The Cat Came Back
"That seemed to go
well with Blair. Just how much are you going to tell him about what happened last
still not sure yet. You've offered to help us learn those exercises, and with
that, Blair should be all right. The rest - I think I'll keep that little bit
of information under my hat for a long while," stated Jim with a grin.
playing devil's advocate, what happens if you end up in a zone and someone makes
a suggestion, and you follow it afterwards? What do you say to Blair then...?
What happens if he figures it out and doesn't tell you?" she asked with a
Cat's hand as they walked toward the hotel entrance. He held the door open, thinking
of an appropriate response. Jim grinned back at her, ruefully. "You've got
a point, Cat. We'll cross that bridge when the time is right. Maybe when the three
of us get together again for a work session, okay?"
walked to the elevator through the back hallways So much easier to avoid
attention this way she thought.
good. When did you want to start? Sometime this week, or next week while I'm on
vacation?" Cat asked.
choice.... Let me see how the week shapes up on Monday, then I'll see how we can
fit everything in," he offered.
timing must be getting better,' Jim thought as they reached the bank of elevators,
since the area was deserted.,' Jim thought as they
reached the bank of elevators, since the area was deserted.,' Jim thought as they
reached the bank of elevators, since the area was deserted.
I'll try to talk Joyce into running interference for me this week - she already
knows that there's someone I've been, uh, seeing this weekend..."
grinned mischievously, "We're seeing each other? As in dating?"
pretty sure Joyce has already jumped to that conclusion. And your associates in
Major Crime did as well, or are you forgetting the ribbing you took for "bringing
a date" this morning?
rolled his eyes and shook his head. "You have a point there."
slid the key through the lock, and opened the door. "Did you want to come
in for a bit?"
you mind the company?"
I haven't told you to go away..." she joked.
followed Cat into the suite, closing the door behind him. She indicated that he
should take off his coat and make himself comfortable as she slipped off her shoes.
what are your plans for the rest of the evening, now that Blair's back?"
not sure. We'll just have to see how the evening progresses. I'm open to suggestions,"
he said as he sat down on the couch, motioning her to join him.
crossed the room to join him on the couch.
kind of suggestions should I make?" purred Cat as she curled up on the couch
next to Jim.
over and whispered in her hear. She started to laugh.
you're bad. Very bad. But I like it."
leaned over to the coffee table, picked up the remote and then handed it to him
"Early Edition, Pretender, then Profiler, right?"
only thing missing is popcorn."
I make some?" offered Cat "I noticed you slipped some into the basket
last night after the cookies went in."
noticed you had some in your suite last time," he admitted.
with me - I'm not used to this microwave, hopefully, we won't end up with burnt
popcorn or a bag of half popped kernels."
got up and pulled out the box of microwave popcorn, while Jim turned on the set
and started surfing through channels. She turned to observe Jim and shook her
head. Typical male behavior with a television remote.
minutes later, she returned with the bag, hot and full of popped popcorn. Cat
settled back down on the couch, beside Jim, opening the bag and offering him the
in and popped the savory snack in his mouth. "Done to perfection."
noticed he'd turned on Early Edition. "It was either The Pretender or Early
Edition, since both are on at the same time here. I figured it might be more appropriate
with what's happened so far this weekend," he kidded.
know, I think that's the one thing I miss about home - we get both shows at different
times, I never need to miss them. Ah, the joys of living close to the border,
getting both Canadian and US programming." remarked Cat.
prefer The Pretender? I can change it...."
no - Early Edition is fine. Besides, I'm going to be in Chicago in a couple of
weeks, it might be nice to see something of that city before hand."
raised his eyebrows at that. "How often do you travel, Cat? Cascade, Chicago,
where else have you been?" he asked, trying to make conversation as she got
up to get them something to drink.
York as well. I may be heading to California in the future. Sometimes it feels
like I live on planes and in hotels."
you enjoy the travel?"
love to travel, though some of the fun has gone out of it. When you find yourself
working through the whole flight, you never have enough time to enjoy the traveling
part of it. And normally on the way home, I'm too tired to enjoy it. Then on trips
back like the one from Cascade to Toronto - the time difference is murder."
commiserated Jim, "at least you can work on the plane and pass the time.
I hate the hours I spend cooped up inside the planes."
you travel much?"
when I have to," replied Jim with a grimace.
as little as possible. I did enough traveling in the army to last me a lifetime.
Now I only want to do it for leisure."
snuggled in closer to Jim. Taking the hint, he put his arm around her and pulled
her closer. She rested her head on his shoulder.
sat in companionable silence, watching the television, until he realized she was
sleepy head," he said quietly. "Maybe you should go to bed."
she asked sleepily, trying to lift her head off his shoulder without much success.
said as he helped her up. He walked her into the bedroom, and slid the door partly
shut and leaned on the door jam, his back to her to give her privacy.
you need a hand getting undressed, or should I just come back in and tuck you
in before I head out?"
hand, please," she said sleepily.
smiled slightly. "I did ask," he thought.
sat her down on the bed. She'd already taken her shoes off earlier when she curled
up on the couch with him. Crouching beside the bed, he slipped her socks off.
He'd seen her in a T-shirt the previous night, so he figured all that need to
come off was her jeans.
he started to work on the belt, her hands reached out and started undoing his
He looked at her,
eyes half-closed, wondering if she was cognizant of what she was doing.
Cat? What are you doing?"
are you helping me? I thought you're the one who's supposed to be getting undressed,
not me," replied Jim, wondering where this was going.
leaned over and gently kissed him. "You can stay the night again. You get
your choice of the bed or the couch. But you have to share."
you sure you want me to stay the night?" he asked softly as he kissed her
She gave him a
slow smile, kissing him again, this time leaving no doubt in his mind as to what
I guess that's my answer, huh?" as he reluctantly broke off the kiss.
Bed or the couch?"
think the bed... it's bigger and more comfortable," he said with a chuckle.
rose, extending his hand to her. Cat took his hand and rose as well. Like a pair
of dancers in slow motion, they helped each other remove their clothing. Drawing
out the moment. Exploring and teasing each other.
Jim began, the playfulness gone, concern evident in his eyes.
raised her hand to his lips, and smiled. Reaching down to the night stand, she
opened the drawer and pulled out a small packet. "Is this what you were going
to ask about?" she said as she handed him the packet with a sly smile, "We
have to make sure youre properly... attired."
ran her hand under the faucet, the water was just warm enough. She pulled out
the stopper so that the shower came on, and stepped in. Stepping under the stream
of water, she closed her eyes, and sighed. Reaching for the shampoo, she was oblivious
to the movement behind her in the bathroom.
watched as she worked the shampoo through her hair, into a thick lather. A light
scent of vanilla filling the small steamy room.
she started to rinse the shampoo from her hair, Jim asked "Need someone to
wash your back?"
Cat?" She didnt need to see the grin, she could hear it in his voice.
saw this too, didnt you? When?" she turned, eyeing him suspiciously.
water will get cold if you keep asking questions," he told her as joined
her in the shower. The laughter in his eyes betrayed the words. He had to admit,
it felt good to have the shoe on the other foot with her. He could tell this was
something she hadnt encountered before.
handed him a regular bar of soap, not the little bars the hotel gave out, and
a washcloth. Jim chuckled when he realized it was Ivory...
around." he instructed.
hesitated, but followed his instructions. She heard him return the bar of soap
to the side of the tub, and was a little startled when his hands finally came
to rest on her shoulders. He slowly lathered her shoulders, working his way down
That feels so good."
can think of a few other things that might feel better..." Jim whispered
as he leaned forward to kiss the nape of her neck. His hands came to rest on her
hips, his thumbs brushing a sensitive area around her waist. She wriggled out
of his grasp with a gasp of dismay. "You *are* ticklish, arent you?"
Jim chuckled as he reached for her again.
thought we went over this last night." she said as she turned to face him,
trying to block him with her hands. "Yes. I am ticklish! Dont you dare
come any closer."
I dont remember you saying that last night."
because you werent trying to tickle me."
Ill stop." He promised. "My turn?"
turn for what? Me, trying to tickle you?"
my turn to get my back washed."
then, pass the soap and the washcloth."
retrieved the soap and washcloth, and gave them to Cat. He turned around and waited
patiently. Cat let him wait just a little bit longer, and then ran her finger
quickly down the middle of his back. Jim moved quickly from her hand at the sudden
you want your back washed, now Ill do it." she offered innocently.
her warily, he moved back to where he had been standing before. Cat started to
wash his back with slow deliberate movements. By the time she had reached the
small of his back hed had enough.
you want to....?"
took you so long?" she said as she reached back to shut off the water.
Later that morning, Jim
and Cat lay snuggled under the covers, enjoying the closeness. Jim felt a peace
with Cat he hadnt experienced even when he had been married to Carolyn.
