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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Lee/Allison, MA
Tell the Truth
piratemistress wrote in lee_allison
Title: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Fandom: Medium
Pairing: Lee/Allison, assumes Joe/Allison
Spoilers: Not really any, set mid-Season 2
Rating: MA (!)
Words: 5000
Disclaimer: Don’t own these fictional characters. Making no profit. The musings of my imagination.
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Mega-Disclaimer: The fine writing of the actual show and the accomplishments of the real Allison Dubois make me pretty intimidated to even imagine the events as written below between the fictional characters. No disrespect or infringement is intended. This was just a what if? flight of fancy in my head. Anyone else who enjoys imagining along similar lines is welcome to read. I make no profit.
Also, I am seriously terrified of ghosts, and I sincerely hope the spirits the real Allison Dubois has connected with and the fictional ones from the TV show don’t simultaneously converge and blow out my computer for setting my naughty imaginings to paper.
***      ***      ***
In the car with Lee, she reflected on the irony of their situation.
He was a skeptical, confirmed bachelor and she was a good-natured, loyally married woman with one foot in this realm and one in the next. It seemed miraculous that they could inhabit the same room and have a productive conversation about a case. Even after two years. And if he did flirt, it was innocent, and just part of establishing rapport. At least, that was what she told herself at first.

 Things like what he’d just said in passing in the car, after a Christina Aguilera song had come on the radio.
“Yeah, she’s popular. You know, they say gentlemen prefer blondes.” A beat, a grin. “Course, no one’s ever exactly called me a gentleman.”
She knew better. Of course she did. And if he’d thought about the fact that she was a psychic, for crying out loud, maybe he would stop going to such lengths to keep up the outward appearance of innocence.
The irony of his statement was, that, in fact, the opposite was true: Allison was quite sure that Lee Scanlon had quite a thing for blondes, at least, as long as she’d known him, and that if anyone were to ask her if she thought Lee a gentleman, she would have said, “And how.”
Because being a gentleman wasn’t about wealth or flowers or holding out chairs. It was about respect. And she knew – she knew – that he thought about her, often, sometimes with clothes, sometimes not, but he always forced himself away from those thoughts when she was near or they were at work. She could even sense his guilt, because he knew she was married and didn’t care to objectify her. When his hand brushed hers, or when her shoulder rubbed lightly against his chest as he held the passenger side door of the car for her, she could feel his longing. Longing, and guilt.
Perhaps “longing” was too sentimental a word. Desire. Arousal. Heat. Incredibly powerful, erotic energy. Just as suddenly followed by the guilt. Mostly his. A little bit hers.
And he never touched her, never drank too much around her, never put any kind of move on her. If she weren’t, well, herself, she honestly might never have known. She felt utterly safe with him. And a bit flattered. Disconcerted, but flattered. She knew he’d had sexual fantasies about her with varying frequency over the last couple of years, but had never acted on a single one. He never said anything disparaging about her husband, her family life, or her work. He was totally professional.
Even if she were inclined to thank him for keeping his hands to himself (wasn’t that to be expected, anyway?) she couldn’t. Because she had to pretend she didn’t know.
***      ***      ***
They were on a hunt for evidence tonight. The suspect was in custody, and Lauren Benson’s brutally stabbed body had been found. They needed more evidence to have the charges hold up in court, and they needed it tonight, before the time elapsed that D.A. Devalos could hold the suspect without charging him. Lee could have gone alone, but he called Allison to join him around six o’clock. She guessed that meant he was desperate to find something.
He looked for evidence his way. She looked for it her way. He had been outside the suspect’s house, poking around in the bushes, looking for more shoeprints, tire tracks, anything. She was inside, getting the feel of each room one by one. But the woman hadn’t even been murdered here, and they didn’t know where it had happened. They were just looking for proof the woman had ever been here in the house. The murder weapon—a knife—would have been too much to hope for. Even without Lauren Benson’s blood on it.
Something whispered to Allison to look on the far side of the bed in the guest room. Maybe. It could also be whispering to her to look in the next door hotel room to the one she’d been found in. Her gift was not an exact science.
On the floor. On the ground. Something was there.
