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Endear You To Me

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Sharon woke up at her usual time even though she hadn’t set her alarm.  She had realized last night that her morning swim probably wasn’t in the cards - her limbs felt a bit shaky, more so than usual after a couple of orgasms, though she didn’t usually come twice in such quick succession.  Sharon had told Brenda this, and that she was planning on sleeping in, and the blonde had looked extraordinarily smug, a positively wicked smirk playing on her broad mouth, but she acted sweet and solicitous, fetching Sharon a glass of water and her book from downstairs.

They read a while, before drifting off, Sharon involved in some book about the military-industrial complex by that female talking head she liked, Brenda browsing through case files, head pillowed on Sharon’s thigh.  Brenda fell asleep first, nodding off with a manila folder over her face.  Sharon wiggled it from her grasp and tucked it away on the nightstand underneath her book.  It had been simplicity itself to gently prod the blonde into a more suitable position for sleeping - head on the pillow and all that - and curl around her after clicking off the lamp.

She floated toward consciousness in the same position in which she’d fallen asleep; pressed against Brenda’s t-shirt clad back with a face full of mussed blonde waves.  A king-sized bed at their disposal, they could have fit comfortably in a twin, so close together did they sleep most nights.  Sharon hadn’t expected that - hadn’t expected that beyond choosing to be physically close to her Brenda Leigh while awake, her body would seek out Brenda’s in sleep, too.  Sharon had never experienced this particular facet of a relationship before; sleeping next to other sexual partners had always been stifling, and even oddly isolating (though truthfully Sharon very rarely thought of her previous relationships, and never to compare them to what she had with Brenda - it seemed to her that sex and/or cohabitation were the only things they really had in common.)  Brenda was a happy anomaly in Sharon Raydor’s life.

Regretfully, Sharon slid away from Brenda and out from under the covers; the blonde stirred, but didn’t wake.  Moving quietly, Sharon lifted her robe from its hook on the back of the door and padded out into the hall, pausing to swing the gray silk around her shoulders before descending the stairs.  Sharon could feel the pleasant twinge from the previous night’s exertions in the big muscles of her legs and in her arms.  Forcing already unsteady limbs to support her body while Brenda Leigh had pounded into her from behind had been…  She shivered.  There wasn’t a single adjective that really encompassed her feelings about making love with Brenda Leigh, in any iteration.

Sharon had time on her hands this morning, and she decided to make breakfast - something decadent that Brenda would enjoy.  It was nice to be able to channel her protective instincts into taking care of Brenda beyond shielding her from Goldman and Pope and their ambitions.  Their domestic life was much more than satisfactory, and it thrilled Sharon that Brenda enjoyed coming home to her so much - Sharon was no Fritz Howard, she wasn’t going to give Brenda crap for her devotion to her career because she wasn’t troubled by Brenda’s devotion to her career, just as Brenda wasn’t troubled by Sharon’s devotion to her work for the LAPD or her work at the shelter.  It was easier for Brenda to come home and leave work behind if home didn’t mean arguments, and it was easier for Sharon to come home now that her home was no longer empty.  Funny how that worked.

Sharon collected the ingredients for pancake batter from the pantry - along with a small bag of chocolate chips.  With bananas and some maple syrup, Brenda would about roll over and die when Sharon presented breakfast to her on a tray, in bed.

Making pancakes was something that Sharon could do drunk, hungover, or half-asleep, so her mind wandered across her plans for the day, travel plans for Thanksgiving (taking the Jag up to Santa Cruz with Brenda - perhaps they’d take the scenic route); Jackson and Ginny visiting for Christmas; Charlie visiting after the holidays.  She hadn’t told Jack yet that Brenda had moved in - though she supposed it was time -  not because she thought he would react poorly, but because she was savoring this uninterrupted quiet with Brenda Leigh before the chaos of the holidays.

“I thought you were sleepin’ in this morning, Shari,” said a sleep thickened voice from the kitchen door, shaking Sharon from her pleasant reverie.  Sharon turned to take in her tousled and tempting lover, clad in a well-worn t-shirt that proclaimed her property of the LAPD and fell only to the tops of her thighs.

