The Marriage Plot

Rated E for Extreme Silliness

Summary: Did they or didn't they? A short fic so light I can't believe it has my name on it.

Friday, April 1st was half-priced beer night – no fooling! – at Monty's, the local cop bar, so Hunter and McCall joined Kitty O'Hearn and Brad Navarro for a round of pints and greasy hamburgers. Well, three of them had greasy hamburgers. Hunter ordered the lone salad on the menu, a half-hearted mess of badly chopped iceberg lettuce and pale vegetables.

"You eat like a teenage girl," Brad observed as Hunter stuck a tomato in his mouth.

"I guess you would know," he replied. "How old is your new girlfriend again – Tina?"

"Trina," Kitty corrected. "And she's all of twenty-three."

McCall smiled as she picked up a French fry. "I vaguely remember being twenty-three," she said. "It was the year I met Steve." She couldn't imagine now how she had ever thought she was old enough to get married back then.

"See, you better look out," Kitty said to Brad. "Some twenty-three year olds are looking for marriage."

He shook his head. "No way, man. I just got out of one marriage. I am in no hurry to rush back in."

McCall refrained from commenting this time. Brad was a friend and a great cop, but he had made a lousy husband. Too many nights like this one, out past curfew with one eye on his friends and one eye on the blonde behind the bar. He had launched into some story from his early days on the beat.

"So I get to the store, and the woman is there with the security guy, both of them hollering at each other at the top of their lungs with a baby carriage sitting between them. He's saying she swiped a whole bunch of make-up near the counter, and she's calling him an old blind goat. No cameras back then to settle the argument. He wanted to search her and she was having none of it." He paused to take a swallow of beer. "So I'm thinking maybe I'm going to have to search her, when I finally look down at the baby. He's got two lipsticks, double-fisted – eating one and smearing the other over his face."

Hunter sighed. "That's the problem with criminals – they never think about the getaway."

"If they did, we'd never catch them," McCall replied dryly. Across from her, Kitty was making eye contact with a muscular guy at the bar. Kitty gave him a finger wave, and he winked back at her, making her blush. McCall raised her eyebrows. "Making a new friend?"

"More like an old one. He was nice, but not nice enough to justify a second run. Besides, I'm sort of dating this artist at the moment."

"Tattoo artist," Brad broke in meaningfully, and Hunter grinned.

"Tattoos, huh? Has he stamped you yet?"

"Has he ever," Brad muttered into his beer, and Kitty swatted him on the arm.

"That reminds me," she said to McCall, "I have someone for you too."

Hunter elbowed her. "Maybe this one does piercings," he said.

Kitty frowned as she pulled out a business card from her purse. "He's an attorney, actually – an old friend from high school. He's cute and nice and recently single. I'd take him for myself but I think he's maybe just a bit straight-laced for my taste."

Whenever Kitty talked this way, McCall could not help remembering the woman had bedded Hunter at one point. Indeed, he had become extremely interested in the ketchup bottle and was not meeting her gaze. McCall looked down at the business card and considered her next move carefully. "Thank you," she said, "but I'm not looking at the moment."

"Aw, you should give Gary a chance," Kitty said, pouting. "I've already told him all about you."

"Sorry," she replied. "I'm taken." Hunter glanced at her, his expression unreadable. She hid her smile behind her beer glass.

Kitty narrowed her eyes and regarded her with new interest. "Taken? Since when? Is it serious?"

"Mmm," she said, finishing her sip. It was Friday night, and she was feeling bold. "Quite serious." She paused for effect and set down her glass. "I married him last month."

Kitty's mouth fell open and Brad sat up straight. "What, you got married?" she demanded. "And you are just now mentioning this?" She looked accusingly at Hunter. "And you knew, and you didn't say anything either?"

Hunter gave an exaggerated shrug, as if this was no big revelation, and she knew then that she had him. He started picking the label of the ketchup as Kitty sat forward in the booth. "Well? Spill it, then. I need details. Who's the guy?"

Hunter stopped picking, but he still would not look at her. In fact, now he was not looking at anyone. She made him wait a long minute for her answer.

"Hunter," she said at length. "I married Hunter."

Brad choked on his beer. Kitty looked first gob-smacked, then suspicious. "I don't believe it."

McCall shrugged and then smiled at Hunter. He had the label fully peeled now. "Ask him," she said, and helped herself to the last of his cherry tomatoes.

"I don't believe it," Kitty said again, but this time to Hunter.

