Tabula Rasa by Janine
Email Janine at jbstories@hotmail.com

Disclaimer:  I do not own the characters of Abbie Carmichael,  Toni Ricci, Lenny Briscoe etc., they and any other references to "Law and Order" are the property of Dick Wolf and NBC.
Rating: R-ish (maybe more maybe less I'm not quite sure:-)
Synopsis:  There's a shooting, and with McCoy called out of town, Carmichael is given the case and ends up being partnered with an old acquaintance of hers.
*Note*  This story takes place before the events depicted in the episodes "Refuge", and "Refuge: Part 2".  Also, no matter what I like to delude myself into thinking I am NOT a lawyer, so I apologize in advance for any technical errors there might be in my legalese etc.

 

Part Five

Toni was feeling around the door for the knob.  Finally she got it and turned it opening the door.  She stumbled into the room reaching for the light switch but she couldn't find it.  Abbie's hand had just found it's way under her shirt and the Texan's mouth was busy showering every available inch of her neck with kisses.  Toni moaned and wrapped her arm around Abbie's waist dragging her with her towards the bed.

Not interrupting the kiss, Toni stopped them at the foot of the bed and started to undo the buttons of Abbie's shirt.

"Why do shirts have so many buttons?" Toni muttered as she worked the buttons.  Abbie wasn't really helping any either.  She kept running her hands under Toni's shirt distracting her from her task.

"The clothing companies are just doing their part to promote abstinence," Abbie whispered into her ear.  Toni could feel the smile on her face, and suddenly wanted that shirt off more than ever.  "Forget about the buttons," Abbie added a moment later as she raised her hand and hooked a finger in the top of Toni's shirt preparing to rip it.

"No," Toni said resting her hand on top of Abbie's.  "I think not."  Abbie smirked before leaning in and kissing Toni again, her own hands know trying to undo the other woman's shirt.

Once Abbie's shirt was off Toni turned them around so that Abbie's back was to the bed and she was standing in front of her.  She took a step back and just stared at the partially clad woman for a moment.  She could see that Abbie's breathing had increased and that she was anxious to continue with what they had been doing, but to her credit she just stood there and let Toni examine her.

"Lace," Toni said with a wicked grin.  She reached a hand out and traced the contours of Abbie's bra.

"I like wearing things that..." Abbie started to say, but her sentence was interrupted when Toni tweaked one of her already erect nipples through her bra.  "...match," she managed to finish a moment later.

"A set?" Toni asked looking down.  She didn't hear an answer but she felt Abbie move slightly which lead her to believe that Abbie had nodded in response to her question.  Either way she reached for Abbie's pants and undid them.  She didn't let them drop right away though and she could feel Abbie's eyes on her.  Then she dropped them and moved back so that Abbie could step out of them.  "When the hell do you find time to work out?" Toni asked concentrating on Abbie's abdominal muscles.

"Stomach crunches are about the only thing you can do sitting in chair all day," Abbie responded with a smirk as she took a step towards Toni.

"Ah, ah, ah," Toni said waving a finger in front of her.

"What?" Abbie asked her softly looking at her through her eyelashes.

"I'm on top," Toni said smiling before she reached out and pushed Abbie making her fall back onto the bed.  Abbie reached out and grabbed her bringing her down on top of her.  She ran her hands up the backs of Toni's legs drawing her skirt up and making it easier for Toni to rest on top of her.

"I'm having a touch of d�j� vu," Abbie declared as she started to remove Toni's shirt from her shoulders.  Toni shifted so that her knees were resting on the bed beside Abbie then straightened up so that Abbie could take the shirt off of her completely.

Once Abbie had gotten the shirt off she brought her hands to Toni's waist where she rested them for a second before bringing them up and caressing Toni's sides.  She continued to move her hands up brushing the sides of Toni's breasts briefly before bringing her hands to her shoulders, then down her arms, all the while watching the progression of her hands with and almost reverent expression on her face.  Then she brought her hands back to Toni's stomach and moved them up again, this time stopping at her breasts and cupping them in her hands, squeezing them gently.  When she did this she heard Toni moan, and then their lips were pressed together and Toni was kissing her hungrily.

