DISCLAIMER: Karen Sisco and its all characters are property of Jersey Television. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Colors of the Rainbow
Karen bounded onto the fresh crime scene, hoping to catch sight of a certain redheaded detective. When the call had come into the office reporting the death of a highly sought after fugitive, the marshal had jumped at the chance to volunteer to go identify the body. She wanted to see first hand that Mark Mitchell was truly dead and having the opportunity to see Marley once again was just icing on the cake. The brunette stepped inside the circus tent with renewed hope; this time, if the detective asked her out, she wasn't going to hesitate to accept.
A pool of blood caught Karen's eye, and she visually followed the red trail to the edge of the ring. No wonder Mitchell had eluded the marshal's office so easily. No one would have ever suspected him of hiding as a clown.
A smooth voice from behind gave the marshal cause to smile. "Bozo should've fastened his seatbelt." Marley drawled, walking over to join the marshal.
Karen chuckled and focused on the little red car turned over on its side. Mitchell had apparently fallen out of the vehicle and hit his head on the corner of the cement blocks the circus was using to form their center ring.
"How in the world did you identify Mitchell through the clown makeup?"
"Fingerprints. Our crime scene investigators now carry portable units. The results are almost instantaneous."
Karen sighed in relief. "Well, that's good to know. I'd hate to have to wait around until your coroner finally managed to get all that goop off."
Grinning, Marley gestured to the dead man's big red shoes. "Hey, Karen? Do you believe all the assumptions about the size of a man's feet?"
The marshal looked down at the clown shoes, not able to determine exactly where Mitchell's feet actually ended. "Not really. Supposedly, size doesn't matter."
"Size is definitely irrelevant to me," Marley answered innocently, smiling as she studied the dead clown. "But, I'd never go out with someone who wore a red nose."
"So, if Mitchell's nose wasn't red, you'd go out with him?"
"If Mitchell's nose wasn't a red ball, AND, if Mitchell wasn't a male, then certainly, I'd at least consider it."
"So, if I were wearing a clown's nose, you wouldn't ask me out?"
"Karen, I'd ask you out even if you were wearing the whole costume, and I'd never make assumptions about your feet."
"Why, Marley, I didn't know you had a clown fetish?"
"I don't. I just have a Karen fetish."
"Oh, really. So, what do you think we should do about your problem?" Karen teased, enjoying the light banter.
"Hmm, maybe you could have dinner with me tomorrow night. I'm sure that would help."
"Sounds good to me. What time do you want me?"
'Anytime' hovered on Marley's lips, but the words never made it out as a patrolman stepped onto the scene, interrupting the final stages of their 'date making.'
"Detective Novak, the ringmaster said Mitchell had a beef with one of the other clowns. He's over by the tent entrance if you'd like to talk to him."
"I'll be right there." Marley waited until the young patrolman returned to his post before replying to Karen's question. "Seven would be good."
Karen smiled and nodded her approval. With a huge grin, Marley turned towards the entrance, and the marshal watched the detective walk away with an extra swagger in her step. Shaking her head, she moved closer to the body just as a small shadow cast itself across the red clown shoes.
Pivoting, the marshal came hip to face with a three foot midget. "I'm sorry, but this area is off-limits."
The little person looked at the body and then nervously glanced at the entrance to the tent. "I know, but you need to know that I heard Rufus the clown arguing with the ringmaster last night."
"Rufus?" Karen asked, looking over to find Marley deep in conversation with the ringmaster.
"Yeah, Rufus." The midget pointed at the body of Mark Mitchell.
Karen focused back on the ringmaster, wondering if his reference to the other clown was just a red herring.
Arriving at seven on the dot, Karen nervously straightened her jacket. She'd changed three different times and had finally settled on her current outfit, but only because she knew she'd be late if she changed again. Shifting the floral arrangement to her right hand, she lifted her left to knock on the door.
"C'mon in, it's open." The muted voice made its way to the marshal's ear following her three sharp raps, and Karen reached for the doorknob. Stepping inside, she found herself in an empty room.
