From the moment Tommy had heard Megan whisper to him the three magic words that marked the relaunch of their relationship, he had resolved to woo her every chance he got. It was nothing fancy, he knew Megan preferred little details over grand gestures of affection, but he made sure to frequently surprise her with a little something. Sometimes he sneaked into her office and left her a flower in a place she could only see, sometimes he brought her coffee to a crime scene, some other times he let her drive the squad car just because he knew how much she enjoyed it (driving and making Adam sit on the back). Megan, who had never been a fan of public displays of affection, couldn't resist the urge to give him a quick peck on the lips in greeting at work, always careful that no one saw them, of course. They weren't particularly trying to hide their relationship; they were together, happy. They had decided to take things slower the second time and just wanted to keep things to themselves for a while before they had to begin answering questions and having people getting in the middle.
There were only two people, in Philadelphia, that knew about their relationship: Lacey and Adam. Tommy, of course, had called his mother in New York to tell her the good news; he smiled every time he recalled how enthusiastic crowd she had been and how quickly she had told her son to get his and Megan's ass to the city one weekend so they could celebrate. Megan, for her part, was reluctant to tell her mother because Joan had never liked Tommy and, after all they had been through that last year, they finally managed to have an acceptable relationship and she knew it would all go to hell once she told her. Tommy wasn't a fool, he had always known that Joan Hunt wasn't his biggest fan (he wasn't hers either), so he just trusted Megan knowing that she would tell her when the time was right.
The others would have to wait.
It was Thursday night and Tommy was lying down on his couch, jumping from one channel to the other searching for something to watch when his phone rang. He quickly left the remote on the coffee table and grabbed his cell, smiling when he saw the name on the screen.
"Hi there, lovely." He said in greeting.
Megan, sitting in one of the stools in her kitchen with a glass of wine in front of her, laughed before she replied. "Hey. I hope it's not too late."
"I was just watching TV." Tommy said, muting the TV to give Megan his full attention.
"Nah." He replied. "Besides, I prefer talking to you."
"Cheesy." Megan said with a smile.
"But true." He told her. "So, what are you wearing?" He asked, lowering his voice as if someone could hear him.
"Tommy!" She said, laughing out loud.
"What?" He said, feigning innocence. "Give me something to dream about tonight, Megs"
"Sorry to disappoint you but I'm just wearing an old pair of yoga pants and a tank top." She explained to him. "And my daughter is still awake, and in the next room, so forget any weird ideas that I'm sure are coming to that teenage brain of yours."
"Spoilsport." Tommy muttered.
"Well, if you really think that I guess you won't interested in hearing the idea I had for tomorrow night." She teased him, knowing he would take the bait.
"Oh, I'm interested." He quickly replied.
"Lacey told me she'll be spending the night at her friend's house and I thought that, instead of going out, you could come over and I'd cook us something. I won't have to drive her to riding class on Saturday either so I could make breakfast too."
"I'm in!" Tommy said as soon as she finished the sentence. "I'll bring the wine."
"Perfect." Megan replied. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"If your minions don't find anything new, I'll make up some excuse to drop by after lunch." Tommy told her.
"I'm sure Adam won't object too much, he's quite smitten with the new lab tech."
"I'll tell him you said that." He jokingly threatened her.
"Fine by me." She mocked him. "See you tomorrow. Love you."
"I love you too, Megs."
When the two detectives stepped out of the elevator, on the seventh floor of the Philadelphia County Medical Center, they found the place unusually quiet. They could see some people working but far from the usual amount that they were used to see.
"Car in twenty?" Adam asked his partner.
"Yeah." Tommy replied, absentminded, his eyes already set elsewhere.
While Adam walked away, he quickly glanced at Megan's office and found it empty. Then, he went to the autopsy room but he didn't find her there either. Frowning, he walked to the break room to see if someone could tell him where she was. He didn't need to search anymore; Megan was finishing her lunch with Curtis and Ethan, the three of them so engrossed in whatever they were talking about that they didn't even notice him walking in.
Tommy cleared his throat and, once they all turned to look at him, he approached their table and placed the coffee he had been carrying in front of Megan. "Hey." He told them. "Brought you coffee." He continued, looking at Megan.
"Thanks." Megan replied, looking up and smiling at him, earning curious glances from her coworkers.
"Nothing for us, Detective?" Ethan teased him.
