Chapter 1: She is Late
The elevator arrives at the 23rd floor. Before she steps out, a coffee mug floats in front of her with a chubby hand holding it. Marissa swirls to face her with a wry look.
Diane takes over the mug, eyes rolling.
“Stop doing this.” She scolds before taking a sip.
“Doing what? Being efficient?” Marissa joins her steps towards her office.
“With the janitor at the parking lot and the security guy at the ground floor, it’s like you are spying on me.”
“Well, I’m a natural investigator. It’s hard to NOT make you feel that way.” Marissa talks back. The corners of her mouth lift.
“Okay, Miss Gold, have you made my dinner reservation if being a natural investigator doesn’t take up too much of your time as my assistant?” Diane takes a pause at the doorway of her office, turning to face Marissa.
“The Gianni’s at 8.”
“And I give them the name McVeigh.” Marissa adds following her in the office.
“Why?” Diane shots the question with a drawl in her tone while setting her bag on the chair and the mug on the desk and beginning to slip off her coat.
“Wow, that’s a stunning dress. I don’t recall seeing you in this color. You look fabulous.” Marissa’s eyes widen and are fixed on Diane’s newly-bought two-piece royal blue dress, with a thin black satin sash perfectly outlining her waist with a bow ending at the front.
“Marissa.” Diane wakes her.
“Uh, yeah, right. I know Kurt’s flight won’t be here till 5, but let’s face it, he’ll still beat you anyway, like ALWAYS.”
“Who told you that?” Diane feels offended by such an accusation but has nothing to defend herself.
“Well, I’m a natural investigator, remember? Don’t worry about it. With this dress, he wouldn’t mind if you are an hour late.” Dropping her last comment, the young woman steps out with a snicker.
A grin creeps on Diane’s lips before seating herself on the chair and slightly shaking her head.
“Yeah, Eli Gold got his gene in her.” She thinks to herself.
Kurt was on a one-week trip to attend a commemoration event held in Kansas. Via a video call yesterday, they agreed on a dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant when he came back to Chicago. The moment he slides into the cab, he sends a text right away.
“Just got off the plane, head home now. Meet you at the restaurant. Love you.”
He then holds the phone in his right hand and braces it against his jaw. Taking in the view of Chicago before sunset through the side window, he misses Chicago. All those years’ dislike of the city life with his strong attachment to the country life could be changed after all. A vibration wakes him from his thought. A new message pops on the screen.
“Can’t wait to see you. Love you, too.”
He breathes in the flory scent, the moment stepping in the house. She has changed new lilies in the light green vase on the counter in their hallway. Never would he thought that he would miss or even be fond of the smell so much. Dropping his keys in an antique-look bowl beside the vase, he closes the door behind him. He’s got an hour to fresh up before heading out to the restaurant.
Entering their bedroom and turning on the light, a smile creeps on his face.
Lying on his side of the bed are one of his plaid shirts and a pair of dark jeans, both neatly folded.
Being in a dress suit for seven days straight has worn him out. Just save ten minutes from going through his tiny wardrobe and figuring out what to wear, he thinks to himself. Discarding his tie while walking in the bathroom, he spots his razor displayed right on the sink, lined up with the bottles of shaving cream and aftershave. “Well, just what I need.” Picturing how Diane in her robe gingerly replacing a new blade for the razor that morning makes him chuckle. Holding that image, he then steps in the shower.
The waiter refills his glass for the third time.
“Still expecting your company, sir?”
“Yeah, I think she’ll be here in a minute.”
“Tell me if you need anything.” The young man smiles at him.
“Thank you.” Kurt forces a polite and slightly embarrassed smile to the young man then checks his watch again. It’s nine o’clock. He picks up his phone and dials.
Again, he is transferred to the voicemail.
“Diane, call me when you get this, please. I think we need to tip the waiter really big this time.”
Hanging up, he presses his lips tightly and taps his fingers over the screen of the phone. After a pause, he picks up his phone again.
One beep, two beeps, three beeps…
“Hello?” She answers by raising her voice with a noisy music background like in a pub.
“Hi, Marissa, it’s Kurt McVeigh.”
“Oh, hi, Mr. McVeigh. How’s it going with your dinner? You saw that dress, right?”
“Actually, I didn’t. Sorry to bother you, but I’m still expecting Diane. Was she still in the office when you left?”
