DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way, shape, or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: thanks to Ralst for setting up this ficathon and making me write this pairing Iíve wanted to try for ages, and, as always, thanks to my beta readers for the help and encouragement.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: I donít do 18ís very well, hope this is ok?
CHALLENGE: Written for the Dead of Winter ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Little Deceit, A Little Effort, and a Beautiful Friendship
By Debbie

 

So, Karen, are you seeing anyone at the moment?

Karen remembered Marley's words, the gorgeous smile, the twinkle in beautiful blue eyes, and the cute nibbling of her bottom lip as she hinted at what she really wanted. And Karen had been tempted, but, as always, had fallen back on the old cliché of 'yeah, I'm already taken'. Only she wasn't and, the more she saw of Marley, the more she wished she'd taken a chance.

And there she was, Marley Novak, with that same gorgeous smile, that same warm blue-eyed twinkle, and the cute lips, staring intently into a gorgeous female's eyes, and it wasn't Karen.

Karen sighed.

Marley had been nothing but honorable. Since the night Karen had turned her down, she'd said nothing more. Oh, they'd been on a few nights out, wonderful nights out in fact; great company, exhilarating conversation, and the building of a treasured friendship. Not once had Marley suggested their nights out were a date. Not once, despite subtle hints from Karen that maybe she should.

No, Marley had quite carefully stayed away from the idea of any romantic notion in favour of developing the friendship, even introducing Karen to her most recent dates; not flaunting her relationships with women, but just accepting that Karen was her friend, and therefore, shared her life.

She'd even been more than pleasant with Karen's colleagues; Phil Kavanagh was smitten, and Amos Andrews was forever requesting the detective give assistance on one of their cases. Even her dad was enraptured by the tall woman. A few drink fuelled poker nights had been shared between Detective Novak and the older Marshal Sisco.

It appeared everybody thought Marley was perfect, including the young woman sitting across from her.

Once again, Karen sighed. She'd assumed this was going to be a friends only evening, not a meet my new girlfriend evening.

The marshal stopped thinking and crossed the dance floor towards her friend.

"Hey Marley. Sorry, I'm late, got caught up in some paperwork. Have you been here long?"

"Um, about half an hour, but that's okay. It gave me a chance to catch up with Calleigh here. Calleigh Duquesne meet Karen Sisco; Karen meet Calleigh."

Calleigh smiled at Karen and held her hand out in greeting. Karen took the hand offered and tried to smile in return, but her lips refused to turn upwards. She hoped the look on her face just looked like one of perplexion as she tried to recall where she knew the blonde haired woman from; she was pretty certain Marley hadn't dated her before tonight.

Marley recognized the perplexed look and decided to help Karen out.

"You know Calleigh, I think; she's one of the CSI's we work closely with. You must have seen her at some crime scenes."

Karen nodded and moved to sit across from Marley in the booth. As she did so, Calleigh got up to leave. Nodding to the two women, she said her farewells.

"It was a pleasure, Karen. I'll call you later, Marley. Take care now."

Karen watched the woman leave with a barely concealed look of contempt on her face, and Marley grinned to herself; if her eyes didn't deceive her that was pure green eyed jealousy on Karen's face. It appeared her slow gentle seduction of Karen's friends and family was working like a charm. It was only a matter of time.

Karen took a sip of her waiting drink and tried hard to enjoy her night with Marley, but try as she might, the night had gone flat. Thoughts of Marley and Calleigh on the phone later were haunting her mind. She finally admitted to herself she was jealous, and more than anything, she was angry that Marley was so noble. Who, if they were interested in another, would take 'no' as an answer? Who, if they were as strong and assertive as Marley Novak, went down without a fight?

Suddenly, Karen came to a decision, and she grinned. If Amos Andrews thought that pissed off Marshals didn't do good work, he was wrong. This was one Marshal who refused to play the game; she was pissed, and she was going to do her best work; she was going to get Marley.

All she needed was to find a way to coax Marley to ask her out again.

Of course, there was only one way to play this game, Phil Kavanagh. He was entranced by Marley; one word of encouragement from Karen, and he would be camped out on the detective's doorstep waiting for a date.

It was easy.

"Phil, Marley was saying the other night how much she enjoys the Dolphins and how much she needs tickets for the next home game. Didn't you say a friend of yours could get tickets? Can you get me a couple so I can take her to the game?"

Karen knew Phil well enough that the tickets would stay in his pocket, and he would invite Marley along. All Karen had to do was to make sure she was somewhere nearby when he asked.

Sure enough, two days later, Marley was in the neighborhood and had stopped by to chat with her friend, and as was her habit, she leaned against Karen's desk.

As always, Phil started to approach the two of them, only this time Karen could see the two game tickets sitting proudly in his hand.

Marley looked up in disgust as he called her name.

Phil ignored Karen and leapt into his spiel, "Karen tells me you're a Dolphin's fanatic…"

Marley glanced at Karen, a look of exasperation on her face. Karen smiled angelically.

Phil waved the tickets in front of Marley's face, "… I have two tickets for this weekend's game. How would you like to join me?"

This time Marley glared at Karen.

"Um, well…"

Before she could get past the stuttering stage, Karen quickly interjected, resting her hand on Marley's knee, and smiling apologetically at Phil, "Oh, that's a shame. You won't be able to take Phil up on his kind offer."

Marley was stunned, unsure just what was happening. "I won't?"