"In the kitchen, straight back and to your right."
Karen shrugged and followed the detective's instructions, finding Marley chopping green peppers while managing to sip from a glass of white wine.
"Sorry, dinner's going to be a little late. I had to finish up the clown case."
Noticing a vase sitting on the top of the refrigerator, the marshal grabbed it and headed towards the sink, taking the initiative of putting the flowers in water.
Marley glanced up and smiled. "Oh, what a lovely arrangement. Why don't you put them on the table in the other room?"
Karen returned the smile and walked into the small dining area, placing the flowers in the center of the table which had already been set with china and silverware. Grinning, she turned to join Marley.
"Um, the table looks lovely."
Not missing a beat, Marley grabbed some green onions and proceeded to chop the leeks into tiny, even pieces. "Thanks. My mother wanted to be sure I was well-equipped to entertain. I'm surprised she didn't take everything back when I told her my dates would be female. She was upset to say the least, but she still maintained that I needed to make a good impression."
Both women laughed lightly as Marley continued to cut up the various vegetables until her concoction as she called it was placed in the oven. The detective poured a couple of glasses of wine and motioned for Karen to join her in the den.
Taking seats on opposite ends of the couch, Marley immediately noted Karen's slight nervousness and decided to put the marshal at ease by talking shop for a few minutes.
"We got the ringmaster. He'd sabotaged the car."
"I thought there might be something going on there. Did he give a reason?"
Marley folded her leg under her and leaned back against the couch's end. "He gave two actually. Which one do you want? Green with envy or the little green monster?"
"Hmm, envy, first." Karen matched the other woman's posture as she made herself more comfortable.
"It all had to do with the other clown, Bonzo."
Karen chuckled. "Bonzo, the clown?"
"Yep, it seems that Rufus, er . . . Mitchell, had a thing going with Bonzo. The ringmaster had been lusting after Bonzo for months and couldn't believe that Mitchell had waltzed in and taken him right out from under his nose. So, thus the envy."
"I imagine the little green monster reared its ugly head when he couldn't have Bonzo."
Marley frowned. "Sort of, I guess. Ol' Bonzo was quite the player. He got mad at Mitchell and broke it off for a couple of months."
"Ah, then he turned to the ringmaster." Karen guessed correctly, easily putting two and two together.
"Uh huh, but it was only to make Mitchell jealous. It worked like a charm, so Bonzo went back to Mitchell. Then the ringmaster came down with a case of the green disease, jealousy."
Karen sipped her wine, wondering what she would do if someone had used her in such a way. Of course, she'd never resort to sabotage or murder, but she imagined that she'd definitely find a way to exact some sort of revenge.
The marshal slowly relaxed as the conversation moved to a more personal nature, each feeling the other out as far as likes and dislikes and making mental notes as to what to strive for and what to avoid. The kitchen timer interrupted the casual banter, and Marley rose, extending her hand for Karen to take.
The brunette didn't hesitate to put her hand in the other woman's, allowing the detective to pull her to her feet and, together, the couple moved into the kitchen as Marley led the way, never releasing the marshal's hand.
Karen quickly decided that she may be green when it came to lesbian relationships, but she knew for certain that she wanted whatever Marley had to offer.
For several weeks, the couple spent time together whenever their schedules allowed; however, it seemed as if fate was working overtime to keep them apart. If Marley wasn't working a double, then Karen was being called away on assignment. The two had only managed two dates in the past twenty-one days and, finally, the pair caught a break and found a night when neither had to work.
Marley offered to cook her special lasagna, and Karen insisted on bringing the wine and bread. Everything was going according to plan until about an hour before the date. Marley had reached for her oven mitts just as the phone began to ring.
"Hello? . . . Oh, hey, Karen. I'm just adding the last layer of cheese. It'll be ready when you get here."