He wasn't sure if it was the fact that they had found Blair safe and sound, or
that she had some other influence over him he couldnt define.
drew lazy circles on her back as she did the same on his chest. She liked listening
to his heart beat strong and sure within his breast. Its rhythm almost lulled
her back to sleep. She was brought out of her reverie by Jim's chest expanding
as he drew in a large breath, sighing, then shifted Cat off his chest so he could
change to his elbow to look down at her.
we call room service for breakfast, or did you want to brave the restaurant?"
dont we just stay here for a bit longer?" Cat suggested.
do I get the feeling that if you had your way, wed never get out of bed?"
youre probably right," she answered with a coy smile.
know I thanked you before for not asking, but, why didnt you ask about me
being a sentinel? A straight answer this time."
her head up with her hand to meet his gaze. Cat regarded him for a minute and
then answered, "Trust."
he responded in surprise.
cant even begin to guess at the what it took for you to take the step of
calling me on Friday. You trusted me enough to ask for my help. I couldnt
betray that trust. I only hoped that Id earned enough of it, so you would
tell me on your own. If you didnt there were avenues I could have explored
to find out what you didnt want to tell me. It wouldnt have been that
difficult. But I wouldnt take those steps, even though I knew they were
do you mean, it wouldnt have been difficult?" he asked.
*are* going to make me get out of bed, arent you? Cmon." With
a sigh she got out of bed, and pulled on the T-shirt she had discarded last night
and tossed him his boxers.
went over to the laptop on the desk and turned it on. Logging in, she chose her
browser and then one of the many search engines online, she turned to Jim and
asked for the name of a local paper. She did a search on the papers name,
to locate their website.
Jim came over, she showed him where she was. She slipped out of the chair and
suggested he take her place. Guiding him through a couple more steps, he found
himself staring in disbelief at the articles listed in the archive of the paper
connected to his name. It wouldnt have been difficult.
tell you what - how be we go to this site?" Cat said as she reached over
his shoulder, and quickly tapped in an address, up came another newspaper. This
time, it was a Toronto newspaper. Lets go to the sensational version of
the story... A few minutes later, he found himself looking at several archived
articles about the burglaries Cat had told him about earlier.
there, done that - didnt want the T-shirt... ended up with it anyway,"
she said. "Why dont I leave you to read that if you want. Ill
get dressed so we can decide what to do about breakfast."
think Ill pass on the reading material, but breakfast sounds good. I think
*this* time, we should get ready separately, or well never get dressed."
this is a bad thing?" she kidded.
gave her a dirty look. "You get dressed first. Ill get dressed and
run down to the truck to get my sports bag. Ive got a change of clothes
and my shaving kit in it."
and Cat were just finishing breakfast. They had finally agreed upon room service
because there was less a chance of being recognized in the dining room or going
out for breakfast.
your friend calls, why dont you invite her to join the three of us for dinner
tonight?" suggested Jim.
Shell be waiting for my call - I know better than to call her at the crack
the phone started ringing, Cat started at him. "Will you just stop it?"
her a knowing smile and shook his head. "What's the matter, can't take a
dose of your medicine?"
she said, trying to ignore his last comment.
you sound like you just got up. What are you doing sleeping in? Its 11 a.m."
Joyce, thats Eastern Time. Were currently on Pacific Time, which means
its only 8 a.m. What are you doing up before noon?"
figured we could go to brunch, hit a mall and maybe even do a movie. What do you
would be better, a little light shopping sounds okay, but weve been invited
to join some friends of mine for dinner tonight."
Tall Dark and Handsome...?" asked Joyce, trolling for information, hoping
she was correct.
pumped her fist in victory and mouthed a silent "yes!" She responded
with an unspoken message, meaning she wanted all the information about this tall
stranger and his roommate. "Well talk over lunch, kiddo."
that a yes or no, Joyce?"
talk. Ill pick you up at 11 a.m. - Pacific Time." With that, Joyce
Cat turned back
to Jim, who looked a little too pleased with himself. "You know, youre
enough to make me look up all my old boyfriends and apologize to them. I never
realized just how unnerving that was...."
and Joyce were chatting as they walked through the mall. Cat looked up and saw
the computer store sign. She stopped abruptly which Joyce didn't notice at first.
When Cat didn't answer her question, Joyce stopped to look for Cat. "Cat?
Cat! Yo! Cat!"
was mesmerized by a game called "The Sentry". Something drew her to
the game, but what, she wasnt sure. She had to at least check out the game,
and the storyline. Something was up....
came back to where Cat was standing and called her name. Cat was mumbling something
like "I haven't seen this game before. I *have* to check it out...."
Totally oblivious to everyone else, Cat walked into the store and started to look
for the game she had seen in the window. Joyce shrugged her shoulders and tried
to figure out which game Cat had been so interested in.
trailed after Cat who was looking for the gaming section.
scanned the aisle markers, and headed off in the direction of the games. Cat fairly
pounced on the game when she found it. The image on the CD jacket stared back
at her. "Hmmm. Created by Deryl Banks. Published by D.L. Witherspoon.
walked past the magazine rack, intending to catch up to Cat, but a flashy cover
of a new magazine caught her eye. She stopped abruptly and leant down to snag
one for herself, when she felt her head get banged as another person was reaching
down for the same magazine. "Ouch," she gasped, standing up to rub her
She heard a mumbled,
"Sorry" as she turned to look at her accoster and was startled by the
most incredible blue eyes she had ever seen. She was struck speechless, which
was far from the norm for Joyce. She continued to rub her head, absently, as she
just stared at the man in front of her. The man looked back, equally surprised
really sorry," he stammered, as he, too, rubbed his head. "I guess I
wasn't watching. Please forgive me?"
gave him a dazzling smile, and said "Sure..."
was rewarded with a heart-stopping smile returning hers.
felt a tug on her hand, looked down, and realized that she and the man were holding
the same magazine. She let go of it at the same time the man did, and it dropped
to the floor. They both started to bend down to pick it up, but stopped, and laughed.
simultaneously said, "I'll get it."
bobbed again and stopped. Joyce smiled to herself, 'What a sight we must be.'
She giggled at that thought as she straightened up. The man gave her a puzzled
expression, which she thought was cute.
what's so funny?"
replied Joyce as she pointed to herself and the man, as he again started to bend
down to pick up the magazine.
time the young man was successful in retrieving the magazine.
watched the man bend down, noticing his physique and caught her breath again,
as he stood up and met her eyes. She blushed as he grinned at her.
you can have this one. I'll take another one."
thanks. Sorry," she stammered, feeling the blush creep higher on her face.
be," he grinned back. "I love it when a woman blushes..."
sure you do, Blair!" said Cat grinning from ear to ear as she walked up beside
exclaimed Blair as he reached out to give Cat a hug, which the new arrival returned
looked from her friend to the man. "You two know each other?"
Joyce we know one another. Blair, this is my friend, Joyce Whelan. Joyce, this
is Blair Sandburg."
bounced on his toes once, and asked, "So, Cat, where do you know Joyce from?
It is Joyce isnt it?"
works in the Cascade office of the company I work for. We normally get together
either here or in Toronto and cut loose a bit," Cat explained to Blair. Turning
to Joyce, she further explained, "Blair has been a civilian observer for
the last couple of years with the Cascade Police Department, hes partnered
with a Detective in the Major Crimes Unit. Hes also..."
first wondered if this was Cats tall, dark and handsome man from the previous
night, but then discarded that theory, realizing that Blair wasnt much taller
than her or Cat. A light suddenly went off in Joyce's head as the names connected.
She brought her hand up to point at Blair. "Are you *that* Blair Sandburg
who was on television a few weeks back? Something about your dissertation, right?"
groaned softly, "Guilty."
Care to fill me in?" queried Cat. She knew Jims side of the story,
but from the sounds of it, there was more to be told.
wanted to crawl into a deep dark hole as another store patron started looking
at him and whispered to his friend. "Um, can we get out of here?" he
asked quietly, with a little desperation in his voice.
recognizing the symptoms, took a quick look around, noticed the attention they
were beginning to draw and suggested, "Why don't you two go out in the mall,
grab a bench, and I'll be right with you. I want to pay for this game. I'll pay
for the magazines too, if you want. Then we can go somewhere so we can talk."
mumbled Blair, shrinking in on himself, as he gently took Joyce's arm to escort
her out of the store. They walked down a couple of stores and sat down. Blair
quickly grabbed a discarded newspaper, opened it up, whispering to Joyce, "Sorry
if I'm acting strange. It's just, you know, I'm not very comfortable with this
kind of recognition...."
whispered back, "No problem. I apologize for my gaff. Maybe you should wear
a disguise when you're out in public?" she offered, trying to be helpful.
Blair rattled the papers as Cat sauntered up to them.
on where we could go to talk?" asked Cat.
about at the "Thumbs Up Cafe?" suggested Blair. "It has great coffee
it private enough? I mean, well, after seeing what just happened, and what happened
earlier with Jim...?" asked Cat, trying to consider Blair and the unwanted
attention he was garnering.
it has secluded booths, kind of dark in there...." replied Blair, peaking
over his paper to look at Cat.
