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.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Debbie


The sound of two women laughing could be heard across the store floor.

Marley looked to the dark haired woman standing at her side and smiled.

"So, what do you think of this one; it'd look good with all our appetizers?"

"All our appetizers? Who are you kidding? We'll be lucky if there's a canapé or two," the dark haired beauty replied sarcastically.

"Yeah, but they'd look good on this tray." Marley teased.

The brunette laughed and pointed to a pretty blue pattern. "That's Delftware, isn't it? How about something like that?"

"Oh, come on Susie, you're a highly successful career woman, not a little old lady of European descent."

Susie laid her head on Marley's shoulder, batting her eyelashes, and speaking in a squeaky high voice. "Ah, but I won't need to be a career woman soon; I'm going to be a lazy kept woman."

"You're as much a kept woman as I'm a beach attendant."

The two women were so intent in each other's company neither saw another dark haired beauty, watching them with barely concealed contempt.

It had nothing to do with the fact they were two women, Karen Sisco thought, it was the fact it was Marley and another woman other than her, and a beautiful, tall woman at that. Ever since the night they'd eaten clams together and Marley had asked her on a date, Karen had harboured dreams of a making a go of things with the gorgeous detective.

She knew she'd put her foot in it when she'd told Marley she was already dating, and a man at that, but since then, she'd thought she'd let Marley know she was indeed interested. After all, she didn't go on regular dinner dates with any other member of Miami Dade's police force.

Too late, she realized Marley had spotted her and was beckoning her across.

"Hey Karen, fancy meeting you in here. Come and help with this decision, please."

Karen walked across slowly, all the time eying the brunette woman closely. She was nearly as tall as Marley and had the most amazing green eyes shining out of her tanned and healthy face. She hated to admit it, but this woman was probably everything Marley had been searching for, and she'd hedge her bets that she could cook.

"Susie here thinks that Delftware would look good in her new fancy-schmancy kitchen; tell her that career women need geometric strong patterns, plee-ase." Marley's last please was obviously a plea to prevent the pretty pottery from entering her kitchen.

Susie smiled towards Karen as she said, "So, um…"

Marley interrupted. "Oh, I'm sorry, Susie Brown meet Karen Sisco; Karen meet Susie."

"So, Karen, could you tell Marley Novak that we women don't need to be thugs all the time; we can be soft, like pretty things, and still be strong."

Marley laughed and pulled Susie into her side. "I know you're soft and pretty, don't I? I'm letting you decorate the kitchen with no interference from me; I'll just carry the boxes."

Karen's eyes flickered between the two women, begrudgingly entranced by their obvious comfort in each other's company and, it appeared they were moving in together. Damn, she really had blown it. She thought back over the last few months and really couldn't remember Marley ever mentioning a Susie at all. They'd talked about the fact Marley just had the one brother left, having lost her parents a few years before, but no girlfriend.

Lost in her thoughts, she didn't hear everything Susie was telling her and almost missed her shy question. "Would you like to join our Christmas party on Saturday evening? It's going to suffice as a housewarming party too, so it'd be good for Marley to have some of her friends there."

Karen looked towards Marley, stunned by the eager, expectant look in her eyes. Despite her reservations, that look stopped her refusing.

"Yeah, I'd love to."

Saturday came and nearly went before Karen plucked up the courage to make her way to the address Marley had slipped into her hand at one of their joint cases the day before.

Walking up the condo steps, she was shocked by the style of the new apartment. Marley's old place had been old-style; this was modern and very white. It seemed totally alien to how Karen saw the police officer.

She knocked loudly on the door and smiled as Susie immediately opened it.

"Karen, it's lovely to see you, please, come in. Marley's in the kitchen whipping up some of her specialty eggnog to go with the mince pie, but you may know one or two of the other police officers."

Karen followed Susie through to a large den, seeing the largest mince pie she'd ever seen, sitting proudly on a large Delft patterned serving plate, in the middle of a heavily laden food table. She sighed, she's just known that Susie would be a great cook.

Looking further around the room she was surprised to see that she did indeed know a few other people. Susie directed her towards the drinks' counter, and a voice she'd never dreamt to hear broke through the crowd. Phil was bouncing towards her with a big grin on his face.

She quickly turned away and started a conversation with the nearest Miami Dade officer she recognized. Luckily, Lucy Daniels was a wonderful conversationalist, and before she knew it, half an hour had passed; Phil had disappeared, Susie was holding hands with a tall red-headed guy, and Marley was just about to reach for her hand.

"Karen, thank goodness you've arrived, I've been waiting for you; let me introduce you to the man in my life."

Karen's eyebrows almost reached her hairline as Marley pulled her towards the man holding hands with Susie.

"Steve, this is my good friend, Marshall Karen Sisco; Karen, this is by brother, Steven Novak, realtor extraordinaire to the rich and famous. Hence, this apartment." She swept her land lavishly around the room and then pulled Susie into another hug. "And this, as you already know, is my gorgeous sister-to-be; the woman that's made my brother the happiest he's been in years."

Karen's mouth dropped open; how stupid could she be?

Later, after spending a few moments talking to the happy couple, Marley and Karen were standing in the moonlight, sipping at Marley's intoxicating alcoholic-eggnog, looking out over the ocean waves. Karen turned to Marley and said, "You okay?"

"Oh, yeah; I was just thinking about Mom and Dad and how proud they'd be of Steve right now."

Karen smiled. "They'd be mighty proud of you, too, you know?"

"Yes, they would." Marley agreed.

They stood there in silence, just enjoying each other's company, when, suddenly, Marley began to laugh.

Karen couldn't help asking. "What's wrong now?"

"You; you were jealous, weren't you?"

"Me, jealous? No."

"Yes, you were; you thought me and Susie were moving in together. Admit it, you; I have my spies you know."

"Hmm, Phil Cavanaugh, I'll kill him."

Marley laughed. "So…"

Karen thought about denying it again but decided she'd had enough of being jealous and took a step into the unknown. "Yes, I was jealous. I wanted it to be me choosing hideous blue patterned crockery with you, is that bad?"

Marley laughed again. "No, not bad at all; you know something?"

"Go on."

"The thing that would make my parents most proud right now would be for me to share hideous blue crockery with someone like you."

This time, it was the sound of two different women's laughter that echoed across the floor.

"So, Karen, wanna get dinner tomorrow night?"

Karen remembered her last answer to the very same question, making sure this time she got it right.


Marley grinned and reached out to shake Karen's hand; it was obvious she remembered that conversation, too.

"You know something, Sisco; we're going to make good partners."

The End

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