Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 12

McGee centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 12. Fluffy Kittens Tangled In Balls Of Yarn Playing In a Meadow While Unicorns Frolic Under Rainbows

Nothing looks less like a clandestine date than getting dressed up at work, and then openly taking your date out, while inviting everyone else around you to come along, knowing the activity you have planned is so far outside their comfort zones that the merest mention of it is enough to make them want to run screaming away. Short of taking Abby to DragonCon, he can't think of anything Tony or Ziva or Gibbs would be less interested in attending.

Tim has on a pair of cream colored slacks, a turquoise polo shirt, collar up, a cream colored Member's Only Jacket, and matching turquoise top siders.  He's halfway between Michael Jackson and Don Johnson.

"Sure you don't want to come, Tony?"

"No, McCrocket, I have no interest at all in... whatever unwholesome activity it is you and Abby are going to do tonight."

Worst date ever.
"This from a man who dressed up like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and did the voice. We're going to see The Generics. You know, the concert tickets you got for me?" He turned toward Ziva.  "Ziva? I don't want any hurt feelings about not being invited."

"My feelings are not hurt." Ziva stepped in front of him studying his outfit. "Why is the collar up?"

"I have no idea. It's just how they wore them back then."

"Ready, McGee?" He turned from Ziva to see Abby. He'd, of course, heard about the outfit, they'd talked about what they'd be wearing, but seeing it was an entirely different thing all together.

Abby had found the neon-pink Converse high tops she'd been looking for. She'd added them to a look of black leggings, a flouncy, neon-pink lace skirt, a wide studded black leather belt, black t-shirt with, and this was a modern twist, a cartoon skull wearing a bow. A black denim jacket finished off the clothing. She'd let her ponytails down, curled her hair, and topped the outfit off with a big, floppy, and, of course, neon pink bow in her hair.

He felt the grin break out over his face, and was glad that Ziva and Tony were behind him and couldn't see it. Tim was certain it wasn't the sort of smile you give someone you're just happy to see.

"I'm ready."


The concert had been a blast. Sure, it wasn't anything either of them was listening to these days. Abby loves Industrial and Punk, and Tim's on a Mumford and Sons kick with a side of fairly obscure Indie-Brit Bands when he's not listening to jazz. But, the Generics were good at capturing a feeling of the semi-naughty, mostly innocent mid-eighties rock and roll. They knew all the songs well enough to sing along, and just about everyone in the audience, themselves included, sang themselves hoarse and bopped around to the tunes.

By the end of the concert, neither of them wanted to go home. They were in his car, heading back to the Navy Yard, and Abby's car when he said, "Want to split a milkshake with me?"

"I think you're mixing up your decades."

"I don't know. The fifties and the eighties have a lot in common. Slightly restyle the outfits and we're Gibbs on his first date."

"I don't think Gibbs is that old," she says with a smile.

Tim grins at her. "Okay, we're Ducky on his first date."

She laughs. "Do you think they had 'the 50s' in Scotland? Or was it just an American thing?"

"I'm sure if you don't mind a half-hour long discourse of the socio-economics of post-World War II Scotland, we can find out."

"I can probably skip that."

"Me, too."

She sits quietly for a moment, and then asks, "What flavor shake?"

"You pick."

"Okay. Take us to the milkshakes."


The hole in the wall diner Tim took them to could have been transported directly from the fifties without any of the intervening years touching it. A gleaming aluminum counter divided the kitchen area from the booths.

He pointed out a booth in the back, and walked with her past the other diners, who looked at the two of them with raised eyebrows. She slipped in, and he surprised her by sitting next to her, instead of across.

"Easier to share if we're next to each other."

"Makes sense."

The menus were already on the tables, sandwiched between the napkin dispensers and the salt and pepper shakers. He handed one to her and waited patiently while she looked over the options.

"Any that are really good?"

"I like the dark chocolate, almond, and cherry one." He reads the menu over her shoulder, seeing that the options are all modern takes on old classics. So, time hadn't entirely passed the place by.

Abby snaps shut the menu. "That sounds good." As she does it, a waitress in a blue uniform comes over. She goes through her spiel, telling them about the specials, sounding bored but looking amused at their outfits. Tim thinks she's old enough to have worn this sort of clothing the first time it was popular.

Abby orders, and Tim just nods.

A few minutes later she returns with a tall fluted glass, filled to the brim with ice-creamy goodness, a swirl of whipped cream and cherry on top, and a tall metal glass half-filled with even more.

Tim grabs the straws out of the dispenser on the table, and puts two of them in the milk shake.

Abby takes the cherry off the top, and slides it into her mouth. There's nothing overtly sexual about this, it's just Abby eating a cherry, but Tim is watching, fascinated.

Abby sees the way he's watching her. "Tim, what is going on?" He knows she's serious. She rarely uses his first name, and when she does she's either feeling tenderly toward him, or annoyed. And she doesn't look annoyed.

He takes a sip of the milkshake, closes his eyes, and sighs. He's playing up how good it is, a little. It's really good, but maybe not quite that good.

"You remember how I was really skinny a while back?"

"Yeah?" She'll let him go on this digression, but her expression tells him she wants a real answer soon.

"I gave up carbs, most meat, ate all organic pretty much all the time. And I lost a ton of weight. But you know what? I like meat. I love sugar. And since the explosion," he shook his head, "I've wanted to spend my life doing the things I love with the people I love. I'm done with avoiding or putting off things that are important to me so that I can look better, or more like everyone thinks I should look."

"That sounds very healthy, McGee."

"Thanks." He took a deep breath, and focused his eyes on hers. "I love you, Abby. And I want to be with you. I want to wake up with you and go to sleep with you, and if that means getting an extra-wide coffin, so be it. And I know this is probably the wrong way to do this, that I'm going too fast, but... I don't want to waste any more time. It's been nine years, and for at least six of them, I've known you're the love of my life, and I'm hoping that I haven't just made a huge fool of myself and that you love me, too. So, anyway, having said all of that, would you like to be my girlfriend?"

For a second it looked like Abby was somewhere between laughing and crying, and then she was wrapped around him, kissing him.

After a few minutes, he pulled back. "I've missed you."

"You see me every day." She smiled widely, lipstick smeared a bit, and then bent forward and daintily sipped from the milkshake.

He leaned forward, his lips brushing her ear. "I've missed touching you." Then he placed a warm kiss on her ear, and took a sip from his straw.

Tim's writer sense, the almost outside himself narrator that likes to look at things and see how they are and how they'll fit into his stories, can tell that right that second they're ridiculously cute. They're fluffy kittens tangled in balls of yarn playing in a meadow while unicorns frolic under rainbows cute.

And he doesn't care, because life is good when it's this cute.

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