asphaltcowgrrl: (RAR)
[personal profile] asphaltcowgrrl
Title: The Trouble with Trish
Fandom: Romani Detective Original Fiction
Pairing: Andrej Zeklos + Trish Rollins
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2,193
Summary: Trish is having a rough week, feeling a little down and out. Andrej comes to her rescue.
Author’s Note: I was in a mood when I wrote this so it’s a bit broody and maudlin. I apologize in advance.

The knock on the door startled her. She wasn’t expecting anyone and it’s not like she had the kind of friends that showed up out of nowhere for no reason, carrying pizza and beer. More than likely it was some damn missionary or kid selling candy bars. Well, not like she’d ever turn away a kid with a candy bar.

Trish rose from where she’d been curled on the couch, staring blankly at the television. Grabbing the remote, she muted the game show currently airing and peeked through the peep hole in the door. Blinking, she looked again. The nervous person on the other side of the lens hadn’t changed one bit.

Opening the door, she stuck her head through, loving the feel of the dry desert heat on her skin. “Andy,” she said, a smile curving her mouth, “what the hell are you doing here?”

He looked up at her and shrugged. “I was worried about you earlier,” he said. “You were – you were not your usual self, Trish.”

Leave it to Andy to be the only one to pick up on her discomfort. Not for the first time she wondered whether there was some truth to all of Zayne’s speculations about Romani magic. If she were honest with herself she’d realize he was simply an observant person with a big heart, but she wasn’t ready to let go of the idea he had witchy powers. Those sapphire eyes of his were bewitching enough to make her want to buy into all of Reyes’ bullshit.

“Ever have one of those days” she said, stepping back so he could come inside, “where it’s all too much?”

He tilted his head to the side, studying her. Andrej was still dressed in his work clothes – sharply pressed suit, tie, crisp white shirt – so he must have come directly from the station. Okay, so maybe not directly from the station, she thought, noting the flowers he held in his left hand.

“Yes,” Andrej said. “I have had many, many of those days. I thought once upon a time they’d be less once I settled into my new home here in America, but I haven’t been very lucky.”

“Considering the two idiots you live with, I can understand why,” she laughed. “If those are for me, you shouldn’t have.”

Glancing down at the flowers, he gave her a sad smile. “It is tradition, no? Besides they are very pretty and they will lighten your mood.”

She couldn’t deny that. “Okay then, bring them into the kitchen. I’m not sure if I have a vase or not, but we can look.”

Andrej uncovered a funky bottle she’d gotten in a coffee shop a couple weeks ago and arranged the flowers in it. He set them in the middle of her coffee table and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Is there something I can do? I’m not very –” He shrugged, at a loss for words it seemed. English words probably. She had no doubt he had a plethora of Romanian – and even French – he could lay on her.

“Come sit with me for a bit,” she said, dropping heavily onto the couch. “I’m not sure I can put what I’m feeling into words, but having you here helps.”

He removed his jacket, folded it neatly, and laid it over the back of her recliner before he took a seat on the couch beside her, but not too close. Even though they both knew that neither had the slightest interest in the other, she also understood he was raised in a different land where the rules of propriety weren’t the same. The most amusing part of it all was that later, after they’d both had a couple drinks, she’d be half asleep on him and he wouldn’t give a damn. It sometimes took him a bit to warm up, but he always did.

“I am happy to be here,” he said, situating himself so that he was as comfortable he could be in a suit after a long day. “And please, try to tell me. It might help more.”

She sighed and watched him fidget. “Here,” she said, reaching forward and unknotting his tie. “Relax a little. I don’t bite.”

“Yes, you do,” he said, a fond smile on his face. “I saw you.”

“That asshole deserved it,” she said, remembering how Zayne had baited her that day. “I promise not to bite you, Andy.”

He patted her leg with a hand and looked extremely uncomfortable doing it. “Tell me why you are so unhappy, Trish.”

She made a face and looked at where his hand now rested on her knee. That first bit of contact was always the hardest for him but, once it was made, he seemed to ease up some. Andy had come a long way in the time she’d known him. “I don’t really know what it is, but I feel blah. Like I have so much to say but no one to say it to or, at least, no one who will listen.”

“Will Hilary not listen to your troubles?”

“She will but…”

“But?” Andrej removed his hand from her leg and sat up, watching her.

“But, I bitch at her so much that sometimes I feel like one more complaint is too much.” It wasn’t true and she knew it. Hil was her rock and they’d shared more horror stories and bitch sessions over the years than she could count. And yet, sometimes, she wondered.

“I am not much help,” Andrej said. “But you can talk to me, too.”

“I can’t do that to you,” she said, waving away his offer with a hand.

“Why not?” He rearranged his feet on the floor and settled his hands in his lap. “I know how you are feeling. The things that bother me do not seem to be as imper – important to others as they are to me.”

Her heart broke as she watched his gaze fall to his hands. He was struggling with something himself, but Andy was much too private to ever tell her without provocation. Trish knew that, in their own way, both the narco and Reyes loved Andy, but they weren’t always the best at expressing it in a way that Andrej understood. “I’m sorry that they do that to you,” she said, meaning every word. She’d been treated to that kind of attitude as a teenager, causing her to question every feeling she’d ever had since. “But Reyes’ priorities start and end with him. The narco, I can’t even tell you with him.”

