Parenthood, Adam/Kristina, Spring 2012
The first time Adam ever lays eyes on Kristina, she's sitting on the bench in the old wooden phone booth in the basement of the student union, and she's crying.
"Oh," he says, immediately and profoundly embarrassed. It's Crosby's birthday; he's supposed to drive back over the bridge for dinner but he doesn't know what time they're going to eat. "Sorry. I--I'll come back."
"No, no, it's fine." Kristina--and he doesn't know that her name is Kristina yet, only that she's beautiful and upset--shakes her head, scrubbing at her face a bit with a wad of grayish tissue. It's October of 'eighty-six, and Adam is nineteen years old. "I'm the one who should apologize. I'm not even using the phone."
“It’s okay,” he tells her quietly. He takes a step back, no sudden movements. It feels like trying not to spook a deer. "Are you all right?"
"Oh, you know," Kristina shrugs sort of helplessly, mascara running down her china-doll cheeks. She’s wearing a Laura Ashley dress, the kind Sarah is always making fun of. "I'm great."
Adam feels his eyebrows knit together, something fusing deep inside his chest. "Me too," he says inanely, feeling like a moron. “I’m great.”
Kristina smiles like the fog burning off in the morning. Adam never makes it home.
Rookie Blue, Sam/Andy, Summer 2011
High summer and they argue all the the way back from a domestic in Wychwood Park, the pitiful AC in the cruiser all sputter and wheeze. Sam rolls down the windows, uniform shirt sticking damply to the small of his back. From the highway the skyline is washed in the purple-red sunlight of late afternoon, the smell of hot pavement and exhaust; in the passenger seat McNally sighs noisily, fidgets for a minute, sighs again. Finally Sam rolls his eyes.
"Christ, McNally, can you cut it out?"
"I'm sorry!" she says, in a voice like she's actually not sorry at all. It's like this with her lately, like they’re baiting each other on purpose. Sam doesn’t really know what that’s about. "It's like a thousand degrees in here."
"Yeah, well, if you quit twitching around like a goddamn ferret in a wool sock, maybe you wouldn't be so hot."
McNally throws her head back and laughs in that way she does when something really tickles her, henweighs and hambulances, all cackle and white teeth: Sam guesses she isn't pissed at him anymore, although really who the fuck knows. "I can't help it," she says. "It's so uncomfortable. Don't you ever get uncomfortable all buttoned up in your uniform all day? It doesn't exactly, you know, breathe."
"Right." Sam rolls his eyes and gets off an exit earlier than usual--there's a shortcut he likes back to the 15 at this hour, over through the warehouse district--less traffic, fewer lights. "Maybe you should set up a meeting with the Commissioner, see if you can't get them to start ordering blues from Abercrombie and Fitch."
"Abercrombie and--you are such an old person sometimes, you know that?"
Sam ignores her. "You got twenty minutes 'til shift change. Think cool thoughts."
"Mm-hmm." McNally, who's ignoring him right back, unbuckles her seatbelt and goes to work at the buttons on her uniform shirt, shrugging out of the thick polyester and shoving it up onto the dashboard, little white tank top and black sports bra underneath. Samfeels his eyebrows shoot up.
"The hell are you doing?" he demands.
"Relax over there, will you?" McNally shrugs. Perspiration shines on her collarbones and with the movement he can smell her, vanilla and something a little sharper, Andy at the end of the day. "We'll be at the barn in ten minutes. I'll put it back on if we get a call."
Sam swallows, glances over at her (curve of a shoulder, the freckles on her arms; he tells himself it's nothing he hasn't seen before), back at the empty road. "It's against regs."
"Since when do you care about what's against regs?"
Since right the hell now, is the answer to that question, but that doesn't really feel like something he can say out loud, so. "Put your clothes back on, McNally," he mutters.
"Make me," she says immediately.
Sam slams on the brakes.
