Chenford + "She... She left."
I have not forgotten about all my lovely asks. I'm working on all of them as fast as I can! Anyway, here you go Anon. Sorry this took me so long. It’s a mix of angst and fluff, so I hope you like it.
The One Where Tim Gets A Clue
“We still on for later?”
Lucy looked up from her phone and smiled as Tim stopped beside her. “Yup! It’s been way too long since we played and I’m in the mood to kick your ass.” Tim shot her an unimpressed look and scoffed, but Lucy didn’t give him a chance to say whatever cocky thing she knew he was coming up with in his head. She was the best shot in Mid-Wilshire. She could- and would- take him in paintball. “Just let me change out and I’ll be ready.”
“Alright but hurry up. I don’t want to have to-“
They both turned at the sound of his name being called. Stepping into the station, bright smile on her face, was Ashley. Lucy glanced over at her sergeant briefly, taking note of the smile that crossed his face. It was…happy. Which made sense since Ashley was his girlfriend and he obviously would be happy to see her. But still… “I- I’ll be back in a minute,” Lucy murmured, not waiting for a response before darting off to the locker room.
Once she was behind closed doors, Lucy took her time. She liked Ashley- kind of. She was nice and sweet and beautiful. She pushed Tim out of his comfort zone. Though, Lucy wasn’t sure that was a good thing- at least not the way Ashley did it. But that wasn’t her business. Her business was being Tim’s friend. And if Tim was happy then that was all that mattered.
So why are you hiding to avoid seeing them together?
Lucy ignored that. As well as the sinking feeling that had settled in her stomach the moment she turned and saw Ashley coming toward them. Instead, she stripped out of her uniform and quickly, but not too quickly, pulled on her street clothes. It wasn’t that she was avoiding Ashley, it was just that she didn’t want to intrude on anything between the couple. She was being respectful and a good friend.
I call bullshit.
She ignored that, too. Lucy glanced at the clock on the wall and sighed. She was stalling and it was going to be obvious to Tim soon. Then there would be questions- not any that would come close to the real reason for why she was stalling, but questions all the same. And right now, she just didn’t feel like dealing with that. So she shoved her feet into sneakers, grabbed her bag, and headed back out into the station.
She was barely paying attention as she walked back toward the lobby. Her mind already on how to ask about Ashley without having to ask about Ashley. But the sight of Angela staring slack-jawed at something had Lucy pulling up short and focusing in. And… For a moment, the world tilted sideways. For a moment everything turned dark and grey. For a moment, more than a moment, she wished she’d just stayed in the fucking locker room. Because there, down on one knee, was Tim Bradford.
And he was putting a ring on Ashley McGrady’s finger.
Lucy didn’t stick around. She didn’t stay to hear the applause she knew was coming or the congratulations. She didn’t stay to watch the hug and kiss and smiles between Tim and his…fiancée. Oh my god, she’s his fiancée. He proposed. To her. And somehow for the rest of the walk to her car and the drive home and the first three shots of her good tequila, those were the only thoughts in Lucy’s mind. Then she took the fourth shot and a new thought snuck in.
Why couldn’t it have been me?
Tim listened to Ashley as he waited for Lucy to come back from the locker room. He’d finished his paperwork before her, so he’d had time to change out. But he was getting a little impatient. It didn’t take her this long to change out. Unless she’s on her period. And why he knew that he didn’t think about, because there were entirely too many things that he knew about Lucy that he shouldn’t know. But it was fine. He tuned back in to what Ashley was saying, something about going out of town on an impromptu road trip with friends and wanting to say goodbye to him, first.
“You’re sure you aren’t mad?” she asked, blue eyes looking at him with the smallest hint of guilt. “I know we had plans this weekend- I got excited when Sarah called and agreed before I even looked at my schedule.”
Tim smiled and shook his head. “It’s fine. We can do something once you’re back. Have fun with your friends. You deserve it.” And she did. She worked hard, which he wouldn’t have believed possible of a lifeguard before he met her. But he was learning. And they’d spent almost every weekend that month together. He would never say it, but he kind of needed the break. Not from Ashley. Just from being sociable in general. “Go. Be safe. Have fun. Okay?”