“Jay is better than Zayne,” Andy said, his mood brightening somewhat. “But even Zayne is not as bad as he once was. Does Hilary treat you this way?” His face scrunched into a look of confusion. “I would think she would be better at listening.”

“No,” Trish said, shaking her head. “Hil’s actually really good at getting where I’m coming from. But some days I – I just feel like she doesn’t want to know what’s on my mind. Or, like, I want to talk but she’s not in the mood to be chatty. Does that make any sense?”

“Yes,” he said. “I think it does. Do you feel that way now?”

“I did earlier,” Trish said, standing suddenly. “You want a drink? I think I need one.”

“I shouldn’t,” Andy said, flashing her a wicked grin. “But I will.”

“Hah,” she cackled. “Someone pissed you off, I can see it in your eyes. Two brewskis coming right up.”

“Why is it everyone gets angry with me for not speaking English,” she heard him mutter. “But no one is required to speak actual English to me?”

**

“Are you sure,” she heard a familiar voice say.

“Damnit, just open the door.”

Rubbing her eyes, Trish looked around her. The living room had gone dark and she could barely make out the multitude of beer bottles on the table before them. God, how many of them had she polished off because Andy never had more than two at the most. His feet were propped on the coffee table amongst the bottles and his head was cushioned by the back of the couch.

Maybe he’d had more than his usual, but it was hard to guess.

“Do I hear voices,” Andy muttered, sounding like he was still half wasted.

“I’m so glad you asked,” Trish chuckled, “because I was beginning to wonder if I was losing my mind.”

She lifted her head off his shoulder and forced herself into an upright position. “I might be wrong, but I swear it sounded like Hil.”

“What the hell is taking you two so long,” a third voice asked. “Didn’t you say you had a key?”

“That was Jay,” Andrej said. “Which means Zayne is likely to be outside your door as well. Should I let them in?”

“No,” Trish said, stretching her arms over her head. “I’m curious how long it’ll take her to figure out I changed the locks.”

“I heard that,” Maxwell yelled, pounding on the door. “Do you have Andy in there with you, Rollins?”

She looked at the man in question and he held his hands out as if to ask if he had any choice in the matter. “Yes, Maxwell, he’s here. You can tell Reyes and the narco to chill out.”

“We’ll chill out when you let us have Zek back,” Reyes yelled at the door.

Trish sighed. “I’d better let them in before someone calls the cops on the idiot detectives at my door.”

Andy chuckled and she didn’t blame him. She almost wanted to see how the three would react to being confronted by a bunch of unis and how long it would take before anyone believed that they were indeed law enforcement. Unlatching the deadbolt and turning the lock on the knob, Trish pulled the door open and let in the flood of Metro detectives.

“Damnit, Andy,” the redhead said. There was a scowl on his face and a flush to his pale cheeks. “We were worried about you.”

“Yeah, what the ginger said,” Reyes added, plopping onto the couch beside a still groggy Andy. “Why the hell didn’t you tell us where you were going?”

Andrej looked from the cowboy beside him to the redhead with his arms crossed and rolled his eyes. “Neither of you would listen to me so I left. You could have called.”

“We tried,” Zayne said, shaking his phone at Andy. “You didn’t answer.”

“We fell asleep,” Trish said, reclaiming her spot next to Andrej. She leaned into his side and he put his arm around her shoulders.

“More like you passed out,” Hilary snorted. “How many of those are yours, Andy?”

He looked at the collection of bottles and made a face. “I do not remember.”

“Lord,” James said, dropping his arms to his sides. “That’s not good. C’mon, cowboy. Let’s get him out of here. You take his keys and I’ll put him in my car.”

“What?” Zayne shot to his feet and shook a finger at the narco. “Oh no, he’s riding home with me.”

“Before you two throw down in Rollins’ living room, how you draw straws?”

“Or take one car and go home,” Trish suggested, propping her feet on the table. “You can stop by tomorrow and pick up whatever car you leave.”

Reyes and Rosewood stared at her for a long moment. “Okay,” Zayne said, nodding at the redhead. “I think we can do that. Mind if we take your car, narco? Zek’s is already in Trish’s driveway.”

“For once you make sense, Reyes,” the ginger said. “Alright, Andy, let’s get your drunk ass home.”

“My ass is not drunk,” Zeklos spluttered, making everyone in the room laugh.

“That’s debatable,” Rosewood joked. “But we can have that conversation at home.”

The narco and Reyes got Andy to his feet and out to the car where he promptly fell over in the back seat. “That’s going to be an uncomfortable ride home for them all,” Trish said.

“I’m more worried about what the two of them are going to do to poor Andy once they get him alone.”

Trish grinned at her partner. “Nothing that he probably hasn’t already done.” They watched in silence as the men drove away. As soon as James’ car disappeared around the corner, Trish nudged Hilary. “Want to come inside for some coffee? I think Andy and I drank all the beer.”

“Sure,” she said, hooking her arm around Trish’s. “And maybe you can tell me why the two of you got so snockered on a school night?”

“Just feeling a little left out,” Trish said. “Nothing to worry about. He gets me, even if he doesn’t always understand me.”

“You guys are two very odd peas in an even odder pod, Rollins,” Hilary said.

“And I wouldn’t want it any other way, Maxwell.” Because really, if Andy were any less awkward, this relationship they had wouldn’t work as well as it did. She let him be geeky and vulnerable and he gave her the freedom to be insecure and defenseless. It worked for them both.
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