Chapter 71: People Really Read His Books
Abby in a cocktail dress, leaning over Tim’s hand, blowing gently on dice. Tim’s wearing what Tony considers a surprisingly nice suit, dice in one hand, the other on Abby’s hip.
The next shot, the two of them with Penn and Teller got a smile of approval from Tony, as well. He’s not a huge magic fan, but those two are hilarious. Good to see Tim and Abby got to see a cool show. He wonders a little at how much backstage passes must have cost.
The shot after that, Abby dancing with Teller, has Tony reaching for his cell phone.
“McGee, why is Abby dancing with Teller?”
Tim sounds sleepy, and Tony realizes that it’s 7:00 AM Mountain, 6:00 AM Pacific, and he has no idea which one of those time zones they happen to be in.
“We’re looking at Abby’s Facebook feed. She’s dancing with Teller. How did that happen?”
He can hear Tim sitting up, and waking up a little. “That was our dinner date. He’s a fan, Tony. Five years ago he sent me a letter, saying if I ever got to Vegas to look him up. We got there. We looked him up. Saw the show, which was awesome, and had dinner with him, Penn, and both of their wives. It was a blast.”
“Can I go back to sleep now?”
“Yeah, sure. Sorry.”
He looks at Ziva, completely stunned by that, and then tells her what McGee had told him, wrapping up with, “You know, people really read his books.”
“Yes, Tony. I know that. I read his books.”
“But the second one was so... undefined.”
“It was an unfinished rough draft. Did you ever read the version he published?”
She gets up, walks to her bookshelf, grabs a copy and tosses it to him. “Give it a try.”
Four hours and three quarters of the book later, Tony looks up. “You just like this because you’re all super-bad-ass-assassin, killing people right and left and looking mega-hot while you do it.”
She smiles a little at that. “I do not mind that. It is a good story, too. And once I got over ‘Lisa’ and ‘Lisa and Tommy’ it was interesting to see how McGee understood who I was and am. He doesn’t see everything or understand everything he sees, but he does sees different things about us, probably that we don’t see, or don’t want to see, about ourselves. I do not know if he’s right about the things he writes about Gibbs, but I felt like I understood him better after reading these.”
Tony nods; he can see that. “So, there’s another one after this?”
“Yes. And he finished the fourth one about a month ago. Abby tells me there’ll be a fifth one, and that he’s got a contract for three more after that.”
“You guys talk about his books?”
“We talk about all sorts of things. But yes, his books as well. Breena’s read them, too.”
Tony smiles, remembering Pimmy Jalmer. “How’d she take that?”
“She thought it was funny, and enjoyed the symbolism of being intractably attracted to and repulsed by the finality of death, and the futility of trying to overcome it with the actions of life.”
“Uh...” He’d read that scene and just about wet his pants he was laughing so hard at the idea of Jimmy wanting to have sex with dead people. He’d completely missed there was anything besides his Probie messing with the Autopsy Gremlin.
“She’s a very deep reader. But once she said that, I re-read it, and yes, that’s in there.”
“And according to McGee, that’s what he was going for in that scene, so he was pretty happy that at least one other person read past the sex with dead people into what it meant.”
“That, too. But he’s also a good writer.”
Tony stares at Ziva, eyes slightly narrowed. Okay, he knows about some of Tim’s interests, but how does she know that? It’s certainly not anything he’s ever mentioned.
“How do you know that?”
Ziva laughs at the way he’s looking at her. “I thought you knew? When Vance showed up, and reassigned all of us, McGee and I spent the weekend together, consoling each other. We got to know each other very well.”
Tony drops the book. Ziva laughs harder. “I’m sorry Tony, no, nothing like that. When I have lunch with Abby and Breena, the conversation can get a little...” she stops and thinks, “personal. I know a lot about Jimmy, too.”
Tony goes white. “Oh God. So they know...”
Ziva smiles. “Nothing you would not want them to know. And just like I’ve never mentioned what it is that I know about Jimmy or McGee to you, Abby and Breena do not blab to them.”
“So, you talk with them about sex?”
“Yes, and I know you talk with McGee about it, too.”
“We’re guys, talking about sex is something we do.”
“We are girls, talking about sex is something we do.”
“Yeah, but you don’t do the whole, guess how many times I got laid last week, sort of thing.”
A small mischievous smile crosses Ziva’s face. “Are you certain about that?”
“I was… Do you do that?”
“Rarely, and neither do you and McGee, not anymore.”
“Not ever really. It’s not fair when one of you is so far above the other. If I come up with three in a week and he’s got three in a year, it’s just sort of sad.”
“Is that why you were so off when he and Abby started dating? You were in a dry spell and he was racking up seven or eight a week.”
Tony shakes his head looking incredulous. “Seven or eight? What does he, run on batteries?” Ziva just smiles. He sighs. “No. That wasn’t it. He had the balls to say, screw twelve, I’m getting Abby. He was ready to move forward with her. And she was ready for him.” He touches her face, gently, “And I was dreaming of you, and neither of us were ready, yet. And it was frustrating. And I was jealous as hell. And none of you told me, which was worse. And he did talk to someone, but it was Palmer. And I didn’t notice what was going on, but you did, which made me feel like an idiot. Add in walking in on him and Abby, and it was just a bad week.”
She nods. “I’m sorry you found out like that.”
He shrugs a little. Not like Ziva didn’t tell him to mind his own business. “So, what did I miss? How did you figure it out?”
“Nothing you could have picked up on, at first. Your sense of smell isn’t as good as mine. He’d come up from the lab smelling like her, and it only happened when he was down there on his own. Then at Jimmy’s wedding, as we were going in, he saw a ‘friend’ at the front desk and told me to go in while he said hi. If he had seen a friend, he would have introduced me. If he was getting a room, he would not have. He was staring at her during the vows. I don’t read lips well enough to know what he mouthed at her, and I’m honestly not sure he knew he was doing it, but he was. They both vanished for about twenty minutes during the wedding, and when we saw him again, he smelled like her and was looking very relaxed. By that point I was certain enough to tell him he didn’t need to give me a ride home. He gave me his keys, I drove the Porsche up to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which was fun, and then we talked about it on Monday when he picked up his car.”
He thinks about that and then says, “So, besides talking about sex, what do you and Abby and Breena do?”
“You mean, do we gossip, try on makeup, and do each other’s hair?”
Tony seems to appreciate that image, he’s certainly grinning happily at it. “Something like that.”
“We eat, we talk, we usually split some insanely calorie rich chocolate-based dessert. Sometimes we go shooting.”
She smiles. “How else are we going to wipe the floor with you guys every time we play laser tag if we do not practice? You, Palmer, and McGee keep getting better, so we have to as well."