"I think we can safely say mission accomplished," Dom said, leaning back with his hands behind his head, while looking at Deidre as she stood at the front window of his apartment.
It had been three weeks since the day Tim and Richard had met for lunch for the first time. Since then, they'd done it four more times, as well as spending at least one evening each weekend together.
Cherie had played chaperone, Tim had laughingly told Dom during one of the many times he'd dropped by to catch him up on what was going on.
"Not that I mind in the least," Tim added. "She's a wonderful child."
When Dom had questioned that—his not minding—Tim explained, "Richard and I are taking it one step at a time, for her sake and for ours. Believe it or not, he's as new to this whole relationship thing as I am. We don't want to blow it."
Dom bit back a cackle of amusement at the way he'd phrased that last, just nodding sagely.
While they were waiting it out to be certain that Tim and Richard really were going to get involved with each other as more than just friends, Dom had slowly begun to accept that it was time for him to let go of his anger toward Deidre. As he did—and it wasn't easy—he found she was actually an interesting woman. She was smart and witty, once she, too, had started to let her guard down—and not too bad on the eyes to boot.
Now she turned to look at him after his comment. "Nothing is written in stone when it comes to relationships. However, I suspect you're right. There's nothing more we can do that wouldn't be considered interfering above and beyond the call of duty. They like each other and from what Tim told you, they're working on making it something permanent. That's all anyone can ask." She grinned. "Even Samuel."
"I agreed. So what say we go out and celebrate our success?"
Dom nodded. "Why not? We've earned it. A good meal, maybe…" He shrugged. "I know a nice club where there's dancing, if you dance."
"That sounds like fun."
A couple of hours later they were walking into Maxie's, after having spent a pleasant hour over dinner at a small restaurant Deidre had discovered soon after she'd arrived in the city.
They found a table not too far from the edge of the dance floor and gave the waitress their drink orders. While they waited for her to return, Dom watched the people dancing.
"My wife and I had a club we went to. Connie loved to dance." He chuckled softly. "Even with me and I was hardly Fred Astaire."
"Dom, if this is bringing back memories, perhaps we should leave before…?"
"No." He turned to look at Deidre. "It's time for me to remember the good parts of our life. Not that I haven't before but…but then it was only to damn myself for not being able to save her and Nico. Now…now it's because the memories remind me I had someone who loved me. Someone I loved in return. Despite all that's happened since, it's not a bad thing, knowing I was loved."
"It never is, Dom."
"Did you have someone before you died?"
Deidre nodded, her expression darkening. "Yes. The man of my dreams, until the day he decided he wanted to trade up, so to speak. I ended up in a grave in the middle of nowhere." She sighed deeply. "I suppose he went on to marry her. I never asked. I didn't want to know."
"Good God," Dom whispered.
She smiled wryly. "Hopefully he had nothing to do with it."
"I suspect not." He paused while the waitress put down their drinks, paid her, and then stood, holding out his hand to Deidre. "If you're willing to take a chance I'll end up stepping on your toes…"
She laughed, getting up. "I've been in worse danger."
They wended their way to the dance floor, arriving just in time for a slow song, much to Dom's relief. He liked fast music, but not to dance to. As they made their way around the floor, he realized Deidre made an excellent dance partner, moving with him as if they'd done this a hundred times. He told her so and she blushed.
"It's been a long time," she said, "but I guess you never forget."
"Fifteen years for me," he replied.
She chewed her lip before admitting, "Almost a hundred for me." Chuckling, she added, "I was pretty damned good at the Charleston."
Dom said, laughing, "Samuel seems to be putting me with the old pros, although"—he twirled her around—"he didn't actually put me with you."
"No. He was smart enough not to do that. But I have a sneaking suspicion he knew we'd run into each other during our assignments. I did wonder if he'd pull me out if you asked—or vice versa."
"We got the answer to that one in spades. 'The two of you will finish your jobs and if necessary, you will work together'." Dom said, mimicking Samuel perfectly.
Deidre laughed delightedly. "You could have had a great career as an actor."
Snorting, Dom led her back to their table. Just as they sat down, he saw two familiar faces. Tim saw him at the same time, pointing him out to Richard, and they came over.
"Gentlemen," Dom said, "this is Deidre, one of my co-workers. Deidre—Tim and Richard."
"A pleasure to meet you," Deidre responded. "Dom's told me a lot about the two of you. Well, maybe not a lot, but he's mentioned you."
"All good, I hope," Richard said.
While Deidre replied to his comment, Tim asked Dom under his breath, "Is this the friend you were upset about?"
Dom nodded. "We've…settled our differences."
"And now you're dating?"
"Sorry to disappoint you, but no. We're celebrating the fact we both finished our jobs successfully, before leaving town for new ones."
"Oh." Tim didn't exactly look happy about that. "I'll miss having you around to talk to."
"You have Richard now," Dom pointed out.
Tim brightened considerably and even more so when Richard, who had apparently overheard them, said, "He does, and I have him."
"So you'll be just fine when I'm gone," Dom said with a smile.
Tim looked at Richard then nodded. "Yes, I will."
"Would you two care to join us?" Deidre asked.
"Thanks but we can't," Richard replied. "We're meeting a couple of friends. Perhaps the next time you're in the city?"
"Perhaps," Dom said, knowing that wasn't likely to happen. Then the two men said their goodbyes and headed across the room hand-in-hand.
Deidre smiled. "You were right about what you said earlier this evening. Mission accomplished."
"Indeed. So we should get back and report in, I suspect."
"Not until we've finished our drinks and had at least one more dance."
Dom grinned. "I can deal with that."