"Next time." He said, dismissing his comment. "So, you wanted to show me something?"
Megan looked confused for a moment, enough for Ethan and Curtis to notice it, before she stood up, grabbing her coffee on the way, and began to walk out of the room. "Yeah. In my office." She said, knowing Tommy would be following close behind.
Once they were out of their earshot, Ethan grinned and excitedly patted Curtis's arm. "There's definitely something going on between these two."
"How old are you? Twelve?" Curtis asked, smacking Ethan's hand away from his arm.
"Don't you see it?" Ethan replied a bit outraged.
"Not my business, or yours." He told him, standing up and pointing his finger at him. "Keep your mouth shut; if Megan's in a happy place, we all are. For the sake of everyone working here, don't say or do anything to change that or I'll kill you, just after she does."
Oblivious to the conversation happening in the break room, Tommy followed Megan to her office and closed the door behind him. He went to sit on the couch but, before he could take a second step, she opened the balcony's door and stepped outside, walking to the only table that was shielded from the looks of the people working inside. Tommy reached her in no time, giving her a quick peck on the lips before sitting down.
"I think your minion's onto us, he keeps sending me amused looks every time I come to the MEO." Tommy said, sipping his coffee and smiling at her over the rim of his cup.
"Don't call him that." Megan admonished him.
"Why? It's funny." He replied, his smile becoming a full scale grin.
Megan rolled her eyes and decided to take a sip of her coffee before slightly changing the subject of their conversation. "Why do you say he's onto us? It's not like we're trying to hide anything. We're being professional, and discreet."
"You wouldn't mind if they knew?" Tommy asked, eyebrow raised.
"Of course not." She seriously told him.
"So I can go inside, right now, and shout to everyone that we're together and very happy." He said, trying so sound serious but miserably failing.
"I thought we agreed to be professional at work." She replied.
"And discreet. Don't forget discreet." Tommy said, repeating her words with a teasing tone.
"Exactly." Megan said. She saw a brief look of uncertainty in Tommy's eyes and she quickly realized that, under his nonchalant attitude, a certain feeling of insecurity must have been running through his mind. She reached across the table to grab his hand and gently squeezed it, giving him a warm smile. "I'm not trying to keep this a secret, Tommy. I'm a very reserved woman and I just like to keep my private life like that, private. That doesn't mean that I love you any less or that I will quickly pull away from you if someone we know sees us together when we're outside the office."
"I know." He replied, covering their joined hands with his other one.
Without releasing from his hold, Megan stood up and moved an empty chair to sit closer to him. With her free hand, she gently caressed his cheek before leaning forward to kiss him. Tommy pulled away a few seconds later but Megan disentangled her other hand and used them to softly grab both sides of his head and kiss him again. They didn't hear the balcony's door getting opened but the sound of someone steps startled them. Slightly embarrassed, they turned around on their seats to see who had interrupted them.
"I saw nothing." Curtis quickly told them. "You have a call from the lab." He said before walking back inside.
Megan and Tommy watched him leave and, just when they turned to look at each other, they bursted out laughing. "So much for discretion." Tommy stated.
"Yeah." Megan replied, still laughing. "I have to go. See you at seven?"
"I'll be there." He replied.
After another quick kiss, Megan got up and went to her office to answer the call.
While she approached Kate's office, Megan observed her boss highly concentrated writing something on her computer. With a conscious effort, she tried to walk without her heels doing their particular clicking sound so she could step into the office unnoticed; it amused her that, after more four years working there, she could still startle her boss from time to time.
"The Coldman report." Megan said with a wicked smirk on her face while she dropped the file on Kate's desk.
Kate almost jumped out of her seat. When she saw who was at the other side of her desk, she took a moment to glance at the ceiling, exasperated, before she looked at her most troublesome employee. "Do you always have to do that?" She asked her, picking up the report to check that everything was correct.
"It's entertaining." Megan just replied, still smirking.
"You finished the report before I even had to harass you. Are you feeling alright?" Kate mocked her. "As a matter of fact." She continued, resting her elbows on the desk. "You've been in an uncharacteristic good mood lately. I haven't received any complaints about you for a couple of weeks, your MI hasn't quit, yet." She emphasized. "Curtis hasn't stormed into my office threatening to strangle you..." Kate paused for a few seconds. "Are you on drugs?" She asked, eyebrow raised.