Lead the way. I'm the tourist, remember?" Cat said with a grin.
led the way. When they reached the restaurant, Joyce led them to a booth in the
rear. Blair remained silent until they had seated themselves. Joyce slid in beside
Blair while Cat sat across from them.
- I have to ask - just how long have you two, or is it three, known each other?"
asked Joyce. "This is only your second time to Cascade, unless youve
been slipping into town without telling me." She sent Cat a mock glare at
I havent been slipping into Cascade without telling you. We met the last
time I was in town." replied Cat, trying to figure out just how much she
could safely tell her friend about her last visit.
don't remember you saying anything about either of them when you were here last,
or in any of the times we've spoken since." They looked at the menus as they
talked. Cat closed her menu decisively as the waitress came over. They placed
their orders and turned back to their conversation as if it hadnt stopped
for the waitress.
you remember the night everyone went out for Japanese food after the walkthrough
I remember because Ron kept filching the shrimp from your plate when you werent
looking." Blair watched the women fire questions and answers at each other,
amazed that they could talk so fast and still keep things straight. And Jim thought
he talked a lot!
the phone call I got while we were there?" she said while making a mental
note to find some way to get back at Ron without him realizing Joyce had given
hot date?" Joyce grinned.
rolled her eyes. "Not exactly." Then looked at Blair, "That was
when Jim called to set up the meeting the three of us had, the night before we
went up to the university."
went up to the university? Rainier? When? Why?" quizzed Joyce.
was a witness to a case we were working on," answered Blair quickly as he
saw Cat was ready to jump in. She stopped what she was going to say, then continued
with her story.
was a real nasty piece of work, Joyce," said Cat. "The only good things
that came out of the whole mess was meeting Jim and Blair, and then more recently,
the DAs office calling to advise me I wasnt needed to testify.
it. Thats who you stood me up for on Friday night, isnt it? Jim?"
had called to talk to me, thinking I was back home. When he found out I was here,
we got together for dinner," she admitted.
That little piece in this mornings gossip column makes soooo much sense
now," chuckled Joyce. "Youre the mystery woman."
column? Mystery woman?" said Cat and Blair in unison.
a sec," said Joyce as she slid out of the booth and went over to where she
had spied a discarded newspaper. She quickly checked the sections, choosing one
and returned to the table. She opened the section to the third page, and folded
the paper to expose the gossip column.
waitress brought their food and Blair dug in with gusto. Cat wasnt far behind
as Joyce started to read the article out loud. "A certain Detective with
the Cascade PD, the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, was spotted deep
in conversation with a mystery woman at a secluded table in the restaurant of
a local hotel. Even more speculation followed them as they left the restaurant
and went upstairs."
groaned and shook her head thinking back to the comment she made to Jim in the
elevator on Friday night. "I take it Jim hasnt seen this part of todays
paper yet?" she asked Blair.
he replied. "After the trouble of the last few weeks, I think he steers clear
of the gossip column."
something else that hes going to want to see, too," Cat said as she
reached for the bag beside her. She handed each of them their magazine, and handed
the game to Blair in addition to his copy of the magazine. "Id planned
on showing it to him later. I take it, this is more fallout from the little
problem a few weeks ago?" Cat stated.
man. Jim is not going to like this," Blair said under his breath. Looking
up at Cat, "Yeah, it looks like it. How did you find it? Its not in
any real glitzy packaging. I didnt notice any big display."
grimaced. "Do you really need to ask?" she answered cryptically.
I missing something here?" asked Joyce. "You were totally oblivious
to everyone and everything when you walked into that store looking for that game."
well talk later, okay?" Cat said as she tried to put her friend off.
"By the way, Blair, is Jims roommate."
eyes went wide, as she turned a quizzical look to Blair. "You mean...?"
said Cat with a nod and a smile at Blairs confusion. "Though, I dont
think Blair knew about the invitation, yet. Jim has extended an invitation for
Joyce to join the three of us for dinner tonight."
asked Blair, surprised. "What's with dinner? Where?"
guess Jim hasn't had the chance to mention to you we were going have dinner together
tonight." reminded Cat
Cat," responded Blair, "I haven't spoken to him today yet, so he didn't
have the chance to mention anything."
Thought Cat, she feigned interest in her lunch and finished the club sandwich
she had ordered. Thought Cat, she feigned interest
in her lunch and finished the club sandwich she had ordered.
Thought Cat, she feigned interest in her lunch and finished the club sandwich
she had ordered.
Joyce, what else have you got planned for me this week? I hope you will take it
easy on me...." Cat asked trying to change the subject.
Work, work, and more work.... Does that answer your question?" laughed Joyce
with a twinkle in her eyes. She glanced at Blair to see his reaction to their
I'm really going to be earning that vacation next week...." Cat groaned.
just grinned back and winked at Blair who smiled back at her. He thought he was
*really* going to like this woman!
groaned, at what she sensed might become a conspiracy if she let it....
it Joyce, I'm giving your Mariners versus the Jays ticket to someone else,"
threats from Cat!" Joyce again winked at Blair. "Like, I'm *so* scared,
lady! I've already paid you, so you can't give it away!"
see what I can come up with.... You may find yourself working instead.... I'll
have to have a talk with Steve."
Don't you *dare* talk to Steve! You know he always tries to make me take on extra
projects, just to give me grief! I'm warning you Cat, if you even think about
it one more time.....I'll, I'll...." pleaded Joyce, knowing her friend was
as good as her word.
chuckled at her friends distress, knowing that she wouldn't talk to Steve,
even though she threatened it. "So, be nice to me this time - don't expect
me to stay after 6 p.m. And definitely no midnight meetings!"
watched the interchange between the two friends, again feeling like he was at
a tennis match. They volleyed back and forth, counter volleyed, match point. He
was wondering who was going to win this round, ...although had a feeling who the
winner would be this time around.
Cat. You win. I'll try, really try to get the meetings closed by 6 p.m., but I
can't make promises. You know the guys. Once they get going on something, they
just never want to stop...in case the creative juices dry up... Besides, you always
inspire these guys to be even more creative!" laughed Joyce.
No way, I have a feeling it's the two of us that cause that problem."
I can never get the guys to work so hard or so long... it's definitely got to
be you!" countered Joyce with a self-deprecating smile.
a good thing most of them are married, or I'd have a few problems then."
laughed. He could agree with that, wholeheartedly.
bad enough that when we go out for dinner, we normally end up closing the restaurant."
Joyce laughed. Cat groaned, remembering the last time she had been in Cascade
and the late night meetings.
looked at Blair, "When we go out for team dinners, not only do we end up
staying past closing time, we're normally getting looks from the other patrons
as they leave."
the way you two bicker, I can see why!" piped in Blair, ducking as both women
glared at him. He chuckled evilly back at them.
cleared her throat and looked back at Joyce.
wrong, Cat?" asked her friend, trying to look innocent.
considered giving her friend a kick in the shins, but figured it wouldn't make
a good impression. "No, not at all, why would you ask?
nothing. You cleared your throat like something was wrong...." countered
considering payback options," Cat replied, looking at both Blair and Joyce.
looked at Joyce with a question. "Am I supposed to be scared here?"
finished her sandwich, what was left of it, before she took a deep breath. "Blair,
I've been thinking..."
a word of warning, always look out when she says she's been thinking!" warned
exclaimed Joyce, mock threatening her friend with a fist. "Behave yourself,
or I will talk to Steve..." Joyce turned her attention back to Blair and
tried to finish her statement.
smirked in retaliation.
I was saying... I was thinking. When I saw you on television a couple of weeks
ago, I noticed a woman behind you. She sure reminded me of a friend of mine. You're
not related to a Naomi Sandburg, are you? Because that woman sure looked like
at Cat, then back to Joyce. "She's my mom. How do you know her?"
started humming "Its A Small World After All" much to Blair's surprise
and Joyce's consternation.
squirmed in his seat, wondering if Joyce had been involved in any of his mom's
unsavory activities that Jim definitely didn't like. All he needed was Jim checking
into the background of Joyce and finding something that wasn't kosher. Jim had
threatened to do that to all of Blair's potential interests since he had such
bad luck with women being of the criminal element.
wasn't sure if she had hit a sore spot with Blair or not, with his squirming,
and wasn't sure if he didn't want to answer because there were strained relations
with his mother, or what the problem was.
saw his discomfiture and asked, "So, how do you know Blair's mom?"
met in Sedona. A wonderful place to relax, meditate, and enjoy healthy food. There
was a seminar about healing energies that I was interested in."
wow!" replied Blair excitedly. "My mom told me about that retreat. She
said the energy vibes from that place are tremendous! And the anthropological
aspects alone are worth going to...."
heard about Sedona before myself. There's a spa I've been meaning to check out,"
interjected Cat. "I hear that Sedona is the spiritual center of the universe.
The Indians used it for communicating with their spirit worlds... I wonder how
they did that?" she mused out loud.
nodded excitedly, his whole demeanor changing as he thought of the area Joyce
and Cat were talking about.
a very important region, anthropologically speaking, too!"
was amazed at Blair's transition to "lecture mode" as he expounded on
the Sedona area.