She nodded, eyes brightening as an excited smile took over her face. “Thanks for understanding, Tim.” Her hand came up to rest on his chest. But the sudden movement sent the ring she was wearing flying off her finger. It hit the floor with a small ping. “Damn it. I knew I’d have to get it resized, but I didn’t think it’d fly off like that,” Ashley sighed, scanning the floor for her ring.
“I got it,” Tim said, crouching down and grabbing the ring from where it had rolled against the kickboard of the front desk. He turned around, still in a crouch, to face Ashley. Taking her hand, he slipped the ring back where it belonged. And sure, he knew on some level what this looked like, but the thought was fleeting. They were nowhere near ready for that. And even if they were, it wasn’t happening at the station.
But then he stood up and the entire station seemed to erupt in applause and congratulations and Tim realized that maybe he should have just handed Ashley the ring back. He scanned the room, eyes landing on Angela’s stunned- and not even remotely happy- expression. He…didn’t want to know. He was pretty sure he already did know, in fact, and he wasn’t ready to hear it from his best friend. Instead, he focused on the crowd. “Calm down, calm down.” Glancing over at Ashley he rolled his eyes playfully. “That was not a proposal,” he clarified. “You will never see me propose in this station. I have more class than that.”
Ashley came up, looping her arm through his and smiled. “I hope so. No offense, but this is not my idea of romantic,“ she laughed. The crowd went with it, easily enough- everyone going back to whatever they had been doing before the excitement. And again, Tim glanced over at Lopez. Her expression was slightly less pinched, but not much. But he didn’t get the change to ask her about it- not that he could with his girlfriend right there- because Ashley leaned up to kiss him. “I gotta head out. I’ll call you when we stop for the night?”
“Yes,” he replied. Then with one more kiss and a nod, Ashley was waltzing out the door. Tim turned to face Angela, brow furrowing slightly as he realized he still hadn’t seen Lucy. But this thing with Lopez was slightly more pressing than Lucy’s long shower time. “What was with that face? When you thought I was proposing.”
Angela shrugged. “I just don’t get it. What you see in her.”
Tim’s arms crossed over his chest and his jaw clenched hard as he stared at his best friend. “The hell is that supposed to mean? She’s great. Nice and sweet and fun and-“ He shook his head in disbelief. “What’s your problem, Lopez? You get to fall in love and have the happy ending but I already had my shot with Isabel so that’s it for me?”
“Don’t be stupid. Of course that’s not what I meant and you know it.” And yeah, he did. But he wasn’t backing down from this. As long as Lucy was taking her sweet time, he was going to get answers. He arched a brow in the universal sign for continue. And because she’s Lopez, she did- bluntly. “You can do better than her. You deserve better than her. And if you’d stop being an oblivious ass, you’d see that better has been in your life for a while now.”
Confusion- that’s what he was going to call the feeling rising in him. “I don’t know what you mean.” But Angela’s expression said she wasn’t buying it any more than he was. He shifted on his feet, then forced himself to stop. He wasn’t nervous, he wasn’t hiding anything, he didn’t have a reason to be acting like a guilty kid. He glanced towards the doors Ashley had just left through, then his eyes went towards the locker room, even though he couldn’t see them from here. “I don’t have time for this. You seen Chen?”
Angela gave him a look that was somehow angry and pitying and sad all at once. “Yeah. She…She left. During your whole-” She waved her hand toward the spot Tim had been kneeling a few moments ago. “You should have seen the look on her face.”
“What do you mean?”
Angela’s face shifted into a glare- the scary one that only came out when someone she loved was being hurt. “I mean get your head out of your ass. Lucy saw you down on one knee and basically ran the opposite direction. You’re a smart guy, a good cop, you put the pieces together.” Then she walked away, not even bothering to give Tim a chance to process what she’d just said. Not that he need long. He was smart and a good cop and the pieces were….
Well, they put together a picture he wanted to see more of.
Lucy was on shot number seven when the doorbell rang.
It was hard, getting from the sofa to the standing. And then from the standing to the walking. The walking…wasn’t walking. It was…something else? Like walking? She didn’t know. But she got to the door. So that was good. And then she peeked through the door. That made her dizzy. “Small hole. Small, small hole. Focus, Lucy.”
Oh. She knew that voice. She loved that voice. That voice made her smile. And it made her angry. And right now, it made her sad. Because that voice was gonna marry Ashley. “Mmm… that sucks.” Why did he have to marry Ashley? Why couldn’t he marry her? Then she could have that voice all the time and she could have cuddles and hugs and kisses and babies. Not yet. Babies were for later- like later, later. Tomorrow, later. But still.