Karen grimaced on the other end of the line. "Marley, I'm so sorry, but Amos just called and I have to be at the airport in thirty minutes. Phil was supposed to escort a fugitive to Washington, and he's come down with the flu. I was next in the rotation."
"Um, okay." Marley replied in a flat voice, clearly disappointed that they'd been snake-bit once again.
"I'm so very sorry." Karen felt horrible. She knew how much they'd both looked forward to this evening, and Marley had spent hours preparing the meal.
Sighing, Marley attempted to sound more upbeat. "No, it's really okay. The lasagna freezes well. I'll just have a serving for dinner and freeze the rest until we can share it together."
Karen couldn't believe their bad luck. She was feeling more at ease with Marley and had hoped to finally be able to be more intimate with the other woman as they'd only held hands and shared a few very light kisses. Marley had been the perfect lady, not forcing Karen and allowing the marshal to set the pace.
"Okay, I should be back the day after tomorrow. Maybe we can get together then."
Marley promised to check her work schedule, and the two rang off. The detective sighed as she opened the oven to add the final touches to the meal she wouldn't be sharing with Karen. Two days seemed like such a long time.
A major snafu kept Karen in Washington for the next several days, and it appeared that she wouldn't be returning until the end of the week. The two women had shared a couple of phone calls, but both were becoming increasingly frustrated and disappointed as the days wore on.
Late one evening, Karen returned to the hotel exhausted and beyond pissed off at the bureaucracy of the marshal's office. The hotel clerk noticed the brunette's return and quickly grabbed the package he'd been holding. Dashing after the marshal, he caught up with her just as the elevator doors opened.
"Marshal Sisco, this came for you while you were out." The polite young man smiled as he handed the package to Karen, and she nodded her thanks as she stepped into the elevator. The clerk never saw the bright smile which crossed the marshal's face when she noted the sender.
Hurrying into her room, she ripped the envelope open to find a gold necklace with a deep blue stone attached. A note had fallen out of the package in her haste to get inside, and Karen picked it up to read.
"Karen, I know you're tired and upset with the way things are going so I thought I'd send you something to cheer you up. Indigo gemstones open the door to the subconscious, symbolizing the bridge between the finite and infinite. They are used as a guide to cosmic knowledge. I'm hoping it acts as a guide to bring you back to me soon."
Karen wiped the tear from her eye and gently placed the jewelry around her neck.
The setting sun reflected in the marshal's rearview mirror as she drove from the airport. Its warm orange color strangely acting as a calming force while having a stimulating effect as well. She'd never been so happy to be home in her entire life. Of course, Marley was working the next two days and was on call for the next three nights. Hopefully, nothing pressing would keep the two women from each other.
Detouring to the office, Karen wanted to check her work messages before heading home. She walked through the front entrance and headed for the elevators, catching sight of a tall redhead stepping into the car. The marshal picked up her pace, but the doors closed just as she made it to the bank of elevators. A second car signaled its arrival, and the brunette quickly stepped into it, hitting the button for her floor. She watched impatiently as the orange tinted buttons lit up with each passing floor.
Karen strode from the elevator the moment the doors opened. The smile that had been forming on her lips immediately fell when she noted the carrot top woman sitting on the edge of Phil's desk. Now, it was official. If she'd mistaken one of Phil's floozies for Marley, then she'd missed the detective much more than she realized.
"Hey, Karen. Sorry about the problems in Washington." The apology lost its credence when it was said with the smug grin the other marshal wore.
"Yeah, you look real torn up about it, Phil. By the way, you're certainly looking good for someone who's had the flu." Karen watched as the floozie placed a segment of an orange in the waiting marshal's mouth. The brunette was barely able to stop the grimace.
Phil swallowed the offering before replying. "Donita, here, nursed me back to health. It's amazing what vitamin C can do."
'Viagra probably helped, too,' popped into Karen's head, but aloud, she said, "Well, you owe me big time. The next despicable case that comes my way is all yours."