He cleared his throat and glanced down at her at last. "Uh, yes," he said. "Married."

"Nope, no way," Kitty said, folding her arms across her chest. "I don't see any rings. And what's more, I just remembered what day it is – April Fool's. So ha, ha, very funny."

"The rings are at home," Hunter said calmly, and it was her turn to look at her plate. "When you're busting some punk's ass, you don't want him wondering about your matching wedding bands."

"He has a point there," Brad said to Kitty. She thwacked him.

"No, he doesn't have a point. Don't tell me you are swallowing this line of bullshit about a secret marriage and hidden wedding rings."

"It's not a secret," Hunter replied as he reached for one of her fries. "We just didn't tell anyone."

McCall ducked her head to hide her amusement. He was into the story now.

"That's the definition of a secret," Kitty said, indignant. "And I still call bullshit – when did this supposed marriage take place?"

"March third at City Hall," McCall said.

"On our lunch hour," he added.

"Now that's the way to do it." Brad's heave was the sigh of a man who had once endured a year-long wedding planning marathon.

"How very romantic," Kitty said, clearly still not convinced of anything.

McCall turned to him. "I don't think they're buying it," she said, amused.

"Mmm, no," he agreed as he eyed their companions. "I think they need hard evidence."

Her heartbeat picked up as he made a show of wiping his mouth on his napkin and straightening his tie. Oh my God, she thought. He was going all the way. She did not have time to think anything else because then he had her face in his hands as he kissed her thoroughly. She felt his smile, his genuine delight, and reached out to hold him so she could kiss him back. It went on so long she started to forget where she was.

He drew back just a fraction and kissed her again lightly twice in a row, with tenderness and affection, and she knew right then this is what sold them. When he sat back on his side of the booth, she saw both Brad and Kitty staring at them in astonishment. Brad elbowed his partner. "You so owe me twenty bucks," he told her.

"Oh my God," Kitty said, her palms to her face. "You really weren't kidding."

McCall's mouth still tingled from the kiss, and she reached for her water. "I think they believe us now," she told Hunter.

"Oh, yeah, they believe us."

"You guys! I am so happy for you. I can't believe it—" She broke off as she noticed Hunter trying not to smile. "Wait a second…you mean it isn't true?"

"Yup, we had them," McCall said, as if Kitty hadn't spoken. "Totally."

"I think that means we get the twenty bucks," Hunter told Kitty as he held out his hand.

Kitty slapped him, only semi-playfully. "I knew it was April Fool's. I knew it! God, okay, yes, you got us good. Very, very funny."

McCall laughed and dodged the napkin that was thrown at her. "Oh, if you could have seen your faces."

"Give me that card back," Kitty said, snatching the attorney's business card from the table. "I've changed my mind. He's too good for you."

"I'm still waiting for the twenty bucks," Hunter said.

Much later, she stood by her dresser in her nightgown as she removed her earrings to get ready for bed. She set them gently into the jewelry box and paused as her eyes fell upon her new shiny platinum ring. With a smile, she slipped it on her left hand and held it out to admire it.

Hunter came out from the bathroom, a cloud of steam in his wake. He was wearing a towel and nothing else. "You are terrible," he told her as he saw what she was doing.

"It's the weekend – I can wear it now."

"I mean that little stunt with Kitty and Brad." He hugged her from behind as she giggled. "They are going to kill us when we tell them the truth. You remember they both carry a gun, right?"

"They were betting on our relationship," she reminded him. "Pardon me if I don't feel too guilty."

"I noticed she was betting against us," he murmured as he moved her hair so he could kiss her neck.

She closed her eyes and rested her hands on his strong arms. "Well, I'm not," she replied.

"Speaking of betting," he said between kisses, "I've got twenty bucks burning a hole in my pocket. You want to go to Vegas and bet it all on black?"

She turned in his arms so she could kiss him properly. "Maybe tomorrow," she said. "I already have plans for the night."

"Hmm, just as well," he said as the towel came down. "Because I seem to have misplaced my pants."


/End silliness.

Notes: See, a palate cleanser after all that angst! I am purging Hunter stories left and right now before I move at the end of the month. Please take this bit of nonsense in the light spirit in which it was intended.

This one is for Amanda. She knows why. ;-)

You people who seem to feel that I need ANOTHER male/female crime solving team to wax on about are terribly amusing. I am sleeping four and a half hours per night as it is! ;-) Thanks as always for the kind words, and for reading.

© syntax6 2015