The cruiser screeches to a halt in the middle of the road, outside a closed seafood packager and an abandoned coffee shop with a sign glowing neon in the purple light. McNally gasps. He looks over and she's staring at him, mouth open, like she just got a hell of a lot more of a reaction than she was expecting (and, well, yeah, he guesses she just did). He can see her ribs expand and contract with with the force of her breath.
Sam gazes back, patient. He can feel his own heart beating inside his chest. They're right up against the line, here, both of them, and she's engaged and she's his rookie and he respects the hell out of her, truly, but she's a good cop and a smart girl and Sam doesn't think for one second that she doesn't pull this shit with him on purpose. He doesn't think for one second she doesn't know.
"Why?" she says again.
"You know why."
Sam shakes his head, and he's so angry and he doesn't even know at who. "This is high school shit, McNally. Come on. I'm not doing this with you."
Sam shrugs. The skinny strap of her tank top is slipping down her arm and he hooks it with one finger, hesitates for a second because he honestly can't decide what direction to pull it. McNally has gone very, very still. He's looking down at her shoulder and her shirt and the place where the edge of her bra meets her skin, and when he glances up her wet mouth is right there and he thinks he's surprised at the enthusiasm with which he hates everyone and everything in the GTA.
The radio crackles to life in a burst of static. Sam laughs.
"That's why," he tells her roughly, and slams the car back into drive.
Rookie Blue, Sam/Jo, Summer 2011
He takes off around twelve-thirty, sandy-eyed and aching, blood still caked under the nails of his thumbs. He looks in on McNally before he hits the road.
“You need anything?” he asks, hovering in the doorway, machines beeping shrilly like tiny electric shocks. Sam really, really hates hospitals. They give him the creeps. “You hungry?”
McNally looks up and blinks for a second, like she forgot anybody was here. She’s crying again--or still, he guesses. She looks about thirteen years old. “No,” she says, after a minute. “No, I’m okay.”
She’s full of shit, but what’s he going to say to that? In the end he just nods and lets her be.
He’s almost to the truck when somebody calls his name, the hollow click of boots on the pavement behind him. Sam stops and turns around.
“Swarek,” Jo says again, across the parking lot. The blue hospital lights cast haunted patterns in her hair. “You wanna get a drink?”
Sam feels his eyebrows go up, startled. That is...a really terrible idea. He gazes at her for a minute, blonde head cocked to the side like a challenge. She looks like maybe she got shot, too.
“Yeah,” Sam hears himself tell her. “Yeah, okay.”
So, for those of you playing along at home. That’s how it happens.
“This is fucked up,” she mutters later, standing barefoot in his gutted house and yanking his undershirt out of his pants. “This is totally fucked up, right?”
“Oh yeah?” Sam asks, playing dumb, grinning. “Why’s that?”
Jo looks at him and laughs.
The Good Wife, Will/Alicia, Winter 2010
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is the truth: they never slept together at Georgetown.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate (the truth is a slippery bastard, any lawyer worth her hourly can tell you that). They slept together all the time: nursing hangovers on the futon in her apartment and for twenty minutes at a stretch in the library before finals, the beep on his digital watch startling them awake. Those bizarre few weeks in the spring of their second year when he crashed in her bed more often then not, limbs sprawled all over the mattress like he was making some claim without actually making it, the smell of his skin on her sheets.
They never had sex.
Allow her to rephrase.
The Good Wife, Will/Alicia, Fall 2010
She’s been working at Lockhart Gardner for a month or so when he takes her to meet with a client at Crest Hill. It’s dark when they leave to drive back to the city, late fall, the air with that cold damp bite in it, and they blow a tire on some back road before the highway. They bounce around for a second, skidding a little, and right away his arm does that thing where it goes out to brace her. Alicia gasps.
“Shit,” Will says when they come to a stop on the side of the road, no particular temper to it at all. Mostly he’s just looking at her like he’s kind of concerned. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she says (though her heart is pounding a little and she doesn’t know if it’s the shock of the motion or the way he reached out and grabbed her—it’s just that he’s been so courteous with her until now, so carefully respectful, like she’s got a six-inch forcefield of propriety around her everywhere she goes). “You?”
