Christmas Coda 43
THEMERMAID MURDERS: Jason and Sam
He didn’t expect to hear from Sam on Christmas Day.
By now Jason understood enough to know anniversaries, holidays and family get-togethers were problematic for his…well, what were they exactly?
More than friends and less than lovers.
In fact, anytime he thought about it--something he mostly avoided--he was reminded of that scene in Young Frankenstein where Frau Blucher declares, “He vass my…BOYFRIEND!”
Except Sam wasn’t. Was he?
As a matter fact, Halloween was the last time they’d really talked. Coincidentally he’d heard from Dr. Jeremy Kyser too. That was after he’d spoken to Sam though.
Anyway, it wasn’t like Jason was sitting around waiting for newly appointed
BAU Chief Sam Kennedy’s phone call.
As a matter of fact, those months were pretty damned grueling for Jason too.
The part he’d had played in ended up giving his own career
a nice boost. He was flying all over the country to consult with museums
directors and art gallery owners. Massachusetts
No one was shooting at him. That was nice.
It was natural enough, given how much they were both traveling, that they hadn’t actually ever had time for that now legendary date. In fact, they hadn’t seen each other since the summer.
Well, no. It wasn’t natural.
But it was partly the job and partly--
Yeah, no. It wasn’t natural.
But Jason didn’t have anything to lose. He liked talking to Sam, liked looking forward to what they might do when they eventually hooked up again. In a way there were advantages to not seeing each other. They could talk more honestly, more openly--like to a pen pal or a radio talk show therapist.
Let’s be clear. Jason vassn’t renouncing…DATING! His schedule didn’t leave a lot of time for anything other than his schedule.
Which pretty much explained June through December. There was no phone call on Thanksgiving and only one very brief call mid-December.
So no. Jason wasn’t expecting a phone call from Sam.
Holidays were a
BFD at Stately West Manor. Not Jason’s favorite thing, frankly. The BFD, not the holidays; he enjoyed
holidays. Anyway, he believed in picking his battles. Every year, since time
immemorial, his parents had hosted a Christmas Eve party for the movers and
shakers of the City of . Attendance, while not
mandatory, was strongly encouraged. And being ambitious, Jason understood the
importance of networking over the wassail. Angels
“Hey,” Sam said as terse as ever. But Jason could now recognize the gradations of terseness and this level of brevity was Sam practically oozing holiday charm.
“Where are you?”
Sam seemed to hesitate and for one crazy--and, admit it, thrilling--moment, Jason thought he might be about to say he was actually here in town.
What if this was the night? Light me up with me on top let’s fa-la-la-la-la-la…ahem.
“Ah. Too bad. What are you doing in Vegas?”
Sam sighed, and it was a weary, weary sound. “The Roadside Ripper.”
Right. The night air was suddenly frosty, bitter cold. The Roadside Ripper serial killings were one seriously ugly case, and Jason was very glad he had no part in it although a lot of the
field office was involved. The
taskforce was one of the largest ever formed. L.A.
“How’s that going?”
In the background Jason could hear the chink of ice and clink of glasses and a lot of too loud voices. A bar. A Vegas bar on Christmas Eve. Come to think of it, he preferred Stately West Manor.
“Yeah.” Sam sounded different. Almost…soft. “Are you having a Merry Christmas?”
“Sure. It’d be merrier if you were here.” Now that was definitely the champagne talking.
Sam laughed that low sexy laugh that Jason so rarely got to hear. “I don’t know. I’m not exactly a party guy. I’d do my best to warm you up though.”
“I’m still waiting for that date.”
“I haven’t forgotten.” A jinkle of ice sliding down glass and the sound of swallowing. “So what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?”
And just like that the tone changed. Still warm, still friendly, but the distance wasn’t only geographic. It made Jason a little melancholy because he was beginning to suspect that date was never going to happen. Still, there had to be some reason Sam continued to phone.
They chatted for a few minutes and then Sam said, “I’d better let you go.”
And Jason made himself reply cheerfully, “Yeah. It’s good hearing your voice, Sam.”
There was another of those funny pauses where he thought he was about to hear something important.
He could feel his heart thumping with an uncertain mix of unease and hope.
Sam said very gently, “Merry Christmas.”
It sounded…like something else. Jason said huskily, “Merry Christmas, Sam.”
That little click of disconnect felt like the loneliest sound in all the world.