The noise on the other side of the line seems to being smothered.
“Wait a second.” Her voice becomes clearer. “You were saying?”
“Was Diane still in the office when you left?” He repeats.
“No, she left the office at 4:30 to meet a client and renew a contract. She said she would meet you at Gianni’s right after that. She didn’t show up? Have you called her? Oh, that’s a stupid question. Don’t answer that. Of course, you have, that’s why you’re calling me. Sorry, I’ve been drinking. Uh, has she contacted you today?”
“I got her text around five.” He answers with his usual steady voice, but his mind stirs up when he knows that Diane has left the office so early. The thought of the unwanted visitor to his office a week ago unnerves him.
“Let me think. Hey, watch out. You spilled your drink on me.” Marissa screams on the other side of the line.
“Who’s the client?”
“Who’s the client that Diane was supposed to meet.?” Kurt asks eagerly.
“Uh, Colin Sweeney.”
“The wife killer?” Kurt furrows.
“No, he’s proved not guilty.” Even not in her sober state, it’s like an instinct to defend a client. Talk about working in a law firm.
“Do you have the address?” Asks Kurt, rolling his eyes.
“Yeah, I’ll text it to you. Do you think…?”
“I don’t know. I’d better go check first.” Leaving a twenty-dollar bill on the table, Kurt stands up and prepares to leave.
“I’ll let you know if I find anything.” Hanging up the phone, he is encountered with the waiter.
“Do you need anything, sir?”
“I need to leave. And thanks for your service.” Making his way through the small gap between the young man the other tables, Kurt rushes out of the restaurant.
Chapter 2: The Party
“Please wait here, it wouldn’t be long.” He tells the cab driver before stepping out of the car.
Kurt breathes in the cold air and looks up at the big house, from which he can hear the jazz music and commotion of people laughing and talking. He steps closer and then the door is opened from inside. A young girl wearing heavy make-up in a black backless evening gown runs right into him. Kurt subconsciously braces his arm around her waist, keeping the girl from falling.
“Easy.” Kurt says and helps her stand straight.
The brunette girl raises her head and shots him a flirty smile. Her eye shadow is smudged by tears.
“And who are you with tonight, silver fox?” She is a little drunk apparently and plays her long fingers with the second button of his shirt, leaning her weight on him.
“What are you doing here?” Before he tries to push her away, a young man runs out of the door crying.
The girl now stands on her own feet and turns around to face the man.
“Does that concern you? What did that tramp’s tongue taste like?” She yells at him.
“It’s not what it looked like. I don’t even know her.” The man tries to take her arm but she throws his hand away.
“Oh, really? That made any difference. Then, what does this look like?” She suddenly turns and leans her face to Kurt, trying to kiss him.
“Okay, miss, I’m really in a hurry here.” Kurt stops her by holding her shoulders and then turns her into the young man’s arms. The girl clasps and starts crying the moment her face touches her date’s chest. The man soothes her by brushing her back.
“She was just playing the game ‘truth or dare’. I really don’t know her.” The man shoots Kurt a grateful look and mouths the words “Thank you.”
Kurt nods along and walks past them.
The inside of the house smells of the mixture of alcohol and weed. The light is okay but his sight is a little blurred by the smoke. He makes his way through the crowd while scanning their faces. Passing through the living room, he reaches the back chamber where he finds a group of men standing in a circle.
“And that’s why you should bury your second wife.” The group bursts into laughter. Kurt recognizes the voice and squeezes his way into the center of the circle.
“Who the hell…Wait, I think I know you.” Startled by Kurt’s sudden appearance at first, Sweeney soon finds him familiar.
“Did you once testify for me?”
“Kurt McVeigh. May I have a word with you, Mr. Sweeney?”
“With the man who saved me from being wrongly accused? Of course.” Sweeney stands up from the sofa and shots a wry look to the people around him.
“Excuse me, gentlemen. When I’m back, we will dive into the chapter of the thirteen ways to tie up your partner. Or partners.” Sweeney winks at his guests before following Kurt.
When they reach the corner of the room where they can be barely heard, he turns to face Sweeney.
“Where is Diane?” He asks with an eager look but in a cold tone.
