McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Chapter 404: Words
"So this is what you two do when I'm out?" wakes Jimmy out of his doze.
He looks up and sees Abby grinning at him, and promptly realizes he's in bed, in her bed, with Tim, and apparently was asleep.
He stretches a little, sees that Tim's still asleep, and notices his phone on the bed next to him. What happened starts to slide back into his mind: bed, comfy, boring reading, somewhat dim light, sound of rain, and off to sleep he went.
He rubs his eyes, sees Abby still grinning. She gets (gently, Tim's still asleep) into the bed, between them, and quietly says, while poking Jimmy, and still grinning. "So…" She's enjoying this way too much. "What sort of fun did you two get up to that got you so tired out?"
Jimmy rolls his eyes, but notices that Tim settles in against Abby. He doesn't appear to have woken up, but he knows she's near and has snuggled in closer. He smiles a little at that. Breena does that when he comes home late and slips into bed without waking her.
"Kelly?" Jimmy asks.
"Naptime for her, too. I was just going to crash. You want to hang out here, you're welcome."
Jimmy checks the clock, little before two. He shakes his head. "Nah. Gotta eat." He sits up and stretches. "MOPs'll be done by the time I get home. Play with my girls some, and do some more studying."
Abby kisses his cheek. "Have fun."
Jimmy smiles, tucking his phone back into his pocket and slipping his feet into his shoes. "I will."
Breena's in an exceptionally good mood when he gets home.
"Hi." He kisses her before heading through the living room to the coat closet by the front door. The trashed living room. He gets the point of the MOPs group. How they alternate between each other's houses, so seven weeks out of eight, Breena gets some time to socialize with other adult women with kids, have a good cup of coffee, yummy snacks, and what she refers to as 'girl talk', the kids can run around and wreck someone else's house, and having eight sets of adult eyes to watch fourteen kids is a hell of a lot easier than one set of eyes and two kids.
So he gets it, but, Lord, his living room looks like a tornado went through it. They're gonna need Federal disaster relief to get this cleaned up.
"I take it, it was a good meet?" He tosses his shoes into the closet and heads back to where she is, at the kitchen table, looking over the PL statements for the last quarter for Slaters'.
She smiles up at him, and he kisses her again.
"Good meeting, and Abby just sent me the cutest photo ever." There's a massive grin on her face.
Jimmy rolls his eyes again, and heads to the fridge. "She took pictures?" It's possible he sounds a tad whiny at that.
He opens the door. "You want anything?"
"Nah. Everyone brings food, and Elise made it this week…" He knows Elise is the baker, and when she comes she always brings some sort of amazing, high calorie, chocolate-intensive thing that the girls regret eating but usually snarf down in about ten seconds. Elise runs a bakery that handles catering a lot of the post-viewing/post-funeral wakes that Slaters' throws.
Actually, he thinks about it more, a lot of those women run businesses that work with Slaters'.
Ed and his brothers are part of a bunch of businessmen's groups, where they get together and do whatever it is they do over golf and beer or whatever. Jimmy's fuzzy on the details what with never having attended any of those meetings. He's heard the extended Slater clan talking about it at Sunday dinner, though, and it sounds very nineteenth century.
Breena and her friends are doing the same thing, at home, while watching kids. Pulling this tradition into the twenty-first century and multi-tasking it.
Jimmy closes the fridge door, and heads over to Breena. He hugs her from behind, and she absently tilts her head, the way she usually does when she's expecting a kiss, but paying attention to something else. He shifts over a step, tilts her head toward him so she's looking into his eyes and says, "I don't tell you how amazing you are nearly often enough."
She smiles at that. "What's bringing this on?"
"You." He kisses her again.
"I'm really not bugged by you catching a nap with Tim."
"Huh?" He pulls back, confused.
"I'm cool with it, you don't have to get extra sweet with me because of it."
"Uh… Okay." His eyebrows furrow. He doesn't think that's what he's doing. He thinks for another second. "No. That's not happening. I was thinking about how you're handling the girls and your business all at once, and how you're just on top of everything."
She looks very pleased by that. "Oh! In that case, yes, I'm awesome." She grins at him again, and he gently shoves her shoulder, heading back to the fridge and locate lunch.
"I saved the lettuce wraps Chloe brought to the meeting."
"Mmmm…" He sees them and grabs them. "You really are awesome." He doesn't know how she makes them, some sort of secret recipe that shall not be divulged, but they're hummus and red peppers and black olives and pine nuts all mixed into some sort of paste with a bunch of yummy herbs wrapped up in romaine lettuce and if he ever had leftovers he'd take them to Abby and ask her to analyze them so he could make them for himself. But he's never had the self-control to have leftovers.
He sits down next to her, happily chewing. "So, you think I'm being extra sweet to you for catching a nap with Tim?"
She shrugs. "Wasn't sure entirely what that eye roll was. Hoping you're not feeling guilty."
Now he's slightly alarmed. "What the hell do you think we did?"
Okay, that's right. "Then why would I be guilty?"
"I don't know? You shouldn't be. It's not a big deal."
"I'm not. And you're acting like it's a big deal."
"There was some edge in the way you shrugged at me."
Jimmy thinks about that. Some edge with Abby, too. Okay, why? "Irked," he says after a few seconds. "You and Abby are petting and praising me like I'm a toddler who successfully peed in the potty."
