AN: Special thanks to Momezilla for looking this chapter over for me. Now there is something else I want to say, but I'm afraid it will be too much of a spoiler so just take this as your angst warning. Hope you are ready for a journey.
Hello from the other side. I must have called a thousand times to tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done. But when I call you never seem to be home. Hello from the outside. At least I can say that I've tried to tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart. But it don't matter. It clearly doesn't tear you apart anymore. Hello ~ Adele
Charlie Demarco found her phone and turned the alarm off. Staring at her handsome, dark haired companion she tossed the phone back onto her nightstand. She settled back down, resting on his bare chest with her hands under her chin. "Time for me to leave," he crooned.
"Time for us both to get ready for work," Charlie corrected him. She teased his collar bone with her fingertips. Charlie would gladly have spent the entire day in bed with him. She kissed the middle of his chest. He brought his hands up her shoulders to cup her neck. With his thumbs he lifted her face to his.
"We could grab a shower," he grinned wickedly.
"And then we'd never get to work on time," she pushed herself up off of him. He groaned and sat up.
He got up and grabbed his slacks, and boxers that were on the footboard of her bed. He put them on. His socks he found on the floor and slipped them into his back pocket. Charlie wrapped a silk robe around herself to walk him to her door.
Down the stairs they hit the living room. He fingered his shirt that had landed on the couch and nimbly retrieved it. Charlie leaned on her bedroom doorframe and watched his muscles as his moved. "Why does this always happen at your place and not mine?" he quipped.
"Maybe because someone insists on following me to make sure I get home safely," Charlie teased, "And they say chivalry is dead."
He chuckled as he slipped his polo shirt over his head. He held out his hand and she went to him. They walked to her front door.
She opened the door. He hung back for just a moment. "Are you sure I can't talk you into breakfast?" he offered.
Charlie rested her hands on his chest, "Isn't that what we ate at the diner around three this morning?"
"Seriously, there is a great bagel place in route," he added.
"How about a rain check?" she played with his collar.
His shoulders dropped. "All right," he replied.
Charlie pushed up on her toes and kissed him. "See you later," she said.
"That is if you're not sick of me," he replied.
Charlie laughed. "Even if I was where could I hide? You know the city better than I do," She pointed out.
"True. Plus, I did kind of help you find this condo," he pulled away reluctantly. He grabbed another glance at her over his shoulder as he headed for the elevators.
She smiled at him until the elevator doors hid him. Charlie turned around and went back into her condo. Yep. So far she was loving the move back east.
Mike Warren thought to himself walking along the familiar halls of his old, new workplace. Quite a few things changed in his absence. The most drastic changes however were in the man. Mike wondered if every agent he passed could see right through him. He was a shell of his former self. The bright, rising star fell pretty hard. Maybe here Mike could return to who he used to be- if there was any of him left. He made his way to his desk. His new partner, Wes Clarke, sat at the desk opposite him. "Morning, Mike," Wes greeted looking up from his computer screen.
"Morning," Mike tripped his head in acknowledgement.
"You'll want to go over the forensics report," Wes replied.
"Any highlights I should be aware of?" Mike queried.
"There are a couple things out of place," Wes answered.
When Wes leaned back in his chair. Mike noticed something under Wes' shirt that he hadn't before. "Which branch of the military were you in?" Mike inquired.
Wes' brow furrowed, "Army. How did you know?"
"The regulation haircut and your dog tags kind of gave you away," Mike pointed to each in turn.
"Good catch," Wes placed his hands where his dog tags hung, "No one has noticed my dog tags before." He may be out of the army, but Wes liked to keep them close to his heart.
"What's your rank?" Mike asked.
"I made Captain," Wes beamed.
"Impressive," Mike remarked.
"So yesterday you said you are glad to be back. Did you take a vacation, sabbatical, or transfer back?" Wes asked.
"Transfer. I had an undercover assignment out in California," Mike answered.
"Is it true that it doesn't rain there?" Wes questioned.
"Don't believe all the hype," Mike cautioned.
"Oh, no worries- I've had my fill of dry places," Wes stuttered. He had been deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mike sat in his chair. Intending to call a certain brunette, he retrieved his cellphone. He almost did until he saw his reflection on the screen. It made him instantly stop. His phone seemed to laugh at him. Mike slid it back into its place. Now was just not the time to make the call.
He and Wes went about their business until one of the senior agents in the division, Vincent Rossabi, approached them. "Good you are both here," he said, "It's time to head into the war room."
Mike and Wes followed Rossabi inside the conference room walking shoulder to shoulder. They found seats next to each other and settled in.
Vincent walked to the front of the room, "Ok, people, give me everything new."
"We've got surveillance on Santos- he's been keeping his nose clean," one agent said.
"Keep on it- I want to know the moment he slips up," Rossabi replied, "Wes, what do we have on the victim's car?"
"Forensics came back, the outside was scrubbed clean- nothing usable there," Wes reported.
"And the inside?" Vincent inquired.
"They cleaned it out as well, but they missed a long, red hair on the passenger chair head rest," Mike backed his partner up.
