Odd Man Out
By Maquis Leader
Rated R to light NC17
Author’s note: Set a few weeks after Bosco left the hospital in The Other L Word. Thanks to Staci for helping me with last minute issues!
Emily looked up from her homework, her smile fading as she noticed the man who had followed her mother inside the apartment. “Mom?”
“Hey, Em.” Faith shut the door and pulled her coat off. “Em, this is – “
“Hey, ‘bout time you got home!” Bosco walked out of the kitchen, wiping his hands on a kitchen towel. “I was thinking – “ He stopped when he saw Faith wasn’t alone.
“Hey, Bos.” Faith grinned at him. Bosco had on the kitchen apron that Emily had gotten him for his birthday. ‘Kiss me, I’m Italian’ was emblazoned across the front. “You kill me in that thing.”
Emily put her Algebra book down. “Who’s this?”
“Oh, jeez, where are my manners?” Turning to Miller, Faith laid a hand on his arm. “John, this is my daughter Emily – and the guy in the funny apron there is Bosco. Guys, this is John Miller, he’s a lieutenant at the 55.”
“Emily.” Miller smiled and nodded at her. “Good to meet you.”
“Sure.” He didn’t look anything like Lieutenant Swersky. In Emily’s mind, all lieutenants should look like Lieutenant Swersky. Fatherly and old – and not catching her mother’s attention at all.
Turning to Bosco, Miller noticed the bandage on the right cheek that didn’t quite cover the scarring there. Quickly he flicked his eyes up to the other man’s eyes. “Bosco.”
Bosco looked the guy over. A suit. He didn’t remember a suit named Miller. When Miller stuck his hand out, Bosco was tempted to ignore it – but who knew why the guy was here. Maybe he was Faith’s new boss. Reluctantly, Bosco shook the man’s hand.
“Let me go change and we’ll head out.” Faith laid her coat over the back of the sofa and headed for her bedroom.
“Mom? Where are you going?” Emily leaned over the back of the sofa to look at her.
“To dinner.” She smiled, holding in a stupid giggle at the idea of her first date in over sixteen years. “John is taking me out to dinner.”
“Oh.” Emily sat back, staring wide eyed as her mother left the room. “Oh!”
“So, uh…” There was something even more uncomfortable than usual about this situation. Miller looked from the startled teenager to the man standing in front of him wearing the apron. “So, um, you’re the nanny?”
“Nanny?” Bosco’s eyes narrowed. “Do I look like a nanny to you?”
“Well, the apron…” He shrugged.
Bosco looked down at the apron and back up. “Emily bought it for me – I looked silly in Faith’s apron. Though it was pink and frilly and made me feel all pretty for her.”
Her mom had a date? With a man? With a man who wasn’t Bosco? Emily scrambled off the sofa. “Uncle Bosco is Mom’s partner.” She slid her arm through Bosco’s. “He lives with us.”
“You live – “ Miller looked down the hallway – doing a quick door count. Two bedrooms and a bath from the looks of things. One for the kid and one for Faith – so where does this Bosco sleep? “ – here?”
“Yeah.” He could have told the guy that Faith had brought him home from the hospital because he couldn’t stay by himself and that she slept on Charlie’s bed in the kids’ room. But it was none of the guy’s business anyway.
“It’s just easier.” Emily shrugged. “Otherwise there’s his stuff here and her stuff there – so he just moved in.”
“You’re Faith’s partner?” Something wasn’t adding up here. Miller knew that Faith had been promoted to detective recently, and she was working with Grimaldi. “Ah, her former partner, you mean?”
“Her only partner.” Bosco glared at Miller. “I’m just letting Jelly keep an eye on her ‘till I get back.”
“Mom and Uncle Bos have been together forever.” Emily giggled. “They met at the Police Academy – it’s so romantic.”
“Romantic… “ Miller nodded slowly. Had Faith set him up for a practical joke?
Bosco wasn’t sure where Emily was headed, but following her seemed a good plan. “We’ve been together for over fourteen years now – good, solid partnership.”
Forget the partnership stuff! Emily didn’t like this Miller guy. Her mom and Bosco had been steadily getting closer, and she liked that idea a lot more than this guy walking in and trying to romance her mom. “Uncle Bosco is like a father to me and Charlie.”
“Charlie?” Miller remembered Faith saying something about her kids, but he hadn’t listened past the part where they weren’t coming to dinner with them. “Your brother, right?”
“No. Charlie’s my sister.” No way she could resist an opening like this. Emily grinned. “Short for Charlene.”
