DISCLAIMER: Characters belong to Fox and Jerry Bruckheimer.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Billie climbed into her car and locked the door. Just for a minute. Just to catch her breath. Just to breathe.
She looked in the rear-view mirror. Flashing lights, blue attack suits, one blonde head, tilted defiantly, being ducked inside a non-descript car. Billie clutched the steering wheel, held the air inside her lungs until they ached, then let it out in a sob.
The car pulled slowly past, Billie watched her own reflection in the smoky windows. If Sara was looking, at least Billie couldn't tell.
Billie waited for the squad cars to leave before starting her own car. She needed to drive. Away. Fast.
Her phone rang, and she glanced at the caller ID. Deaq. She shook her head. Not now. Not now. Not. Now.
She put the car into second gear and let out the clutch, lurching forward.
Four hours later, she was just outside Salinas and in need of a restroom. Pulling into a quickie mart, she shut off the engine, and in the silence, she could hear her phone beeping from the crevice between the passenger door and the floor, where it had slid during a particularly quick turn. Or, where she had thrown it.
Placing a soda on the counter, Billie asked for the bathroom key.
The attendant looked at her, ran the tip of her tongue over the tiny silver loop in her bottom lip.
"It's out of order," she said.
Billie watched the girl's tongue and thought of Sara.
"Fuck," Billie said.
The girl shrugged.
Billie went to the coolers, returned to the counter with a twelve pack. Threw in a pack of gum.
Back in her car, Billie turned the key and the radio came on. Opening a beer, Billie set the cold bottle between her legs and leaned back against the seat. The song was something old, something 70s, with long stretches of guitar, lyrics about some lost love living in a cave or on a mountain or something. Billie listened and drank, trying to concentrate on the bass bumping through her speakers, the cold rim of the bottle against her bottom lip, the greenish glow inside the car from the dash lights, the way the traffic sounds sped up as they drew near the parking lot, then seemed to slow once they'd passed. She tried to keep her mind moving, never stopping too long on one thing. And never on one thing in particular. Sara. Two things. How much she Billie had fucked up.
Leaning forward, Billie pulled another beer from the bag and twisted off the top. The cap cut into her finger and she sucked at the blood. It hurt a little. Which felt good. Pressing the finger against the cold wet glass, Billie tipped the bottle and drank down the beer in quick, short swallows.
Pulling a third bottle from the bag, Billie twisted off the cap and took a long drink. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and then emptied the bottle. A voice, close, next to the car, and Billie opened her eyes. It was the girl from the store, standing between Billie's car and a red Datsun, keys in her hand, talking to another girl in the doorway of the store.
Billie watched the way the hem of the girl's shirt brushed against the top of jeans, slung low on her hips, and an image of Sara her jeans, her hips, the smile that had been on her face, in her eyes as she'd watched Billie looking at her hips cut through the detective's fogging thoughts. It hurt more than just a little. And it didn't feel good at all.
Four more beers later and Billie was still listening to the radio she knew the song, something-something, love-something and tried to remember if she'd ever heard that one part of the song, a kind of high, steady beat, almost in time with the rest of the song, but not really, and was it her speakers, and maybe she should get a new sound system for the car, one that sounded less tinny, less like a
"Cellphone." Billie took hold of the steering wheel with one hand and pulled herself up, patting her thigh, her ass, her waist. Twisting slightly, she tried to feel the other side of her body, but she couldn't reach, and this seemed funny to her. Laughing, she let go of the steering wheel and felt the seat next to her, pushing the bag with beers across the smooth leather. The ringing stopped and Billie nodded, watching as her hand scrambled up the side of the bag and dropped down inside, returning a moment later with another beer. The ringing started again, and Billie's hand seemed to hesitate. Then, after setting the beer between Billie's legs, the hand moved to the floor, sweeping across the mat at Billie's feet. Pressed sideways against the steering wheel, Billie heard a horn honk and straightened quickly. Looking around, she saw no other cars in the parking lot.
On the radio, a new song started Billie liked this song and she was reaching for the volume knob when she heard oh right, she was looking for her cell phone, and she reached across the passenger seat and felt in the crevice between the seat and the door, her fingertips grazing the plastic casing.
Leaning back, Billie stared at the display, the name flashing in time with the music.
"Billie, it's Deaq."
There was pause on the other end of the phone. Then,
"Where are you?"
"In my car," Billie said.
