A Sword, A Cape and Thou
By Tara M. Patterson
Lennie Briscoe groaned as he picked a piece of paper up off his desk and read it.
"What's wrong?" asked his partner, Eddie Green.
"I just remembered this party I have to go to tonight," replied Briscoe.
"A party, huh?"
"Yeah. I promised a buddy of mine I'd stop by."
Briscoe handed the paper over to Green who gave it a quick once over.
"A costume party?! Sounds like fun," Green remarked.
"So, what are you dressin' up as?"
"A cop," Briscoe deadpanned.
"What would you suggest?"
"I don't know. Look, Lennie, it's Halloween. The one night of the year you can pretend to be someone else. It's expected. So, why don't you loosen up? Check out a costume shop and rent somethin' that makes you suave."
"Suave?! Me?!" retorted Briscoe.
"Why not? I'm sure there's gonna be some fine lookin' women at this party."
"Thanks for the advice, partner, but I think I'm gonna handle this on my own."
Briscoe finished out the day and headed home to get ready for the party. Walking home, he couldn't help but glance at the store windows decorated for the holiday. Slowly, he actually started anticipating the evening's festivities. A block before his apartment, Briscoe walked into a costume shop to see what they had available for rent.
Two hours later, Briscoe walked into the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel dressed in the only "cool" costume that remained at the shop...Zorro! He felt just a little ridiculous wearing it. Then he thought back to Eddie's advice and decided that at least for tonight, he wasn't Lennie Briscoe, detective. He was Zorro, man of mystery just waiting to sweep some lucky woman off her feet.
Making his way over to the bar, Lennie noticed several good-looking women staring at him.
"Must be the sword," he thought.
He ordered a club soda and found a quiet table to sit down at. An orchestra was playing all the standards -- Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Big Band music. There was a palm reader in one corner of the room. While a tarot card reader was set up in another. Several buffet tables held all kinds of rich, fattening foods just waiting to be sampled. All in all, it didn't seem like that bad a party.
Stacie Winters walked into the ballroom shortly after Lennie and was wondering why she had let herself get talked into coming. The host was an old friend of the family's and she had let her mother convince her that it was the right thing to do. She really wanted to be at home, watching horror movies, but here she was dressed as Annie Oakley. Stacie handed her invitation to the woman at the door and received her mask for the evening.
"Remember, no taking off the mask until midnight," the woman reminded her.
"No problem," Stacie replied and slipped the blue mask on. It was a small mask, just meant to cover up the area around the eyes.
She walked into the party and headed for the bar.
"What can I get you?" the bartender, who was dressed as Elvis, asked.
She tipped the bartender after receiving her drink and turned around.
Briscoe got up from his table and headed toward the bar to get another club soda. He was standing in line behind a woman dressed as a cowgirl. At least, he hoped it was a woman. Just then, she turned around and bumped right into Briscoe, spilling her wine all over him.
"I'm so sorry," she apologized.
"Don't worry about it," he replied reaching over to the bar and accepting the towel the bartender was holding up.
"I'm usually not this clumsy."
"It's fine," said Briscoe as he wiped the wine off the front of the costume.
"Here, let me help," Stacie offered, reaching for the towel. Their hands touched for just a moment and they both felt a faint electric charge pass between them. She smiled sweetly up into his dancing brown eyes.
Briscoe reached out and took hold of her hand in his. "You're trembling."
"Must be the air conditioning," she replied.
"Funny, I thought it was rather warm in here."
They stood in front of the bar for what seemed an eternity, just staring into each other's eyes like two love-struck teenagers.
"Why don't I buy you another drink and we can find someplace to sit and talk," suggested Briscoe.
"How can any woman say no to an offer like that?" flirted Stacie.
Briscoe ordered another white wine for Stacie and a club soda for himself and then gently guided her over to the table he had left just moments ago. He held out a chair for her and then sat down across from her.
"So, what brings you here?" he asked, suddenly feeling sixteen again.
"My friend is hosting the party with her husband."
"You're friends with Margaret?"
"Actually, my mother is. And what about you?"
"Jason and I go way back."
"All the way back to his first wife," answered Briscoe.
Her gentle laugh rippled through the air, bringing a hint of mischievousness to her electric blue eyes.
"Small world," she replied.
"Ahh...another Broadway musical buff, I see," Stacie remarked. "By the way, I'm Stacie."
"What do you do for a living?"
Briscoe paused for a moment, "I'm a detective. And you?"
"This really is a small world," he commented.
"It must be fate that we met," replied Stacie, glancing over in the direction of the palm reader.
They sat at the table talking for quite a bit. Each telling the other about their job, family, friends and things that they probably would never have told another person, especially one whom they had just met.
Briscoe was thoroughly enjoying the company of the beautiful and vibrant woman sitting across from him. Stacie was unlike any woman he had ever met. She was young, probably in her late 30's, but she was intelligent, charming, and sexy. He found himself wondering where she had been the past few years. She was definitely a woman he could see himself falling in love with.
Just then, the orchestra began playing "Embraceable You."
"Would you like to dance?" he asked.
"Lead the way," she replied and held out her hand.
He took her hand in his and then moved his arm down, putting it around her slender waist and guided her out onto the dance floor.
She rested her head on his shoulder as they swayed naturally to the soft music. Lennie savored the scent of her perfume, allowing himself to feel the silkiness of her red hair against his cheek. They fell into a comfortable silence as the orchestra began playing another slow song. He pulled her closer to him and began to hum along with the music. His breath made the hairs on the back of Stacie's neck stand up. She was feeling an attraction to this handsome man who held her in his strong arms. His aftershave was having an intoxicating effect and she had to remind herself not to get too deeply involved with a man she had just met.