Verde Valley, just west of Sedona is where the Sinagua Indians, a western band
of the Anasazi Indians of Colorado region, lived. They built their homes like
the Anasazi did. They were cliff dwellers and lived in that region from 500 to
1300 AD, then just disappeared, like the rest of the Anasazi nations. They even
built Montezuma's Castle, which the Conquistadores thought was a part of the Mayan
a deep breath, and Joyce deftly interjected. "Yes, I took a side trip to
Montezuma's Castle. It was really great. I also went up to Walnut Canyon where
they also lived. Fascinating stuff to think that they lived there so many years
watching Blair as he spoke and Joyce as she listened.
you been to Mesa Verde, Blair? I just love that area.... although I didn't enjoy
crawling through that narrow space to go out to Balcony House tour. I especially
didn't care for the climb down the 100 foot staircase just to go through a long
tunnel and then climb *up* a 32 foot ladder to get to the dwelling.... But the
exertion was worth it!"
shuddered at the mention of all the heights Joyce had scaled. She noticed the
shudder and asked him about it.
I'm not particularly thrilled with heights."
not either, Blair," commiserated Joyce. "A friend that was with me had
to coax me all the way during all the ladders and closed-in quarters. I dont
like small spaces either, so it was a real challenge to do that tour! Believe
me, I had a few hairy moments on those ladders and had to use my mantra to get
through it!" Joyce shivered at the remembered fright, then looked up at Blair
and smiled at him. "But, Im glad that I did make the effort, because
it was incredible!"
finished their lunch, Blair got directions from Joyce to her apartment, they went
their separate ways. The girls continued their shopping and Blair returned to
came down the stairs from his bedroom, buttoning his favorite black shirt. He
called out to Sandburg, "Shake a leg, there Junior! We can't make a good
impression by being late picking up the ladies, now can we?"
heard the mumbling coming from Blair's room and he walked to the French Doors
to peer in at his partner. He was greeted with several different shirts thrown
around the room as Sandburg was trying to put on a different shirt.
winced as he saw the large dark purple bruises on Blair's ribs and sides of his
stomach. Blair stifled a groan of pain as he tried to get the shirt on.
man...Oh, hi Jim," replied Blair, not realizing that Jim had been observing
him from the door.
what's with all this?" asked the older man as he gestured to the clothes
strewn all over.
asked the younger man as he was gingerly trying to shrug into the shirt. "Just
trying to find something that doesn't clash with the bruising...." muttered
Jim gently turned
Blair around and finished helping him get the shirt settled on his shoulders.
"Thanks, man. That helps alot!" sighed Blair.
pretty bad when I have to dress you too, Junior, in order to get you ready in
time to leave!" teased Jim.
gave Jim a quick look, realized his friend was teasing him, and smiled back at
the other man.
on, Junior, you have exactly three minutes and I'm leaving without you."
yeah. I hear ya, I hear ya, Jim," commented Blair to the retreating back.
"I'll try to speed it up."
headed out of his room for the bathroom and stopped short when he heard the door
click shut. "Hey!" he called out. "How am I supposed to finish
up when you're in the bathroom?"
mumbled reply came through the door, "You have two minutes, Chief!"
takes you longer than two minutes, Ellison!"
knock on the door surprised Blair as he paced outside the washroom in the hallway.
heard what he thought was giggling and someone saying "shh" as he walked
to the front door.
opened it to find Cat and Joyce loaded with grocery bags. Both had Cheshire Cat
grins on their faces.
gonna stand in the doorway all night, Blair? Or do we get invited in?" challenged
Cat with a grin.
hi Cat! Hi, Joyce!" greeted Blair as a slight blush started up his face since
his shirt was still open.
are you doing here? We're supposed to be picking you two up!"
thought they said women were bad about getting dressed," remarked Joyce.
talked me into surprising you and Jim with dinner," replied Joyce.
Blair joining you two for dinner and having dinner together is all that was mentioned,"
replied Cat. "Jim didnt indicate he had anything special in mind."
I guess I'd better go tell Jim you're here then."
walked over to the bathroom door. He was about to knock when it opened. He stopped
his hand from hitting Jim in the chest.
giggled softly, then gasped as she saw the large bruises on Blair's torso as his
shirt swung open as he turned. Blair quickly closed his shirt as he grabbed Ellison
by the arm and swung the taller man into his bedroom and slammed the door shut.
just rolled her eyes and smiled at Joyce.
What the hell's going on?" hissed Jim as he tried to reach for the door handle.
this, Cat started to laugh.
Cat. Joyce. Dinner...." explained Blair quickly as he was trying to button
his shirt and tuck it in.
are they doing here? We're supposed to be picking them up!" whispered Jim
back at his roommate.
I hate to tell this to you buddy, but Cat said you asked Joyce to join us, and
nothing was said about going out for dinner."
stopped in the middle of turning the door handle, looked at Blair as the younger
man was struggling to button the buttons. "Oh. I assumed...."
that's the problem, you assumed, Big Guy! I think it's safe to say don't assume
anything with Cat!"
should know that by now," called Cat from the kitchen.
jaw clenched as he tried not to be embarrassed. He moved Blair aside and opened
the door. "Come out when you're decent, Junior. I'll go handle Cat!"
He gave a wink at Blair as he said this, stepped out the door and closed it behind
you sure you know what you're doing?" asked Joyce in a hushed whisper.
me," her friend whispered back with a wink.
busied herself unpacking the food she and Joyce had brought. Joyce turned to help
Cat, trying to take her cue from her friend.
came sauntering out of the bedroom and looked sternly at Cat. He made it to the
island as Cat started to open her mouth to speak. Joyce just stared up at the
intimidating man, never having met him before and feeling uncomfortable at having
invaded his home.
picked up a couple of bottles of wine and handed one to Jim. "Care to open
it?" she dared with a grin.
set the bottle down on the counter with a slight bang to show his annoyance. "What
are you doing here?" he asked gruffly. He saw Joyce flinch and sidle away
to laugh at his stern look. "Sorry, I thought you had suggested dinner. No
mention was made about going out, so I recruited Joyce to help me pick up a few
quickly made her way around the island and made a beeline for the bathroom. As
she stepped in front of Blair's door, it swung open and Blair bounced out, colliding
with Joyce. He grimaced. He steadied her and himself by grabbing onto her forearm.
gosh, Blair, I'm so, so sorry, Blair...?"
observer attempted a smile to show he wasn't hurt and she smiled tentatively.
She pointed to the bathroom and Blair shrugged his shoulders. "Ladies first."
He muttered under his breath so she couldn't hear, "Damn!"
turned to observe Jim and Cat bickering.
hey! Barbecued chicken? Wine? Wow!" Blair bounced over to the island and
inspected what was sitting there. Cat and Jim ignored him.
you don't want to have dinner here - I guess I can take the barbecued chicken
and ribs back to the hotel for a midnight snack or three." Cat looked to
Jim for a response, her eyes laughing.
Alexander, I guess you and I need to have a serious talk!" he growled.
about after dinner? Otherwise everything that is supposed to be warm will be cold,
and what's supposed to be cold will be warm," she suggested, not quite sure
why he was being this difficult.
on, Man! Lighten up! So a few wires got crossed in the communication. At least
we were still here when they arrived! Jim? Jim! Let's eat, man! I'm starved!"
suggested Blair trying to diffuse his friend. He couldnt understand how
Jims attitude had changed from conspiratorial to simmering anger in just
a few minutes.
her attention back to the bags of groceries and continued to unpack. Jim's jaw
clenched. He definitely didn't like being ignored by this woman.
came out of the bathroom and Blair turned at the sound of the door opening. He
passed her and she asked in a whisper, "Is the coast clear yet?"
ahead..." whispered back Blair.
shook his head and shrugged. He put his hand on her arm, "It'll be all right.
Jim's a marshmallow inside, really he is..." He said the last line louder
so Jim and Cat would be sure to hear it.
marshmallow, huh?" mumbled Cat, not looking up from her task.
could have fooled me!" whispered Joyce to herself.
could you either get enough plates down for us or point me in the direction?"
I look?" asked Joyce, trying to be helpful. She started to open a cabinet
next to her, and Jim reached over her and opened the correct cupboard.
she said as she reached into the cupboard and removed enough plates. She took
them to the table and began setting it, trying to stay out of Jim and Cat's way.
the correct drawer without saying a word. He continued to stare at Cat.
took enough cutlery for the four of them, plus serving utensils.
came out of the bathroom and stopped dead in his tracks as he saw the ice still
dripping from Jim.
walked around the other side of the island, away from Jim and to help Joyce finish
setting the table. Joyce gave her friend a questioning look and whispered, "Should
up from the table and met Jim's gaze. Cat put the cutlery down on the table as
quietly as possible, turned on heel, picking up another smaller bag she'd brought
"Jim, if you
want that talk, then I'll meet you on the balcony," she tossed back over
her shoulder as she walked to the balcony.
stood rooted to the spot staring after her. Blair gave the taller man a shove
in the small of his back. "Go! Go! You two need to sort this out, or we'll
be in the middle of the next ice age!" Ellison resisted until Blair hissed.
