and hands off the flowers to her sister and instructs her to put them in a vase. She rejoins Gail, “want to go for a walk, there’s a park at the end of the street?”
Gail nods her head. They walk side by side on the sidewalk until they put some distance between them and the Stewart’s house. Gail dying to ask, so she does, “why do you have to apologize?”
Holly smiles a sad smile, “I shouldn’t have asked you to come,” Gail gets a weird look on her face, thinking she came all on her own accord today, “last night to my parents’ party,” Holly clarifies, “that was selfish of me. Asking you to spend time with my family, people you don’t know, I shouldn’t have put you in that situation.” Holly decides to make a joke, “especially considering three weeks ago you were texting me complaining about going to your brother’s birthday party, someone you’ve known since birth” she bumps their shoulders together.
“Not like I had a choice on that though,” Gail says snarkily. They keep walking to the park. Gail remains quiet; relieved Holly doesn’t hate her, wondering what to do next. They reach the park and sit at a bench. “So, was it a nice party?”
Holly smiles at Gail, “it was, I haven’t seen some of my parents’ friends in years. Plus it’s always nice to spend some time with my siblings and their families without the added pressure of a holiday.”
“Is that who I met at the door?” Gail decides to play it up, “a lady who sounds like she had previously been told that I’m…sorry but I’m forgetting the word...oh wait no I’m not, now I remember, beautiful, that I’m beautiful. I wonder who would have told her that…”
Holly makes an unhappy noise, like shit, I did say that didn’t I….but plays it off, “yeah, that is weird, I wonder who would have told her that.”
“Right,” says Gail.
The two fall into silence, watching the birds fly from tree to tree on this beautiful autumn day. The sun shining, giving them that feel that it could still be summer, but it’s cold, so no.
Gail breaks the silence, “you ready to go back?”
“To the house? Sure,” Holly about ready to stand.
“No, to San Francisco,” Gail clarifies.
“Oh, yeah, I guess. I haven’t even been away for half a year, but I feel like I’ve missed so much, it’s weird.”
“I know what you mean, when we go undercover and don’t see our friends and family for a while, regardless the stint it feels like you miss so much. I know it’s not really the same,” Gail shakes her head at herself, slightly confused as to why she keeps sharing information, trying to make herself/situations relatable.
Holly doesn’t seem to notice the struggle going on inside Gail’s head. Holly hums, “well, at least I can still stay in contact with them; it’s amazing what the video chats can do, I’m still able to see my nieces and nephews grow.”
“There is that,” smiles Gail. Gail’s phone beeps, she looks at her watch, “sorry, I have to go, I’m supposed to watch my friend’s kid for a couple of hours while she’s at work, then I have to go to work,” Gail explains.
“That’s okay,” says Holly, “thank you for coming over, and I am sorry about yesterday,” still feeling kind of bad over the whole situation.
“You’ll text me when you get home?” hopes Gail, wanting to make sure Holly gets home safe.
“I can…” smiles Holly, happy for the extremely easy reason, extremely practical reason to start a conversation with the blonde.
“And you are going to continue to send me all your sciencey facts,” requests Gail.
“Uh,” jokes Holly, “we in the sciencey community like to just call it facts.”
Gail smiles, “I was always curious if there was a technical term for that.”
“Well now you know.”
Gail stands up, “I do have to go,” she doesn’t know how to say goodbye, is Holly going to kiss her again, does she go in for the hug this time, a handshake? Gail will watch Holly and follow suit.
Holly stands up too, “we can walk back together,” she offers.
Gail’s fine with that, prolong the goodbye. Plus Gail wants to bring up another topic. They walk out of the park, back onto the sidewalk and now the two are standing in Holly’s parents’ driveway. No one said anything the whole way, complete silence, just birds chirping.
Holly looks at Gail, “thanks for understanding everything; I’m so glad you’re a good friend.”
“Yes.” Says Gail, “I’m glad we’re friends too.” Gail wanted to ask if it would be alright if she visited Holly in San Francisco, but chickened out and feels that this is a good leaving point.
Holly does give Gail a hug, but it doesn’t feel the same to Gail as it did two nights ago.
It’s been just over a month since Holly’s been back in San Francisco. She and Gail have continued to text each other on a regular basis, continuing their random banter of texts about their daily whatever.
Holly’s phone is beeping rhythmically, indicating someone’s trying to video chat with her. She hits accept without looking, expecting it to be her sister wanting to show off the kids’ costumes before they head out trick-or-treating. After hitting accept, Holly went back to finishing to report her findings knowing that her sister wont mind waiting a second for Holly to finish up. Holly hears, “nerd?”
Holly looks up and around her lab, “Gail?” she says with hope in her voice, hoping that Gail is there in her lab, that Gail has come to see her, to surprise her.
“Yeah?” she hears.
Holly shakes her head, chastising herself for thinking that Gail came to San Francisco, Holly realizes that it is Gail on the phone, “oh, sorry, I didn’t realize it was you.” Holly walks over to the phone, finally coming in view of the blonde.
“But you hit accept?” questions Gail.
“I know,” Holly smiles sheepishly, “I just thought you were my sister…” something beeps in the lab distracting Holly.
“Nice,” mumbles Gail, “first you want to be friends, now you want to be sisters.”
The beeping noise stops and Holly comes back into sight, “sorry, I didn’t catch that last bit, what did you say?”
Gail pauses and thinks, is now really the time to tell Holly that I may have more than friendly feeling towards her, that I may be feeling romantic feelings for her, that I may wish to think of her than more than just a friend, that I think we could be more than friends, Gail pauses for a second, or should I have done that last month when we were face to face?
Holly has been staring at a pensive Gail, a Gail’s whose face hasn’t changed for the past ten maybe fifteen seconds. “Gail? GAIL? Gail, I think my screen froze, I’ll call you back in just a minute.”
“Nothing,” sighs Gail, answering Holly’s question.
“Why are you so grumpy? It’s Halloween,” asks Holly.
“Exactly,” says Gail, “luckily I’m done my shift, the worst non-holiday to work is Halloween, especially when it falls on a Friday or Saturday. Adults dressing up in costumes, drinking too much, and feeling they’re able to drive home. I find I mostly get stuck at Ride Programs.”
“Really?” questions Holly. “I would have thought it would be St. Paddy’s day.”
“Oh,” Gail’s eyes go big, “I forgot about that one. Too many people thinking they’re okay to drive when they’re not. They can tie for worst.”
Holly laughs and Gail smiles at her. Holly smiles back.
Changing subjects slightly, “you coming home for Christmas?” asks Gail.
“I don’t know yet,” truthfully answers Holly.
“You didn’t come home for Thanksgiving,” whines Gail, Gail surprised by her own tone reminds herself to keep her emotions in check.
“Yeah, well, America has theirs in November…”
“So weird,” they chorus.
“You coming home then?”
“No,” Holly smiles, “we’re starting an experiment on the Wednesday going to let it sit with no interactions for the 24 hours, seeing how air borne something can get, then check it out on Friday, start another experiment, the same experiment,” Holly clarifies, “and let it sit for the weekend, then check it out on the Monday, and compare the results, I’m so excited!”
Holly smiles at Gail. Gail can’t help but smile back. Gail opens her mouth to say something else, but can hear Holly’s phone begin to chime, “sorry that’ll be my sister.”
“Thanks for calling,” says Holly sincerely. “Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
“Wow,” jokes Gail, “so formal,” as she feels she’s being ushered off the phone.
Holly smiles, “bye Gail.”
Gail ends the call. She sighs; she throws her phone onto her bed. Gail doesn’t know why she calls Holly, seeing a happy Holly so far away makes it all worse. Gail picks up her phone, this time to text her mom. She sends off a simple. ‘ok.’ She sighs again and face plants onto her bed.
Holly accepts her sister’s call, “hey Holly! The kids wanted to show you their costumes,” Cindy turns around to yell to her kids to come into view. Cindy turns back and realizes her sister’s face hasn’t changed and it’s super red. “Holly are you feeling all right? Your face is really red.”
Without moving Holly looks at her reflection on her screen and notices her sister is right. Damn, thinks Holly, how does Gail make me blush so easily when talking to her? Do you think she notices? I mean, my face wasn’t this red when we first started talking.
“Holly!” she hears her sister call, but still doesn’t respond, still lost in her thoughts.
I should have kissed her properly when I had the chance last month, to see if there was anything there, any sort of spark. Now I feel like I’m just torturing myself. Now it’s like Schrödinger’s cat. If I kissed her and there was no spark, I wouldn’t have cared, I would have looked in the box to see if the cat was alive or not, but I didn’t kiss her so the cat could still be alive or dead, I don’t know!
She hears Cindy again, “Holly! Shit, I think my screen’s frozen, I’m going to call you back.”
“Oh, I was about to hang up on you, I thought my screen was frozen.”
Holly smiles sheepishly, “that seems to be happening a lot today.”
“How so? I only just called you?”
“Um, nothing.” Holly changes subjects, “where are the kids?”
“Kids!” Cindy calls again, “come say ‘hi’ to Aunt Holly!”
Holly goes through the stages of her regular conversation with her family, listening to the kids’ stories from school, Cindy’s grievances with the kids not listening to her, the kids smiling wickedly at her, and of course the excitement for Halloween.
Gail lifts her head to look at the clock, not 6 yet. She makes a quick decision and sends a text to Traci who invited her earlier to walk the subdivision with her and Leo. Traci sends a text back saying she has five minutes to get there. Gail quickly gets off her bed, grabs her jacket and keys and leaves her apartment.
Traci and Gail are walking slowly along the road watching Leo run up a driveway yell ‘trick or treat’ receive some compliments for his cool police officer costume, get some candy thrown into his bag, and run back to Traci and Gail.
They continue to walk along the street, plenty of kids and parents out, the illuminated street lights giving everyone a sense of security from the odd car passing by. Gail sees some lady vaguely familiar walking towards them with two children following her. “Hey,” says the lady.
“Hey,” says Gail. Gail and Traci stop, waiting for Leo to catch up.
“You know her Gail?” asks Traci.
The lady addresses Gail, “who’s this?” nodding her head towards Traci. “My sister not enough for you?”
Gail scrunches up her face just as Leo returns with more candy, “Aunt Gail I got a Crispy Crunch for you, I just need two more and a Coffee Crisp and you have to babysit me on Saturday!” Leo squeals and runs to the next house knowing Gail and Traci will follow along on the road.
Gail says, “this is my friend Traci and that was her son Leo.” Gail gestures towards the lady, “Traci this is Holly’s sister….I actually don’t know your name…”
Cindy blushes, “sorry, I’m Cindy. I shouldn’t have said that-”
“MOM!” Leo yells one house over.
Traci touches Gail’s arm, “I need to keep walking.” Gail nods her head, she watches her friend walk away.
“No, it’s okay,” says Gail, “I do like your sister, but we’re not together,” Gail gets a furrow on her face, confused as to why Cindy would think they were.
“Could have fooled me,” Cindy says. Just then her kids come back with their load of candy.
“Mom, look!” The one then realizes his mom’s not alone; he looks at Gail and remembers her from his grandparents’ house a couple of weeks ago, “why is Aunt Holly’s friend here?”
Sheesh! The whole family knows me… thinks Gail.
“We just ran into each other,” Cindy answers honestly. “Take your sister to the next house, then we’ll need to head back because I’m getting tired, I need to sit down.”
“AWWWWW…..but mom, it’s Halloween, we haven’t even reached the end of the street yet!” the daughter whines.
“Yeah mom!” the son chimes in, “please can we go to the end?”
“I can’t,” says Cindy, “I wont be able to walk back.” The two are about to complain again, but Cindy gives them a stern look, “go to the next house, we will discuss this when you get back.” The kids run off, Cindy looks back at Gail, “sorry about that, trick or treating is tough when you’re pregnant,” she looks over at the bench next to the road, “if I sat on that bench right now, I might not get up,” she laughs.
Gail looks down the street and counts about ten houses, twenty if you add the ones on the opposite side, “if you want you can take a rest and I’ll walk the kids to the end of the street. We will always be within your eye sight,” Gail suggests.
Cindy kind of looks at her, looks at the bench, looks at Gail again. Silence.
“I shouldn’t have offered,” says Gail jumping in, “I barely know you, I only know Holly-” Gail starts to say feeling that her request was inappropriate.
Cindy surprises her by saying, “no, you can take them, that would be great; Alfred, my husband, was supposed to take them but he had to work late, I’m just going to sit down here. I mean you’re a cop right?” Gail nods her head, Cindy sits down, “I mean that’s all I’ve seem to be able to get out of my sister about you, I called her shortly after she talked to you today, and I don’t know what you two were talking about, but her face was beet red.” Cindy’s kids coming running back, “new plan!” The kids look at their mom sitting on the bench. She looks at Gail, “this is Aunt Holly’s friend Gail, Gail these are my kids Will and Rain.” She addresses her kids, “Gail’s going to walk you to the end of the street, you are not going to convince her to walk any further,” she says the last part to Gail as well. “Okay, see you guys in a bit,” she dismisses them.
Gail sends a quick text to Traci that she’ll meet her back at her house. “Okay kids!” says Gail “let’s go get some candy!” The three start to walk away.
“Watch out for cars!” yells Cindy. Gail waves her arm in acknowledgement.
This was the best Halloween Gail’s had in a while.
“What are you doing?” Holly texts Gail. Another month has gone by and it’s the beginning of December. Holly still doesn’t know if she’ll be able to go home for Christmas or if she’ll be spending it alone in California. Holly desperately wants to go home for Christmas for multiple reasons, one) to spend time with her family, two) her family is supposed to be getting bigger with her sister’s due date any day now, and three) to see her friends. She groups Gail in with her friends, but in reality she knows Gail is a reason all on her own. Knowing that she converses more with Gail than any other person she has in her life right now.
“Nothing really,” Gail texts back super fast.
“It’s Friday, don’t you ever go out on a Friday?” texts Holly, kind of joking but also not, happy to have someone to talk to, as she walks to the one window where the apartment building across the way’s light will come shining into her apartment and bug her later so she pulls down the drape.
“I’m actually on a date right now. She’s in the bathroom tho.”
“Oh,” says Holly aloud, Gail’s on a date, now what? Does Holly stop bothering Gail (is she bothering Gail?) or does she ask about the date, is it weird to ask or is it even weirder to not ask. Holly gets all Shakespeare-ey in her head, ‘to ask or not to ask, that is the question.’ Holly laughs at her joke. She thinks she plays it safe with a, “How’s it going?”
“I don’t know yet, we just got here.”
Holly reads that over a couple of times, now what does she text? She scrunches up her face, trying to remember what she would have texted Lisa or Rachel when she inadvertently interrupted one of their dates. She doesn’t have to text anything because another one appears on her phone, “Can I text you later? Bye nerd.”
“Oh, ok, bye,” Holly essentially types her thoughts, but then adds a, “good luck.” Holly tosses her phone onto her couch, now what is she going to do, she was kind of planning on conversing with Gail, that seems to be their normal Friday routine. Whether Gail’s on shift or not, she has always been able to keep a conversation going.
Holly has now realized that she may need to make more friends. Ella was nice enough to show her around the city when she first got there, but Ella has a family with two young kids that keep her really busy on her off hours, and Holly doesn’t want to bother her or intrude on family time. Hmmm… thinks Holly as she goes over the list of people she comes in contact with on a regular basis, assessing who she could try to befriend and become her outside of work friend. Someone she can talk to where it doesn’t have to be strictly about work, like someone to talk to about sports. Toronto born, Toronto raised, Holly roots for the Toronto sports teams, maybe she could convince someone going to one of the sporting events, and it would be even cooler to see a Toronto team play one of the local teams, maybe the Raptors taking on the Warriors, or the Leafs against the Sharks, or if she waits until spring the Jays taking on the Giants. Holly smiles at that last thought. Maybe she’ll ask around at work on Monday.
Gail’s date form the other night went terribly. She doesn’t know why she agreed to that one, she had gone on three previous blind dates set up by Elaine, all ending with Gail shaking her head, and re-realizing that Elaine clearly does not know her daughter that well if this is who she thinks Gail would want to be with. Or maybe not even be with, but would be a good match for Gail. Either way it probably didn’t help that Holly had texted her at the start of the date, Gail could not get the brunette off her mind, wondering what the two would have talked about, it didn’t really matter what they would have talked about, Gail would have still enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than her ‘date’ with whatever her name is. Gail laughs at her little joke, ‘date,’ that’s how she should start thinking about them, a date in quotation marks. Gail feels terrible that she’s been dodging Holly’s texts. She hasn’t responded to one in almost a week now.
Gail is sitting in the precinct, staring off into space, her shift’s almost done, she’s finished filling out her paper work, she’s just waiting for the next round of officers to come in and replace her. That’s where Dov finds her, just sitting there doing nothing completely in deep thought, at least that what it looks like to Dov.
“What’s up Gail? What are you thinking about?”
It takes a second before Gail actually turns her head to look at Dov. She says, “Australian calendars.”
“Well not really Australian calendars, just calendars in the southern hemisphere. I mean, not really car calendars or cat calendars, but calendars that have landscapes on them or nature shots, do they follow their seasons or our seasons, do they get stuck with seeing pictures of beaches in July when they aren’t even in summery months?”
“What?” Dov repeats himself.
Gail decides to just keep going with it, definitely not going to tell him what’s truly on her mind, “I was at the mall the other day, and with the new year only a month away, I’ve been seeing a lot of calendars up for sale, and I was just wondering what they do in the Southern hemisphere. Is there one company that prints all the world’s calendars and they get distributed to all the other countries, so people in the southern hemisphere get stuck and have to look at the opposite season they’re in just because of us in the northern hemisphere?”
Dov scrunches up his face, completely sorry he asked. “What?” he says again, not sure how to get out of this conversation.
Chris, who also just got on shift, walks over to his roommates, “hey Gail, how’s it going? Were you busy today?”
Dov places a hand on Chris’ chest, “don’t ask today, just turn around and walk away.”
“Hey, that rhymes.” He does as he’s told and turns to go in a different direction and Dov starts to follow, but stops when he sees Oliver coming.
Gail’s phone beeps; she notices the time and realizes her shift is over. She also opens the message she just received from Holly, but before she’s able to read it she hears, “Peck?”
Gail turns around to face Oliver. “Shifts over Oliver, time for me to go, you’ll have to ask me tomorrow.”
Oliver smiles that smile of his and shakes his head, “not so fast darling, I need you to fill out this report better. It’s going to court and we don’t want this to be the reason the perp walks.”
Even though Gail knows this is an extremely valid reason to redo a report she can’t help herself and rolls her eyes, “ugh, you’re such an Angela.”
Oliver looks confused, “I’m a what?” But Gail’s already gone, taking the paper work with her, to an empty quiet desk so she can finish it fast, leave, and read Holly’s text. Thinking of making Holly’s text her reward for properly done paperwork, especially since she hasn’t sent her anything in a few days.
“Sorry sir,” says Dov, “she’s on a real ‘The Office’ kick right now. Don’t ask.”
“Okay then,” nods Oliver, apparently that was a good enough reason as the two watch the blonde walk away, “she okay?”
“Not sure,” admits Dov.
“Keep an eye on her.”
“Will do sir,” Dov follows after his roommate, hoping to help her fill out her report and not have her waste too much of her time here, knowing she will do her least damage at home, especially now that she’s preoccupied with watching ‘The Office.’
Gail hadn’t been texting Holly since her blind date. Holly was wondering why, but it is very difficult to get an answer from Gail if she doesn’t text back. But finally Holly receives a text. It had been a couple of days, but Holly kept sending Gail texts, not wanting to lose the connection. Holly assumes that Gail is embarrassed, she doesn’t understand why Gail would be embarrassed about going on a date and having Holly know, unless…unless maybe the date went well, thinks Holly, but why would that matter. Now what? wonders Holly. But if it went well, wouldn’t Gail have told Holly.
Holly’s laptop she has open on her kitchen table makes a sound, reminding Holly she hasn’t finished her observations for the experiment she meant to have submitted earlier today. She gets up from her couch and walks over to the kitchen table and sits down in the chair. She sees she has a new email, it’s from her boss, she opens it expecting it to be a reminder about her report, but it’s actually the Christmas schedule. She notices that they will be given a full week off. The labs will be closed for the week and no one is expected to work. She smiles, a week is plenty of time to go home to Toronto to see her family and friends and Gail. And Gail. Will she be seeing Gail, if Gail doesn’t return her messages, how will they make plans to see each other?
Holly’s phone pings, another message from Gail. Nothing for close to a week and now two in the past ten minutes, maybe she’s just been busy Holly tries to tell herself. Does Holly let Gail know that she will be in Toronto over Christmas? Or will seeing Gail make it harder, especially if Gail is now seeing someone?
It’s been two more weeks, Gail and Holly have continued to text each other but it seems to be more sporadically. Not necessarily every day like it had been. Holly has her bag packed and she’s ready to be home for the next week. She needs to go to some touristy place to grab a couple of souvenirs for her niece and nephew, apparently they were expecting some last time, which Holly only found out later from her sister. Holly figures the touristy stuff can be their Christmas presents, who doesn’t want a snow globe with the Golden Gate Bridge in it? she asks herself.
The following day Holly catches her plane to Toronto. The plane was delayed from leaving, she waited in the airport two extra hours than she was expecting. They had loaded the plane then unloaded the plane. Several hundred grumpy flyers then waited in the airport to eventually reload the plane again. She finally makes it to Toronto, she’s waiting outside for her brother-in-law to pick her up. She finally turns on her cell phone, she had turned it off the first time they loaded the plane, and she notices she has received a bunch of texts from Gail, who she still hasn’t told she’s in Ontario yet. Holly doesn’t know why she hasn’t told Gail, well she does, she just doesn’t want to say it aloud or anything.
Gal hits send, again. She looks back at the day’s texts and realizes that the conversation is completely one sided, that Holly has not responded to her once since this morning. She wonders what’s going on with the brunette, but doesn’t know what to do. Doesn’t really know any other way to contact her, maybe Holly’s just having an off day and doesn’t feel like texting. Maybe she’s getting the winter blues or something, or sad she can’t come home for Christmas. Gail decides that if she doesn’t hear from Holly by tomorrow night she’ll call, Gail will see how she feels tomorrow.
Holly makes it home safe to her parents’ house where her sister and now three children are waiting. She is so excited to see her newest niece. Alfred, a man of few words, happily chatted the whole way to the Stewart’s residence about the new baby, and how thrilled he and his older children are to have the new addition especially this time of the year, apparently it feels as if ‘Christmas has come early’, Holly smiles, happy to see her brother-in-law so chipper.
After having only received one text from Holly in the past two days, Gail decides she is going to call her. Her thumb is hovering over the phone icon, but instead touches the video. Gail was hoping to see Holly over the week of Christmas, but since that wont be happening with the brunette still being in America, Gail decides to hopefully video chat with Holly. “Oh. Hey Gail,” says Holly as she accepts the call.
Gail snort laughs, “were you expecting your sister again?”
Holly tilts her head to the side and scrunches up her face, “no, why?”
“I don’t know, you just sounded surprised.” Gail internally smacks her head, because now she feels like an ass. Gail decides to break the awkwardness with a joke, well…her attempt at a joke, “any snow in San Fran yet?”
“No,” Holly frowns and shakes her head.
Shit, thinks Gail, this is not going well at all. Gail scrunches up her face as she can now see a window behind Holly; she notices it’s dark where Holly is, Gail speaks her thoughts, “why is it dark out? Isn’t it normally light out this time of day?” Gail looks at her watch and sees that it’s 7 o’clock in T. O. so it’s gotta be 4 o’clock at Holly’s where there should still be some daylight.
Holly feels caught in a lie, but she hasn’t lied, she just hasn’t told Gail that she’s actually in town.… “I’m at my parents,” says Holly who is feeling a sense of relief, feeling like she’s come clean, guilt is so weird, she thinks.
“Aw, don’t say ‘oh’, you’re going to make me feel bad.”
“Oh,” Gail repeats, not meaning to but it just came out.
“Are you going to go back to short answers?” this time Holly tries to joke.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to do it on that last one. So when did you get in town?”
“I was going to tell you, but I didn’t know if we should see each other again or if you would want to and I didn’t want to put the pressure on you with your work schedule and your family or friend obligations you have to go to…”
“Ah,” Gail says again.
“Come on Gail…” Holly drawls, not sure on how to continue.
“What do you want me to say Holly? I don’t know why we wouldn’t be able to see each other or why I wouldn’t want to see you or why I wouldn’t be able to plan seeing you. I think your excuses are lame,” Gail says truthfully.
Holly not sure what to say, she knows she was just coming up with excuses for no real reason. “Two days after Christmas I have free,” suggests Holly.
“So, the 27th, the day after Boxing Day?” asks Gail.
Holly nods her head.
“I’ll be at Traci’s with her son.” Both Gail and Holly are disappointed. Gail has an idea, “you know Traci right?”
“Barely,” answers Holly, “I only know her in passing.”
“Well, then it’s time you’ve met her for real.”
“For real?” laughs Holly.
“Whatever,” Gail shrugs her shoulders. “I’ll see if it’s okay for you to come over too, I’m sure she’ll be fine with it.”
Holly’s a little nervous and voices her fears, “I don’t want to intrude…”
Gail says, “we’re just exchanging gifts, come over like an hour afterwards and I’m sure it’ll be fine. Her son will be preoccupied with whatever toys he gets from Christmas. Traci likes to cook and she’ll insist we stay for dinner.”
“I do like to eat,” says Holly.
“Perfect, I’ll just let Traci know.” Gail hears a timer go off behind her, “sorry I have to go, I’m baking cookies.”
“Of course,” Holly nods her head. “Gail?”
“Merry Christmas Holly.” Before she hangs up she asks, “how come you would think I wouldn’t want to see you?”
“I don’t know,” answers Holly, “I just thought with your date the other night-”
Gail scrunches up her face, “my date?” she questions. “Oh,” Gail laughs, “that went terribly.”
The timer beeps again behind Gail, but now Holly is interested, “terribly? How come?”
Gail shrugs her shoulders, “my mom had been setting me up on blind dates, and of all of them that one was the worst. At every single one of them, it probably didn’t help that you had texted, but I kept thinking that none of them were-” Gail cuts herself off and turns off her phone. She tosses it to the counter. Her eyes open wide and heart starts beating fast. What the fuck Gail, she chastises herself. She begins to busy herself as the timer beeps a third time and not wanting to burn the cookies, she quickly grabs an oven mitt and takes them out putting them on top of the stove. She decides she can berate herself later.
Gail’s Christmas was boring, she traded shifts with Chris so he could go home to Timmins and spend it with Denise and Christian. She went to the Peck house on Boxing Day apparently for a little gathering, just fifty people ranging from Pecks to various upper ranked police people, gag. Gail stayed on her best behavior knowing she did not want to be summoned back the next day and have to go over how to properly behave a party, what to say, and Gail’s personal favourite what not to say. Gail showed up at Traci’s with her gift for the kid and a bottle of wine for Traci. She gets greeted at the door by Traci’s mom. “Merry Christmas Mrs. Nash, I didn’t know you were going to be here.”
“Hi Gail, Merry Christmas! Come on in. Traci’s just in the kitchen.”
Gail could hear the thunder of footsteps coming towards the door; she sets her stuff down and opens her arms out knowing a child was soon going to throw himself at her. “Aunt Gail!”
She quickly picks up the boy and places him on her hip. “Santa good to you?” she asks.
“The best! Let me down and I can show you!” he starts to wriggle out of her arms.
Gail follows the boy into the family room and sees the Christmas tree with some stuff under it; she tucks her gift to the boy under it. She sits patiently and oohs and aahs as Leo does a little show and tell. After opening Gail’s gift of knee pads and wrist guards to go with the rollerblades Traci got him, she also hands over a story book. “Will you read it to me tonight?”
“That’s the plan,” agrees Gail.
Leo runs into the kitchen to show his mom and grandma what Gail got him when there’s a knock at the door. “I’ll get it,” says Gail. She walks to the front door and opens it to reveal Holly. “Hey.”
Holly smiles, “you said that already.”
“You know I thought it sounded familiar.” Gail ushers Holly into the house and hangs up her coat, “how was your Christmas?”
“Good, I was just at my sister’s house; it turns out she lives close to Traci.”
“Yes she does,” agrees Gail.
“How do you know that?” Holly tilts her head.
“What’s from Halloween?”
“How I know where your sister lives,” answers Gail, like duh.
“Don’t be. I took your niece and nephew trick or treating while your sister sat on a bench and waited for us. Then I walked them all home in case your pregnant sister needed help.”
“Oh.” Holly had no idea, no one told her. “That was very nice of you, thanks.”
“No need to thank me, your sister gave me four full sized chocolate bars and let me pick like twenty other candy treats as a thank you, we’re definitely square.”
Traci walks into the front of her house. Gail does introductions. Traci says, “you’re staying for dinner right?”
Holly slightly shakes her head, “I don’t want to intrude.”
“Please stay, my mom and I are trying out a new recipe and we could use another opinion than a child and Gail’s, so two children,” Traci laughs.
“Hey!” says Gail.
“If you’re sure it’s okay…” says Holly.
“Well, maybe I wont stay then,” says Gail.
“Shut up, you’re staying,” says Traci to Gail. She hears Leo coming into the family room, “why don’t you find a game and Gail and Holly will play it with you?” Leo runs away, and once again Traci looks at her friend, “unless you want to help in the kitchen…” she laughs.
“No,” Gail shakes her head, “I’ll play with the kid.”
Traci heads back into the kitchen, “dinner will be soon.”
After dinner and dishes were done, they all went back into the family room to admire the Christmas tree. Traci watched her son yawn a third time in the last two minutes, she declares bed time for children. Traci’s mom decides it’s time for her to go and gives everyone hugs on her way out, even one to the always reluctant Gail.
“I’m going to give Leo a bath; I’ll be down in five, ten minutes.” Traci directs her son to the stairs.
“No worries, take your time.”
“But Gail’s reading to me right?” asks Leo.
“Of course,” says Gail.
Gail and Holly are alone in the family room looking at the lights on the Christmas tree. “I like how everyone decorates their tree differently,” says Gail. “They’re all decorated to that household’s liking.”
“Did you and the boys do a tree?”
“No,” Gail shakes her head and sips her whiskey. “We’re not home enough to enjoy it, plus we don’t have anyone over either, it would just be another thing to dust,” she says screwing up her face, feeling like her mom on the last point.
Holly nods her head, “yeah I didn’t put one up either. But this is nice. Thanks for inviting me. I’m glad we were able to see each other again.”
Gail smiles into her whiskey glass, she feared it was going to be awkward, but is glad it isn’t.
Holly brings her glass up to Gail’s “cheers, Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, may we do this again next year.”
“I’d like that,” says Holly. She sets her glass down on the table and turns to face Gail, who has now mimed Holly’s actions, setting her own glass down. “Can I ask you something?”
“I think you better.”
“We had gotten cut off the other day.” Gail nods her head and Holly continues, “you were talking about your blind dates and-” Holly’s slightly nervous, she doesn’t know if she should push Gail, push this, but she continues, “you had said ‘none of them were’ well, I guess I was wondering ‘none of them were’ what?” Holly knows she babbles when she’s nervous, she’s happy to have gotten all her words out without too many extra words.
Gail stretches out her arm to tuck some stray hairs behind Holly’s ear; she rests her hand on Holly’s cheek. “None of them were you,” Gail smiles sadly.
“Oh,” Holly smiles, feeling warmth rush through her body, whether it’s the comfortable room, the liquor that she’s consumed, or the blonde touching her, “I was thinking-”
“AUNT GAIL! I’M READY FOR MY STORY,” calls Leo from upstairs.
“I’m sorry,” says Gail as she reluctantly takes her hand off of Holly and gets up off the couch.
“Don’t be,” says Holly, “go, I’ll be here.”
By the time Gail comes back down from reading and tucking in Leo, Holly’s gone. The family room only has one occupant, “hey Trace, where’s Holly?”
“She said she had to go, but for you to call her later.”
“Did she say why?”
“No,” Traci shakes her head.
“Oh,” Gail slumps into the love seat she was sharing less than thirty minutes ago.
“Want a refill?” Traci holds up the bottle of whiskey.
Gail passes her glass.
After having heard how Gail has treated hard situations and certain relationships in the past, Holly didn’t even give Gail the chance to not call her, the brunette called the cop shortly before midnight. “Hey,” whispers Gail as she answers the phone, who was lying in her bed still debating whether or not to call Holly.
“Hey,” says Holly.
“Everything okay?” asks Gail, who was definitely worried, no clue why Holly had left Traci’s house, and yet she was struggling to bring herself to simply call.
Holly lets out a frustrated laugh. Gail can hear ice cubes swirl in a glass and a gulp come across the line, “yeah,” answers Holly, who still sounds a little peeved.
Gail waits out Holly, letting her decide how much she wants to share, if she wants to share, but that seems to be what’s so great about them, that they talk.
“So, funny story,” Holly starts. “My mom had texted my phone ‘s.o.s’ so I left thinking something terrible was happening at my parents’ house. I get there, bursting though the door to find them sitting in the family room watching television.”
“What?” asks Gail, knowing there has got to be more to this.
“Wait, it gets better. I hold up my phone and say, ‘you texted s.o.s., what’s wrong?’ my mom looks at me like I’m crazy and says she didn’t text me but my dad, she wants him to pick up s.o.s pads at the store and she must have texted me by accident. Apparently that’s how they form their grocery list, texting the other with the things they need around the house.”
Gail lets out a laugh, “so everyone’s okay?”
“Yes, it’s just me who’s a little annoyed, my parents have found it all amusing,” Holly grumbles.
“So you could have stayed,” Gail says quietly.
“Yes,” Holly confirms and says, “and we could have finished our conversation…”
Gail doesn’t say anything, not sure where to go from here, the ball is officially in Holly’s court, Gail let her know how she feels, kind of, and now it’s up to Holly to decide what to do.
“I’m still in town for the next two days,” offers Holly.
Gail sighs, “today was my last free day until the New Year, the amount of shifts people want off between Christmas and New Years is incredible so I picked up a bunch of unwanted shifts.”
“Oh,” says Holly. Now she doesn’t know what to do. “Oh,” she repeats herself. There is something that she’s been wanting to say to the blonde for a while now, maybe today’s the day to actually say it, but first she downs the rest of her drink, fearing it may not go over that well, “if you uh…ever want to maybe come visit me in San Francisco, that would be cool,” Holly offers.
“Oh,” says Gail, she was not expecting that suggestion, but she kind of likes the idea, she hoped they would be able to see each other again and this could be how, “I’ll have to think about it,” Gail says truthfully, “see if I can get any time off.”
“Oh, yes, of course,” says Holly, fearing that Gail is just being polite, thinking she will never come, thinking that was just a polite brush off.
“I have to say goodnight Holly, I have to be at work tomorrow morning and I need some sleep.”
“Okay,” says Holly, “sorry about tonight.”
“No big deal,” says Gail, “good night.”
