So I was feeling majorly blocked on the story that comes after Discovering Omaha and Building Rome. What I was writing just wasn’t working. So I took a few days off and was able to figure out a way to fix things. And now everything is flowing beautifully. I have the prologue and chapter 1 already finished, and chapter 2 is started. With the holiday weekend, I’m hoping to get a good chunk written.
Hopefully, in just a few weeks you’ll get the first part of this next story in this series, called Solving Burbank. I already have the following story, Saving Moscow, outlined and ready to be written, too. I’m mixing things up by having the final chapter be two stories that stand alone, but feature a plot arc that runs through both. That probably doesn’t make any sense now, but hopefully it will soon. :-)
Also, I’m happy to announce that I have a series title now: Finding Home. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to these stories!
It had been months since he was in this bedroom. He had kinda hoped that he wouldn’t ever have to sleep here again. But he just had to stick his foot in his mouth, try and make a joke about something that was no joking matter, and now here he was. In the guest room. Making him think of those days right after Sarah had lost her memories, when everything was uncertain between them. Days that he never begrudged her, because he knew just how confused and lost and unsure she must have felt.
Chuck sighed and rolled over on the bed. He should try and get some sleep. In the morning, he’d apologize again. And perhaps by then, Sarah would have found it in her to forgive him. To understand that the stupid joke had just slipped out and he’d be more careful in the future.
And he would be. Because acting like she was with him only because she couldn’t remember having anything better … he knew that wasn’t the truth. In every action and word, before and after her memory loss, Sarah had never given any sign that she was comparing him to other men she had known. Or at least, she had never found him wanting in comparison. And to think otherwise wasn’t just about him giving in to self-doubt, to worries that he thought he had moved past years ago. It was an insult to Sarah and to the relationship they had built over the years.
Flopping onto his back and looking up at the ceiling, Chuck blew out a breath. He had really, really, really screwed up this time. If he couldn’t sleep, maybe he should spend the next eight hours figuring out he could come up with a better apology than a rushed, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that!”
Sarah deserved more than that. And after everything that had happened to them, he refused to let his own insecurities keep them apart.
For an absolute genius, Chuck Bartowski could be the most frustrating, infuriating moron on Earth.
Sarah Walker Bartowski was curled up in a ball on her side of the bed, resting her head on her pillow and trying to warm her own feet. It felt so wrong. She should be stretched out beside Chuck, her head on his chest and his feet covering hers. That was the only way she could sleep now. Not without the sound of his heartbeat under her ear.
Instead, she was here and Chuck was in the guest room, because … because she needed some time to poke at a wound she hadn’t realized she had. The idea that Chuck somehow thought she was with him by default.
Chuck probably thought she was upset because of how it referred back to her memory loss. But that wasn’t it at all. Because this worry was not a new one. It was something she remembered from before.
Watching him from the beginning of the assignment. Seeing how little confidence he had in himself, especially when it came to women. Thinking that he didn’t have anything to offer because of his dead-end job and living with Ellie. But from the very beginning, she knew that Chuck Bartowski was someone very, very special. And even though it wasn’t part of her mission, not at all, she resolved to make him see that he was special.
Sarah thought she had done that. That he knew he was amazing and talented and … and everything she could ever want. She thought he knew that. What had changed? Was it her memory loss? Did he think that it gave her an opening to leave him? Hadn’t she proved to him that even with some of her memories gone, it didn’t matter because they belonged together?
Suddenly, the last thing she wanted was to stay in this bed alone. There was no reason for her to be sad and quiet and unhappy, letting Chuck sulk and sink into one of those depressed moods he had sometimes, when she could fix things. If he thought she was going to give up on him that easily, if he thought she was going to walk away from him because of one stupid joke and a little insecurity, he had another think coming.
There was a flicker of anger motivating her on as she threw back the covers. She yanked off the t-shirt of Chuck’s she’d taken out of the laundry hamper, one that smelled like him, and pulled open her dresser drawer. The silky lacy pink nightgown, the one she remembered buying in Paris after they had gotten together, was in the back of the drawer. She quickly changed into it, then walked to the bathroom.
It was the work of a moment to remove the traces of tearstains on her cheeks and to fluff up her hair. She looked at herself for a long moment in the mirror.
“You love him and he loves you,” she told her reflection. It was the truth. Nothing could change that. And if after what she was planning to do, he still didn’t believe her … that meant this doubt went deeper than their relationship and she’d need to tell him just how it hurt her when he doubted them.