"Jim, you're ruining any chance of a nice evening! Get out there, now!"
stepped out on the balcony and turned, looking at Jim, daring him to come out
too. He hesitated a minute then joined her. He heard Joyce heave a sigh of relief.
he always like this?" whispered Joyce.
smiled, "No, not always. Just sometimes...."
she?" asked Blair.
seen her like this before."
breathed Blair, expecting fireworks from the two on the balcony.
she has warned me she's got a temper, but I've never seen any signs of it, until
now." confided Joyce.
asked Blair for napkins and he got them out. They continued getting everything
out of the grocery bags and setting the food out.
wanted to talk?" he growled as he closed the door behind him.
but you did," she snapped.
me?" Jim said incredulously.
the one that said we needed a serious talk, and then decided to turn to granite,"
she pointed out. Jim glared at Cat. Cat returned the glare, and then offered the
small bag she had brought out with her. "I think before we go any further,
you might want to have a look at this."
slowly withdrew a jewel case and looked at it. His jaw clenched even further and
he looked like he was about to explode. He looked at the CD, then looked at Cat.
you have preferred me to spring that on you in a restaurant?" she asked coolly.
did you get this?" he asked tightly.
a computer store this afternoon." She replied quietly, and continued "It
didn't take them long to get it on the market, did it?"
Shit!" he replied, angry at the game, but glad that Cat had brought it to
his attention. He turned to look out at the city, his city that he had sworn to
protect and now he was being reminded again of the fiasco of Blair's dissertation
being released to the general public. "Is this ever going to die down?"
He hadn't realize he had asked this question out loud until Cat moved beside him
and put a hand to his shoulder, "Jim. It will eventually go away. But it
will take time."
I know. I don't need anymore adverse publicity to remind people of this...."
sorry I couldn't call earlier to warn you what I was up to, but Joyce has been
with me since we met this morning. I really didn't want to go into a long explanation
with her about this. But I have to admit, I wasn't exactly expecting the attitude
you met us with."
softened at her thoughtfulness and actually managed to smile at her. "I'm
sorry, Cat. You just caught me off guard. I never heard you two coming."
put his hand on her arm and rubbed it up and down, trying to convey his apology.
"I just had a really nice restaurant picked out for us on the bay. I know
Blair was looking forward to impressing Joyce, too."
we can do it another time. I *am* here for two more weeks, remember."
nodded at her suggestion and continued, "I guess it was my way of saying
thank you for helping to find Blair ...in one piece."
figured lunch and dinner yesterday was that, since you refused to take any money
for it. Besides, you did all the hard work."
stiffened his male pride rearing up again, then relaxed at her knowing smile.
"No, that was because I didnt expect you to pay for them." He
drew her in for a hug and whispered, "There's a lot of nice places I'd like
to show you in Cascade, Cat."
leaned into the hug and returned it. "I look forward to seeing them. Maybe
I can return the favour if you ever get to Toronto."
cleared his throat at Joyce and motioned with his head to the balcony. "I
think there's a thaw in the air. It should be safe now, I hope!"
looked toward the doorway and giggled. "Oh, yeah...."
walked over to the doorway, threw the door open and announced dinner. "Hey,
you two, now that you've um, sorta kissed and made up, do you feel like joining
us for dinner?"
Blair? Have you told him about the paper?" as Cat reluctantly pulled away
he replied hesitantly.
we should get it over with, before he chokes on something over dinner," Cat
Why do I get the feeling Im not going to like this?" Jim asked as he
followed Cat back inside.
Friday night? When I told you I didnt know whether our being seen together
at the hotel was going to help or hurt your reputation? Well
started cautiously. "I guess its a case of forewarned is forearmed."
Cat went to her purse and pulled out the newspaper clipping. She silently handed
it Jim while the other two people in the room watched Jim's face as he quickly
flitted over his face as he read it. Incredulity and anger being the most recognizable
ones. Joyce looked at Blair and touched his elbow giving him a questioning look.
He motioned back that it was okay and not to worry. Jim fought the urge to crumple
up the clipping and throw it as hard as he could in the trash container. He looked
at Cat and apologized. "I'm sorry about this Cat...."
I'm not the one people are watching and making uncomfortable, so theres
no need to apologize. So far, only the four of us, the hotel staff and the rest
of Major Crimes would be able to figure out who the mystery lady is...."
heard Joyce's sigh of relief, as well as Blair's. He hadn't realized they had
expected him to blow up over this piece of gossip. He looked up at Blair then
at Joyce... He could hear her heart beating fast and noticed the tense muscles
in her face and body. He smiled at her to try to ease her nervousness. "I
don't bite, just growl, Joyce. You don't have to bolt because of me."
and Blair started to laugh, then Joyce and Jim joined in.
spoke up and motioned towards the table. "Cmon you two, the food is
are you ever going to open that bottle of wine?" asked Cat.
yeah! You open the wine and I'll get the wineglasses," stated Blair as he
went around to the island and grabbed out four wineglasses.
brought the wine and filled each goblet with Joyce only requesting a very small
amount to begin with. Blair gave her a questioning look and she explained, "I'm
not much of a wine drinker..." Joyce grinned, "but knowing Cat, I'm
sure she'll have my share. Especially since she's not driving.
laughed at that and Jim even smiled. Cat gave her friend a mock glare, then smiled.
was amiable with the foursome. Joyce began to feel more comfortable around Jim,
realizing that he was right. His bark was worse than his bite. She just hoped
that she would never be on the receiving end of his anger and felt sorry for Cat.
She figured Cat knew what she was getting into with Jim and his temperament. She
made a mental note to ask Cat more about Jim's personality. She found herself
liking Blair more and more as they continued to banter over dinner. Blair was
teasing her about her not liking wine. She finally asked for either seltzer or
white soda to mix with the wine, much to the chagrin of Cat who had commented
that she was ruining a good wine. Joyce crinkled her nose at Cat in reply.
tried to tell a joke and kept forgetting the punchline. She tried again, "How
many computer geeks does it take to change a light bulb?"
humored her and played the straight man. "I don't know, Joyce, how many?"
many," replied Cat with a giggle.
on, Cat. It only takes one thousand four hundred and seventeen, but I can't remember
how many of each kind of tech to do what parts...." she giggled as she took
another sip of her wine spritzer.
those opportunity assessments and feasibility phases that do it, inflates the
whole number," suggested Cat.
don't I make some coffee?" suggested Jim after they had finished dinner.
Jim. I'll clear the table and bring over the dessert," replied Blair as he
carried the plates in. Blair quickly read the ingredients of the pie to make sure
there wasn't anything in it that Jim was allergic, too. He'd have to warn Cat
about Jim's allergies for future reference. Blair looked at the dessert box and
read the label. "Wow! I haven't had Pecan Pie in ages... cool! Thanks ladies."
only thing better in my opinion than pecan pie, is homemade lemon meringue pie,"
cut and served the pie while Jim brought out coffee mugs.
nodded enthusiastically. "Oh, man, I have a recipe from my grandmother that
is to die for! It uses 12 lemons!"
asked an incredulous Blair. "Wow! Is it really tart?"
shook her head. "Nope. It's a cooked custard that is just great.... If you
ask nicely maybe I'll make it for you while Cat's still in town!"
I'll ask nicely - even talk to Steve on your behalf... Wanted off early on Friday
didn't you - so we could head out to Seattle for the Mariner's game...."
her puppy dog eyes on her and pleaded, "Oh, Joyce, thanks! Pretty pretty
please make it?" He looked at Jim to add his request for the pie. Jim rolled
his eyes at Blair's expression.
would be nice Joyce, but you don't have to," said Jim.
quickly shot a glance at her friend. "Now I'm going to have to make a whole
pie for Steve as a bribe, Cat!" Joyce groaned, then asked slyly, "What
are *you* going to bribe him with? And just what reason are we going to give him
for getting off early?"
looked at Jim and shook her head. "No Joyce, I'll take the pie as a bribe
to talk to Steve so you can get off early...."
thanks. So, I have to make the pie and you get the credit?" she asked with
you make the pie, I get to enjoy it, and you get to leave early on Friday...."
snorted Joyce. "I still have to squeeze all the lemons by hand.... Hey, I
know, why don't you all come over and help squeeze lemons? We'll have a pie baking
party! And Cat, you can make your pie and we'll see whose is better!"