Oh my God, Emily – what the fuck are you up to? Bosco looked down at her, wide eyed. One thing Faith didn’t put up with was someone not listening when she talked about her kids. If she thought Miller wasn’t – on the other hand – “She’s Emily’s older sister.”
“Wait a second – “ Miller eyed the two suspiciously. “Faith just divorced recently – so how exactly have you two been ‘together’ all this time?”
Bosco gave Emily a look that clearly told her she was the mastermind here. She sighed sadly. “Dad just didn’t understand how important their partnership is. Two cops – partners – it’s like a sacred thing.”
True. Bosco nodded and noticed Miller nodded as well. One thing all cops understood was the bond between partners.
“And they were – well, you know – “ She winked at Miller.
Not true! Bosco felt his face flush. “Emily!”
“What? You think ‘cos I’m a kid, that I don’t know things?” Giggling again, she elbowed him in the side. When Bosco winced, she realized she’d forgotten the still healing wounds. “Sorry!”
“It’s okay, kid.” He rubbed his side. Her elbow had hit the one wound dead center like a heat seeking missile. “Only hurts when I laugh.”
The bandage on the cheek, and now the wincing added up to something in Miller’s mind. Bosco – Bosco – “Boscorelli?”
“Yeah.” Bosco nodded. And your next trick would be?
“Boscorelli – I remember hearing about you now.” Miller snapped his fingers. “You were shot a few months ago – Faith used to go to the hospital to see you.”
“She’s very devoted.” Emily laid her head against Bosco’s shoulder. “Uncle Bos was in a coma for months – but Mom never gave up hope he’d be okay.”
“Yeah, I remember that.” Miller smiled slightly. “We’d have coffee after she’d been to the hospital.”
Bosco’s hands clenched on the towel he was holding. Faith had gone out with this jagoff after she’d come to see him? Something twisted in his chest – it was like she’d cheated on him.
“You’ve been out with Mom before?” Emily’s smile matched Miller’s. “Funny, she never mentioned you.”
“I haven’t been at the 55 very long.” Obviously not long enough to find out that Faith lived with her beat partner – her former beat partner since she was now a detective, and he was now out of work. “I was brought in to run the Anti Crime Unit. We do a lot of important work.”
“Doesn’t that Cruz chick work in Anti Crime?” At the time, Emily had ignored her mom’s angry rants about Cruz and how she was going to drag Bosco into trouble. Who knew that crap would be important? “Isn’t she the one who shot Mom?”
“Yeah.” This was the new boss Cruz hated? Bosco grinned. That had been one of the few comments Faith had made about the guy. That and the day she got to put his smug ass in its place.
“Cruz shot Faith? When was this?” Looking down the hallway at the closed bedroom door, Miller wished Faith would hurry. “I haven’t heard anything about a shooting.”
“Well, it’s not something that we’d share with outsiders.” The big grin was making his cheek ache, but it was worth it. “I’d think though, that everyone would know how much Faith and Maritza hate each other.”
“Despise would be a better word.” Points to Uncle Bos for using Cruz’ first name. Emily squeezed his arm. Nothing like implying intimacy. “Mom was kinda jealous – you know how it is.”
Miller wasn’t sure what to think about the situation. Faith had accepted his invitation to dinner – finally – and yet she lived with someone. If it was an open relationship – she wouldn’t have been jealous of Cruz and this guy. “You know, I think I’ll wait in the car.”
“Okay.” Emily let go of Bosco’s arm and went to the door, holding it open.
“Where are you going?” Faith came out of the bedroom, combing her fingers through her hair.
“I was just going to wait in the car.” Turning, Miller caught sight of Faith. She was wearing a dark green dress that made her look even better than the tailored suits she wore to work. “You look – stunning.”
“Thanks.” She smiled. “Emily made me buy this a few months ago, but I haven’t had a chance to wear it.”
“Mom!” Not the dress I picked out for Bosco to see her wear! Her mother was completely brain dead. “No!”
“What?” Faith looked at Bosco. “Don’t I look okay?”
“You look – great.” The dress turned her hazel eyes a deep green color, and it clung to curves he’d only recently begun to notice. “You look – perfect.”
“Thanks, Bos.” A flush covered her cheeks, and she ducked her head. She’d wondered when she’d put the dress on if Bosco would notice how good she looked in it.
“If you’re ready to go, Faith?” It hadn’t escaped Miller’s notice that Faith had taken his compliment in stride while Bosco’s had thrown her. “Our reservation is in a half hour.”
“Mom – Uncle Bos made lasagna!” Emily grabbed her mother’s arm as she walked past.
“Lasagna?” Faith hesitated. Bosco made the best lasagna she’d ever had.