Toni brought her hands up to Abbie's breasts massaging them through the fabric of her bra.

"Front latches," Toni said as she moved down to nuzzle Abbie's neck.   "Convenient," she continued a moment later with a smile has her fingers went to work.  As Toni undid Abbie's bra Abbie ran her hands down to Toni's waist and undid her skirt.  Toni pushed the cups of the bra to the side and trailed kisses down from her neck to her breasts where she proceeded to lick the valley in between Abbie's breasts before finally moving to side and taking an already erect nipple into her mouth to suck on it.

Abbie arched up into Toni's mouth moaning as she continued to lavish attention onto her nipple.  Abbie ran her hands up Toni back raking her nails down Toni's back lightly as the redhead continued to attack her nipple.  When her hands finally landed on the latches to Toni's bra Abbie started to undo it.

"Having a little trouble?"  Toni asked a moment later lifting up her head.

"I'm a bit distracted," Abbie responded concentrating on unhooking the bra while Toni was otherwise occupied.

"That's not a problem is it?" Toni asked not waiting for an answer before returning to her previous task.

"Not at all," Abbie responded in a half sigh as her head tilted back.  "But I'd really appreciate it, if you'd take the rest of your clothes off," she continued with a smile.

***********************************

Abbie lay awake staring at the ceiling with a blissfully happy smile on her face.  Toni's head was resting on her shoulder and Abbie bent her head to the side and kissed the top of her head before returning to her contemplation of the ceiling.  Her thoughts took a philosophical turn and she found herself wondering about the nature of love.  Poets, writers, philosophers, and even scientists had spent centuries trying to figure out exactly what love was.  Was there some physical scientific force behind it determining who loved who?  Was it a matter of nuclei, or pheromones?  Or was there some mystical force behind it that drove certain people towards each other, and others away?  Everyone from kings to peasants had an idea what love was but nobody knew for sure, and maybe that was the point.

Abbie wasn't thinking that she knew what love was, she was just thinking about what she knew about love.  She was thinking that love was what she felt every time she looked at Toni and felt her heart skip a beat.  That it was the calm and peace she felt lying in bed holding Toni next to her.  She was thinking that love was what slowed her down so that she could spell the proverbial roses, or watch the sun set.  But she also was thinking that love was mean.  That love was the crushing, enveloping pain that she had been her companion the night before.  That love could be as cruel as it was generous.

When she felt Toni begin to stir beside her, she hadn't really solved anything in her mind.  She hadn't had a great epiphany that would change the world.  She had just killed fifteen minutes or so, which was alright with her.

"How long have you been awake?" Toni asked sleepily as she lifted herself up onto her elbows so that she could see Abbie's face.  Abbie shrugged lackadaisically.

"I don't know," she responded looking down at Toni with a grin.  Toni stared at her curiously.

"What's the matter with you?" she asked.  "You look goofy."  Abbie rested her head on her hand and looked at Toni seriously.

"This is carefree Carmichael, she does not make appearances often," Abbie said still with a straight face.  "A smart person would take advantage of carefree Carmichael when she is still carefree, because I guarantee you that antagonistic Abbie will return soon enough," she continued.  Toni stared at her.

"Carefree Carmichael, Antagonistic Abbie??" she asked laughing.  "Were you thinking those up before I woke up?" she continued with a mockingly suspicious look on her face.

"No, those just came to me because I'm so very bright," Abbie said with a smile as she lay her head back down on the pillow.  "I was actually thinking about love."

"Really?" Toni asked shifting so that she could get a better look at Abbie's face.

"Uh huh," Abbie responded nodding.

"What about it?" Toni asked.  She knew that Abbie was playing with her.

"That it's not cerebral, that it doesn't make sense.  It's pure emotion, it's your will and the blood screaming inside of you," Abbie responded thoughtfully.  "You know that saying 'loves a bitch'?  Well it's true," she continued raising onto her hand again.  "But it's my bitch now, and mean to keep it."  Toni smiled at her and leaned up kissing her softly.

"That was very romantic Tex," Toni said  resting her head back on Abbie shoulder.