"No, you won't. That's the night you're taking me to Twist."

"I am?"

"Yes, you are."

Karen stood up to leave, leaning over to whisper in the detective's ear, "Let's just say, it's about time you did ask me again, ok," and then she walked away with a deliberate swing of her hips, leaving a stunned Marley to fend off an inquisitive Phil since both he and Marley knew that Twist was a known gay bar in Miami.

Once again Marley grinned, the seduction had definitely worked. Despite her success, as she watched the woman of her dreams disappear towards the restrooms, she vowed to make her pay for that little stunt with Phil.

Eventually, after taking nearly half an hour to convince Phil that a night on the town with Karen was far more enticing than a night watching the Dolphins with him, Marley found Karen lazily leaning over the vanity countertop.

She sauntered over to the marshal and put a hand on either side of the counter and resting her chin on Karen's shoulder, she asked, "So, Marshal Sisco, will you go to Twist with me or were you just being a lifesaver out there?"

"Yes."

"Yes?"

"Yes, I will go to Twist with you, and yes, I was being a lifesaver; to Phil."

Marley smiled and released Karen from her light hold. The two women shared a laugh at Phil's misfortune.


The following weekend found Marley and Karen at Twist, having a good time, and happy in each other's company.

Karen watched Marley standing at the bar, tall and dominant in a beautiful, but simply stated, black dress. The woman was gorgeous. Karen admitted she, too, like all her friends and family, was smitten.

Marley turned towards Karen, but obviously caught sight of someone else, because she raised her hand in greeting to an area behind Karen.

Karen turned to see Calleigh Duquesne dancing closely with a taller brunette. Her insides twisted; surely Marley hadn't arranged to meet Calleigh here as well.

"Doesn't it bother you?" Karen couldn't keep the disgust out of her voice.

"What?"

"Your girlfriend making out with someone else right under your nose?"

"Huh?" Marley sighed at her inability to understand a word Karen was saying. "You were making out with someone while I was at the bar?"

Karen was so busy being hot under the collar, she missed Marley's attempt to diffuse whatever situation was arising, and continued with her inquisition.

"Calleigh, over there on the dance floor." She indicated back over her shoulder. "Doesn't it bother you?"

"Why should it bother me? She's not my girlfriend."

"Not your girlfriend? What was that the other night then, a quiet night out with a friend? You two were practically canoodling on that sofa before I arrived to split you up."

"Huh? Oh, then, she needed to talk, and did you hear the music, you couldn't…," Marley stopped her explanation, seeing the green-eyed monster shining clearly on Karen's face. She decided to tease the marshal, that joke with Phil had been more than enough to warrant payback.

"Hey! If I didn't know better I'd say you were jealous. Are you?"

"Yes."

Karen's honesty surprised the detective. "You're jealous. Really?" Seeing a nod from Karen, Marley burst into loud, delighted laughter.

A sigh came from the other side of the table. "What's so funny?"

"You, being jealous." Marley reached to take Karen's hand. "I don't think you realize just how much it's cost me to make you say that. Damn, it's been hard work. First, your dad plays a mean hand of Texas Hold 'Em, and second, Amos owes me big-time for some of the shit he's put me through. But, do you know how much it costs to take a different woman each week to the movies, or to a bar, or to a show, and to know you have no intention of cashing in on the money spent, just so you can make this gorgeous woman finally turn her head and see you?"

Karen was stunned. If she was hearing this right, Marley had played her like a fiddle. "All the time I thought you were being noble and chivalrous, you were plotting how to get me into your bed?"

"Well, I wouldn't quite put it like that, but into my life, yeah, pretty much so."

The dark haired woman stood from her seat and wandered round to sit on Marley's lap, "Well, I'm not happy at all. I'm not sure I can ever forgive you the deceit. How do you intend making it up to me, huh?"

"Um, how about I start by taking you to the most expensive restaurant in Miami, and then we hire a boat to sail out into the wide blue yonder?"

Karen leaned forward and rested her lips against Marley's. "With champagne and oysters?"

"Uh-uh," was Marley's succinct agreement just before Karen stole her first kiss from the detective.

"Not good enough." Karen drew back a little and licked her bottom lip.

"Um, how about a vacation, my folks have a villa in Greece; I could take you to see all the sights, all the majestic buildings, and most of all, we could get to know each other without distractions."

Karen kissed Marley again. "Getting better. Anything else?"

Marley chuckled, leaning in to steal a kiss of her own. "I'll take you home to my place, cook you the best Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo you've ever tasted, then lay you back and personally feed you grapes, until you beg me to stop."

"Now, that's more like it..."

The heated kiss Karen initiated between the two women was obviously the start of something so much better than a friendship that Karen pulled away, reluctantly, to whisper hesitantly, "… in fact, why wait until tomorrow? Take me home, Marley."

Marley guided Karen into a standing position then stood beside her, wrapped an arm protectively around her waist, and led her outside towards her waiting car. Opening the car door for Karen, she brushed her lips against Karen's cheek and whispered, "Are you sure?"

Karen dropped into the car seat, looked up into Marley's anxious eyes, and answered in the only way she knew. "I'm more than sure."

As Marley walked around to the driver's seat and slipped in beside Karen, a large grin split Karen's face as she remembered a situation the two women had shared previously.

"But I still don't have a way with children."

Marley's laughter was infectious and worth all the effort both women had put into this moment.

The End

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