Megan rolled her eyes, unamused, before putting on the sunglasses she had been holding on her hand. "Have a good weekend, Chief." She told her, turning around to leave. "See you on Monday!" She said, walking out the door.
"Wait!" Kate exclaimed, making Megan stop on her tracks and reluctantly turning around once again. Kate walked out from behind her desk while Megan stepped back into the office. "Aren't you leaving a bit early?"
"I finished what I had to do today and I'm not on call this weekend. I could stay in my office, playing solitaire on my computer, for the rest of the afternoon but I have better things to do. So, if you don't mind..." Megan said, pointing to the door. Kate crossed her arms over her chest and raised her eyebrow again, giving her a look that told Megan she wasn't really buying her excuse. Infuriated, Megan sighed out loud and took off her sunglasses. "I have a date, ok?"
"Who's the unfortunate man?" Kate teased her, grinning like a little girl. When she saw Megan hesitate, she straightened up. "Do I wanna know?" She asked.
"Tommy and I are back together." Megan finally answered.
"Well, I'm happy for you Megan." Kate told her with a sincere smile on her face.
"Thank you." Megan replied, returning the smile.
"Just be careful." She said.
A few years back, Megan would had taken that last statement as some kind of a threat but, at that moment, she knew Kate had said it as her friend, not as her boss. Nodding at her in thanks, and understanding that their conversation was over, Megan put on her sunglasses once again.
"See you on Monday, Dr. Hunt." Kate said, returning to her seat.
"Ditto, Dr. Murphy."
Lacey walked out of her room, cellphone in hand, and plopped down on one of the kitchen stools to watch her mother entertained cooking something on the stove.
"Mona's running late." She said with a sigh.
"Is her mother picking you up?" Megan asked her without turning around.
"Yeah." Lacey simply replied. "Whatever you're cooking smells good." She continued, standing up and walking to her mother's side. After taking a quick peek at what was inside the pot, she leant back on the counter and gave her mother a crooked grin. "Is Tommy coming over?"
Glancing at her wristwatch, Megan answered. "He'll be here in a few minutes."
"Want me to keep an eye on this while you change?" She told her mother.
"Why? What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" Megan asked, suddenly nervous, looking down at her outfit.
"There's a stain on your blouse." Lacey said, pointing to said spot. "Should've worn an apron."
"Oh, shit." Megan muttered. "Keep stirring it. I'll be right back." She told her daughter, handing her the wooden spoon before rushing to her room to change.
The doorbell rang and Megan was still in her room so Lacey quickly went to open the door. "Hi Tommy." She said as soon as she saw him.
"Hey Lace." Tommy replied trying not to sound too surprised to see her still at the apartment.
"My friend's running late, don't worry." She told him, grinning, before going back to the stove. "Mom'll be right out. Cooking accident." She explained.
"Is she alright?" Tommy asked while glancing at Megan's closed door, worried.
"She is. Her blouse, though, it's another story." Lacey said, winking at him.
"At least nothing happened to her shoes, right?" He joked.
"That would have been a total disaster." Lacey laughed, Tommy joining her.
"Well, it seems you two are having fun." Megan said, walking out of her room. "What am I missing?" She asked them before giving Tommy a quick peck on the cheek.
"We were just making fun of you." He replied while circling her waist with his arm and pulling her a little bit closer.
"Very nice." Megan said, playfully slapping Tommy's arm away and taking the wooden spoon out of her daughter's hand. "Thanks, honey."
Lacey's phone beeped and she quickly looked down at the screen. "Mona's here." She announced before running to her room to grab her things. When she stepped out, Megan was waiting by the door to say goodbye.
"Have fun." She told her daughter while giving her a hug.
"Are we still having lunch with Grandma tomorrow?" Lacey asked.
"Yes. I'll pick you up after your class and we'll head to the club." Megan replied.
"Cool." She said. "See you tomorrow, Mom. Love you!" Lacey told her, opening the door. "Bye Tommy!" She shouted before closing the door behind her.
Megan stood there for a few seconds, shaking her head at her daughter's antics. Tommy embraced her from behind, opportunity she used to lean back on his chest and rest her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, enjoying their closeness.
"Hi there, beautiful." Tommy whispered in her ear.
Megan turned around and put her arms around his neck. "Hi." She whispered back before closing the gap between their lips and giving him a proper welcome kiss.