Her gloves itched, or perhaps her skin was tingling. She peeled them from her hands. She knelt on the plush carpet, feeling the floor with her fingers. The whispering had stopped. She looked carefully, considering whether to tell Lee to get the CSU to go back over it. But she felt… nothing. She sat back on her bootie-covered shoes and sighed.
“Whatcha doing down there?”
She looked over. Lee had a small smile on his face as he leaned against the doorjamb. He was wearing a charcoal blazer with a light blue shirt, the soft, sort of shiny one that made her want to touch it. Funny that she hadn’t even thought him handsome, at first, had thought his brown hair and brown eyes ordinary, his strong jaw too broad, his tall, muscular build too aggressive. She had found the stubble that sometimes peppered his jaw sloppy. Funny how things changed.
 She cleared her throat. “I was looking for evidence.”
Stripping off his latex gloves, he came over to stand beside her. She looked up at him from her spot on the floor. “Find any?” he said after a second had passed. He extended a hand to help her up, and she took it and started to get up.
That was when her sixth sense sprang to life. Not regarding the case. Nor the evidence, the suspect, the victim nor anything else truly important. No – instead, she heard a snatch of Lee Scanlon’s thoughts. Complete with visuals.
Oh God don’t think about that now… Jesus, she’d be sweet… looking up at me with those wide blue eyes like she just did… kneeling on a soft carpet… touching me with those soft, pretty lips… taking me in her hot mouth, over and over, yes, God, yes…Allison… my hand buried in that damn soft cornsilk hair.
She yanked her hand from his grip, standing now, but not at all sure her knees would hold.
His arms were immediately at her elbows as she swayed. Thank God she was wearing a jacket. She couldn’t stand any more skin to skin contact at the moment. “Hey – whoa, you alright there? You see something?”
And there was the guilt. He was tamping down on his inadvertent dirty thoughts even as he became concerned for her. Her eyes were squeezed shut. She didn’t want to betray what she’d seen, and didn’t trust her ability to hide it. Not while he was still standing right in front of her, the two of them alone, at night, in this house. His chest inches from hers. Every nerve alert. When had she become so hyper-aware of him?
She risked opening her eyes, and he was peering at her with genuine concern. Of course he was. “Sorry, I checked out for a second.”
“Yeah?” He brightened. “Well, that’s usually good news for the case, right? Assuming we can decode whatever it is that you, uh, checked out for.”
She paused, thinking. The latent sexual desire between them was so strong it was all she could feel, even somewhere that other vibes should have been stronger. It was… blocking her. She had to get him to leave without telling him why.
Or she could end the whole damn charade and admit she knew. Was it better to just get it out in the open? Or was the pretense that neither knew about the other’s attraction the only thing that kept them from acting on it?
She told herself to be brave and face the truth. She looked him in the eye. “I saw something.”
He lifted his brows, waiting. “Yeah?”
“But…” She faltered, her gaze dropping from his eyes, but she forced herself to look back up at him.“…But it wasn’t about the case.”
She watched his expression go from inquisitive to stone cold in the space of seconds. His hands dropped from her elbows. He took two steps back, pointing an accusatory finger at her chest. “Get out… of my head.”
The barely leashed fury in his voice tugged at her heart. He had tried to hide all those things… it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t. Her throat tightened. “Lee…”
He backed out of the room and pulled the door shut behind him, with so much force that it bounced in the jamb and slammed back open again. She heard his heavy footsteps going rapidly down the stairs.
She only hesitated a second before chasing after him. “Lee, come on, stop!” she called, taking the stairs quickly, rounding the corner into the darkened living room only a few seconds after him.
When he realized she was following him, he whirled, still furious. “You have no right,” he hissed, his hands bunching into fists and then relaxing. One of his hands rubbed angrily at his forehead. “No fucking right at all.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” She was going to give it right back to him, if he was going to throw a tantrum. With three daughters, she was an expert in tantrums. She marched up to him. “Has it occurred to you that I didn’t want to see those things any more than you wanted to think them?”
“Well, then, why are you looking?” he shouted back, his voice rising to the level of hers. “Just don’t look!”
“Just stop thinking them!”