“Yeah, yeah, totally.” They get out to survey the damage, standing side by side on the side of the road, wind ruffling his hair just the slightest bit. She’s spent the last couple of weeks careful not to look at him for any obvious length of time but the truth is she’s just so curious, like she just wants to get a good stare in and be done with it. Mostly he looks the same but a lot older in a way that suits him, like he’s grown into himself. There’s a furrow between his eyebrows when he’s thinking that never used to be there, back when she used to spend a considerable amount of time doing things like watching him think.
So, the car.
“I’ve got triple A,” Alicia says. “I can call.”
“Goddamn, Mrs. Florrick.” Will glances her way, smirks a little. “You really have gotten soft in your old age, huh?”
“What?” she asks, kind of offended. “I have not!”
“Sure,” he says, shrugging out of his suit jacket and rolling up the sleeves on his dress shirt. “I’m just saying, I have a distinct memory of offering to help you change the tire on that piece of crap hatchback you used to drive at school and getting a lecture on the Equal Rights Amendment for my trouble.”
“I’m not saying I don’t know how to change a tire,” she shoots back. Mrs. Florrick, good Lord, she still hasn’t gotten used to hearing him address her that way. She doesn’t love it, actually. “But if you recall, I was probably wearing some variation on holey jeans and Doc Martens at the time. It was my auto mechanic phase, sartorially speaking.”
“Yeah,” Will says, and his head is buried in the trunk digging out the spare so she can’t see his face, but it doesn’t sound like he’s making fun of her anymore. “I recall.”
He gets the tire changed in what feels like record time (she remembers this about him, how he used to be handy with things, leaky faucets and the sketchy wiring in her apartment, but she guesses she just assumed he grew out of it like they grew out of other things, grew into new ones. It’s funny, kind of, like finding a note you wrote to yourself in a previous life) and he drops her off at her car without further incident, promising to let her drive next time. They’re friendly, Alicia and Will. It’s casual. It’s nice. Still, a couple of days later he’s in her way in the kitchen and instead of just waiting for him to move she squeezes past him, two hands on his back and a quick apology, his heart beating under her palms.
SVU, Elliot/Olivia, Fall 2008 (Post-“undercover in the women’s prison”, I guess?)
Three sessions in and the shrink asks about the men in her life.
“The men?” Olivia asks, stalling. Her gut reaction is why, what have you heard, but that kind of talk makes therapists think you’re paranoid. She shrugs. “Nobody special, really.”
Two weeks without pay, is how long he’s suspended. Olivia works with Fin. She likes Fin; Fin has always struck her as someone who has his shit well and truly figured out. They don’t talk very much, but that’s fine.
She wonders about Elliot. A couple of years ago she would have showed up at his house—she did, actually, that time with the kid and his father, when he and Kathy were separated and everything was weird and fraught-- but she thinks those days are mostly over now. There are lines.
She joins a survivors' group, which makes her feel even more like a dumbass, but a couple of weeks into it she's sleeping four hours a night instead of one which she guesses means it's working, depending on what your definition of the word working is.
The therapist (Audra, Audra, the therapist's name is Audra) wants to know: "When you listen to those women tell their stories, do you think they're idiots for what happened to them?"
Olivia rolls her eyes. "Of course not."
Two nights after Gitano and the warehouse she drove to the shitty apartment he was renting in Woodside, sweating inside her enormous black coat. “Can we talk about this?” she asked, when he opened the door. He looked like he’d had a hole punched through his chest.
“I keep thinking about you dying,” he said.
Olivia gripped the doorframe. “Wow, Stabler,” she managed. “You really know how to sweet-talk a girl.”
“Shut up,” he said, stepping forward into her space so that she instinctively backed up, let him in. “I’m not kidding.”
She swallowed. “I know.”
The next morning she went to Cragen and asked for a new partner, feeling (it sounds hilarious now) that would somehow fix things.