"Chimerical Carmichael," Abbie responded.  Toni looked up again.

"Are you going to be doing that all day?" she asked even though she was smiling.

"Maybe," Abbie said.  "Unless you can find something better for me to do."

"Is that a challenge?" Toni asked with a  wicked smile.  Abbie pretended to ponder the question for a moment before answering.

"Yes, yes it is," she responded.  Toni raised the covers and looked underneath.

"We're going to need a lot of water," Toni said seductively sliding her body on top of Abbie's.

"Would you think it immature if I said 'Goody!'?" Abbie asked.  She didn't get an answer.  Toni had found something better for her to do.

 Part Six

Abbie scratched out the last sentence she had written and started over again.  She was just finishing the revision when she heard Ricci's voice out in the hallway.  The door to her office was open which allowed her to hear what was being said.  Putting down her pen she looked up and out her window into the office.  She could see Toni standing just outside her door talking to a man.  He worked in the office, Abbie knew that, he was a paralegal for one of the lawyers a few doors down.

"Come on Toni," the man said with a somewhat rakish grin.

"I really can't Bob," Toni said with firmly yet gently.

"Please," Bob asked raising both hands in front of his face and placing them together.  "You're breaking my heart," he added when Ricci still looked unconvinced.

"I've got to go," Toni said side-stepping around him.

"Is it someone else?" Bob asked turning around to watch her exit.  "Are you seeing someone?"

"Yeah," Toni answered taking the few steps to Abbie's door.  "Her, I'm seeing her right now," Toni continued pointing to the name plate on the door.

"That's not what I meant," Bob said looking at her with a frown.  Toni waved and closed the door.

Toni turned around to find Abbie gazing at her with an amused expression on her face.  Her head was resting on the palm of her hand and she looked quite comfortable.  Toni walked over to the chair in front of her desk and sat down.  She crossed her legs and leaned back in the chair staring right back at Abbie.

"What?" Ricci asked finally though a smile that mirrored Abbie's started to work it's way across her face.

"Nothing," Abbie said removing her hand from her head and picking her pen back up.  "You're just cute that's all."

"I'm sure Bob didn't think it was all that adorable," Toni said watching Abbie play with the pen in her hand.

"I suppose not," Abbie responded finishing up the sentence she had started before getting distracted.

"How's the opening coming?" Toni asked leaning forward try and take a look at it.

"It's coming along," Abbie responded scanning over what she had written.   "Here," she said sliding the sheet over to Toni.  Toni looked up at her surprised.

"Really?" the red-head asked even though she scooped the sheet up fast enough.  In the past Abbie had always been secretive about her opening and closing statement, she never let anyone read them.  This one was only half done but it was still highly unusual.

"Yeah," Abbie responded lightly though her gaze was intense.  Toni met her gaze for a moment then picked up the piece of paper and read over what had been written carefully.  Abbie's hand writing was small and angular with a lot of sharp turns with just a few loops spread throughout.  However, despite the sharpness of it the writing flowed beautifully from letter to letter and word to word. It was just the sort of cursive Toni would have expected Abbie to have.  She had never before considered what kind of handwriting her lovers had had, it was a little thing that hadn't concerned her in the past, but she found that she was thinking about little things like that with Abbie, that things she once would have considered inconsequential were now important to her.

"Bang-up job," Toni said somewhat distractedly as she slid the paper back over to Abbie.

"Are you okay?" Abbie asked turning the sheet of paper around so that it was facing her again.

"Not really," Toni answered truthfully with a thoughtful expression on her face.

"Okay," Abbie said slowly watching Toni carefully.  "Why?"

"Because," Toni responded her voice lowering, "I'm slightly terrified."

"About what?" Abbie asked searching Toni's face.  She new that it wasn't about the case, she knew that it was something more important than that but she didn't know what.

"About..." Toni started then paused as she looked around the office stopping extra long to stare out the window that lead to the office.  "About us," she continued pulling her chair forward and resting her elbows on Abbie's desk.

"Us," Abbie repeated.  She didn't like the tone Toni was using.  "Okay, is this thing about us good or bad?"