“I can’t!” he snapped, and then the fire kind of went out of him as he realized what he’d said. His shoulders slackened, and both his palms came up to his temples, as though he could somehow block everything out. Or hold everything in. He sighed, turning away from her, and one of his hands came down hard on the back of the couch. “God help me, Allison, I’ve tried, and I can’t. I can’t.”
She stood, rooted in place, her throat squeezed tight against tears. What a mess. There were times that she wished away her gift. Would this turn out to be one of them? “Hey, it’s okay,” she told him, cautiously approaching his back. She laid a hand on his shoulder, which he immediately brushed away as if it burned him. He turned and met her gaze, and she could see a myriad of different emotions in his eyes.
“Don’t touch me,” he said quietly. “That’s when you see the most, right? When I touch you. When my hands… touch yours.”
She nodded, soberly. “Yes, I think so.”
He rubbed a thumb absently over his lower lip, looking away into the darkness for a moment. “So was this the first time? That you saw… what you saw… from me?”
In for a penny, in for a pound, right? She shook her head. “No.”
“Je-sus.” Lee cracked a bitter smile. “I’d laugh if I weren’t so pissed off at myself.”
He was smiling, albeit darkly. That was progress. She smiled back. “Well, I’d laugh, too, if I weren’t so…” She broke off, having spoken before she finished her thought. She had been about to say, turned on.
Damn, he was too smart. His eyes narrowed on her face, and he crossed his arms over his expansive chest. “If you weren’t so what?”
“I don’t know,” she said, trying to cover her tracks. “Surprised, I guess.”
He acknowledged that with a lift of his eyebrows, and then cocked his head. “Surprised, huh? That men fantasize about you? I guess you’re really not conceited, are you?”
“I… hope not?”
She watched him as he pushed away from the sofa and walked toward her. There was something mildly predatory in his look. “Can I tell you something, in honesty, Mrs. Dubois?”
She wet her lips. “You may as well.”
“Because you’ll hear it eventually, one way or another, right?”
He was inches in front of her now, and reached out to grasp a lock of her hair between his fingers. “In the interest of full disclosure, Mrs. Dubois, I like – I really like – this hair of yours.” He rubbed the lock between his thumb and forefinger, separating the silvery blond strands until they fell slowly back into place.
Allison noted she’d been right. It seemed gentlemen preferred blondes after all.
Her heart was pounding at his nearness. He filled her senses – his voice, his scent, his face inches from hers. It seemed that bringing things out into the open had not changed much of anything. She was just as overwhelmed by him as she had been back upstairs.
She loved her husband. Of course she did. Nothing could change that.
But Lee Scanlon had some kind of magnetic pull for her, a base, chemical attraction that had only gotten broader and deeper with time. He was a friend, a partner, an equal in her work. Sometimes the pull between them was just pure sex, and there was no denying it. Like now, when he was looking at her, concentrating solely on her, like she was the only woman in the world…
“I like your eyes,” she heard herself say in reply, and reached up to brush his brow bone with her thumb. This time, he didn’t flinch from her touch. Was that progress, too?
“Yeah?” The half-smile was back on his face, and the hand that had just caressed her hair slid down to cup her jaw, gently. He bent close to whisper into her ear. “So tell me, honey, what am I thinking… right now?”
The silky caress of his voice sent shudders through her. “I don’t know,” she said in a shaky voice, her whole body aware of his nearness. If she knew, she might be obliged to stop him, but if she didn’t know, then how could she stop him? And maybe she didn’t want him to stop…
His mouth came down on hers, gentle at first, but then harder, and then hot and demanding. She parted her lips for him and groaned as he took possession of her mouth. She gave in, her body urging her on, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed close to him. She couldn’t help it. He was too much and it had been too long that she’d been suppressing it. He showed no inhibitions; he kissed her very, very thoroughly, and if that was any indication of how the man made love, then she may as well let go of her pride now, because she was about to become an unfaithful wife.
His hands fell to her hips and he pulled her firmly against him. He groaned her name against her neck, and ground his hips against her in such a way as to leave no doubt that he wanted her.
Her head fell back, her eyes closed, as his restrained erection pushed boldly against her lower stomach. Desire flooded through her belly, twisting in hot coils. God, she wanted him.
Preferably naked. Preferably soon.
