A/N:, thank you all for reading and reviewing! It's great to see new readers as well as familiar ones! I hope you all enjoy this chapter just the same.
Chapter Eight: This is Us
"If it's stressing you out that much, you need to go ahead and file a report," Mike, Natalia's husband stated. "I mean if it's too much for you then I'll file it."
Natalia looked at her husband in shock, wanting to shake her head but didn't want to do anything that would continue to fuel the fire. They'd been arguing since returning from work and it seemed to be all that they did lately. She hated that the arguments, like this one, was about Nick. Lately, Nick stalked her out at crime scenes, antagonizing, taunting her until she argued with him. Then he'd say something to reference their past and kept at it until she walked away. After finding out that she was pregnant, Nick doubled down on her and it had gotten so bad that one day, she walked away from the crime scene, leaving it half processed. This was starting to affect her work performance. Natalia let out a quiet sigh. "I tried –"
"No you didn't," Mike chided. "The Natalia I know wouldn't back down…she wouldn't take no for an answer." Looking at Natalia's face, he sighed. "Look, I know your ex-husband is an ass but like I told you, he will never get close enough to hurt you. I don't know…maybe try talking to Horatio and see what he can do to help."
Natalia was baffled and scoffed in response. "You're my husband. You're supposed to help me handle my problems, not my boss." She grabbed her stomach when she felt her baby kick. Natalia was currently in her third trimester and couldn't wait until it was over. What was supposed to be the most wonderful time of her life had turned into a stressful mess. She let out a sigh and looked at her husband. "Look, I don't want to fight about this anymore."
Mike nodded his head in agreement. "I agree. The last thing I want to do is argue about someone who is irrelevant to us, to our family. How about we go and figure out this report together. If nothing comes of that, then I will talk to your ex myself."
"Okay," Natalia nodded, forcing a smile.
Calleigh let out a breath of air as she stepped out of her car. Locking it, she glanced at her watch, noting the time at a little past noon. She was grateful to have the day off. The cases were becoming more gruesome and though she probably wouldn't admit it, they were taking a toll on her. She was happy for the moments like these where she could relax. She greeted and thanked the hostess who pointed her to her table. A smile appeared on her face at her guest already at the table. "Hey you," Calleigh greeted, touching the man's shoulder.
"You," the dark-haired man stated, giving Calleigh a onceover and winking in approval at her appearance. "I already ordered you a drink."
"Thanks," Calleigh said appreciatively as she sat down. She tucked her hair behind her ear and smiled. She stirred her drink a bit before taking a sip. "Umph," Calleigh said, wrinkling her eyebrows. "Jake, this is stronger than I expected."
"Yeah," Jake said, smiling. "They added a little extra…you know…just a splash of rum."
"It would've been fine without it," Calleigh said playfully.
"Scared you're gonna get into a little trouble with a little more alcohol in your system," Jake joked, grabbing her thigh underneath the table and giving it a squeeze. Calleigh bumped the table causing a minor distraction for the table next to them and he laughed.
"Stop it," Calleigh blushed, pushing his hand away.
Jake laughed again and took a sip of his drink. "You know I appreciate the fact that you came today. It means a lot to me. I definitely hope we can get back to where we were. You know Calleigh, I made a mistake…"
Calleigh inhaled deeply and rubbed her lips. For her, the meeting was not to give Jake a second chance. He had that. And another. And another. She wanted to make amends. She wanted them to have workplace camaraderie. Also, Eric had been heavily on her mind lately. She didn't want to hurt him. Calleigh let out a quiet sigh. It was time to move on. "Listen Jake…"
"Uh-oh," Jake said, sitting back. "This isn't for that, is it?"
Calleigh shook her head no. "With everything that's going on in the department, Stetler's prying…I think it's best if we go on as friends."
Jake exhaled and thought for a moment before nodding his head. "We can do that." He finished his mimosa and ruffed his hair. "You never know a good thing until you lose it. I'm sorry I lost you Calleigh."
