Crossing the Line - Part Five
Written by M. the Cat
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. The characters belong to their various creators: Buena Vista Television / The Walt Disney Company and The Gargoyles Saga, and they are used without their express knowledge or consent.
Authorís note: The following is based on the Madame Destine story "Kaleidoscope Eyes" and follows the introductory chapter "Prelude" and the stories "Pushing Back the Shadows", "Plausible Deniability" and "Smoothing the Water". However it isnít set in the universe of Madame Destine or any other ficverse. It occupies a place and time of its own.
Thanks to Mooncat for setting me off on this little tangent.
* * * * *
"Stop doing that!" Elisa protested, though she was smiling as she held me at armís length. "Weíre supposed to be talking, not kissing."
She had a point but so did I. "Body language is a recognized form of non verbal communication," I countered. "They teach it at the academy, remember?"
Elisa got a funny look in her eyes and the next thing I knew I was lying on my back trapped against the sofa, my chest pinned by blue-jeaned knees and my arms held locked over my head. "They teach self defense, too. Do you want a demonstration of some of the more aggressive forms?"
I grinned up at her enjoying the view. "Maybe later."
She smiled back, dropped her knees to straddle me just long enough to tease, then swung her legs free. She took up a spot far enough away from me on the couch to let me know that for now, playtime was over.
I sat up but I didnít pursue her. "Okay. So where do we take it from here?"
She gazed at a point somewhere mid-distance between the coffee table and the front door, thinking. Finally she said, "I donít know where. But I know how. Slowly."
I couldnít help a discontented moan and she reached out and gave my hand a sympathetic squeeze. "For a little while. We have to find a way to tell Goliath and Sara."
She was right. It wouldnít be fair to start our new life together until we were free to do it properly.
"Then youíll marry me?"
Elisa stared at me wide-eyed. Her jaw actually dropped. I guess I canít blame her. I didnít mean to speak out loud, I was thinking it and it just sort of slipped out.
"Marry? Matt. I-"
Her phone rang.
* * *
My hands were shaking but I managed to get my cell phone out of my pocket before the call diverted to the message center. "He- Hello." My voice wasnít quite working right. I took a breath and tried again. "Maza. Captain!" I mouthed at Matt "Itís Captain Chavez." My heart started to race. "Yes, Maíam?"
I listened and as a wave of relief washed over me I began to tremble. Matt was looking at me with concern. He mouthed ĎThe shooting?í I nodded and returned my concentration to keeping from dropping the phone. "Yes, Maíam. Thatís wonderful news. No. Iíll see you tomorrow night."
I disconnected. I couldnít help a yelp of joy. "Weíve been cleared!" I hugged Matt. "The review board is calling it a clean shooting."
He kissed me. "Thatís great! "
I kissed him back. "It gets better." I still couldnít believe the news. "Hastings Senior, after conferring with his priest, his lawyer and the head of his charitable trust, decided to endow a fund to provide for the widows and children of his kidsí victims."
"So, no wrongful death action?"
"Nope. No lawyers." I kissed one cheek. "No lawsuit." I kissed the other cheek. "And best yet - no trial. Marcus Hastings decided to cop a plea."
Matt scooped me into his lap. "Funny how the kidís defiance fades when daddy withdraws financial support." He ran a hand over his face and I could see tension fade from his eyes. "I take it he decided he wouldnít pay for Juniorís lawyer?"
* * *
She nodded and started to explain further just as my phone rang. Knowing it was probably the Captain with my reinstatement notification I dumped Elisa gently out of my lap onto the couch and hustled to grab the kitchen extension. My enthusiasm faded. It wasnít the Captain. It was Sara. I glanced at Elisa, turned my back and lowered my voice. "Hi honey. Howís California?"
She told me it was fine. The conference was great, but she missed me terribly. Her tone got coy and when she told me sheíd found something special for me while shopping on her lunch break I found myself nervously twisting a loop of spiral phone cord between my fingers.
"That sounds great," I said. "I canít wait to see what it is."
I thought about telling her straight out what was going on but then I realized breaking up over the phone, especially with Sara over two thousand miles away, would be a crummy thing to do. "Youíll be home soon, right?"
I wanted my freedom to be with Elisa but I wouldnít have it until Sara returned to New York. She promised she was taking the first flight after the conference ended the next day.
"Iíd love to talk more, Sara, but Iím expecting a work call. Iíve got to hang up."
She sounded disappointed and said she needed to get going anyway. I felt guilty when she whispered, "I love you."