After the song ended, Lennie led Stacie out onto the balcony. The air had a faint chill to it, but neither one of them noticed. They stared out at the skyline and the lights along Central Park. It was such a peaceful night, almost magical.
"I have this incredible urge to kiss you," Briscoe said as his strong arms encircled her waist and gave her an affectionate squeeze.
"I'm not objecting," she replied.
Stacie turned to face him and smiled up at him.
"Having this mask on is really an inconvenience."
"Allow me," Briscoe said after taking off his own.
He reached up and slowly removed the mask, revealing the rest of her beautiful face. His finger tenderly traced the line of her cheekbone and jaw. It continued moving slowly across her full, red lips. First he kissed the tip of her nose, then her eyes, and finally, he satisfyingly kissed her soft mouth.
The touch of his lips on hers sent a shock wave through her entire body. She was shocked by her own eager response to the touch of his lips. Stacie felt Lennie pull her closer and soon the soft curves of her body were molding to the contours of his, almost as if they were meant to be one.
They pulled away from the kiss, breathless.
"Maybe, we should go somewhere a little more private," she suggested.
"Why don't we take a walk?" Briscoe offered.
Just then, Briscoe's beeper went off. He pulled it out and glanced at it.
"I have to go," he said, his voice full of disappointment.
"I understand, duty calls."
Briscoe took out his wallet and pulled out two business cards. He took a pen off a nearby table and wrote his home number on the back of the card. He handed both cards to Stacie along with the pen.
"That's my home phone on the back."
Stacie took the pen and cards and wrote her home number on the back of the blank one.
"Here's mine. Please call me, anytime," she replied.
They walked out of the party together, hand-in-hand. Lennie asked the concierge to call a cab for him.
"Yes, sir. There's a bit of a wait tonight."
"No problem," answered Briscoe.
Stacie waited with Briscoe, neither one of them really talking. As the cab pulled up to the curb, Briscoe pulled her into his arms and kissed her passionately.
"I hope this isn't a kiss good-bye," Stacie remarked.
"No chance of that," he replied and then kissed her again before getting in the cab.
As he sat as his desk, typing a report, Briscoe couldn't help but think back to the final kiss he and Stacie had shared. As the day progressed, he pulled out the business card and stared at it, pondering whether or not to call her.
"Whatcha got there?" Green asked.
"Nothin'," replied Briscoe as he slipped the card into his desk drawer.
"Hey, so I never got a chance to ask you how the party was last night."
"It was all right."
"Any good lookin' women there?"
"And nothing," Briscoe retorted and went back to his work.
Van Buren stepped out of her office and motioned for Green and Briscoe to join her inside.
"What's up, L.T.?" Green inquired as they settled into their chairs.
"Just wanted to thank you both for the fine job you did on the homicide last night," she replied.
"I just wish all our cases were that easy," commented Briscoe.
"Anyway, the new DA will be stopping by in a few to go over some details on the Young case."
"You mean, it's finally going to trial?" asked Green.
"Two weeks," answered Van Buren.
They were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come in," Van Buren announced.
The door swung open and a woman carrying a briefcase entered the room.
"Lieutenant Van Buren, I'm Stacie Walters. Mr. McCoy has assigned me to work on the Young case."
"Ms. Walters, it's a pleasure. These are Detectives Green and Briscoe, the arresting officers in the case," explained Van Buren as the two women shook hands.
As Stacie turned to shake Green's hand, she looked over at the partner and realized exactly who it was.
"Well, Detective Briscoe, imagine seeing you again," she teased as they shook hands.
"Small world, counselor," he replied as a smile spread across his face.
"Why don't I get you set up at one of the desks out in the squad room, Ms. Walters? I'll have the detectives join you shortly," Van Buren said.
"That would be fine," Stacie replied and then left.
Green waited until Van Buren shut the door before glancing over at his partner.
"So, nothing interesting happened last night, huh?" Green teased.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"'Come on, Lennie, it's written all over your face that she's the one."
Briscoe feigned ignorance again and then headed out into the squad room. He walked over to the desk Stacie was working at and leaned against it.
"Counselor, may I have a word with you, in private?"
Stacie followed him down the hallway to one of the interrogation rooms. Briscoe held the door open for her and then followed her inside.
"Why didn't you tell me you worked for the District Attorney's office?" he inquired.
"I guess it slipped my mind."
"Slipped your mind?"
"Yes. If you recall, you never told me what precinct you worked for either. Believe me, I was just as surprised as you were when McCoy handed me the case file," she replied.
Briscoe reached across the table and took her hands in his.
"I've been thinking about you all morning," he told her, looking deep into her eyes.
"You've been on my mind too," she agreed.
"What do you say we get out of this place and go somewhere more private?" Briscoe suggested.
"I really need to go over this file with you and your partner."
"Trust me, Eddie and I will be more than happy to deal with this tomorrow morning. Right now, I need to feel you in my arms," he said, seductively.
"I don't have an objection to waiting until tomorrow to discuss this case."
They both stood up and Briscoe pulled Stacie to him, wrapping his arms around her waist. He lowered his mouth onto hers, kissing her with every ounce of passion and desire he felt.
"Well, I guess this means I can go home," Green remarked to Van Buren, as they watched the scene unfold, through the window.
"Let's give them a little privacy," Van Buren added as she lowered the blinds.