“I woke up and thought I would make us breakfast in bed,” Sharon explained and Brenda beamed at her.  She came closer and tangled her fingers in the belt of Sharon’s robe.

“Chocolate chip pancakes,” Brenda purred.  “You sure know how to spoil a girl, Sharon Raydor.”

“I know how to spoil you,” Sharon said, turning back to her mixing.  She wasn’t disappointed when Brenda pressed her body against her back, chin on Sharon’s shoulder, watching Sharon whisk lumps out of the pancake batter.

“Can I help,” she asked, the question buzzing through Sharon’s skin due to their proximity.

“That depends on what else you want with your pancakes.  I was thinking bananas and walnuts and maple syrup, but we also have a container of raspberries and one of blueberries.”  Brenda moaned and her hips jolted into Sharon’s ass, just once.  Sharon chuckled.

“You know it’s practically foreplay when you cook like this,” Brenda quipped lightly, and kissed Sharon on the shoulder before pulling away.  “I’ll warm the syrup and cut the bananas.”

Brenda deftly peeled and cut two bananas while the little glass bottle of syrup spun in the microwave and the pancakes bubbled and browned in the skillet, chocolate crisping on their surfaces.  Brenda really was getting much better at helping with food prep - even though neither of them trusted her to actually combine ingredients over a heat source - she was becoming more proficient in cutting, peeling, grating and carving.  They both enjoyed the time spent together.

After dealing with the bananas Brenda took it upon herself to prepare their coffee, and set their mugs at the table next to glasses of orange juice.  She arranged syrup, walnuts and silver around the beverages and provided two plates for Sharon to put the pancakes on.

Brenda ate her breakfast with a strange sort of precision.  She made sure to get some pancake, a bit of banana, and walnut in each bite.  The sounds she made as she chewed were blatantly sexual, and Sharon was sure that if she reached out a hand to dip her fingers between Brenda’s legs, she would find arousal there.  Cooking meals for and sharing them with someone who was genuinely turned on by food - sometimes Sharon was a little jealous of her own cooking, but she truly did reap all the rewards of Brenda’s idiosyncrasy.  Sharon was a little more circumspect in her enjoyment and in her method of eating, but she relished the treat nevertheless.

When Brenda finally slumped back in her chair, five pancakes and appropriate toppings gone, juice and coffee drained, it was with a glazed look in her brown eyes.  Sharon had already finished her more modest portion and was drinking her coffee, a smirk etched on her lips.

“You look like you’ve been ridden hard and put away wet,” Sharon joked.

“That sounds about right,” Brenda drawled, and then groaned.  “I can’t believe I ate all that, you wicked, evil temptress.  I also can’t believe you were going to bring that mess up to bed.”

“Mmmmm,” agreed Sharon.  “It’s probably best to keep syrup away from the linens, especially when you’re involved.”

“You know,” Brenda remarked, a placid expression on her face.  “If we had eaten that in bed, we’d most definitely be late for work.”  Her gaze dropped from Sharon’s eyes and down into the shadows at the neck of Sharon’s robe; her tongue darted out to moisten her lips.  “Just fair warnin’, for if you’re ever wantin’ to do this again.”

“Duly noted,” Sharon husked and then leaned over to capture Brenda’s lips in a sticky, maple flavored kiss.

Brenda took care of the dishes while Sharon went to shower.  If she had followed the brunette up the stairs, she would have tried to tempt Sharon into bed.  Brenda was ready for Sharon to be firmly ensconced in her new position so they could go back to the occasional (read: two or three mornings a week) pre-work roll in the hay - but split as she was between briefings with McIntire and readying FID for the transition to a new Captain, Sharon felt like her days at the office should begin a little earlier than usual.  Brenda had succeeded thus far in being respectful of her girlfriend’s dedication, and she was sure she could make it through another week or so, but going into work coasting on the remnants of an orgasm was something she was starting to really miss.  Even the most dedicated night owl could conceivably become a morning person under those circumstances, mused Brenda, wrist deep in warm soapy water.

Brenda sashayed into her Murder Room precisely on time and feeling like a million bucks.  Sharon really had an incredible eye for what would fit her body - her new Marc Jacobs sheath looked as though it had been tailored for her, and the close fit paired with the just above the knee hem and demure neckline made it sexy, but meant she wouldn’t have interviewees (or Pope) face first in her cleavage all day.