Breena lights up. "Not to derail this, because this is important, but I might forget to tell you otherwise…" Jimmy nods. They have a lot of conversations where they start on one topic, flip over to another one, and eventually get back to the original one. Just part of busy lives, two full-time jobs, parenting, friending, and all the rest of it. "Molly did successfully notice she had to go, stopped playing with her toys, and got to the potty in time."
He smiles at that. "Way to go, little girl!" Molly, if asked, will make it to the potty in time, but if she's doing something she finds interesting, she usually doesn't notice that she has to go until she's sitting in a puddle. "Have to do something special for that."
"Already in place. Rented a new episodes of the Hoobs. When she wakes up…"
"She gets to see the new episode as a reward, and we've got a quiet twenty minutes to get the living room tidied up."
Breena nods. "That's the plan."
"Okay, good. I can do that." Jimmy waits for a beat, sees Breena's done with that, and shifts gears from dad and back to lover. "However, the point I was making… comforting someone you love when they're hurting shouldn't get you a medal."
"Yeah. It's… I don't know, kind of related to that, but not that. It's not you taking care of him, though that's good, too. It's… Okay, if wherever we go next involves sex, it'd be a lot easier if you and Tim are physically comfortable with each other. I know you don't want to fuck each other. And, I'm not talking about that, or you guys ever going there, but if you can be close and touch without freaking out, that makes everything easier."
Jimmy hadn't thought about that. In fact, any of the physical mechanics of the four of them that involve him with Tim, he hasn't been thinking about. "And that's why you and Abby think me snoozing next to him is cool?"
"You haven't seen the picture, have you?"
"I was there."
"Uh huh." Breena knows how Jimmy wakes up from naps. He's usually out of it enough he doesn't know his name. She pulls out her phone, opens the shot and shows it to Jimmy. It's exactly what he's expecting. He drifted off reading, sitting against the headboard, but apparently he slumped down, so he's back on the bed, in his usual arms and legs akimbo sleeping position, one hand on Tim's neck.
He looks up at her. "Uh, yeah. He was having a hard time." Jimmy sighs. "Look, I'm the fucking moron who put him in the morgue to take x-rays. Understandably enough, that freaked him out. We spent some time with him in his office working, once he got tired, I got him home for a nap, he was still a little freaked out so I sat next to him, and, I can't put my hand on his shoulder. He's got it in a cast, and the damn thing still hurts, so yes, I'm holding his neck."
Breena smiles. "It's sweet."
He rolls his eyes again. "It's not a big deal."
"Yes and no. No, comforting a friend isn't a big deal. Allowing yourself to be comforted by a friend isn't a big deal. It's normal. People do it all the time. But, come on, could you touch Tony like that, in his bed?"
Jimmy shrugs. "Not right now." They're better, but there's also still an edge between them from the Jeanne thing. "I like to think that if he needed it, I could, but I'm fairly sure he'd never let me see that he needed it."
"What'd you do when things were going bad with Ziva? I know you were willing to hug her." Because last summer Ziva had stayed with them when she and Tony were in the weeds, and Jimmy had been willing and able to listen and offer hugs as needed, they both were.
Jimmy sighs, remembering. "Hand on his shoulder, or holding his hand. We were getting along as well as we ever had, and he was hurting worse than he ever had, and I didn't hug him."
Breena looks at him, smiles a little, and he nods. "Thinking about that some when Tim was sleeping. You're right, we're not friends. Tony's my friend, and I couldn't offer him that sort of comfort."
"But I don't know what Tim and I are. I've got words for you and me. And, whatever happens with Abby, between us, or you two, there are words for that, too. Lover, girlfriend, wife, mistress, whatever. But I don't have words for Tim. I love him more than anyone who isn't you or the girls, but…I don't want to have sex with him. If it'd have been Abby or Ziva, or any other reasonably in shape woman in bed with me, that little lizard part of the brain would have thought about it. Wouldn't have done anything, but I would have at least fantasized about it."
Breena smiles at that, too. She knows Jimmy inside and out, and they are long past pretending they only find each other sexually interesting.
"So, what were you thinking about, if not hot Tim fantasies?"
"First off, I do not have hot Tim fantasies. Ever. I have hot you fantasies. And I have hot Abby fantasies. And I have scorching hot you and Abby and me fantasies. And when you tell me your foursome fantasies, I like them just fine, and I think they're hot, but if we're just in my head, and I'm thinking about sex, Tim more or less ceases to exist."
Breena laughs while shaking her head. "So, what were you thinking about?"
"How you kissing him didn't freak me out." She nods; she knows that. "And how I do think you're amazing because you can love so deep and sweet. And because you are who you are, you can kiss him, and I still feel secure and adored because I know you've got more than enough love for all of us. Because it's not an either or thing. Because we went home after, and you're still my wife." He's smiling gently at her. "You're my world, and because it's you, I get the chance of a bigger, grander, richer world, but no matter what, you're the center of it."
She leans over and kisses him deep and slow.
"I love you so much."
She cups his face in her hands. "Love you, too."
He smiles at her, eyes sparkling, and then says, "Also, I was thinking that Tim really knows how to put up mirrors, and when he can stand without a crutch, I'm getting him up to our room, and we're doing a little redecorating."
Breena laughs at that. "Uh huh. Got something in our room you want to see more of?"
His hand drops lightly to her breast and his eyes follow, then jump back up to hers. "Oh yeah!"