“We went to Little Italy and got real mozzarella and ricotta – “ Emily tugged her mother back toward Bosco. “And we got fresh bread – Bosco made real garlic spread, too.”
“That sounds good.” She looked at Miller and chewed her lip for a moment. On the other hand, she had a real date. A real live date! “Save me some, okay?”
“Sure.” Bosco pried Emily’s hand off her mom’s arm. He could see that Faith wanted to go out with this mook. She hadn’t been out on a date in who knew how long. Fred sure as hell hadn’t been interested in dressing up and taking her out. “I’ll save you a corner piece.”
“You cook?” Miller couldn’t keep the smirk off his face. The only men he knew who cooked were playing for the other team. Which went with the frilly pink apron comment, now that he thought about it.
“I’m Italian.” Bosco shrugged as if that explained everything.
“Oh my God, Bosco can cook better than anybody I’ve ever met – so long as it’s Italian.” Faith chuckled. “Guess that stereotype’s right.”
“I’m just a purebred American mutt.” Miller’s shrug mirrored Bosco’s. “Can’t cook anything other than coffee.”
Faith frowned. Was there an insult hiding in there? No, couldn’t be. He hadn’t known Bosco long enough to dislike him. Even Bosco didn’t work that fast. “We’d better get going.”
“What?” Emily was clinging to her like she was four years old again. “What is your problem?”
“We were going to have wine and candles. You know?” She tried to send her mother the mental image of ditching this Miller guy. “A romantic evening.”
“A romantic evening?” She didn’t want to laugh in Emily’s face, but it was a close call. “The three of us?”
“I um… that is…” Her mind went blank. Emily looked to Bosco for help, but he was walking back into the kitchen. “Please?”
“Emily, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” Faith picked up her coat from the sofa. “But we’re going to talk about it when I get home.”
“Which will be when?” The way her mother’s eyes narrowed told Emily she was treading on thin ice. “I mean, you have to go to work in the morning – and Bosco doesn’t sleep very good when you’re not here.”
“The last time I checked, young lady, I didn’t have a curfew.” Turning, she opened the door and motioned for Miller to go. “I’ll be home when I get home.”
The door slammed, and Emily ground her teeth in frustration. She stomped into the kitchen and confronted Bosco. “Aren’t you going to do something?”
“Such as?” It hurt like hell to see Faith going out with someone else, but it wasn’t like they were a couple. Partners and friends but nothing more. Which hurt even more somehow.
“I don’t know!” She plopped down in one of the kitchen chairs. “Something!”
“You have an interesting family.” Miller punched the elevator button.
“That’s one word for them.” Faith looked back at her door again. “Emily’s such a teenager – just when I think I’ve figured her out – she changes on me again.”
“Didn’t your other daughter act the same way?”
“My other daughter?” Faith turned to him, frowning.
“Charlene?” Was that the kid’s name? “Your older daughter?”
“That’d be Charlie. My son. The younger child.”
“Oh… ah… sorry.” Her eyes had hardened, and he knew he’d stepped in it. “I thought – guess I heard wrong.”
“Just a little.” The doors to the elevator slid open, and when Miller put his hand in front of the sensors to hold the doors open for her, Faith decided to forgive him for not listening more closely when she’d told him about her kids. “It’s okay.”
Miller realized that he’d been right to be suspicious of Emily and Boscorelli. They’d lied to him about Charlie – what else had they lied about? He smiled slightly. Boscorelli living with Faith was probably also just a load of bullcrap.
“It’s sweet that you let your former partner baby sit.” He followed Faith onto the elevator, nearly colliding with her when she stopped suddenly. When she turned to face him, Miller backed up a step. His mind automatically began to calculate the time it would take to draw his gun – before he remembered Faith wasn’t a perp.
“Bosco is my partner.” She put her hands on her hips. “Not former – current – permanent – partner.”
“He’s off the force.” Miller’s mind wouldn’t move her out of the dangerous category. “Isn’t he disabled?”
“No, he isn’t.” How had she thought this guy was someone she’d want to go out with? “Bosco’s working hard to get back to work – a few more months and he’ll be ready to go.”
“Faith, I know you feel sorry for the guy – ow!” Miller backed up as Faith raised her hand and jabbed a finger in his chest again. The closing elevator doors hit him and popped back open once again.
“Good night, Lieutenant.” She pushed past him and stalked down the hall, cursing the cute little heels she was wearing.
Faith pulled off the damn uncomfortable shoes as she opened the door. Emily’s voice came from the kitchen, the lovely teen whine she was used to, followed by Bosco’s calm answers. How the hell did he keep from strangling Emily?
