21 Jump Street: Discretion by niklovr

Chapter 17

The quick arrival of the weekend gave Tom little time to fully sort out his personal life. Happiness filled his heart when Judy blew off the last piece of denial that had been keeping them apart. Many times throughout the day, he'd think of her and smile. Worry continued to plague him, but he planned to deal with that as soon as they closed the gambling case. That was the best part about how quickly the week moved. He hoped the party would end their current undercover assignment and then they could focus on their relationship. But before he could fully rejoice at that prospect, there was one thing he needed to do.

He left his apartment early, only narrowly escaping the pull of "Rocky and Bullwinkle." In fact, he didn't even turn on the tv set. Having made up his mind, nothing would stop him.

Tom's first stop was Conroy Flowers on the corner of First and Vine. He bought a nice bouquet of pink carnations. On the way out, he spotted a dazzling arrangement of red and white roses. The buds hadn't opened, yet. When they did, the effect would be beautiful. He grabbed the second bouquet and hurried out.

The vintage Ford Mustang took him safely across town. A slight mist gave the city a haunting look. He supposed that made sense, considering his destination. Before his dad died, Tom had a carefree view of life. Yeah, he was a little shy, but that wasn't because of worries. He believed his dad could take care of himself. His father's death changed his life and made him view the world differently. Tom's life changed completely. Once he decided to become a cop, there was no turning back.

He parked the Mustang, grabbed the carnations and left the car. The mist gave way to a slight drizzle. The rain smelled nice. He drew in a deep breath and filled his lungs. That felt good, too.

It rained on his dad's funeral. He remembered holding an umbrella over his and his mother's heads. People tried to console him, but he couldn't hear them. His hand just gripped the handle tighter until his hand cramped. For a long time, Tom hated the rain.

"Good morning." The man tipped his cap. Water filled his eyes, but he somehow managed a polite smile.

Tom nodded. "Morning."

Tom slowed his pace and allowed the man to pass him. The man headed toward a fresh, small grave. Flowers covered the mound of dirt. The man's hand shook as he dropped a teddy bear on top of the colorful petals.

Feeling as if he was intruding, Tom turned away. A lump lodged in his throat. Death was never an easy thing to face. Maybe that's one reason why he became a policeman. A cop had to deal with mortality every day. Maybe facing the inevitable made him stronger. Only time would truly tell.

He crossed the last few yards to reach Amy's final resting place. His head had been so messed up that he missed the funeral. Her family called several times. Eventually, they gave up. Their silence provided him a moment's peace until the guilt set in.

A nice array of flowers covered the slab of granite that listed her vital statistics. He carefully added his bouquet to the others. Rain droplets splattered onto her name. Squatting down, he wiped the water away. More droplets came and he wiped those, too.

"Hi, Amy." His voice sounded strangled and hollow. He coughed to clear it. "Amy, I'm sorry it's taken me so long. I didn't know how to face your family. I'm a cop. I should have been able to stop it, right? I should be able to sniff out trouble a million miles away. Only superheroes can do that. We both know that I'm not that. I'm just me, plain ole Tom Hanson.

"I relived that moment so many times in my head. You wouldn't believe how I obsessed over it. I went a little crazy and I scared people...people who care about me and people who I care about. I'm done with it now, though. I can't bring that moment back, but if I could, I know we wouldn't have been in that store. I would have found the guts to say what I should have told you weeks before you were killed. I would have told you that I wasn't the right guy for you. You probably sensed it, anyway, but like me, you didn't want to say the words out loud. I was scared of hurting you and I didn't want to be one of those guys who cheats on his girlfriend. But it was already too late for what I didn't want to be.

"There was someone else. We didn't mean for it to happen. It just did. I never understood how that could happen until it happened to me. I love her, Amy. In all the ways that I never imagined possible. She's scared of what's to come, but she's willing to find out. I'm sorry, Amy. I'm sorry that I hurt you and that I couldn't stop that guy from killing you. And I hope that somewhere out there you'll forgive me. In the meantime, I'm working every day to learn how to forgive myself."

- - -

Finding the right clothes to hide a wire was always a hassle. Judy tossed aside several outfits until a small mountain of spandex and denim covered her bed. Doug's admission left her rattled. She couldn't shake the look in his eyes. She didn't doubt his sincerity when he said no apologies, but she couldn't ignore his pain. Going to Tom seemed like the right thing to do. Hell, she couldn't imagine turning to anyone else. They stayed up half the night talking. He promised to take their relationship slowly. The gleam in his brown eyes told her this wasn't easy for him. He had no idea how hard this would be for her, too. She wanted him more with each passing day.

"Argh!"

She tossed a neon green sweater and leggings ensemble to the floor. "What's wrong with me?"

She'd already showered and styled her hair. As soon as she found something to wear, she'd be all set to ride over to Jump Street. Fuller and the other officers expected her and Tom to check in before hitting the party. Everyone felt tonight would reveal the mastermind of the gambling ring and help them wrap the case with a big, fat red bow.

The ringing doorbell interrupted her thoughts. She tied her robe closed and padded from her bedroom to the door. A quick glance in the peephole set her heart pounding her chest like Sheila E. on her drum set. Sexy locks of dark hair fell across Tom's forehead, revealing a glimpse of his beautiful brown eyes. He was dressed in black and that only added to his sensual appeal.

"Be still my heart," she murmured her breath as she opened the door.

He greeted her with a big smile and a gorgeous bouquet of roses. "Hey. These are for you."

"Thanks." Her voice sounded unnaturally husky. "Come in."

As she took the flowers, he leaned in and kissed her cheek. His cologne filled her senses. Damn, he smells as good as he looks. Liquid warmth pooled between her thighs. Heat oozed from head to toe. The want came back and in full blast.

Hugging the roses to her chest, she stepped aside. He entered and headed to the middle of the room. Even with her back to him, she could feel his intense gaze traveling over her. With shaking hands, she bolted the door.

Relax, girl, she silently advised.

She drew in a deep, calming breath and slowly turned to face him.

"Wow." The sight of him dressed all in black did things to her. He looked great no matter what, but tonight, he looked dangerous as hell. And that was sexy in and of itself.

"What?" His mouth curved into a grin. "Why are you staring at me like that?"

"I'm not." The quiver in her voice gave her away.

"Liar." He folded his arms across his chest. His grin widened.

"Cut it out," she snapped. "I have to get dressed."

"Well...you don't have to get dressed."

"Don't start with me, Tom Hanson." She skittered to the kitchen as if hounds were at her heels. "Fuller is waiting for us."

She smelled his distinct scent the same moment the heat of his body enveloped her from behind. He moved like a panther. She hadn't even heard his approach!

"He can wait."

"The wireó"

"The wire can wait." He placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around. His fingers kneaded her flesh with expert precision.

"The flowers need a vase!" she blurted.

He took the roses from her. "Where's your vase?"

"Up there." She jutted her chin toward the cabinet beside the refrigerator. "I came in here to get it."

"I can do it." He headed toward the cabinet. With his back to her, he said, "While I'm taking care of this, you'd better get dressed. Otherwise, we're gonna be very late for Fuller, our wires and that party."

He didn't have to tell her twice. Judy turned on her heels and fled to the safety of her bedroom.

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