Jim, and Cat laughed with Joyce. "I can see Jim trying to squeeze all those
lemons," teased Blair.
you two would probably start a baseball game with them in my living room and I'd
have lemon juice all over my furniture!"
grabbed his heart. "Us? Us? Would we do that Jim? The lady wounds my pride!"
must be mistaking you for me. I think she's referring to the time someone asked
me to toss them a roll and I told them to go long...." admitted Cat with
a guilty grin.
groaned remembering. "Oh, yeah. Right! You told that to Steve at dinner the
second night we ate out when you were in town last! He actually ran deep for it
and caught it, much to the chagrin of the waiters."
but, we were the only ones left in the restaurant. It wouldn't have been so bad
if he hadn't knocked the tray out of the waiter's hands," said Cat with a
ouch!" laughed Blair. "I hope nothing got broken!"
little pride, but no dishes or bones," Cat replied.
made sure he gave an extra generous tip on the bill. I wonder how he explained
it on his expense report?"
an out of town colleague?" offered Cat.
giggled in reply but didn't say anything.
brought the coffee over and served. Joyce declined and asked for ice water instead
which Blair got for her. They ate their pecan pie and Blair, Joyce and Cat shared
stories of favourite family get togethers while Cat noted that Jim remained quiet
on the subject.
cleaned the dishes off the table, Jim waved aside their offer to wash the dishes.
He told them he and Blair could do them later.
older man sat with Cat on the larger of the two couches while Blair sat with Joyce.
said something at lunch today, Joyce, about knowing my mom. How did you two meet
and get interested in....."
glanced at Jim to see his reaction to her knowing Naomi. He raised an eyebrow
at this news. Blair smiled at her to continue.
Naomi and I met a few years ago at a yoga retreat, then started talking about
auras and being able to feel energy patterns in people. Since then, we've met
up a few different seminars/retreats. We've ended up rooming together at a couple
of them. She's a great person and has really peaceful energy signatures."
That's cool. Have you read James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy?" he asked,
fairly bouncing in his seat.
smiled and listened. 'I think I'm going to have a talk with Joyce. She maybe
just the resource Blair needs in Cascade.'
practically vibrated in her excitement to find someone else that had read the
book and nodded enthusiastically. "Yes I have! It's one of my favorite books....
It explains so much of what I feel.
enthused Blair. "Do you see aura's around people?"
I can. They have to be really strong auras for me to see them. Actually, I can
feel energy around people if I hold my hands over them. I can feel "hot"
spots where there might be a blockage, in otherwords, where a person may be fighting
an infection...." She glanced nervously at Jim and Cat, not sure if they
thought she was some crazy kook talking about auras and feeling energy.
wasn't betraying much. Cat smiled, enjoying the chance to learn something new
about her friend.
maybe this isn't a good subject to talk about. Not a lot of people are comfortable
with new age stuff..." stated Joyce softly, looking down at her hands, suddenly
her hands in reassurance. "No, it's okay, right guys?"
don't have any problems with it. Do you Jim?" asked Cat wondering what his
reaction was going to be, especially after this past couple of days.
rolled his eyes at Blair and gave Blair a warning glance. It wasnt the topic
of conversation he objected to, just the possibility of where it could lead. Blair
nodded his understanding of Jim's unspoken warning.
on, Joyce, you're among friends. I'd love to learn more about this. I have quite
a bit of experience with my research into ancient cultures that used alternative
methods of healing, that is, compared to Western medicine. I'd love to learn more
about what you know, how you learned about it, that kind of thing."
looked up and gave him a shy smile, then looked at Jim as the other man spoke.
"Watch out Joyce, Blair is notorious about asking lots of questions and doing
tests on people.... Do you really want to go into the Sandburg Zone?"
smothered a giggle with her hand. Remembering only too well the time Blair offered
to work on some tests with her. Now she was actually considering going along with
the tests to help the two of them. Blair looked askance at Jim since Jim had alluded
to his "tests" of the other man's Sentinel abilities. "Can I help
it if I'm a scientist first, man?"
so funny?" asked Joyce looking from Cat to Blair and back again. "Did
I say something funny?"
tell you about it sometime Joyce," promised Cat.
going to hold you to that, Cat, and I won't forget it either!" replied the
other young woman as she pointed to Cat.
who's philosophy of alternative medicine do you hold to?" asked Jim, surprising
Blair and Cat with his knowledge. "Ayurvedic, Pranic, Japanese, Chinese?"
looked back and forth between Blair and Jim. Trying to figure out what to make
of this turn in the conversation.
I tend to be eclectic in my philosophies. I think all the different cultures offer
something of value. I have friends that practice Feng Shui, use flower essences
for healing, do holistic medicine, practice Ayurvedic healing, and even energy
healing. A few friends of mine are nurses that do touch healing on their patients..."
enthused Blair. "Just what do they do?"
in Touch Healing..."
in Therapeutic Touch?" asked Cat.
but there are different philosophies and teachings. I tend to lump it all together
and consider it touch healing....it's easier for people to understand it, since
nurses are the ones who have brought it to the public's general knowledge,"
um, I was trained in Reiki, a Japanese form of touch healing and practice it on
people, if they need it," stated Joyce softly.
wasn't sure how these virtual strangers would receive her healing abilities. She
stole a glance at Blair, but he was just smiling, trying to encourage her to talk
more. Jim was attentive while Cat was just watching her friend with a slight amused
expression on her face. Joyce was puzzled. She didn't think these three diverse
people would be so accepting of her abilities. Especially cops, or rather one
cop, an ex-anthropology grad student, and a computer expert.
have to remember that after we've had a 3 a.m. meeting," kidded Cat.
face brightened at Cat's comment. "Sure...any time...."
be nice though, and wait until later in the day..." added Cat with a smile.
This is like *so* cool!" declared Blair. "Can you give a demonstration?"
had been monitoring Joyce's reactions and could tell that she was still nervous
about talking about herself, although she had begun to open up a little. He had
realized that he had intimidated her earlier and was doing his best to dispel
that image, especially for Blair's sake, since the younger man seemed to like
I don't think the lady is really comfortable doing demonstrations just so you
can do one of your tests on her!" He softened his admonishment with a smile
okay, Jim. I don't mind. In fact, I was wondering how I was going to offer to
do some healing on Blair's bruises on his torso..." She looked at Blair for
If it helps take the pain away, I'm all for it!" enthused Blair.
I need to take my shirt off?"
I can do it without you removing your shirt. I just need to be comfortable while
I give you healing energy."
how do you want to do this?" asked the excited police observer.
scooted herself back into the corner of the couch. "Do you mind if I put
my foot on the couch?" she asked Jim. He motioned that she could do it. She
slipped her shoe off, motioned for Blair to scoot over so she could get her leg
up on the couch, then told Blair to scoot toward her so his back was to her. She
then put her hands on one side of Blair's ribs, closed her eyes, and breathed
deeply, like she was getting ready to meditate. Blair looked at Cat and raised
his eyebrows at her. Cat returned the raised eyebrow with a smile.
spoke softly. "Don't be alarmed if you feel heat coming from my hands. That's
stood up and walked around the couch, observing what was going on. He brought
his hand down and hovered just over Joyce's hand, and looked at Cat and Blair,
surprised. He quietly went back to sit down next to Cat.
looked up at Jim with unspoken questions.
That's amazing," said Blair. "I can feel the heat going into my skin
and muscles...." He silently questioned Jim to see if the other man had dialed
up his senses to monitor what Joyce was doing.
nodded slowly in answer to the unspoken questions from Blair and Cat. He mouthed,
nodded in return.
took one more deep breath and slowly opened her eyes. "Wow! You were pulling
a lot of energy from me.....You must be in a lot of pain for that to happen!"
gingerly turned himself around to face the young woman. "You could say that..."
don't channel the energy? You give your own? Isn't that tiring?" asked Cat.
no, I don't actually give my own energy to someone. I guess you could call it
channeling. It comes in through my head and goes out my hands...I'm just gathering
it from all around me and focusing it on Blair's injuries."
to hear that. The other way can be dangerous," cautioned Cat.
had gently touched his side where Joyce had been doing the energy healing. He
looked at her with awe and respect. "Hey! That worked. It doesn't hurt as
welcome, Blair. Do you want me to do the other side as well?" she offered.
you don't mind..." he responded hesitantly, not wanting to overtax her, especially
with Cat's comment.
Turn back around." She proceeded to do the other side.
we should keep her around and be your personal healer, Chief, considering all
the trouble that finds you!" chuckled Jim.
giggled and her eyes went wide at Jim's comment. "Is this something I need
to know about?"
the rumours I've heard, this is sorta common place...." Cat confided to her
her hands, took a deep breath and groaned. "What have I gotten myself into?"
three laughed and said simultaneously, "The Sandburg Zone!"
we need Robby the Robot giving off his verbal warnings like in Lost in Space?
Warning! Warning! Blair Sandburg! Danger ahead!" commented Joyce with a chuckle
as she flailed her arms in imitation of the robot.
four friends talked about a lot of different things, with Blair regaling them
with some of his funnier exploits on anthropological expeditions. Finally Joyce
looked at her watch and stated, "Uh, Cat, I hate to be a party poop, but
we are expected in the office for 10 a.m. Shall we get going?" prompted Joyce.
give Cat a lift back to her hotel," Jim offered.