“Oh, right! That reminds me. The ballistic expert and the law firm partner were an item. Don’t you just love a law firm with scandals and everybody’s sleeping with each other?” Sweeney says with a dirty smile.
“Where is Diane?” Ignoring his cheap remark, Kurt stresses his question again.
“That should be my question, too. I waited for her the whole afternoon. I was gonna call the RBL tomorrow, or whatever their name is right now. Is this their special way to impress a lucrative client?” Sweeney complains.
“You mean she didn’t come here? Are you sure?” Kurt furrows.
“Why would I lie about that?” Sweeney arches his eyebrow. “Sebastian!” Getting uncomfortable by Kurt’s questioning look, Sweeney turns his head and calls for his butler.
Within a few seconds, a black man in a tuxedo appears behind Sweeney. “Yes, sir.”
“Tell this noble gentleman that my lawyer didn’t show up this afternoon.” Without breaking his eye contact with Kurt, Sweeney orders his butler.
“Sir, I cannot.” The tall black man speaks steadily.
“See? He cannot. Wait, what?” Just realizes his answer, Sweeney turns to his butler with a surprising look.
“Ms. Lockhart was here this afternoon, and I showed her to your study.” The man answers his master in an emotionless tone.
“How come I never…” “Where is the study room?” Before Sweeney can raise his doubt, Kurt cuts in.
“The second floor.” Fathoming Kurt’s intention immediately, the butler turns and says “This way, please.”
Kurt catches the man’s heels, with Sweeney following him, wearing a confusing look.
“This is the study, sir.” The butler gestures to the room on their left hand. Kurt turns to stare at Sweeney, who just realizes he should take the lead and moves towards the door. Turning the handle, Sweeney looks back at Kurt. “You don’t talk much, do you?”
The room is lighted up. It is a typical layout of a study with two bookshelves on both sides, a set of sofa in the middle, and a huge desk beside the window, with a weirdly-shaped sculpture on the desk.
“You were here the whole time?” Kurt steps in while looking around the room.
“Yes, I was until my guests began to show up.” Sweeney is a little intimidated by his serious look.
Failing in finding anything suspicious, Kurt then turns.
“What’s that room for?” He points at the room opposite to the study.
Chapter 3: We Have Plan B
Sorry for the delay. I was fully occupied by my job for the whole October. Don't want to bother you with my own distress. It's now 4 a.m in the morning. 4 hours later, I have to get up to work. Hope you will enjoy reading, and you're welcome to leave a comment.
Not long after she texts Kurt back, the cab pulls over in front a grand white house, nicely-situated by a glistening pond. The residence is surrounded by thriving and neatly-cut bushes, with a pebbled path leading to the doorway. The lawn is just mowed, and the smell of the fresh-cut grass with the tranquility of the humid air almost makes her forget to whom this beautiful dwelling belongs. It is ironically interesting how little the appearance of the house could reveal the taste and character of its owner.
Diane steps up to the front door and adjusts her posture before ringing the doorbell. Within a few seconds, the heavy oak door is opened. She is greeted by a black man in a tuxedo. A little overwhelmed by the formal attire of Sweeney’s butler, Diane speaks “I’m Diane Lockhart. I think I’m expected by Mr. Sweeney.”
“Come in please, Ms. Lockhart.”
“Thank you.” The door is closed behind her.
Now standing in the hallway, Diane has a better look of the inside of the house. The white staircase on her right hand leads to the second floor. Alongside the stairway, several Japanese manga-type paintings in bright and contrast colors are hung on the wall. The living room on the left is now rearranged with only tables where drinks and snacks are placed. A few young men, who all are dressed in vests and black bow-ties, keep bringing more glasses and dish trays to fill the scarce place on the tables.
“May I, ma’am?” Diane follows his gesture to slip off her coat.
“Thank you. What’s the occasion?”
“Mr. Sweeney is throwing a party tonight.”
Diane curses in silence. Colin Sweeney knew well he could totally ask her to come on any other day. She could have sent an associate to bring the retainer agreement if he hasn’t repeatedly stressed that he could only feel important with the name partner handling his business. Mixing up his legal issues with a sure-to-be chaotic party of his, Colin Sweeney has his way to couple things to a perverting end.
“Just hope this won’t take too long.” Grabbing the briefcase, she follows the butler to the second floor.
“The end of the hall, Ms. Lockhart.”
“Alright, thank you.”