"Where, in your car?"
Billie nodded. "Um." She shifted in her seat, and looked back toward the road. There were billboards, speed limit signs, traffic lights. No street sign. "Um."
On the other end of the phone, Deaq's voice sounded distant. "Van, turn on the tracking." Then, his voice closer. "We'll find you, Billie. You need to come in. They're wanting to release Sara from the hospital in the next twelve hours and if you're not there, the D.A.'s not likely to honor your deal."
The cellphone suddenly felt too heavy.
"Did you hear me, Billie?"
Billie shook her head. Anything with the word Sara in it, she definitely could not hear, couldn't bear to hear.
"Can't what, Billie? Hear me?"
"Billie, the D.A. says "
In the distance, another voice. "She's in Gonzales. Off the 101."
"Billie, I get it if you're worried about seeing Sara, but if you don't come in, she's going to go to jail."
A car pulled into the space beside Billie's. A woman got out, pushed the seat forward and two kids climbed out.
"Jail's bad," Billie said. "Bad for Sara. Bad. For Sara."
"Yeah, yeah, it is," Deaq said slowly. "Um, Billie, are you okay?"
"Sara can't go to jail."
"Right, right, she can't. So you have to come back."
"I can't," Billie said.
"You just said "
"I mean I can't drive."
"Oh. Oh! Alright. We'll come get you."
"In the helicopter."
"Right. But, um, Billie, we don't have a helicopter."
"Get one," Billie said.
She hung up the phone, turned up the radio and opened another beer.
Sara lay in the hospital bed and tried to decide what was worse the dull throbbing ache in her arm, or the dull throbbing ache in her belly.
"Nurse!" Sara yelled at the door. The blue uniformed guard looked in through the window then spoke to someone Sara couldn't see. A moment later, the door swung open and a dark haired woman stepped into the room. Stopping at the foot of the bed, she folded her arms across her chest and gave Sara an expectant look.
Sara shook her head and sighed.
"Don't they have any red-headed nurses around here?"
The woman moved to the monitor near Sara's head and checked the readout.
"Or, hey, what about a male nurse? They've got male nurses, right?"
"Did you want something, Ms. Mathews?"
The woman's voice was calm, quiet, like a certain cop Sara knew. A cop, for fuck's sake!
"My arm's killing me. I want some more medicine," Sara said.
The woman shook her head.
Sara held up her hands. "That's it? 'No'? What the hell kind of bedside manner is that?"
The woman shrugged, then turned on her heel and left the room, closing the door firmly behind her.
"Fine, then!" Sara yelled after her. "I don't need anything from you people anyway!"
Lying back against the pillows, Sara turned and stared at the window, a mirror in the brightly lit room showing the young woman back to herself.
"And some of us are trying to sleep here! Do you think we can turn off the freakin' lights!"
The door clicked open and a large hand snaked in and slapped the light switch, then slid out, the door clicking behind it.
"Thank you," Sara mumbled.
As her eyes grew accustomed to the dimness, Sara watched the city slowly come into view. For a moment, she wondered if Jill was still out there, but she knew better.
"You're too smart for that, Jilly."
Sara's stomach twisted.
"Not like some people," Sara said. "God, I'm such an asshole! How could I fall for a cop?" She covered her eyes with her good arm. "Oh, no. Don't you cry! That's stupid. You're stupid. She's stupid. This is all stupid and fucked up and Christ, Billie, why did you have to be a cop?"
Sara swiped at her eyes and turned back to the window and watched as a tiny light moved across the night sky.
Deaq sat on the jump seat next to Billie.
"So look, why don't you wait a few hours, and then go talk to her."
Van leaned across Deaq. "Yeah, maybe, I don't know, sober up a little bit."
Billie shook her head, then instantly regretted it.
"Nope. Won't do it then," Billie said.
Deaq rubbed a hand across his face. Hadn't he known this whole Billie and the lesbians thing was trouble? Hadn't he said that? But had anyone listened to him? No. Van had been so busy thinking about a little 'girl on girl action', and Billie well, Deaq had thought Billie was busy thinking about that too. But now. He looked at his boss. There was something different in her eyes, something non-alcoholic, and now, Deaq wished they could all go back to something as simple and inane as Van's 'girl on girl action'.
Van tapped the window. "We're here."
Deaq watched the rapidly rising rooftop and when the aircraft settled onto the tarmac, he reached into his coat and pulled out a pair of dark sunglasses.