"Well, that's out of place," Rossabi remarked.
"His wife has short black hair," Wes reminded them.
"Then I guess you and Mike are going to be running down the gingers in Franklin's life," Vincent said.
"Already on it," Wes replied.
This was one of the last places Abby Sinclair ever thought she'd find herself. She had passed Hoover Building many times, but never dreamt of going inside. "I'm here," Abby relayed into the receiver of her cell. She walked up to the impressive structure. Abby entered the lobby the same time as the man she was on the phone with. They hung up.
"Hey, Abs," Wes reached out for her.
"Hey yourself," she purred walking into his embrace. Abby snuggled into Wes and sighed contently. "I could stay like this all day," she pronounced. Something about having his strong arms wrapped around her felt so right.
"Me too," he held on just a little tighter. They stayed there until their heartbeats synced. Wes pulled back. "This is a treat- I wasn't expecting to see you until dinner tomorrow," he said.
"Well, someone left their sunglasses in my car," Abby dug into her purse and retrieved a pair of silver Aviators, "I figured you'd be missing them."
Wes shook his head, "The only thing I missed was you."
"I missed you, too," her brown eyes drifted down his face to focus on his mouth.
Wes could feel Abby wanted to kiss him. Knowing she wouldn't go for it in his workplace, he dipped in for a tender peck on the lips. Taking that as consent Abby wrapped her arms around his neck. She tilted her head and opened her mouth to deepen the kiss. Abby smiled as they were kissing and the smile stayed on her lips when they parted.
Wes accepted the sunglasses from her, "Thank you." He opened his jacket and placed them in an inside pocket.
"Any time," she replied.
"You know this could set a very dangerous precedent," Wes said.
"How is that?" Abby snickered.
"I might just start leaving things just to have you return them in person," he joked.
"Or I just might start sneaking some things of yours just to have an excuse to drop by and see you," she playfully walked her fingers up his shirt buttons to his collar.
"Abigail Sinclair the thief," Wes deadpanned. They both laughed. "I am going to have to keep my eyes on you," he teased.
"I think that would be wise," Abby twirled the ends of his collar around her fingers. He drank in her face with adoring eyes. She let herself get caught up in his gaze. His eyes were so blue Abby wanted to swim in them. If Wes' dashing smile and muscled psychic didn't melt a woman, his gentle, honey sweet voice would.
Her phone rang from her purse.
"Are you going to get that? Your phone?" Wes questioned.
"Oh, I hadn't heard it," Abby fished it out. The caller ID hit her like a ton of bricks.
Wes read the caller ID on the lit screen. "Who is Heartbreaker?" he inquired. There was no picture.
"Someone I had given up on hearing from," Abby answered.
"From the looks of it, I'm assuming it's a he," Wes started teasing.
She swallowed, "Yes, Heartbreaker is a he."
"Well, he left you a message," he could see the relevant icon.
Mike pressed his lips together and held his cell phone up to his ear. He listened to the ring tone. Mike had rehearsed this conversation a thousand times. The call went to voicemail which threw him off for a second. "Hello, Abby- it's me," Mike began. He licked his lips. "I know it's been a long time, but I'm in the DC area. Was hoping we could get together and talk a few things over if you're open to that. If not I understand. Just, um, call me back if you are interested. Thanks."
Charlie entered the lounge in search of caffeine as her friend finished his message.
"How did your call go?" Charlie inquired resting against the counter in the lounge where the communal coffee pot sat.
"Abby didn't pick up," Mike answered.
"It's been three years, Mikey, she might have a different phone number," Charlie offered.
"It went to voicemail- she's probably working," he shrugged.
"Try again later," she suggested.
Rossabi strutted in with a cup of Starbucks in his hand. His brown eyes landed on Charlie. He didn't even try to fight the smirk that came to his face. This woman just might kill his hardass reputation around the Bureau. Rossabi made a bee-line straight for her.
"So glad you could join us for the day, Agent Rossabi," Charlie raised a playful, challenging eyebrow.
Vincent shifted his weight. He pursed his lips as he locked eyes with her. "I've already started my rounds, Agent Demarco," Vincent shot back with fiery desire in his eyes. She gave him back the heat. Mike backed away and headed out of the lounge. Their prolonged, intense eye contact was making him uncomfortable. Charlie was like a big sister to him.
Wes hadn't made it back to their desks so Mike decided to see if he could catch his partner on the way back from meeting his girlfriend. He made it as far as the doorway into the lobby. He contemplated turning around so not to disturb Wes. After all he must still be with his girlfriend. The thought came a moment too late. Mike froze in place when he saw the woman with his partner. He'd recognize the brunette anywhere. They were holding hands and in a more than friendly way. Mike's heart clenched in his chest. He was already too late.
Mike tried to extract himself from the situation, but his feet refused to move.
As if drawn by some cosmic force, not knowing who was there, Abby felt compelled to look in Mike's direction. The world ceased to spin as the former lover's gazes locked.
"Mike?" Abby said. He followed her beckoning. Abby's heart beat just a little faster as he approached.