She starts going to a six am yoga class, as long as she's already up. One morning she is staring at herself in the big mirror running along the wall, practicing being a tree, when it occurs to her that she stopped recognizing her own face long before Seaview.
She loses her balance, swears.
"Relax, Olivia," says the instructor. "You're doing fine."
The last time—and this is horrible, this is so fucked up—was right after the baby was born.
She was sitting on her sofa with the remote and a cup of chamomile, vaguely achy from the accident. He let himself in with his key.
"Hey." Olivia blinked. She was not expecting this. She'd spent all night talking herself down after that scene in the hospital, framing it in her mind as the end of something that was only ever half-formed anyhow. Trying to make her peace. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know." He was pacing, caged. "I don't know what I'm doing."
No shit. She stayed where she was, on the couch. She was dating Kurt at this point, had actually slept with Kurt the night before--but it, honestly, it wasn't even a question. If Kurt had been at her apartment in that moment she would have told him, albeit nicely, to scram. "That's okay."
"I just--I can't—I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a dirtbag.”
The Office, Jim/Pam, Spring 2007
The thing about living alone is that when you go to make a sandwich and realize the jar of mayonnaise is empty, you have no one to blame but yourself.
It’s the same with peanut butter, Pam supposes. Or ice cream. Or the dozen containers of mixed-berry yogurt that she got on sale at the Stop and Shop. Still, there’s something truly disgusting about the notion that she has, over the last couple of months, consumed 14.8 fluid ounces worth of egg yolks and vinegar. She tries not to think about it.
In any event, she’s sitting in the break room eating her mayo-less sandwich (there was some slightly questionable hummus in the back of the fridge that she used instead, and it’s actually pretty good) when Jim ambles in, cameras a couple of steps behind him. “I need pants,” is what he says.
“Pants?” Her gaze flicks downwards, then back up again, even though she could clearly see he was wearing a pair, it was just an instinct, but she knows the camera caught it and they’re going to make a thing of it, she’s sure, like how they pan to her every time he talks to Karen or pranks Dwight or breathes air, like her life is one long reaction shot. “What’s wrong with the ones you have on?”
“I mean, nothing,” he says, pulling out a chair and sitting down across from her, unwrapping his ham and cheese. “Except that they’re one of exactly two pairs I own that don’t have enormous blue splotches all over them.” He makes a Jim Face. “There was an incident involving the washing machine and some Dockers with a pen in the pocket.”
“Ouch,” Pam says carefully. He’s been doing this lately, running hot and cold, chatting with her like it’s normal until one of them says the wrong thing and suddenly it’s not. “Mass casualties, huh?”
“We observed a moment of silence this morning,” Jim confirms. “You were in the bathroom. Anyway, now tonight I’ve gotta go shopping for khakis, which, I’m sorry, are about the most depressing thing on Earth that a man can set out to buy.”
Pam shakes her head. “Adult diapers.”
“Tube socks,” he counters.
“A nesting set of Tupperware bowls.”
“Okay, so, the fourth most depressing thing.” He laughs. “Hey, wanna come with?”
“To buy pants?” she asks too fast. Because the thing about Jim Halpert is that he hasn’t asked her to do anything in nearly a year, and she forgot how good his face is when he smiles, his hair all messy and weird.
“Is that…I mean, is that cool with Karen?”
For a moment she’s afraid that today it’s her turn to ruin it, to invite the inevitable awkward badness, but Jim just nods. “Yeah, why not?” he asks, all innocence, and Pam realizes that Karen doesn’t know, and she almost says she’s sorry, she can’t, she’s got a thing tonight. Because Pam likes Karen, actually. She does. She thinks Karen is smart and dresses nicely and seems to really have her shit together, and Pam would like to be her friend except.
“Okay,” she says. “Yeah, I can do some pants-shopping.”
The cameras catch them leaving together. Karen, as it turns out, had a dentist appointment and left at three.
They drive to a strip mall off the highway that is anchored by a Kohl’s on one side and a Sew Crafty on the other. “Art supplies first,” Pam decides.