As Diane approaches the direction he suggested, she turns “Excuse me, but which roo…? Hello?” The butler is gone.
“Like a ghost.” Diane sighs.
There are two opposite rooms at the end of the hall.
“What’s that room for?” He points at the room opposite to the study.
“That is…” the butler hesitates and eyes Sweeney for approval.
“That is my training room if you will.” Sweeney paces closer slowly.
“Can you open it?”
“Well, it’s something I don’t like to display openly,” Sweeney smirks but soon retrieves his careless manners, forced by the serious look on Kurt’s face. “but if you think it’s necessary, yes.”
Sweeney hurries to his desk, fumbles in the middle drawer and ends up with a bunch of keys.
“You should know I made special sound-proof decoration, and the lock is quite tricky as well.” Sweeney explains while handling the key to the lock. The key is only half turned before they hear a click.
“This is weird. I thought I had locked it.” Sweeney turns the doorknob and opens the door.
“You also use this room as a study?” Kurt asks when he finds the arrangement just resemble the room opposite.
“No, it’s the theme of office romance this month. I’ll change it to Greek mythology for the next.”
“Shh. Did you hear anything?” Kurt whispers.
“Hearing what?” Sweeney widens his eyes.
“What’s behind the shelf?” Kurt leans his ear to the shelf.
“It’s the ultimate training section. It’s impossible that Ms. Lockhart could find the entrance.”
Kurt steps backwards and glares at Sweeney. “You’d better open it, or I can do it my way.”
The shelf slides to the side, and with the crack widens they hear loud music of Italian opera coming from the built-in room, which is lighted in red, with a giant bed facing the entrance. Not until it is fully opened, Kurt sidles into the room. The bed is empty. His eyes scan the walls on both sides on which hang a bunch of handcuffs, whips, and some pointy shaped tools. Then he sensed a shadow from the corner of his eye. Turning his head to the left corner of the room closer to the shelf, he sees Diane curling on the floor with her back against the wall and her heels cast away about an inch from her feet. He almost trips himself rushing to her and kneeling.
“Diane!” Kurt holds her shoulders and raises his voice, trying to be heard under the loud music that is still playing.
She flinches at first, then raises her head. It takes her about a second to recognize his face before she leans closer instantly and holds him tightly with her arms.
“Oh my god, Kurt, I’m so sorry. I tried to reach you, but there’s no signal here.” She apologizes in a shaking voice and then tightens her grip of him. She has been trapped here for almost five hours, and the first thing she does when seeing him is to apologize for her lateness.
“Would you turn off that noise for god’s sake?” Kurt yells at Sweeney, who is just stunned, freezing at the entrance.
He caresses her back with his fingers drawing circles and comforts her in a soft voice, “It’s okay, hon, as long as you’re safe now.” and then presses a kiss on her cheek.
They hold each other for a few more seconds, and Kurt leans backwards and looks at her face concernedly.
“Did you get hurt?” He then casts a look at her heels.
“No. It’s just, I was too tired, and there’s no place to sit or anything.” She raises her hand from his collar to touch his newly-shaved face affectionately. “I’m so sorry, Kurt. Tonight should’ve been wonderful. I shouldn’t have scheduled anything.” She studies his face dearly with glistening tears and guilt in her eyes.
Kurt chuckles by her apologies.
“Diane, there’s nothing you need to apologize for.” Rubbing the tears from the corner of her eye, he adds, “Can I help you stand up?”
Diane slips in her heels, with Kurt holding her right arm and bracing her with his hand on her waist.
“I am sorry, Ms. Lockhart. I had no idea that you would be here the whole night.” Sweeney interrupts while shooting a fidgeting look at Kurt’s stern face.
“There’s no reception. How would that bother you...in here?” Diane now stands straight, trying to suppress her anger, she then asks.
“Well, during the act, I wouldn’t like any kind of interruption even the invisible radio wave, you know, a totally isolated space from modern technologies, just primal need for...”
“I don’t think we need to know that much.” Kurt cuts in.
“To make up for it, I’ll arrange my limo to send you home.” Sweeney offers attentively.
“It’s not necessary. I have a cab waiting.” They are about to leave the room before Kurt takes a step back and furrows while casting another look at the ceiling.
Noting his irregular moves, Diane turns to him, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Kurt then catches her heels.