She said his name, and it was a hoarse, throaty plea. “Lee.”
“Tell me to stop,” he said, touching his heated cheek to hers as his hands snaked beneath her sweater.  “Just tell me to. I will.”
“I know,” she said brokenly, every molecule of her body focused on his hands, the way they felt stroking her bare back, the heat that radiated from his touch on her stomach. “I know you would, but… I don’t want you to.”
“You’re going to regret this,” he said, softly. It wasn’t a threat, nor a taunt, but a sad statement of fact. It was said out of genuine caring for her. Nonetheless, his hands were busy unfastening the clasp of her bra beneath her shoulder blades.
“Maybe.” Her voice was threaded with emotion and desire. “But it’s a risk I choose to take.”
The clasp sprang open and her breasts spilled into his hands. She gasped; he made a sound deep in his chest, a guttural sound, and began to knead her breasts expertly. He pinched a nipple lightly between his thumb and forefinger, rolling it from side to side. Allison lost all ability to think, and could only feel.
Just as suddenly, he stopped, and his hands dropped away. She made a noise of displeasure, finding herself bereft of his touch. After another few seconds she opened her eyes. He was straightening her sweater and adjusting his trousers.
Her eyes came up to his. “Not here,” he said, and she was pleased to hear the gravelly quality to his voice. His eyes darted across the room and back. “If this is going to happen, it’s not going to be in this guy’s house.”
She shook her head, still a bit dazed. “Of course. You’re right.”
“Let’s go,” he said, and grasped her by the elbow to steer her toward the door. She went.
It was dark outside, and cool, but not enough to bring her completely to her senses. Her blood still pounded, her chest tight.
He unlocked the SUV they had come in, but did not get in. Instead, he walked around to the hatch and opened it. She followed as if in a stupor.
He paused for a minute, his hand gripping the SUV hatch, as though he were unsure about what he would do next. Then he reached in and got out a wool blanket that she knew he said he kept in the back for emergencies. (Sex emergencies? she briefly wondered.) He held the blanket and stilled, looking at her. She looked at the blanket, and then back up at his face, his expression unreadable. She couldn’t help following his thoughts to their logical conclusion… the two of them, naked and entwined on that blanket on the ground, too desperate to wait any longer, too honest to concoct some scheme that would land them at some seedy motel.
He jerked his head in the direction of the woods across the road, still not meeting her eyes. “It’s not a featherbed, but I guess it’s too late to ask you if you’re the ‘back to nature’ type?”
She gave a small smile. “I guess I can be. Just this once.”
He nodded, once, and then hesitated. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Could they really go through with this? She hadn’t even realized how much she’d been holding back until tonight, but the enormity of their choice was enough to immobilize her, caught between desire and her sense of right and wrong.
He glanced at her, and she suspected that he read her misgivings in her expression. He knew her too well.
“Listen, Allison… maybe I should just take you home. Cool off.”
He was having second thoughts too. Or else he was giving her an out.
“We should. Yes.” She breathed the cool air deeply, trying to quiet her body’s lingering reaction to him. “I know we should do that. Go home.”
He drew a deep breath, and sighed. “Yeah. Okay.” He unlocked the hatch again and tossed the blanket in, not meeting her eyes as he closed it again and walked briskly to the driver’s side. “Get in.”
She got in. She peeled the paper booties off her shoes, noting that he had done the same with his.
He started the car, backed out of the driveway, and pulled onto the quiet, dark road. Allison sat in the passenger seat, her stomach twisting in knots. She snuck a glance at Lee, his eyes on the road, his jaw set tight, his well-shaped hands gripping the steering wheel. God, it would have been hot between them. Mind-blowing. She knew that now. Too late, too late.
She began wondering if she were passing up the chance for something a little magical, some amazing life experience. She wondered if she were passing up even more than that. She thought about Joe, and felt a little sick. When she realized she would feel badly no matter what she chose to do, she made a split-second decision. They had driven about fifty yards when she laid a hand on Lee’s forearm, saying “Wait.”
He slowed, glancing at her before pulling over near the tree line and putting the car in park. He was quiet a moment as she stared out the window, and then finally asked, “What is it?”
“I don’t know,” she said, puzzled. “I get this feeling tonight is supposed to end differently.”