Ill see you in the morning, then Cat," Joyce said with a sly grin.
"Jim it was nice to meet you. Blair it was nice to see you again. Thanks
again for indulging us. Sorry we, uh, invaded the way we did."
to meet you too Joyce," replied Jim.
if I walk you out to your car, Joyce?" offered Blair.
like that, Blair."
Joyce. Ill see you in the morning," called Cat as she watched her friends
walk out the door together.
to Jim she looked at him, shaking her head and asked, "What have you started?"
it looks like Blair now has a source closer to home for the information he was
trying to get from you. Besides, Im sure I can always find out what youre
up to through Blair and Joyce
." Jim returned with a grin.
have my business number, my cellular number, and my email address on my business
card. If you want to know anything like that, just ask."
theres another question I should be asking, so that I dont get in
trouble for making another assumption." Cat grinned at him as he continued,
"Did you want me to spend the night?"
you want to, Id love to have your company. Tonight, and the rest of my stay
if Im not being too forward."
theres a few things I need to put together before we leave, " said
Jim as he turned to go upstairs.
how be we do the dishes first? I dont want to stick Blair with them. Knowing
both Blair and Joyce, we may actually be able to get them done before he gets
Joyce and I did drop in and bring dinner, rather unexpectedly and at my instigation.
Had we gone out as you had planned, no one would have to do dishes. So yes, I
want to make sure theyre done before we leave."
but I wash, you dry. Deal?"
Cat agreed as she followed him into the kitchen.
walked Joyce down to her car. He was surprised at the type of car she drove. He
had expected a small little convertible but found a four-wheel drive SUV instead.
She unlocked the car, then turned around to say goodbye to Blair.
for letting us bring the dinner, Blair, considering it was a blind date, and all,"
she stated shyly as she found her car keys.
Blair watched her and responded,
"No, its Jim and I should be thanking you and Cat for bringing dinner.
We had every intention of taking the two of you out."
well. Never mind. Im glad Cat talked me into agreeing to dinner. And bumping
into you at the mall," she laughed.
"Me, too," agreed
Blair. "Would you like to do this again? Uh, at least not the bumping of
heads that is." The young man crossed his fingers behind his back, holding
his breath as he waited for her answer. He wanted to get to know her better and
learn more about energy healing from her.
Joyce considered her answer
carefully, "I think that would be nice, but
face fell as he heard the "but" and his knees lurched a little in disappointment.
"But?" he prompted her, afraid to hear the answer.
we just make it the two of us? I really like Cat, but I find Jim a little
intimidating. Id really like to get to know you better, that is, if you
Blair let out a small whoosh of air in relief,
sure. We can do that. No problem. Dont worry about Jim.
Hes actually a pussycat. And like he said before, his bark is worse
than his bite. Hes a really cool guy, once you get to know him. Would tomorrow
okay?" asked Blair hopefully. He figured that if he didnt "book"
Joyce now, it wouldnt come to pass.
thought about her schedule for the next day, and for the rest of the week, for
"Im available after 5 p.m., if thats okay?
I did promise Cat, to keep the meetings short and leave her nights free."
She ducked her head in embarrassment. "I didnt realize it would be
to my advantage, at least for tomorrow!" She blushed and looked up at Blair
through her eyelashes to see a smile playing across his features. The young woman
couldn't help smile in return at Blairs enthusiasm. Maybe its
not such a bad thing to be free the rest of the week, thought Joyce.
It might be interesting to see where this leads.
smiled at Blair again, then turned to open the car door. He anticipated her move
and got to the door first. Her hand ended up grabbing his and she giggled.
you need more energy healing tomorrow, just let me know. Id be happy to
"I just might take you up on that, thanks for the
turned to climb into the cab. He started to close the door then opened it again
to ask, "Would you like me to pick you up, or meet somewhere?"
"Why dont I meet you here," she suggested. "We can take my
vehicle, if you dont mind."
"Thanks. I dont really
trust the old Volvo for dates
It has a bad temperament and can conk out
at any time. Ill gladly put gas in your car for you
"Nope. No gas. Dont even think about it. I offered my car and if you
try to pay for gas, the date is off!" She gave him a severe look. He put
his hands up in defense.
"Okay, Joyce, okay!"
started the engine and he began to close the door. "Blair, thanks for a wonderful
evening. See you tomorrow."
stood there as she drove away and remained rooted to the spot until she was out
of sight. He slowly walked into the building and went upstairs. He was already
planning for the next evening.
just finished putting way the last of the dishes as Blair came back into the loft.
Cat gave Jim an "I told you so" look. Jim chuckled in response.
thanks guys, for doing the dishes. You really didnt have to, I would have
done them, in the morning," Blair said as he dropped his keys in the basket
beside the door and then entered the kitchen.
what I was afraid of," muttered Jim. Turning to Cat, "What do you think,
are we ready to go?"
she replied with a nod.
be right back then," he told her as he head up the stairs.
it was really thoughtful of you about dinner tonight, but I think well need
to talk about Jim, and the uh, sensitivities he has. With food, and a few other
things," suggested Blair.
but if the next words out of your mouth are 'What are your intentions, Ill
take a cab back to the hotel alone!'"
and Blair shared a smile as they heard laughter coming from upstairs.
we should get together tomorrow night, the three of us and talk about some of
the things we all should know. Work together on getting a better understanding
of what both you and Jim need to know so I can help you set the foundation,"
could we do it another night? Joyce and I are getting together tomorrow night.
Would Tuesday be good?"
chuckled. "Okay, Tuesday it is, unless Jim has other plans
fine with me," Jim chimed in as came down the stairs with his sports bag
and another larger bag.
in?" Cat asked hesitantly, eyeing the other bag with curiosity.
grinned back at her and motioned towards the door. Cat picked up her purse and
As he started
to shift the bag around to open the door, Cat reached out to open the door at
the same time he did.
Blairs amusement, Cat demanded, "Either let me help carry something,
or let me open the door."
relented by handing her the sports bag, and again reaching out for the door knob,
successfully opening the door this time.
see you at the station tomorrow afternoon after orientation at the Academy."
Blair told Jim.
you then, Sandburg."
Blair. I'll see you Tuesday evening," Cat said as she and Jim left the loft.
Once at the truck,
Jim opened the passenger door for Cat and then went around to the drivers
side and got in.
are you going to tell me whats in the bag or is it a deep dark secret?"
asked Cat as she let curiosity get the better of her.
started Jim as he turned the key in the ignition.
yeah, I know. Killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back. So are you going to
satisfy my curiosity or not?"
There are sheets and pillowcases in the bag."
me? Sheets and pillowcases?" she shot him a look of incredulity. "May
I ask why youre bringing sheets and pillowcases with you to the hotel? Its
not like they dont have them already."
what Blair said earlier about my
sensitivities? I have a bit of a problem
with the detergent they use to clean and starch the sheets and pillowcases."
an allergic reaction? Do you do this whenever you travel?" Cat gave him a
sidelong glance "What happens when you end up in the hospital for a stay?
Their laundry facilities arent any kinder to the sheets and pillowcases
than a hotel."
I try not to spend much time in the hospital," he responded with a grin.
than a doctor as a patient, eh? If youre that sensitive to things like laundry
detergent, I cant even begin to guess what would happen with medications
or things like food additives."
foods I have had trouble with, but I normally pass it off as stomach problems.
Most people can understand that, and are normally sympathetic."
shook her head and joked, "Is there anything else I should know, or should
I just go straight to Blair? Maybe he should consider creating a manual on the
care and feeding of a sentinel?"
get Sandburg started," he groaned. "If you do, you may end up finding
out more than you ever wanted to about sentinels."
this is a bad thing, why? If I have at least some understanding, then I can have
some idea what to expect later on, right?"
considered her statement. It felt right. But did she even realize what she had
just said, and she was possibly even considering something longer than just this
next two weeks? Was he reading too much into her statement, just wishful thinking
on his part?
my gawd," she said in a whisper, eyes widening in shock, her hand rising
to her mouth. Turning to Jim she said in a voice just slightly above the whisper,
"I am so sorry."
for what?" he asked, concerned at the troubled look on her face.
sorry about the last time I was here. Im still trying to get my mind around
just what youre capable of, and I suddenly realized, I did one of the most
horrible things could possibly have done to you the last time I was here. With
your heightened sense of smell and taste, it must have been horrendous looking
through a city garbage dump for a dead body. Oh, gawd, Im so sorry. I hope
you were able to get someone else to do that job."
was touched by her concern. "I lead the team that searched the dump. It wasnt
pleasant, but it also wasnt your fault. Remember, it was Kalan that left
the body there, not you. You helped us find it."
hesitated and then tentatively asked, "How bad was it?"
didnt have much of an appetite for the rest of the day, and there was a
nasty taste in the back of my mouth, but it went away soon enough. No harm done,"
he reassured her.
can see this is going to take some getting used to," she muttered to herself.