“Just give me one minute.” He says to her, after seating Diane in the backseat of the cab.
Diane grabs his hand before he can leave the door closed.
“Kurt, if you’re gonna do what I think you’re gonna do, please, don’t. It’s not his fault.”
“What? You think I’m gonna beat him up?” Kurt chuckles, trying to ease Diane’s concern.
“I don’t want you to get in trouble.” She looks straight into his eyes.
“It’s gonna be alright. Trust me.” He bends over, pressing a feather kiss on her lips, and then close the door.
“A word.” Kurt drops his words to Sweeney, who is standing at his driveway and waiting to see them off. Kurt walks past him and heads for the other side of the house.
“Do something when I scream.” Sweeney jokes with his butler and takes the hint to follow Kurt.
“So, Mr. McVeigh, you’ve found your wife. Anything else I can help with?” Sweeney intends to lighten the mood, but his grin soon vanishes forced by Kurt’s stare.
“If I were you, I would schedule a business hour next week to renew your contract with your lawyer in her office.” Kurt shoots plainly.
“Yes, of course, it will be on the top of the list.”
“If I were you, I would erase the tape that has been recording your special little room.” Kurt puts his hands in the pockets of his jeans and emphasizes his second sentence.
“How did...” Sweeney is a little astonished at first but then a vile smile emerges on his face. “Well, they told me no one would recognize it. Are you an expert with cameras yourself?”
Enraged by his implication, he grabs the lapels of Sweeney’s suit and throws him hard to the wall.
“Ouch!” Sweeney lets out a call.
“Listen, you literally imprisoned my wife for hours. It is for her sake that I didn’t beat the shit out of ya, so don’t push your luck. If any footage of Diane’s appearance in that room still exists tomorrow, you should be careful. I spent most of my life testifying not just for innocent ones but also against the guilty ones.” Kurt sticks his arm to Sweeney’s chest, holding him against the wall.
“Are you threatening me?”
“I’m informing you of what I am capable of doing.”
Weakened by his powerful grip, Sweeney concedes.
“All right, I will, okay?”
With Kurt stepping backwards, Sweeney braces his elbows against the wall to stand on his feet.
“I liked it better when you didn’t talk much.” Adjusting his bow tie, Sweeney then adds.
“But now I get it how someone like Ms. Lockhart would be attracted to you, the thing of being macho. Women just fall for it, no exception.”
“It took you so long.” She leans closer and takes his arm before he closes the door.
“Don’t worry. I just called Marrisa to tell her that you’re okay.” He holds her hand, fingers entwined, and then rests his lips on the back of her hand, shooting a genuine look into her orbs.
Diane smiles at his warm gaze. She cannot resist his puppy eyes. Yes, he is a man of few words and most of the time only has the same expression for everything. It even irritates her that she could not tell what he’s gonna say or do only by judging his face. She can remember the time when she was scared to hell that he would divorce her but ended up in his arms after he finally confessed the wish to live together until death do them apart. The endings are always sweet, but she cannot say she enjoys the roller-coaster of emotions. But there are also times like this when he gives away how he feels about her by the way he looks at her. The tenderness in his eyes could just melt her heart.
“I’m sorry.” Feeling so content, she then regrets more that she failed in making him feel the same way.
“It’s like your third apology tonight. Diane, what’s wrong?”
“I just hate it that I kept ruining our date with work and emergencies. I sat in there all night and imagined how disappointed again you would be.” The guilty fills her eyes.
“Yet you neglect how extremely happy I am when you show up.” He leans and softly kisses her lips. “And our night will not be ruined.”
“Huh?” Diane just opened her eyes from relishing the touch of his lips.
Kurt takes out a card from the inner pocket of his jacket and hands it to the driver.
“No problem.” The driver looks at the address and then answers.
“Kurt, where are we going?”
Chapter 4: It's Called Royal Blue
“Kurt, where are we going?”
“Plan B.” He smirks at her confused look and gives a squeeze of her hand.
The driver starts the car.
“No, it can’t be.” Her eyes narrow, as if she already knows.
“The firing range again?” She complains.
He cracks up on hearing her answer. He recalls the surprising look on Diane’s face last time he took her for shooting when she was expecting a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant.
“I really got that into you, didn’t I.” He cannot stop laughing, “Maybe another time, but no.”