When Tommy, reluctantly, broke up their kiss to breathe, he smiled at the woman in his arms. "Dinner smells delicious." He said.
"It's almost ready and the table's all set. Why don't you open the wine? I'll grab the glasses." Megan proposed.
"You'll have to let me go first." He teased her, doing just the contrary of what he had just said and tightening his arms around her.
"Kiss me again."
The doorbell rang but neither of them heard it.
After eating the wonderful dinner Megan had cooked, they had finished the bottle of wine and had moved to the bedroom. Their activities had kept them up late. They had fallen asleep in each other's arms, Megan using Tommy's chest as her pillow.
The doorbell rang again and, that second time, it woke them up. Megan groaned, burying her face on his chest. Without opening his eyes, Tommy gently squeezed her hip. "There's someone outside your door." He said, lazily kissing the top of her head.
"I'm not home." She muttered, half asleep, before closing her eyes again and making herself comfortable, half on-top of Tommy.
When the doorbell rang for a third time, Tommy softly laughed. "They're not buying it." He said. "Want me to get it?" He offered.
"I'll go." Megan told him, raising her head to look at him. "Don't move. I'll just get rid of whoever's outside."
Megan gave him a quick kiss and got up from her bed, throwing on her robe before walking out of the bedroom, closing the door behind her. She got to the door and took a quick look through the peephole while tying up the robe. "Fuck." She muttered before opening the door just enough to show her head. "Hello Mother."
"My Goodness! What took you so long?" Joan exclaimed, pushing the door open and stepping inside, not noticing her daughter's state of undress or her pissed off look.
"I was sleeping." Megan simply said, following her mother to the kitchen while running a hand through her hair.
"This late?" Joan asked, dropping her purse on a stool and turning around to look at Megan. "Oh!" She said when she saw how tightly Megan was holding her robe closed and how messy her hair was. "You have company." She worked out.
"What makes you say that?" Megan sarcastically asked. "What are you doing here, Mother? We agreed to meet at the club for lunch."
"I thought we could go have breakfast together and talk a bit. We haven't had a chance lately." Joan explained. "Now I know why." She muttered to herself.
Megan rolled her eyes, having heard her mother's last statement. "I had plans this morning but alright. Why don't we meet somewhere in an hour?" She proposed, taking a quick glance to her closed bedroom door.
"And miss the opportunity to meet whoever is behind door one? No way." Joan told her, smirking. "Go wake up your companion and get ready. I'll make coffee." She said, leaving no room for argument.
Knowing there was nothing she could do to change her mother's mind, Megan walked back to her room, sighing exasperatedly. She approached Tommy, who had drifted back to sleep, and leaned down to gently kiss him on the lips. Out of the blue, Tommy put his arms around her and pulled her on top of him before rolling them over. From his position above her, he began to leave a trail of kisses down her neck. Megan let herself enjoy the moment before she suddenly remembered that her mother was just outside the door.
"Tommy." She said. "Tommy." She repeated when he didn't show any intention to stop. "Tommy. Tommy, my mother's in the kitchen. I couldn't get rid of her."
That stopped his actions immediately. He dropped his head, his forehead touching hers. "Bye-bye to our morning plans." He whispered against her lips.
"Yeah." She replied. "Come on, let's take a quick shower before we have to face the inevitable."
"Like we have another choice." He said, resigned, briefly kissing her before getting up and helping Megan do the same.
Twenty minutes later Megan walked out of her room, dressed in jeans and a burgundy v-neck blouse, her hair still damp, and carrying her shoes on her hand. She left them by the coffee table before joining her mother on the kitchen. She sat down on a stool and gladly accepted the mug Joan handed her. Megan took a long sip and stood up to prepare a mug for Tommy. Before her mother could ask about her companion, as she had put it, Tommy walked into the kitchen.
"Morning, Joan." He said, trying not to smirk at her astonished face. "Thanks, Megs." He said when Megan gave him his coffee and a kiss on the cheek.
It took Joan a few seconds to recover from the initial shock of seeing Tommy Sullivan step out of her daughter's room but, when she did, she sent him a look that clearly said don't mess up with me, I'm not in the mood.
"Introductions aren't necessary, right?" Megan said, breaking the silence in the room.
Tommy snorted but quickly shut up when Joan sent him another dead glare. "I don't think so." Joan harshly replied.