Andy spun around in his chair as soon as he heard her heels on the linoleum.  He let out a low whistle and gave her a sly grin, getting up to follow her into her office.

“New outfit?”

“Mmmhmm,” Brenda confirmed, putting her purse on her desk and removing the brown bag Sharon had handed her before they left the house.  “Chief Johnson” was scrawled across the paper in her Captain’s neat script.

“Captain Raydor has good taste,” Andy quipped, smirking.

“Hey!” Brenda squawked.  “Who’s to say I didn’t pick out this ensemble?”  Andy just looked at her.  Brenda grumbled to herself before casting a glare at her Lieutenant.

“Fine.  Though I’m sure Cap’n Raydor would love to hear how much you appreciate her taste in apparel on Saturday, when you come help me move some furniture over to her place.”

“Uh, ok?” Andy offered, still processing.  Then the lightbulb clicked on.  “Oh.  OH!  Really?”  Brenda snickered, gratified that he’d been slow on the uptake.

“Really.  We want to be settled before the holidays - and payin’ movers to haul five pieces of furniture just seemed like a waste when I have all a’ ya’ll around.  And we’ll feed you too, when we’re done.  Don’t worry, Sharon’s cookin’.”

“That sounds…nice actually.”  Then Andy grinned and pointed at the bag in her hand.  “What’d the Captain pack you for lunch, Chief?”

“Hardboiled eggs, veggies, pita chips.”  She rolled her eyes at his look of disbelief.  “I had a rather large breakfast.”

“Yeah?”

“Chocolate chip banana pancakes with walnuts and real maple syrup.”  Brenda said smugly.

“That’s…I can’t…I hate you right now.” Brenda gave a little ‘what can you do’ shrug and smirk at his comical outrage.

“I keep tellin’ you that chasin’ after younger women’ll get you absolutely nothin’, Andrew Flynn.”

“Yea, yea, yea, nothing but bad sex and idiotic conversation.  I told you when you started dating the Captain that it took the only worthwhile eligible women on the force off the market.  Where else am I going to meet women - on an airplane?”

“You’re terrible.”

“I try.”  Andy mock saluted and turned to leave, but stopped dead when the Chief blurted:

“Does Lieutenant Provenza know about me and Sharon?”

“Yes, of course he does.  You kissed her in front of Gabriel and Sanchez.  Gabriel pow-wowed with every one in the squad within an hour, and Sanchez…”  She cut him off.

“I don’t want to know.”  She fiddled with the bag in her hands, tracing the script of her title and name with a finger.  “He’s not upset?  He’s not usually good at hidin’ things like that from me, but I dunno.  I guess I’m a little…”

“You’ve made some big changes, but you’re happy, and that’s all any of us want for you, Provenza included.”  Andy liked this sweetly vulnerable Brenda Leigh Johnson - but then he also liked the viciously vulnerable Brenda Leigh Johnson that would appear like a lightning strike when a case wasn’t going their way.

“Should I invite him, just for dinner maybe?” Brenda asked, sill unsure of herself.  “I know he won’t help with the movin’, and Sharon’s got all the bossy we need in regards to how and where to put things.”  Andy chuckled at that.

“You should give him the option.  It might do him some good to see the Captain outside of work.  I think he thinks she’s some sort of robot that powers down in her office at night or something.”

“Definitely not a robot.”

“And I hope that any powering down occurs in bed with you.  And Sanchez hopes.  And Gabriel, though he’d never admit it.”  Brenda gaped at him and then made an incoherent noise.

“If I had a taser right now, Andy Flynn,” she threatened in the face of his chuckling.

Over the course of the day, Brenda spoke to each of her boys, and they all happily accepted her invitation for Saturday - not even expressing surprise that she was moving in with Sharon, though she supposed Andy might have gotten to them first.  Tao was even planning to bring Cathy and Kevin, at least for dinner.  Brenda was pleased, though she still had to talk to Provenza.

She approached him at the end of the day, they were all winding down, readying their desks and workspaces for the business of the Thursday to come. 