He nibbles his lower lip, tasting her questioning eyes for two more seconds.
“I’ll take a day off tomorrow, and it’s been a while since the last time I attended to my farm. I’m thinking maybe we can have a long weekend there, away from the city noise and inhale some fresh air.”
“But I have to…”
“No, you don’t. You’re going to call in sick tomorrow and spend some quality time” Kurt shoots her a determined look, “just with me.”
Diane eyes his silver hair pulled back from his forehead and then his sparkling orbs in the milky moonlight pouring through the side-window. Known him for more than a decade, she is so sure that it is his honesty, integrity and stubborn idealism that attract her the most. Sometimes, she forgets just how handsome he is.
“Yeah, what the hell. Let’s go to your cabin in the woods.” She gives him a knowing smile then adds, “Our cabin.”
The cab pulls over in front of a small pub.
“We need to go get some grab. I don’t think I’ve got any food left.” Kurt takes Diane's hand and helps her get out of the car. “And it won’t be a pretty picture in the fridge if I did.”
“They make the best chicken burger. It’s a pity that you don’t eat fried…well anything.” Kurt shrugs and opens the door for her. Diane rolls her eyes and slides in. He grabs every chance to tease her limited choice for diet.
The inside of the pub is larger than she expected with a bar on the right side, a few tables arranged in the middle, and even a very small stage a few feet from the bar. It’s quite late. One table is occupied at the corner, and two middle-aged men are chatting at the counter with beers in hands. Four young men sit on the stools next to the stage enjoying their Whisky and laughing at something they’ve been talking about. A guitar and a bass are leaning against the stage. It seems that the band has finished their routine and is enjoying their leisure time.
Kurt chooses a table in the middle. He helps her slip off her coat and pulls out the chair for her. He shoots a hesitant look to the band while seating himself and then returns his eyes to his wife. Diane adjusts herself on the chair, tucks a strand of her golden hair back, looks around with curious eyes, examining the brick wall, the pictures hanging, and every breathing creature in the pub and finally drops her eyes on her husband, who is now studying her with a lopsided smile.
“What?” She is always the one to break the silence.
“It’s just,” He thins his eyes and looks at her up and down. “You look so amazing in blue. I mean, you look amazing in anything. But this color, good lord.” His eyes sweep her neck and then the skin of her upper chest.
“Actually, it’s called royal blue.” She blushes, bracing her arms over the table and returning his husband’s gaze with a girlish smile.
“I know.” He leans to the table, narrowing their distance. “The same color you wore on our first date when you insisted on leaving before left me a very convincing tongue kiss.” His eyes linger on her ruby lips.
“May I take your order?” Interrupted by the waiter, Kurt braces his back to the chair and lets out a light cough to hide his embarrassment.
“Yeah, uh, I’ll have a chicken burger.”
“And for the lady?”
“Do you have mashed potatoes?”
“Yes, anything else. Today’s special is spaghetti and meatballs with extra gravy.” The young man offers.
“No, thank you. That will be all.” Diane gives him a grateful smile when the waiter leaves.
“That will be all? I thought you must be hungry.” Kurt asks, frowning.
“I am. But it’s too late. I’m not allowed to eat anything at this hour.” Diane answers in all seriousness.
Kurt rolls his eyes.
“Come on. You wouldn’t put on weight with only one meal.” He argues.
“Well, that’s the excuse for people who CANNOT keep a balanced diet.” Diane arches her eyebrow.
“Now you make me feel guilty.” Kurt feigns a depressed look.
“Sorry, something about you just makes me want to tease you.” She giggles and reaches for his arm, brushing his forearm then holding his hand.
Sometimes, they don’t need words to fill the silence. He loves watching her and the way she watches him back. The slightly lifting corners of her mouth, the softness in her teasing eyes, and behind those beautiful eyes, the soul of gold. There’s no doubt that he fell in love with Diane the moment he laid eyes on her in her office, but a stronger feeling was confirmed on their first date after she left him an unfinished burning kiss and strode away. That was the coolest thing he had ever seen in a woman, which he also found quite cute. How could he not go after her?
“I can’t believe you remembered.”
“What?” Kurt wakes from his drowning to her eyes.
“The color of my dress that night. Most men are slow to that kind of thing. Normally, they don’t ” she lowers her voice, “don’t even remember the color of the underwear.”