Donita fed Phil another section, and Karen immediately decided to forego checking her messages as she turned and headed back to the elevators. Pulling out her cell, she made an attempt to catch Marley at work.
An exhausted Marley lie in bed, tossing and turning; her days and nights had begun to run into each other, and her poor body had no idea when it was supposed to wake and when it was time to sleep. She had the mother of all headaches and had decided to try to sleep it off, but when she'd finally started to relax, a knock sounded at her door.
Frustrated, the detective pushed herself out of bed and marched to the door, unlocking the locks and throwing the door open without bothering to look through the peephole to see who was on the other side.
"What the hell do you want?"
A startled Karen dropped the bag of take-out that she held, and Marley winced. The marshal was the last person she'd expected. She just figured it was someone trying to sell her something or other.
"Damn, I'm sorry, Karen." The detective quickly leaned down to pick up the containers that had spilled out of the bag just as the marshal had the same idea. The collision of the two heads could be heard halfway down the block, immediately followed by twin retorts of 'shit.'
"Why don't you come on in before we kill each other?" Marley offered, rubbing her already aching head.
The marshal nodded and followed the detective into the apartment and directly into the kitchen. Marley took a seat at the table while Karen placed the food containers on the counter.
"I thought I'd surprise you. I called the precinct and your captain said you'd gone home early. I should've called." Karen offered in apology, kicking herself for not thinking her plan out fully.
"No, it's okay. I probably should eat something. I haven't eaten since breakfast. Um, if you can call a cup of coffee a meal, that is."
Looking in a nearby cabinet, Karen found some plates, and she made her way over to sit across from the detective. Marley smiled when she got a whiff of the Chinese food, and despite her headache, she managed to eat most of what the marshal had brought.
"Hey, there's still something in the bag. I thought you'd taken everything out when you got the plates."
Karen turned a nice shade of red and handed the bag over to the detective. Reaching inside, Marley frowned as she pulled out a couple of oranges.
"What are these for? Dessert?"
Karen suddenly realized that bringing the fruit had been a big mistake. She now knew why Phil was so enamored with the prospect of Donita feeding him, and the fact that her mental image shifted from an orange to a peach certainly didn't help her rid the erotic vision from her mind.
"Um, I thought that you might like some fruit is all."
"Okay, but for future reference, I really like chocolate."
Painting each other's bodies with Marley's favorite dessert pushed its way past the peach images, and Karen quickly stood. The marshal desperately needed to gain control of her libido; she'd never had such strong feelings before and, frankly, they were beginning to scare her. Turning yellow and running from the kitchen was looking better and better by the minute.
"Oh, you know what the absolute best is?" Marley asked, having no idea what was running through the marshal's mind.
"Chocolate, bananas, and cool whip; add a few chopped nuts and I'm in heaven."
Karen's eyes slammed shut. Sliced bananas, dribbles of chocolate, a dab of cool whip, and a nut or two stacked strategically on a certain body part, or make that two, of the detective was playing in Technicolor in the marshal's thoughts.
"Karen? Hey Karen, are you okay?" Marley's voice somehow made it through the private showing, and the marshal opened her eyes, daring to look at the concerned detective.
"Huh? Oh, yeah. I, um, just remembered something important I needed to do back at the office. And, er, you need your rest and all, so I think I'll just, um, go and take care of it. I'll call you in the morning."
Before Marley could ask a single question, Karen had bolted from the room as she practically ran out the door, leaving a confused detective behind. By the time the marshal had reached her car, another use of the banana had filled her thoughts. She quickly jumped in the vehicle and drove away, turning the radio up and singing along with the inane tunes to keep the images at bay.
Marley, on the other hand, hummed to herself as she filled a small bowl with banana slices. Topping the fruit with chocolate, cool whip, and nuts, she smiled as she gave into her craving.
Fate once again kept the two apart. Marley was assigned to a stake-out and had drawn the short straw. She had the pleasure of watching the suspect from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. which left little time for the women to spend any time together, much less quality time. Even the phone calls were too few and far between.