“Can I have a second, Lieutenant?” Brenda queried politely.  Provenza followed her to the no man’s land at the front of the murder room, where one could conduct a quiet conversation without being overheard.

“Sharon and I are having a little get together Saturday evenin’ after the younger bucks help me move a few things over to her house, and we were hopin’ you would come, at least to barbecue with us.”

“I don’t have to be cheerful, do I?” He groused.

“I certainly wouldn’t want you to strain yourself,” Brenda sassed back.  “Civil would suffice, pleasant if you’re feeling generous.”

“Will there be beer at this shindig?  Beer alway improves my mood.  Unless its crappy beer, then the opposite is true.”

“There certainly can be beer - is there something that you and the rest of the boys will drink that I can pick up?”

“A case of Sam Adams or Dos Equis should make everyone happy.  Tao enjoys wine more than beer, though.”

“Wine we’ve got in spades.  Hard stuff too.  And Sharon makes a mean burger, so bring your appetite.”

“Yes, yes.  Sharon Raydor grilling.  The world’s gone topsy turvy,” grouched Provenza, throwing up his hands.  “Just text me the address and time.”  Brenda smiled as he shuffled off towards the break room.

Brenda had been tasked with picking up dry cleaning and then dinner (Thai, Sharon’s favored takeout) as Sharon’s meeting with McIntire had run later than expected.  Standing in line at the dry cleaners, ticket clenched in her hand, Brenda thought that it was nice to be relied upon to do these everyday things.  Also nice was the sense of routine; leaving work by a certain time on the evenings she was able had enriched her life in ways she hadn’t expected.  She was actually in the middle of a book!  A ridiculous spy novel written in Russian, but it was fun and she was getting her hard won language skills back up to expert.

Happily lost in her rumination and back four customers from the counter, Brenda felt a tap on her shoulder.  She turned to find Denise Tremont, Sharon’s ostensible friend, glaring at her.  Brenda offered a feral smile, more a baring of the teeth, really, in return.  This worthless bitch was hurting Sharon for no reason other than petty jealousy, and now she was staring down the object of that jealousy in a public place. 

Brenda cocked her head and maintained unblinking eye contact - forcing the other woman to speak first if she wanted to continue the confrontation. 

“So what are you?  Some kind of gold-digging bed bunny?  Wearing clothes she bought you, picking up her dry cleaning,” Denise spat angrily, voice low.

“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” snipped Brenda.  “Why don’t you just walk away before you make this even worse than it already is.”  Brenda couldn’t believe Denise was suggesting that she was some sort of kept woman; was suggesting that Sharon would keep a woman.  Denise was trying to be as hurtful as possible, because anyone who knew even the slightest thing about Sharon would know that a relationship in trade (sex for what, Sharon’s money? As if sex with Sharon Raydor wasn’t its own reward.  As if Sharon Raydor herself, full stop, no accoutrements or trappings, wasn’t ample reward.) was not her style in the slightest.

“It’s my business because your midlife experimentation is messing up my friendship and my working relationship.”  Brenda couldn’t suppress a bark of laughter at Denise’s pretension.

“You messed up your friendship by presuming to dictate to Sharon who she could have a relationship with.  If you don’t like me, that’s fine.  If you think she’s going to end up hurt, that’s also fine, but we both know that isn’t what this is about.”

“I have no idea what you mean,” the other woman hedged, her eyes slipping down and away from Brenda’s briefly.  Brenda smirked internally.  Attempting to hide things from a CIA trained interrogator was always a good plan, and this woman was clearly inexperienced at lying.  “I’m trying to protect someone I value from making a choice that could ruin her life.”

“Oh, Denise,” Brenda breathed in mock sympathy.  “Bullshittin’ bullshitters is my job, and let me tell you, you don’t even rank among the worst liars I corral in my interview room.  I can’t say I blame you, you know.  Sharon is very special.  What did you call her?  A catch?  Well, she is a catch in every single way.”

“She told you what was in my text message?”  Denise was aghast - she had thought Sharon would hide the argument, or at least its specifics, from her lover.

“She let me read your text message.  Just like I’ll tell her about this conversation when I get home, even though it will hurt her.  And that’s what really makes me angry.  That this will cause Sharon heartache, because you are incapable of swallowing your pride and jealousy and leaving us be.”