He snorted with laughter. “Yeah. I know that feeling.”
“I’m serious,” she said, and turned to face him in the front seat. When he saw her expression, he lifted his hands in defeat and then turned the car off completely.
“Okay, Allison. You said wait. I’m waiting. Your move.”
She looked at him for one moment more, and then said, “Unlock the back.”
He raised one eyebrow at her, but then found the button and pressed it. Allison grabbed the door handle and quickly let herself out of the car. By the time Lee had gotten out and walked to the back of the car, she already had the blanket in her arms. Balancing it against her hip, she reached up and pulled down the handle of the hatch to close it.
Lee was watching her, curiously. She turned and took off across the road for the woods.
She charged ahead, and he followed, saying nothing. He knew better. Sometimes she just had to walk and everyone else just had to keep up.
She walked about twenty yards into the woods until there was a small clearing. The moon was just a sliver overhead, and they were surrounded by the song of insects and small animals scurrying to their nests through the underbrush in the distance. A breeze stirred the leaves overhead. It was as if the road, the city, the rest of the world did not exist.
It was perfect.
Now. Before she lost her nerve.
Allison unfolded the blanket and shook it out with a snap. It lay on the ground, a crooked square, mottled with moonlight. Her pulse racing, she turned back to look at Lee.
He was watching her, leaning his shoulder against a tree, an appreciative expression on his face. Holding his eyes, she reached up and shrugged her jacket off her shoulders, and then peeled it from her arms and dropped it on the blanket.
In no time at all, he closed the distance between them and snatched her into his arms. He kissed her hungrily, driving his fingers through her hair as he angled her head to deepen his kiss. She responded with equal heat, blindly feeling for his blazer and pushing it off of him. She hurriedly made her way down the row of buttons on his shirt, as though she was afraid he’d change his mind, or she would. She disposed of his t-shirt next.
When she had him bare, the top half of him, at least, he kissed her again, and she stroked her hands greedily across his broad shoulders, down the contours of his muscled chest, over the hard curve of his biceps and the ridges of his toned abdomen. Lee. Yes, oh yes, finally, she thought, sighing as she brought her palms up along his spine, feeling the muscles bunch and relax under her hands. It was a physical, irrepressible need to touch him and be closer to him. Raw, animal desire.
He worked her sweater up over her breasts and pulled it over her head as she obediently lifted her arms. He made short work of her bra, too, and this time, when he took her back into his arms, his bare chest against hers, she murmured her pleasure aloud, gasping at the intensity of her body’s reaction to him.
He scooped her up against him for a moment, and then bent his knees, gently setting her down on the blanket. She kicked off her shoes and socks. He did the same, then crawled up beside her, and smiled as he smoothed hair out of her face. He was pleasantly flushed, his skin just slightly damp with perspiration. She was incredibly pleased to know she could affect him like that.
“I feel like I’m in eleventh grade, making out at midnight on the football field,” he said into her ear, and she had to laugh.
She flung an arm around his neck and brought him down to her, kissing him hungrily. He flicked open the clasp and peeled her underwear and trousers down, finally breaking the kiss to strip them from her ankles.
She watched him as he took a minute to admire her as she lay before him completely nude. His eyes moved slowly from her toes all the way up to her face before he said, in that low voice that gave her chills, “Christ, you’re beautiful.”
“Hush,” she said, smiling despite herself, and busied her fingers with the buckle on his slim leather belt. He stilled, his eyes trained on her face as she flung the belt aside and slid her hands inside his pants to ease them over his hips. They were soon tossed aside.
After a quick glance up at him, seeing that he was breathing hard and practically consuming her with his gaze alone, she hooked her fingers in his dark, snug boxers and pulled those off, too.
She paused a moment, remembering what she’d seen of his fantasy. Remembering how aroused he’d been by the thought of her kneeling and using her mouth on him, and how aroused that had made her in return. Slowly, she bent over him and pressed a soft kiss to the skin of his stomach.
She heard his sharp intake of breath, and hid her smile by turning her face away. She touched another kiss, and another, and another, across his hipbone and down to his leg, where she stopped, opening her mouth to taste the skin of his inner thigh.