“Open the door, Chen.”
She did. It took her a second to figure out which way the lock was supposed to turn, but she got it. And then the door was open and Tim was there. “You’re cute. But not like a bunny, cute. You’re like… Hot guy cute. But the good hot guy. The nice hot guy who’s nice.” Tim put his hands on her shoulders and then they were moving. Walking? Yeah, walking. “Where are we going?”
“To the couch, Lucy, so you can sit down.”
She plopped down onto the sofa cushions. They were so cushy. So soft and nice. She leaned over so she could lay down. Somewhere, up…there, Tim sighed. “I thought we were going out?” Lucy shook her head. “Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving? I was waiting for you at the station.”
“Got Ashley… Getting married… Don’t wanna bother you.”
Tim sighed again. He did that a lot. And he rolled his eyes a lot. Was he rolling his eyes? Lucy lifted her head to look. It was weird. He was upside down. Or maybe she was upside down. Was she? No. Maybe. “I’m not getting married, Lucy. Not to Ashley and not anytime soon.”
Tim sighed again. He kept doing that. Weirdo. But then the sofa was moving and she was moving and it was all a lot of moving, honestly. But when it stopped, Tim was on the sofa with her. And her head was on his thigh and his hand was playing with her hair and she liked it. A lot. “Lucy. You saw me pick up a ring that Ashley had dropped and put it back on her finger. You saw me being nice.” Lucy turned her head and pressed it into Tim’s shirt. He smelled good. “Thanks, I use soap. Makes things smell good.”
“I like this soap. Smells safe like Tim.”
Tim’s hand that was playing with Lucy’s hair, stopped. And she didn’t like that. But she did like when Tim’s hand that was playing with her hair brushed her cheek. It was warm and soft and nice. “Lucy, look at me.” She did. She turned her head and looked up and there he was. Pretty blue eyes and pretty nose and pretty cheeks and pretty mouth. He was so pretty. Like so pretty. “You’re pretty, too. And tomorrow, when you’re sober, we are gonna talk about some things. Okay?”
“Okay,” she hummed, cuddling back into him.
“Okay. But for now, I want you to drink some water and go to sleep. You’ve had way too much to drink and you’re gonna have a killer hangover in the morning.”
“Stay with me?”
There was a long pause. Really long. But then Tim’s hand went back to playing in her hair and Lucy buried her face in his shirt again. He smelled so good. He laughed a little. It was nice and cute. She liked when he laughed. She wanted to make him laugh all the time, ‘cause it was nice. Lucy sighed, happy. And Tim sighed, too. “Yeah, Lucy. I’ll stay.”
Good. That was good.
“I can’t believe you thought I would propose in the station. That’s…just low.”
Lucy rolled her eyes as they laid on her couch, watching Pretty Woman. It was a classic, after all. Even Tim couldn’t find fault with it. Though, he did try just to annoy her. He watched as his girlfriend paused the movie- again- and turned to face him head on. He smiled inside at how happily annoyed she looked about the subject she’d brought up. She had her ‘I’m right and I can prove it’ face on and Tim loved it. Even if he’d never admit it.
She punched his shoulder. “Excuse me. I’m sorry, next time I’ll remember that when I see you on one knee putting a ring on your girlfriend’s finger.”
Tim nudged her back, then wrapped his arm around her. “Hey, it all worked out in the end. Besides, the only woman I’m going to be proposing to will be you. So be prepared to say ‘yes’, alright?” Lucy beamed up at him and Tim couldn’t help the smile that came to his face as a result. Then the smile turned smug. “But seriously, though. Seven shots, Luce? Seven. Shots.”
Lucy grabbed the throw pillow beside her and hit him with it as he laughed. “That was a year ago. When will you let me forget it?”
Tim grabbed the pillow and tossed it behind him. Then he leaned in, nose brushing Lucy’s lightly. “I love you, Lucy Chen.” Her eyes went soft and happy like they always did when he told her those three little words. “And that’s why I will never let you forget it.” He dropped a quick kiss to her lips and pulled back, smiling. Her face went through several emotions before she finally gave in and pulled him in for a real kiss. And it was good. They were good.
And he wouldn’t change a thing.