“Now listen you little piece of trash,” Denise began, color heightened, an index finger nearly poking Brenda in the shoulder.  Brenda couldn’t really fathom why this woman was so very angry and cut her off before this could go any further.

“Are you threatenin’ a police officer?” She asked conversationally.  “Because that’ll earn you a night in lockup, courtesy of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson and the LAPD.”  Denise took a step back, unable to determine whether the threat was a bluff or not.  “Now I’m gonna get mine and Sharon’s clothes, and then I’m going to go home to the house I share with her, and you are eventually going to realize that there isn’t a damn thing you can do about any of this, though I’m afraid it’s probably too late for your friendship.”  Brenda turned her back to Denise and stepped up to the counter, willing herself to ignore anything else that the other woman said or did.

Sharon had texted while Brenda was waiting at the Thai place:

FROM: Shari

OMW home.  Love you.

Brenda didn’t want Sharon angry while she was driving, so she didn’t mention the run in she’d had with Denise.

TO: Shari

You’re just saying that cuz I’m picking up your favorite soup for you.

FROM: Shari

I do love prawn soup, but I love you more.  Though that suit you picked up for me at the dry cleaners…

TO: Shari

I’ll be sure to leave it on the side of the road.  Don’t text in the car.  I love you and I’ll see you in a few.

Sharon often texted at the end of her day - an innocent and thoughtful gesture that became like a siren’s call for Brenda Leigh to pack it in and get out of the office.  Sometimes she wondered if she was becoming codependent, because her brain just didn’t work as well if Sharon was no longer in the building.  Her focus was split between the case and whatever Sharon might be doing at home; changing out of her suit, singing softly to herself while cooking or folding laundry, grumbling at talking heads on the 24 hour news channel, reading a book - any possibility was at least as interesting as whatever case Brenda was working on.  So Brenda would make haste to follow Sharon home, taking paperwork or case files with her as those could be dealt with much more enjoyably in close proximity to her lover.

With her order of food, Sharon’s soup perched precariously on top of the containers, Brenda made her way up the walk.  She’d been looking forward to an enjoyable evening (most were), but it seemed that bit more stress was about to seep into their domestic bliss.

Sharon had left the front door open, and intercepted Brenda in the door to the kitchen, taking the food and dropping a peck on Brenda’s cheek.  Her heels were off, her blazer was nowhere to be seen, and she’d unzipped the back of her dress, exposing a sliver of bare back and the band of her bra.

“Oh I see how it is,” Brenda snarked, tucking her purse out of the way on an empty kitchen chair.  “I don’t even get a proper kiss when you’re trying to get your hands on that soup.”  She turned to slip out of her shoes, then giggled when she felt Sharon’s hands around her waist, and shrieked when she was nearly pulled out of her pumps and firmly into Sharon’s body.  Brenda felt safe in the brunette’s strong, stable grasp, and she sighed contentedly when she felt the press of lips against her neck.  She leaned back into Sharon, and willed herself to relax; since Sharon was happy and feeling playful, discussion of Brenda’s run in with Denise could wait until they finished eating.

Sharon ate with chopsticks as gracefully as she did everything else; the blonde wood punctuating their conversation, stealing tidbits from Brenda’s plate, and depositing food neatly onto Sharon’s tongue.  She related to Brenda the reason for McIntire’s late arrival to their meeting - apparently the retiring Chief was making the rounds, saying farewell to people he’d worked with for 40 years and had gotten caught up in a conversation across town and left Sharon waiting in his office for nearly an hour.  Sharon had been mourning the lack of games on her Blackberry, finished with whatever make-work she had brought with her, when he’d finally appeared.

“I nearly ran downstairs to steal your phone,” she joked. 

“You coulda borrowed Tao’s iPad.  He has that Angry Birds Space on there - the boys’ll play that for their entire lunch break!”

“If I had brought an iPad into that office, I would never have left because McIntire would have offed me to steal it.  He says he’s retiring to golf and fish and spend time with his family, but I think he really just wants more time to play Angry Birds.  And something called Plants vs. Zombies, which I’m not familiar with.”

“Cap’n Raydor, do you always speak about your superior officers with such disdain?”