I dropped my voice, hoping that to Sara it would sound intimate but more importantly, so it wouldnít carry to Elisa. "I love you, too." Sadly, I realized it wasnít a lie, but what we had between us wasnít enough either.
I hung up and the phone rang again. This time it was Chavez. When she gave me the news I pretended to be surprised. My eyes were still on Elisa and it was clear that something was bothering her. I waited impatiently for the Captain to finish her congratulations and hung up as soon as I could.
"Sweetheart, whatís wrong?" I crossed the few steps to Elisa and dropped onto my knees next to her. She shook away the arm I tried to put around her.
* * *
"Nothing," I said. But then I reconsidered. "That call from Sara. Weíre going to have to be really discreet until weíre ready to come clean about this. We canít afford to slip up. I donít want to end up like Bella."
I held out my hand to Matt and he gave mine a reassuring squeeze. We werenít the first cops to graduate from partners to lovers. "Donít worry," he said. "Weíll handle this better than Smith and Flores."
"I hope so." Bella Smith and Mike Flores had been partners on the dayshift robbery squad and Matt and I had shared cases with them. They were a good team with a high solve rate and both had been earmarked for bigger and better things. They were also dating on the sly.
One day, at a crime scene, Mike had been so involved in his investigation he slipped and made the mistake of calling Bella Ďbabeí in front of their Lieutenant. Bella tried to explain it away as a stupid nickname riffing Babe Ruth, but no one, including the Lieutenant, bought the weak explanation. They were split up, sent to other precincts and while Mike seemed to suffer few repercussions, Bellaís career had stalled.
"I guess I should start looking at the job postings," I mused, trying to recall the notices on the bulletin board. I liked working nights. I liked working Robbery but anything that kept me working the streets was good. "I could take Lieutenant Parker up on his offer to transfer to Vice."
Matt frowned. There was more to the Vice Squad then prostitution stings and busting pornmongers, but those details seemed to make up a disproportionate share of female officersí assignments. I could tell he disliked the idea before he protested, "You hate Vice. How many times have you told me all the guys on that squad are pigs?"
"Too many," I admitted.
He frowned and it both amused and annoyed me that he was trying to come up a nice safe post for me. I considered suggesting SWAT, just to see the reaction it would provoke.
"What about Corporate Crime? I hear Palmerís looking for another detective."
I shook my head. Their brand of cat and mouse paper chase bored me stiff. "Thatís more in your line. Besides thatís dayshift. Weíd never see each other."
"Only for the short term. Tell you what," he said. "Iíll sound out Palmer about a transfer. Then in a couple of weeks, you can ask Chavez about switching to day watch."
It sounded like a good plan and I nodded. "Okay."
I got up suddenly feeling confined. I barely had time to wrap my head around the idea that Matt and I had were going to be a couple and now he wanted to plan our futures. I snagged my keys off the coffee table.
"Elisa, hey! Where are you going?" Mattís confusion was understandable. I was feeling confused myself.
"Home." He got up and followed me. I turned and gave him a quick, fierce, hug. "You really give a girl a lot to think about."
Matt kissed the side of my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. "I was hoping youíd stay."
He kissed the other side trailing the tip of his tongue from my earlobe to my collarbone. Reluctantly, I slipped from his embrace. I misjudged my footing and stumbled over the edge of the wool area rug. Matt steadied me as a regained my balance and extricated my keys out of my hand. "Let me drive you home."
I was feeling the effects of the wine. "All right."
We held hands all the way back to my apartment.
* * *
Iíd spooked her. It seemed obvious. The minute I blurted my impromptu proposal I think everything hit home. I was asking her to change her life for me. Not just the complicated relationship she had with Goliath and the clan, but her career, everything. It was easy for me. This had been the stuff of my fantasies for a very long time and I was prepared to chuck everything to live my dreams.
I parked the car in the underground garage and walked her to the elevator. When the doors closed I slipped my arms around her slender waist and kissed her once more. She smiled at me and it warmed me down to my toes.
We kissed again at her door - a long slow promise of things to come. When she finally broke it off and went inside I had to lean against the wall for support. It took a good five minutes for my knees to quit shaking.
* * *
It felt early. I glanced at the kitchen clock as I refilled Cagneyís food and water dishes and confirmed my impression. It was just closing on 8:30.
I made myself a cup of tea and flipped on the television surfing until I found an old and unrecognizable movie. Cagney settled in on the couch next to me. I picked him up and cuddled him to my chest. Clever thing that he is, he looked up at me with large green eyes and touched a paw to my cheek as if to tell me it would all work out for the best.