"It's good," Toni said trying to reassure Abbie.  She was sure that Carmichael wasn't even aware of the look on her face but it was slightly panicky and that wasn't what Toni was aiming for.  "It's just that it's also terrifying," Toni continued.  She glanced at the window to the offices again and Abbie realized that it was a significant gesture.  She got up and walked over to the window closing the blinds.

"Terrifying how?" Abbie asked sitting back down.  Toni examined the rest of the room again, and Abbie watched her closely.  Toni was nervous and Toni was very rarely nervous.  The first night in her office was really the only time that she had seen Ricci unstrung.  However she considered that she was very rarely insecure as well, except for when it came to Ricci.

"I think it's cute that you're left handed," Toni said finally as if that explained everything.

"I really don't have a choice in the matter, but I'm elated that you enjoy it," Abbie responded.

"That's exactly the point," Toni said looking at Abbie intensely now.   "You're just you being you, and I...I'm..." she paused again searching for the right words, searching for what she was actually trying to say.  "I'm falling, if I haven't already fallen, in love with you.  And the reality of that is as terrifying as it is exhilarating, because right now when it comes to you I'm not really in control and I want that, but I'm also scared of it."

Once Toni finished speaking Abbie continued to watch her for a minute.  To Toni her eyes seemed to become luminescent with forming tears.  Abbie then stood up and walked around the desk until she was standing in front of Toni's chair.  She reached out her hand and touched Toni on the shoulder urging her to stand.  Once Toni was standing Abbie placed her hand on the side of her face then leaned in a brought their lips together.  She had said it before, she wasn't good at emotional conversations, her words would usually fail her in situations like these, or so she supposed since she had never really been a situation like that before.  So she decided that the best way to communicate what she was feeling to Toni would be to show her.

When they separated they remained close together but not quite touching.   Toni's hand was on Abbie's waist, and Abbie's hand was on the back on Toni's neck.  They both knew that this wasn't the time or the place, that anyone could walk in and see them, but they couldn't completely tear themselves away from each other.

"I'm scared too," Abbie said finally placing her lips next to Toni's ear.   "Sometimes when I think about you I have to sit down because the whole world starts to spin around me and I feel like I'm going to fall over.  Never in my life have I felt so out of control, so...vulnerable, and it's scary yes, but I don't ever want it to go away, cause I know what that feels like, and, well...it kind of sucks.  So," she continued pulling back so that she could see Toni's face.  "As stupid as this is going to sound," she continued with a smile.  "I'm sure that everything will be alright, as long as we work through it together, with each other."

"Are you just saying that to make me feel better?"  Toni asked tucking a stray strand of hair behind Abbie's ear.

"No," Abbie responded. "I'm saying that to make me feel better," she continued with a smile.  Toni looked up at her for a moment then started to laugh.  Abbie leaned down and kissed on the forehead.

"Are you busy right now?" Toni asked a moment later.

"Nah, I'm just preparing some notes to put away a murderer.  Why?" Abbie asked looking down at her.

"I want to be with you," Toni said looking up at her.

"You are with me," Abbie responded a small smile working it's way across her face.  "Seriously though, where would we?  I'd offer to sweep all the stuff off of my desk, but some of it's bolted down, and the other stuff is fragile."

"Fragile, what have you got in here, Grandma's china set?" Toni asked looking over at the desk.

"Grandma collected shotguns," Abbie responded.

"My cars downstairs," Toni said ignoring Abbie's response.

"You want to do it in the back of your Beamer?" Abbie asked a huge smile working it's way across her face.

"Yeah, I do," Toni responded looking at her.  "Is that going to be a problem?"

"Not for me," Abbie responded taking Toni's hand into hers.

***************************************

Mr. White stood up buttoning his blazer as he walked from around behind the desk.  He nodded towards the judge then approached the stand where officer O'Brien was seated.

"How was it that you became aware that a shooting had taken place?  White asked O'Brien.

"A call was placed to the station," O'Brien.  "Then we got a call about a 187 and headed over to the store."

"Do you know who placed the call?"

"I didn't at the time, but I was later informed that it was the shooter," O'Brien answered fidgeting a bit.  Mr. White looked at the judge for a moment no doubt debating complaining about the description of his client, but thankfully he said nothing.