His body went very still, and his fingertips brushed lightly over her hair. She looked up and met his eyes. “Tell me,” she said.
“Mmh?” He picked up his head, propping himself on an elbow. “Come up here next to me.”
She stayed where she was. “Is that what you want?”
He gave a quick laugh. “Don’t you already know what I want? Isn’t that how we got into this situation?”
She pinched his side, and he flinched. Her normally soft-spoken voice was higher-pitched than usual and full of emotion. “Listen to me. You’re going to say it. No more games. No more lies. No more hiding behind your fantasies. If there’s something you want, you’re going to do me the courtesy of telling me face to face. Out loud this time.”
He was quiet for a second, and then saw she was serious. His brows shot up. “You don’t even know half of the things I want to do with you.”
A thrill coursed through her, but she held his eyes steadily. “Let’s start somewhere.”
She waited, and watched him as he thought for a moment. Ultimately, he was an honest man, she knew, and a forthright one. If anything, telling her frankly what was on his mind ought to be liberating.
“Okay,” he finally said, swallowing hard. His fingers found her hair again, guiding it away from her cheeks.
She turned her face into his palm, letting her hair fall against his stomach and below. He hissed with pleasure. “Say it,” she whispered. She traced a finger along his swollen cock, lightly. “Come on.”
She could tell the moment he settled his resolve. He tipped up her chin with a finger so he could see her eyes. Rubbing his thumb across her bottom lip, he took a deep, steadying breath. Finally, in a tone so low it was meant for her alone in the universe, he said, “Allison… please… take me in your mouth.”
“Thank you,” she said, moving over him. “Was that so hard?”
He gave a deep, long groan as she fulfilled his request, taking extraordinary satisfaction in how much he wanted this (his head fell back, his hands ghosting lightly over her face and shoulder, as if even his hands were too excited to rest in one place) and how completely this total Mr. Tough Guy was now at her mercy. It was thrilling, actually. She needed this too.
“Come up here beside me,” he eventually ground out between clenched teeth, and she was again pleased to see how much it cost him to let her stop. She did as he asked, and in another moment he guided her onto her back and spread her legs, reaching down to touch a finger to her core.
She shuddered at his touch, instinctively lifting her hips to meet his hand. He blazed a trail of searing hot kisses along her jaw and down her neck. He only touched her a moment longer before he said, “You are so hot and wet I can’t stand it. Tell me you’re ready.”
“Yes,” she managed to say.
He rolled onto her, leaning on his arms for support, and she wrapped a leg around his hips. But he held himself back from her, and after a few seconds she opened her eyes to find him smirking at her.
“Tell me,” he said, and caught up her lips in a quick kiss. “Your turn to tell me what you want. I’m not a mind-reader, ya know.”
“Bastard,” she muttered, smiling in spite of herself.
He ground himself against her, making her gasp and moan, but held back again. “Go on. Tell me.”
She whimpered in frustration, her palms sliding over his back. “Lee… now. God… now, need you now.”
“I ought to make you say ‘please,’” he said, but he had pity on her desperation and gave her what she wanted. He sank inside her to the hilt, and she hooked her legs around him and they both groaned at the incredible pleasure of it.
“Ah, Allison,” he hissed, finding a rhythm that pressed her bottom down against the hard ground again and again. “I wanted you so bad. But I never thought I’d have you. Never, never in a million years.”
A whimper came from her throat, and that was the best she could do for a reply. She rested her elbows on his strong shoulders and clung to him for all she was worth.
“I wanted… to taste your mouth, your skin, your breasts. I wanted to have my hands all over you everywhere.” He illustrated this last by leaning on one elbow and stroking the other hand down her body, all the way from her neck to where they were joined. Her loins throbbed and ached. He felt so good.
“Shh,” she whispered, rubbing a hand soothingly over the close-cropped hair at the back of his head. She met his strokes by lifting her hips.
Then there was no more talking for a good while.
***      ***      ***
They lay half-wrapped in the blanket, her leg draped across his hips. Neither of them spoke for many minutes. His thumb traced the beads of sweat that had collected at the midpoint of her spine.
He cleared his throat. “Believe me, I’d love to lie here naked all night, but I think we’ve gotta get you home.”