“Goodnight Gail, sweet dreams.”
Nick, Chris, Dov, Chloe, and Gail are in the break room, having a snack before they head back out. Gail one hundred percent not paying attention to the conversation going on around her, completely lost in her head, thinking about what Holly said, still trying to digest the offer. Chloe and Chris trying to bring her into the conversation, trying to make her a part of the group, but Gail thwarts all of their attempts, completely content with just sitting there in her own little world, until something piques her interest…
“Hope,” laughs Gail. “Hope is evil.”
“What are you talking about?” asks Dov, who just uttered the word ‘hope’.
Gail goes into Greek mythology mode, deadpan face she recounts, “When Pandora opened her box she released all the evils into the world, the only thing that remained was hope, hope remained within the box of evils. Doesn’t that make hope itself evil?”
No one says anything. They just stare at Gail. Gail looks up at the clock in the break room; she addresses Chris, “I want to go brush my teeth before we go back out there.”
Gail gets up and leaves the room. Nick looks at Chris, “good luck out there,” he claps him on the back as he too leaves the break room.
Word has somehow gotten to Oliver about Gail being a little more ill mannered than usual and asks to speak to her after shift, realizing that what he noticed the other day of her zoning out and snapping at others, although funny, it can be seen as inappropriate at work.
Oliver talks to Gail in his office, “maybe you should take some time off, you have been picking up all the extra shifts, and even though I do appreciate it, having someone I respect and trust to do a competent job filling in for our fellow officers, everyone needs some time off now and again.”
Gail nods her head, she has been feeling a little burned out but figured it would pass. The Pecks have instilled in her that want to work, that need to work, and not working makes her feel inept and useless. But maybe she should take some time off. Gail nods her head again.
“Good,” says Oliver. “We already have you scheduled for the next two weeks, so how about you look at taking some time off at the end of the month? That’ll give you enough time to plan something, if you want or you could do a stay-cation, but under no circumstances will I allow you to work during your scheduled time off,” he points his finger at her with a grin on his face.
Gail nods her head again, thinking this is the break that she needs, that she only has to survive two more weeks of uncertainty, that her mind can stop spinning and get some sort of concrete answer, assuming Holly’s offer to visit was true.
“Okay,” says Oliver, who thought this was going to be a difficult task to convince the blonde to take time off, “okay,” he says again, who was expecting a bit of a fight, who had planned multiple reasons to convince her to take time off, “okay,” he says a third time. “Any ideas on where you will go? I personally like a hot vacation this time of year, where I can walk around in just my speedo.”
“That’s not nice Peck,” Oliver smiles at his young friend. “You just wait Peck, one day if you’re lucky you’ll look like me and have this amazing bod.”
Gail laughs, truly laughs.
Gail and Holly are texting after the brunette’s first full week of work in the New Year. Gail texts, “I beg your pardon?”
Holly scrunches up her face and out of reflex of repeating herself when hearing that saying she begins to type what she just wrote, but then decides to call the police officer. Gail picks up after the first ring and without even letting her say anything Holly questions, “who writes ‘I beg your pardon’ in a text?”
Gail laughs, “you were going to rewrite your text, weren’t you?”
Holly answers with a gruff.
Gail laughs again, “hello Holly, how are you today?”
Holly clips out, “hi Gail, fine, thanks.”
“Whoa. You okay nerd?”
“Yes. No. I’m fine, work was stupid today.”
“How so?” asks a concerned Gail, who has become very used to a composed Holly.
“We were working on an experiment with multiple departments within the lab, and something went wrong and they’re blaming my department, so now we have to relook at everything to prove that it wasn’t necessarily my department but that the experiment failed. So the rest of the departments are treating us like pariahs.”
Gail not sure how to make this better says, “nerds can be so mean.”
Holly laughs, “tell me about it.”
Gail laughs too, loving the sound of the doctor’s laugh, loving the way it makes her tingle and smile and feel. “…yeah…” she says dopily.
“Yeah,” repeats Holly, who wishes she could hear Gail laugh again.
After a pause of just being content being in the other’s presence, sharing the same phone line, Gail finally breaks the silence, “so, I was thinking, if the offer still stands about me coming to California, I have some time I need to take off soon…”
Holly smiles, happy with the prospect of Gail coming to see her, her whole day is getting better just with that thought. “Why do you want to come to California?” asks Holly, who is secretly elated, well maybe not secretly, but Gail may not know how excited Holly is.
“I have scientific reasons,” answers Gail, playing it cool.
“Oh, scientific?” wonders Holly, piquing her interest.
“Yes, I want to see how accurate Katy Perry’s song is, you know, ‘California girls are so hot they’ll melt your popsicle,’ I want to see if that’s true or not.”
“HA!” Holly laughs. “You know she makes a lot of, let’s say, claims in that song about girls in California.”
“I do,” responds Gail.
“Yeah, you can come visit me, for scientific reasons,” Holly laughs. “I only have a one bedroom apartment though.”
“That’s fine,” says Gail. “I don’t mind the couch; it’s still a free room.”
“Okay honey,” says Holly. “Let me know when you get your plans finalized and I’ll take some time off to show you around.”
Honey, Gail says to herself and practically melts.
After booking a late flight to San Francisco, Gail decided to leave after working the morning shift that way she could spend a full week away; she has finally arrived in California. She has made it through customs and grabbed her checked duffel bag, she could have brought it as a carry-on, but she had decided it would be just as easy to check it since it was a free service anyways. She turns the corner and is about to text Holly she’s there, but she stops. She sees the brunette leaning against a pillar with her glasses resting atop her head and a shy smile. Gail spent most of the flight arguing with herself on whether or not this trip would be a good idea, whether or not it was smart to go spend time with someone that she really only knows in an online capacity, but her worries and fears leave her as Holly catches her eye and her smile turns into that lopsided grin that gives Gail butterflies. Gail resumes walking; she strides in front of Holly and stops. “Hey.”
“Hey.” The two continue to stand there in the airport staring at each other smiling. Someone bumps into Gail and she catches herself, breaking the smiling contest. “Here, let me help you,” offers Holly reaching for Gail’s bag.
Gail shakes her head, “it’s okay, I got it.”
She’s about to sling it over her shoulder when Holly stops the motion and slips it onto her shoulder, freeing up Gail’s hand, leaving Gail’s purse in her other hand. Holly picks up Gail’s free hand and says, “ready to go?”
Gail nods her head, afraid to use her voice, not wanting Holly to release her grip as Gail holds on tight to Holly’s hand. Holly drives them back to her apartment; she rented a car for the week, thinking it may be easier to get around the Bay area with their own transportation while they do all the touristy stuff. Even though Holly has been there for half a year now, she still has yet to do and see many of the sights yet. Sure Ella took her to the Golden Gate Bridge and pointed out Alcatraz, but beyond that Holly’s mostly gone to work, home, and the various stores for supplies.
They arrive back at Holly’s apartment, she flicks on the lights. “Did you want to go out for something to eat?” she asks.
“If it’s alright with you, I’m fine with peanut butter and jam on toast, I’ve been up since six and I’m tired.”
“Of course,” says Holly, looking at the clock and noticing that it is after ten. “I forgot that you worked this morning.” Holly shows her into the kitchen and points out the toaster and grabs a loaf of bread from the fridge.
“Also, if you wouldn’t mind, I would love a shower at some point.”
“Yes, of course,” Holly says again. “Make yourself at home.”
“Thanks,” Gail’s stomach growls. “I think I’ll have some toast first.” Holly gets out the peanut butter and jam. “Oh good, you have smooth,” says Gail as she grabs a knife from a drawer. Holly scrunches up her face at Gail, so Gail elaborates, “people on the west coast of the United States prefer crunchy, while people on the east coast prefer smooth, and I was afraid you might only have crunchy peanut butter in your cupboards.” Holly laughs. “It’s a well known fact Holly,” says Gail. “Well…maybe. I learned it from a kid’s fact book with Leo,” Gail smiles.
Holly nods her head, “you’re really good with him by the way.”
Gail shrugs her shoulders, like no big deal.
“I mean it,” says Holly, “and from what Cindy has now told me, you’re good with her kids too, oh she also wanted me to thank you for the onesies and diapers.”
Gail shrugs her shoulders again, once again no big deal. Gail often feels awkward when someone points out something nice about her; she just figures it’s the right thing to do so she does it, why does someone have to point it out?
Holly changes the subject back to food, “you want milk or water to drink?”
Gail was true to her word with the prearrangements and spent the night on the couch, she woke up the next morning with a pretty phenomenal back ache. She stands up and is stretching in the main room of Holly’s apartment, where the doctor finds her, and can’t help but to stare as the cop contorts her body into various positions in order to relieve some of the pressure building in her back.
After standing there for at least a solid minute, Holly clears her throat to announce her presence. “How’d you sleep?” asks Holly.
“That bad?” Gail still doesn’t answer. “How about I take the couch tonight and you can take my bed?”
“Oh Holly I couldn’t do that, you’re letting me stay here for free, how about I share your bed with you?” Gail smiles, having noticed Holly staring at her earlier in the reflection of the television.
Holly clears her throat, “ummm.”
“Oh come on, we’re both adults, I think we should be able to share a bed,” Gail raises an eyebrow like right?
Holly slowly nods her head, “yeah. You’re right, but I’ll try the couch tonight and see if it’s really that bad.” Gail doesn’t push the subject; Holly walks into the kitchen, “coffee?”
“Yessss,” Gail moves into some yoga poses that she finds help her when she has knots and makes her feel more limber after she does them. Gail finally sighs as a ‘pop’ sound can be heard. “Ahhhhh,” she says soothingly, “delightful.” She lies on her back on the floor smiling up at the ceiling.
Holly walks into the main living area and nudges the blonde’s foot, “coffee’s ready.”
“Okay,” says Gail who is still in a blissful state, after that plane ride, then the night on the couch, Gail is currently in love with Holly’s flat floor, which she says, “Holly, I think I might love your floor.”
Gail opens her one eye to see. “Do I have to get it myself?” she asks. “I am your guest…”
“Guest?” questions Holly, “pretty sure you invited yourself.” But Holly’s already walking into her kitchen to grab Gail a mug, knowing it’s all in jest. Holly continues to talk to Gail, “I brought home some brochures the other day for us to look at, was there anything in particular you wanted to see?”
“You,” says Gail.
The cupboard rattles closed, “pardon, sorry I couldn’t hear you.”
“Ummm, nothing in particular,” says Gail, “any suggestions?”
They spend the day seeing some of the sights and planning what they should do for the rest of the week. This time they go out for dinner, they’re at some restaurant where they are seated at some table discussing the highlights of the day. “I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting Lombard Street to be that curvy,” says Gail.
“It was really fun to drive,” Holly smiles at the blonde.
“Holly?” asks some lady walking by their table.
“Oh. Hi,” Holly sort of smiles at the lady, feeling obligated, she asks “how are you?”
“I’m good, you look good,” the lady does smile, giving Holly a once over, not acknowledging Gail. “You never called me back.”
Holly shrugs her shoulders, “I went home for Christmas.” Holly smiles nervously at Gail.
“Okay, I can see that you are busy, don’t forget to call me.” The lady doesn’t waste any more of their time. “It was good seeing you again, real good,” she says and walks away.
Holly looks at Gail, “sorry about that.” Feeling the need to explain, “I went out with her a couple of times at the beginning of December, but…” Holly loses her words.
Gail looks around the restaurant, trying to come up with an exit strategy, to give herself more time, “She wasn’t right for you?” asks Gail, who is currently in a how to save face mode, how to get out of this situation and leave and get far away from Holly because who the fuck was that staring at Holly? Maybe Gail shouldn’t have come.
“Something like that,” says Holly. Recognizing the signs of someone looking to leave, Holly nudges Gail under the table to get Gail to focus on her. “I kind of had a similar realization that you did.”
Gail does look over at Holly, Gail tilts her head to the side and reaches for her wine glass, needing something to do before she continues on the current thought path she’s on and freaks out, because Gail does like Holly, and she doesn’t want to not give them a chance.
Holly puts her hand over Gail’s and smiles her lopsided grin, “she wasn’t you.”
“Oh,” Gail whispers. She looks at Holly and smiles shyly; Gail has a sense of relief, happy that she did come. They go back to discussing the excitements they had that day.
Holly waits until they get their food to bring up them again, “I like you Gail, I do, I find you interesting and kind. I feel like you and I have been in a will they wont they situation for a bit now, you must have noticed it too,” Gail nods her head. “Okay,” says Holly. “We’ve both seemed to decide to try. It’s just I think we should take this slow. I mean, we really only spend time together when we text or occasionally talk to the other on the phone. We both know this is going to be a long distance relationship, and since we both keep coming back to this, to us-”
Holly’s about to say something else, but Gail stretches out her arm to rest her hand on Holly’s, “relax nerd, I agree with you. I know if we decide to try this will be long distance, and it will be tough, and we have a great relationship/friendship that we don’t want to wreck, so we should spend the time to get to know each other more, we can continue to build on our friendship, we don’t want to jump into bed and ruin our friendship.”
Holly looks at Gail, complete relief on her face, “okay,” she says.
“Okay,” says Gail.
“Wow!” says Gail, “you’ve got a queen size bed?”
“I’m just surprised; I would have thought you’d have a single or a double.”
“You would have shared a single sized bed with me?”
Gail laughs sarcastically, “ha ha, have you slept on your couch?” Holly shakes her head ‘no’, “I didn’t think so, yes, I would have shared a single with you. Have fun out there tonight.”
Holly spends the night on the couch, waking up with the same back ache Gail did. She grabs her back and tries to massage it, but to no avail. Holly grumbles as she makes her way to the kitchen to start the coffee maker.
Less than an hour later Gail appears, she’s all showered, dressed, and ready for the day, “You ready to see the sights today?”
Gail gets a wicked smile, “how was the couch?”
Holly gets out of the kitchen chair and heads to her room to prepare herself for the day. “Who knew you were so perky in the morning…” Holly says as she walks along the hallway.
“It’s amazing how a good night’s sleep can alter your mood,” Gail says in response, pouring herself a cup of coffee. “The offer still stands; we can share your bed.”
“I thought we might take turns alternating on the couch,” says Holly.
“Ha ha, you’re cute, I don’t think so,” says Gail.
Holly grumbles again as she walks into her bedroom and shuts the door.
Holly had the first two days off, but tomorrow she has to go to work. She doesn’t believe she will be able to get a good enough night’s sleep and function well after sleeping on the couch. So she has decided to join Gail in her bed. Holly spent the one night on the couch, the second night her body must have said ‘no’, because she woke up on the floor. Holly’s not sure why she’s nervous about sharing a bed with Gail, is it her thoughts or the thoughts of the blonde that makes her a little nervous.
Gail’s lying in Holly’s bed and feels the need to point out, “see Holly, we can both share this bed, and we’re not even touching.”
Holly laughs, “wow! You’re right, beds can fit two people!”
“I don’t know why I thought you were smart, clearly you know nothing,” Gail continues.
At some point during the night Holly ends up in Gail’s arms and that is how they wake up. Even though they walked all around the city and went to bed exhausted, Gail appears to still be on Toronto time and wakes up first, Gail realizes the situation she’s in, but completely content with it she continues to lay there with the doctor in her arms. Other than a little hand holding and shoulder bumping, this is the most contact the two have had, Gail smiles, utterly elated. Holly’s alarm goes off and she begins to stir. She opens her eyes and notices a hand that isn’t hers by her face, realizing her location with the body pressed up against hers and completely comfortable she too does not want to ruin this either. She lies still for a few more minutes, but her second alarm goes off. She turns around to turn it off and finds Gail’s bright blue eyes staring at her. “Hi.”
“I’m sorry but I have to go to work today,” says Holly. “I should be back by three, so if you want we can go to one of the closer parks when I get back. You can explore around here if you’d like or stay in my apartment it’s up to you.”
Gail brushes some stray hair away from Holly’s face, “I do want to go to the original Ghiradellli.”
Holly pouts, “I wanted to go there too.”
“I can wait,” says Gail.
“No, you don’t have to wait, it’s your vacation.”
“Then I’ll go twice,” Gail smiles, obviously happy with that idea.
Holly can’t help herself; she leans in and kisses the blonde. She knows she wants to take this slow, make sure they don’t start something that they will soon regret, but she kisses her anyways, what’s the harm of one kiss? Pulling back Holly is all smiles, eyes closed she sighs. “I’ve been wanting to do that since Christmas.”
Not wanting to feel left out, Gail kisses Holly, “me too.” Just the connection of their lips, Gail doesn’t let it last long, knowing what they discussed a couple of nights before, not wanting to push something they may not be ready for.
Holly gets out of bed and begins her daily routine. Gail continues to lie in bed, not wanting to bother Holly and get in her way. Holly continues to talk to Gail as she moves about her apartment, “I know you want to see the Red Woods, so we have a couple of options, if you want we can see them in the city or we could drive to Yosemite Park tomorrow, I have the day off. Or we could drive to Butano State Park, drive along the coast, that could be fun.” With no response from the blonde Holly starts to walk back to her bedroom. “Honey?” Holly calls as she walks down the mini hallway, “Gail?” she asks as she pokes her head in, and sees her fast asleep. Holly not sure how early Gail woke up that morning, leaves her be. She grabs her keys, leaving the spare for Gail and exits her apartment.
Holly arrives home and finds Gail sitting on her couch watching some tv. Gail looks over at Holly, “hi, how was your day?”
“Good,” says Holly as she hangs up her coat and unties her shoes.
“Sometimes when we’re texting you say you watch NOVA, I normally scoff at you, but it was on and I figured I’d see what all the hoopla is, but Holly, I totally get it, I’ve been watching these guys try to recreate a chariot, and it’s so good,” Gail gushes.
Holly kind of laughs, her eyes go back to looking at how relaxed Gail looks in her apartment. Gail did go to the original Ghiradellli, and after getting to her max amount of taste tests she picked out a flavour for her cone and bought a carton for Holly. She walked around eating her ice cream cone; enjoying the sunshine until it was close to two then she started to walk back to Holly’s.
“Do you want to go out again tonight or stay in?”
“Up to you,” says Gail who has continued to stay at her spot back on the couch thinking she will finish her program thinking Holly will need a few minutes after work to do whatever she needs to do.
Holly’s been staring at the scene, Gail in her apartment, watching tv. It’s so normal, and Holly wants that. Holly’s been thinking about them a lot, all day being away from the blonde, trying to focus on work stuff, her mind kept wandering back to Gail. Holly drops her stuff in the kitchen; she washes her hands giving herself another minute to think. She walks to Gail on the couch and sits in her lap facing her, placing her arms on Gail’s shoulders she says, “I was thinking we could stay and order in.”
Gail moving her arms to go around Holly says, “I brought you back some ice cream; I put it in the freezer.”
Holly leans down and kisses her, actually kisses her. “Thank you.”
“I should have brought back more ice cream,” Gail quirks a smile, liking the way Holly thanks her. Holly pushes Gail backward on to the couch. “You sure?” asks Gail, knowing where this is leading, seeing the want in Holly’s eyes.
“Yes,” breathes Holly as she’s ready to run her hands, lips, and possibly tongue all over Gail’s body.
A little while later Gail finds herself lying partially naked on Holly’s couch with the brunette resting slightly on top of her. “Should we move to your bed? We both know this couch is going to be the death of us.”
“Shhhh,” says Holly, “just a few more minutes.”
“Okay, a quick nap,” Gail leans her head over to kiss the top of Holly’s head.
After only eating ice cream last night, Gail has a headache. She gets out of Holly’s bed, wanting coffee, needing coffee. She slips on a t-shirt and walks into the brunette’s kitchen and finds the coffee maker, she stares at it, she looks around it, surveys it, tries to find where the water goes, and gives up. No one should have to work this hard for coffee. She opens Holly’s fridge, she sees orange juice, she pours herself a glass and one for Holly. She brings them back to Holly’s room. She sets them down on the bedside table, gets comfy under the covers again, and picks up her glass to sip. She hears a mumbled voice, “I thought you were going to make coffee.”
“That looks way too complicated for me, I figured I’ll bring you orange juice and you can bring me coffee,” Gail offers Holly a glass of oj.
Holly smiles into the covers and sits up, accepting the glass, “thanks,” she says as she brings the glass to her mouth, waking up with Gail, she could get used to this.
The rest of Gail’s week in San Francisco flew by, at the airport Gail and Holly said goodbye, promising to continue to text on the regular (like they have been) and call the other at least once a week. They decided not to put too many constraints on their relationship, knowing that the other wasn’t interested in anyone else, feeling pretty secure in that regard, letting it grow naturally, not keen on forcing anything.
Gail has now been back at work for a solid week, with Valentine’s day only a few days away, her coworkers have started discussing their plans, great, thinks Gail, just what she always wanted, to know what Dov and Chloe are going to get up to.
“Valentine’s Day is just a day that the calendar tells you you have to spend it with your significant other or your loved one or whatever,” Gail says all flippantly, having had enough of all this Valentine’s Day talk, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t let a calendar tell me what to do.”
“Hey Gail!” Steve calls from across the room, “did you sign that card for mom for her birthday?”
“Yes Gail,” wonders Dov, “did you sign that card for that day the calendar tells you that your mother was born?”
“Shut up Dov,” says Gail as she goes to join her brother in his detective area.
Steve tosses a pen at Gail, “you going to mom and dad’s?”
Gail shoots him a ‘you’re joking me’ look and responds with, “you going to tell them about your speeding ticket?”
Steve smiles sheepishly, “ask a stupid question…”
“…get a stupid answer,” responds Gail.
Steve still can’t believe he got a speeding ticket, he was heading into work, he should never have been speeding, but he was, and he knows he was. He tried flashing his detective’s badge and credentials, but no such luck. He was not within his jurisdiction; he did not recognize the responding officer who had a rookie with him. Steve was hoping for a warning, but the officer said with the newbie the best he could do was reduce the fine. Steve had to agree, knowing that if he was given a ticket for the actual speed he was going, he would have been given demerit points to his driver’s license. Those precious points. “Come on, seriously Gail,” her brother tries to reason with her, “why can’t you go on Sunday, what else do you have to do?”
Gail looks at her watch, giving herself time to respond to her brother, pretending like she has to keep track of something. She thinks about her plans for Sunday, she will have some time before she’s supposed to call Holly, but does she really want to put herself through a Peck family dinner?
Steve sees the pensive look on Gail’s face and thinks that maybe he’s won her over, “come for at least one drink,” he tries to compromise, “it will really mean a lot to them.”
Gail thinks about it and relents, “just one drink.”
Gail decides to Skype Holly that night after her shift, she was on her mind and figures she may as well check in. “Hey.”
“Hey, yourself. I thought we were going to do this on Sunday?”
“I had some free time…”
“How’s your week going?” asks Gail.
“Pretty slow, you?”
“Yeah, no, not really, we had this really weird case I was helping the detectives with and-”
“GAIL!” Chris calls Gail’s name from the front door, “you coming?”
“ONE SECOND,” Gail yells back.
“Where are you going?” asks Holly.
“I’m supposed to be playing trivia with my coworkers, you say yes one time and they expect you there every time,” Gail rolls her eyes. Holly laughs at her. Gail smiles, “are you laughing at me?”
Holly smiles, “you know you can refer to them as your friends,” Gail scrunches up her face in response, Holly continues with a smile on her face, “you should go, trivia is fun.” Holly tries to convince Gail.
“Of course you would find trivia fun,” Gail says, “it’s a game about facts.”
“I’m home the rest of the night, we could text throughout the game,” offers Holly.
“Now that would make it fun,” says Gail.
Holly laughs lightly. “See you Sunday?”
“Yes.” Gail shuts her laptop and grabs her jacket. She and Chris walk to the Penny in relative silence. Of any of her friends Chris would probably understand why her and Holly are going to try the long distance relationship thing. He and Denise have been long distancing for well over a year now, sure Timmins isn’t too far away, so occasionally he heads up north or Denise and Christian come to the city, but for the most part they seem to just talk on the phone. Chris knows he’s not Christian’s dad, but he loves the kid and a part of him loves Denise, so he wants to see if they can make it work, be that family that he’s always dreamed of having. He’s thought about moving to Timmins, or trying to bring Denise and Christian to Toronto, but right now doesn’t seem like the right time for either to make the move.
“You doing okay Gail?” the tall man asks, he’s been noticing how quiet Gail has been, more quiet than normal.
“Yeah,” Gail furrows her brow, “why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t know,” says Chris, “you just seem to spend a lot more time on your computer or telephone in your room right now.”
“Just talking to someone,” says Gail, not fully ready to tell anyone about her and Holly, maybe Traci, since Traci practically already know, but also maybe not.
“Okay,” says Chris, not prying, knowing that if Gail really wanted to talk about it she would.
They get to the Penny; they grab a couple of drinks from the bar and take a seat at Dov’s table.
“Finally,” says Dov with a look of frustration, “what took you two so long?” Chris opens his mouth to respond but Dov cuts him off, “doesn’t matter, you’re here now, let’s get started. We all know the rules…”
Since there was five of them participating that night (Chris, Dov, Chloe, Gail, and Andy) they all played solo taking turns asking each other questions. The rookies are pretty evenly matched when it comes to trivia, they all seem to have a category or two that they are really good at and the rest are real shots in the dark. Gail continues to text Holly, the rookies at this point are used to Gail being there but also not being there, being distracted by whoever she’s texting, she asks Holly some of the trivia questions; hoping and knowing Holly will know the answers. With Holly aiding Gail, she ends up winning.
Dov completely annoyed says, “I don’t know how but she’s cheating.”
“How can she be cheating?” asks Chloe, who likes to give the benefit of the doubt to people.
“I don’t know,” says as an exasperated Dov, “but pass me your phone; I want to check your search history.”
Gail knows he wont find what he’s looking for in her search history passes her phone over, knowing this will aggravate him even more.
He opens her internet app and looks at Gail’s history, “see right here, no wait, that’s a week old. How did you win?” He questions.
“I can’t help it if I’m Champion of the Universe.”
He slides her phone back to Gail just in time when her next text from Holly appears, “you win?” asks the brunette.
“Big time,” Gail texts back.
Holly: “See that you can have fun with your ‘coworkers’.”
Gail rolls her eyes and texts, “I could have had just as much fun at home with the staff from Dunder Mifflin.”
After her one agreed to drink at her parents’ house, Gail is ready to go. She stands up with her empty glass, ready to put it in the kitchen, grab her coat and leave. But her father, quite confused to see her get up, asks, “need something?”
Gail looks at her dad then at Steve, then back to her dad, “ummm…” she looks at Steve, hoping he would help her out, thinking maybe he told their parents that she wasn’t staying for dinner, but he stays silent, knowing these dinners are a lot more bearable with another person present.
“Aren’t you staying for dinner?” Bill asks, “we hardly see you anymore.”
Gail looks at Steve again, once again hoping for something…nothing. He just stares at her, waiting to see what she will do next, it has become the boring-est game of chicken, who’s going to say something next. Just then Elaine walks into the living room, “dinner’s ready.” Even though it’s her birthday, she insisted on cooking, wanting to make her favourite dishes her favourite way.
Gail opens her mouth ready to say she should get going when Steve grabs her arm, “come on little sister, dinner’s ready.” Gail can feel the grip Steve has on her arm, knowing she will not get out of this dinner. She relents. She walks with her family into the kitchen, all fitting around the kitchen table like they used to when they all lived together.
Elaine sits down last, “this is nice.” She passes the green beans to Bill, “we should do this more often.”
Steve looks directly at Gail, “we should, I’m game if you are.”
Gail keeps her mouth shut, knowing whatever contradiction she says will be considered completely terrible, she gives him a closed mouth squinty eyed smile.
“Good,” says Elaine. She passes the potatoes to Steve. Everyone is all served. “So Gail,” she changes her view from her one child to the other, “I hear you haven’t been accepting any of the dates I’ve been setting up for you.” Not really a question, but also very much a question.
Gail pushes her food around her plate, “no, no I have not.”
“How come?” Elaine simply asks. When Gail doesn’t answer right away, Elaine helps out with a, “too busy at work? Or not right for you?”
“Something like that,” Gail talks to her plate, all of a sudden finding her fork extremely fascinating, how are those made, especially with the filigree handle, how fascinating.
“Ah,” says Elaine, “I guess I’ll just have to try harder, I was hoping by now you would have been somewhat serious with one of them and brought them to my birthday dinner, that would have been a lovely present dear, the bottle of wine that you gave me I’m sure will be good, but you bringing home someone special would have been even better.”
Steve shakes his head and says, “tsk tsk Gail, all you had to do was bring home someone special instead of a silly bottle of wine.”
Gail’s done, she didn’t want to be here anyways, it is Steve’s fault that she’s there so may as well bring him into the conversation, “me bring home someone special? Why not you?”
“Gail!” says Elaine, “that is not nice; you know your brother was trying, he’s still getting over a breakup.”
“That was two years ago!” Gail informs her family, ’cause clearly they’ve forgotten.
Steve places a hand over his heart and says dramatically, “it still feels like yesterday…”
Gail shakes her head at her brother. Does she tell them about Holly, does she not, she doesn’t know, her and Holly have not set any real parameters about informing people, there really haven’t set any real parameters in general, does she actually want to tell her family though. Gail, who often still feels she needs to one up her brother decides to say, “I’ll have you know that I am seeing someone.”
Elaine looks over at her daughter extremely delighted, “good. What is she like? Why didn’t you bring her today?”
Gail, not really wanting to share too much sticks with the basics, “she’s smart-”
Steve cuts her off, “can’t be that smart if she’s dating you.” He laughs at his joke.
Gail shoots him a look, “and nice. It’s very new, which is why I didn’t bring her today.” Which isn’t a complete lie…just not all of the facts, like Holly being on the other side of the continent would have made it difficult for Holly to attend Elaine’s birthday dinner.
“Good for you Gail,” says Bill.
“Thanks dad,” says Gail.
“Next time we have a gathering, will you bring her?” asks Elaine.
“I’ll have to see how it goes,” says Gail, trying to buy herself more time, also she has no idea when Holly will even be in town next, “I’d also have to talk to her about it.”
“You’re lying,” says Steve, “I don’t think you have a girlfriend.”
“Steve,” says Elaine, “that’s not nice, you should be happy for your sister.”
“Yeah Steve,” sasses Gail.
Gail left her parents’ house later then she was expecting. As she’s driving home back to the frat house she receives a phone call, she pulls over on the shoulder knowing who it’s going to be. “Hi.”
“Hi,” says Holly. “You missed our video call.” She can hear some noises from Gail’s end and curiously asks, “Where are you?”
“Sorry,” says Gail, “it’s my mom’s birthday and I was at their house for dinner, I’m just driving home now.”
“Oh,” says Holly, “how come you didn’t tell me, we could have changed our time.” Only a month-ish into this long distancing dating and they do not have some things worked out, like the fear of breaking a scheduled date. Was it a date? Gail’s not really sure.
“I thought I would have been out of there sooner…” she goes silent, not really wanting to tell Holly that she wasn’t even going to go to her parents’ but felt forced into going and then forced into staying, knowing that Holly clearly finds family important, she waits to see what Holly has to say.
“That’s fine, family’s important” says Holly, securing Gail’s thoughts, “I was just kind of worried.”
“I’ll be home in half an hour, we can chat then,” offers Gail.
“No, it’s okay, we saw each other the other day, plus I’m tired I was going to call it a night.”
“Oh,” says Gail. “Okay. Well, I’m pulled over on the side of the road….”
“I should let you go,” says Holly, catching Gail’s implication.
“Okay,” says Gail, “goodnight nerd.”
“Goodnight Gail.” Holly hangs up her phone. The silence in Gail’s car is deafening. She could have easily texted Holly to let her know she wasn’t going to make it, but she didn’t. Gail tries to let herself off the hook by telling herself that Holly agrees that family is important and that it was okay for her to be at her parents’ house and completely miss Holly’s video call.
Holly has barely received any texts from Gail since the weekend. This has happened before so she’s not too worried, assuming the blonde is just busy at work and not ignoring her. She’s sitting at her desk watching as more and more people receive flowers for Valentine’s Day. Holly may have forgotten about the ‘holiday’, she knew it was approaching but she didn’t realize it was so soon, is it always on the fourteenth? She wonders if she should have sent something to Gail. Holly’s supposed to be filling out what should be a simple form on what they should look into next at the lab, but she can’t focus. She knows her and Gail agreed to not make a big deal about Valentine’s Day since they’ve only been dating for a couple of weeks. Also Holly doesn’t know what Gail is like around ‘holidays’, she doesn’t know whether the blonde likes to celebrate things or not, but if she had to wager a guess, she would assume not, only because of her distaste in having to attend social gatherings with a ‘holiday-ish’ theme linked. But Holly could all be wrong, she just doesn’t know Gail well enough yet. She hangs her head, staring at the floor. She sees a slip of paper stuck to her chair’s wheel, she picks it up and is instantly reminded of the notes her and her friends would pass in class as children. She grabs a pen from her desk and quickly writes, “Will you be my Valentine?” She draws two boxes and writes “yes” next to one and “no” next to the other. She takes a picture and sends it off to Gail. With that out of the way, Holly acknowledging the ‘holiday’ in a way, she jiggles her mouse to bring her computer back to life and is ready to fill out that form.
A *ping* sounds comes from Gail’s pocket, she ignores it as she readies her gun, she’ll have to see it later. Her and Chloe are partnered for the day, probably the worst day to be partnered with Chloe is on Valentine’s Day as the bubbly redhead keeps bouncing ideas off of Gail, hoping the blonde will clue her in on what Dov’s got planned for them after shift. Near the end of their shift they got a 911 call from a neighbour saying they heard screaming and smashing sounds coming from the house they are about to breach, Chloe and Gail were the closet car so they were first to respond, they heard on the radio that Chris and Nick where on their way as well for backup. After knocking on the door and no one answering, Gail and Chloe prepare themselves to make a forced entry after radioing it in, letting the others know that the screaming has continued and no one would answer their knock.
After all hell breaks loose in that house, the four cops walked in on a deranged man wielding a knife smashing anything he could and screaming at the top of his lungs, he started to advance on the cops, the cops had warned him off but he kept coming closer and closer. Nick fired off his gun into the floor to get the man’s attention, to get him to stop. The sound of the gun worked, the man stopped in his tracks and looked at the four police officers in total confusion, like he had just woken up from a weird dream. After the scene was filled with more cops and detectives, Nick, Chris, Chloe, and Gail had to each individually talk to a detective in order to get the account right. It took forever. On the plus side Gail’s happy it wasn’t her that ‘ruined’ Dov’s plans for Valentine’s Day and wont have to hear him gripe about it. Gail finally left the precinct after two in the morning, officially being in her cop uniform for over sixteen hours.