Tossing the shoes on the sofa, she headed for the kitchen. To hell with Miller and his fancy French restaurant. Bosco’s lasagna was like crack – one bite and she’d been hooked.
“You could have done something!” Emily said again.
“What could I have done, Em?” Bosco slid the garlic bread into the broiler.
“You could have told her that you love her!”
“No, I couldn’t.”
“Yes, you could! It’s true!”
The sixth sense that had told her to wait out many a dangerous situation kicked in, and Faith paused in the doorway. She waited to see how explosive the next few moments would be. A shiver ran down her spine – fear that Bosco would say he didn’t love her – fear that he would.
“Okay, it’s true! So what?” He looked at the clock on the microwave – five minutes till he could stuff garlic bread into Emily’s mouth and shut her up. “I could’ve told your mother that I love her, and then she would’ve laughed in my face.”
“No, I wouldn’t, Bos.”
Bosco whirled around to find Faith standing in the doorway.
Good timing, Mom! Emily got up from the table and slid past her mom on the way to her bedroom.
“So, is it true?” Faith walked into the kitchen, smiling as Bosco backed away from her. When he backed into the counter, a look of total panic crossed his face. “I’m not laughing if it is.”
“Well, it’s sort of true – “ He ducked his head down, unable to meet her eyes. Instead, he found himself looking down the low neckline of the dress she was wearing. It was a very pleasant view, but could lead to trouble. “But only in a hypothetical sense.”
“A hypothetical sense?” A laugh escaped her. There’d been a change in their friendship over the past few weeks, but she hadn’t been sure if it was just her or if Bosco felt the same way. Now that she’d overheard his confession – Faith wanted him to say it to her face.
“If you want – it could be – “ As much as he liked looking down the front of her dress at the tops of her breasts, he really needed to know what she was thinking, and titties tended to lie to him and get him into trouble. They’d say ‘touch me’ and then he’d get slapped.
Bosco looked up and met Faith’s eyes. “If you want – then it could be true – if not – then it’s totally hypothetical.”
“I’m not even sure you’re using that word right, Bos.” The midnight blue eyes were open and unshielded for once. He was waiting for her to either laugh it off or tell him that she wanted him to love her. “Would it make it less hypothetical for you if I said that I love you?”
“Um… yeah… that’s… ” How did normal guys handle this? Bosco was pretty sure they didn’t stand and stare like they were brain dead. “Can I just check something with Emily?”
“Emily?” Faith crossed her arms across her chest. “You want to check with Emily?”
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next.” He confessed. “She’ll help me not screw it up.”
“Fine.” She nodded. “Emily!”
“Oh my God! Can’t you two do anything without me?” Emily screamed down the hallway. “You kiss now! Then you go to her bedroom – and shut the door!”
“Did she just give us permission to…” Bosco raised his eyebrows.
“I think so. Happy now?” A step closer put her practically against him.
“Happy now.” He nodded.
Faith waited. “Well?”
“I’m working up to it.” Grinning, he slid his arms around her waist and pulled her against him.
“Here I thought you worked faster.”
Lowering his lips toward hers, Bosco waited for Faith to close her eyes. She didn’t. “Are you gonna stare at me? ‘Cos I’m nervous enough – can you cut me a break here?”
“I hear talking! Talking means no kissing!” Emily yelled from her bedroom. “Do I have to shove your faces together?”
“She’s such a br – “ Faith’s eyes fluttered closed as Bosco pressed his lips to hers.
The kiss was soft and gentle, as if he were afraid she’d push him away. Winding her fingers into his hair, Faith let him know that he was going nowhere without her lips attached. He laughed, tickling her lips.
Deepening the kiss, Bosco teased her with his tongue until her lips parted for him. Trusting his skill at kissing to keep Faith preoccupied, he slid one hand down to cup her ass and pull her fully against him. Kissing was one thing – he wanted her to know that he wanted more. A lot more.
Her kissing experiences were limited. Before Fred she’d had a couple of boyfriends – they’d all seemed to be good kissers. Good being somewhere a million miles below the skill level Bosco was on. How was he twisting his tongue around hers like that?
If she could get him closer, maybe she could find out. Faith forced one hand to let go of his wonderfully soft hair and convinced it to wind around his shoulder for a better grip. She had no trouble convincing the rest of her body to press against Bosco’s – especially that hard bulge digging into her belly.
Shrill beeping exploded in her head, followed by another beeping in a strange echoing pattern. Bells she’d read about – but beeping? Opening her eyes, Faith saw the room had a beautiful gray haze. Wow… just like in the movies…
“Mom! The apartment’s on fire!” Emily shrieked.