A smug grin creeps on his face.
“Talking about underwear, I remember vividly how I undressed you that night.”
He pulls her hand and leans closer. Mesmerized by the scent of her perfume and the sight of her bright eyes, curved nose and quivering lips, he tilts his head when Diane mirrors his movement and closes her eyes.
“Your chicken burger, sir.”
“Would you just please!” Kurt yells.
“Anything wrong?” The waiter places the plate on their table, kind of confused by Kurt’s reaction.
“Nothing, he means thank you.” Diane explains with a smile. After the waiter leaves, she turns to him.
“Don’t get grumpy.” Head tilting, her tone sounds like comforting a child.
“Apparently they know you love their burger more than anything.” She can’t help giggling at the disappointed look on Kurt’s face.
The waiter leaves after putting down their drinks. Making sure the young man is back to the kitchen, Kurt pulls his chair closer to Diane’s. She takes a sip of her Chardonnay and almost chokes when Kurt moves closer with his elbow touching hers.
“Since when you became so clinging?” She makes fun of him, yet with tenderness in her eyes.
“Since forever. I hid it well.” He jokes yet followed by a soft sigh.
She can sense a hint of relief as well as anxiety in his eyes.
“Don’t worry about me, Kurt. Look, I’m fine.” She consoles him.
“How can I not? I thought someone was after you.”
“No one was after me. It’s a misunderstanding.”
“I didn’t mean tonight. What about the visitor in my office, the SWAT team, and the NSA?” He realizes his slip of the tongue the second he finishes the sentence, but it is too late.
“The NSA?” She asks with questioning eyes.
Kurt leans back to his chair and retrieves his hands from her hold, scratching the skin behind his ear and shooting another look to the band next to the bar, and then he turns to her again.
“Well, uh, I meant, when you were about to be indicted. They must have been listening to your phone.”
It occurs to her that he might still be uncomfortable to talk about her involvement in Tully’s case. She reaches out to grab his hand and holds it tightly with both of her hands.
“I will be careful. I promise.” She says softly, shooting him a steady look.
Kurt nods gently, then grabs his beer and takes a sip. “So close.” He thinks.
It’s not that he enjoys being the unsung hero. His top priority is always her safety and how it would make her feel. Diane would definitely blame herself if she knew Kurt was dragged into the mess she caused. She didn’t tell him not only because of their political positions but also the illegal approach she resorted to, which, she herself was not proud of, either. The idea that he knew about her intentional hacking of the election system would embarrass her. He will never let her know that she had a fan in the NSA or what he has done to protect her.
“Did I forget to tell you that I missed you? It’s been so long a week.” The firm hold of his calloused and warm hand always gives her strength whether in reality or her dreams.
“I miss you, too.” He responds to her gaze. Being sure that the waiter won’t interrupt them again, Kurt narrows the gap and leans closer. With an emerging smile, Diane closes her eyes.
Startled by the noise, Diane flinches. Kurt turns his head to the band and frowns.
The guy with long red hair, who is now apologizing to the other guests, just dropped his glass.
“I hope nobody got hurt.” Diane looks to the direction of the little fuss these young men have caused.
Kurt turns and stares at her seriously like he’s struggling with his thought.
“What’s wrong?” Noticing the look on his face, she asks.
He keeps the stare for one more second before grabbing his beer and taking a huge gulp.
“I may regret this, but…” He suddenly stands up, takes off his jacket and hangs it on the back of the chair.
“Regret what?” Diane is confused by his unusual behavior, when he begins to roll up his sleeves.
“It might be an impulse, but please don’t judge me by what I’m gonna do.” He pats her shoulder before walking in the direction of the band, which makes her more confused and worried.
She watches Kurt starts to talk with the young men, but she is not close enough to hear their conversation. She sees the red hair look surprised at first but soon smile back to Kurt and give him a playful punch in the arm. The young man reaches in his pocket and hands something to Kurt. Not until Kurt heads for the stage, swiftly picking up the electric guitar and flipping it skillfully in his hand, does Diane realize what the young man just gave him. It was a pick.
Her widened eyes follow Kurt’s strides to the stage. She blinks twice to confirm it’s not a dream.
“Oh my god. What’s is happening?” She covers her mouth with her slender fingers.