Title: Enchanted April
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 1 June 2005
Fandom: Law and Order: Trial by Jury
Summary: Sometimes a little rain must fall to clear one's vision.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC DD05
Disclaimer: Standard Disclaimers apply. Not mine. Never will be. Just wishful thinking.
Note: Based loosely on the 1990’s film of the same title. I seem to have developed an Italy obsession…or at least an obsession with sending T and K there. Hope that you enjoy and if you have never seen the movie…do yourself a favor and rent it. It’s lovely.
“I swear by all that is holy, if it rains one more day, I am going to throw myself under a bus,” Tracey Kibre pronounced morosely to Kelly Gaffney, shaking a bucket or two of water off the outside of her bright red raincoat. The water pooled into one of the already half-full indentations in the worn floor of the main lobby of Hogan Place.
Outside a gray rain fell onto a gray street in a gray city. It had been raining in Manhattan for the last eleven days. Steady, cold, relentless downpours had inundated the city. The streets were a mass of potholes filled to the brim with filthy water. Anyone walking the sidewalks risked not only a severe drenching, but the possibility of losing an eye to the prong of a stray umbrella.
Mother Nature’s frigid breath chaffed at tender skin, creeping and seeping in between layers of cloth, as she breathed down the neck of the city, promising Spring with a knowing chuckle. It was April in New York. Forty degrees and sodden.
“I know. I can’t remember a worse season than this,” Kelly agreed, as the two women stepped into the elevator. “There hasn’t even been a glimmer of sun in weeks. We may as well be in Seattle.”
“Much more of this and we’ll have to start checking behind our ears for mold,” Tracey groused, walking into her office, tossing her briefcase on the table and dropping unceremoniously into her chair.
“So, I’m assuming from your face in court that you weren’t all that surprised by the not guilty verdict?” Tracey asked, sighing deeply at the thought of losing the case, even though the odds had been stacked against them.
Before Kelly could reply, the phone on Tracey’s desk issued its shrill summons, impatient for an answer. Kelly glanced at Tracey, and seeing her look of absorption as she gazed sullenly at the rivulets of rain coursing down the windowpane, picked up the receiver.
“Gaffney,” she answered succinctly. Her brow furrowed in concentration as she listened to the caller’s words.
“Yes, she is. Okay, we’ll be right up,” Kelly replied, setting the receiver gently back into its cradle, her expression clearly displeased.
“Arthur wants to see us about the Harriman trial,” she told Tracey somewhat unnecessarily. “As if this day wasn’t already bad enough.”
Kelly very intentionally slid her hip onto the edge of the desk incredibly near to where Tracey’s left hand lay on the blotter, fingers tapping lightly. She had begun making it a point to invade Tracey’s personal space as often as circumstances allowed, to no avail. Tracey wasn’t even paying attention to her, her eyes unfocused as she looked down at her own slender fingers, drumming out a slow beat.
Tracey didn’t respond immediately, her attention now rather riveted on the tempting curve of Kelly’s hip and those amazingly long legs perched on the corner of her desk, so close to her hand.
It would be so easy to simply reach out and slide her palm along the supple bend of bone and flesh, to feel the life giving warmth under the wool and silk of her skirt. To let her hand lazily inch its way up to feel the subtle scratch of lace panties against her palm, and then, to ease underneath that patch of fabric to discover the liquid satin that would pool around her fingers, drowning them, drawing her in.
Tracey shook her head to clear the image from her overheated brain. Fantasies involving her lovely assistant had been cropping up more and more frequently of late, and Tracey was damned if she knew what to do about them. It was obvious that she and Kelly had a wonderful work relationship, a simpatico when it came to cases that was rare and highly effective, one that she was loathe to endanger.
And yet, the sight of those flashing blue eyes, or the rounded glory of Kelly’s ass as she bent over her desk to retrieve something invariably sent Tracey’s mind spiraling down pathways that could only lead to disaster, damnation, and empty cans of whipped cream strewn around her bedroom floor, alongside the remains of Kelly’s clothes.
Tracey realized that those blue eyes were now focused on her, an expression of concern and confusion clouding the normally translucent sapphire. A slight frown marred the lines of Kelly’s forehead as she gazed at her partner. Tracey must be a little more upset about the loss than she had thought.
“Tracey, did you hear me? Branch wants to see us,” Kelly stated slowly, as if uncertain of Tracey’s hearing or language skills.
“Yeah. Count on Arthur to always find a way to rub salt into a fresh wound,” Tracey replied, standing abruptly, so that she was mere inches from Kelly.
The smell of her perfume reached out to embrace Kelly’s senses, the heat of her body so close that Kelly could feel it, almost as tangible arms, tugging her closer. For a moment neither woman moved, until with a small sound, perhaps of annoyance, Tracey moved around her toward the door, clearly expecting Kelly to follow.
“I have got to get a grip on this,” Kelly thought as she shadowed Tracey out of the office toward the elevator, her eyes unwillingly drawn to the lissome sway of Tracey’s hips.
It couldn’t be more obvious that Tracey wasn’t interested in her in more than a nice, co-workerly kind of way. Kelly had tried everything that she could think of to get Tracey’s attention. Well, short of grasping Tracey’s arms and stating quite simply, “Take me.”
An hour later found them both back in Tracey’s office, their collective mood even more peevish than before after having endured nearly fifty minutes of Arthur’s hillbilly haranguing.