"So Mrs. Barret placed the call herself.  Tell me Mr. O'Brien, have you investigated many shootings?" White asked.

"All the time.  I do work for the NYPD you know," O'Brien responded smirking a bit at his last comment.

"In the majority of those cases did the accused call the police themselves and wait for the police to arrive?"

"In the majority..."

"Yes or no Mr. O'Brien," White said interrupting him.

"No," O'Brien answered looking at White rather nastily.

"What does the fact that Mrs. Barret called the police say to you Mr. O'Brien?" White asked turning to face the jury.  "To me it says she had nothing to hide."

"Objection," Abbie said standing up.  "The question goes to state of mind, which officer O'Brien couldn't possibly know.  Also his last comment was leading."

"Sustained," the judge said turning to Mr. White.  "Watch yourself."

"What was the state of the store when you arrived?" Mr. White asked turning his attention back to the stand.

"There were some things thrown around but it wasn't torn up or anything," O'Brien answered.

"But there had obviously been some kind of commotion?"

"Yes."

"Could you describe Mrs. Barret's state when you entered the store for us, please?" White asked.

"Objection," Abbie said once again shooting White a look.  White returned the look.

"If Miss Carmichael was paying attention instead of timing her objections, she'd know that I'm not asking him to testify as to her state of mind, but as to what he himself observed.  Surely he's capable of testifying to that," White responded.

"Overruled," the judge said before turning her attention back to the stand.

"She was shaken up I suppose," O'Brien answered with a shrug.

"Shaken up?"

"Yeah, she looked kinda pale.  Here husband was holding her," O'Brien answered.  "You know, shaken up."

"Is it common for store owners to have firearms in their stores for protection?" White asked pacing beside the jury box.

"In this city, sure," O'Brien answered.  "But most of them bought their legally," he added before White could move on.  White glared at him and Abbie smiled.

***************************************

"How many shots were fired by Mrs. Barret?" Abbie asked as she walked over to the stand.

"Six.  She emptied the enter chamber," O'Brien answered.  Abbie turned around and raised an eyebrow as she looked at the jury.

"That's a lot of bullets," she commented.  As she continued towards the desk she saw White shot up out of his seat.  The judge spoke before him though.

"Council you are not to communicate directly with the members of the jury.   Is that understood?"

"Yes, your honor," Abbie responded before returning her attention to office O'Brien.  "How were the bullets distributed?"

"The first boy, the one closest to the counter was shot once, the other boy was shot five times in the stomach."

"How far away from the counter were the bodies located?"  Abbie asked heading back towards the desk.

"The first boy was found approximately three meters away form the counter, and the second boy was a meter behind him," O'Brien responded.

"What did Mrs. Barret tell you when you questioned her about the circumstance leading up to the shooting?"

"She said that the kids were tossing stuff around, and that then one of them threatened her.  Then she said that's when she saw a knife in one of their hands and reached for her gun.  When he came towards her that's when she shot him, and then after that she shot the other one...when he supposedly came at her too."

"Did you find a knife or any other weapon on either of the boys?"

"No, both of them were unarmed."

"How about in the rest of the store?  Did you find any weapons around the rest of the floor incase it was dropped when the boys were shot?"

"We conducted a through search of the store, no weapon was located.  Only thing we found near them was a can of coke."

"So it's your testimony that the boys were standing a fair distance away from the counter when they were shot, and that they were both unarmed?"   Abbie asked.

"Yes, that's correct."

"How long have you been an officer with the NYPD?"

"Fifteen years in May," O'Brien responded proudly.

"In your experienced opinion based on the evidence, would you say that Mrs. Barret was in any physical danger at the time the shots were fired?"

"Objection," White said standing up.  "Officer O'Brien was no there, he can't possibly testify as to what danger my client was in at any particular moment."

"Officer O'Brien is qualified to testify as to opinions formed as a result of his investigation," Abbie countered immediately.

"I'll allow it, but be careful Ms. Carmichael," the judge responded.

Abbie smiled and turned back to face O'Brien.