Calleigh shook her head, trying not to give into Jake's charm. "Well, we can be friends," she repeated, shrugging her shoulders in innocence.
"You're cold, woman," Jake joked.
"What are you planning to get into on your day off?"
Calleigh shrugged her shoulders again. "I don't know. Probably a little shopping and go home. Nothing major. What about you?"
"I actually have to go in soon…" Jake looked at his watch. "…now actually. I didn't know it had gotten so late." He stood up.
Calleigh smiled and shook her head. "Well I won't hold you. Since we're friends now, I'll pick up the tab this time but next time it's on you."
Jake smiled and shook his head. "See you later, Calleigh."
Calleigh nodded her head and watched Jake leave. After another drink, she started on her way as well.
Just as Natalia stated to him before, filing a report against Nick was difficult when Nick hadn't done anything to intentionally harm Natalia but Mike was not going to be a sitting duck in this. Natalia opted to stay in the lab for the day so at least he knew she was safe but that still didn't keep Nick away. He saw Nick sauntering around the morgue and was set to make sure that Nick left Natalia alone, once and for all. He waited outside until he saw Nick. "Sir?" Mike approached generally.
Nick turned around and looked the officer up and down. He let out an aggravated sigh when the officer moved his hand to his waist, showing off the weapon that was there. He stopped and gave a head nod.
"And to what do I owe the pleasure, Officer Paciello?" Nick said.
Mike didn't like the attitude that Nick was already giving him. He looked around, firmly planting his feet on the ground and his hands on his hips. He quirked his eyebrows knowingly. "You know Natalia Boa Vista? The one you're constantly stalking out at crime scenes? She's my wife. I'm gonna tell you only once, stay away from her. The next time, I will not be so nice about it."
Nick sniffed and looked around before moving in on Mike. "She was mine first, we are making amends and hate to break it to you buddy, but we will be together again."
Mike chuckled humorlessly. "The delusion is set in with you, that's clear."
"I'm delusional? She won't even take your last name," Nick said, shaking his head. "Natalia is mine." He started to walk away.
Mike gritted his teeth in anger. The nerve of Nick. Anger took over and before he could think about his actions, he pushed Nick. When Nick turned around, he punched him in the face.
Nick wiped his mouth, noticing that Mike drew blood. He inhaled and exhaled in anger but didn't hit back. For one, a few officers had made their way over to the commotion. Nick looked at Mike. "This looks like an unprovoked assault and battery charge, Officer Paciello." He looked at the officer next to him. "I would like this man arrested for assault and battery on a regular civilian."
"That's not your choice to make," the officer said.
"Oh, no?" Nick stated. "I want to talk to somebody in charge right now!"
It didn't take long before the commotion caught the attention of Rick Stetler. He'd seen Nick around the department and it didn't take long for news to travel that he was Natalia's ex. Walking towards the minor disturbance, he looked at the two men, almost wanting to shake his head at the conduct between them. Stetler looked Mike. "I have to take civilian safety into consideration. For the time being, you're being placed on desk duty pending physical misconduct investigation."
"I intend to press charges," Nick stated. Although he didn't intend for it to happen this way, Natalia's husband inadvertently played into his plans. Nick was familiar with knowledge that an assault and battery charged carried penalties of up to a year in jail in Florida. If he pressed charges, Mike could be out the picture for at least a year, giving him the time he needed to get Natalia back once and for all. A smile formed on his lips as he moved his plan into the next phase.
I will post (still trying) more frequently!
This chapter was slightly difficult to write, given the fact that it's getting difficult to write violence. (Can't believe I am the same person who wrote a toddler getting kidnapped 10 years ago :o) Calleigh's section of the story is based on episode 6x09 "Stand Your Ground." That would be my take on what happened at the beginning of the episode before she had that gun pointed at her.