"Wear these. At least until you make it past security. And whatever you, don't breathe on anyone."
Van pushed open the helicopter door and jumped down. Raising his arms, he caught Billie as Deaq lowered her toward the ground. Taking a second to steady herself, she started for the double glass doors at the far end of the roof, moving in an almost straight line.
"Good luck, boss," Deaq said as they watched Billie disappear inside.
"She's gonna need it," Van said.
Sara heard the voices outside the door, one low, one higher, then the click of the knob and Sara watched a figure step into the room. A woman, a nurse maybe, different than the one from earlier, but still dark-haired. Christ, how much more was she supposed to take?
"Leave the lights off."
The voice, gravelly, sexy, caught Billie off guard. She leaned against the wall, just inside the door, grateful to do exactly as Sara asked. The walk through the brightly-lit hospital had been agony, and Billie wasn't sure she would have made it without Deaq's sunglasses. Maybe, in hindsight, that last beer in the helicopter hadn't been such a good idea. Taking a breath, she pushed off the wall and took a step into the room.
Sara sat up. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
Billie winced, both at Sara's words, and their volume. Near the bed, there was a chair, and Billie eased along the wall until she reached it.
"Why are you here, Billie? Why do you think I would ever want to see you again?"
Sara's tone was sharp, but there was something else, something that Billie should have been able to put her finger on. Maybe Deaq's suggestion that she wait to see Sara hadn't been such a bad one.
Billie swallowed. "They're letting you out soon."
"If I'm not here, they'll arrest you."
Sara lifted her chin. "And again, so? Wasn't that the whole point of whatever the fuck you've been doing this past week?"
Billie leaned back and rested her head against the wall. The cool concrete felt good against her scalp, and for a moment, Billie wondered if there was an empty bed nearby. When she lifted her head, she saw Sara watching her, and the look on the young woman's face nearly broke her.
Sara opened her mouth, then closed it, then opened it again. "No? You sound like my fucking nurses. No, what? No, that wasn't the point? What was the point, Billie? Were you just satisfying a little curiosity? Something you could go back and share with your boys?"
Billie tried to think of something to say, but she couldn't focus on Sara's questions. Instead, her mind seemed stuck on the images those questions had evoked images of the way Sara had moved beneath Billie, the way the woman had sounded, and smelled, and tasted.
From the bed came the sound of sheets rustling, then Sara was suddenly in front of Billie, her hands on the arms of the chair, her eyes inches from Billie's dark glasses, her nose almost touching Billie's nose, her breath warm on Billie's face. Then, just as suddenly, Sara leaned back.
"Are you drunk?"
Billie looked at Sara, the expression on the younger woman's face gentling.
"Very," Billie said.
For a moment, the only sound in the room was the humming of the hospital equipment. Then Billie felt herself being pulled to her feet, drawn to the bed, and wrapped up in two long arms.
As the initial relief of being horizontal passed, Billie felt the length of Sara's body against hers, breathed in Sara's scent.
"Oh, god, Sara." Billie pressed herself into the young woman. "Why are you being nice to me?"
Billie felt Sara's shrug, then the younger woman's arms tightened around her.
"Same reason you're drunk."
Billie shifted so could see Sara's face, her eyes, that grin. Smiling, Billie reached out and gently tapped a finger against Sara's collarbone.
"And why is that?"
Sara reached up and touched a finger to Billie's finger, then ran it slowly across the detective's hand and down her arm, stopping at the pulse point on the detective's throat.
"Because we're crazy about each other."
Billie could hear the smile in her own voice.
"Are we now?"
Sara nodded, her grin widening. "Oh, yeah," she said. "And against our own better judgment, not to mention everyone we know."
Billie heard the truth in Sara's words, but the young woman's smile, her voice, her warm body wrapped around Billie made the detective not care against her better judgment.
"So tell me, Billie Chambers I mean, Detective Chambers how is it that you came to be so drunk?"
Billie smiled again and laid her head on Sara's shoulder.
"I drank a lot of beers."
Sara laughed, and Billie tried to remember what in her life she had ever done to deserve this woman and her forgiveness.
"And then you drove here? Isn't drunk driving against the law, Detective Chambers."
Billie nodded, Sara's skin smooth and soft beneath her cheek.
"That's why I took a helicopter."
To Be Continued
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