Partnered with Hoffs.

Hanson left the Captain's office with the words playing in his mind. Usually teamed with Penhall, Tom only mildly objected to being partnered with Judy. Then, Fuller's following question plagued him. The man asked if Hanson and Hoffs were dating. He swallowed the lump in his throat and paused at his desk. Lingering. Thinking.

"Hey." Doug brushed past him on the way to the coffee machine. "What some?"

Thoughts of Judy, him and the possibilities jumbled together in Hanson's brain. Penhall's question threw him. Did he want some? Some of what exactly?

"Huh?"

"Coffee." Doug shot him a weird look. "It's not fresh, but it'll do."

Tom shook his head. "Nah, I'm okay."

"The changes are weird," Doug said, returning with coffee and a donut. He jutted his head toward Fuller's office. "He's not like Jenco."

"Nobody will ever be like him." Judy joined them. She sat on the edge of her desk. Her skirt rose, revealing shapely brown legs.

Tom's pulse picked up a fast rhythm. He found himself unable to turn away. Surprisingly. It wasn't like he hadn't seen her legs before. Judy had a great figure and wasn't shy about showing it off. Not that she was loose. Hell, no. But she was well put together. Something he'd noticed but kept in the back of his head.

Until he saw her in uniform and then, Fuller asked if they were dating. Stuff like that got a man to thinking.

"Yeah, he was one of a kind," Harry said, sitting beside Judy. She rested her arm on his shoulder in a companionable way. He asked, "What do you think of the new guy?"

"He's different," she answered. "Gruff."

"All that time in the big city," Penhall quipped. "It gave him a hard edge."

"I'm waiting," Harry offered.

"What about you, Hanson?"

Her soft voice wrapped around him. He gazed into her warm brown eyes and almost lost himself. Popping a stick of gum into his mouth, he aimed for casual indifference. Too much was on his mind for him to let the walls drop.

"I'm with Harry," he said. "Waiting. Time will tell."

She gave him a smile that lit up her face and brightened Hanson's morning. "It usually does."

~*~

He and Hoffs set a record for this case. With the help of the team and the rest of the department, they solved it in one day. Sure, the perps kidnapped him, Ioki and Penhall. Judy, too. But she made the collar and returned safely to them.

A few days had passed when he stopped at her desk with coffees for both of them. As she thanked him with a smile, he remembered the elation he felt when the case was over. Their main suspect had kidnapped her. The guy didn't know she was cop, but that didn't stop any of them from worrying. It turned out to be wasted emotion. They arrived to find her reading the guy his rights. The hug and kiss Tom gave her only seemed right after that tense moment.

"I don't need a babysitter, Hanson," she said. Her eyes sparkled as she teased him with a smile.

Intrigued and ready to play the game, he perched on the edge of her desk. "What do you need?"

She arched an eyebrow. "Be careful now. I may think you're offering."

He hunched his shoulders and took a sip of the steaming brew. "Maybe I am."

Whatever teasing remark she planned failed to escape her lips. Her ready smile faltered. Her mouth opened and closed several times. She cupped the styrofoam cup between her slender hands. Finally, she said, "What are you offering?"

Take the plunge, his heart and head screamed. He shifted on the desk and intended to do just that when Fuller bellowed for him and Penhall.

He offered her a half smile. "Hold that thought."

"It's been saved, stored and locked away for future reference."

~*~

His next case with Penhall kept him tied up for weeks. He and Judy met in passing. She seemed to look at him in anticipation. Their mutual interest sparked and pulsed. He regretted the bad timing and silently promised them both that soon their conversation would continue.

In the end, the case ended with a bang--an exploding boys room toilet--and Hanson needing a couple days of quiet to rest his eardrums. He spent the day off with a stack of video rentals. A pile of Charlie Chaplin movies towered beside his entertainment center. When loud knock pounded on his door, he had just pushed play on The Little Tramp.

Grabbing the remote, he paused the movie and glided to the door on sock-covered feet. To his surprise, Judy stood on the other side. She held up a bag of take-out that smelled suspiciously like shrimp fried rice and egg fu young. He opened the door and ushered her inside.

"HEY!" She crossed the threshold. "I THOUGHT YOU'D BE HUNGRY."

He choked down a chuckle. As he closed and locked the door, he pressed a finger to his lips. "I'm not deaf."

She frowned. Traces of embarrassment crossed her features. "Fuller said the bomb practically exploded in your ears and that you could barely hear."

"My hearing's okay, but I can't take loud noises," he said in a near whisper. "In a few days, everything should be back to normal."

"Well, I feel like a silly fool," she mumbled. "I'm sorry. I hope I didn't make it worse."

"You?" He took the takeout from her and headed to the kitchen. Her airy perfume signaled that she followed. As he grabbed napkins, he said, "You couldn't make it worse if you tried. Thanks."

He moved to take plates from the drying rack on the counter. An electric jolt shocked him as she touched his arm. "I prefer to eat from the carton if you don't mind. They included chopsticks."

"I can use chopsticks," he said. "Want something to drink? I have milk, juice and beer."

"I'll have a beer," she said.

He clutched the bags of food in one hand while he maneuvered the fridge door open with the other and retrieved two bottles of Coors.

"I probably shouldn't have barged over here," she said as they settled on his futon.

He set everything out on the coffee table. "I'm glad you did. I haven't seen you lately. We've been so busy with this crazy case. Kids setting bombs in toilets, releasing frogs in biology class, and just--"

"Stop." She gently placed her hand on his denim-clad thigh. "Let's talk about something other than work. We've hung out together a few times, but there's so much we haven't really talked about."

Talk? How could he with her hand on his thigh? Vibrations of desire rippled through him. He fought for control. But control threatened to take a flying leap out the window. Hesitant of moving too quickly, he took her hand and held it.

"No, we haven't." His voice held a low, raspy edge. He coughed once to clear it. "This goes back to our last conversation."

"Yeah." She shifted, turning to face him. Her leg brushed against his thigh and the slight touch seemed to affect her. She looked at their joined hands. "You said some things… Actually, Hanson, you flirted with me."

He released a short laugh. Hell, she was a nervous as he, but damned if that was gonna stop her. Nodding, he drew tiny circles on the back of her hand. "Yeah, I did and you flirted back. And now, here we are. Just the two of us at my place on a school night."

She tried to jerk her hand free. "Don't make fun of me."

"I'm not. " He rested his arm along the back of the futon and moved a tad closer to her. His gaze swept over her. Tonight, her hair pulled back in a ponytail revealed her adorable heart-shaped face. Touches of berry gloss colored her full, kissable lips. Her milk chocolate skin appeared dewy soft and he couldn't resist caressing her cheek. "I'm not making fun. Ever since we returned to Jump Street…I've been taking notice of a lot of things. I missed you while I was at HQ sitting behind a desk."

"I thought about you, too."

"I should have called after Jenco's funeral," he said. "I intended to."

"Well, here we are. All back together again," she said. "What happens now?"

"Maybe," he said, gathering courage as he stared into her eyes, "we can start with this."

He slowly descended to meet her lips. Savoring the first taste of her kiss, he gently massaged her mouth with his. A thousand rockets exploded inside him. She was as sweet and juicy as a sun-ripened peach.

When the kiss broke, blood pounded his brain and other parts of his anatomy. He sat back, dazed and pleasurably confused. He struggled to calm his racing heart. "Was that a good place to start?"

She touched her fingers to her lips and offered him a dreamy smile. "Definitely."


Part 2

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