Jim checked the address
witten on the piece of paper. He looked up at the board displaying all the building
occupants. He found the name he was looking for and walked over to the elevator.
He rode the lift to the 5th floor and found the office he was looking
for. He greeted the receptionist, told her his name, and who he was supposed to
meeting with. He was immediately shown into an office. He walked in, expecting
to find some hotshot young lawyer just out of law school, willing to help him
out. Instead, as the secretary knocked and opened the door to the office, Jim
was startled to see a very petite, young woman with a glint in her eye come forward,
arm extended to shake his hand. He quickly noted her features, perfume, chestnut
hair pulled back into a neat chignon, light blue business suit with matching heels,
and a glint in her eye. She smiled easily, friendly, and sincerely at Jim as he
gently took her hand in his for a shake. He was surprised at the strength of her
The lawyer had
an easy manner about her, and when she looked at Jim, it was as a person, not
as a dollar sign. Her voice was melodious, sort of sexy in a way that got noticed.
He wondered how she would do in a court oom. Probably mesmerized the jury and
him to sit down, then took a seat next to him. He was surprised with that, he
had expected he to go back behind her desk, to try to impose her authority. However,
she sat back, relaxed, and asked Jim how she could help him. She listened attentively
to what he was saying, never once scoffing at his information, as he had expected.
This was a lawyer, and if they couldn't make money off the case, then they weren't
interested. He mentally added up what it was costing him per minute just to be
sitting in the chair and groaned inwardly. "Well, he thought, "whatever
it takes to get this game off the market, and to keep my anonymity, or what was
left of it, was worth whatever it will cost me."
asked to see the game CD, which he brought out of his pocket. She scanned the
picture, looked at Jim, then back to the picture. She proceeded to open the jewel
case, took out the jacket liner and read through it quickly. She asked if she
could pop it into her computer to take a look at it.
reluctantly agreed. She noted his reticence as she booted up the game. Jungle
music came out of the speakers and her eyebrows raised slightly. Ms. Capp continued
to install the game, and read the instructions for playing it. Following those
instructions, she printed them off.
voice came over the speakers describing the character of the game. Jim winced
as the words were spoken. D. M. Capp peripherally watched his reaction to the
music and the voice. She played a quick game to get the idea of it, then shut
for a minute, she stepped out into the reception area to have her secretary make
a copy of the jacket so she could keep a copy of the artwork on file. When the
Jacket was returned she handed the CD back to Jim, who slipped it back into his
a little to close to home, eh?" she surmised.
me?" asked Jim, trying to pretend that he didn't understand her question.
are Detective James Ellison, Cascade P.D., recently embroiled in a scandal with
his partner, one Blair Sandburg. Mr. Sandburg's Ph.D. dissertation was published,
without permission. Said dissertation was about you. Mr. Sandburg recanted. Lost
his position at the University. How much more information would you like me to
give you?" she queried. She had a glint in her eyes
she watched Jim squirm mentally and physically.
this is how she makes me feel when shes on my side, I almost feel sorry
for the other guys?" thought Jim.
see you've done your homework, Ms. Capp," replied Jim, desperately trying
to think of a way to negate the dissertation information. She was too perceptive.
course, Detective Ellison. That's why I'm a good lawyer. I can also be discreet.
I won't divulge your secret, if that's what you're worried about with this lawsuit.
If we're going to work together, I need your complete cooperation and honesty.
In return, I'll give you my honest opinion on how to best win this case. Deal?"
the record?" asked Jim.
off the record, Detective. Unless I say otherwise. I'll give you complete final
authority on how we approach this case. Good enough?" she asked with a smile
that went all the way to her eyes, making them light up with a sparkle. "I
can tell you what options I see - you can choose the direction."
answered slowly, "Strictly off the record...I guess I can live with that.
"This is still too many
people knowing who I am and what I can do. I'm not comfortable with this!"
Jim thought in frustration. "First Cat, now this lawyer!"
Jim thought in frustration. "First Cat, now this lawyer!"
Jim thought in frustration. "First Cat, now this lawyer!"
I definitely think you have a solid case here on the likeness issue. Now, the
actual game itself could be brought under a separate lawsuit, however, in order
to keep your abilities a secret, or rather, out of the public's eye, I'd say you
probably don't want to proceed in that direction, right?"
think that would be a fair assessment of the situation," he replied with
a nod. Jim didn't like what had happened. His preference would have been to just
make it all disappear without a fuss. If he let this slide, the situation could
be uncomfortable for a bit longer and it might die down. But what if it didn't?
Did he really want to take that risk?
you want me to pursue them to stop making the game altogether, issuing a cease
and desist order, recall all the products out in the stores as of now, or just
use a different image, with your approval first?"
rather everything stop. But, I know that unless I want to bring more attention
to myself, we're going to have to play this one close to the chest. I would like
to see the name of the game changed, though. Is that possible?"
Capp stood up, offered her hand to Jim, who also stood up. He took her pro-offered
hand, again surprised by the strength of her grip. "Detective Ellison, I'll
call you on Friday with an update of everything. With any luck, the product should
be off the store shelves by Wednesday afternoon."
you. I appreciate your help and your discretion," he replied, relieved at
her thoroughness and promises of quick results. "We haven't discussed your
all right. Just check with Maria at the front desk and sign a contract for my
services. All the fees are listed there. And, no, you won't have a heart attack
at my fees."
went out the door, and heard a soft comment, meant for him only. "Oh, Detective
Ellison, send your friend, Mr. Sandburg to see me. I may be able to help him on
the attempted publishing of his dissertation."
didn't expect him to pop his head back in, but was gratified to see that he really
had heard her comment.
send Sandburg over to see you, soon," grinned Jim. He wondered if he should
warn her about Sandburg and table legs.
talk to you, soon," promised Ms. Capp with a smile.
The next two weeks went
by quickly. Monday evening proved to be comfortably quiet for everyone. Tuesday
evening, Jim, Blair and Cat got together to get a better understanding of areas
Blair should possibly consider investigating. Blair and Cat tried to coax Jim
into joining them in a meditation, and failed.
to her word, D. M. Capp called Wednesday morning to advise Jim that the game would
be pulled from store shelves by that evening. Thursday night the four went out
to celebrate the game being pulled from store shelves. Jim thanked Joyce for recommending
D. M. Capp, and strongly suggested that Blair follow up on the lawyers offer
to help him.
Jim and Blair joined Joyce and Cat at the Mariners game after miraculously coming
up with two pairs of tickets. Cat offered the other tickets to Simon and Darrell
with Joyces blessing. For the balance of her stay, when she wasnt
answering questions for Blair or as had started to become custom joining Blair
and Joyce in a meditation, Cat was kept busy sightseeing in and around Cascade
morning found Jim and Cat at the airport, waiting for her flight to leave.
being awfully quiet. Whats up? Tired?" asked Jim.
thought I could do this." she whispered, shaking her head.
what?" he asked with concern, noting the sadness in her voice.
closed her eyes, and sighed unhappily. "Reality just came crashing in. It
just started to sink in that in 7 hours, Im going to be 3,000 miles away,
and I dont know if Ill ever see you again. What was I thinking...."
same thing I was. In case youve forgotten, there were two of us," Jim
reminded. "Besides, its not if, its when."
looked at him. He had that look he gave her when he *knew* something she didnt.
me a favor -- take it easy on Blair with that...." she asked. Cat thought
for a moment and continued, "You know, I think thats the one thing
Im going to miss most. Ive never met anyone else who could weird me
out the way you do. And you take such delight in keeping me off balance, too."
the only thing youre going to miss?" he said feigning hurt.
likely," she responded with a gleam of devilment in her eyes.
course, Ill miss Blair and Joyce, too. But Joyce will be coming out to Toronto
in about a months time, plus were always on email and the phone to
each other...." she kidded.
thought you might like this." Jim pulled a small bag out of his pocket that
looked like it held a CD. "Something to remind you of Cascade when youre
back in Toronto."
not... is it?" she looked at him incredulously. "You sure you
want this out there? I figured youd be using it as a coaster or something."
Looking at it she realized that it wasnt even the same one shed originally
bought. Hed actually gone out and bought another one, before they had been
pulled from the shelves.
brought it to my attention, and helped me stop that little problem. I figured
you would enjoy it."
wow. I get to play Sentry all the way back to Toronto," she kidded
and they both laughed. "Unfortunately, it wont even come close to the
original. I cant even begin to imagine the look you got when you bought
it, or did you get someone else to pick it up for you?"
chuckled. "I bought it, with Sandburgs help. He knew where youd
picked it up. And yes, the cashier did a double take between looking at the jacket
of the CD and the customer who was purchasing it. I needed to keep the other one
on hand in case Ms. Capp needed any further information."
carefully tucked the game into her carry-on luggage.
the way Cat, do you remember the comment you made as you left the Major Crimes
office after we first met? About the big black cat?"
spirit animal? Yes. Why?"
just wondering, what does your mountain lion use for a litterbox and a
started to laugh. "Anything she wants too
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