Several hours later Holly finally receives an answer from Gail. Her phone beeps into a dark and quite bedroom. She looks at her clock next to her bed and notices that it is just after midnight. Holly is quite confused as to what took Gail so long to respond. She sees the little dots on her screen appear and waits to see what else the blonde will say. Unfortunately for Holly those pesky little dots disappear and the green light next to Gail’s name turns red. Holly sighs, she’s happy Gail said ‘yes’ but also too tired to process anything, having already been asleep for an hour Holly’s not in a thinking state, she wishes she could be there with Gail and ask her how her day was, wrap her in her arms and fall asleep next to her, the thought puts a smile on Holly’s face, too tired to do anything else she lies back down and drifts back to sleep.
Gail wakes up the next day knowing she should call Holly. She looks at her clock and sees that it’s just before 11; Gail decides to see if she can catch the doctor before she heads to work.
“Hey,” says Holly after picking up her phone.
“Hey,” says Gail. A bit of a pause. Gail figures she may as well come out and say it, “sorry for not responding yesterday, we got a call and everything turned upside down and I didn’t get off work until sometime after 2.”
“It’s no big deal, I know you have a difficult job, and it was only for fun anyways. I am glad you said yes though.”
Gail lets out a sigh she didn’t realize she was holding. “I have the coolest girlfriend,” says Gail.
Holly’s all smiles. “Girlfriend, eh?”
Uh-oh, Gail’s afraid she may have overstepped. “Is that okay?” asks Gail. Gail goes into backtracking mode, “I know we’ve only been dating for like a month, but you said it yourself, previously it’s like we were bordering the line between just friends and more than friends, and-”
“Relax. I think it’s okay,” Holly continues to smile into her phone. “I am going to get t-shirts made though or at that bare minimum mugs that say ‘Coolest Girlfriend’, instead of ones that say ‘World’s Best Boss’, mine will say ‘Coolest Girlfriend.”’
Gail laughs, “well if you’re going to get that done you may as well get ‘Weirdest Girlfriend’ see if you can get a two for one deal.”
“What?” questions Gail, “I’m only trying to save you money.” The two smile into their phones.
“I’m sorry Gail but I have to go.”
“It’s okay,” says Gail, “I knew we wouldn’t be able to talk long, I just wanted to let you know I was okay, and that I wasn’t ignoring you.”
“Thank you, I do appreciate it. We’ll talk soon, okay?”
“Yes. Go be smart out there nerd.”
“I’ll be smart and cool,” smiles Holly.
“Ugh. You’re never going to forget that are you?”
“Nope. Bye honey.”
It’s been another month and Holly and Gail are still enjoying that they now spend a little more time together. Sure they still communicate mostly by texts, there was a whole week where Gail tried to strictly text with emojis, she has now gone back to typing complete sentences, well…mostly complete. The couple times a month phone call or video call has definitely brought them closer. Gail’s at the Penny with her friends. She downs the rest of her drink and heads up to the bar to get another one. She leans against the bar watching the bartender prepare the drinks ahead of hers. Someone stands next to her, “well if it isn’t the Chicken police,” an all too familiar person tries to joke at her side. Gail rolls her eyes, completely not in the mood for this. “Just the person I was hoping to see,” Jen Luck stands even closer to Gail, “can I buy you a drink?”
“No,” Gail says.
“Come on just one drink,” Jen tries to persuade Gail, now invading Gail’s personal space.
“I said ‘no’,”
“Come on,” Jen bumps their shoulders together, “we could have some fun tonight, one drink here and another at my place. You’re clearly on your own, maybe your luck will change,” Jen once again laughs at her joke.
Gail scrunches up her face, sticks her arm out to push Luck away and keep her away, “I said ‘no’, I have a girlfriend.”
“Ha! You don’t have a girlfriend, where is she then?” Jen exaggerates looking around the bar.
Gail does not really want to be here standing at the bar and talking to Jen, she just wants her drink, not that it’s any of Jen’s business whether or not she has a girlfriend, she looks at her watch and sees that it’s only 7, which means it’s 4 at Holly’s. “She’s at work,” Gail says hoping to end this conversation, hoping that Jen will be decent enough to respect Gail’s ‘no’.
“I don’t believe it,” Jen starts to encroach on Gail again. “I don’t believe you have a girlfriend, why don’t you drop the act and we can get out of here,” Jen leers at Gail.
Gail’s done, “no, fuck Luck. Or No fuck Luck. Or No! Fuck! Luck!” Gail’s beer arrives, “idiot,” she mumbles under her breath grabbing her beer and walking back to the boys.
Gail sits down at the table with a sour look on her face. “You okay?” asks Chris.
Chris nods his head, picking up that Gail would like the subject dropped. Gail takes a big sip of her beer. Chloe walks into the bar and sits at their table. “Perfect timing,” says Dov who leans over to kiss his girlfriend. Gail and Chris in unison make a disgusted face. “That’s not nice,” says Dov.
“No Dov, that wasn’t nice,” Gail points to Chloe and Dov’s faces.
“Whatever,” says Dov and shuffles his trivia cards, pulling them seemingly from nowhere, kind of like when a Sim was starting a fire in the game ‘The Sims’, where did they get the firewood from? “You ready for a rematch Peck? I don’t think you’ll get lucky tonight and win.”
Gail scrunches up her face, there’s that word again. “Actually, once I’m done my beer I will be leaving.” She downs about half of it.
“Well that’s not fair,” say Dov.
“Life’s not fair,” retorts Gail.
“Oh come on Gail, you’re not going to leave me here with these two,” pleads Chris.
Gail finishes the last couple sips of her drink and sets the glass down, “I promised Ollie I would donate blood tomorrow before my shift.”
“That’s very nice of you,” comments Chloe, “I was thinking of donating tomorrow too.”
Gail curls her lip, not liking that Chloe called her nice, so Gail plays it off by saying, “you know what they say, ‘it’s in you to give.’”
Chris’ eyes go wide, “it’s true, it is in you to give.”
“You wonder how he got involved in donating blood,” wonders Dov aloud.
Gail scrunches up her face, “do you not pay attention to parade? His daughter’s Girl Guide troop is helping out at the blood drive tomorrow at the hospital. He asked if any of us were available to we should go give blood.”
“Oh,” says Dov, “maybe I missed that parade.”
“No,” says the always helpful Chris, “you were sitting next to me, I remember because you had cut yourself shaving that day and the gouge on your chin had just opened up and was dripping down your neck.”
“Oh yeah,” says Dov, starting to remember. “Well, maybe after shift I’ll donate, I’ve never donated before; I don’t even know what blood type I am.”
“I donate all the time,” shares Chloe, “I’m O positive, the most common blood type, the first time you donate they give you a donor’s card that has all your information on it,” Chloe says helpfully.
“Wow,” says Chris, “that would be useful, maybe I’ll go donate too.”
Gail rolls her eyes, “regardless, goodnight.”
“Wait,” says Chris as he downs his pint, “I’ll come with you.” He quickly gets up, practically knocking down his chair. “Goodnight,” he says to Chloe and Dov and then chases after Gail to start their trek back to the frat house.
Gail logs onto her computer a couple of days after giving blood, she’s expecting a call from Holly any minute. As soon as the brunette appears on her screen Gail laments, “I hate hospitals.”
“Hello to you too,” Holly can’t help but smile at Gail’s face. “How was the blood drive?”
“Fine,” Gail sneezes. “Hospitals are all gross and they’re filled with germs, I don’t know why the blood drive couldn’t have been at a school or …something.” Gail’s tired and doesn’t feel like thinking of more places where the blood drive could have been held.
“Scientists believe that there are more viruses in the world than there are stars in the universe,” Holly informs Gail.
Gail sniffles, not wanting to hear that, the germaphobe in Gail is going to die if she thinks too hard on that comment, “I’m sick.”
“I can tell,” says Holly. “You don’t look so good.”
“Nice,” says Gail, squinting her eyes at Holly, but not really meaning anything by it, she knows she’s all flushed and her nose is completely red.
“You know what I mean,” says Holly.
“Yeah…” Gail doesn’t have the energy to argue. “One second,” she gets up and goes to the kitchen to grab herself a glass of orange juice.
“Good idea,” says Holly as she sees Gail holding the glass of orange juice, “put in the liquids.”
“Thanks doctor,” Gail rolls her eyes at Holly.
Holly blushes, feeling she may have infringed on Gail’s being sick routine.
“Ha!” says Gail, “you’re sister is right, your face does go beet red when talking to me.”
Holly scrunches up her face, “when did she say that?” questions Holly, not going to deny the fact that her face is red, and annoyed with her sister.
“I don’t know, last October I think.” Gail still doesn’t feel like thinking.
Cindy and her ‘no-filter’ pregnancy strikes again. Holly’s face goes even redder. She’s going to have to talk to Cindy. Or not, she isn’t pregnant anymore. Changing the subject, “I wish I was there with you,” says Holly, “make you some soup or something.”
“As long as it’s not tomato,” says Gail.
“I know,” smiles Holly, “you’re allergic.”
Gail nods her head. “When will we see each other again? in person,” Gail clarifies.
“I’m not sure, I’m busy at work, I wont be able to get any time off, we are currently working on projects that we are going to be presenting at a North American Medical Conference in late May early June, the date for some reason hasn’t been finalized yet, but about two-ish months away.”
Gail hums, “I wont be able to take any more time off, I like to keep some and take individual days sometime.”
“I understand,” says Holly, who does, it is nice to be able to tack a day onto a weekend making it feel like a long weekend or whatever day or two break Gail gets.
“Is the conference going to be in Toronto? You did say North American.” Gail sneezes.
“Bless you. No,” says Holly, “it was in Canada last year, Ottawa actually, so it will be in America this year.”
“Too bad it wasn’t Ottawa this year; I would have gladly driven four hours to see you.”
Holly smiles at Gail and can feel her face heat up again, “you’re sweet.”
Gail doesn’t respond to that, but she does yawn.
“You should get some rest,” suggests Holly.
“Yeah…” agrees Gail. “I wish I could talk longer, but I’m sleepy.”
“I understand, we’ll talk soon,” promises Holly.
“Okay.” Gail pauses, happy to be sharing some time with Holly. “Damn, now I want some soup, why did you mention soup?”
Holly laughs, “you’re always hungry, even when you’re sick.”
“Can’t help it,” grumbles Gail, “but I am going to take a nap first, it’s quiet right now, the guys are on the day shift, but they’ll be home soon.” Gail sighs again; she’d rather be at work than home sick, “enjoy the rest of your day.”
“Sweet dreams honey.”
“Thanks.” Gail ends the call. She gets up off the couch and moves to her bedroom, she whips back the covers and crawls into bed.
When she wakes up a couple of hours later she sees her phone’s light flashing, she reaches for it and sees she has a text message from Holly: “enjoy the soup :)”
“What soup?” Gail says out loud to her room. Just the mention of food and Gail’s stomach starts to growl. She hears Dov and Chris talking in one of their bedrooms, she ignores them, she gets out of bed and heads to the kitchen, on the table there’s a takeout bag with food in it.
She looks back at her phone that’s still in her hand and sees she has another message from Holly that she missed the first time, “I sent soup to your precinct since I didn’t know your address, I figured one of your roommates would bring it to you.”
Gail smiles as she grabs a bowl from the cupboard to warm the soup up in, she smiles as she lifts the lid, chicken noodle, her favourite. She sends a “thanks” to Holly.
Chris is following Gail into the break room, “you can’t keep saying that it’s normal for random people to send other people soup, who is she?”
“A lady I know.”
“Come on,” begs Chris, “I brought you back the soup, I could have just eaten it myself and not given it to you.”
That is true, thinks Gail. Coincidentally at this time in the break room is Steve, who is fixing a coffee, Nick and Chloe, who are sitting at a table finishing their lunches, and Traci, who is doing something on her phone.
“Why would someone be sending you soup?” questions Steve, tapping a spoon on the edge of his mug.
Gail turns to glare at Chris, she hears a huff noise from the table and snaps at Nick, “shut it Collins!” who technically hasn’t said anything, but….just to be on the safe side.
“You’ll feel better when you tell us,” says Chris, in that calm voice of his.
Gail sighs, “I have a girlfriend and she sent me soup when I was sick last week.”
Steve, “you were sick? Gross, I gave you a hug last week,” he wipes the front of his jacket like that’s going to help him from last week’s germs.
Traci finally looks up from her phone, “Holly?”
Traci smiles, “you’re still seeing Holly? Good for you Gail.”
Gail ignores Steve’s comment, “thanks Trace.” She walks over to the box of doughnuts, which is why she was in the break room in the first place and the only reason she actually stayed, she grabs two doughnuts and leaves, no intention of sticking around and being asked questions she has is not going to answer.
Holly and her team are still working on the various studies and inquiries on animals interfering with the deceased, the information they are hoping to bring with them to the Medical Conference. So far they have looked at mice, rats, a couple of different raptor birds, and maggots, trying to determine which one can be considered the biggest hindrance to a crime scene. One of her coworkers has been bugging Holly with annoying personal questions, the one that has gotten under her skin the most happens to be why she isn’t married. He feels that she’s a catch and how has she not settled down with someone. Holly found it flattering at first, but also kind of annoying. Ella could sense the shift in Holly, seeing her friend becoming less and less focused on the task at hand. Ella wonders if Holly still texts that friend of hers from out of town, that friend that Holly was fooling herself that was just her friend. Ella realizes that her and Holly haven’t spent any time together besides at work. Ella’s been busy with her kids and husband and hasn’t done anything not kid oriented in a really long time. Ella decides she should invite Holly out for drinks one night after work, and probably soon if that look currently on Holly’s face is to go by, Holly needs a break too from whatever’s going on in her head.
Another month has gone by and the ladies have figured out how this long distancing dating can work for them. Holly’s face lights up Gail’s screen, “hey beautiful.”
“Hi honey,” Holly smiles, she studies Gail’s appearance, Gail’s hair looks to be still wet from a shower, with her hair standing up in different directions, Holly wishes she could extend her arm through the screen to smooth out the blonde’s hair. This long distance dating is new to her, the thing she finds the most difficult is not being with Gail in person, she misses the ability to touch her. She wants to give Gail a hug, or place her hands on Gail’s hips or intertwine their fingers together and of course kiss her. Holly wants to be able to kiss Gail, to link their lips together, to press her lips onto Gail’s soft and supple beautifully proportioned lips. Holly finds herself staring at Gail’s lips and is only pulled out of her trance when Gail starts to talk.
“You look gorgeous, your skin tone and the colour of that top, wow,” says Gail.
“Thanks,” some colour spreads to Holly’s cheeks.
“Why so fancy?”
“I’m supposed to be having a date with my girlfriend.”
“Oh, is she there?” Gail jokingly tries to look around Holly to look into her apartment.
Holly laughs. She smiles at Gail who smiles back.
Gail studies Holly, looking her all over, taking in all that she can availably see, “you are showing the right amount of cleavage.”
Holly laughs. “I actually just got home from work,” Holly says.
Gail lets out a “ha!”
Holly notices that Gail may be missing the ability to touch one another as well, the ability to connect with your partner, as the blonde has yet to really take her focus off of Holly’s boobs. Holly smiles to herself, feeling quite pleased that Gail finds her attractive, that what she feels for Gail isn’t one sided. She adjusts the view of her laptop’s camera, pushing the screen back so that Gail has to look at her face.
“Awww,” Gail whines as she realizes what Holly’s just done, “you never let me have any fun.” She has a glass of rye beside her laptop; she brings it up to her lips to take a sip.
Holly chuckles. “Maybe some other time we can have some fun.”
“I’m counting on it.”
Holly smiles. “What are you drinking?” asks Holly.
“Rye and water, ran out of coke, can I get you some?”
“Ummm,” Holly looks down at her clock, “4:30, close enough, yes I think I will join you.” Holly gets out of her seat to grab herself a glass of something.
“It’s five o’clock somewhere,” Gail says.
“Exactly,” comes Holly’s voice from somewhere within her apartment. Holly appears back on screen with a glass of red wine. “Cheers.”
“Cheers,” smiles Gail as she mirrors Holly lifting her drink. “Did you have a nice day at work?”
“It was fine, the lab is still kind of hectic, but that will be over soon. Can I ask you a question?” asks Holly, completely changing subjects.
“Do you hope to get married?” The question had been bugging Holly still from the other day, it was very nice of Ella to offer to get drinks with her the other night, but the question would only truly be put to rest if she could discuss it with Gail. Wanting to see where this relationship with Gail can go.
“Oh,” Gail stalls. Does she want to get married?
“Is this a question I should have asked in person? I can wait,” Holly backtracks, feeling like she overstepped.
“No no, it’s fine. I was engaged once, long story, clearly it didn’t pan out, but do I want to get married? I don’t know, I honestly don’t know. It’s not a deal breaker if I don’t, no childhood dreams are going to be crushed, is I guess what I’m trying to say. If I’m with someone and they want to get married then I’ll get married, if they don’t that’s fine too.” Gail pauses, hoping her answer made sense, “you?”
“I feel the same way; do I need a piece of paper to tell me I’m committed to someone? No. But if my partner would like to, I will.”
Gail nods her head, feeling that marriage could be an option, but then again not necessarily required. “Since we’re asking those perceived ‘hard questions’, do you picture yourself with kids in the future?”
Holly smiles a sad smile, “that one to me is a little bit tougher, marriage is spending time with an adult, kids are a whole different deal. I’m completely happy being the fun aunt and if that’s all I ever am, than that’s fine. But, if my partner wants kids, I’m sure I can be persuaded.” This time Holly pauses. “You? Actually I think I can probably answer that one, the way you treat Traci’s kid and Cindy’s kids, how you sent her diapers and onesies and we weren’t even dating yet.” Gail looks nonchalant; it truly was no big deal to Gail sending Cindy a care package for the new baby. “You mentioned you spend time with your boss’ kids and talk to them when he can’t get answers out of them or even aid them in their school subjects when he no longer has the patients. You’re really good with kids; I would say ‘yes’ you want kids.”
Gail’s all smiles.
“What?!?” questions Holly, who can’t help but smile at the blonde.
“That was so hot, you getting all logical and sounding so nerdy and babbling.”
“You like it when I babble? You like my nerdy side?” asks Holly, scrunching up her face slightly.
Gail involuntary shivers as she thinks about nerdy Holly. “It’s pretty much the only reason I am dating you,” Gail says with a poker straight face.
Holly laughs, “and here I thought it was my cockroach collection.”
“What?” questions Gail, letting out a laugh. “You’re cockroach collection? Of all the things to have a collection of, why cockroaches?”
Holly shrugs her shoulders, “it was on my mind, we’ve been working with them this past week at the lab.”
Gail laughs, “you’re weird, you could have said some other fake collection, but you chose cockroaches...”
Holly shrugs her shoulders again. The two smile at each other.
“Gail, you ready?” calls Chris from behind Gail’s door.
“Just a minute,” she turns her head to call back.
“Where are you going?” wonders Holly.
“Then what are you doing?”
“Oh, Chris and Denise are going out, so I volunteered to watch Christian.”
“That’s very nice of you,” comments Holly, “you’re nice to your friends with kids.”
Gail squints her eyes, “I’m not nice. I told the kid we were watching a movie and that I got to pick it.”
Holly opens her eyes wide and gives Gail that ‘who are you fooling?’ look. “What movie did you pick?”
‘“The Little Rascals.”’
“Yeah, he hasn’t seen it and I haven’t seen it in ages.”
“I hadn’t watched it in years, but Will and Rain were watching it a Christmas or two ago and we saw a certain president in it,” Holly reminds Gail, “in the grandstands....at the final race…” hoping to jog the blonde’s memory.
Gail thinks for a second, “you’re right, your president is in the ‘Little Rascals’, I completely forgot about that. There’s a bunch of cameos in that movie.” Gail begins to think about all the other actors and actresses or famous people in general that make an appearance.
“Ummm,” Holly tilts her head to the side, “just because I live in America doesn’t make him my president, I’m still Canadian, I voted in our last election. Trudeau is my guy.”
“Weird thing to say,” Gail laughs, “but sure Trudeau is your guy. Thank God, eh. Could you imagine if we got stuck with Scheer?”
“Don’t even get me started,” Holly shakes her head.
“If he had gotten elected, I would truly hate people,” says Gail. She takes her last sip of rye.
“Gail! It’s time! You need to start the movie so Christian can go to bed on time!”
“Them and their rules, let the kid be a kid, let him stay up past a bed time,” she grumbles. “I should go,” she says, “this has been fun though and very insightful, we will talk about you being a ‘fun’ aunt later.”
Holly ignores Gail’s last comment. “Yes it has,” smiles Holly.
“I can’t wait to hear about all your other weird collections.”
Holly laughs, “goodbye Gail.”
Holly calls Gail a couple of days later, “I have some good news and bad news,” Holly starts off the phone call.
Gail grumbles, she hates good news bad news scenarios. She lets Holly continue.
“You know how I’ve been super busy in the lab with all these different experiments and what not for the upcoming Medical Conference?” Gail makes a noise of agreement. “You know how we were talking about the possibility of it being in Ottawa?” Gail makes another noise of agreement. “Well bad news, it’s not in Ottawa, but we pretty much knew that already, but, good news,” this is where Holly crosses her fingers, “you know how you said you’d be willing to see me if it only meant driving 4 hours? How about driving to Detroit?”
“What?!?” asks Gail, expecting something terrible, this is very much not terrible.
“The conference is in Detroit, will you join me in Detroit?” Holly asks shyly, “I’d love to see you again.”
“You know, the Motor City, Motown, D Town, the Paris of the Midwest, The D-”
Gail cuts Holly off, “I know Detroit. Your conference is going to be in Detroit? Yeah, if I can get some time off, I will gladly drive four hours to see you.”
“Of course,” smiles Gail.
“Okay then,” smiles Holly. She then hears someone yell ‘Peck’ on Gail’s end.
“Sorry, but I have to go,” apologizes Gail, who is currently at work but was in the precinct filling in some paperwork when her phone rang so she decided to take the phone call.
“Don’t worry about it, I know you’re at work, I was just letting you know as soon as I could…”
“Thanks,” says Gail, “I’ll talk to Ollie and see what I can do, even I have one day off, I will drive down to see you.”
“Good,” smiles Holly, “stay safe out there honey.”
“Always do, bye Holly.”
Gail had the night shifts the weekend before she was supposed to meet Holly in Detroit. She had to work Monday night, after getting off shift on Tuesday at 8 in the morning she went back to the frat house to take a nap. She knew it would take her approximately four hours to drive south so she set her alarm for noon, knowing that Holly wont be done with the conference stuff until 4:30pm, giving her ample time to drive and cross through the border.
Holly had told the front desk that she was going to have someone ask for her. When Gail gets to the hotel she heads to the front desk and tells the guy behind it she was looking for a Dr. Holly Stewart. He told her the room number, even though Gail already knew it, and pointed her down the hallway to where the elevators are. Gail follows the instructions and arrives outside of Holly’s room number. She knocks and waits for the door to open. Once it is she is pulled into a hug. She drops her overnight bag and holds onto Holly. “Hi,” she whispers.
“Hi,” says Holly. “I’m so glad you came,” says Holly who is still holding onto Gail.
Gail smiles, hearing those words makes the drive all worth it, makes her lack of sleep all worth it, seeing Holly makes it all worth it. Even though in this moment Gail couldn’t ask for anything more, happy to be standing there with Holly in her arms, being able to hold on to the brunette and take in her presence, staring all happily at Holly she jokingly asks, “you going to make it worth my while?”
Holly quirks an eyebrow, “I think I can,” she pulls Gail into her hotel room.
“Do you realize that we have known each other for a year?” Holly asks, who’s trailing her fingertips up and down Gail’s bare shoulder, completely content in this moment, finally being able to see Gail and to touch Gail, no screen in their way. She moves her fingers to run them through Gail’s short blonde hair, receiving a hmmmm from Gail, making Holly smile even more.
Gail’s lying with her head on Holly’s shoulder, curled into Holly’s side, her hand splayed atop Holly’s abdomen. “Wow,” says Gail, “it was about this time last year we met in the Penny’s mop closet.”
“Mhmm,” agrees Holly, enjoying the feel of Gail next to her, “and we’ve texted each other close to every day since then, I don’t even text Cindy that much or Lisa and Rachel for that matter.”
Gail laughs slightly and nervously says, “people are going to think that you like me.”
“I do like you, I like you a lot,” Holly says with complete sincerity.
Gail leans over to kiss Holly’s cheek, “I’m hungry, let’s go find dinner.”
“We could eat here,” offers Holly, still content lying in bed, enjoying the nakedness of Gail.
“Holly, if we spend any more time in bed, I’m going to think last week’s telephone conversation was a booty call, a very well planned booty call, but still,” Gail jokes.
Holly smiles sheepishly.
Gail looks over Holly taking a mental picture for herself for when she’s back in Toronto. She leans in to kiss Holly, bringing her hand up to lightly cup the brunette’s breast, to caress it, Holly feels maybe she has won, maybe Gail will stay longer in bed with her, just then Gail drags her thumb across the nipple sending a shiver through Holly. Gail smiles at her actions and the effect it has on Holly. She pulls away. “Let me guess, you haven’t left your hotel yet,” Gail looks at Holly, Holly a little foggy from Gail shakes her head, Gail rolls out of bed and puts on a sock, “come on Holly, I’m practically dressed, let’s walk through the city and find somewhere to eat.”
Holly grumbles, needing a moment she continues to lie in bed, realizing Gail is not going to be convinced to stay in the bed longer, “fine.” She too rolls out of bed and starts to pick up her discarded clothing, knowing they will eventually end up where they were.
After dinner they find a bench to sit on and watch the boats on the Detroit River, looking across the way at the neighbouring border city’s skyline. Holly’s been holding Gail’s hand, which Gail is very much enjoying. Gail takes a very loud deep breath, “don’t you just love the smell of fish flies?”
“No?” Holly laughs. “You’re weird.”
“I’m weird,” Gail quirks her eyebrow, “you’re weird, but that’s okay.” She nudges Holly with their joined hands.
Holly smiles, “is it strange that I missed you, even though we remained in contact practically every day?”
“No, I think it’s normal that you would have missed me,” smiles Gail, acting all smug.
Holly rolls her eyes, “well, I didn’t miss that.”
Gail leans over to kiss Holly’s cheek.
“I did miss that,” smiles Holly.
They sit in a comfortable silence, just happy to be near each other. Watching the boats. Watching the birds. Watching the ripples on the water.
Holly slings her arm around Gail’s shoulders, she leans her head against Gail’s. “Was this a bad idea, for us to start a relationship?”
“What?” questions Gail, flee into a tree Gail, who wanted to come to Detroit, wanted to see Holly in person, spend time with her even if it was for a day and a half. She wasn’t expecting Holly to have second thoughts about them though, at least not voice them now, maybe say something three months ago when they were still in an iffy stage, but not now, not now that they’ve been really trying to make this whole long distance thing work, where Gail feels like she knows Holly, like actually knows Holly, and what she knows so far she likes.
“Normally when people decide to date long-distance they already have a relationship, we decided this was going to be the start of ours, we didn’t really have a relationship,” Holly states practically, not realizing that her words are killing Gail.
“Yes we did,” insists Gail, “it might not have been a romantic relationship, but we had a friendship and-” Gail stops talking, she turns her head slightly to look at Holly and sees that she is fast asleep, the brunette feeling the time distance change, the stress of the week, the sheer happiness of having Gail near, all catching up to her, so she needed some shut eye, the most inopportune time to take a nap.
Before leaving Toronto, Gail was able to switch shifts with someone so that she could stay in Detroit until Thursday morning. Holly was supposed to man the booth from her lab on Wednesday, but was able to trade with her coworker so she could spend the day with Gail. The blonde puts the previous night’s bench conversation out of her head, seeing if Holly brings it up again, not letting herself focus too much on it, even though it is eating her up. “Shouldn’t you be going to some sort of talk or something?” asks Gail, making sure that Holly isn’t shirking her responsibility. After returning to the hotel room last night they cuddled on the couch watching some farfetched rom-com, just completely content holding each other. They fell asleep with Gail lying atop Holly and Holly holding onto Gail. Gail woke up first with her back yelling at her to not stay in this position for much longer, the tv was still on, she held her arm out so her watch could catch the glare from the tv allowing her to read it. She saw that it was late, she stood up and shook Holly’s shoulder, the thing that woke the brunette up was turning off the tv. Gail grabbed her hand and told her it was time for bed, where Gail once again found herself being held by Holly, not that she minded.
“No,” says Holly, “we were also told to have some fun while we were in Detroit, so that’s what I plan to do today, I’m going to have some fun.”
Gail smiles at the brunette. “What do you think we should do?”
“I hear they have some cool stuff on Belle Isle.”
“Ah, too bad your conference wasn’t the week before; the Grand Prix was on here in Detroit, all those fast cars, talk about hot.”
Holly looks at Gail, “you like fast cars?”
Gail lets out a “ha!, of course I do, you’re looking at Precinct 15’s record holder for the fastest lap on our driving course. My score is so good; all the other Precincts have it posted too, it’s become a bench mark goal for people to try to beat, even though no one will,” Gail boasts.
Holly studies Gail, “I can’t tell if you’re lying or not.”
“I would never lie about something like that,” Gail says.
“Well okay then, let’s go to Belle Isle, walk the course or something, and see what else is going on there.”
“What are we going to do tonight?”
Holly looks over at Gail slightly nervous, “well, there’s a mini gala tonight in our honour for the various projects that we submitted, kind of like a thank you dinner, and I was supposed to be going to it but if you don’t want to, it’s a mid-week thing, something about in the past when they do it on the last day it gets too rowdy, medical people getting rowdy, there should be a joke there somewhere right? I mean Ella had to leave early and you could take her spot, she’s going to be sad she didn’t get to meet you,” Holly babbles and continues to, “Ella had to leave the conference early; she’s going to be attending her brother’s wedding in San Francisco. I am allowed to bring a plus one-”
Normally Gail hates going to galas, where she finds herself being paraded around alongside her mother and Steve in their police uniforms and Elaine talking about how the Pecks are a strong policing family. However, a gala with Holly doesn’t sound that bad, she cuts Holly off, “okay.”
“I’ll be your plus one, I’ll go to your gala, it could be fun,” Gail shrugs her shoulders.
“I don’t know about fun…”
Holly smiles and throws her arms around Gail’s waist, “definitely intellectual.”
Gail leans in to peck Holly’s lips, “will I get to see you being all nerdy?”
“Then I’m absolutely going.” She continues to stare at Holly, “I didn’t bring anything fancy though, I can wear my dark jeans but I may need to borrow a top.”
“Umm,” says Holly.
“Is that cool, can I borrow a shirt?”
“Yeah, you can borrow a shirt,” Holly smirks, “I just wouldn’t borrow your things.”
“What are wrong with my things?”
Holly laughs out, “nothing, they’re just not my style.”
Gail rolls her eyes, “not enough fleece for you Holly, not enough backpacks.”
Holly leans in to kiss the blonde, placing her lips gently atop the officer’s, just when Gail is ready to kiss Holly back the brunette pulls away. “You are insane, you know that right?” She releases her hold on Gail and starts to walk away.
“Sorry, where are you going?” says the still stunned blonde, thinking she was going to get to kiss Holly.
“Grabbing you a shirt, then we’re going to the gala and we will be dancing, I kind of need to get it out of my system. Plus one forever.”
Should the gala be next? If so, should Elaine show up, that’s not too too farfetched, is it? maybe.
Enjoy your weekend! Thanks for reading
Gail wearing her tight black jeans and an olive green button up top borrowed from Holly, tucking it loosely in her shirt. Holly smiles at the sight of Gail, whether it’s just the blonde or the blonde in her clothing, Holly smiles. Holly packed for herself a navy blue from fitting dress, she is happy with the look on Gail’s face seeing her in her dress. “Wow,” says Gail. “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Holly smiles, her hair done in large ringlets and no glasses, “ready to go?”
Gail sticks out her arm for Holly to take, “yup.” Gail surprises herself about how eager she is to go to a gala event, normally she would switch shifts with someone in order to avoid these types of gatherings, but going with Holly seems not so bad. Gail is actually secretly curious to see Holly interact with other nerds, or as Holly calls them: scientists. Gail wants to see Holly in her element, wanting to see that different part of her life. Also Gail is just happy that she’s the one who gets to go with Holly.
Elaine walks into the hotel’s large reception room. She does a quick scan of the crowd, noting that everything has already gotten underway, she curses her plane for being delayed, she was expecting to be here a lot earlier allowing herself ample time to change and get ready, but complications with her flight slowed her down. It’s nothing she could have done, except maybe drove, driving there at least she could have been in control, knowing that it only takes four hours, instead of sitting in the airport for over four hours than another hour in the sky flying to Detroit, plus all the time it took for her to clear customs, then actually going into the city. Elaine inwardly groans, knowing that she’s going to have to fly back, and potentially have to go through a similar ordeal.
As she continues to scan the crowd she notices some familiar faces she has met over the years and some of Toronto’s staff from the forensic labs. As her head swivels over to the bar she sees a very familiar blonde head, but she tells herself that can’t be who she thinks it is. She continues to watch the back of the blonde and see her give a hug from behind to some brunette, definitely can’t be Gail, thinks Elaine, who knows her daughter was never one for PDA. But all the same Elaine can’t take her eyes away; she continues to watch as the brunette turns around in the blonde’s arms and has the biggest grin on her face. Elaine finds herself weirdly smiling at the brunette’s smile, shaking her head in order to stop the whole contagious smile thing going on. Elaine continues to stare and sees the brunette mouth the word “Gail”, Elaine tilts her head to the side and convinces herself that it can’t be Gail, maybe the brunette was talking about ‘hail’ or ‘kale’, and she just read her lips wrong.
Someone across the room catches Elaine’s eye and waves her over, happy for the distraction, feeling kind of creepy as she continued to watch the blonde and brunette wait at the bar for their drinks, she makes her way across the room to talk to her counterpart from Toronto’s forensic labs.
Everyone is asked to find their seats. Gail, taking Ella’s spot, finds herself happily seated next to Holly. Gail would have rearranged things anyways in order to make sure her spot was next to the brunette’s. A couple of speeches and a few thank you’s about how well the conference is so far going, and how they hope it will continue to be educational and enlightening. Gail rolls her eyes and receives a smack under the table from Holly. Gail shoots her a ‘what’ look, even though she knows she was caught.
After dinner, Holly’s table continues to sit there happy to just talk to each other. Gail gets pulled into conversation with the man sitting next to her, Dr. Tom Flori, he apparently oversees the whole San Francisco test lab that Holly is currently employed at, he too used to work as a forensic pathologist before moving to the lab. Gail having grown up around crime scenes was happy to hear about some of his experiences and share some of her more weirder ones she has either encountered or heard about. Holly was trying her best to pay attention to the conversation on the other side of her, but was constantly distracted with her boss talking to her girlfriend and seeing how freely and easily Gail talked to him. Holly moves her hand under the table and places it on Gail’s thigh, Gail moves her hand from her wine glass to place atop Holly’s and give it a squeeze, making the brunette smile.
