Two Dates In

My New Years project for the 2015/2016 change of the year. Every year for the past 20+ years I've done something creative as the year changes, starting an hour or so before the year changes and then finish whatever it is that I do in the first moments or hours of the new year. Sometimes it's a drawing and sometimes it's a piece of writing. This year is a ficlet. I was going to do a drawing but some ppl convinced me to go and hunt for the elusive northern lights which hid behind the clouds. And remained hidden. So, on the way back home I started this. Prompted by defyingnormalcy, though probably not quite what she had in mind.

(Set two days after Andrea was shot. They're in a relationship, but it's very, very new.)

/

Andrea Hobbs stands in her kitchen, leaning against a wall and watches, bewildered, as Sharon Raydor piles food on Andrea's kitchen countertop. Easy to heat and easy to eat with one hand dishes. From the looks of things there's enough food to feed a small army, or Andrea for several weeks. Andrea's surprise must show on her face because Sharon suddenly pauses and blushes.

"I might've gone overboard," Sharon admits, looking a little embarrassed.

It would be a blatant lie to say otherwise, so Andrea just nods. "Kyle and Ryan are coming over this weekend," she says, referring to her teenage nephews. "They can help me make a dent into this."

Sharon nods, pleased that the food wouldn't go to waste. She won't make excuses for bringing just about everything she could think of for Andrea to choose from. She knows, and is choosing to ignore, that her shopping spree had as much to do with helping out Andrea as it did with not letting herself think about why she was doing it.

"Do you want to eat something now, or should we change the dressing first?" Sharon asks, her eyes going to the bandage on Andrea's arm.

Andrea lightly rubs her right arm just below the stitches. It's been two days since she was shot and the wound still aches, though she's stubbornly refusing to take the stronger pain medication during the day; they make her loopy and she hates it.

"I could eat," Andrea allows, then thanks Sharon again for her thoughtfulness.

Within minutes they're seated by Andrea's kitchen island and enjoying one of the four pasta dishes Sharon brought with her. As they eat, Andrea steals glances at the other woman, noting that under the careful makeup and hairdo, Sharon looks tired. Andrea's stomach knots with guilt. Sharon's probably had a hard day at work and it's just past seven in the evening, so her day has been long as well. And now she's here, taking care of Andrea.

Though Andrea thought she was being subtle with her glances, she must not have been, because soon Sharon places her utensils on her plate and asks what's wrong.

"Nothing," Andrea evades at first, but then adds, "you look tired."

Sharon hums. "I didn't sleep well last night."

"Is it a case?" Andrea asks, frowning. "The kids?"

Sharon shakes her head no. "I had a nightmare."

When she doesn't elaborate, Andrea isn't sure if she should pry. As close as they are, and as close as they're becoming, Andrea's still learning how to read Sharon. There are things she doesn't mind talking about and things she'd rather keep private, or, at least, have time to mull over them before sharing. So, as she often does, Andrea remains silent, giving Sharon space to decide if it's something she wants to talk about.

"I see it over and over," Sharon finally continues, emotions playing on her face. "After the arrest I reach the cafe but I'm too late. I see you there, lying on the–." Sharon's voice breaks and she clears her throat, fighting against the tears.

"Sharon," Andrea says, but then stops, words failing her. Instead, she reaches her good hand over the kitchen island, inviting Sharon to take hold.

Sharon does so with a shake of her head. "I'll be okay. The worst of the dreams are not real." She then laughs humorlessly. "Last night I kept staring at the last text message from you, the one you sent me yesterday. It helped me to remind myself that the nightmare was just that."

"You could've called."

"I didn't want to wake you."

Andrea doesn't tell Sharon that despite the painkillers that make her sleepy, she hasn't slept much during the past two nights either. Whenever she closes her eyes she sees herself reaching for her bag and then the world explodes around her in glass and bullets.

She closes her eyes and swallows. Again, she can feel the tiny shards of glass rain on her and the healing cuts on her hands sting, making her wince.

When she opens her eyes she sees Sharon looking at her with concerned eyes.

"Andrea?"

Now it's Andrea who shakes her head, choosing silence over words.

"How can I help?" Sharon asks. "I want to help, tell me what I can do."

"Stay the night."

"Andrea…" Sharon's hesitant.

"I- I can't sleep either," Andrea confesses, looking at Sharon and wondering if she's spooked her with her request. Their relationship is new, barely even begun, with only two dates behind them. But the thought of spending another night in her bed, fighting against the effects of the meds, and willing herself to stay awake, fill her with fake confidence. Seeing that Sharon's still undecided, Andrea adds: "I don't know if it'd help. And if you're not comfortable with the idea I completely understand and in that case I certainly don't want you to stay. But… I think, maybe, if neither one of us can sleep well –."

"I'll stay."

the end