A.N. – Something that popped into my head while watching a rerun of Amends – I kept watching the necklace around Eames' neck sparkle - and I Eames strikes me as the type to give her decisions a lot of careful thought before acting on them. Also, I know Eames kept her married name – my reference to Alex Dutton was to make a point about the difference between the Alex of nine years ago, and the Alex of today. As always, I own nothing.
Alex stepped into the foyer of her house, dropping her gym bag to the floor, turning to enter the alarm code, shutting and securing the door behind her. Sighing tiredly, she bent and picked up the bag to take it into the laundry room, stopping to turn the floor lamp on in the living room before proceeding down the hallway. Returning, she walked into her bedroom, removing her jacket and laying it across the bed before sitting down on the edge, flipping the bedside lamp on as she did so.
She sat there, staring into space, fingers absently playing with the necklace she wore. Her thoughts were spinning in several different directions at once - and she was just so damned tired. So far, she'd been stuck on desk duty for nearly the entire two weeks of Bobby's suspension, with no relief in sight until he had seen the department shrink for evaluation. Somehow, plowing through the mounds of ever-present paperwork was more enervating and tiring than the long, sleepless hours she and Bobby usually put in when working a case, but exhausted as she was, she still had trouble sleeping at night. She missed the field work, the adrenaline rush of following the trail of bits and pieces of evidence with Bobby, bouncing ideas off each other about what they might mean, putting them all together to form a working hypothesis - Hell. She missed Bobby. Phone calls just didn't cut it.
Kicking off her shoes, she rose from the bed and pulled the sweater she was wearing over her head, tossing it on the bed with the jacket, but not removing the T-shirt she wore beneath. Crossing the room, she sat down on the padded bench seat in front of a heavy, old-fashioned dressing table, a lovely old piece of furniture she had inherited from her paternal grandmother. One of the few concessions she made to her feminine side, Alex smiled slightly to herself as she ran her hand over the smooth, dark cherrywood surface before glancing up and catching sight of her reflection in the carved oval mirror mounted on its back. The spark of fire from the diamond she wore at her throat caught her eye.
Leaning forward and resting her arms on the table, she absently slid her finger under the platinum chain on which she wore a nearly one carat diamond solitaire. Moving the chain back and forth, she watched as the gem caught the room's soft light and threw prisms of color flashes into the mirror's reflection. The stone had once resided in a Tiffany mounted ring she used to wear on the finger of her left hand when off duty. The matching, plain platinum band, engraved inside "J.D. to A.E. – 3/10/95 – Always and Forever", rested in a ring box in the back of the top drawer of the dressing table. Tears gathered in the corners of her honey-brown eyes. Forever had only lasted four years.
Letting the chain drop back against her skin, she blinked them away and began removing her earrings, reflecting on her marriage to Joe. Had he lived, would they still be married today, perhaps with a child? If she were honest with herself, and she nearly always was, she didn't know. They had hit a rough patch in their marriage just before Joe's murder—his sister had given birth to their niece, Lindsay, six months before, and Joe thought it was time that Lindsay had a little cousin to grow up with. Alex, however, was in line for promotion on the heels of a major drug-and-prostitution bust resulting from a year-long joint Vice and Narco operation, and she wanted to wait at least another year, perhaps even two, before trying to get pregnant. The arguments had escalated to the point where Joe had given her an ultimatum one day before slamming out of the house to go to work – and never came home.
Gazing at her reflection as she continued to remove her earrings, she once again paused to fiddle with the chain around her neck. She and Joe had always put on a united front for their respective families, and so no one knew about the difficulties they had been having. When she got the news Joe had been shot, and was DOA at St. Vincent's, grief for his death and guilt for their problems warred within her for ascendancy. Then and now, she had no idea of what her life with Joe might have been, although she couldn't help but think the fact he had given her such an ultimatum did not bode well for a future together. And she was no longer the same Alex who had been Joe's wife. In fact, she didn't think that Alex Dutton would recognize today's Alex Eames.
Poor Bobby, she thought. He had been as supportive, as kind and gentle as he knew how to be when it became apparent they had to reopen Joe's case to get to the bottom of Kevin's murder. He had no way to know that while she certainly didn't want to relive her grief, she also didn't want to re-experience that guilt. But during the Quinn investigation, she had also come to realize something else, something she perhaps had been subconsciously aware of for quite awhile but had refused to acknowledge – Bobby loved her. Frightened, she did the only thing she thought she could do. She tried to push him away, tried to keep a professional distance between them. She knew she had hurt him a couple of times over the couple of months since the Quinn case, but she just didn't think she had it within herself to love someone like that again, especially not another cop, and certainly not her partner.
Until Bobby wanted to get inside Tate Correctional to try and help his nephew, and she had agreed to help him. She should never have agreed to go along with his plan, but on the other hand, she knew he was going to do it anyway, and there was really no one else he could count on beside her. The five hours that passed after he'd missed his last contact had just been the beginning of the longest stretch of time she'd ever lived through, and she really hadn't relaxed until Bobby had been discharged from the hospital two days later. While he'd slept, safe for the first time in a week, she sat beside his bed holding his hand and grappling with her feelings until she came to the inevitable conclusion that she could no longer deny them. No matter how difficult life with Bobby was or might be, it would be nowhere near as difficult as life without him.
Continuing to watch her reflection in the mirror, she reached behind, unclasping the chain from her neck. Holding it in her hands, she moved it back and forth, watching the light reflect from the stone for a few moments longer before putting it in the box with Joe's ring, to keep for Lindsay. Pulling her cell phone from her belt, she flipped it open and hit speed dial 2, listening to the ring on the other end -"Goren - "