Eventually everyone gets up from the table, some move to the dance floor, while others call it a night and head up to their hotel rooms. Holly takes Gail’s hand and starts leading her to the dance floor, “what are you doing?” asks Gail, who knows exactly what Holly’s doing, but is just giving her a hard time.
Holly with her lopsided smile in place says, “I believe I was promised a dance.”
Gail shakes her head, “I don’t remember promising that, maybe you’re confusing me with Tom,” she turns her head as if to call Tom
Holly laughs and pulls Gail closer to her. They start moving to the music. Holly continues to smile at Gail.
“Nothing,” says the doctor.
“Come on, tell me.”
Holly wiggles her head from side to side, “I’m just happy you came.”
Gail leans in to kiss Holly’s cheek, “I am too.”
“I-” Holly gets cut off.
Gail loses her grip on Holly and turns around. “Superintendent.”
“I didn’t know you were going to be here,” says Elaine.
“I could say the same to you.”
Elaine raises her eyebrows; she ignores her daughter’s comment. “Want to introduce me to your friend?”
“Uh…Dr. Holly Stewart this is the Superintendent of the Toronto Police force, Mom this is my girlfriend Holly.”
“Mom,” Holly whispers. She recovers fast and sticks out her hand, “nice to meet you Mrs. Peck.”
Elaine looks Holly over, even though she has already studied her enough tonight, “ah, so you’re the mystery girlfriend.” Elaine shakes Holly’s hand. “I’ve been trying to get my daughter to invite you to our house for dinner so my husband and I could meet you, but she keeps ignoring my requests.”
Holly smiles, “I’m currently working in San Francisco, so getting to a family Sunday dinner would be difficult,” Holly tries to joke.
Elaine scrunches her face but quickly unscrunches it, not realizing that Gail’s girlfriend was not living in Toronto, “that would make it difficult, how about next time you’re in town?” Elaine plows through with her questions to Holly.
Holly looks at Gail and sees she is not going to get any sort of support from her when dealing with Elaine, “um…sure that sounds great, next time I’m in town Gail and I can stop by and we can meet properly.”
Elaine smiles, “good, now that that’s settled, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see my friend over there,” Elaine waves her hand at some lady across the room; she turns to look back at her daughter, “Gail, I expect to see you in my office on Friday morning after you’re done your shift.”
Gail nods her head.
“We have some things we need to discuss.”
Gail nods her head again, of course Elaine would know Gail’s work schedule.
“Oh, and Holly dear you look very nice in your dress. Gail, I expect you to dress better than this,” Elaine leaves.
Holly turns to face Gail and pull her to her again so they can resume dancing. Holly notices how stiff Gail feels in her arms, no longer loose and limber like she was having a good time, but now she feels like Gail is forcing herself through the motions, making dancing feel laborious. “You okay?” Holly asks.
Gail shrugs her shoulders.
“Tired? Want to go back to the room?”
Gail shakes her head and moves her arms around Holly, “I believe I was promised a dance,” Gail says trying to break herself out of her head, not wanting to think about what Elaine wants to talk about on Friday, not sure why Elaine feels the need for Gail to go to her office, why not grab a coffee somewhere and talk like other mothers and daughters do, nope, Elaine wants to be in control of this conversation and the best way to do it is do have Gail come to her office.
Holly smiles, “good.”
“Don’t listen to my mother,” says Gail as she twirls Holly earning her a smile, “you look absolutely beautiful.”
“I was going to say the same thing.”
Gail quirks an eyebrow.
Holly moves closer into Gail so that their bodies are touching again, she leans her head in so her lips are centimeters away from Gail’s ear, “I could be biased though,” she whispers huskily, “I really like seeing you in my clothing.”
Gail swallows, “how about not in clothing?”
“After this dance, how about we go find out?”
Holly falls back on to the bed panting. Gail leaves a trail of kisses up Holly’s body to join her on the pillows. Both Gail and Holly are staring up at the ceiling. Gail leans over to kiss Holly’s cheek, “I did miss that, thank you.” Gail kisses her one last time before she sits up in bed. She swings her legs over the edge and grabs something from the floor.
“What are you doing?” asks Holly.
“I should get going, I said I was only really in town for the day, I have to be back in Toronto by 6 tonight.”
Holly looks at the alarm clock in their hotel room, “it’s not even 5 a.m. yet. How long did it take for you to drive here?”
“Just about four hours.”
“So why are you leaving? Come back to bed, we never get to see each other and spend time together. We’ll wake up at 7 have breakfast together in the lobby, I can walk you to your car, say goodbye then I’ll go to a lecture and you can leave,” Holly tries to suede Gail, just wanting to spend more time with her.
With Gail sort of last minute deciding to go see Holly in Detroit, she didn’t even think about booking a flight she had decided to drive. It’s not too bad of a drive, direct enough; jumping on the 401 crossing the border via the tunnel, the longest part of her drive was waiting in line at the border. All those questions. Luckily she was just going to Detroit, getting allowed entry she was already in the city, not having to go much further once she crossed the border. Gail looks back at Holly; the brunette has a ‘please’ look on her face, puppy dog eyes and full pout. Gail drops her clothing items and lies back on the bed. She scooches closer to Holly, “fine,” she smiles, she would do anything for those brown eyes.
Gail spends her four hour drive home thinking. Thinking about what Holly had said the day before on the park bench overlooking the river, going through the same thoughts over and over in her head. About how maybe it was a mistake for them to start a relationship. She wanted to bring it up to Holly, to ask what she meant, to let her explain herself, but Gail didn’t want to be the one left again, she ultimately didn’t want to hear Holly’s answer. She gets to the frat house and unpacks her bag. She tidies up her room, hoping the action of cleaning her room will help her to clear her head. She walks to her bedroom window and stares outside, focusing on everything and nothing. She sighs, what has she gotten herself into? She begins a text to Holly: “you’re right, this was a mistake. I can’t do this anymore.” She stares at it on her screen. Her thumb hovering over the backspace button. Her thumb moves over to the send button. She turns off her phone. Instead she lies on her bed, atop her covers, dangling her limbs over the edge, she starts blasting “San Francisco” by the Driver Era on repeat, eventually Dov walks into her room. “I don’t know what your obsession with this song is,” Dov hits pause on Gail’s phone, Gail kind of forgot she had the music playing in the background, really only hearing it the first couple of times, “but you need to stop playing it. It was pretty chill the first few times, but now it’s just annoying.”
“How was your trip?”
Gail ignores him.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“It doesn’t seem like nothing.”
“I said, it’s nothing, now get out of my room.”
Dov places his hands up as if to shield himself, “fine, don’t tell me, wallow in whatever,” he circles his hands, “this is.” As he’s about to leave her room he turns around to say, “your shift starts in an hour.”
Dov leaves the room, Gail rolls onto her back, looking up at the ceiling, she sighs. Gail didn’t realize how long she had been lying on her bed, thinking about how great of a time she had with Holly, and how genuinely into Holly she is and how it seems Holly is into her too, but maybe it’s just how it seems, maybe it’s only Gail who’s into Holly. Gail keeps circling back to what Holly said about them not being in a relationship. She sighs. Maybe Holly was right, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
After spending another half hour lying on her covers she finally rolls over and out of bed. She grabs her already packed bag for work and leaves the frat house. She gets to work and changes into her uniform, sitting in parade Oliver looks for some volunteer for an undercover op. She volunteers, thinking this is the thing that will help her get Holly off her mind. Oliver accepts her request to help and sends her off with Detective Callaghan. He has her change into her street clothes and lets her know this may take longer than her shift; she nods her head, completely okay with that, thinking Elaine can’t get annoyed with her not showing up at her office if she is still working. Luke tells Gail she can’t have her personal phone with her and to leave it in her locker, he gives her a different phone that he will be able to stay in contact with. Gail’s not exactly sure what the assignment is; only half paying attention at parade, but figuring she will soon find out one way or another. At her locker she takes her cell phone out of her pocket, she unlocks her screen and her messages to Holly appear, she sees that message she was going to send to Holly, her thumb once again hovers over the send button. This time she does hit send. She sends the text message to Holly and immediately turns off her phone. She sets her phone on the shelf of her locker, leaving the fallout of whatever Holly will send to Gail’s phone for tomorrow.
Holly’s at dinner with some of her coworkers, she hears the ping of her phone and sees she has just received a message from Gail, the notification of a message from Gail brings a smile to her face. She thinks about saving it for later, but decides to excuse herself from the table. She gets up and walks outside, enjoying the first feels of the warm summer sun. Waking up with Gail that morning, a day full of knowledge, a good meal, and now a text from her girlfriend, could Holly’s day get any better? She smiles to herself as she unlocks her phone to read what Gail sent. “You’re right, this was a mistake. I can’t do this anymore.” Her face immediately drops. She waits a few seconds thinking the blonde might send her something else, that it might be a joke, it has to be a joke…right? Some weird sick joke that Gail is going to explain in just a second. Holly waits for Gail to write something more, because there has to be more. Holly waits for those dots to appear on her screen, she feels like she can picture the grin on Gail’s face as she’s typing out her next text, that this is all some misunderstanding and some joke, Holly tries desperately to convince herself, the word joke at the forefront of her thoughts, not wanting to think otherwise. But still nothing has come. The time changes on her phone’s screen, it now says the text was sent ten minutes ago. Holly hasn’t been standing outside for ten whole minutes, has she? Holly can’t wait any longer. She knows the blonde is on shift, but she has to call her, she needs to call her. Holly calls Gail. After the right amount of rings Holly’s call gets directed to Gail’s mailbox. Holly leaves a message, “hi Gail. It’s me; I just got your message. I know you’re at work, please call me. I need to tell you something. I-” Holly cuts herself off, bringing the back of her hand to her forehead and squinting her eyes shut, “Please call me when you have a minute.” Just to be on the safe side, she sends a text as well saying to call her. Holly can’t stay outside much longer; someone is bound to come looking for her. She slips her phone in her pocket, heading inside; trying desperately to act like her world is not completely falling apart.
Gail’s one day undercover has taken her to the weekend. She was expecting to spend her Thursday night undercover and probably most of Friday, but now it’s Sunday and she finds herself in a room being told by Callaghan that the intel she has been getting leads them to believe that something big is going to happen and they can’t pull her out just yet. He asks her if she is comfortable staying undercover just a bit longer, she kind of laughs at him, she’s a Peck, of course she’s okay to stay undercover a little while longer. He kind of smiles at her, and feels this is the better option than to have someone else replace her, feeling that that would look quite suspicious. Luke has put Gail on the streets of Toronto, living in a makeshift tent, so it wouldn’t have been all too difficult to replace her with someone else since people rarely pay attention to those around them, another person on the streets has sadly become not that uncommon now a days anyways. She’s been keeping her ear to the ground and has heard about a shipment of a new hybrid drug that could change Toronto’s drug scene. She asks Callaghan to tell Steve what’s going on, feeling more comfortable having her brother potentially watch her back and knowing that a Peck will never let an opt get out of control, being able to pull on different resources that others can’t. Gail doesn’t normally use her last name, but she feels now is the time to do so, to make sure she stays safe and others don’t get hurt. Gail feels safe enough in her undercover mission, if only Nick could see her now, spending all her time in a tent with barely any possessions, he wouldn’t laugh at her now. She hopes one day they will laugh again together when she tells him about her tent.
After not hearing from Gail for the rest of the week, with the conference done, Holly books the one hour flight to Toronto to see the blonde. She goes to 15 precinct (she still doesn’t know her police officer girlfriend’s address), walks up to the dark haired man behind the desk, smile plastered on her face she says, “I would like to speak to Officer Gail Peck please.”
The man furrows his brow, “I’m sorry ma’am but she’s not here, but I can give her a message next time I see her.”
“Could you at least let me know where I could find her? Like her home address?” Holly knows it’s a long shot but she has to try.
“I’m sorry, but I cannot give away our officers’ personal information, may I ask who I am talking to?”
“I just need to see Gail,” Holly says louder than she was expecting, feeling frustrated, not hearing from the blonde for over three days now, Holly turns the heads of some of the other police personnel behind the glass in the precinct. She recognizes one face.
“Holly?” questions Traci.
“Traci! Where’s Gail?”
“Chris let her in, I know her,” says Traci.
“Holly?” Chris says quietly to himself, feeling like he recognizes the name from somewhere. Chris looks over at Traci who nods her head; he pushes the button to unlock the doors.
“Hi Holly, it’s good to see you again, what brings you to town, you here to visit your family? Did you have a safe flight? How long are you in town for?” Traci feels like Chloe as she asks an onslaught of questions in order to deter Holly from asking the question she wants to know.
“Um, no, I was at a medical conference in Detroit and I haven’t heard from Gail since I saw her on Thursday and it’s now Sunday and I wanted to check on her, do you know where she is and where I can find her?”
“Let’s talk in here,” offers Traci as she opens an interrogation room door and ushers Holly in.
“Come on Traci, just tell me where Gail is, she sent me a very confusing text saying-” Holly cuts herself, not one to normally air her problems, she continues with, “and I texted her back and she hasn’t sent anything since Thursday night, I’m just worried, I just want to see her,” says Holly who looks extremely worried.
“Why don’t you take a seat,” Traci sits in one of the available chairs and doesn’t continue talking until Holly does the same. Traci can tell by Holly’s body language the doctor is nervous and concerned, she can tell that Holly truly cares for Gail, Traci wants to help out her friend so she says, “Gail volunteered for a simple undercover operation; she has a handler and is only allowed to contact them,” hoping that it will clear some things up for Holly.
“What?” a now even more confused Holly.
Traci tilts her head to the side, wondering what type of text message Gail sent Holly, ’cause clearly the information that Traci just provided is not what Holly was looking for. She continues regardless, “Gail’s brother has stepped in to help the investigation-” Traci continues to inform Holly on all that she can, just basic information to try and reassure a police officer’s significant other, because as far as Traci knows Holly is still dating Gail, and since Gail was unable to come back to the precinct to her locker (where if Traci had gone undercover where she would have kept her phone), Gail would have had no way of contacting Holly with the new details of her assignment and how she was going to be staying out longer.
Holly’s confused, is this why Gail sent that text? Was this the blonde’s way of somehow letting Holly go, of letting Holly see someone else, give Holly a clean break, even though Holly doesn’t want to see anyone else ever, not in that capacity, why doesn’t Gail understand that? Holly sighs frustratedly and cuts off Traci, “is there any way that I can contact her?”
Traci does her best to look sorry and shakes her head, “there isn’t, sorry.”
“I can’t send her a note or anything?” Holly feels like she may have seen something like that done in a tv show once or twice.
Traci shakes her head and smiles sadly, “only in the movies.”
Holly crosses her arms. “There’s nothing I can do?” Holly tries to ask again.
“No. Just be patient, she’ll come back to us.” Traci has full faith in the blonde officer, knowing that she will do everything she can to have a successful mission and return home.
Holly doesn’t know what to say to that.
Gail can see the man coming, she keeps an eye out for people passing her tent, make sure all they do is pass her tent. Most of them do, the odd one stops to talk, Gail’s new least favourite part of being a cop, staying in character, sure she tried being bitchy, but that doesn’t seem to deter people here. She’s in the heart of the downtown, in some back alley that no one goes through unless you have a reason to. Callaghan got a tip that some large shipment of drugs was coming to Toronto, no one knows who informed Callaghan, and why it was Callaghan that got shared the information, but so far as Gail can tell it was valid information. There seems to be a buzz in this alley, and although she’s only been there for a couple of days, people have already started treating her as if she’s been there for years. Gail can tell this alley has formed a tight knit community, that they look out for each other, it reminds her of her fellow police officers, always having each other’s back. The man stops in front of her tent, “knock knock knock,” he says trying to get her attention, even though he already has it, he just doesn’t know it.
Gail unzips the flap, “what?” she goes for bitchy; it is her character after all.
“Haven’t seen you around before.”
The guy kind of chuckles, “got a name?”
“Mae,” says Gail.
“Mae short for something?”
“Maybelline,” jokes Gail.
“Why didn’t you just go by Mable?”
Gail ignores the question and jerks her head to the man, “what’s your name?”
“Alexzander, but people call me Zander.”
“Fun,” says Gail.
Zander smiles at her, “see you around Mable, if you need anything let me know.”
“It’s Mae,” Gail calls after him. Gail’s just about to zip up her tent when she hears a “meow.” She watches as Zander walks up to the next tent and goes inside, she can no longer see him, Gail knows that that’s Isaac’s tent, he seems like a nice guy the few times Gail has actually talked to him. She unzips her tent and there is a little kitten staring at her. A gray cat with white paws and white tail, green eyes and cute little whiskers. Cute? Gail thinks to herself. The cat immediately pounces into Gail’s tent. “Not you again,” she addresses the cat.
“Meow,” the cat tilt’s its head to the side.
Just then a big drop of rain falls from the sky, Gail grumbles, spending her spring in Toronto in a tent, at least it’s not summer, she thinks. “You better come in,” Gail reaches out to pick up the little kitten, who has now spent the last two nights in Gail’s tent, Gail is weirdly happy for the company.
Gail plays with the burner phone in her hand, turning it in circles. She currently has four phone numbers memorized, as soon as Luke gave her his number she memorized, she knew she couldn’t program it into her phone, she had heard of one too many opts that went the wrong way just because their phone got into the wrong hands and their cover got blown. She already had Steve’s phone number memorized for the odd time she was without her phone and needed to call him, whether she needed a ride home from the Penny or advice on what to do with a difficult arrest, she easily could call Steve, sure he would then bug her by calling himself her savior or her sage, but it was a free ride or free advice. She has her parents’ home phone number still memorized, which is a good number to know, two high ranking Toronto police personnel, a lot of people would love to get their number. The last number she has memorized is the one giving her the most trouble, she desperately wants to call it, but she knows she shouldn’t, she knows she can’t. So she continues to turn the phone over and over and over again. She sighs and tosses it down on her sleeping bag, just missing the cat. The movement startles the cat, who now looks at her, titling its head to the side, “meow?”
“You wouldn’t understand,” says Gail.
The cat says, “meow,” again, seeming to agree and settles down back on Gail’s sleeping bag, making itself comfy, it’s not long before Gail can hear the light sleeping noises she has started to become accustom to.
Gail sighs. She gets up, ready to start her day, she was talking to Zander the other day, who said he knew someone who was looking for some help with a few odd jobs, if she wanted some cash she could tag along. Since Gail literally has no money with her, it was an easy decision. Currently she spends most of her time in the alley, paying attention to everyone, treating it like it’s a stakeout. Using her extremely good memory she is able to report back to Callaghan what she observes. She has a scheduled meeting with someone from fifteen every day, a bit of a check in, she heads to a sandwich shop and always ends up behind one of her fellow rookies who does the classic, ‘I’ll buy whatever the person behind me is getting too,’ so Gail gets a free meal and doesn’t have to worry about producing some (at this point, non-existent) money. She usually slips them some napkin that has various scribbles on it to take back to Luke and Steve, letting them know whether she heard anything interesting. Gail started off with some money, but in order for her to stay true to her story she lost it gambling with another person in the alley. So far it’s been working out okay for her, she only really heard the once about a lot of drugs coming to Toronto, but hasn’t heard anything since then. Luke has decided for her to stay out just a little longer because his unknown source keeps informing him about something even bigger. Gail has also heard about someone named Lex, she’s not sure who it is, she wants to ask Zander, and figures today is a good day to since they will be on their own. As of right now, two weeks into sleeping on the streets, it looks like she will be spending the rest of spring here and the start of the summer, she hopes that she will be done by the heat of the summer, already noticing how hot her tent gets at certain hours of the day.
She leaves her tent, keeping the flap partially unzipped making sure the cat can get out if it wants to. She stands up and stretches, cracking her back in the morning sun. She calls out to Isaac, “I’m leaving with Zander, no one touches my stuff.”
Isaac, who’s sitting outside his tent in a lawn chair reading the newspaper, nods his head without even looking at her.
She ducks back in to grab her phone and pockets it, she doesn’t want to forget that, she pats the kitty’s head, and leaves again.
Holly hates this, she hates that she is unable to contact Gail. If this is a breakup (Holly doesn’t think that it is) it is probably her worst, why? Because there was no reason for it. It was completely unnecessary in Holly’s mind. They were getting along great; she enjoyed spending time with Gail even if it was over the computer or a random weekend in person. Of all of her relationships, this one was the easiest, she felt so comfortable with Gail, and she felt like they just clicked, she didn’t know how easy it could be, but it was. And now, she just feels frustrated, and the person she is frustrated with is unreachable. Normally when she is this annoyed or angry with a person she’d call the person up and give them a piece of her mind, let them know how their actions are affecting her. But she can’t. She sighs.
She feels grateful for Traci who’s been texting her every weekend letting Holly know that Gail is still safe, Traci got the okay from Steve, Traci has even called her the once and they talked a bit about Gail (Traci was not really sure what else to talk about), Traci shared some stories from their rookie year and the numerous times the blonde has slept over while watching Leo and the fun they all have. Holly appreciates it, she truly does, but … but hearing some of these stories makes it a little harder. Traci told Holly that she could call anytime she wants to talk or wants to know any more information, but Traci said she would call again just to check in, because Gail is family which makes Holly family. When Traci said that a sad smile crossed Holly’s face, how Holly was accepted into something that might not even be her’s anymore.
Holly feels slightly selfish, how she is getting all this information about Gail, not just how her opt is going but also some of her past stories, personal stories that the blonde could share with her, but hasn’t / hadn’t / wont. Holly knows Gail broke up with her (kind of, Holly hasn’t accepted it yet, hasn’t agreed to the breakup, and until Gail gets back and they can talk things through, she wont accept it) but nobody else does, she is only receiving this information from Traci because people think they are still together. Sure Holly feels slightly selfish about receiving this information, but at this point she doesn’t care. It makes her feel Gail is still kind of there even though she knows she isn’t. It makes her feel like Gail will come home, come back to her, even though that is all one big question mark. It also makes Holly feel slightly delusional, like she is hanging onto something that isn’t there, but she knows once Gail is back they can talk things through, they will talk things through. Holly is not giving up on the blonde.
Holly has gone back to texting Gail every day. Just something short, how her day is going or something interesting that happened or something weird she heard or read, something that she knows the blonde would like as well. It’s not much, but it’s something. It makes her feel like they’re still connected in a sense. Sure she never gets a text back or an immediate phone call strictly of the blonde laughing, but at least it’s something. Damn she misses those phone calls of the blonde laughing.
Zander sees Gail staring at the phone, seen her staring at the phone off and on all day. “You expecting a call?”
“No, not really.” They’re taking a break, they were hired by some man to clean out his garage, he’s downsizing, moving out of the house he raised his family in and into a one floor house, over three decades of junk collected over the years in this garage, Gail hates going through other people’s junk. It reminds her of that time they had to clear all those people out of a subsidized housing complex that was soon to get demolished. She didn’t care for that shift either.
“You hoping someone’s going to call you?”
Gail shrugs her shoulders. “Kind of, but she doesn’t have my new number.”
“Ah,” says Zander completely understanding. “The ex?”
Gail sadly nods her head.
“You want a second chance?”
Gail scrunches up her face, not sure what to say to that, she told Zander her ‘story’ how she gambled away her and her ex’s bank account, and her ex kicked her out, and she went from friend’s couch to friend’s couch to not enjoying them get annoyed with her for gambling away any pay cheque that she earned, getting fired for not showing up to work, not having enough money to produce first month and last month’s rent, which is why she now has her tent. No one to tell her what to do now, Zander laughed the first time she had told him that last bit. She shrugs her shoulders.
Zander reaches out to pat her shoulder, “I understand, it’s complicated.”
“You don’t know the half of it…”
Zander smiles, “You almost done? Ready to get back at it?”
“That’s the attitude!”
“Hey,” says Gail, before she forgets to ask again, “who’s Lex?” she asks casually.
“You mean Lexi? That’s Isaac’s girl, she doesn’t come around that much anymore, but next time she does I can introduce you two,” Zander kind of wiggles his eyebrows at her.
“Hmmmm….maybe,” says Gail, trying to put the information in her head together, something doesn’t seem to fit; she needs to let Steve know, see if he’s heard of Lexi.
“Come on Mable,” says Zander, “the sooner we start again, the sooner we get done.”
Gail begrudgingly gets off of a piano bench where she was sitting, smacking her hands down on as many keys as she can to make a loud sound. “Alright. But don’t call me Mable,” she snaps, wondering how they’re going to move the piano.
Zander laughs and tosses a pillow at her, “don’t hurt yourself with that,” he jokes as she watches her throw it into the back of a truck.
Holly’s at work, working on some menial task, keeping her mind focused on working with her hands so that she can tune out her coworker, her coworker who is once again ranting and raving over something they have no control over, something that is going to happen whether or not they like it, something that has nothing to do with work. She hates his rants, work is not really the place for that, maybe go to the bar with your friends and have them listen to it, not your coworkers, who are just trying to do their jobs, just putting in the hours to be able to go home again.
At first Holly loved her new job in San Francisco; it was everything she dreamed of, working on special experiments, testing science, expanding their knowledge. Everything she ever wanted. But now… now she wants to go home, she just want to go back to Toronto, back to her family, to see her parents more and her sister and her sister’s growing family. At first the time zone change wasn’t too bad, but now it just feels like a burden. Constantly wanting to call her sister to vent when she gets home from work, but she often finds herself calling when her sister’s family is finishing up dinner and then getting the kids and baby ready for bed. She always says to Cindy to call her back if she isn’t too tired when she’s done, but rarely does Cindy ever call her back, and Holly doesn’t hold that against her. Sure she would love for Cindy to call her more often, but she has a busy day right now with the two kids and a baby, trying to decide what to do with the kids with school finishing up for the summer and them being off for two months. Holly wants to go home soon to see her nieces and nephew while their off and hopefully Gail will be back by then too.
She sighs and rolls her eyes. All up in her head. Thinking.
“I saw that,” says Ella with a grin on her face, clearly feeling the same way, work is not a place to voice certain opinions, work is supposed to be a neutral environment, not loaded with tension.
Holly rolls her eyes again.
Ella laughs. “Drinks tonight? I could use some and I’m sure you could too.”
Holly kind of makes a face, she was to facetime Lisa when she got home, but it is Friday, she’s sure Lisa has some other plans for the evening besides waiting around for a video call from Holly. “Sure,” says Holly, hoping to remember to send a text to Lisa to reschedule, but then again, of all the times Holly waited around for Lisa to show up but never did, maybe she’ll conveniently forget.
Gail feels like she made a mistake, Gail knows she made a mistake. She should not have called things off completely with Holly. She should have told her all the facts, that she was going undercover for an assignment and if Holly wanted to wait around for her, because that would be great and Gail would really appreciate it if she did. But instead Gail did what she always does; she makes things more complicated than she actually has to. She decided that she was going to be the one to leave this time, not the other way around. She didn’t want to come back from her uc stint and find out that Holly has moved on, but now that’s essentially what’s going to happen because Gail called it off. Idiot, she thinks.
Gail did not want to go back to her tent that night, she wanted to go home, she wanted to go back to the frat house and call Holly. She wanted to hear the brunette talk and call her ‘honey.’ Gail just wanted to listen to Holly talk about whatever happened in her day and make her laugh, Gail adores Holly’s laugh. Gail sighs. At least she knows she wont be alone tonight, the cat has spent every night with her since that first night showing up at her tent, crawling onto her chest at night and purring. Gail finds petting the cat extremely calming and comforting, and has become the highlight of her day.
Gail gets back to her tent that night, her muscles all sore, she’s tired. Gail wasn’t too sure about sleeping on the streets at night. She knew that Luke and Steve were lead on this operation and she knew that if anything were to happen to her Luke would pay, whether it be from Steve or Elaine or some other unknown force, Luke would not fare well if something terrible were to happen to Gail Peck. Gail has now lived at the frat house for a couple of years and has become acquainted to the sounds of Toronto, at first she found the city noises completely bothersome compared to the quiet of the suburbs, but what she wasn’t too sure about sleeping outside daily was the feeling of exposure sleeping on the streets, feeling like she was always on guard that an attack could come at any minute, but that could just be her police training. With Gail never really trusting people to begin with, feeling leery about anyone she came into contact with was a no brainer. Not wanting to let her guard down but having to close her eyes for some much needed shut eye. She knew sleep was inevitable, that she would have to eventually shut her eyes and actually sleep. Having the cat rest on her chest or next to her head has been the greatest comfort. Being able to listen to the cat’s steady breathing and the soft cute mewing sounds it makes has become Gail’s lifeline.
Question: when Gail gets back to her tent how many cats should be in there? None, one, at least two, or the cat and its dog?
Thanks for reading
Gail unzips her tent, ready to lie down and do nothing. Just eavesdrop. Make sure everything is still okay around here; make sure nothing huge happened while she was away cleaning out some random person’s garage. She still can’t believe she agreed to that. She steps into her tent and sees Charlie, her cat, wait! Her cat? When did that happen? Gail thinks. There’s Charlie all curled up, fast asleep and next to a dog? Where did the dog come from? This wont do. Gail says, “Charlie.” The kitten lifts her little head and sees Gail; the kitten drops her head back onto the dog. “Charlie,” Gail says again, this time a little more forcefully. The kitten slowly gets out of its sleeping position and stretches out; she slowly strides over to Gail. Gail pets the little kitten, immediately feeling a sense of calm. “Who’s the dog, Charlie?” The cat obviously doesn’t answer just enjoying the petting it’s receiving. “The dog can’t stay; you need to take the dog back home, I’m sure someone’s looking for him.”
The cat says, “meowww,” as if trying to protest. The sound wakes up the dog who spots Gail and begins to bark.
“See,” says Gail, who is already starting to feel annoyed at the pooch, “we can’t have that, you need to take your friend home.” Gail picks up the kitty who had migrated into her lap and sets her outside, the dog follows the cat, “go,” says Gail.
The cat looks at Gail one last time, maybe trying to convince the blonde with its cute little face that the dog should stay, “meow?”
“Go,” says Gail again, “you can come back once you take him home,” the cat starts to walk away with the little dog following her, Gail just realized that she was treating the cat like a human, as if the cat can understand her, who knows maybe it’ll work, Gail shrugs her shoulders. She wipes away all the fur from her sleeping bag and lies down, she’s been looking forward to this all day. Her body sore from manual labour, listening to the street sounds, which have now become her background noise she easily drifts off to sleep. It’s not until a couple of hours later that she wakes up again hearing some rustling in her tent. She opens her one eye, “Charlie?” she questions.
“Meow,” she gets an answer back.
“Only Charlie?” she asks as she sits up, making sure that dog has not followed the kitty back to Gail’s tent. Charlie sees Gail move her position and immediately pounces onto her, “good listening, here look what I got you,” Gail retrieves a tin of cat food something that she found in the man’s garage earlier that day, “and it hasn’t expired yet,” Gail says all pleased with herself. She opens the tin and the scent immediately attracts Charlie to it, nipping away at the food inside the aluminum. Gail pats the cat’s head, “good girl.” Charlie continues to chow down, ignoring Gail. Gail lies back down, feeling the need to rest; she eventually closes her eyes again and drifts off to sleep.
Another two weeks have gone by and Holly is back into her schedule, it’s amazing how true the expression, ‘humans are creatures of habit,’ is. Holly feels making herself do certain things in order to get through her day has helped her from feeling sorry for herself. She hates feeling sorry for herself; she thinks probably everyone does, especially over something like this. She’s a strong independent woman, she keeps reminding herself. She knows her and Gail can work this thing through, they just need the chance to talk it out. Gail needs to be able to tell Holly why she broke up with her in the first place, and not do this whole ‘cat in a tree’ thing. Holly has faith in them; she just needs to know if Gail does too.
Creating a schedule was Holly’s sure fire way of creating habits for herself. She wakes up in the morning with just enough time to get ready to go to work, she goes to work, when work is through she heads back to her apartment and changes into her running clothes and sets off for a run, once she gets back from her run its dinner time, she quickly showers than she eats, she watches some television, reads her book and goes to sleep. She finds keeping herself busy allows herself not to think so much. Holly likes having a schedule; she likes the ability to put herself on autopilot and not have to pay too much attention to everything else. Some may think of it as a coward’s way out, or a way to avoid her problems, but she considers it the best way to keep herself sane.
It’s now mid-August, Gail’s tent is sweltering inside. Luke and Steve promised she would be out of there before that happened, but those two idiots promised someone else that they would bring in ‘Lex.’ She tried going to one of the shelters to spend the night, but they said that she could go in but not the cat. That wouldn’t do, Gail decided she’d rather sweat it out in her tent with Charlie. Gail has been supplying the two detectives with reliable information about the illicit drugs on the streets of Toronto. They have made some small busts but want to get Lex. Gail has heard more and more about this Lex character. She has yet to see Lex, only heard about him or her from others. Lex is not Lexi, Isaac’s girl, that’s for sure. Gail ruled that out pretty quickly. Whenever someone mentions a large shipment of drugs that is coming in, Lex’s name is always mentioned as well. Lex is clearly the lead on all of this, this mysterious person who apparently rules from afar. Gail is stumped, she has met one too many people in the past couple of months but has no clue which one is Lex. When she feels she knows who it is, that person usually hasn’t been heard from in days but Lex’s name is still uttered. Someone must know Lex and she just needs to figure out who, and soon, Gail does not want to be here much longer, she’s done and she knows that when your heart is not in it is when mistakes are made. Oh boy she doesn’t want any mistakes, she wants to be able to go home and contact Holly and tell her how big of an idiot she is for ever saying goodbye.
Gail has decided to try and call Holly. She walks by the same payphone every day, and she keeps thinking to herself how easy it would be to just pick up the phone and dial those eleven numbers. But every day she has chickened out. She wants to call Holly, she needs to call Holly, she wants to make sure Holly knows that she is okay and hasn’t dropped off the face of the Earth, she wants Holly to know that she is truly sorry and that she is an idiot, Holly not the idiot, Gail. Gail once again walks by that payphone, but this time she picks up the telephone off of the receiver, she starts to punch in the numbers and is told the price of her call, she has done this step twice already, she knows exactly how much it’s going to cost her, she slips the coins into the machine and listens to the phone ring. Gail sucks in her breath, completely terrified. The phone keeps ringing and ringing and ringing. Eventually she gets directed to Holly’s answering machine, Gail hears the brunette’s voice, she gets distracted by the sound, nearly forgetting to leave her voicemail. “Hi Holly, it’s me. I’m so sorry. I know I have no right to ask your forgiveness, but…I hope you’re doing okay, and I just needed to tell you how sorry I am, and I-” Gail stops herself, feeling like she has gotten off track even though she wasn’t really sure what she was exactly going to say anyways, just then the phone starts to beep, she needs to inset another quarter, Gail doesn’t have another quarter, she only had enough for the call. It takes all of Gail’s will power to hang up the phone, she knows the line has gone dead, and that there is no possibility for Holly to pick up and for Gail to talk to her, Gail sighs frustratedly, she does put the phone back on the receiver and turn around and walks away. She feels on the verge of tears. She didn’t even get to talk to Holly. In a sense she has a bit of relief, she’s not even sure she would have said anything if Holly had picked up and said ‘hello.’ At least with the answering machine Gail was able to speak her mind, did Gail speak her mind? Gail doesn’t even remember what she had said. Gail crouches down on the ground, head in her hands, completely defeated. Gail misses Holly. Just then Charlie seems to find Gail, walking beside her legs and brushing up against her, Gail instinctively puts her hand out to pet Charlie. Gail wipes away a tear from her face and stands up straight. “Come on Charlie, let’s get going, I need to get out of the sun.”