“Depends on the superior officer - sometimes I’m downright disrespectful,” she quipped with a wink.  “And that’s Chief Raydor to you, missy.”

“Not for another two weeks, it isn’t.  And you’ll always be my Cap’n,” Brenda confessed with a fond tap to Sharon’s knuckles with a finger.  “I talked to the boys today - we’ll have a full house on Saturday, Kathy and Kevin Tao are going to come help, and Provenza is coming at least to eat.”

So talking with him went ok?” Sharon asked.  She knew Brenda had been fretting in a minor key about Provenza for a while.

“Yea, it went ok,” Brenda confirmed.  “Though he’s demandin’ beer.”

“I suppose I’ll let beer into the house,” Sharon sniffed haughtily.  Brenda chuckled.

“It doesn’t have to stay long, Cap’n Snobbypants.  We can send the leftovers home with them.”

“Captain Snobbypants?  Really?”

“If the ridiculous and immature nickname fits…” drawled Brenda with a teasing wink.  “What would you have done if I was a beer drinker?”  Sharon raised an eyebrow in answer, then stood to take her plate to the sink.

“I love you Cap’n Snobbypants,” Brenda singsonged, and giggled.  Sharon couldn’t help but giggle with her.

They packed up the food in companionable silence, though Brenda was simultaneously musing on how good her leftovers were going to taste for lunch tomorrow, and contemplating just how to interject the subject of Denise into their evening in order to elicit the least amount of drama.  She closed the refrigerator door with a soft ‘whump’ and heard Sharon close the dishwasher with a rattle.

She didn’t want to seem too nonchalant or blithe - Denise’s behavior was troubling, and Brenda thought she must be damaged in some way to treat a friend in such a way.  Even Brenda, whose track record with maintaining friendships was rather dismal, knew that Denise’s behavior far overstepped any cordial standard of behavior.

Brenda turned to look at Sharon, who was surveying the kitchen, hands on hips, looking for anything that still needed doing.  Apparently satisfied with the clean-up effort, she reached for her wine glass.

“So,” Brenda began tentatively.  “I had a sort of disturbing encounter at the dry-cleaners earlier.”  Sharon sipped her wine, mute, though her raised eyebrow clearly asked Brenda to continue.

“Denise approached me, and said some nasty things, ranted a little.  I think she was trying to hurt my feelings or draw me into a confrontation.”  The expression on Sharon’s face as Brenda said this could only be described as a snarl.

“I didn’t let her get to me though - it was kinda sad, really,” Brenda offered with a grimace of a smile.

Sharon grimaced back, and then asked: “What exactly did she say to you?”

“Do you want the broad strokes?  Or specifics?”

“The specifics, if you please.  I need specifics to confront her with, so she knows we’re not keeping secrets from one another,” Sharon reasoned.

“She did seem surprised that you let me read her text message.  It was more of the same - she called me a bed bunny, implied that I was a kept woman cuz of my outfit and on account I was runnin’ errands for you or somethin’.”

“Denise has never been one for absolute honesty…what the hell is a bed bunny?”

“We’re really going to get into semantics, Sharon?” Brenda queried with a raised eyebrow.

“I guess I want to know exactly what she’s accusing me of, Brenda Leigh,” groused Sharon, wrinkling her nose and tossing back the rest of her wine.  She looked covetously at the bottle but didn’t pour herself another glass.

“If I had to guess, I would say that she’s intimating that I’m some sort of gold-digging trollop.  I don’t so much mind the sexual implications, cuz we both know I’m your trollop, but I’m no gold-digger.”  Sharon managed a smile at that, and Brenda reached out to take the brunette in her arms, trailing gentle fingers along the bare skin exposed by Sharon’s unzipped dress.  Sharon wrapped her arms around Brenda and held fast, squeezing a little.

“Thank you for being such a good sport about this, Brenda Leigh.  I can’t believe she actually approached you in a public place like that,” Sharon murmured, her lips moving against the smooth strands of Brenda’s hair.

“I’d put up with bucketloads more crazy so long as I can be here with you like this, Shari.”  She plucked gently at the band of Sharon’s bra.  “Can I call you my sugar mama?”

“I think I’d rather Captain Snobbypants,” said Sharon with a wry chuckle.