She opened her eyes, sleepily, her lips pressed to his shoulder. “Yeah.”
After they had dressed, quietly, facing away from one another as though that last little intimacy would be too much, Allison walked slowly over to him. He was folding the blanket up into a bundle.
She stroked the back of his head, and touched her forehead to his. “Lee, you know this can’t happen again. It was… you know it was… but I can’t lie to Joe. I won’t.”
“I know.” He sighed, and brushed her cheek with his thumb. “Believe it or not, I like that about you.”
She smiled, her eyes wide. “What, that I’m married?”
“No. That you’re honest. That you have integrity.”
She cast her eyes over the spot where they had worn grooves in the ground. “Not that much, apparently.”
“Come on.” He drew her into his arms again. “You’re allowed to be human.”
She looked him in the eyes, feeling the pressure of tears. “You don’t understand. This is a very big deal for me. Huge. I’ve never cheated on Joe. My marriage means everything to me.”
“I know that too. And, for what it’s worth, the fact that it was hard for you to do makes it…” He broke off, searching for the right words. He rubbed at the stubble on his chin with the backs of his fingers. “I don’t know, it makes it mean more. To me. I guess.”
“I was hoping this would get it out of our systems,” she said, with a rueful smile.
He eyed her with raised brows. “Considering I’m practically ready to put that blanket back down and go for round two, that doesn’t seem likely.”
“It has to be the only time. I can’t. Promise me.”
He sighed again, and touched her temple, her hair, her shoulder with his hand. “I promise I will try my damnedest not to let it happen again.”
She nodded, and brushed a kiss over his lips before turning slowly around toward the path.
*** *** ***
They walked back the way they had come, and Allison let her mind wander. She thought she would have every detail of this evening imprinted in her memory – the light blue shirt he was wearing, his smell, the sound of the woods.
She heard whispering on the breeze. She immediately stopped walking, and Lee nearly collided with her from behind.
“Whoa.” His palm flattened against her back as he tried to keep from walking into her.
“Shh,” she hissed, searching the shadows as she listened.
It was coming from the left. She turned off the path and began to climb through the bushes and shrubs among the tall trees.
“So you are the back to nature type,” Lee called after her as she charged through the underbrush, and then after a few seconds, she heard him fall into step behind her. “All right. Wait for me.”
About ten yards from the edge of the crude path they had been on, Allison stopped. The whispering was indistinct, but louder. She scanned the ground. She knelt, and extended a hand.
In her mind, a flash of an image: a menacing blade, gleaming silver.
“Lee!” she called.
“Coming, coming.”
She moved her hand over the ground surrounding her, listening, waiting. Then she saw it. Or rather, felt it.
Lee stood directly behind her. “Find something?”
“I need a glove,” she said over her shoulder, and the urgency in her voice spurred him into action. He dug haphazardly into the pockets of his blazer for his latex gloves, found them, and quickly bent down to give her one.
She took it, and holding the glove like a napkin, reached down and lifted a twig and some leaves aside. Then she reached down again and closed her fingers around something solid. She held it up, carefully pinching it through the glove.
The blade of a hunting knife shone in the moonlight. Everywhere except where it was speckled with blood. The murder weapon.
Lee crouched beside her, his mouth dropping open. “I’ll be goddamned. You are amazing.” He leaned over and touched his lips to her temple with a loud smack. “I got evidence bags in the car. Be right back! Don’t move!”
And he was off and running.
***      ***      ***
He drove her home in relative silence, both of them lost in thought.
“You were right, you know,” he finally said, staring off into the night as they waited at a red light.
His dark gaze swung around to meet hers. “What you said. About how the night was supposed to end.”
She felt her cheeks heat a bit. “Oh.”
“I’m serious. Think about it.” The light changed, and he moved his hand to the top of the steering wheel, leaning back as he hit the gas pedal. “If we hadn’t gone back into those woods for, uh, our own reasons, you might never have found that knife. Now we can get this guy. We can do right by this woman.”
“Huh. I guess so.” Allison’s mood brightened a shade from the glum depths she was in.
“I don’t know, maybe it was supposed to happen this way.”
She turned toward him, and gave him wan smile. “Yeah. Maybe you’re right.”
The whispering had stopped.


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