Gail smiles at the kitty cat.
“Are the kids excited to go back to school?” Holly asks Cindy.
Cindy laughs over the phone, “no, what kid is excited to go back to school?”
“I was,” says Holly.
Cindy laughs again, “right, I forgot, I would hide the back to school lists and you would somehow produce another one from somewhere and put it on the fridge for mom and dad.”
“I would ask for extra when the teacher was handing them out,” informs Holly.
“Of course you did.”
“How’s little Sunny?”
“Oh, she’s good, she’s currently napping. Alfred took the kids to the park so the house is nice and quiet. She’s been crawling all over the place lately, just wait ‘til you see her next.”
“Ugh, she’ll probably be walking by then…” Holly laments.
“It’s too bad you were unable to come home for a bit in the summer,” says Cindy, “the kids and I were looking forward to a visit.”
“Yeah…” says Holly, she wanted to go home, she truly did, it’s just, she felt that if she went home she wouldn’t go back to San Francisco, and well…Holly’s not a quitter, she will finish her job’s contract and then... and then she will see what to do next.
“You coming home soon?”
“Not sure,” Holly answers honestly.
“You heard from Gail?”
Holly sighs, she pauses, she got Gail’s voice mail a while ago, but she’s not sure if she was supposed to, she doesn’t want the blonde to get in trouble, and sure her sister has no connection to the police and would be unable to tell anyone, but she kind of wants to keep Gail’s voice mail to herself, “no, she’s still out somewhere, I don’t know where, Traci can’t tell me.” Holly was happy to hear Gail’s voice, her voice sounded strained and tired and weary and Holly just wanted to reach through the telephone and hug the blonde. Holly was not expecting the message to be from the blonde, it kind of startled her, it took her off guard and Holly felt like she was going to break down and cry. She misses Gail.
“Ah. Well I hope she’s okay,” says Cindy cutting through Holly’s thoughts. “Will you come home when she does?” asks Cindy who has no idea her little sister and Gail have potentially broken up.
Holly sighs again, “I don’t know.”
“You don’t seem to know much eh?” Cindy jokes.
Holly sighs a third time, “I have to go.”
“I was kidding!” Cindy says loudly, not wanting Holly to be annoyed with her, not intentionally trying to piss her off, just joking around.
“I know,” Holly’s not annoyed with Cindy, just frustrated with life, “but I do have to go, my break is over, I have to head back inside,” Holly’s been sitting on a bench across from the building she works at, she is enjoying the warmth of the California sun.
“Okay,” says Cindy, “if you need anything just call.”
“I will.” Holly is not really ready to get off of the phone just yet.
There’s a pause, apparently neither is Cindy. “What if I came out to visit you?”
“Would you?” asks a hopeful Holly.
“Sure, the kids are back in school next week, I’m sure mom and dad will watch the baby so Alfred can go to work. If they all agree to it, I’ll be at your place by next Friday.”
“Okay,” agrees Holly, liking the idea of having a familiar face, having someone change up her routine, make her do something beside work, run, eat, and sleep.
“Okay,” says Cindy, “I’ll talk to mom and dad and Alfred and get back to you,” who is slightly excited about getting a break from her kids.
Gail has worked her ass off trying to get into the whole drug ring thing, she wasn’t exactly sure the best way to do it, but she was hanging out outside of Isaac’s tent the one day when Jim had appeared. He was looking for Zander, when Isaac said he hadn’t seen Zander, Jim asked Gail how strong she is and if she was busy doing anything and then asked her if she could help him lift some stuff and she said ‘yes.’ Gail thought they were going to clean out someone’s garage again, but they ended up at some truck yard where they were supposed to do grunt work, lifting up ‘very important packages,’ Jim had winked at her, and putting them into someone’s truck bed. Gail’s not sure where the drugs, sorry ‘very important packages,’ went after that, but she sure as hell remembered the address to give it to Callaghan. Let the cops do a proper stakeout; follow the trucks and people coming in and out. The cops weren’t going to trounce on the truck yard just yet, as they were still on the lookout for the mysterious Lex, wanting to make sure Lex was present when everything went down. They also wanted to see what else was coming into the city and more importantly where it was coming from. They needed more information before they gave away their only lead.
“Hey Mae!” shouts Jim, “could you help me with this?”
Gail gets up from where she was sitting. They’ve been waiting all day for the trucks to show up. Gail’s been waiting in the shade, even though it’s now mid-September, that sun is still hot and she does not want another sun burn. She slowly moves to Jim’s side to see what he’s staring at. “What is it?”
“Not sure, but we need o move it. It was a part of the last shipment, maybe they forgot to take it with them.”
Gail shrugs her shoulders. They move to either side of this large piece of metal, “maybe it’s from one of their trucks?”
“If they don’t take it with them this time, can we scrap metal it?”
“That’s a good idea, lift!” Jim commands. They try their best but don’t succeed. “Damn that’s heavy.” Just then a couple of trucks roll into the yard. “We can try to move it later.”
Gail nods her head and moves with Jim closer to the trucks.
Zander gets out of one of the trucks, “what’s she doing here?” he immediately questions Jim.
“She helps me. When I can’t find you, I get Mae to assist.”
Zander doesn’t seem to sure about this idea. Gail keeps her mouth shut; knowing whatever she says will just fall on deaf ears, letting the fellas hash it out.
Jim continues, “she’s been helping me with the last couple of shipments. We lift things up and put them down.” Jim says quoting that gym commercial hoping to get a laugh from Zander.
It works. “Alright, Mable can help.” Zander walks over to Gail and claps her on the back, “don’t hurt yourself.”
“I’ll try my best,” Gail winces at the smack she just received, rubbing her shoulder.
Cindy flew to California to visit Holly for the week, the week flew by and now it’s time to say goodbye, “come on, you have to come home for Thanksgiving,” pleads Cindy.
“I don’t know,” says the doctor, who still fears whether she would actually go back to San Francisco if she went home to Toronto. “I’ll have to ask at work,” which isn’t a lie, she would need the okay from them.
“Okay,” says Cindy as she gives her sister one last hug, “we miss you Hols.”
“I miss you guys too.”
“I miss having my sister a ten minute drive away, I mean this was nice to come and visit in a different location for the week, but…”
“I know, it’s not the same as meeting you and the kids at the park or going to watch one of Rain’s soccer games with you.”
“Exactly. I don’t want to be the one to ask you to please come home because that has to be your decision, but…”
“I know,” Holly says and releases her hold on her sister. “Come on, we have to get going, you’re going to miss your flight.”
“Okay,” Cindy lets go of Holly. “This has been fun.”
“Yes, we always manage to have some fun.”
Cindy smiles, “you can’t stop the Stewart sisters from having fun.”
Holly smiles an identical smile as Cindy’s.
Steve is waiting for Gail at some shop, nothing too busy, but nothing too dead either. They want to be able to go in and not be completely noticed. He waits for her in the sports section, he thinks he’s funny. Gail pretends to browse the hockey sticks, picks one up and weighs it in her hands. She puts it back. Steve is standing in front of some sporty poster. She sighs. She goes to stand next to him. “Basketball?” she says as a question, like she took a lucky guess as to what sport they are looking at.
Steve snorts a laugh, “I know you know this is basketball.”
Gail lightly laughs.
“How goes it?”
Gail shrugs her shoulders.
“Come on Gail, I need you to talk to me, I need you to tell me how you are doing.”
Gail sighs, “I want this all to go faster so that I can get back home.”
“To the frat house? With those smelly roommates you are always complaining about?”
Gail shrugs her shoulders again.
“I know it’s tough,” says Steve, “we have a lot of good information that you’ve been supplying us, but-”
Gail cuts him off, “no!” she says it a little more louder than she was expecting, she looks around to see if anyone is watching them, no one seems too interested, little outburst aside, Gail continues, she points her finger into Steve’s chest, “come on Steve, I need to go home. You and Callaghan have enough information to be able to do,” she waves her arms in the air, “whatever it is you two do,” not wanting to take any ownership or hazard any guesses as to what the detectives actually do besides sit on their asses, ’cause that’s what it feels like at this point for Gail. She’s been undercover for almost five months and has supplied oodles of information and has given them various sites to watch to get even more information.
“Okay, okay,” he takes a step towards Gail, pushing her hand aside, “okay,” he tries to place his arms on her but she immediately pushes him aside, “I’ll talk to Luke, see how he feels, you have been giving us very valuable information and we now know a lot about the drug network in Toronto.”
Progress, thinks Gail. NO! She doesn’t want progress, she wants to be done, she has given them names, locations, schedules, what more do they need? “You go ahead and talk to Luke, but it’s already October, I’ve been undercover since June-”
“Wow, has it been that long?”
“Yes, Steven, it has been that long, you have until the weekend or I’m going to, I’m going to do something.” Gail’s not quite sure what yet, but she’s pretty sure she’ll think of something.
“Like what?” Steve furrows his brow.
“Does it matter?”
“No, I guess not, let me talk to Callaghan, see what we have, make sure everything’s all square.”
Gail rolls her eyes. “I have to go.” She doesn’t even wait for Steve to say anything else, she just leaves.
Holly’s family doesn’t know it, but she’s been in town for three days now. She had an interview at the morgue. She scheduled it so she could spend time with her family at Thanksgiving; and make it not seem too suspicious at work. She asked for the weekend off, her boss said she could take the week if she wanted too. Holly was surprised, happy, but surprised. She had heard from a friend at the Toronto lab that they were looking for experienced medical examiners, and the friend sent it to her as a bit of a joke, not realizing how serious Holly has been thinking about moving back home. The friend just thought that either way it would be great for Holly to see the job listing.
Pretty much as soon as Holly received the email, she started revising her résumé, she sent it to her old boss, and was then asked if she wanted to interview for the position, more of a formality than anything. She immediately agreed and scheduled it for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She flew in on the Tuesday, checked in to a hotel, went to her interview on the Wednesday, and on Thursday she’s supposed to meet up with Rachel and Lisa. After her interview on Wednesday she needed to take her mind off of things, not wanting to spend all her time overanalyzing the answers she gave in the interview, so she decided to do some window shopping. She was walking through the downtown when she saw a figure in the distance with the same body shape and outline as Gail, she was just about to yell out to her, thinking that Gail was back, then she saw the woman bend down and pick up a tiny cat and cuddle it in her arms. Holly tilted her head to the side; her Gail wouldn’t do something like that. Holly shoved her hands in her pockets, furrowed her brow, turned around and went back to the hotel, deciding that she needed a nap, deciding that the time zone change was messing with her head.
It worked! Giving Steve an ultimatum worked, Gail is so pleased with herself. She went to get her daily sandwich, man she is getting tired of sandwiches, and she was told by Chloe that she was able to go home; Gail almost threw her arms around the perky red head, but restrained herself, quickly crossing her arms around her body so as not to get any ridiculous ideas like hugging Chloe. First Gail gave the younger officer a quizzical glare, make sure Chloe meant what she was saying, that this wasn’t some sort of sick joke, when Chloe said it was true, Gail immediately turned around and left the sandwich shop, she didn’t need any more confirmation than that. She headed back to her tent and started packing it up. Isaac came over to see what she was up to. Gail simply said that the ex wanted to give her a second chance, more like; Gail was hoping she would get a second chance and saying it aloud gave her some sort of courage, but had decided that that would be a great reason to pack up and leave on such short notice.
Gail’s done packing up her tent, making sure she has everything. She slings it on her shoulder when Isaac calls after her, “Mae! What about your cat?”
Gail was hoping Charlie would be in her tent when she got back from the sandwich shop, but she wasn’t. “Maybe I’ll come back for her; I have to see if I can bring her with me. Will you take care of her ‘til I get back?”
Isaac shrugs his shoulders, “I can’t make any promises, but I’ll do my best.”
“Thanks Isaac, see you around.” Gail leaves the alley, she figures Charlie had survived on her own before she stumbled across Gail, maybe Charlie can survive on her own again.
Gail heads directly to the station; before she gets whisked away into a room, she says to Luke and Steve, “I want to take a shower.” The two men look at each other. She continues, “I also haven’t had lunch yet.”
Steve gets the hint, Gail needs s minute or two to herself, readjust to being back at Fifteen, “go take your shower, we’ll go grab lunch, I haven’t yet either, how about you Luke?”
“What?” questions Luke, feeling like he is losing all control of being lead detective on this to the Peck siblings. Gail shoots him a look. “Fine,” he gives in, “go take your shower, but be in my office in ten minutes.”
“Fifteen,” says Gail.
Luke sighs, “fine, let’s go get lunch Steve.”
Gail is seated across from Steve and Luke, with a sandwich in front of her, she hasn’t touched it yet. She goes through all the information she has passed along to them. She helps them connect the dots and figure out some of the scribbled notes she had passed along over the time. They sit in there for what feels like forever. Eventually the two men stand and say she did a good job, they leave her there, sitting in Luke’s office, not entirely sure what she’s supposed to be doing now. The door opens and in walks Oliver. “Hello darling,” smile already on his face.
“It’s good to see you.”
“Likewise,” Gail nods her head.
“You did a great thing, Gail.” Gail not really one for praise, is not really sure what to do with this compliment. “You know you did,” insists Oliver, “I’m very proud of you.”
“Thanks,” Gail says quietly.
“Now, no talking to anyone about this assignment until Luke and Steve say so,” Oliver looks at Gail and she nods her head. “You need to fill out some paperwork but you are free to go home, you should come back tomorrow to finish filling in the paperwork while it’s still fresh in your head, make sure we get all the information that we can,” Gail nods her head again, “but once that’s complete you can take three weeks off.”
“Three weeks?” questions Gail, what is she going to do for three weeks in the frat house, she’ll go mad. “How about three days?” she tries to reason.
Oliver gives that smile of his at her, “my petulant Peck, I know you like to work, but you need to recharge your batteries, you’ve been ‘on’ this whole time, you need to just chill, relax for a bit. How about we start with three days and then we can talk?”
“Fine,” Gail scowls.
“Okay, good talk, now go home, get some rest, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Once she is done with debriefing she walks into the general area and sees Traci; the brunette wraps the blonde in a hug. Gail lets this hug happen. Traci informs her that Holly has not stopped contacting her ever since Gail went away. “You’ve been talking to Holly?” Gail questions.
“Not often, but yeah.”
This time Traci gets wrapped up in a hug, “thank you.”
“Of course Gail, but you need to let me go, Leo’s expecting me, it is Thanksgiving weekend after all, you need to spend it with your loved ones,” she says all happily, who doesn’t love a holiday strictly surrounded by food?
“It’s Thanksgiving?” questions Gail.
Traci smiles and nods her head, “my mom’s already at my place, if you want you can come too.”
“Wow,” is all Gail can say, she knew it was October, but she didn’t realize it was already Thanksgiving. “Umm, thanks Trace, but maybe some other time, I don’t know if I’m in the mood to be with other people right now.”
“I get it,” says Traci.
“Thanks, though,” says Gail. She goes to the locker room to retrieve her phone, no charge, Gail’s not surprised. She heads to the grouping of desks hoping to find a phone charger that will fit her phone. She plugs it into a wall and waits. As soon as her phone gets some power, several notifications pop up on her phone telling her about the various texts that she has received. The majority are from Holly. Turns out Traci is not the only one Holly has been contacting. Gail starts to read a few.
Traci finds Gail sitting amongst the desks smiling at her phone, Traci recognizes that smile. Purse in hand, Traci says, “she’s in town for Thanksgiving.”
Oh, thinks Gail.
“Good night Gail, I’m glad you’re back safely, see you soon.”
Without even thinking twice Gail sends a text to Holly, she waits for a response… but nothing, three minutes, five minutes, ten minutes pass, but no response. Gail sighs, oh well, it was worth a try.
Gail gets back from being undercover. Traci informs her that Holly has not stopped contacting her ever since Gail went away. Traci also tells Gail that Holly is in town for Thanksgiving. Gail sends a text to Holly, but no response. Gail knows where the Stewarts live so she decides she may as well tell Holly in person that she is home. That makes sense right, just show up at someone’s house without any warning. She doesn’t even have to think twice about it as she grabs her keys from her locker and drives to the Stewart’s house. She knocks on the door. Now the blonde is nervous, can’t take back the knock now though. Gail starts to maybe rethink her bright idea.
The Stewarts are in the family room enjoying spending a quiet evening together. The knock on the door startles them all considering everyone they invited was there already. Holly looks at her parents, “you guys expecting someone?” who shake their heads ‘no’, she then looks at Cindy and Alfred who also shake their heads ‘no.’
Rain and Will jump up from their spots on the floor where they were playing with their baby sister, “we’ll get it!”
They run to the door and look through the door’s window and immediately rip the door open, “Gail!” they yell in unison and throw their arms around the police officer. “Where have you been?” they say rather accusatory.
“Gail?” questions Holly from the other room. She gets up out of her spot on the couch next to her sister and walks towards the front door to see for herself. As soon as her eyes land on the blonde she walks a little bit faster so she too can throw her arms around her. Her niece and nephew let go, allowing Gail to wrap her arms around Holly.
“Hi,” she whispers.
“Hi,” Holly says just as quietly.
After holding on to the other for a respectable amount of time, Holly asks, “do you want to come in the other room?”
Gail smiles a sad smile, “I don’t know if I’m up to it, I just got back and I still have to fill out some paper work, I heard you were in town, I wanted to tell you I was back, and I just wanted to see you.” Needed to see you, thinks Gail.
Holly smiles her lopsided smile and places her hand on the blonde’s cheek. “I missed you too.”
Gail leans her head into Holly’s touch, relishing the feel. She closes her eyes, she’s exhausted. She didn’t really realize how tired she was until now. “I’m so tired, I just want to go home, take a shower, and crawl into bed.” Even though Gail took a shower at the precinct, she feels she needs another one with her own shampoo and conditioner, her scents, to bring her back home.
“Do you want me to go with you? Keep you company.”
Gail didn’t realize that was an option, she would love for Holly to come home with her, but she also just wants to go home and decompress, she’s not sure she wants Holly around for that. “Maybe some other time, I wont be very good company tonight.”
Holly doesn’t want to push Gail or impose. “Will you come back tomorrow?” Holly asks a little nervously, her thumb rubbing Gail’s cheek.
Gail loves that Holly is still touching her, she missed this. “Can I?” Gail didn’t know that that was an option either.
Holly shrugs her shoulders, “it’s Thanksgiving, it’s just my family.”
“Oh,” says Gail quietly, just Holly’s family.
“I would like you to meet my parents, you are my girlfriend,” states Holly.
“I am?” Gail says a little surprised, more like really surprised.
“Sure, why wouldn’t you be? Just because you said you couldn’t do this anymore, doesn’t mean I agreed with it. Plus Will and Rain would love to play with you.”
“Well, you know how I hate to disappoint kids,” Gail smiles wickedly, like that’s the reason why she’s agreeing to come back to the Stewart’s house, even though she is effing delighted that Holly called her her girlfriend.
Holly smiles and leans in to press their foreheads together. “When do you have to go?”
“As soon as you let go of me.”
“Then I guess you’ll never be leaving.”
Gail lets out a huff of a laugh; she leans in to kiss Holly lightly on the lips, just wanting the connection, nothing more. She sighs, forget the shampoo and conditioner, this is home for Gail, right here in Holly’s arms. She drops her head to Holly’s shoulder, placing her face in the crook of Holly’s neck. Holly rests her head atop of Gail’s, she can feel the blonde breathe deeply.
“I’m so sorry Holly,” Gail whispers.
“Shhh, it’s okay, you were just trying to protect me, you’re home now.” She can feel the tears dampening her shirt; she begins to rub Gail’s back.
Gail goes home to the frat house, it’s quiet, Chris and Dov are on the night shift. It’s a little too quiet for Gail. She plugs her phone in to charge; she takes her second shower of the day and decides to call it a night. She’s lying in her bed, staring up at the ceiling; she never realized how quiet her bedroom actually is. Sure she can hear some traffic noises, but it’s not the same as being outside amongst them. She places her hand on her belly expecting to pet Charlie, but nothing. She sits bolt upright in mild panic, where’s Charlie? She lies back down before she remembers she didn’t bring Charlie with her. Maybe she’ll go back to the alley tomorrow and see if she sees the little grey cat and see if the boys will let her keep her. Gail tries to settle her brain so she can sleep. Her body is tired but her head keeps circulating. Busy day. She finishes her uc, comes home and finds out she still has a girlfriend. Speaking of, Gail sits up again and grabs her phone. She sends a quick ‘good night’ text to Holly. Gail smiles when she receives one back pretty quickly. She lies back down again and falls fast asleep.
The next morning Gail goes back to Fifteen, she sits down with Luke and Steve while they each fill out various forms. As she writes more and more she is able to give them more information. She leaves the station around three, Steve asks her if she’s going to mom and dad’s, Gail just laughs, doesn’t even answer, just laughs.
She drives to the alley where she spent five months. Isaac doesn’t seem too surprised to see her, “I thought you’d come back for her.” He hands over Charlie.
Gail smiles as the cat gets thrust into her arms. “Thank you.”
“It’s going to be quiet around here,” Isaac says.
Gail shrugs her shoulders. “I have to go.”
Isaac nods his head, “don’t be a stranger.”
Gail’s not sure how to respond to that, so she doesn’t. She turns around and gets back into her vehicle. She places Charlie on the passenger seat and drives away.
She goes to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for herself and the cat. She also doesn’t want to go to the Stewarts’ empty handed so she grabs a basket of freshly picked local apples, thinking who doesn’t like apples, if Holly’s parents have no use for them, Gail’s sure Cindy can send them in the kids’ lunches.
After dropping off Charlie in her room, she puts out a bowl of water and a cat toy for Charlie; she leaves the window to the fire escape open for the cat to explore her new surroundings, and shuts the door to her bedroom so Charlie doesn’t leave her room. Gail returns to the Stewart house, a basket of apples in hand, she knocks on the door. This time Cindy carrying the baby opens the door, “you didn’t have to knock, you could have just come in, everyone else does.”
Gail smiles shyly, “habit,” she says.
Cindy smiles, “good to see you again, how are you?”
Gail shrugs her shoulders, “fine.”
“Good,” Cindy nods her head, she passes Sunny to Gail and takes the apples.
Gail willingly holds the baby, happy to exchange the produce for the newborn. “We haven’t met yet,” coos Gail, “but I’m Gail and I’m amazing, but you’ll find that out soon enough.”
Cindy laughs, “come on in.” In the front entrance Cindy yells, “Holly! Door’s for you!” She looks at Gail, “she hated it when I did that when we were growing up, it would completely embarrass her,” Cindy smiles at Gail.
Holly walks to the front door with a red face.
Cindy and Gail start laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Holly questions.
“Nothing,” Cindy retrieves the baby from Gail’s arm, “it’s time for a nap I think,” she says to the baby.
Holly furrows her brow as her sister leaves her alone with Gail, “what was that all about?”
“Okay.” Holly walks closer to Gail, “hey.”
“Hey,” Gail smiles, this time her cheeks turning red as Holly places her hands on her hips.
“Want to go for a walk to the park?”
“THE PARK?” yells Will from the other room.
“CAN WE COME?” asks Rain.
“Guess we’re going to the park,” Gail leans in to give Holly a kiss on the lips. She pulls away leaving Holly with her eyes closed, relishing the feel. “CINDY!?!” calls Gail.
“They can go, just make sure they’re wearing sweatshirts,” Cindy says from the kitchen.
“Then of course you can come,” says Gail.
“Don’t be gone too long, dinner will be in a couple of hours,” Cindy reminds as she walks into the hallway with Sunny and a just warmed up bottle. Cindy sees Holly standing there with a goofy look on her face, “what’s up with her?”
“I dunno,” Gail shrugs her shoulders. “Let’s go!” Gail walks out the front door followed by the children, she circles back to grab Holly’s hand to drag her with them.
The children run ahead of the two adults who are walking hand in hand slowly to the park. As Holly watches the kids run through the fence and into the park, immediately climbing one of the play structures, she stops making Gail stop, she pulls Gail back to her. “Hey!” questions Gail.
“Hey,” says Holly.
Gail smiles as she is now face to face with Holly, “hey,” she says again.
“You said that already.”
“You know I thought it sounded familiar.”
Holly smiles and grabs Gail’s face bringing their lips together. Not caring that they are out on the sidewalk, just enjoying the other, they continue to kiss, letting themselves get reacquainted with the other. The kiss starts tame, just a connection of lips, but after not seeing each other for months it quickly escalates, what brings them apart is one of the kids yelling, “LAST ONE TO THE SLIDE IS IT!”
Gail ends the kiss, resting their foreheads together, after a second she turns around and starts running to the jungle gym.
“Hey!” says Holly.
Gail turns her head, “that’s not going to work twice Stewart!” Gail continues to run to the park.
Holly laughs and chases after her.
They get back to Holly’s parents’ house. Opening the door they smell the delicious smells of food cooking in the oven. Gail gets dragged into the family room kitchen area and gets introduced to Holly’s parents. She gets invited back the next day for Thanksgiving Sunday for turkey and mashed potatoes and everything else that goes with it. They’re told that dinner will be in half an hour and the only thing left to do is to set the table, Alfred volunteers himself and Will for the job, leaving the females in the family room.
Gail and Rain are playing ‘Connect Four’ on the floor while Cindy and Holly are sitting on a couch nearby chatting with their mom. Rain asks Gail, “can I call you Aunt Gail yet?”
Gail tilts her head to the side, “ummm….no, Gail is fine.”
“But you’re with Aunt Holly right?”
Gail looks over at Holly, hoping for the brunette to maybe jump in and, Gail doesn’t know, do something, but nothing is said so Gail says, “…I am.”
“Well, Uncle Bert is with Aunt Betty,” states the child in a supposed to be helpful manner.
Two names Gail has never heard in her life, she once again looks to Holly for assistance, who helps out with, “Bert is Alfred’s brother, Betty’s Bert’s wife.”
Gail nods her head, “well…see…” she pauses to collect her thoughts. “I think I see where you’re confused. Your Uncle Bert is with your Aunt Betty, but your Uncle Bert is married to your Aunt Betty, which makes her your actual aunt, like a real relation, but I’m not married to your Aunt Holly which means I’m not your aunt aunt.”
Rain tilts her head to the side, “but Leo calls you his Aunt and you’re not related to them.”
Gail once again looks over to Holly for some assistance. Holly smiles at the blonde, “I love you,” says Holly, “and if you want it, I don’t mind the kids calling you Aunt Gail.”
“What?” questions Gail, she shakes her head, she looks down at her hands, feeling her stomach flip, taking a minute, she looks back at Holly, “I love you too,” she whispers, all shy, looking down at her lap, not really used to declaring one’s love for another in front of everyone.
Holly gets up off the couch and sits next to Gail, she takes the blonde’s head in her hands to turn her face towards her, “I love you and I know we haven’t really talked about a future, but maybe one day, we can make that sort of commitment to each other, to be together forever.”
Gail shakes her head, “Holly,” she practically whispers, “I don’t know how you can talk about this, I mean…I love you, I truly do, but this whole long distance thing is so tough, so tough, and…and I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this, and I only just got back. How can you talk about forever, when you live in another country, when you live in a different time zone, when we’ve really only ever spent a week together here and there…” Gail drops her head.
Holly nudges Gail to look at her, “my contract in San Francisco is almost up, I have three more months, and I was starting to look at what I should do next, where I should go next…and my mind kept veering back to Toronto. Back to my family, back to you. I still have friends at the lab and they mentioned that Dr. Franth was retiring so I sent in my application,” Holly gets that lopsided grin of hers as she says, “and about an hour later I got a response that said ‘welcome back.’”
Gail launches herself at Holly, encircling the other in a hug. “Are you serious?”
“Mhmm, yes I am,” Holly’s all smiles, “I love you Gail, and I want this to be more permanent and I’ll be home in a few short months for…well…forever.”
Gail hugs her tighter. “I love you,” is all Gail can say.
After dinner is done, and dishes are cleaned, and everything is back the way the kitchen should be, Gail felt her phone beeping in her pocket, she excuses herself incase its Steve or Luke. She walks down the hallway close to the front door to open her messages. The first one’s from Chris, “why is your door shut? Are you in there?”
The next one is from Dov, “Gail?!? Why is there a cat in your room?”
The next one is from Chris, “Dov says there’s a cat in your room, we shut your door again.”
She texts them back, “that’s Charlie.” Gail starts to laugh, knowing that the two are going to be even more confused with that lack of an explanation and that’s where Holly finds her. She asks Holly, “Ready to go?”
“Go?” questions Holly.
“Yeah, back to my place, so we can,” Gail wriggles her eyebrows up and down.
“I thought we were going to stay here, we can,” Holly wriggles her eyebrows up and down, “here.” Holly steps into Gail’s personal space, pressing her body into the blonde’s, pushing her up against the wall.
Gail suppresses a gulp as she tries to say in a steady voice, “But your parents could hear us,” Gail once again wiggles her eyebrows up and down.
Alfred comes into the front room with Cindy’s coat, “ready to go?”
“No, wait this is just getting good. For being two educated women, they’re code isn’t that difficult to crack,” Cindy says somewhat pleased with herself.
“Okay,” says Alfred, “let’s give these two some space. Good thing they’re not rabbits.”
“Rabbits?” Cindy questions, completely confused.
“Sure, when rabbits are trying to convince the other to mate, the one pees on the other. I don’t want to clean up anyone’s pee.” Just then the baby in Cindy’s arms makes a settling noise as she stretches her arms and brings them back in tightly across herself. Alfred leans down and wiggles his baby daughter’s covered foot, “okay, maybe yours, but no one else’s’.”
Cindy leans over and kisses Alfred’s forehead. “Goodnight ladies. KIDS!” She yells into the Stewarts’ family home, “time to go! Grab your coats!” Alfred takes the baby to put into the car seat and Cindy takes a moment to put her coat on, slowly does, still feeling sore, she grabs her purse and diaper bag. “Goodnight,” she repeats at her sister, but still no response.
“Come on Holly,” pleads Gail, “your room is probably right next to theirs.”
Holly presses herself into Gail, leaning as close as possible, she whispers into the blonde’s ear, “it was, but my old room is now their office, I get the spare room in the basement,” she nibbles Gail’s earlobe and snakes her hand under the blonde’s shirt trailing her fingers over her skin, “the staircase is on the other side of this wall that we can use and you can avoid hugging all my family members goodbye if we go right now, or we could stay here at the front door and I’d have to remove my hand from under your shirt so we could hug everyone and say goodbye and then go back to your place.”
“Let’s stay,” agrees Gail.
Holly smiles and kisses Gail’s earlobe, “okay,” she grabs her hand, leading the blonde to the basement.
Gail gets up out of bed to go to the bathroom, “are you leaving?” Holly calls after her.
Gail wasn’t planning on it, she looks at the digital alarm clock that reads six a.m., she has nowhere else to go today, “did you want me to?” she questions.
“Good,” says Gail as she walks back into the bedroom. She takes up her spot next to Holly again, lying as close as she possibly can, her head on Holly’s pillow. Staring at the brunette who has her eyes closed, “I love you,” whispers Gail, getting tingles all through her body.
A smile spreads across Holly’s face, “I love you too.”
Gail smiles and nestles even closer to Holly, “good,” she says again.
I feel like this is the end, I have a little bit of something else written for it, but generally speaking I think this is the end. So I’ll probably be marking it as complete, I’m going to think about it for a day or two before I actually mark it as complete, I might just tack on something else, but I feel like it’s a half decent ending and I can’t seem to think out something else…regardless, thanks for reading, have a great day and stay safe out there.
Laying in bed still Thanksgiving weekend at Holly’s parents’ house, “when are we going to see each other again?”
“Well…I don’t plan on coming back to Toronto until my contract is done, so if you want to come back to California while I’m still there, I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to that.”
Gail nods her head, “I could do that, will I be offered the couch again?”
Holly leans over to kiss Gail’s shoulder, “only if you want the couch.”
Gail huffs out a laugh. She grabs her phone from the bedside table to quickly send off a text to Oliver, “I’ll take the three weeks.” She sets her phone back down, “done, I’m off for the next three weeks.”
Holly laughs, “what?”
“Oliver said I could take off three weeks, can I spend at least one week with you? If I stay in town I’ll just end up going back to work early.”
Holly laughs again, “okay. Sounds like fun.”
“If there’s anything you want me to bring back, depending on how much stuff you brought with you, I can bring back a couple of bags to help out or something,” offers Gail, feeling like she may now be imposing on Holly.
“Yeah, that could work, I might have some clothing or some other stuff that I wont be using again.”
“When do you leave?”
“Want me to drive you to the airport?”
“That would be nice.”
“I have some stuff I have to do in town for the next couple of days, if I can get a plane ticket for Friday, is that okay?”
“That would be perfect,” Holly hugs Gail even closer, loving that she can do this again, enjoying the comfortable silence between them, but something has been bothering her, a question rolling over in her mind since June. “Can I ask you a question?”
Gail pauses, she absolutely hates that question, but it’s Holly, she would say pretty much ‘yes’ to anything for Holly, “okay,” she eventually says.
“How come you sent me that text?” Holly feels Gail immediately stiffen in her arms.
“Oh,” Gail says simply, Gail knows exactly what text Holly is referring to, why did she send that text? “Um…” Gail’s stalling, she doesn’t want to express her insecurities to Holly, especially now, now that they’ve just gotten back together. “Um…” she starts again. Gail knows that this has been her best relationship she has ever had, she knows that what she feels for Holly is real and hopes they will always feel this way, she knows that this has been her most mature relationship, but when Holly said that they didn’t really have a relationship, that cut Gail, it completely hurt her, and in typical Gail Peck fashion she lashed out in what she feels the easiest way by breaking up with Holly. Lucky for her, Holly didn’t accept the breakup. Maybe Gail should voice this to Holly.
Holly turns Gail so that they are facing each other, “honey,” is all Holly says.
Gail melts, that’s all that it takes, feeling completely safe, knowing that what’s so great about her and Holly is that they talk, they talk things through, Gail hopes they will be able to talk this one through, “I was afraid you were going to break up with me,” she whispers.
“What? Why?” Holly furrows her brow.
“Something that you said, I probably took it the wrong way, and it’s completely stupid, and I’m sorry,” Gail spews, now knowing that that is the last thing that Holly would do.
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry if it’s something that I said, I don’t even remember,” Holly was so stressed that week, the weeks leading up to the medical conference she had been spending long hours at work, trying to get all their experiments done in time for the conference, double checking and triple checking everything to make sure everything was in order, then she was so thrilled to see Gail and spend time with her without the use of a screen.