"Hey, Karen. You've been moping around for the past few days. You're not coming down with something are you?" Amos asked as he passed the marshal's desk on the way to the elevator. He'd noticed that Karen had been unusually quiet lately, but now, the brunette was beginning to look ill.
"Oh, hi, Amos. No, I'm okay; I'm just getting my cases in order."
The superior turned and walked back to the marshal's desk. Karen hated paperwork, and if she was voluntarily finishing her reports, then something was definitely wrong.
"You know you can talk to me about anything, don't you, Karen? I know your dad's out of town on business, so if you need someone to confide in, I'll be happy to listen."
The marshal looked into concerned eyes. "I'm just a little down right now, Amos, but, things will get better."
"Ah, man trouble. Don't get all sad and blue over some idiot who doesn't realize what a catch you are. He's not worth it."
Karen smiled. "It's not a man, Amos; however, I'll be sure to remember your advice should I have trouble in the future."
The older man patted his marshal's hand. "Alright, but my offer still stands. My door is always open."
"Thanks, Amos." Karen watched her superior turn and walk back towards the elevator. Turning to her computer, she continued to update her files. She had to get out of her funk before all her cases were complete.
The chirping of her cell saved the marshal from finishing her current file, and she opened the phone with a flip of her wrist. "Sisco."
"Hey, marshal. I've got the night off. How'd you like to grab a pizza and meet me at my place?"
"I'm on my way." Karen positively beamed as she shut down her computer.
Marley met the marshal at the door and, not wanting to chance another interruption, she cupped Karen's face with her hand and leaned forward. The detective took control of the kiss and slowly slid her tongue into the other woman's mouth. Karen almost dropped the pizza on the floor, but this time, it wasn't because of surprise.
When the two parted, brown eyes melted into blue ones as a smile graced each woman's face.
"Well, that was the best hello I've had in quite some time." Marley grinned widely and took Karen's hand, leading her into the room where they'd spent most of their time together, the kitchen. The detective secretly hoped to introduce the marshal to another special room soon.
The couple enjoyed a pleasant meal and conversation without any interruption from the police department or the US Marshal's office. Remembering the last time they'd sat in the kitchen, Marley also steered clear of any talk of her favorite dessert.
After rinsing off the dishes, the two moved into the den. and Marley switched on the television before joining Karen on the couch. However, when the pair had gravitated towards each other, the TV was long forgotten.
The light easy kisses rapidly shifted into quite the make-out session with Marley once again allowing Karen to take the lead, but when the marshal moved to straddle Marley's lap, the detective fought against every instinct she had to just take the other woman right then and there. Instead, she reluctantly pulled away, needing to be certain that this was truly what Karen wanted.
"Wait just a second, Karen."
The marshal groaned a protest and stubbornly tried to follow the other woman's lips; however, Marley placed a hand between their bodies to ward off the attempt.
"Whoa. I need to ask you something."
"Can't it wait?" Karen moaned pitifully.
"No, not this time. I need to know that you're not rushing into something you're not ready for."
Karen leaned back and looked into deep blue eyes. "Marley, trust me when I say, I'm more than ready."
The detective stared into dark eyes, looking for any sign of hesitation, but the only thing staring back at her was obvious desire. Smiling, Marley turned and gently lay the marshal down on the couch.
Karen reached up and pulled the other woman down on top of her as the two resumed their passionate kisses and, the next time Marley pulled away and looked down at her soon-to-be lover, there were no questions asked; both women simply rose and silently moved into the bedroom. The detective's earlier wish to introduce the marshal to another special room had come true.
At the height of their passion, Marley hovered above Karen and locked eyes with her lover. The once blue eyes of the detective had turned a deep shade of violet as the two fell over the edge together.
The marshal snuggled into Marley's side as the redhead wrapped protective arms around her. Karen sighed contently. She was no longer chasing rainbows, trying to find the elusive relationship. She'd finally found her pot of gold in Marley.
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