"Hi, Abby," Mike breathed. She was just as beautiful as the night she had walked out of Graceland.
"It is you," Abby looked up at him with big doe eyes.
"The two of you know each other?" Wes instantly caught a vibe between the two.
"Yeah," she confirmed.
"It's been awhile," Mike added.
"Mike's my new partner," Wes informed Abby. Her eyes went down to the badge that stuck out on Mike's belt.
"Can Wes and I have a moment? We'll talk after," she requested. Mike bobbed his head in agreement and went to the other side of the lobby out of ear shot.
"What's going on?" Wes looked from Mike's retreated form back to Abby.
She closed her eyes to collect her words. Abby needed to be the one Wes heard this information from. "Mike is an ex of mine," Abby blurted out. She paused for him to respond.
"Wait a minute- Mike's not Heartbreaker is he?" Wes deduced. Abby let out a breath that told him that he was right. "Did he cheat on you?" he frowned.
She shook her head, "I really don't think so- that's just not Mike if I knew him at all."
"If you knew him?"
"We had a summer fling a few years ago when I took a break out in California," Abby began to ramble, "It lasted almost the entire summer and everything was magical until it wasn't."
"What happened?" Wes asked.
"A few things just didn't add up. Then one night I found a gun in his room after seeing one of his friends with one," she answered.
"And we both know how you feel about guns," he remarked.
"Mike couldn't give me a good reason for it being there so I broke things off," Abby added.
"You have your explanation now- that's probably when he started working undercover," he replied. A pang of regret hit her chest for walking out on Mike in those circumstances. Then guilt because of how this must be affecting Wes. She turned her full attention to the man she was with. "Wes, I…" Abby stuttered.
She smoothed down his shirt. He could feel her worrying, "It's ok." Wes took her hands in his. He inhaled before speaking again. "Guess we know why he called," Wes said.
"What?" Abby blinked.
"Mike had the look of a man that wants you back," Wes restated.
"After so long?" she dismissed the notion.
Wes caught Mike looking in their direction. The other man quickly turned his head. "Oh, he was hoping for another chance," Wes pronounced. He caught her eyes. "How do you feel about that?" Wes asked.
"If that was his intention," she stressed the hypothetically nature of the statement, "And if I were free-."
"You are free," he countered.
"I'm with you now," Abby protested.
"We haven't said we're exclusive," Wes pointed out, "We haven't even…" He rubbed the back of his neck as his words trailed off.
She blushed, "Yet." Wes smirked. It was nice to know that she saw things progressing that way.
"I'm glad he came back now- it's perfect timing actually," he said.
"How so?" Abby's borrow furrowed.
"Either way the two of you obviously have this thing between the two of you to deal with," Wes said.
"Are you pushing me through an out?" Abby frowned.
"No, no- I'm not breaking up with you, just saying you aren't tied down if you choose to explore both options to figure out what you need," Wes rubbed her upper arms calmingly.
"That is really generous of you," Abby replied.
"Selfish really, if things don't get resolved between you and Mike and you stayed with me I'd be your second choice- I think I deserve better than that," Wes straightened his shoulders, "If they do get worked out and you choose me all the better."
"What makes you think I'll be doing any choosing?" she queried.
"Your eyes say it isn't over," Wes' chest fell.
"Mike might not go for the arrangement," Abby cautioned, "He'll probably back off since he knows I'm seeing you."
"Then it's his loss," Wes pronounced, "Go ahead and go talk to him." He squeezed her hands and then released them. She grabbed his face and kissed him soundly.
"Are you ok?" Mike asked. Abby nodded. It took a few moments for her to be able to look at him directly. "I'm sorry," he began.
"For what?" she brushed the hair out of her face.
"I didn't mean to put you in a tight spot with your boyfriend," Mike clarified. He didn't see any rings on her ring finger.
"Wes isn't quite my boyfriend; we've been seeing each other for about a month," Abby told him. Mike angled in a little closer, his ocean eyes fixed on her. "And there is no trouble. He's actually incredibly cool with this," she added.
"I called to see if you'd be willing to let me explain a few things," he said.
"Of course I would," Abby said. Mike sucked in a quick breath, amazed she was even open to that.
"I know you probably have to get back to work," he said, not wanting her to get in trouble with her boss.
Abby checked her watch. "Yeah," she sighed.
"Could we meet for lunch and talk over things?" Mike watched her face. He almost didn't dare to let his hope show in his eyes.
She nodded, "Just text me where you want to meet and I'll see you there."
"Thank you," Mike replied.
"I told you to call me when you figured out who you were," Abby forced a smile, "I guess it just took you three years." Mike briefly winced at the remark. "But I'm glad you showed up," she cupped his cheek. Mike leaned in to fill the palm of her hand. He closed his eyes, relishing the contact. Mike soaked in her touch like a dry plant drinking up water. "It's really good to see you, Mike," she said. Abby pulled herself away and to say a quick goodbye to Wes before heading out.
"We're still on for dinner tomorrow?" she asked him.
"Definitely," Wes grinned, "1900 sharp."