Gail doesn’t want to keep talking about it, she’s kind of over it, kind of, but they clearly need to talk about it if Holly brought it up after all these months. “You kind of said that we didn’t have a relationship.”
Holly tilts her head to the side, needing more information. Holly was slightly overworked that month and she treated the conference in Detroit like a vacation and may have slightly turned her brain off; she thought her and Gail were stable, but clearly she said something that set the blonde off, maybe Holly should have paid more attention to the blonde. But Holly remembers the police officer laughing and smiling and having a good time, Holly doesn’t remember Gail annoyed with her or them.
Gail continues, “when I went to visit you in Detroit, we were sitting at that park bench at the river, and you may have said that we didn’t really have a relationship.”
Ah, Holly remembers saying that. Holly stares into Gail’s eyes, “I love you.” Holly doesn’t continue until Gail says it back, reminding herself and Gail that they love one another, “I meant previously, how we met in a broom closet and how you got my number, you still haven’t told me how by the way-”
“I can’t tell you all my secrets,” Gail plays, already feeling slightly relieved, talking things over clearly helping.
Holly smiles, “how we really didn’t know each other, but it doesn’t really matter now, does it?”
“No,” says Gail, “it doesn’t.”
“Good,” Holly leans over to kiss Gail, a reassuring kiss, a kiss to help calm both of their nerves, realizing how far they’ve come and how they still have each other. “We’re good?” Gail nods her head, “good.” One last kiss and Holly starts to move away, “we should head upstairs, my sister’s family will be here soon.”
“I need to go home and change,” says Gail.
“You don’t have to,” says Holly, “you can wear what you wore yesterday.”
“I also have to…do something,” Gail wonders if either boy will have fed the cat, she also hopes neither of them will be there when she gets there so she doesn’t have to explain Charlie.
Holly quirks a smile at her, “you going to tell me what you’re up to?”
Gail just smiles at Holly and shakes her head from side to side; there will be other opportunities for Holly to meet Charlie.
Gail arrives back at the Stewart’s house, this time she lets herself in. Cindy happens to be walking past the front entrance with a squawky baby, “what are you doing?”
“Yesterday you said I could just let myself in,” Gail starts to explain.
Cindy laughs, “I was only joking, here take your niece,” she passes an almost crying baby to Gail.
Gail accepts Sunny into her arms.
“Let’s go outside,” says Cindy.
“Can I bring the baby?”
“Duh, I don’t want you to leave her on the floor next to the front door,” she opens the door and walks out onto the front porch. “Come on Aunt Gail.”
Gail walks outside; she’s directed to sit in a rocking chair, “sorry about that.”
“The whole ‘Aunt Gail’ thing.”
“Why would you be sorry about that? Gail, my sister clearly loves you, and you very much love her, you are great with my kids, I’m fine with it,” says Cindy, happy to not be carrying a crying baby.
“Really?” of all her partners over the years, Gail can safely say she has never really gotten close with any of their families, awkward meetings-yes, but never even formed a relationship, even with Nick’s and they were supposed to get married, the idea makes her laugh now, her and Nick getting married, but back then they were totally serious about it all, not a laughing matter. The baby starts to squawk in Gail’s arms.
“If you rock your chair, the motion will soothe her and she’ll probably start to sleep.” Getting back to what they’re talking about, “I have never seen my sister this happy before Gail, you make her happy.”
Gail smiles to herself and whispers, “Holly makes me happy.”
“Good,” says Cindy, she looks over at Gail, “you seem like a person that appreciates silence,” Gail nods her head, “perfect, I’m just going to close my eyes for a minute.”
Gail silently rocks Sunny back and forth watching those little brown eyes struggle to stay open and then finally close, smile plastered on her face the whole time, completely happy.
Gail goes to San Fran again, her flight left early, they made great time with air currents pushing them to their destination faster. Gail exits the airport and looks at her watch, Holly wont be here for another hour and a half. Gail hails a cab and decides to just show up at Holly’s. She makes it to the brunette’s apartment, she’s outside in the hallway and wonders if she should knock or let herself in, Gail never did give back Holly’s key in January. She lets herself in, Holly’s sitting at the kitchen table reading some article, she hears the door open and turns around, “hey?!? What are you doing here? I was just about to leave to go get you.”
Gail shrugs her shoulders, “if you want to go to the airport you still can, but I’ll stay here if that’s okay with you.” Gail walks closer to Holly, “unless you were expecting another girlfriend to be visiting you from out of town.”
“Nope, just you this week,” Holly smiles and gets out of her chair; she walks over to Gail and pulls her into a hug. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Gail smiles.
Holly kisses her on the lips and hugs her again, giving her a squeeze. “How are you?”
“Fine, I feel all icky from the airplane,” Gail scrunches up her face.
“And you kind of smell,” Holly says.
“I thought that was just you,” Gail says.
The two smile at each other, Holly pushes her away and orders, “go shower.”
“Gladly,” says Gail as she grabs her bag and starts to walk with it to Holly’s room. “I’m not sleeping on the couch,” she reminds the brunette.
After her shower, Gail finds Holly still sitting in her kitchen chair. Gail pulls the chair out so she has space to sit in Holly’s lap. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Gail throws her arms over Holly’s shoulders.
“Did you get everything done that you needed to in Toronto? All you secret activities?”
Pfft, secret activities, Gail needed to make sure that the boys would watch Charlie for her while she was out of town, Steve also dragged her to their parents house for a family check in, they call it dinner but Gail thinks of it as a check in, where Gail was reminded that she needs to bring Holly by when she comes back home…for good, of course her mom would know that Holly got hired as a medical examiner again, “yup,” Gail says not going to elaborate on what she was up to, “this is a really nice top.”
“Thanks, I haven’t changed from work yet.”
“Do you always show this much cleavage?”
“I’ve actually been told that it’s the perfect amount,” Holly smiles as she quotes Gail.
“Oh?” questions Gail.
“Yes,” Holly leans over to kiss Gail. The kiss starts tame, just a connection of lips, but after not seeing each other for a couple of days it quickly escalates. Gail moves her arms from over Holly’s shoulders so that she can hold her face. She trails her hands over Holly’s neck to her shoulders and down to the collar of Holly’s shirt, she grabs the lapel on both sides and is about to give a pull, when Holly stops her, placing her hands on top of Gail’s, “please don’t ruin my shirt.”
“You don’t let me have any fun,” says Gail against Holly’s lips.
Holly throws her head back to laugh. Gail pounces on Holly’s now available neck to kiss. “No fun eh?” Holly hums at the feeling of Gail’s lips on her neck.
Lying in bed, "I'm happy to spending time with a Canadian. They don't seem to get my humour."
"Holly, baby, most people don't get your humour," Gail helpfully points out.
Holly pauses for a second but continues to play with Gail's short hair, running her fingers through it. "Americans, they're just not Canadians."
Gail laughs at Holly's revelation. "Well I'm honoured that of all 35 million of us you decided to spend time with me."
"Wow," says Holly, "those are some crazy odds when you think of it, a 1 in 35 million, what are the chances?"
"Shhhh," says Gail, "nap time."
"Yes, but-" Holly's ready to do more math.
Gail gets up from where she's been lying curled into Holly, she grabs Holly's face; she kisses her on the lips, not pulling apart until she feels Holly kiss her back, "you just had to stop talking."
"I wont say another word."
Holly and Gail are out for a walk, heading to some sort of outdoor market, Gail keeps noticing Holly looking over at Gail and smiling. After about the fourth time Gail finally asks, “what?”
“Nothing,” Holly tries to evade the question, but obviously that’s not going to work with Gail.
“It can’t be nothing,” insists Gail, stopping their walk and forcing Holly to look at her, “tell me.”
“I just can’t believe that you’re here, that you’re back,” whispers Holly.
“Oh,” says Gail, she patiently waits for Holly to continue to voice whatever it is that’s going through her head.
“I missed you so much, I missed being able to talk to you, being able to see you, I think I kind of gotten used to not being able to touch you, but knowing that I could just pick up the phone and call you and hear your voice, I really missed not being able to do that,” Holly shares with Gail.
“I’m sorry,” is all Gail can think to say, she knows that it’s tough on police officer’s significant others, especially since there’s really nothing that she can do about it.
“I just didn’t realize how much I missed hearing your voice,” Holly repeats.
Gail pulls Holly close, “I’m back now, we’re back,” staring into Holly’s beautifully dark brown eyes.
Holly tries to force a smile, “I know,” she whispers.
“Being a cop,” Gail stops, she knows she needs to continue to talk to Holly about it, she’s never really had to have this conversation with anyone before, she’s only ever really dated another police officer, she plows ahead, mustering as much strength and courage as she can, “I know there’s uncertainty with my job, if you ever need to talk about it, with me or with someone else, just tell me.”
“Okay,” Holly nods her head, she says “okay,” but mostly for herself, telling herself that it’s okay, that they’re okay, that Gail’s okay. “I don’t know if I want to talk about it just yet, but maybe soon?”
“Whenever, whatever time it is, I will be willing to talk with you. I was born into the police force and I’m used to someone being away or getting hurt, half my childhood one of my parents wasn’t at home, it’s like they took turns or something.” Gail shakes her head feeling like she has gone a little off topic. “And if you want Traci there or Cindy there for support or my friend Oliver, we can do that, cause I’m sure you have questions, and I have people who can supply answers if I don’t quite know them yet, like what it’s like to have a significant other as a police officer. Oliver has had two wives now and a couple of kids, his first wife couldn’t handle it, and I want you to be able to talk to me or someone so that we can handle it…okay?”
Holly nods her head. She presses their foreheads together. “I didn’t realize how hard that was going to be, not being able to talk to you or see you. I am so grateful that Traci continued to call and tell me how you were doing, even if it was very minimal. When I move back home I need to thank her.”
Gail tightens her hold around Holly, “I gave her a hug, isn’t that enough?”
Holly huffs out a laugh, “it will get easier when I get home, wont it?”
Gail slowly inhales, “I don’t think I can answer that, we will have to wait and see.”
Holly kind of grumbles, knowing that that was going to be the answer, but hoping for something else.
The two stand there for just a bit longer. Gail knows they need to think about something else, “okay,” says Gail, she pecks Holly on the lips, “let’s get going, I’m starving and the only reason I went on this walk with you was the offer of food at the end of it.”
Holly smiles, she releases her hold on Gail and starts them walking again towards her latest find.
After spending almost two full weeks with Holly, Gail wanted to get back a day before she was expected back at work to get herself ready, Gail finally gets back to the frat house with two of Holly’s suitcases; she leaves them in the front room. Dov gets home from work and immediately notices the new add-ons to their living space. “Uh Gail, what are those?”
“Suitcases,” Gail helpfully answers, sitting on the couch playing video games with Charlie sleeping in her lap.
“Shouldn’t they be in your room?” Dov asks, hoping for the blonde to actually move the suitcases from their communal living space.
Dov gets a slightly worried look on his face, “is Holly here?”
“No, but she sent them home with me, she’ll be moving back to Toronto in a couple of weeks,” Gail can’t help but smile, all happy and excited for the brunette to be close by.
Dov shakes his head slightly frantically, “she’s not going to be living here…is she?”
“Oh,” says Gail. Who has yet to really wonder where Holly will be staying. Gail starts to pet Charlie. “I don’t think so…” but truly has no clue where Holly will be staying. Gail doesn’t want to push Dov and Chris too far, they already let her keep Charlie without too much complaining, the boys took her in when she really had nowhere to go, she wants to keep their living situation amicable.
“I don’t mind it when one of our girlfriends spends the night, but having the four of us live here all the time might be a little too cramped,” he says honestly.
Gail nods her head, understanding completely, knowing that at times it is a little tight with just the three of them. “I’ll ask her what she has in mind,” says Gail.
Dov nods his head, “if she needs to stay a couple of day, I’m sure that will be fine, but it can’t be a permanent situation.”
I was going to start working on a sequel to ‘new name’, but I don’t mind still working on this one, apparently that was not the end (lol), there’s still plenty of things that can happen as some of you very helpfully pointed out. Thanks for the grocery list of ideas, I have written them all down and hope to add them in, I have already crossed off one or two in this chapter. I am going to erase what I wrote at the end of last chapter, once again thank you for your interest in ‘meet and greet’ and thanks for reading, enjoy your weekend
Gail’s waiting patiently for Holly to appear on her screen, the blonde is sitting in her room in her warm cozy clothes, she’s starting to find the Toronto air a little chilly. Gail pulled on her nice and warm sweater and woolen socks after she got home, trying to get that chill feeling away. Holly finally shows up on her screen, well, not really finally, Gail’s only been waiting two minutes. “Hey,” says a smiling Holly.
“Hey,” says Gail.
“How was your day?”
Gail kind of shrugs her shoulders, “s’okay. Yours?”
“Boring, they keep handing me more and more paper work, it’s like they’re punishing me for not renewing my contract with them,” pouts Holly.
“Are you regretting it?” wonders Gail, curious to see where Holly’s head is at, whether she wishes to stay in San Francisco and what Gail has learned was Holly’s dream job, working on different theories instead of coming back to Toronto and taking her old job.
Without missing a beat, “no. I’m happy to be going home to Toronto, getting to spend more time with you.”
Gail feels all warm and fuzzy inside, Holly makes her feel all warm and fuzzy. Gail decides this is the perfect time to bring up Dov’s concern, well…her concern too, where will the doctor be staying when she comes home? “You’re not moving in with me….are you?”
“When you move back to Toronto,” Charlie scampers across Gail’s keyboard.
“What was that?” questions Holly, frown on her face, “was that a cat?”
A ‘duh’ look on Gail’s face, “yeah.”
“Are you watching a cat?”
Gail turns around to look at Charlie, “I am now…”
“Okay, well that’s nice of you.” Holly changes topics back to what they were talking about, not going to question why Gail has a cat in her room, “no, I don’t plan on living with you and the boys at your so called ‘frat house.’” Holly laughs at the idea.
Gail somewhat defensive, “what’s so bad about the frat house?” The frat house has become Gail’s home, she thought it was only going to be temporary, not wanting to live with her ex and his best friend forever, but it has turned out to be not as bad as she thought it was going to be.
“Nothing,” Holly says soothingly, “my parents said I could stay with them until I find someplace else to live, they usually leave for Florida after Christmas anyways, so I will essentially have the house to myself for a few months. In all honesty I will be doing them a favour, keeping an eye on the house and whatnot,” Holly tries to put a positive spin on living with her parents at the age of 36, feeling slightly weird about it, maybe just the negative connotations North American society has put on living with your parents after a certain age.
“Okay,” says Gail.
“Why?” asks Holly, not wanting to hurt the blonde’s feelings, “were you hoping we would move in together?”
“Maybe eventually, but not right away,” says Gail honestly.
“I agree, we’re so used to our own space,” Holly starts to wave her hands around, “and we never really had to spend too long together, I mean you did just spend two weeks with me, but, and-”
Gail cuts Holly off, “relax nerd, no one’s feelings are hurt, we both don’t want to live together…yet, it’s not off the table, but for now we will continue to live separately and spend time together.”
Holly smiles, “good.” A slight pause from both ladies, changing the subject, “You going trick-or-treating with Cindy and the kids tonight?”
“I was thinking about it, is that okay if I do?” Gail feels the need to get permission from Holly to hang out with the brunette’s family; otherwise Gail would feel out of place.
“Of course,” says Holly, “it would mean a lot to the kids if their Aunt Gail showed up,” Holly smiles.
Gail blushes slightly, still somewhat embarrassed at that title, not used to it yet. Gail didn’t know how Holly would feel with her spending time with the brunette’s family, but clearly Holly doesn’t mind one bit.
“You’re beautiful,” says Holly.
“Keep it in your pants Stewart,” Gail jokes, “just shy of two more months and we will be a ten minute car ride away.”
Holly continues to smile, “I love you.”
Gail smiles, “I bet you say that to all the ladies.”
“Nope,” Holly pops the ‘p’, “just you.”
A couple of weeks have gone by, and Toronto’s weather has gotten colder. “You doing anything after work?” Steve asks Gail, who has been keeping an eye out for her all day, but she keeps going in and out of the station on numerous calls, and has yet to have a chance to talk to her.
“No,” she says cautiously, afraid what he may or may not rope her into.
“Want to go to the Penny, I’ll buy you a beer,” Steve offers.
“Uh-sure,” Gail feels like something else is coming, ‘I’ll buy you a beer if…’, but nothing. Maybe Steve just wants to spend some time with his little sister.
Gail and Steve go to the Penny after work. He’s buying her a birthday beer. Gail completely forgot it was her birthday, she doesn’t really celebrate it, it’s just a day on the calendar. They’re sitting at the bar, sitting in silence, they’ve run through all their various usual topics, and Steve is trying to figure out a new one. Gail doesn’t mind the silence, but she knows her brother will try to fill it. In all honesty, she’s just happy to be getting a free beer.
Traci sits next to her. “Happy Birthday, Birthday Girl!”
Gail rolls her eyes.
Traci smiles, throwing her arm around Gail and giving her a mini sideways hug. She gets the attention of the bar tender, “one pint for me, and one for the birthday girl.”
Another pint gets placed in front of Gail. Gail makes an ‘I’m not going to turn away another free beer’ face. She finishes the rest of her pint from her brother and takes the fresh cold one in her hand.
Steve’s happy to have someone new to talk to, he leans over Gail to talk to Traci, “how’s Leo?”
“He’s good,” responds Traci and starts talking about something interesting her and Leo did the other day, Gail’s tuning out the conversation, she’s already heard Traci talking to Andy about it in the locker room yesterday, something to do with the boy’s hockey team and an apple orchard, corn maze thing.
Dov and Chris show up, “should we get a table?” asks Dov.
Traci picks up her beer to follow after the boys, she pushes Gail in the shoulder with her free hand, “you have to come too, birthday girl,” she grins, knowing her friend will begrudgingly follow.
Gail slowly gets up off the bar stool, she looks at Steve, who hasn’t budged, “you coming?”
“Sit with your friends?” he questions.
Gail kind of shrugs her shoulders, “it’s my birthday,” she reminds him.
He smiles at his little sister, “okay.” He gets up and slings his arm around her shoulders. Gail tries to shake it off, but decides to let his arm rest there for the five steps it takes to get over to the table.
Two more birthday pints later (one from both Dov and Chris) and Gail is in a pretty mellow mood. Steve appears to be matching his sister’s beer intake and is also on his fourth pint and feeling pretty happy and talkative, he’s always talkative, but more talkative than normal. Gail’s phone rings. “Who calls anyone now a days?” asks Steve, laughing at his own joke.
Gail picks up the phone, “hello?”
“Hi honey,” says Holly.
Big smile crosses Gail’s face, “hey,” she whispers.
“Who are you talking to?” Steve asks loud enough for Holly to hear on her side of the phone.
Gail’s about to say Holly, when Steve plucks the phone from her hand, “hello?” Quizzical look on his face since he doesn’t recognize the voice. “Oh, it’s Holly.” He addresses the table of Gail’s rookie class, “say ‘hello Holly’” The table obliges with a group, ‘hello Holly!’ Gail tries to grab her phone back, but no success. “I’m Steve, Gail’s cool older brother; it is nice to meet me.” Steve smiles at his joke. “What are we doing?” Steve repeats Holly’s question to him, “why we are celebrating Gail’s birthday,” he helpfully informs her.
“Shit,” says Gail, she quickly feels the mellow feeling leave her, she grabs the phone from her brother and is just in time to hear Holly say, “it’s Gail’s birthday?”
“Um…” Holly goes for it, can’t pretend like she didn’t hear it, not like she would, it’s Gail’s birthday, “Happy Birthday Gail.”
The line is quiet, Gail takes her phone and walks towards the mop closet, she opens the door, turns on the light, and sits on an empty milk crate. She hears Holly sigh, “how come you didn’t tell me it was your birthday?” Gail can picture the look of frustration on Holly’s face, the brunette rubbing her nose where her glasses sit.
“Uh…I kind of forgot, I don’t really celebrate it.”
“It sure sounds like you’re celebrating it,” informs Holly, slightly annoyed.
“Oh…that. I wasn’t going to, but then Steve said he would buy me a pint after work, then everyone else started showing up buying me pints… and… well…” Gail trails off, she had no real intention of celebrating her birthday, it kind of just happened.
“I see,” says Holly, feeling that she shouldn’t really be upset, it’s Gail’s birthday, she can do with it what she wants. Holly has now noticed that Gail’s end of the line doesn’t have as much background noise, “where are you?”
Gail smiles, “in the mop closet.”
“Fitting,” Holly laughs, “talking to me in the place we met.”
Gail quietly says, “sorry.”
“No, don’t say ‘sorry’, I wish you would have told me it was your birthday, but that’s okay, it’s your birthday. You can celebrate it how you want to.”
Gail exhales a long steady breath, “I love how understanding you are.”
Holly sighs, relieving any tension, the long distance is tough, but getting upset over something like this doesn’t seem worth the bother, she lets it go. Holly smiles into the phone, Gail loves her, she loves Gail, “I won’t keep you, you can go back and join your friends, call me tomorrow or something.”
“No,” says Gail, “I have time to talk, it’s my birthday, I want to celebrate it how I want to… with you.”
“Well, I wont be able to buy you a pint,” jokes Holly.
“That’s fine, I think I’ve had enough,” Gail says truthfully.
“Happy Birthday Gail,” Holly says again.
“Thanks Holly,” she whispers. Gail’s birthday turned out to be a ‘happy birthday.’
“You excited?” asks Chloe.
Gail’s driving their squad car, the two are paired together, it’s mid-December. The streets are cold and icy and Gail’s not in a very good mood. “Excited for what?” she curls her lip turning briefly to face the red head.
“Isn’t Holly coming home soon?” Chloe furrows her brow, she feels like Dov had told her that, but maybe he was wrong.
“Yeah?” Gail’s eyes are back on the road. Gail is excited, but she doesn’t need her coworkers to know, more like doesn’t want them to know, probably because she’s been counting down the days, Holly is supposed to be home on December 29, just shy of two weeks to go. Gail doesn’t mind if Holly misses Christmas, she figures there’ll be more Christmases in their future the two can spend together, plus Gail usually ends up working on Christmas any ways, with all the other officers with kids wanting the day off, it doesn’t bother Gail having to work it. But once again, her coworkers don’t need to know that.
“She got hired with the morgue, right?” asks Chloe.
Gail’s not sure where this is heading, but responds, “yeah.”
“Is it going to be weird working with your girlfriend?”
Gail furrows her brow, “I don’t know if you know this,” Chloe turns to face Gail with an excited look on her face, like Gail is actually going to tell her something personal about her, “but, I don’t work for the morgue, so technically my girlfriend and I wont be working together.”
Chloe harrumphs and sits back in her seat; just then a call comes in across the squad car’s radio, shots fired near the lake. Gail has never been so happy to be going to an active shooter call.
“Oooh, the lake, I love going to the lake,” Chloe says.
Gail’s doing dishes at the sink, last night’s video game marathon with the boys led to some friendly betting, at first it was first person to die had to get the other two a beer from the fridge, as the night went on and the beers started to flow, the insults started to fly. The boys like the classic, why doesn’t Gail ever do any of the cleaning, like why she never helps with the vacuuming or does the dishes that are piling up in the sink. So the friendly bets on who was grabbing the next beer turned into who will be cleaning the apartment on their next day off. Unfortunate for Gail she lost, and since she happened to have the following day off she figured she should make good on her bet and started to clean up the apartment. Gail woke up feeling fine, not hung over in the slightest; she saw that the boys’ bedroom doors were still closed, so she decided to start on the cleaning. She started in the family room and picked up all their discarded wrappers from the night before, she took the blankets and pillows outside to shake and let the outside air freshen them up; she plugged in the vacuum and started to rid the rug and couch of fallen crumbs. By the time she turned on the vacuum, both Dov and Chris were in the kitchen rubbing their eyes, looking a little worse for wear. “What are you doing?” asks Dov.
“Cleaning,” answers Gail.
Dov just sighs, grabs a bowl of cereal and goes back to his room, clearly not ready for all the noise of the vacuum. Chris sits at the table in the kitchen watching Gail, munching on his cereal he says, “I didn’t think you were actually going to clean the apartment.”
Gail shrugs her shoulders by way of an answer, she lost fair and square, plus she has spotted a fair bit of Charlie’s hair throughout the apartment and felt since it is her cat, she should probably pitch in more.
“I thought you were going to try to make another bet with us so that we would end up cleaning the place.”
Gail turns off the vacuum, “do you want me to clean or not?”
“No, yeah, you can clean, I have to go to work anyways,” he tips the rest of his cereal into his mouth and sets the bowl in the sink for Gail to wash. He goes back to his room to finish getting ready.
Gail turns on the vacuum again and resumes cleaning. Dov’s the first one to come out into the shared space again. He calls to Chris, “come on, we’re going to be late!” He doesn’t acknowledge Gail as he puts on his sunglasses and leaves, still feeling the remnants of last night. Gail wonders how much later the boys stayed up after she went to bed.
Chris comes lumbering into the room, “thanks Gail, you’re the best.”
“Don’t go around telling people that,” she says as she turns off the vacuum, ready to put it away.
Chris walks over to her and places a kiss on her cheek, Gail tries to swat him away, but lets it happen, “see you tonight,” he says.
“Yeah, yeah,” says Gail as she walks over to the sink to start running some water to get started on the stack of dishes. “Have a nice day at work,” she rolls her eyes at the sentiment.
“Thanks,” says Chris as he heads out the door.
Gail starts playing music from her phone, feeling that time passes faster with the background sound. Hands emerged in the warm water, scrubbing on who knows how old dried on food, when the apartment door opens again, without even turning around she calls over her shoulder, “what did you forget Christopher?”
No response. She feels two arms wrap around her middle and a familiar body press into hers. Big smile on her face, Gail turns around.
“I didn’t forget anything,” says Holly, a smile just as big on her face.
“What are you doing here?” questions Gail.
“Mhmmm, very surprised.”
“My contract is up,” explains Holly.
“I thought it didn’t end until after Christmas.”
“Since I hadn’t taken all of my vacation time, they said I could take it now and leave early.”
Gail hugs Holly. Charlie comes running in from Gail’s room and meows. Holly loosens her hold of Gail, “are you still watching that cat?”
“I guess you could say that,” Gail shrugs her shoulders.
Holly bends down and sticks out her hand, “what’s the cat’s name?”
“Hello Charlie,” Holly says and waits for the cat to creep closer.
Charlie looks up at Gail, wondering what she should do. Gail shrugs her shoulders. The cat darts away.
“I don’t think that cat likes me,” Holly stands back up.
“That’s okay,” assures Gail, slinking her arms around Holly, “I do.”
Gail and the gang are at the Penny, having a couple of drinks, sort of celebrating Christmas since most of them will be working on the actual day, she’s waiting for Holly to show up after her shift at the morgue. Since Holly was in town sooner, she wanted to familiarize herself with the lab again, so she went in, and the morgue figured if she’s there anyways, why not let her start early. Gail’s phone’s screen lights up, she picks it up, a text from Holly: “I’m behind you.”
Gail throws her head backwards, viewing the world upside down, she sees Holly at the bar holding a drink, “want to join us?” smile plastered on her face.
Steve, sitting next to Gail, says, “what are you doing? Don’t you have a girlfriend?”
“There isn’t any room for another chair,” says Holly.
“You could sit in my lap,” offers Gail, pushing her chair out to make room for Holly. Steve punches Gail. She turns to face him, “what the hell Steve!”
“What are you doing?” he repeats.
Gail furrows her brow at him and shakes her head. Holly sets her drink down on the table in front of Gail, she sits in Gail’s lap, Gail wraps her arms around Holly, making sure she doesn’t go anywhere, “hi honey,” she says to Gail.
“Honey?” Steve questions to himself.
Gail rolls her eyes. “Holly this is my brother Steve, Steve this is my girlfriend Holly.”
“Oh you’re Holly! Thank God!”
Holly, who’s never had this reaction before, laughs it off, “nice to meet you Steve, in person this time.”
Steve and Gail get a little red faced.
Holly looks around the table at the other police officers staring at her, she says to Gail, “I recognize some of their faces, but would you introduce us?”
Steve punches her again.
“What the fuck Steve!” Gal sighs, “fine.”
Holly kisses her on the cheek.
“You already know Traci, beside her is Andy, don’t tell her anything you don’t want the world to know.”
“Hey!” says Andy slightly indignant, “actually, that’s fair.”
“Next to her is my roommate Chris.”
“We actually already met,” says Chris, “we met the other day, I was the one who let you into our apartment, and I was the officer at the station when you came looking for Gail when she went undercover without telling you,” Chris helpfully points out, smile plastered on his face.
Gail furrows her brow, “I don’t know what to say to that, except sorry?” she looks sheepishly at Holly.
“It’s okay,” Holly kisses the top of Gail’s head.
Gail smiles, “moving on, next to him is my other roommate Dov.”
“Nice to meet you,” Dov stands up and sticks out his hand.
“Sit down Dov, she doesn’t want to shake your hand,” Gail says.
“Which one where you engaged to?” asks Holly.
Gail laughs, Gail laughs heartily, “this is why I love you Holly, you make me laugh, I wasn’t engaged to either of these two,” she says with a ‘what are you ridiculous’ kind of voice and wipes a tear from her eye.
Both Dov and Chris look a little affronted, “what’s wrong with us?”
Gail ignores them, “I was engaged to Nick, he’s still on shift, you can meet him some other time.”
“You told her about Nick?” questions Dov.
Gail gets a ‘duh’ look on her face, “uh yeah, unlike you and your girlfriend, my girlfriend and I have discussed previous weddings.” Dov shrinks in his seat. “Moving on,” says Gail, “and next to Dov is his girlfriend Chloe.”
“You’re beautiful,” says Chloe, who doesn’t seem at all offended about Gail burning Dov about her and Wes, “so is Gail, you’re both beautiful.”
“Price,” says Gail, she then motions putting her fingers to her lips and says, “shh!”
Chloe mimes zipping her lips, locking them with a key and then throwing away the key. Gail rolls her eyes, like throwing away the key’s going to stop Chloe from talking.
Just then Oliver approaches the table, “Peck!”
“Yeah?” questions Steve.
“Not boy Peck, girl Peck.”
“Yeah?” questions Gail.
“You going to introduce me to your lady friend?”
“Holly, this is Staff sgt. Oliver Shaw. Oli, this is my girlfriend Dr. Holly Stewart.”
“Are you an actual doctor?” asks Chloe.
Gail gives her a ‘what the fuck’ look.
“Nice to meet you,” says Holly to Oliver.
“The pleasure is mine,” says Oliver, shaking Holly’s hand, “I’ve heard some great things about you Holly.”
“Wow,” says Oliver to Gail, “you must really like me, talking about me to your girlfriend,” Gail rolls her eyes at him, “well, I should get back to my table, I just wanted to say ‘hello’ and welcome you home.”
Home, thinks Gail, as she tightens her hold around Holly, she likes that idea, Holly is home.
Now that would have been a great ending, I feel like that that is an even better ending then the one I wrote the first time, but it’s not the ending, I haven’t finished the list yet, however, I did cross another thing off on the list with this chapter. Since it’s not the ending, cue the classic Gail actually likes her friends scene:
Gail and Holly have spent over an hour or so with the gang at the Penny, Holly’s still sitting in Gail’s lap, Gail doesn’t seem to be letting Holly go and get her own seat. “I like your friends,” says Holly to Gail.
Gail kind of shrugs, “they’re my coworkers.”
“GAIL!?!” says the table, who has overheard the conversation.
Steve punches her again.
“Ow! Fuck Steve! Stop doing that!” She rubs her shoulder, “you’re going to give me a bruise, fine, they’re my friends, happy?”
“You love us,” says Traci in a sing-songy way.
“Don’t push it Nash!” glares Gail.
The table erupts in laughter.
A couple of weeks into the New Year, Gail and Holly are on their way to Gail’s parents’ house, but they need to stop in at the frat house to feed Charlie first. They were supposed to go to the Peck’s sometime during the Christmas season, but with Holly’s new work schedule and Gail’s never cooperating, Gail may have also potentially arranged for it to not work, to potentially prolong this meeting, but Elaine made sure that her daughter would have a Sunday off in mid-January in order to finally meet Holly properly. The two arrive at the frat house, Gail unzips her coat and Holly just stands by the door waiting for Gail, she pulls out her phone to see what Lisa wanted. “How long have you been watching the cat now?”
Gail shrugs her shoulders; she bends down to pick up Charlie who started to do circles around her ankles and purring, “awhile.”
“Who did you say you were watching the cat for again?”
“I don’t think I did,” answers Gail, yet not giving an answer at all.
Holly looks up from her phone, she watches her girlfriend pet the cat as she grabs a bowl from the cupboard, Gail fills the bowl and places it on the floor along with the cat, Holly can see how attached Gail has become to Charlie, “who’s cat is she, Gail?”
Gail kind of forgot Holly was there, that soothing sensation of petting an animal has kicked in; she turns to look at the brunette who’s still standing by the door, ready to meet the Pecks, “hmm?”
“I asked you who the cat belongs to,” Holly repeats.
“Does a cat really belong to anyone?” Gail asks and laughs at her joke, Gail notices that Holly doesn’t laugh; Holly really wants to know, “me.”
Holly sighs, “I thought so,” Holly walks closer to Gail; she slips her arms around her, resting her hands on Gail’s hips, “why didn’t you tell me?”
Gail looks anywhere but at Holly, “I didn’t know how to tell you that I got a cat, and then I kept not telling you, and then I was trying to figure out how to tell that I was not telling you....it was kind of becoming a whole thing in my head.”
“Honey,” Holly draws it out, “that’s fine that you have a cat, I just don’t want you to hide things from me.”
Gail watches Charlie eat her dinner, “I found her when I was undercover, actually,” Gail changes her recount, “actually…she may have found me. Anyways, she would spend time in my tent with me, sleep in there with me, keep me company; it was nice having someone around. When I got back here, I realized how much I missed her, so I went back to the alley I was staying in and got her, I may have accidentally domesticated her, and I couldn’t let her die out there.”
Holly nods her head, “I was afraid you were going to say the cat reminded you of me.”
Gail shakes her head ‘no’, “if anything, the cat reminds me a little bit of me.”
“Just a little bit?” questions Holly, smirk plastered on her face, when Gail likened herself to a cat in a tree that time, Holly will probably never not think of her girlfriend so close to the feline species.
“Don’t push it Stewart.”
Holly kisses Gail quickly on the lips, “we should get going.”
Gail sighs, “why do you want to meet my parents?”
Holly laughs and kisses Gail again, “I just kind of want to get it over with,” Holly smiles sheepishly, “let’s go.”
“I get that.”
After a simple roasted chicken, potatoes and other root vegetables dinner, Elaine brings out the Trivial Pursuit board. “Aw, mom, do we really have to play Trivial Pursuit?” whines Gail.