After finishing his coffee in three big gulps, Tommy left the mug in the sink and turned to look at both women. "I'll leave you two to your plans." He announced, smiling sweetly.
Megan walked him to the door and stopped him before he could grab the handle. "I'm sorry." She softly said.
"Don't worry about it." He told her, gently tucking her hair behind her ear.
Standing on her tiptoes, Megan whispered into his ear. "I'll make it up to you."
"Can't wait." He replied, grinning.
The couple shared a long kiss before Tommy left. After closing the door, Megan stood there for a few seconds, smiling like a little girl. When she turned around, the sight of her mother sternly looking at her startled her, making her take a step backwards. Ignoring her, Megan went back to the kitchen to finish her coffee.
"You look happy." Joan said, standing at the other side of the kitchen's island with her hands resting on top of it.
"I am." Megan replied. "Mom, I know that you don't like Tommy but-"
"Megan." Joan interrupted her. "If he makes you happy, that's all I care about. You're old enough to date whoever you want." She continued. "You could've told me, you know, spare me the surprise the second time." She said, smiling.
"You're the one who came unannounced, for the second time." Megan told her mother, laughing.
"That's what mothers do, honey." Joan replied.
"That's what you do, Mother." She teased her.
"Yeah, well, I'm too old to change now." Joan said, winking her eye at her.
Megan just laughed, her mother quickly joining her. While her mother cleared the counter, she put on her shoes and threw everything she needed in her purse. "I'm ready." She announced, hanging her bag on her shoulder. "And someone promised me breakfast."
"You're never this hungry." Joan told her. "You must've expended a lot of energy last night." She nonchalantly continued while grabbing her own purse.
"Mom!" Megan exclaimed, embarrassed.
Putting her arm around her daughter's shoulders and gently squeezing her arm, Joan laughed. "It was an opportunity too good to pass."
When her grandmother excused herself from their table during dessert, Lacey seized the opportunity to say something she had been observing since they had picked her up from her riding class.
"You and Grandma seem to be getting along really well." She said, lowering her voice and leaning closer to her as if what she was saying was a secret.
"Strange, right?" Megan replied, smirking over the rim of her coffee cup. When her daughter rolled her eyes, she lowered the cup and sighed. "We had breakfast together and had a talk that had been long overdue. We cleared some things and made the promise to try not to antagonize each other." She explained.
"I'm glad, Mom. I don't like it when you two are at odds." Lacey told her.
"Me neither, sweetie." Megan said, kissing the side of her daughter's head.
An hour later, Joan said goodbye and went to meet some of her friends. Megan and Lacey stayed at the club a bit longer, enjoying a cold drink at one the garden tables, under a fancy-looking umbrella.
"Any plans for this afternoon?" Megan asked her daughter.
"None." Lacey answered. "I thought we could do something together." She continued, shrugging her shoulders.
"Movie and dinner?" Megan suggested, smiling.
"Perfect!" Lacey replied, excited. "We could invite Tommy to come with us." She innocently said.
Surprised, Megan took of her sunglasses and looked directly at her daughter. "Are you sure?" She asked, clearly pleased with Lacey's suggestion.
"I like Tommy, and he's your boyfriend. It'd be nice to spend some time with the two of you." Lacey simply said.
Touched by her daughter's words, Megan pulled her into a tight hug, thanking her without saying the words out loud.
Then, she took her phone out of her bag. "Well, let's call him." Megan dialed Tommy's number and waited for him to pick it up. "Hey. You're on speaker with Lacey and me." She said as soon as he answered.
"Hello ladies." He replied. "What can I do for you?"
"We were thinking about going to the movies and then have some dinner. Lacey though that maybe you'd like to join us." She explained, with a warm smile directed at her daughter.
"Quality time with my two favorite girls? Of course I'm in!" He quickly told them, making both women smile widely. "Tell me where and when and I'll meet you there."
"I'll send you a text." Megan replied.
"Perfect. See you both in a bit."
"Bye Tommy!" Lacey said before her mother hung up.
Megan carefully threw the phone back inside her purse. "You turn." She told Lacey, putting her sunglasses back on and smiling at her. "Pick the movie and a place to eat afterwards."
At the restaurant, Megan leant back on her chair and observed, with a pleased smile, the animated conversation going on between her daughter and her boyfriend. They kept talking on top of each other, without pause, and laughing about the silliest things.
Megan let out a satisfied sigh and thought: my life couldn't be better.