“Umm…” Faith murmured into Bosco’s mouth. “Sure is, baby…”
“Crap!” Bosco pushed Faith back. “The garlic bread!”
The beeping was from the smoke alarms in the living room and the hallway, and the gray haze was the smoke billowing from the broiler. Faith leaned against the counter and watched as Bosco pulled the pan out of the broiler.
Emily opened the kitchen window and turned on the fan over the stove. “Jeez! Get romantic without burning dinner, will ya?”
“Sorry.” Bosco threw the pan of blackened garlic bread in the sink and turned the water on. “So much for the bread.”
“I am taking my lasagna to my bedroom.” Emily announced as she lifted a piece out of the pan sitting on the table and put it on a plate. “I expect to be in there all night. Listening to my CD player – loudly.”
Bosco grinned as he looked at where Faith was still leaning against the counter. Her eyes were half closed, and she was running her fingers over her lips. “So next I take her to her bedroom?”
“And shut the door.” Emily made a face. “And no kinky stuff – save that for tomorrow night when I spend the night with Staci.”
“Check. Saving the kinky stuff.” He winked at Faith. “We haven’t had time to buy sex toys yet anyway.”
“Eww!” Grabbing her plate, Emily headed out of the kitchen. “I don’t even want to think about that! You’re just – too old for that!”
“We have handcuffs, Bos.” Faith held her hand out to him. “We can play with those.”
“Could be fun.” Taking her hand, he let her pull him along as she walked out of the kitchen. “I want – damn! I can’t say I want to fuck you, can I? That’s not very romantic. You’re gonna have to help me with this romantic stuff.”
“If it’ll keep you from getting tips from my sixteen year old – it’s a deal.” Actually hearing Bosco say that he wanted to fuck her made her belly do that funny little tumble roll thing it did when she got horny. “Tell you what – you say whatever you want – I’m good with Boscospeak.”
“Deal.” Snaking his arm around her waist, Bosco pulled her against him as they walked down the hallway. He brushed her hair back and pressed his lips to her ear. “I want to fuck your brains out, Faith.”
The funny little tumble roll made its way farther down, and Faith leaned on Bosco for support. Oh, she understood what he was saying perfectly…
“Condoms!” Emily shouted through her door at them. “Don’t forget condoms!”
“Do we have condoms?” Bosco asked as he shut Faith’s bedroom door behind them.
“We?” Faith tugged at the ties of his apron. “You’d be the one in charge of condom buying around here.”
“Me?” The silly apron hit the floor, and he took the opportunity to look down Faith’s dress as she unbuttoned his shirt. “You have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve had sex. With anything besides my hand and a hot fantasy anyway.”
“I didn’t need that image, thank you.” Opening his shirt, Faith spread her hands over his chest. She’d had plenty of chances to touch Bosco’s bare skin during the time he’d been recovering, but she’d always felt guilty for enjoying how good it felt.
“Aren’t you back on the pill anyway?” He was pretty sure Faith had on a black bra. Hooking his finger in the front of her dress, Bosco pulled the material out. Bingo! Sexy, black bra! “I don’t want to knock you up the first night.”
“And here I thought you weren’t a gentleman.”
“You think it’s normal for us to have sex ten seconds after we said the I love you stuff?”
Faith would have giggled if Bosco didn’t look so serious. “Bos, we’re never normal – we’re not even in the same zip code as normal.”
“And that’s okay?” He desperately didn’t want to screw this up.
“It’s okay.” She reassured him. “If we were behaving normally – that would be a problem.”
“Turn around and let me unzip your dress.” Even as he asked, Bosco had his hands on Faith’s shoulders and was turning her around. “It’s pretty but I want you naked – I want your bare tits in my hands – and I want you not to kill me because I don’t know the romantic way to say any of that.”
“All those women over the years and you don’t know how to be romantic?” She found it just a bit hard to believe.
“Those were lines – crap I made up, you know? I’d tell them whatever they wanted to hear to get into their pants.” He slid the zipper down. “I don’t want to feed you those lines, Faith – I want to be really romantic for once. Only…”
“Bos, I don’t need romantic.” The dress hit the floor and Faith stepped out of it, unhooking her bra as she turned back around to face him. Taking his hands, she lifted them to her bare breasts. “I just need you.”
Cupping her breasts in his hands, he stroked his thumbs over the nipples, grinning as they pebbled up rock hard in a second. Bosco leaned over until his lips were almost touching hers. “I can be me. I’ve had years of practice.”
Faith closed the distance, pressing her lips to his. A little more practice wouldn’t hurt…