“Yes, Elaine,” chimes in Bill, “I thought you wanted to have Gail and Holly over so you could get to know our daughter’s girlfriend.”
“We can still chat while we play,” says Elaine.
“Studies find,” says Holly, “that playing a game is a great way to get to know someone.”
“See,” says Elaine to her husband and daughter.
Gail sighs, “but why does it have to be Trivial Pursuit?”
“You know I only play Canadian made games, and my fingers still hurt from playing crokinole.”
“Crokinole does hurt your fingers,” agrees Gail.
“Wait, why do you only play Canadian made games?” asks Holly.
Gail furrows her brow at her girlfriend, “she’s just messing around.”
Elaine’s eyes bulge, “I’ll take Gail on my team,” pipes up Elaine, thinking Holly may not be so bright, thinking the brunette may be a little light in the loafers.
“That’s not fair, we have to roll the dice,” says Gail, hoping to not be on her extremely competitive mom’s team. They all roll, and Gail does end up on Elaine’s team. Elaine gives her daughter a winning smile, like they are going to crush the competition.
Bill and Holly trounce Elaine and Gail. Elaine speaks up, “I want Holly on my team, next time.”
Holly says, “that’s not fair, we have to roll the dice to pick teams.”
Elaine grumbles. “Fine, we will let the fates decide.”
Gail looks at her watch, “I have an early shift tomorrow,” she gets up.
“Yes, of course, we will have to get a rematch next time,” says Elaine, who is a very sore loser, and will probably complain for the rest of the night, poor Bill.
Holly gets up and follows Gail to the door who passes her her coat, “thanks.”
Bill and Elaine trail behind them, giving them space to put on their winter gear, “thanks for having me over,” says Holly. “It was great to meet you two,” she says sincerely.
“Thanks for accepting our invite, it was nice to meet you too, we will have to do this again,” says Bill who gives Holly a hug, “great work today partner, showing those two not to mess with us in regards to trivial facts.”
“You can be on my trivia team anytime,” smiles Holly.
Meanwhile Elaine is still lecturing Gail for losing, “I don’t know how you couldn’t get Pierre Trudeau, Trudeau mania was for Pierre not Justin.”
“It was fifty fifty mom,” Gail gripes, “not all of us are boomers.”
Elaine sighs and rolls her eyes, “here we go again, calling me a boomer.”
Bill pulls his daughter into a hug, “thanks for answering so many wrong.”
Gail chuckles lightly, “good luck dad.”
After dinner with Gail’s parents, Holly takes them back to Holly’s parents’ house, Gail is spending the night at Holly’s, she gets out of bed at 5 something in the morning. Holly mumbles, “what are you doing, come back to bed.”
“I have to go to work, remember. I said I was going to be waking up early, and you said you wouldn’t care.”
Holly mumbles and goes back to her point, “it’s too early, come back to bed, you were keeping me nice and warm.”
Gail smirks at the brunette, all cute and funny and sleep deprived at 5 in the morning, clearly not ready for the day, Gail would love to stay in bed curled around Holly but, “I have to go to work early; I knew I should have just slept at my place.”
Holly sits bolt upright, fearing this may be a problem in the future, “no, it’s fine, I like you staying over, it’s okay that you have to go, I was only being annoying.”
“Okay,” says Gail and nods her head, not like Holly can see it, it’s completely dark in the basement. “Go back to sleep Holly, we’ll talk later.”
Holly lies back down, “do I at least get a kiss goodbye?”
Gail finishes pulling on her pants, smile plastered on her face, she crawls back on to the bed and over to Holly. So close that they can see each other, despite the darkness of the room, Holly studies Gail’s features wondering what she’s going to do, she could have easily walked around to Holly’s side of the bed and given her a kiss, but instead she is now hovering over top of her. Gail smiles, she leans in to kiss Holly and at the last minute diverts from the brunette’s lips to her forehead.
Holly grumbles in frustration, “all that for that? You’re evil.”
Gail smirks. “I have to go,” Gail hops off the bed and pulls on her t-shirt.
“Will I see you tonight?”
“You want to come to the frat house?”
“Or you could come back here?” Holly offers.
“I get off at three, when are you done?”
“Should I wait outside for you? Or just call me and I’ll come over when you’re home.”
“I have a spare key on my key ring upstairs, it’s the one with the blue ring around it, you could take it,” Holly suggests.
“Would your parents really want me to have a key to their house?”
“They’re in Florida, they wont know.”
Gail would rather just come here, instead of getting in her car and going to the frat house and waiting for Holly’s text and getting back in her car and coming back here, “okay,” says Gail. “See you tonight.”
Gail finds herself spending more and more time at the Stewart house with Holly. She tries to get back to the frat house everyday to see Charlie, but finds it a lot easier to just send a text to one of the boys to feed the cat. One day after work she stops in at her house and is greeted by Charlie at the door, the cat does circles around Gail’s legs looking for some attention. Gail bends down and scratches the feline behind the ears, earning a purr sound. Gail finds herself taking a seat on the floor and the cat moving to sit in her lap. Gail loses track of the time and hears her phone buzz. She glances at the screen and sees Holly is texting her. Gail looks at the clock; she was supposed to be at Holly’s by now, “where are you?”
Gail shifts Charlie so she can text with her one hand, “at my place.”
Instantly, “I thought you would be here.”
“I don’t think I’m going to make it, I’m just going to stay here.” Gail’s thumb hovers over the send button, she kind of feels bad blowing off Holly, but she knows she hasn’t been spending that much time with Charlie since Holly’s moved back home, Gail knows it’s the right thing to do, she hits send.
Those pesky dots appear on her screen then disappear, then the dots are there and feel like they’re there for like five whole minutes, Gail thinks Holly is writing a book, but then two letters appear in their thread, “ok.”
Gail sighs. “It’s just you and me tonight Charlie,” Gail gives one last pat and stands up.
“Meow,” Charlie follows after Gail, happy to have Gail home.
The next day, Gail gets called out into the forest to a potential body drop. She’s working the perimeter with other officers, Traci and Sam are the detectives on this case and she allows them access to the scene. She continues to stand in the somewhat cold weather, not quite spring yet, buy you can feel the seasons are ready to change. Gail’s just looking around, making sure everyone who is there is supposed to be there, a familiar head starts the trek up the hill. Gail watches as her girlfriend walks through the forest to her, Gail wonders why Holly brought her lunchbox with her. Once they are within speaking distance Gail furrows her brow and says, “hey? What are you doing here?” Gail doesn’t give Holly a chance to answer as she continues through with her questions, “and why did you bring your lunchbox?” Gail looks around to see if her coworkers are watching her, but everyone is still busy doing their jobs, “now is not the time for a picnic, how did you even know I was here? Maybe,” Gail reaches out to grab Holly’s free hand, “on our next day off we can go for a picnic, but not right now. Plus it’s kind of chilly for a picnic.” Gail kind of whispers to her girlfriend, “you’re not really allowed here.”
Holly furrows her brow and smiles a lopsided smile, “yes I am, I’m the responding pathologist,” Holly lifts up her red box, “I brought my forensic kit with me,” Holly threads their fingers together, “you’re not up to date on your medical jurisprudence, are you?” Holly decides to explain her job to Gail, “we need to determine the cause of death, I test the water for diatoms and if we find diatoms in the bone marrow,” getting completely ahead of herself, “oh did you notice if the femur is still intact?” Gail shakes her head ‘no’, “I’ll check later,” getting back to what Holly was talking about, “if the diatoms match we know the person drowned, if there aren’t any diatoms then we know the cause of death was something else, I’ll need to consult with the forensic anthropologist, I’ll grab some leaves, bugs, dirt so they don’t have to come back. It helps in identifying the post mortem interval-”
Gail cuts her off, “why are you saying all these words?”
Holly gives her a lopsided smile. Holly has been back for a couple of months now and the two have yet to work together on a case, this could be fun.
Sam in the background, “all right, are you two done up there?”
Holly smiles one last smile at Gail; she releases their hands and walks towards the victim and detectives. After Holly has learned all she can from the scene and told the detectives enough to give them a lead, she’s ready to go back to the morgue.
“Peck, am I going to regret sending you to the morgue?” asks Sam.
“Okay then go,” Sam dismisses Gail without a second thought.
It’s quiet in the morgue, Gail likes it. “Did you have a nice night?” asks Holly.
“I did...” Gail feels awkward, “you?”
“Yeah,” Holly shrugs her shoulders, “it was quiet.”
Gail’s not really sure what else to talk about, “so what are you doing over there anyways?”
“Putting together a puzzle.”
“What can you tell about the person?”
“He’s a full grown male, probably early twenties, not archaeological, the bones are still greasy, a bit smelly you find?”
“Oh I just thought that was you.”
Holly suppresses a laugh. She gives Gail more information which she passes on to Traci and Sam. Holly has provided all the help that she can for this case and is getting ready to wrap it up, “you doing anything tonight?”
“I will need to feed Charlie, the boys will have already left for their shifts already and wont be back until tomorrow morning.”
“So, we swing by your place feed the cat, and then can I take you somewhere?”
“You going to shower first?”
“I think I can fit one in and even change my clothes, get this decomposing smell off of me.”
“I suppose I can hang with you tonight then,” says Gail with no expression on her face, like she’s really doing Holly a favour.
Holly smiles at her girlfriend, finding it amusing that Gail thinks she’s playing hard to get even though Holly already knows she’s got her.
Sitting on the banks of Lake Ontario at Trillium Park, shoulder to shoulder, stealing the other’s body heat, the two have a great view of the Toronto skyline, “it’s beautiful,” says Holly.
“I missed it when I was in America,” says Holly, “it shouts ‘home’ to me.”
“Did you know that it is the fourth most photographed skyline?”
“Interesting. What are the three above it?”
“I don’t know, I just read somewhere that Toronto’s skyline is the fourth most photographed skyline worldwide.”
“What do you think could be the top 5?”
“New York’s is pretty iconic.”
“Same with London England’s.”
“Thanks for clarifying that you weren’t referring to London, Ontario,” Gail says sarcastically.
“You’re welcome hon, I’d think Dubai, with all those new buildings being built would be up there.”
“How about Chicago and the Sears Tower?”
“What are we at?” Holly counts on her fingers, “five already and we didn’t even say Tokyo yet, with Mount Fuji in the background, that’s got to be up there.”
“I don’t know,” says Gail, “according to the most pictures being uploaded to the internet, Toronto is number four, that’s all I know.”
“Well…I like our skyline.”
The two continue to sit there watching the sun set over their city and the lights come on in the buildings as the sky turns dark.
“I have to leave early so I can go feed Charlie before my shift, the boys texted me and said they wont be home until the afternoon,” says Gail as she slides into bed next to Holly.
Holly turns to face the blonde, “I wish you could bring Charlie here that way you didn’t have to keep going back and forth to your house, but my parents wouldn’t let us have a pet as a kid, so I’d assume the answer would still be ‘no’ if I could get a cat.”
“It’s fine,” says Gail.
“I’ve started looking for places, my parents will be home soon, if I have to rent, I’ll make sure the places are pet friendly, that way I can bring my two cats with me,” Holly smiles into the darkness.
“Ha ha,” says Gail.
“Meow Meow, that means goodnight in cat language, but you already know that,” a soft smile on Holly’s face.
Gail rolls her eyes at her girlfriend but says it too, “meow meow.”
Gail stopped by her place, fed Charlie, looked in the fridge and found some chicken thighs she bought the other day and need to get used. She puts them in a reusable grocery bag, grabs her overnight bag; she pats Charlie on the head telling her to be a 'good girl' and heads to Holly's parents' house. It's already after 5 by the time the blonde walks through the front door. She received a text from Holly on her way over telling her that she wouldn't be there until six at the earliest. Gail already knows she wants to make a chicken and rice dish that goes in the oven, so she gets started on it. After sautéing the onions on the stove and browning the chicken thighs, she adds the rest of the ingredients to the pan, and she pops it into the oven. Gail glances at the clock and sees it's not ever quarter to six yet, Holly wont be home for at least another half hour. She walks to the fridge and grabs the white wine bottle they opened the night before, she pours herself a glass and takes it with her into the living room where she starts the gas fire, hoping the fire will take the chill out of the room. She picks up her book and curls up on the couch.
Holly enters the house more than an hour later, as soon as she opened the door she could smell the delicious aroma coming from the kitchen. She drops her bag and stuff at the door and walks to the kitchen with a smile on her face, but she doesn't find Gail. She pokes her head into the study area thinking she might find the blonde on the computer, but nope. Holly walks downstairs into her room and still doesn't find her girlfriend. "GAIL?!" she calls into what she is now thinking is an empty house, maybe the police officer went for a walk.
"YEAH?" she hears somewhere upstairs.
Holly races up the stairs, she's just about to go up the second flight of stairs when she sees the blonde on the couch in front of the fire in the living room. Holly stands at the entrance to the room, resting against the jamb. "Hey."
Gail closes her book and looks up, "hey."
Holly walks into the room and sits next to her girlfriend, "you look cozy."
"I am," Gail smiles as she brings her hand up to hold Holly's face.
It's all too much; tears appear in Holly's eyes.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
"Nothing, just happy tears, I love you so much, I'm so happy that I moved back home."
Gail furrows her brow; normally in Gail's experience tears aren't good.
Holly twists her head so she can kiss Gail's palm, "I love you and I want to come home to you every night, and smelling dinner, how comfortable you are with being here, how happy we are together, and seeing you reading here, you fit perfectly in my life, it just makes me so much more sure and-"
Gail kisses Holly to stop the rambling, she presses their foreheads together, she rubs her thumb up and down on Holly's cheek, "have you found a house yet?"
Holly smiles, "I think I found a good one the other day on my lunch break, did you want to see it before I put in an offer?"
Gail shrugs her shoulders, "I'm sure I'll see it often enough after you buy it."
"What do you mean 'often enough?' aren't you going to move in with me?"
Gail kisses Holly again, taking her breath away, once their foreheads are pressed together again Gail asks, "I can bring Charlie?"
"Of course you can bring Charlie."
"Then, yes." Gail drops her book on the floor, she uses her hands to grab Holly's face she slowly lays down and brings Holly with her, Holly gets a smirk on her face as she feels Gail's legs wrap around her. Holly moves her hands to sneak under Gail's shirt, Gail starts to unbutton the brunette's top; Gail stills her hands when she hears the garage door open. "Did you hear that?"
Holly's hands are centimeters from Gail's boobs, "probably just a malfunction," she continues to move her hands further up; she brings their lips together again.
The garage door sounds again, making Gail stop her actions again, "another malfunction?" questions the blonde, breaking the kiss. A car door slams. "Does your sister have the garage door opener?"
"No, only my parents have one, she has a key just like me."
Just then the door to the house from the garage opens, "it smells good in here. HOLLY!?"
Gail and Holly look at each other with wide eyes, Holly removes her hands from under Gail's shirt, Gail starts to button up Holly's. Holly finishes buttoning up her shirt and gets off of Gail. Gail straightens the couch while Holly downs the rest of the wine in Gail's glass, "thirsty?" asks Gail with a smirk on her face. Holly doesn't answer as she tips the glass back one more time hoping more wine is in there. "You okay?" questions the blonde, Holly nods her head, Gail gives her a light kiss, "go say hi to your parents, I need to check the chicken," Gail walks into the kitchen.
Holly stands for a second in the warmth of the living room, calming herself. "HOLLY!" her mom calls again.
"Coming!" shouts Holly. Not the type of coming I was hoping to do, thinks Holly. She walks into the hallway and helps her mom with their luggage, "what are you guys doing here?"
"We live here," Carol tries to joke. "It's your sister's fortieth birthday, we weren't going to miss it," Holly's mom smiles and grabs her daughter for a hug.
"Oh yeah," says Holly, "it's Cindy's birthday this weekend. Will you guys be going back to Florida?"
"No," says her dad, "hi sweetheart," Doug gives Holly a hug, "we would be heading home next weekend anyways, I think we can toughen it out up her for the last couple of weeks of March."
"Sometimes they're the harshest," says Holly, which is a true comment.
Doug jokingly asks, "do you not want us here?"
"Oh. No. I was just saying…"
"Relax dear, he's just messing with you. Thant's what you kids say right?" Carol holds Holly's hand, furrow on her face, "why are your cheeks all flushed?" who has just noticed.
"I'm going to go check on Gail," says Holly, not answering either of her mom's questions, "she's in the kitchen cooking."
"That does smell good, is there enough for us?" asks her dad.
Holly shrugs her shoulders, "I don't even know what she's cooking, I just got home too. I'll go ask her."
In the kitchen Holly finds another glass of wine, "that's for you," says Gail.
"Thanks," Holly takes a generous sip. "What are you making?"
"Ah, whatever it is, it smells good."
"Well that's good," Gail smiles to herself.
"Is there enough for us too or do we need to order a pizza?" asks Doug as he and Carol enter the kitchen.
"There should be plenty," Gail is stirring the dish checking to see if the chicken is cooked all the way through, Doug sticks out his hand to shake Gail's, Gail reaches out her free hand to shake his as a greeting. She sticks out her hand to Carol.
"No, I'll wait for a hug," says Carol.
Gail smiles, she doesn't mind hugging Holly's family. "Safe trip?"
"Oh yeah," says Doug, "I think we made record time coming home, the border crossings were good, no issues there, didn't see too many cops out on either side, a lot easier to control the speed limit, if you know what I mean," he wiggles his eyebrows.
"Do I even want to know how fast you were going?" asks Gail.
"You can't give me a ticket after the fact, can you?"
"No, I would need evidence and maybe a witness," she looks at Carol.
"Well, then I'll just say that I was going fast," says Doug.
"That's probably safest," laughs Gail, Carol and Doug join in.
All four are sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner and drinking wine. "Anything new and exciting happen around here while we were gone?" asks Carol.
Gail shakes her head from side to side.
Holly gives her girlfriend a look, "what do you mean 'no,'" she looks at her parents, "I'm looking into buying a house."
"Tired of living here?" asks Carol.
"You know I love you guys, but-" Holly stops, she doesn't want to offend her parents.
"You need your own space, we get it, we've enjoyed having you here," says Doug. "And what about Gail?"
"I still live at the frat house," Gail puts a forkful of food in her mouth. "But, I'll probably end up spending more time at Holly's, I don't know yet."
"What do you mean, 'you don't know yet?'" Holly furrows her brow, didn't they just discuss this, probably less than half an hour ago.
"We'll see how long that lasts."
"What do you mean 'we'll see how long what lasts?'" Holly's confused.
"I don't know Holly, I've been told I'm not really girlfriend material, and I think we've lasted so long is because we have our own spaces. You in San Fran, me in Toronto. You at your parents' house. Me at the frat house. It's working."
Holly shakes her head; she wants some contact with the blonde but doesn't reach out to her just yet, slightly fearful of how this is going to go. "No Gail, I thought we were going to be moving in together."
"But you're buying the house, if we were moving in together we would be buying a house."
"Oh," Holly tilts her head to the side; this time she reaches out her hand for Gail's, "we can buy a house."
Gail's quiet as she looks at hers and Holly's hands, "are you sure?"
Holly moves her chair next to Gail's, "of course I'm sure, we can go see the house tomorrow if you'd like, you can have final say on it."
Gail feels the need to ask again, just to be on the safe side, "you sure you want to move in with me? I'm not going to piss you off too much?"
Holly uses her free hand to cup Gail's cheek, "of course you don't piss me off…too much," she gets a smile out of Gail, "I love you honey, and we're good together, and I'm excited to live with you full time, but only if you want to."
"Of course I want to," says Gail, all her insecurities on full display of not being wanted and loved, "I just don't want to mess this up, I don't want to lose you."
"You wont mess this up and you wont lose me. Gail, we're both human and we both make mistakes. Sure it might take a little bit to get used to each other, but we are really good at talking things through, that's what's so great about us, we tell each other things."
"Yeah…" Gail's quiet for a minute, "okay," she says.
"Okay!" Holly and Gail beam at each other.
"Hooray! My baby and her girlfriend are buying a house!" says Carol.
Holly and Gail continue to smile at each other, "we really need to stop having these huge life decision moments in front of my family," jokes Holly.
"Less people we have to tell afterwards," points out Gail.
Holly leans in to kiss her.
Gail's lying on her back on the bed in Holly's parents' basement, Holly's finishing washing up in the bathroom. She finishes rubbing the lotion into her hands and decides to lay on top of Gail. She rests her head just below Gail's chin. "I'm not too heavy on you?"
"No," says Gail, "I like it, you smell good." Gail wraps her arms around Holly so she can't move away.
Gail moves her hands up and down Holly's back lightly touching her. She ventures further south and slips her hands into Holly's sleep shorts.
"If you keep that up, we're going to be having sex."
Gail pulls her hands out of Holly's shorts, she wraps her arms around the brunette again, tightening her hold and flips them, Gail's looking down at Holly, "I didn't know sex was on the table."
Holly gets her lopsided smile, "sex is always on the table."
"Except when it's on the bed," smiles Gail.
Holly rolls her eyes and grabs Gail's face, "you're insane," she pulls her into a kiss.
"You already said we could buy a house together, no taking it back now!" claims Gail.
"Don't worry," assures Holly, "I like that you're insane."
"Only an insane person would say that," Gail helpfully points out.
Thanks for reading. Hope you're having a Safe and Happy Holidays! Best of luck in 2021!
Gail's already at work, has been for a couple of hours now. With Holly's parents home she doesn't feel right staying over, she knows she works odd hours and she doesn't want to disturb them, so she's been staying over most nights at the frat house, gives her the opportunity to pack anyways. Holly emerges from the basement, she hears rustling at the front door and sticks her head that way to see what's going on. She sees her mom with a bag, "you going somewhere?"
"Your father and I will be staying the weekend at Cindy's, her and Alfred are going away for the weekend and we volunteered to watch the kids," informs Carol.
"What time do you want me over so you can have a break?"
Carol laughs, "that's very kind of you, but it's only for three days, I think we'll be able to manage the kids. Plus then Gail can stay here with you. Did you tell her we don't mind her coming in late, it wont bother us."
Holly sighs, "I told her, but she can be stubborn. This week she's working nights so she'll end up sleeping for most of the weekend, but yeah I'll tell her to come over. Maybe we can go to one of the conservation areas for a walk or something."
"Do you worry about her?" Carol asks innocently.
Holly sighs again, "more than you can imagine. It's her job and it's what makes her her, and she's really good at it and she loves it, and-"
"I get it, but it is still tough on you."
"On her too, she knows it sometimes worries me. The first time she got hurt we were just texting back and forth when I was in California, sure it was a bit of a big deal her getting hurt, but I didn't really see it, didn't really experience it. I knew it happened but I was distanced from it and I feel terrible saying this, but it didn't really affect me, you know? A month and a half ago she came home with a bruise, and I questioned her about it and she shrugged her shoulders saying she had 'worst'." Holly takes a big gulp of air, "I want to know when she gets hurt, but sometimes I wish I was still in California experiencing her job at a distance."
"Oh," says Carol. She pulls her youngest daughter into a hug, "I know what you mean, sure your father and I didn't have very life threatening jobs," Holly rolls her eyes, her dad is a retired accountant and her mom a retired mortician. "But, he would go away on business trips or go on vacations with his friends from college, and sure I'd worry about him, but when he would walk through the door and we were back together again, I knew we were all right. Same thing applies to you and Gail, you both have interesting jobs but when you both get home-"
"I do feel a sense of relief when we are together."
"Thanks mom, talking makes me feel better."
"Anytime, but you should probably talk to Gail too," suggests Carol.
"I will, I do, but I don't want her to be scared."
"Scared about what?"
"Scared that I would leave her."
"NO!" Holly says more forcefully than she meant too, "no," she says again. "I love her and I'm so excited that we're moving in together-"
"Moving in together is not going to solve your problems," Carol points out.
"I know," Holly says in a teenager like way, "but I don't want to receive texts saying that she's home, I want us to be home, I don't know it's stupid."
"No it's not," assures Carol.
"Ready to go?" calls Doug.
"You okay?" Carol looks at her daughter.
"I'm fine, thanks mom. I need to getting going anyways or I'll be late to work."
"Don't work too hard!" Doug calls.
Holly's resting against the headboard of her bed in her parents' basement; Gail is lounging partially on top of her with her head resting on the brunette's torso. "How long's your sister gone for?"
"Two more nights," Holly says, running her fingers lazily through Gail's hair.
"When do your parents want us over so they can have a break from the kids?"
"They don't, they said they'd be fine." Holly pauses before she says, "they seem more worried about your work schedule, about you and me and us."
Gail doesn't say anything; she's not sure how she feels about Holly's parents worrying about her or her and Holly.
"How's work going?" Holly continues to run her fingers through Gail's hair.
"Fine, a bit boring, we've had barely any calls this week."
"I think I prefer it when you say you've had a boring day at work."
Gail takes a long breath of air, she knows Holly's train of thought, "boring doesn't always mean safer."
"I follow my training; I make sure everyone including me is safe."
"I know… I just don't like seeing you hurt."
Gail leans her head to kiss Holly's naked body, "I know." A little bit of quietness that Gail breaks with, "I would kill for a crime scene."
Holly laughs and slightly tugs Gail's hair. Wanting to change the subject, Holly says, "I feel like a teenager, spending all my free time in my parents' basement." Holly continues as she gently runs her fingers through the blonde's hair, "but I was mostly reading down here, hiding from Cindy."
Gail lets out a chuckle, "why am I not surprised that you were trying to hide from your sister while you were reading a book?"
"And what were you doing in your parents' basement?" questions Holly.
"The classic trying to sneak down my boyfriend and whatever alcohol we could acquire, trying to drink enough to feel a buzz, letting him kiss me and touch me, trying to convince myself that I felt something that all my friends were talking about, but never actually feeling anything," Gail says nonchalantly.
"Oh," is all Holly says.
Gail feels like that is a weighted 'oh.' "Don't 'oh' me, don't pity me."
"I would never honey," says Holly truthfully, "whatever happened in your past got you here with me, I like that you have a past that you're willing to share and talk about with me."
Gail turns her head to look up at Holly, "and that's why I love you, you love me for me."
Holly sees a reflection of that love in Gail's eyes, she leans down to connect their lips, she smiles into the kiss and whispers on the blonde's lips, "I love you."
Gail smiles too, "you ready to go outside now? It looks like the sun is shining."
"Maybe a few more minutes inside…"
Gail and Holly both took two days off work to move themselves from their current living situations to their townhouse. Holly went over to the frat house with Gail to help pack up the blonde's belongings. "Are we taking the dresser?" asks Holly.
"No," says Gail, "it was here when I moved in, it stays."
"That's fine," Holly says, "I have one you can use." When Holly moved to San Francisco, all of her furniture went to her parents' house, some in the basement some in the garage, it's like they knew she would eventually need it again. Holly grabs one of the bags and starts to empty a drawer. "You're a Bills fan?"
"I'll have you know Stewart, that 40% of the Buffalo Bills fan base is Canadian," Holly gives her a 'who you kidding look.' "It was Chris'. I just like the size and the feel of it. Can I keep it? or would you rather I give it back to him?"
Holly slips it on over head, she was starting to get a little chilled, "this is comfy, this is coming home with us," she brings the sleeve up to her face, "and so soft."
"I know," says Gail, "I only wear it when I know Chris isn't coming home, he thinks he lost it somewhere. You'll have to put your coat on over it when we leave or he'll spot it," warns Gail.
The two go back to packing up all of Gail's stuff. The two work in a comfortable silence, making sure they don't miss anything.
"I still think its funny how we met."
"In a bar?" questions Gail.
"In a mop closet," reminds Holly.
Gail says in a very serious voice, "well, someone was throwing some obnoxious going away party." Holly laughs. "I needed a bit of quiet to enjoy my free beverages. You know how rowdy you nerds from the lab get; I think I saw Dr. Pleok drinking an actual coke, not a diet coke, not a coke zero, a real coke."
Holly laughs again, "you're insane, why did I even agree to move in with you."
"Because I come with a cat."
"Speaking of, looks like we're done in here. Come here Charlie," says Holly standing up, "I'm ready to bring my human cat home and my cat cat." Charlie looks up from the bare mattress where she's been watching the packing extravaganza, she sees that the blonde one has her arms full so her only option is getting picked up by the brunette.
Gail shakes her head, "I should have never compared myself to a cat."
"No you should not have," Holly smiles, "come on Charlie," Holly bends down to pick up the cat.
"I'll throw your coat into my bag," offers Gail.
"Are you ready to spend a night in your new home?" Holly asks Charlie.
"I am," says Gail.
"I was talking to the cat," smiles Holly.
The two ladies walk into the main room where the boys and Chloe are watching some television. "Nobody get up to hug me, my arms are full and I'll be seeing you all tomorrow," Gail declares.
"Do we get to hug you tomorrow?"
"You guys leaving, we could order some food?" offers Dov.
Chris turns around, "yeah, wait…are you guys taking the cat?"
"Uh, yeah, she's my cat," reminds Gail.
Chris spots his jersey on Holly, "is that my Bill's jersey?"
Holly looks at Gail, Gail shrugs her shoulders, Holly says, "no?"
"Damn, I lost a jersey just like that a couple of years ago…" Chris laments.
"It's a great jersey."
"Yeah," Chris says sorrowfully.
Gail steps in before her girlfriend gives away her favourite comfy cover up, "well, we're going to go, if I left anything just let me know."
"Yup, see you at work tomorrow," says Chloe, "enjoy your first night in your new place!"
Gail rolls her eyes, "thanks," she means it though.
Gail's done her shift; she just needs to finish changing then she can go home, hopefully nobody stops her. "Oh Gail," Chloe says upon entering the locker room. "I was printing out pictures the other day-"
"Who still prints out pictures?"
"Anyways, I had this one of you and Holly, and I couldn't not print it. You two look so happy and in love and I wanted to give it to you." Chloe hands over said picture.
Gail looks at it; it was them at the Penny. Holly in her lap the night she met Gail's friends/coworkers. The two are smiling at each other on the verge of laughter. Gail runs her fingers over the picture, "thanks Chloe."
Chloe's bursting with emotion, "I'm so happy for you and proud of you," she can't help herself, she hugs Gail.
Gail does a really long eye roll, not like Chloe can see it, "I'll give the picture back so you will stop hugging me."
Chloe let's go of her fellow officer, "no, keep the picture, it's yours."
Later that night at her house, Gail likes that, her house, Gail was emptying her bag, putting her empty water bottle by the sink to get washed, throwing some of her clothes in the laundry basket, she finds the photo Chloe gave her. Gail lifts a magnet off of the fridge and hangs it on the refrigerator. Her mom didn't like pictures or anything on the fridge because she thought it looked messy. Gail smiles at the idea that her fridge looks like one of those family's refrigerators on television. Holly and Gail's fridge is starting to look like a family's fridge. Gail likes that too.
"Gail?" Holly calls into their dark bedroom, "is that you?"
Gail opens the bathroom door a crack, but not too much so the bathroom light wont overpower a previously sleeping Holly, "did you give a key to another girlfriend?" Gail tries to joke. Holly doesn't answer, she either didn't hear Gail or is choosing not to answering, Gail continues, "yeah it's me, I'm just going to finish washing up, I'll be out in a minute."
"'kay," Holly mumbles.
Gail emerges from the bathroom into the dark bedroom she shares with Holly, a flick of Charlie's tail catches her attention, she sees the cat on their bed, she's happy that the cat is able to keep Holly company, "scoot over," Gail requests standing at the side of the bed.
Without thinking Holly moves further into the bed, leaving the warm spot on the bed open for Gail, Gail slips into bed behind Holly, "Burr…you're cold!" Holly exclaims.
"My shift was mostly outside today, haven't been inside for more than maybe twenty minutes." Gail snuggles closer to Holly, "you're so warmmm…I'm just going to stay here forever and you'll have to stay here too to keep me warm."
"Pfft, I doubt it; I don't think you'd be able to stay away from those cheese puffs I just bought today that are right down stairs in our pantry."
Gail takes a long breath of air, "drats, foiled again."
A few moments of silence before Holly says, "just for the record, I don't think I could handle two girlfriends."
"How about three?" helps Gail.
"I never thought about it," Holly jokes. "No, you're all I need."
"I'm glad," whispers Gail as she can feel sleep taking over her.
A month has gone by, Holly and Gail are at their new townhouse, Charlie loves the new place, now not always having to be confined to Gail's room, Charlie gets the whole house to herself sometimes. Charlie also likes that Gail is around more, she doesn't seem to mind Holly, but the cat is always glad to plunk herself in Gail's lap and be petted while the blonde watches tv or a movie or is just sitting there with an open lap perfect for a cat to sit in. Gail's on the couch playing with Charlie. The blonde's phone rings, she answers it, "hello? Hi Steve…no I'm at home." Charlie bites Gail's finger, Gail giggles, "ow Charlie, don't bite me, silly girl." Gail pushes Charlie away, only to have the cat pounce on her, another giggle, "yes, I'm still seeing Holly, we just moved in together idiot. What do you mean who's over here? Who Charlie? Charlie, my cat? What the fuck Steve, why do you always think I'm being unfaithful, no I'm done talking with you." She looks over at Holly who's just entered the room, "Phone's for you," she tosses her phone to her girlfriend.
Holly, "hello? Oh, hi Steve. I'm fine thanks and you? Good." Holly makes eye contact with Gail, "you need to talk with Gail."
"I'm not here," says Gail. She addresses the cat, "ow, Charlie bit me, and it really hurt."
"You heard that," says Holly into the phone. Holly presses the phone to her shoulder so she can talk without Steve hearing her, "he says he needs to talk to you and that he didn't know you got a cat. Seriously, did anyone know you got a cat?"
Gail kind of shrugs her shoulders; Gail's never been a very good sharer, she stands up and takes her phone back, "what?" She walks out of the family room area, "what do you mean am I going to be busy for the next couple of months?" That peaks Holly's interest and follows Gail into the other room to listen to the conversation, "uh-huh, I see, can I think about it? You need a decision by tomorrow…I need to talk to Holly, okay, yeah, bye." She hangs up her phone and sighs.
"What was that all about?" asks Holly, startling Gail.
"Um, he wants me to go back undercover, see if we can find Lex."
"Exactly," says Gail, "who is Lex?"
Happy New Year! Thanks for reading and leaving comments and i hope your week goes well
a few of you are wondering why undercover again, remember when I said I was going to be done with meet and greet? well a bunch of you sent me 'what if you added…' or 'how about…' or 'I would like to see…', well a couple of you wanted Gail to catch Lex, it will be this chapter and part of next chapter, plus a lot of you want the cat to become Holly's cat and this would be a great opportunity for that to happen with Gail not around, two birds one stone kind of thing
"I can feel you staring," says Gail. No answer, she knows Holly is watching her, or maybe Charlie. "Charlie?" Still nothing, the blonde opens her eyes; she is met with the blue inside her tent. She groans, crap, not again.
"Everything okay in there Mae?" asks Isaac.
