Brenda was surprisingly unconcerned for a person who usually stressed when she left her squad to its own devices. Even in the massive line winding its way to LAX’s three open security stations, she was relaxed. Encounters with the TSA generally left Brenda grinding her teeth, but today, she couldn’t help but grin. It was definitely the company that accounted for her upbeat mood.
Sharon was such an easy-going travel companion, and she was so excited about the trip that it was impossible not to be swept along by her enthusiasm. Plus, Sharon looked adorable in her slouchy jeans and the comfy cardigan that she totally hadn’t stolen from Brenda’s side of the closet.
Still grinning, Brenda was caught out by the object of her musings.
“What’s funny?” asked Sharon in a low voice.
Brenda felt her face stretch in to a full blown smile. “Not funny. I’m just happy.”
Sharon smiled in answer, and as always, Brenda’s heart fluttered in response to the well-loved expression.
“Goodness, you’re pretty,” Brenda breathed, trying to sound flirty, but only managing to hit ‘absolutely smitten’.
Sharon winked at her, then turned to push their shared carry-on further along the line. They were traveling light - at least as light as two women who were going to a ball on their vacation could travel. The carry-on contained some essentials, in case their luggage was delayed or lost, the jewelry to go with their formal wear, and Sharon’s laptop.
Brenda had been impressed at Sharon’s relaxed attitude regarding the whole ‘ball’ thing. When she had received the invitation, and wrapped it up to stick under the Christmas tree, the trials of procuring formal wear for an event occurring on the other side of the country hadn’t really crossed her mind. But thankfully, Sharon knew someone who knew someone, and after a short visit to a professional shopper, and another to a tailor, their borrowed finery had been shipped across the country and was already waiting for them at their hotel.
There were reasons that Brenda carried her badge clipped to the outside of her purse, and creating a little bubble for herself in crowded places was just one of them. Hoping that the TSA agents won’t open her carry on was another. They had tucked a few adult toys in there, and Brenda was struggling not to blush just thinking about it, but going on vacation without some fun sexual options just didn’t seem optimal to either of them.
They both suffered indignity of removing their shoes, and Brenda had to go through the metal detector twice because of her belt. Once they had gotten themselves together again, they made a beeline for the Starbucks. Brenda was going to treat herself to a grande mocha with extra chocolate and an extra shot. And maybe a pastry. And she was going to treat her Sharon to whatever she wanted; she wanted to treat Sharon to everything this weekend - wanted to sweep her wife off her feet, and let her know exactly how much Brenda cherished her.
Miraculously, there was a little booth open, and Sharon settled herself in while Brenda went to place their order. She felt like she was glowing, incandescent with happiness, and wondered if anyone else could see it. She kept sneaking glances over at Sharon, who was alternately smirking at her Blackberry and sneaking her own glances at Brenda. Their eyes met, and Brenda grinned, and was once again rewarded with a luminous smile. She felt like she was setting off on an adventure, and for the first time, doing so with a fellow adventurer that was just as invested in the journey as she was. Now Brenda grinned to herself, suddenly smug at her extraordinary good fortune.
With almost an hour until their plane would begin boarding, they had time to linger over their coffee and a paper that Sharon had found abandoned on a table in the Starbucks. They shared a bench, Sharon partaking of the world news section, and Brenda skimming the local happenings. One the second page, she encountered a picture of Pope accompanying an article about yearly crime stats. In it, he was attempting to look competent and manly - she could tell by the set of his chin - but he mostly looked constipated. She sneered, and Sharon, seeing what she was looking at, snorted a quiet laugh.
“I don’t know who takes his official photographs, but they need to be fired,” observed Sharon, sipping primly at her latte.
“I dunno. I kinda like that he always looks like an idiot in the papers.”
Sharon snorted again, and Brenda grinned up at her, unrepentant. Yesterday, she had spent an agonizing hour with Pope in her office, so she was all for enjoying vicarious Pope suffering, or whatever this was.
Pope had come down hard on her, trying to keep her in LA to work on an oh-so-important case. Brenda didn’t know what had pissed him off more: that she was romantically and legally tied to Sharon Raydor, or that for the first time in eight years, she was intending to use her contractually mandated vacation days.
It had surprised her that she hadn’t even been tempted to rearrange her flight to even start the case off. The first time she had politely turned him down with just a bit of glee, the next seven or eight times, there had been less glee and more annoyance. He knew better than to outright threaten her job (or Sharon’s job), but obnoxious persistence was definitely in his wheelhouse. Brenda grumbled to herself, rustling the paper in irritation.
“We’re going on a fabulous vacation, honey,” Sharon said, like she had read Brenda’s mind. “And Pope is facing yet another week of puckering up for city councilmen - and not to kiss them on the mouth.”
It was Brenda’s turn to snort. “You’re bad, Sharon Raydor,” she pronounced with a little grin.
“Mmmmmm,” agreed Sharon with a smirk of her own.
“I’m so glad we’re doin’ this,” Brenda blurted, suddenly verbally enthusiastic. “I’ve never taken a vacation to do some special event like this.”
“Me neither - well, I went to a surf competition with Jackson once, but I don’t think that compares.” She favored Brenda with a brilliant smile. “And I’m so glad you have connections. I can’t believe I’m knocking something off my bucket list!”
“I’m so glad I got to help you knock something off your bucket list!”
“We’ll do one of yours next, ok?” Sharon suggested, as sweet and caring as ever, but Brenda couldn’t help the dirty thought that flashed through her mind.
“Mine might require less travel,” she said, grinning again.
This earned her another smirk. “Now who’s being bad?”
Brenda made a ‘who me?’ sort of gesture, then turned back to her paper, still grinning, and trying not to think about sex - that could make for a very uncomfortable flight, especially considering that Sharon had nipped her ‘mile high club’ fantasies in the bud. ‘Not on a public flight’ Sharon had said, and Brenda knew that was the smart move; public indecency could do a number on their careers, but it didn’t stop her from wanting.
Determined not to let anything get to her for the next five days, not even Pope, Brenda folded the paper and set it aside. Sharon did the same, turning her body towards Brenda and reaching for her hands.
“Thank you so much for this, and for everything, Brenda Leigh,” she husked, her voice gentle and throbbing in that tone that Brenda loved so much to hear. “I’ve been so happy the past few months - happier than I’ve ever been.”
“Me too,” Brenda whispered, tears pricking at her eyes. She was no longer ashamed of feeling like this relationship reached a part of her that had been hidden for so long - how could she be ashamed when what they had made Sharon so happy, too. “I love you.”
Sharon leaned in and kissed her, and Brenda sank into that place of bliss and joy that defined her life with Sharon Marie Raydor.