A/N: This is the result of a prompt given to me by ymmat09.
Jess turned from the answering machine and eyed the redhead then asked, “So, who is Calleigh?”
Dana smiled. “Calleigh Duquesne. She’s a young police officer I met a couple of years ago in New Orleans on a case. She was really sharp and on the ball, and expressed an interest in forensic work. She’s really good with firearms – can out shoot anyone I’ve ever known.”
“Yep. We’ve kept in touch, mainly through email but also by occasional phone calls. When she kept getting turned down for transfer at NOPD, I told her about the fairly new forensics lab in Miami – really nice set up. So, she left New Orleans, moved to Florida, and got the job at the crime lab and loves it. Anyway, she’s got some vacation time she’s taking soon and said she’s going to be in the area, so I told her call and we could get together while she’s here. That’s why she called.”
“Is she pretty?”
An auburn eyebrow arched. “Why?” she asked, not sure she liked where the conversation was going.
Jess shrugged. “Just a question. It sounds like this Calleigh made quite an impression on you.”
“I like her, and I think you will, too.”
“I’m sure I will. So, what is she like?”
“Young, smart, energetic, a real go-getter.”
“I look forward to meeting her.”
They didn’t talk about the Calleigh or her phone call the rest of the evening.
Tired, Dana fell asleep kind of early on the couch. When she woke up a couple of hours later she found herself in bed… alone. She got up and went to the bathroom.
The redhead stood in the entrance to the living room and simply observed her lover, the TV casting coruscating light and shadow across her thoughtful features. Jess was beautiful and looked younger than she was – especially when she was relaxed and smiled. She watched as nimble fingers and knowing hands finished cleaning her service weapon and reassembled it. After tucking it back into its holster, Jess turned her attention to her backup weapon, field stripping it and repeating the ritual.
Watching Jess clean her weapons reminded Dana of Calleigh Duquesne, the firearms and ballistics expert. In appearance she and Jess were opposites, light vs. dark, blonde vs. brunette. And while it seemed the blonde was always smiling, Jess’s smiles were fewer, but more precious, transforming her features.
In other ways, the two women were similar. Calleigh was quite a bit younger, but Jess didn’t look her age. They both seemed so full of life and energy; both were consummate professionals and experts in their chosen fields; and both were completely dedicated to the job and to doing the right thing. And suddenly Dana felt a knot in the pit of her stomach.
She had been hit with a rough bout of the flu recently, and, as usual, barely gave herself a chance to recover from it, refusing to let it get the best of her. She pushed herself back to work when she needed rest more than anything. And work had been so busy lately. She was constantly fatigued and had no energy for anything other than surviving each day. Which meant it had been a while since she and Jess had made love.
Dana turned and retreated to the bedroom. She looked in the mirror above her dresser and took in her pale and drawn features. She looked, and felt, a lot older than her years. And she certainly didn’t feel attractive. Suddenly she wasn’t so sure she wanted Jess to meet the young and vivacious, southern blonde… she certainly couldn’t compete with the younger woman.
Jess looked up and gazed at the empty doorway for several moments. She quickly reassembled her backup weapon and put it away.
Suddenly Jess was there, slipping her strong arms around her from behind, and holding her so close and lovingly. Their eyes met in the reflection of the mirror.
“Have I told you lately how much I love and adore you?”
Gazing into Jess’s sparkling grey eyes in the mirror, Dana felt her own blue ones sting and become watery. She lowered her eyes, closing them and taking a slow, deep breath. She felt vulnerable and exposed… raw; her normal confidence and sense of self-worth escaping her. She loathed feeling this way.
Jess gently turned her around by the shoulders so they were facing each other. With two knuckles she lifted Dana’s chin up so she could look at her face. “Hey, what’s wrong?” Dana’s blue eyes opened and Jess was surprised at the emotions she saw in them.
“I don’t know. I…” She swallowed around the lump in the throat. “I guess I’m just feeling a little out of sorts.”
The brunette enfolded Dana in arms and held her close. “I’m not surprised. You never did take enough time off when you were sick, and you’ve been working long hours since you went back. You must be exhausted.” She felt Dana’s hold on her tighten, a silent acknowledgment. “Look, it’s Friday and we’ve got a three-day weekend. What do you say we go away, somewhere quiet and relaxing where we can leave everything and everyone behind for a few days?”
“I think I’d like that.”
“Okay. Let me make a couple of phone calls. In the meantime, why don’t you draw a hot bath and try to relax. I’ll join you in just a few minutes.”