I had gotten used to the idea that I had feelings for Matt but I was still sorting out what those feelings were. I liked him that was certain. He was smart, funny and warm. We understood each other on an intuitive level, which was why we were such good partners.
The physical attraction, now that I was permitting myself to notice it, surprised me in its intensity. The touch of his hand was enough to send shivers running all over my body. His kisses drove me wild. Just knowing that he wanted me was a potent feeling and I began to realize how difficult these next few weeks might be.
"We needed to take it one step at a time," I said to Cagney. I promised myself we wouldnít rush the journey.
It wasnít easy, but I put my thoughts of Matt aside and concentrated on the movie. It was new to me, but vintage 1940ís. I quickly fell into the story as I sipped tea and spent some long needed quality time with my cat.
There was a tap at the balcony door.
I was engrossed in the black and white drama and the sound startled me. The sight of Goliath startled me more. Feeling unmistakably guilty, I got up quickly to let him in and dumped Cagney from my lap. He hissed his discontent as I got to my feet. I unlatched the slider and Goliath stepped inside.
The skin around his eyes was tight and his jaw was set in the way it got when he was disappointed in the actions of one of the younger clan members. He hadnít spoken and yet I already felt chastised. "I must have misunderstood your message, Elisa. I thought you said you were working a double shift, yet when I called the precinct they said you were taking personal time."
It was barely twenty-four hours into my affair with Matt and I was already caught in my first lie. "I got suspended and I didnít want to talk about it."
The disappointment turned to concern and he took a step toward me. "Why?" he rumbled. "What happened?"
I sighed. It was old news, Iíd been cleared and I wanted to put it behind me. I kept my reply to the point. "There was an incident last night. A cop and a couple of suspects were killed. I shot one of the perps."
He nodded. There was a look of grave understanding in his depthless eyes. "I saw coverage of the shooting on the news this evening. It said the police officers involved were exonerated."
"So they said tonight." I walked into the kitchen and put the kettle back on. "Last night and today were a different story. Up until a couple of hours ago I was under a police review board microscope and the family of the shooters was threatening to sue everyone from the city on down."
Goliath waited until I took another cup from the cupboard and made a fresh pot of tea. He followed me into the living room and took his favorite chair. "You do not seem pleased."
I poured his tea, topped off my own mug and sat back down on the couch. "Iím ecstatic." I could hear the impatience in my voice and took a deep breath. "Sorry. Iím not very good company tonight."
He sipped at his tea and I could feel the tension building in me. Goliath was a good man. He was noble, he was kind, he let me see the world new through his eyes and for that I would always be grateful. The truth was, I would always love him. But recently, he had changed.
The gargoyle council had taken much of his time and it had challenged his idealism. The other clans plotted and schemed. They craved power and position. Various counsel members ridiculed Goliathís ideas of peaceful co-existence between humans and gargoyles at every turn. He was becoming increasingly frustrated and that frustration he often vented at me. We were fighting more and making up less. My mother said it was a phase, but I wondered.
I felt suddenly annoyed with Goliath for interrupting my evening. Then I found myself irritated for feeling annoyed. Suddenly I was exhausted. It took more energy than I anticipated but I got up off the couch. "Iím going to take a shower and call it a night." I didnít wait for his reply as I stalked into the bedroom. I grabbed my pajamas out of the dresser drawer and took them with me into the bathroom.
For the second time that day I washed Mattís scent off my skin and watched the soap bubbles carry evidence of our encounter down the drain. My shoulders felt knotted. I directed the spray to beat down on them, closed my eyes and counted backwards from one hundred. I didnít start to relax until I reached twelve. I realized I had treated Goliath shabbily. Feeling contrite, I shut off the taps, toweled off and slipped my nightshirt over my head.
I donít know why I was surprised, but Goliath, instead of taking my not so subtle hint to leave, was sitting in bed reading a book on negotiation strategy. His loincloth and belt were folded neatly on the table next to him. He looked up as I entered. "You require diversion, my Elisa. I shall provide it." He set the book down on top of his clothes and as I crawled into bed next to him, he shut off the light.
I let him hold me. I let him make love to me. I couldnít help the tears that spilled from my eyes as he smiled down on me in the darkness and I pressed my face to the pillow to hide them.
"Goliath?" I wanted to ask him if he loved me enough to set me free, but the words wouldnít come.
"What, my Elisa?" he prompted.
"Nothing." I caressed his temple and he held me until I fell asleep.
* * * * *