“God, what an asshole,” Tracey muttered for about the tenth time since they had left Branch’s office.
“You know, we should get out of here. Maybe grab some lunch or something,” Kelly offered, attempting to distract Tracey from brooding about their boss’s less than charitable attitude. “Tracey?”
“You’re right. Let’s go to Mae’s Diner. I could use some comfort food,” Tracey agreed suddenly, launching herself up from where she had slouched down on the sofa. “Come on. I’m buying.”
Throwing caution to the wind, they took a cab to the restaurant, emerging to make a quick dash through the heavy glass door of the diner.
Sitting in the worn red vinyl booth of the diner, her hands wrapped around a thick ceramic mug of steaming coffee, Tracey watched the poor souls outside slog their way down the half-flooded sidewalks, shoes ruined, pant legs sodden, hair dripping down to soak through scarves and down delicate skin. The sky was dirty dishwater gray, the clouds merging indiscriminately with the skyline and the horizon, one solid wall of leaden wool, impenetrable by the measly rays of the sun.
Across from her, Kelly sat, the white of her sweater a sharp contrast to the red of the booth, her hair curling ever so gently along her jawline. She smiled a little shyly as Tracey’s gaze turned from the window to her, as ever, the intensity of those dark chocolate eyes causing her breath to hitch just a little.
Neither of them spoke as the waitress returned with their order, placing heavy plates laden with eggs, and bacon, and pancakes in front of them. They began to eat in a companionable silence, both content for the moment to simply be there together, away from the office.
As they made their way through the heaping mounds of food, Tracey’s eyes began to wander, her gaze caught by the back page of the paper held by the man sitting opposite them at the counter.
Suddenly she exclaimed loudly, “That’s it!”
“Tracey, what are you talking about?” Kelly asked, perplexed at the sudden pronouncement.
Tracey looked at her, a slow, and in Kelly’s opinion, incredibly sexy smile starting at the corners of her mouth and spreading to sparkle in those heavenly brown eyes.
“That,” Tracey said, motioning towards the paper with her head.
Kelly tore her gaze away from her companion to glance at the back of the paper. On it was a full page ad for a travel agency offering trips of Italy. There was a gorgeous picture of the Amalfi coast, a palazzo overlooking the ocean, the Mediterranean gleaming in the sun, the white buildings almost blinding against the blue sky and the blue sea.
Glancing back at Tracey, Kelly shook her head a bit in bewilderment.
“What about it?” Kelly asked, puzzled.
“Look at it Kelly. The sun, the ocean, a palazzo overlooking the sea, a bottle of wine, no cares, no worries, just relaxing. We should go there. We should rent a villa on a cliff looking out over the ocean, lay in the sun, and just be for a while,” Tracey urged, her voice taking on that mesmerizing tone that it got when she was attempting to convince a jury.
“Sure, Tracey. We can really afford a villa in Amalfi, not to mention the fact that there is no way that Branch would let us both take a vacation at the same time,” Kelly answered, her tone making it clear that she was not really taking Tracey’s suggestion too seriously.
“As for Arthur, I can handle Arthur. I’ve worked for him long enough to have collected a few markers. It’s time to call them in. Come on, Kelly. Think about it. Getting out of this,” Tracey exhorted, gesturing with her hand at the abysmal scene of the waterlogged city outside the window.
“We both make decent salaries, and I know that I have a little set aside for a rainy day. If this doesn’t qualify, I don’t know what would,” Tracey chuckled, her face alight as the idea became more real with each passing moment, her words serving to convince her as much as Kelly.
“Tracey, why would you want to go to Italy with me?” Kelly answered, the questioning sentence coming out as barely a whisper, all of her insecurities, all of her doubt hanging like ballast on her words. Her eyes seemed captivated by the mesh of lines and hash marks on the scratched Formica tabletop.
Tracey felt the air forced out of her lungs as she realized that all of her longings, all of her desires for this woman had not, in actuality, been merely hopeless fantasies. How she had not seen, how she had not noticed that Kelly was feeling those same things was amazing to Tracey. She had always prided herself on her powers of observation, and yet, in the case of the most important person to her, she had been completely blind.
“Kelly, look at me. Please,” Tracey requested quietly.
Her bottom lip caught between straight white teeth, Kelly finally forced herself to look up. Their eyes met and held and the diner, the clank of dishes, the voices of the other customers, the hum of the fan and the sounds of the kitchen ceased to exist.
“I can’t think of anyone else I would want to go to Italy with,” Tracey answered just as softly, so that Kelly found herself instinctively leaning forward to hear her better.
“Are you sure?” Kelly asked, her voice still so uncertain that Tracey felt her hands ache at the hesitation and doubt.
“Run away with me,” Tracey implored gently, “Come to Italy with me. Please, Kelly.”
For an instant, in a little diner in Manhattan, on a gloomy, miserable day, in a gloomy, miserable month, the sun came out, as Kelly Gaffney smiled. Maybe it was going to turn out to be a decent April after all, Tracey Kibre thought, as she trailed her finger down the palm of Kelly’s hand.
“The first thing that will happen there will be a kiss,” she promised herself as they talked and laughed, and poured over the travel ads in the Times. Outside the rain continued to pour down. April in New York. Forty and sodden and suddenly, to Tracey Kibre at least, quite wonderful.