***************************************

Toni rested her ear over Abbie's heart and listened as her breathing returned to normal.  She found that she liked to do that, listen to Abbie's heartbeat.  It was an intensely intimate gesture and she liked the feeling of closeness that enveloped her when she did it.  It was almost as if she was inside her heart.  When she felt Abbie's breathing return to normal she rolled off her and lay her head down on her pillow.

"Can I ask you something?" Abbie asked a moment later.

"You know you can," Toni responded shifting so that they were looking at each other.

"When did you know?"

"Know what?" Toni asked quizzically.

"That you were gay?" Abbie asked point-blank.  That was how Toni would have expected the question to come, Abbie had the subtleties of a battering-ram.

"When I was fifteen, the spring of grade ten," Toni said with a wistful smile.  "There was a girl who sat two seats across from me, Stefanie," Toni continued.  "For about three weeks I couldn't take my eyes off of her, then my musing took on a more interesting leaning.  While it was hardly a revelation I was thrilled to make, I made it.  I held on to the bi security blanket for a few years...alright for more than a few years," she admitted ruefully.  "Then I just...I said to hell with it and went out and bought the latest Melissa Ethridge album."

"Was it hard for you?" Abbie asked when Toni had finished.

"Not to come out to myself," Toni responded.  "I was actually surprised that it wasn't a bigger a deal for me.  However," Toni continued dragging out the word.  "My mother still thinks it's a phase."

"Hmmm," Abbie said thoughtfully as she rested her head back down on her pillow.

"What about you?" Toni asked raising up onto her arm and looking down at Abbie.

"I grew up in Texas," Abbie responded wearily.

"How old were you?" Toni asked brushing a strand of hair out of her face.

"Seventeen, almost eighteen," Abbie responded.  "At least that's how old I was when I finally admitted it to myself," she continued.  "I dated about three different guys that same year, I guess somewhere in the back of my head I thought that if I surrounded myself with enough testosterone it'd dilute my attraction to the fairer sex."

"Did it work?"

"Obviously not," Abbie responded with a smirk.  Toni leaned down and kissed her softly.

"You've got issues don't you?" Ricci asked seriously once they separated.   Abbie looked at her for a moment before answering.

"A few," she responded in a half sigh as she looked away.  "I've been living like a nun for a long time."

"Hey," Toni said drawing Abbie's eyes back to her.  "We'll work through it."

"Why do you put up with me?" Abbie asked as Toni settled back down.  "I know that I'm a pain in the ass."

"I like my women butch," Toni deadpanned.  Abbie turned over and stared at her for a second.

"I'm not butch," Abbie stated.  "I'm a bitch, there's a difference.  I'm not sure exactly what that difference is only that it's there."

"Can you change the oil in car?" Toni snuggling up to Abbie's side.

"Yes," Abbie responded.  "But..."

"You're butch."

"I'm from Texas," Abbie stated as if that answered everything.

"So, that doesn't mean anything useless your dad's Hank Hill," Toni told her.

"The semblance is frightening," Abbie responded with a smile.  "My dad did sell propane and propane accessories."

***************************************

Abbie stood up straightening her shirt then walked out in front of the desk to face the members of the jury.  Her expression was serious but not harsh.   She wanted to convey to them the seriousness of the case and their decision, but she didn't want them to feel pressured.

"Two boys are dead," she started looking each of the jurors in the eye.  "As a direct result of Mary Barrett's actions that night, two lives were taken."  She paused in her oration to walk back towards to desk.  "Whether or not she killed Dylan Anderson and Jeff Blaine is not up for debate.  She herself admitted that she shot them down.  The reason we're here is because she wants to appeal.  Appeal to out compassion, appeal to us for acceptance of her actions."  Abbie stopped walking and turned to face the members of the jury again.  Her expression softened slightly but her tone remained serious.  "Dylan and Jeff cannot appeal to you anymore.  That was taken away from them on the night of March 10th along with their lives.  The sad truth of the matter is that these boys did not have die!"