But Sarah Walker Bartowski felt, deep down in her bones, that after tonight they wouldn’t need to discuss this issue again.
He thought he heard the door open a little. Chuck rolled over and saw that Sarah was standing in the hall, just outside the door with her hand on the knob.
“Good, you’re awake,” she said, pushing the door open and coming into the room.
“Sarah?!?” he blinked, staring at her as she walked over to the bed and pushed him onto his back.
She looked beautiful. Her hair was all wavy and full and she was wearing that nightgown, the one she got in Paris, the one she kept for special occasions and anniversaries.
But what really made his mouth go dry and his eyes widen was the look on her face. She looked like a warrior woman, like a Valkyrie, like Wonder Woman. Full of avenging strength, ready to swoop down upon him and …
His brain short-circuited for a moment when she climbed onto the bed and straddled him, then leaned down. She braced herself on one hand and took his chin in her other hand.
“I have something to tell you, Chuck. And I need you to listen.”
Nodding quickly, he licked his lips. ”Sarah, I’m sorry—”
“Shhh,” Sarah said, the soft word not so soft due to the tone of command in her voice. He quickly clamped his mouth shut and Sarah nodded.
“Chuck, you made a really dumb joke tonight. And it hurt me. And I know you’re sorry—I know you didn’t mean it,” she said, keeping her voice low and her eyes locked on his. Her face was neutral, but the fire burning in her eyes made fear start to crawl over him.
“But if you ever again think that I’m with you because I don’t know any better, that I’m with you because I’m scared—that if any reason other than the fact that I’m in love with you and our life together ever crosses your mind? Do you know what I’ll do?”
His wife was a trained assassin, she had once reminded him. From his earliest days as the Intersect, he had known just how scary Sarah Walker could be. But he’d never had all of that turned on him, never had the full brunt of an angry, determined Sarah Walker Bartowski directed straight at him.
Chuck hesitantly lifted a hand and gestured, asking if he could speak. Sarah nodded, and he could hear his voice shake a little as he asked, “W-What?”
And just like that, the mask fell away, revealing his wife. Her eyes grew warm and soft, her body sank down against his like liquid and her voice became seductive and teasing. ”I will make love to you within an inch of your life, until it gets through that very, very thick and very, very handsome skull of yours that there’s no reason to doubt me.” She pressed a soft kiss to his slack lips. ”Oh, and also we’ll go for couples counseling. Because I will deal with having to talk to a shrink to make sure this never happens again.”
To say that he was in a daze was putting it mildly. He couldn’t stop staring up at her, wondering at this amazing woman who was putting herself on the line for him, for them, and not yelling at him or making him feel bad for screwing up so badly and God, she was beautiful and his and why was he still thinking?
Chuck nodded his head vigorously. ”I agree to your terms!” he said, his hands reaching out to cup her face and pull her towards him. ”Sarah …”
“I love you, Chuck,” she whispered against his lips, right before he kissed her.
“I love you, too,” he gasped, rolling them over and pressing against her. ”Sarah, Sarah …”
“Stop talking—stop thinking,” she said, pushing up his t-shirt. ”I need you.”
And because he loved his wife, because he was ready to put this fight behind him, and because he knew that all she wanted was him, Chuck Bartowski did just what his wife wanted.
More in the Thin Man universe that victorianoir and I are creating. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out part one! Hope you enjoy this look at the morning after Chuck and Sarah’s first meeting.
The Detective and the Tech Guy
The Detective in the Tech Guy’s Closet
An emphatic pounding on his door made Chuck hurry from his bedroom, curious about who was knocking on his door at just past seven in the morning. Normally no one ever knocked on his door at this hour of the morning, but that was before his father had started receiving death threats and was nearly killed himself. Before Sarah Walker had come into his life and made plans with him for an eight o’clock meeting.
But it might not be her, after all. Whoever this guest was, they’d have to deal with seeing him in a robe with wet hair.
Ready at Your Hand, Chapter 8
Summary: In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a Catholic plot against the queen comes to the attention of spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. To protect Elizabeth, he develops an unusual plan: hide the passing of intelligence between two agents by a false romance. When Lady Sarah Walker and Chuck Carmichael meet, though, their pretend flirtation becomes much more.
Some historical notes under the cut!