"Peachy," Gail grumbles, she was having the best dream, and now she's not. She can't believe it, she kind of assumed that Steve and Luke had caught Lex, that Steve and Luke had done their jobs. She had given them so much information, but apparently not enough. She's been back with Isaac for the past week. Last time when her op was over she continued to come back and visit with Isaac, make sure the older man was doing okay. She enjoyed talking to him, they don't talk about personal things, no pressure items, Gail likes that about the man, he doesn't press. On occasion when she was visiting with Isaac she would run into Zander and Jim, but she would mostly sit outside Isaac's tent with him and catch up with what's happening in his neck of the woods. In a sense he kind of became her informant, but she doesn't want to tell him that since she met him as an undercover cop, however whenever she did come she always brought lunch, so a payment of sorts, it made her feel better when she saw him, compensating him for his knowledge. Gail grumbles again, she sits up and stretches. She emerges from the tent.
"Morning," says Isaac.
Gail grumbles a third time.
"How come you didn't bring your cat?"
"I don't want to talk about it," says Gail.
"Did the ex keep your cat?"
"I said I didn't want to talk about it," Gail thought about bringing Charlie with her, but then quickly shot down the idea, thinking it wouldn't be fair to bring the cat with her.
"Who knows," says Isaac, "maybe you'll find another one or, more likely, maybe another one will find you."
Gail likes that idea, maybe a second cat? No, she quickly decides, she doesn't want another cat; she wants to be home with Holly and Charlie. She doesn't want another cat distracting her from what's she's supposed to be doing, she's also not sure how Holly would feel if she showed up with another cat.
Holly gets home from the morgue, she hears the sounds of claws on the floor racing towards her, Charlie tears around the corner and comes up short when she sees it's just Holly. Holly sighs, "yeah, you weren't who I was hoping to see here either."
Charlie meows and walks off towards the kitchen.
Holly unlaces her boots and hangs up her coat; she takes her lunchbox into the kitchen to empty out the containers. Steve had popped by her office earlier to tell her Gail would be staying in her tent doing surveillance for them for at least another week. He assured her that Gail was safe and that she was checking in with him regularly and that everything was going according to plan. Holly remembers saying, "well that's good to hear," what's she supposed to say to that? She sighs again, what to do for dinner, she opens the fridge and sees there's enough leftovers for her for tonight and for tomorrow's lunch, maybe she'll cook tomorrow after work. She sheds her clothes in the laundry and walks up to the master bedroom to take a hot shower, after a day like today she could really use one.
After making herself all clean she finds herself back in the kitchen. Staring at the clock. Only 6:30pm. Dinner time? She shakes her head to get herself out of her head, she takes some food out of the fridge, she doles some out into some containers for tomorrow's lunch and puts the rest on a plate for her to warm up now. She decides to clean the corning ware now to prolong dinner just a little bit longer. She looks at the clock again, 6:47pm, she sighs, dinner time. She warms up her food and takes the heated up plate into the family room, finding that having the tv on while she eats a great distraction.
It's only been two weeks but Holly misses Gail. When Gail said she was going to go back undercover, Holly kind of shrugged her shoulders and was like okay, no big deal. But, Holly may have been wrong about how much of her day she would find her mind worrying about Gail and if she was safe and when she would see her again. Holly has noticed that Traci has started checking in on her again, it's very nice of the other woman but…no, Holly will leave it at that, it's nice of Traci to see how Holly's doing, it's just Holly feels it's slightly unnecessary.
Charlie jumps onto the couch, she looks left, she looks right, she stares at Holly. Holly puts down her plate, thinking maybe the cat will crawl into her lap, like she's seen her do to Gail. Nope, the cat jumps off the couch and saunters away. Damn cat, Holly would have really liked to have petted her, see if it is as soothing as Gail described.
Another week has gone by, Gail wants to check in on Holly, make sure the brunette isn't stressing too hard about all of this. Gail walks by the pay phone she used last time when she wanted to call Holly. She stops to think it over, whether or not it would be a good idea to call the brunette. She sticks her hand in her pocket, she has some change, before she over thinks it she starts to feed the phone with coins and dials Holly's number. Gail just has to hope that Holly will actually pick up the unknown number. *Ring* "Hello?"
"What are you doing?"
"Calling you, what are you doing?"
"Are you supposed to be doing this?"
"Are you going to tell?" The doctor doesn't answer. "Does it matter 'why', aren't you glad I called?"
"Of course, but-"
Gail cuts her off, she doesn't want to hear it, what she wants to hear is, "how are you?"
Holly sighs, "fine, as good as I can be. You?"
"Oh yeah, it's spring time in Toronto, one of my favourite seasons, I love those birds in the morning."
Holly smiles into the phone, is it the joy in hearing Gail's voice, or the joy in hearing Gail be somewhat sarcastic, "good."
"How's my pussy cat?"
Holly laughs, "you shouldn't say that."
Gail smiles, she was trying to find a way to make Holly laugh, she desperately wanted to hear that sound. "What? Why? Why shouldn't I say pussy cat?"
"The only thing that can get away with calling feline's pussy cats is Tweety Bird."
"I've got yellow hair and blue eyes," Gail tries to counter.
"Not good enough," Holly smiles into her phone. The two pause, what else should they talk about? What else could they talk about?
Just then the automated operator informs Gail to insert another coin, "I don't have any more quarters, I have to go Holls."
The line is cut, Gail hangs up her phone. She sighs. That telephone call wasn't enough for either of them.
Over a month has gone by. Holly has been talking a lot more to Steve, and according to him this op that Gail is on should have only taken a couple of weeks. Holly thinks she can hear Gail saying, sure if you want it unfinished again, Holly knows that Gail would rather finish what she started than to have to be sent back to her tent in a couple of months again. And all Holly can do is wait. She's having a drink after work with Gail's rookie class; Chloe invited her to join them. They're sitting around the table, talking about the bigger cases of the week; Holly assumes it's a common interest topic that they can all talk about. Eventually they move on to other topics, like when they're going to take their annual camping trip, but then Dov blurts out, "I don't understand why she got picked again."
Chloe smacks him under the table.
"Oh, I barely hit you."
Holly kind of laughs at the two, she smiles, and completely lost she asks, "why who got picked?"
Chloe smacks Dov again.
"What are you guys talking about?" asks Holly.
"The undercover thing, don't you hit me Chloe Price," Dov warns, grabbing her arm. "She always gets picked for the cool assignments," Dov whines.
Holly doesn't know how Gail got picked; sure her brother is a part of the assignment, but she just assumed it was because he's a detective and he trusts Gail. Holly, not one for awkward conversations that she has no knowledge about, stands up, "I should get going, I had a long day and I'm tired. Thanks for inviting me out."
"No, wait," says Andy. "Good going Dov, you made the doctor uncomfortable."
Everyone at the table glares at Dov. Chris speaks up, "remember when she got back from her vacation," Dov nods his head at his roommate. "Remember there was that assignment that Callaghan was looking for a volunteer for?"
Dov smacks his head, "she's on that one again?"
"Yes," the group says a collective.
"Oh, I thought that was over with," says Dov, "I thought she got picked for something else. Man she was pissed when she got pack from her vacation, I think that's why she took the assignment in the first place." He looks at Holly, "didn't she go see you?"
Holly chooses her words carefully; she comes up with, "yes."
"What happened?" asks Chloe.
"Nothing, just a misunderstanding," says Holly truthfully.
"Ah," says Dov again. "Well, I'm glad you two worked it out, I've never seen her happier."
Holly smiles, "thanks, she makes me happy too." Holly debates whether to sit back down and have another drink, but decides she should get home, "well, I should get going, I need to feed the cat."
Chris perks up, "how's Charlie? I miss her; she was always so cuddly and friendly."
Holly internally thinks WHAT?!, Charlie friendly and cuddly?! "Oh, she's fine, she's…a cat," Holly doesn't really know what more to say. "Maybe you could come over some time," Holly offers.
"Of course, next time, let's do drinks at my place," Holly suggests. Holly wonders how Gail would feel about that, her friends over at their place. Well Gail's not home right now, so Holly can decide who she invites over without having to ask the blonde.
Gail's mumbling to herself, debating with herself, trying to figure something out.
"You're talking to yourself again," says Zander.
"Sometimes I need expert advice," quips Gail.
Zander doesn't even respond to that. "Ready to go Maybelline?" asks Zander.
"Only if you are Alexander."
"Always, May-Bah-Lean," says Zander, pronouncing every syllable.
"Okay, Al-Lex-Zan-Der," Gail's eyes go wide, "shit," she mutters under her breath.
"What was that?"
"Aw, nothing, my shoe lace is untied again," Gail bends down to pretend to tie her shoe, needing a second without looking at Zander, needing to actually think this through, how to play this.
"That's why I wear Velcro; it's a lot faster to do up the shoes."
"Not to mention completely stylish, I think my grandfather had the same pair," Gail remarks.
"Shut up," Zander smiles, "get in the car, we're going to be late."
Gail does as she's told.
Holly slowly opens her eyes, it's her day off, normally she would have cleaned the house or worked in the yard, but in order to keep her mind off of Gail she's been doing that on the daily. The house has never been cleaner and the yard has never looked better. Holly's about to sit up in bed when she realizes there's a weight on her belly, she puts her hand there thinking it's the book she was reading last night, but is met with warmth and a purr. Holly gasps, Charlie is on her belly and purring. Clearly Charlie misses human contact. Holly tentatively moves her hand up and down Charlie's back. The cat doesn't move. Holly takes that as a good sign. She can feel the cat's little face nuzzle into her palm. Holly smiles softly. It only took a couple of months but the cat is finally okay with Holly. Holly was going to get out of bed, but now doesn't really see why she needs to move just yet. She eventually drifts off to sleep again; eight o'clock is too early on her day off.
Zander, Jim, and Gail are at one of the empty warehouses. A cop siren is heard, Zander looks around expecting to see a cruiser pull up beside them. "What are you doing?" asks Jim.
Zander shakes his head, "nothing, let's get going."
"You act as if you've never heard a police siren before," Gail jokes.
"Just being vigilant," he pauses; he is trying to decide whether or not he should share his run in with the police the other day, "you know how I was late last Wednesday?" Gail and Jim nod their heads. "I thought I was being followed."
"You're just being paranoid. Who would follow you, and why would they follow you?" Jim jokes.
"No, I'm being serious; I thought I saw the same police cruiser follow me when I was walking here."
"One all cop cars look the same and two why would a cop car be following you, that's not very discreet."
"Maybe they're not trying to be discreet," Zander's all revved up.
"Hold on," says Gail, trying to calm the situation down, "who knows what we're up to? You, me, and Jim. I don't talk to anyone besides you two and Isaac…" she lets the sentence hang, hoping what she says will get through to Zander.
Jim tries, "come on Zander it's just us, why would we tell anyone, if anything happens to you, it's going to happen to us, how stupid would we be. We all know if we get caught we'll end up in prison…" he lets his sentence hang.
"Stop, just STOP!" Zander grabs his head.
"It's okay buddy," says Jim.
"SHUT UP!" Zander pulls a gun from behind his back; it was concealed in his waist band.
"WHOA!" shouts Jim, "what are you doing?!" He instinctively puts his hands up.
"Come on Zander, what's going on?" asks Gail.
"I told you two to SHUT UP, I need to think!"
"Why don't you do you're thinking with the gun pointing down?" suggests Jim.
Zander looks at Jim, he has a crazy look to his eyes, he tilts his head to the side, "why, you afraid I'm going to shoot you, snitch?"
Jim furrows his brow, "what are you talking about?" He shakes his head, "I would never snitch!"
"That's EXACTLY what a SNITCH would say!" Zander points his gun at Jim and pulls the trigger.
Gail's police training kicks in, without even thinking she goes to push Jim out of the way, and now all she feels is pain.
Sorry for the wait, I was stuck, didn't feel like writing, got sort of busy, any of those excuses are valid. Thanks for reading though, I am pretty much done with meet and greet, two more chapters almost complete, I'll post them soon. Have a nice weekend!
Holly's walking down a hallway to get to her office; she walks by her boss' office. "Dr. Stewart?" he calls out.
Holly stops and steps into his office, "yes?"
"Are you working on anything?"
"No, just some paper work. I finished an autopsy yesterday and-"
He cuts her off, "I need someone to go to the hospital, a police officer was shot and we need the bullet to be catalogued properly," Holly nods her head, "they'll be starting the procedure to remove it, so you can go over there now."
Holly once again nods her head, "I'll just go grab my kit."
Holly drives herself to the hospital, Gail's been gone for over three month now almost four. Traci and Leo have been hanging around their townhouse a lot. It's very nice of them, but in Holly's opinion unnecessary. If Holly wanted someone to hang out with she would just go to Cindy's, but the nice thing with Traci is she doesn't ask questions, Traci knows what it's like to be undercover and to have someone she cares about undercover so she knows how overwhelming it can be. Holly sighs; she's supposed to be going out to the Penny tonight with Gail's friends. Another nice gesture, but sometimes she wishes she could just go home to Charlie. Holly smiles, who knew she would start to think fondly about the cat? Gail was right; the cat is rather reminiscent of the blonde. She pulls up at the hospital parking lot; she grabs her kit out of the back of her car and heads into the building. She walks up to the nurse sitting behind the front desk; she shows her credentials and explains why she's there. The nurse directs her to the proper floor, the officer was pretty hurt when she came in and had to go into the surgery room to get the bullet taken out. Holly feels bad for the officer; she knows firsthand how unpredictable their jobs can be. She gets to the appropriate floor and once again talks to a nurse who directs her to the suite the surgery is taking place in. Holly puts on the appropriate gear before entering the room. Holly notices there are a couple of medical personnel in the room, surrounding a person on the operating table. She gets greeted by the surgeon holding some instruments, "hello…"
"Dr. Stewart," supplies Holly.
"Dr. Stewart, perfect timing, I was just about to take out the bullet form this officer's shoulder, you can step closer if you'd like."
Holly gets the vial ready to receive the bullet. She takes a step closer and stops. She recognizes that back, she's seen this pale naked back on numerous occasions, sure there usually aren't this many people in the room, but this back definitely belongs to Gail. Holly pales. "Doctor, are you okay?"
Holly has to shake herself out of it, she was there to do a job, collect the bullet. She muscles past her fears and walks closer. The bullet makes a clink sound as it lands in the vial. "Thank you doctor, you can leave now," the surgeon dismisses Holly. But Holly can't go; she needs to find out what happened to Gail.
"What else do you have to do to the officer?"
Even with all the protective gear on Holly can see the surgeon frown, "that is none of your business; please doctor, I have asked you to leave."
Holly desperately wants to protest, to stay in this room with Gail longer, but she also wants the doctors and nurses to get back to work and fix up Gail, Holly really has no choice but to leave.
Holly walks back to the nurse at the desk for this floor, "can you tell me what's wrong with the officer in there?"
The nurse looks at her, "sorry, but I can't."
Holly tries but I'm a doctor route, hoping from one professional to another maybe the nurse will talk. But no. "Will I be able to see her after surgery?"
The nurse is confused why this lady from the lab wants to see this police officer, "do you have forensic questions you will want to ask her?"
"I'm sorry but I can't just let in anyone to see her."
"I'm her girlfriend," says Holly.
The nurse looks at the list in front of her, she shakes her head from side to side, "it says here her parents and brother are her next of kin, nothing about a girlfriend."
"So I wont even be allowed in to see her when she's done surgery?"
The nurse sort of shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head, "no."
Holly's frustrated; once again she really has no other option but to leave. She takes the bullet back to the lab and passes it off to some co-worker, knowing that with Gail involved Holly can't run the tests. Looking at the clock she realizes it's practically the end of her shift, she gathers her stuff and slowly makes her way to the parking lot her head swimming with thoughts.
Later that night Holly's laying on her back on the couch, Charlie jumps up and makes herself comfortable on Holly's stomach, Holly instinctively reaches her hand out to pet the cat. Steve called her to tell her Gail was shot and done with her UC. Holly already knew that, and figures Steve will find that out eventually when he sees her name on the evidence log.
Holly's been laying low, avoiding Gail's friends because they all want to give her a hug, but they're hugs that Holly doesn't want. She's also been trying to avoid Steve. He keeps apologizing to her, but Holly doesn't know what to say to that. Steve finally does find Holly a couple of days later. Holly's in her office and has nowhere to escape to. Steve's talking to Holly, he's trying to be casual, they do have a case overlapping, but as soon as they are done discussing it he says, "we need to talk, how come you haven't gone to see Gail yet?"
"What do you mean you can't, is it too painful to see her?"
"No…well…I don't think so, I'm not sure, but I'm not allowed to see her," says Holly.
"Oh. You're not her next of kin," Steve smacks his forehead. "She keeps asking me about you, but you literally can't see her." Steve thinks for a second, "well, I'm heading up there today, come with me, see if they even notice two of us going in to see her."
Holly pushes her lips to the side, "you think that'll work?"
"It's worth a shot," Steve smiles, "I can be very charming."
"You're going to try charming your way into seeing your sister?"
"Or distract. It's going to be one of the two."
"Distraction may be your better choice," Holly agrees to go.
Gail recognizes Steve's footsteps as he walks into her hospital room, "oh good, you're here," says Gail. She's facing the window, her back to the door, "could you help me lay on my back?"
Steve shoves Holly to go help Gail. Gail furrows her brow as familiar hands help her rearrange her position, "Holly?" says the blonde as she finally sees her girlfriend.
"Hi," says Holly.
"What are you doing here?"
Steve smiles over at the two, "I snuck her in. You're welcome."
Gail glares at her big brother, not wanting to talk to him. She's been stuck talking to him too much already.
Holly cups Gail's cheek, "I came to see you."
Gail smiles at her girlfriend, "took you long enough."
Holly rolls her eyes, "they wouldn't let me come in to see you, Steve was talking to the nurse while I slipped past them," she smiles a wry smile.
"Oh, well thanks then," Gail says to Steve.
"What are big brothers good for?" Steve sits on the couch and pulls out some noise cancelling headphones from his pocket. "I thought about leaving to give you two some time to talk, but I figured if I left and the staff could still hear voices coming from here it might look suspicious and they would come check. So I'll just sit here and you two can catch up."
"Are you always this prepared?"
"It's how we were raised," the Peck siblings say as one.
Steve adjusts the headphones on his head, "we only have an hour," he reminds the ladies.
Holly pulls a chair close to the bed, "what are you doing?" asks Gail.
"Grabbing a chair?"
"No," says Gail, "move me closer to the edge, please. Then you can lie next to me, please." Gail has the most vulnerable look on her face that Holly has ever seen, Holly can't say 'no' to that. Holly wants to protest, she doesn't want to hurt Gail, but she too wants to be as close to Gail as possible. She pauses for a second; Gail reaches out to touch Holly's hand, "we'll be careful."
"Okay," Holly says somewhat reluctantly.
They get all settled, Gail resting next to Holly.
"Our couch is too big without you," says Holly.
Gail laughs lightly, "that was the most needy thing I think you've ever said."
Gail rolls her eyes; she smiles and leans in to kiss Holly's lips. "I missed you."
"I missed you too," Holly smiles, tears coming to her eyes.
"I really missed you; I didn't think it would be this difficult, knowing you're here in the city but not being able to talk to you…"
"It's okay," says Gail, "they wont make me go undercover for a while now, one of the pleasures of being shot," Gail trying to make a joke.
Holly furrows her brow. "I got to see you during your surgery," this time the blonde furrows her brow, needing more of an explanation, "I was sent to collect the bullet."
"Oh," is all Gail says, really all she can say. Somebody messed up and Holly shouldn't have been sent to collect a bullet out of her girlfriend's back, but sadly it's in the past now and it can't be undone. "Well, on the plus side, we were able to use the bullet against Lex and he's currently being charged for assaulting a police officer, which is allowing Steve and Luke some much needed time to get everything ready to charge him with everything else."
"Can I ask what happened?" Holly slips her hand into Gail's.
Gail shrugs her shoulders, then winces, realizing shoulder shrugs are not for her just yet, knowing Holly wont be able to work the case and knowing Holly is very good at keeping things between them, "Zander got spooked, he thought the cops were following him, and in all honestly, they might have been, for whatever reason he thought Jim was talking to the police, he went to fire his gun at Jim, I pushed Jim out of the way and got a bullet shot into my shoulder." Holly gasps even though she's aware Gail got shot, hearing it can be a whole other story. "They, I don't know, felt bad for shooting me so they loaded me into the truck and drove me to the hospital. Luckily one of the ER nurses recognized me from some other job related incident, she probably remembered my charming personality," Holly rolls her eyes, "she noticed that the bullet was still lodged in me, she was able to get me to a doctor right away, and she directed Zander and Jim to a private sitting room where I think Dov and Chris arrested them. It was nice of them to bring me to the hospital but also kind of stupid."
Holly sighs, "yeah." It's a lot to take in, "how do you feel?"
"Fine, the doctor's got me doing various exercises to strengthen my arm and shoulder. I want to be able to go back to work, to go back into the field, not just work behind a desk." Gail's a cop and will always want to be a cop, she's good at it and she likes it.
The two are quiet for a minute, lost in their thoughts, but truly happy to be with each other. Happy to finally see each other after what's felt like forever even though it's only been a handful of months.
"When can you come home?" asks Holly, finally breaking the silence.
Gail shrugs her shoulders, and once again winces.
"They haven't told you," Holly furrows her brow.
"They have," Gail says, evading the question.
"Ah, come on Holly, I don't want to be a burden to you."
"Seriously? That's what you're worried about, burdening me?"
Gail looks away.
"Gail," Holly says, "Gail look at me," the blonde finally turns her head to face her girlfriend, "I love you and would rather have you at home with me helping you than not being able to visit you here."
That is true, Gail would rather see Holly than not. "Ummm…"
"Oh come on, I'm a doctor, I can help you if your wound needs changing."
"A dead people's doctor," Gail helpfully points out.
Holly rolls her eyes. "Gail…" she says again, "I can help you with your exercises.
"Fine, I was able to go home three days ago."
"Three days ago!" Holly says slightly loudly.
"Shhh! Keep it down, we don't want to get caught."
"Why didn't you tell me, I would have come to collect you…"
Steve stands up and stretches, he takes off his headphones, "it's been an hour," he informs his sister, "we have to go Holly."
"Just a second," says Holly, "Gail, I would rather you come home than stay here, I can keep an eye on you, you can heal at our house, Charlie is there." Holly tries to think of different reasons for Gail to entice her to come home, "I'm there."
Gail sighs and rolls her eyes with a smile on her face, "Holly I already moved in with you what more of a commitment do you want?"
Holly shoves her.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, I wasn't thinking," says Holly, quickly surveying the blonde, making sure she didn't actually hurt her.
"It's okay; I'm just a little sore, what kind of doctor are you, aren't you supposed to make people feel better not worse? And you want me to go home with you-"
"Actually, you deserved it, three days ago…sometimes Gail, I-" Holly shakes her head.
Gail looks at the clock, "ugh, it's almost dinner time, they wont give me a cheese burger," she pouts.
Holly's figured it out, "if you come home with me, I'll let you have a cheese burger."
"And cheese puffs?" Gail looks extremely hopeful.
"And cheese puffs."
"Steve, go get the papers, Holly's taking me home!"
Holly shakes her head, of course the reason to get Gail out of the hospital was food, should have tried that first. Holly will keep a note of that for future reference, hopefully she wont have to use it, but just to be on the safe side.
Gail comes home from the hospital, still sore, she did take a bullet to her shoulder less than a week ago, Holly has Gail's bag of whatever she had with her in the hospital and their takeout food, she quickly goes inside, Steve helps his sister out of the car, "you going to be okay?"
"Of course, I live with a doctor."
"Good, you should have come home sooner."
Holly appears next to the siblings, offering some support to Gail if she needs it. They went through a drive thru on their way to Gail and Holly's, Gail was able to pick out her own cheeseburger, Holly went to unlock the door and bring the bags inside. "Thanks for the ride Steve," says Holly.
"Anytime, call me if you need anything."
"Unlikely," says Gail, ready for her brother to leave.
"Thank you," says Holly.
"Do you have tomorrow off?" asks Steve.
"No, but I'm going to call in just a second, take a vacation day if I have to," says Holly.
"Okay," says Steve, "is it okay if I stop by tomorrow?" He's acting kind of shy, a little apprehensive, "see if you two are doing okay."
Gail sighs, "I thought if I got out of the hospital that would stop our daily visits."
"Don't sound too disappointed about not seeing me," Steve jokes.
"Of course you can stop by," says Holly. She leans over to kiss his cheek, "thanks again."
"Stop thanking me Holly, you're family, of course I'm going to help you and my little sister."
Holly smiles; she likes that, being family.
Gail and Holly walk through the front door, the sound of claws is heard on the floor, Charlie comes racing around a corner, she starts to circle Holly's legs. "What's going on?" asks Gail.
"What do you mean?"
"Why is Charlie happy to see you?"
Holly laughs, "jealous?"
Gail shakes her head, "no, but," she leans down to pet her cat, "hi Charlie." Charlie walks over to sniff Gail's hand.
"Meow." Charlie walks away.
"What was that?"
"Oh honey," says Holly, "she's happy you're home."
"No she's not, she's happy you're home."
"She's happy we're home," Holly tries.
Gail huffs, "can we eat cheese burgers now? At least that wont disappoint me. And here I was so excited to come home and see Charlie again."
Holly laughs, "she'll come around, you'll see. It takes time," Holly says quoting Gail from what feels like ages ago.
"Maybe Isaac was right and I should have gotten another cat," mumbles Gail.
"What was that, what did you say?" asks Holly in the other room.
"Nothing," Gail says faux sweetly.
Gail and Holly are enjoying their takeout burgers; well…Holly's enjoying her burger. Holly keeps looking at her girlfriend who has a constant scowl on her face. Holly's not sure what's going through the blonde's head, maybe it's overwhelming being home again, maybe she is concerned about being a burden to Holly (which Holly thinks is stupid), maybe it's… Holly's thoughts get cut off, Gail finally speaks, "what did you do to my pussy cat?"
Holly who had just taken a sip of her pop starts to cough, "what?"
"Charlie," Gail looks at Holly with this look of betrayal on her face, "what did you do to Charlie?"
Holly laughs, "honey, I didn't do anything to her besides feed her and play with her-"
"She let you play with her?" Gail says louder than anticipated.
"Yeah," says Holly with a smile on her face, "she finally warmed up to me, isn't it great?"
"I guess," Gail pushes her food around her plate. Gail has an idea, "Charlie!" she calls.
The cat walks into the kitchen and looks up at the two at the table, "meow?"
Gail's all happy, "see, she comes when I call her."
"How do you know she wasn't just walking into the kitchen just as you said her name?"
"Come on Holly, let me have this one," Gail whines.
Holly smiles, holding back a laugh, "fine, she comes when you call her."
Gail sighs, she feels slightly better, she munches into her burger and slips a french fry to Charlie under the table. Holly saw it, but she doesn't say anything.
Gail's off work for a couple of weeks while she continues to heal, some of her friends have taken time to spend with the blonde to break up her day. "It's like our house has a revolving front door," Gail complains to Holly as the brunette gets ready to go to work.
"They're just trying to be nice," says Holly.
"If they really wanted to be nice, they would leave me alone," Gail points out.
"They missed you."
"What a bunch of losers," but Gail smiles inside, she missed her friends too. "Why can't you just stay with me?"
"I sadly have to go to work."
Gail sighs, "okay, who do I have to put up with today?"
"I think Chloe said she was going to come by after her shift."
"Aw, no, not Chloe, I'd rather Nick come by again or Andy, or worse Nick and Andy."
Gail thinks about it for a second, "no, Chloe's fine."
"Good, I'll let her know you're excited to see her."
Gail furrows her brow, "don't tell her that!"
Holly laughs, "who's going to stop me?"
"It was so nice of you to invite me over," says Chloe.
Gail grumbles. "Mhmmm," is all she manages.
Chloe came over after her shift around four in the afternoon. "Holly says I can use your kitchen to cook everyone dinner," Chloe smiles.
"Sure, after the boys are done their paperwork they're heading over. Holly said she wont be home until six, but we still have plenty of time before they get here. Should we play a game?"
"I'm going to take Charlie for a walk," Gail finds an excuse, even though she doesn't have a leash or harness or whatever one uses to walk their cat.
"I didn't know you walked your cat, that's so cool, I'll come!" Chloe says excitedly.
Gail grumbles, "maybe I'll take a nap."
"That's fine," says Chloe, but then starts to ramble, "you probably need your rest, I remember when I first got home from the hospital, I felt like a zombie, I was so tired and sore and-"
"Sh!" Gail holds up her finger to her lips.
Chloe smiles, "I'll just get started on some food prep, while you nap, then we can play a game."
Gail walks upstairs and closes her bedroom door, lessening the sound of Chloe singing in her kitchen. Gail's lying on the bed; she had physical therapy earlier in the day, she's a little sore and tired. She begins her tricks to quiet her mind so she can rest, but she hears a scratch at the door, she gets off the bed to open the door for Charlie, "Holly's not in here," says Gail in a snide way.
"Meow," Charlie says ignoring Gail and hops up on the bed.
Gail goes back to her spot on the bed, "couldn't stand Chloe's singing either eh?"
"Meow," Charlie says again, the cat walks around the bed. She finally curls up on Holly's nightshirt.
"Sigh," Gail releases her breath; she's been watching Charlie follow around Holly for the past week. Gail doesn't want to say that it hurts, but it totally does. "Sigh," she releases another breath of air.
Holly arrives home from work and finds the cops in her kitchen, but not the cop she was hoping to see. "Hi Holly," smiles Chloe, "after work cocktail?" she passes a drink to Holly, who eagerly takes a sip.
Holly's eyes go wide, "this is good," she takes a second sip.
"Thanks," says Chloe, "I hope you don't mind but I raided your liquor cabinet."
Holly shakes her head no as she takes another sip.
"Rough day?" asks Chris.
Holly bobbles her head from side to side, "there was some miscommunication at work today, three of us did the same task, that's why I'm late coming home, we had to stay later to get everything we needed to get done." She sighs, beginning to feel the relaxing effect of the extremely stiff drink. "Where's Gail?" she asks.
"She went to take a nap, she hasn't come down, and none of us are willing to go see if she's actually awake or just playing on her phone," answers Dov.
"Ah," says Holly as she finishes her last sip and sets down the glass, "well I want to go wash my face anyways, so I'll go see."
"Good luck," says Chris.
Holly smiles and shakes her head, she's not afraid of Gail, she knows Gail is just a big softy but enjoys intimidating her friends. She quietly opens their bedroom door, she smiles when she sees two pairs of blue eyes stare at her. "Hi," says Holly quietly.
"Hi," says Gail just as quietly petting Charlie who's purring on top of Gail's stomach.
Holly lies next to Gail so she can pet the cat too, "do you feel better, they told me you've been upstairs napping for a while."
"I feel way better after my rest," Gail smiles, "I may have also been playing on my phone."
Holly smiles, she props herself up on an elbow and leans down to kiss her girlfriend. "I know."
Gail licks her lips after the kiss is broken, "what were you drinking?"
"I have no clue, Chloe made it," Holly smiles again, "I think I might already be buzzed."
Gail lifts a hand to Holly's cheek, "your cheeks are flushed."
Gail moves her hand to run it through Holly's hair, "did you skip lunch again?"
Holly hangs her head, "work was uncooperative today."
"Ah," says Gail. They lie next to each other in silence enjoying the semi-quietness of their room.
"Ready to go downstairs?" Holly eventually asks. She doesn't want to leave the coziness of their bedroom, but she knows they should, Chloe did spend all that time cooking for the five of them.
"Do we have to go downstairs? What if we just claim to have forgotten about them?"
Just then a burst of laughter is heard from the kitchen.
"Come on they want to celebrate you coming home."
"How come we haven't celebrated my coming home yet?"
Holly gets a lopsided grin, "I didn't know that you wanted to."
Gail rolls her eyes, "of course I do."
"I also didn't want to hurt you," admits Holly.
"We'll be careful," Gail says with a look of sincerity in her eyes.
Holly smiles and leans to kiss her girlfriend again, she repeats her question, "ready to go downstairs?"
Gail sighs, "I guess, as long as when they leave we can come back here."
True to Holly's promise, after dinner and after their friends left, Gail and Holly went back upstairs to enjoy some together time. Holly's straddling Gail's waist, looking at the smiling blonde, "what are you smiling about?"
"Just thinking about how lucky I am," Gail says.
Holly tilts her head to the side, "how lucky you are?"
"Yeah, think about it, we met by chance, Traci invited me to have a drink with her after work and it happened to be your going away party, so I moved into the mop closet, then for whatever reason you appeared in there. We're lucky to have met when we did because you moved to San Fran the next day, then when would we have met?"
"I would have come home eventually."
"Sure, but would we have met?"
"I like to think that we would have," Holly cups Gail's cheek, "I thought over thinking was supposed to be my thing?" she smiles wryly at her girlfriend.
Gail turns her head to kiss the brunette's palm, "fine." She makes eye contact again, "but I still think I'm lucky."
"No," Holly leans down to kiss Gail, "we're lucky."
Gail snorts at Holly's cheesiness.
Holly and Gail are back on that bench with the view of Toronto; Gail starts work after the weekend so Holly decided to take the last two days of the week off to spend with Gail. Holly is leaning into Gail, resting her head on the blonde's side. "I do love this view," says Gail.
"Me too," Holly sighs, she didn't realize how tired she actually is, she hasn't decided what was worse, being in the same city as Gail as she's undercover worrying about her, or being in a different country completely worried about the blonde. Regardless, Holly is happy Gail is home and safe. They have been talking about how scared Holly was and how frustrating it was for her when Gail was in the hospital, Holly is grateful that the blonde is willing to talk to her about everything and how she is helping Holly through her thoughts and her fears.
"It does give you that sense of being home."
"It does," Holly closes her eyes, happy to be tucked into Gail's side, it's not completely warm out yet, but it's definitely getting there. Summer is just around the corner. She's quite comfortable stealing the blonde's warmth as she cuddles with her on the bench.
"I love you," says Gail.
"Love you too," says Holly with her eyes closed, feeling like the first time she could fall asleep easily in a long time. It's been a couple of stressful weeks, first Gail gets shot, then she's in hospital and Holly can't visit her, now the blonde's home healing nicely but Holly can see that the police officer is still in some pain, and now in a couple of days the blonde will be starting work again.
"Want to get married?"
"Okay," says Holly, "but let's do it soon, I want a spring wedding, it's considered good luck to get married in the spring."
"Okay," says Gail, "let's get married on the weekend or next week if your family's busy."
Holly's eyes open wide, are they really talking about getting married? "Wait, are you serious?" Holly sits up straight and turns to face Gail.
A slightly nervous Gail, "aren't you?"
A smile spreads across Holly's face, "we're getting married."
A smile spreads across Gail's face, "we're getting married." Now all she hast to do is change her next of contact list, it'll be the first thing she does when she gets to work on Monday.
Thanks for reading 'meet and greet', up next 'no name.'