Her voice was raising now, filled with passion.  "Mrs. Barrett did not have to let them in, she did not have to draw that gun, and she did not, should not, have fired at a pair of unarmed boys.  She was angry, they had assaulted her husband, vandalized her store and insulted her, and the police did nothing.  She was at the end of her rope, and maybe even a little bit scared, so what did she do?  She went out a bought and illegal fire arm, and put it under her counter, so that next time she'd be ready and they'd be dead.  Did being angry and frustrated give her the right to murder two kids?  No, absolutely not."

She paused again glancing at the floor before slowly raising her head again so that she was looking directly at the jurors.  "Sorry is not enough.  Mrs. Barrett made a decision and acted on that decision.  Because of that two people are dead.  No...." she said shaking her head, "sorry is not enough."

With that she cast one last look in the jurors direction, her eyes silently pleading with them to make the right decision.  To do their duty.  Then she walked back to the desk and sat down glancing at Toni.  Ricci smiled and Abbie let out a little breath she had been holding.  It was up to the jury now.

***************************************

"Man one, How do you feel about it?" Toni asked pulling on Abbie's gloves as they walked down the steps of the courthouse.  Abbie placed her hat and her head and stuffed her hands into her pocket before responding.

"I'm fine with it," she said stepping over a discarded coffee cup.  "What about you?"

"I didn't want to see her go away for the rest of her life.  I think the jury made the right decision," Toni responded as they hit the sidewalk.   Abbie reached out and placed her hand on Toni's back half pushing her to the left.  "I take it we're going left," Toni said smirking.

"Uh huh," Abbie said dropping her hand once they were heading in the right direction.

"Would it have killed you to just tell me we were going left?" Toni asked glancing to her side.

"Yes, Toni, it actually would've killed me," Abbie responded.  Toni reached out and punched her gently in the arm.  Abbie leaned in towards her and for a moment they remained close, barely touching, watching each other before separating again.

"So are you going to tell me where we're going?" Toni asked once they started walking again.  The office was in the other direction.

"To Disneyland," Abbie responded promptly.  Toni shot a look in her direction.

"Where are we really going?"

"The weather in Orlando's great this time of year, and at Epcot they've got glasses of beer that are this big," Abbie said separating her hands to show Toni just how big the glasses were.  Toni just looked over at her and stared at her for a moment.  "Come on, it's a surprise," Abbie said finally starting to become unnerved by the look on her girlfriend's face.

"A surprise?" Toni asked dubiously.

"Yeah, we're going to celebrate," Abbie said with a smile.

"Is this what you and McCoy do after every case?" Toni asked stepping out of the way of a roller bladder.

"No, we usually just fight over who's going to do the paper work," Abbie responded.

"Who usually wins?"

"He does," Abbie admitted ruefully.

"So what's so special about this case?" Toni asked moving closer to Abbie to make way for the pack of teenagers about to pass them.

"Nothing," Abbie responded looking over at Toni.  "We're not going out because of the case."

"Then why are we going out?" Toni asked meeting Abbie's gaze.  Abbie paused for a second dropping her gaze to her feet before bringing her eyes up to meet Toni's again.  Her face clear, and her eyes staid, and for a moment she just looked at Toni before a beatific smile worked it's way across her face.

"Because this," she said joining their hands together.  "Is more of a reason to celebrate than any case."  Toni looked down at their joined hands staring at them for a moment before tilting her head back up so that their met, then she smiled.

As they started back down the street Toni's mind drifted back to the conversation they had had in Abbie's office after their first kiss in Abbie's apartment, more accurately back to the question Abbie had asked her that night.  What's next?   When she had answered her that night, she hadn't known, she hadn't known where they were going, or how she was feeling, or where she wanted them to go.  But as they walked down the street Toni realized that just like on that night weeks ago, she was still scared, and still uncertain.  She knew that the road they had started down was not going to be an easy one, but as she felt Abbie squeeze her hand she knew with a certainty that she had never felt before that she didn't care where they went or how arduous the journey, as long as they went together.


The End?

Well, that's it hope you enjoyed the ride.  Drop me a line and let me know if enjoyed these adventures of Carmichael and Ricci, and if maybe you'd like more.  Thanks for taking the time to read my story, and have a nice day.

Janine Jbstories@hotmail.com

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