Category: General, Romance, JAG/Navy NCIS crossover
Spoilers: Through "My Other Left Foot" (NCIS), "People vs. SecNav" (JAG)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Still a WIP. Still AJ/Kate. This chapter is from AJ's point of view.
Chapter 2: The Invitation
AJ Chegwidden was not in a good mood.
What was it about the woman that had piqued his interest in the first place? Why had he given in to the impulse to go back to the bar again? She hadn't been there the previous week--there was no reason to believe she would ever come back.
'Damn it.' AJ scowled and set his beer on the bar. He didn't even know her full name. Besides, he had just come out of a serious relationship--he didn't need this.
Perhaps that was why Kate had attracted his attention. Her entire demeanor was the polar opposite of the Shakespearean professor's--she was sarcastic, easily provoked, and completely straightforward, yet she had a soft side; he could see it when she talked about her family.
She had done most of the talking that night. She didn't talk about it, but AJ had gotten the sense that she lived for her job. Well, she had said she was in law enforcement--that was a highly demanding career. And by the looks of the injuries she had that night, it was certainly taking its toll on her. She also avoided mention of any romantic entanglements. Well, an attractive woman in a bar on a Friday night probably didn't have anyone to go home to.
AJ looked up as a short blast of cold air shot through the room. He berated himself for it, but he did it just the same. His heart leapt as a woman with dark hair walked toward the bar.
"Well. Imagine meeting you here." She smiled at AJ.
"Good evening, Kate," AJ replied evenly. "Buy you a drink?"
She shrugged. "Sure. Gin and tonic," she said to the bartender, who was waiting to take her order. Turning back to AJ, she said, "I would've been here last week, but something came up at work."
AJ nodded. "I know how that goes."
"Anyway..." she said, taking her drink from the bartender, "how has your week been?" She watched him with dark, alert eyes.
AJ shrugged. "The usual bureaucratic nonsense. You?"
"Same here." She seemed to sense that he didn't really want to talk shop. "I read this really interesting article the other day..."
AJ watched Kate intently. Her face lit up as she warmed to her topic. Her hands moved through the air as if she were trying to shape her thoughts. Her injuries were almost healed, and AJ noted that the bandage had been removed from her left arm.
He jumped in with a few points, but mostly let Kate steer the conversation. She didn't chatter inanely, like some women--if she didn't have anything to say, then she simply didn't say it. The lapses in conversation weren't awkward; they were restful.
AJ found himself enjoying Kate's company immensely. She was an intelligent speaker, cutting to the heart of any topic. She reminded him a lot of Colonel MacKenzie, really.
He learned that she had attended the University of Southern California; that she had played varsity softball and basketball; that her parents were fairly well-to-do, but she had refused any financial assistance from them. She had wanted to be a lawyer (he smirked at that one), but had dropped out of law school after the first year. She had an older brother whom she never saw, but she visited her only cousin regularly.
To his surprise, AJ found himself reciprocating. He told her about his childhood in Texas; about his daughter, Francesca; about some of the pranks he and his buddies had pulled. Kate was as good a listener as she was a speaker, and she didn't hesitate to show her appreciation for some of the more amusing anecdotes he related. She laughed easily when she found something funny, and just raised an eyebrow when she didn't.
"Well," Kate said eventually, "I probably ought to--" She was cut off by the ringing of a cell phone. She sighed and opened her purse, pulling out her phone. "Agent Todd," she answered brusquely.
AJ registered two things--her name was Kate Todd (whether it stood for Caitlin or Catherine, he wasn't sure), and she was a Special Agent. Of course, that didn't help much--she could work for any number of agencies in the Washington area.
"Yeah. Sure. Okay, Tony, I get it. I'll be there soon." She turned off her phone and rolled her eyes. "I have to go. Duty calls." AJ nodded in understanding. Her next question surprised him. "Would you like to meet for lunch sometime?"
"Sounds good," he replied when he recovered. "Where and when?"
Kate grinned at his obvious shock. "Well... do you know where Giulio's is?"
AJ nodded. "I go there occasionally--when I can get out of the office."
"Great! How about there on Wednesday--say, around 11:30?"
"All right. I'll see you then."
"Good night, AJ." Kate paid for her drinks and left.
AJ blinked. Well. That was certainly unexpected.