Renaissance Man
by cgb

Goren takes his roles like he takes all his work, very seriously. She tells herself this each time he throws himself into undercover work with the vigour of a Thespian, like he's going for the Oscar, because otherwise the sincerity of his voice, the credibility of his movement, can be altogether too convincing.

Like in the way he's playing Mike Brady to her Carol right now. They are potential purchasers of a house and he's all "Gee honey, do you think we could knock out this wall and make the living area open plan?" while he pulls her to him by her shoulders.

She smiles and says, "Oh pumpkin, you don't want to hear the television all the way down the hall!"

Does anyone really say that? The real estate agent laughs and smiles like she's heard it a thousand times. She gives Eames a "Men" eye-roll and leads them to the patio.

Goren, ever the opportunist, is already fishing: Why are the owners selling? Are they moving or was the house a rental? What about the previous tenants? He does it all with an air of naivete and feigns surprise when she tells him she can't divulge their names, like he's never heard of privacy clauses and aren't some folks just strange?

She tells them less than they already know, gives them a vague answer about children growing up and moving on, and the parents retiring to the countryside - the kind of stock answer you'd find in the real estate agents' handbook should one exist. They manage understanding noises and produce more smiles. Eames thinks her face might break.

If the position were reversed they could tell the real estate agent that the house was a wedding gift from a Mr and Mrs Grindberg to Mellissa Grindberg and Maxwell Carter - the Grindberg's daughter and newly instated son in law - although being murdered on their honeymoon Mellissa and Maxwell never got the chance to live there. Family infighting makes suspects of the entire family (both sides) and now they're just trying to narrow the field.

He takes her aside as the real estate agent closes the patio doors behind them. He buries his face in her hair, pretending to steal an intimate moment. "No back yard. The Grinbergs weren't expecting grandchildren," he says. His lips brush against her ear, probably an accident but possibly more of Goren the method actor. Whatever the reason she feels it in her knees and blushes convincingly, a quality performance.

The real estate agent leads them upstairs and into the master bedroom. It's enormous with an en suite and walk in closet. Eames is reminded of her two-bedroom apartment with the faded curtains and the dripping faucet in the bathroom that the plumber promised to fix last week. She'll never see luxury like this on a policewoman's salary.

If the size impresses Goren it doesn't show. He strides to the French windows and oohs and ahs appropriately at the view.

"So it will be just the two of you then?" the real estate agent asks.

This time she is ahead of him. She grabs his arm, smiles into his eyes and says, "Not for longÖ" and there's a sign, the smallest sign, this was something he didn't expect.


A Goren fantasy - not the first but probably the most detailed: he presses her into the couch, his weight burying her, stifling her, making her nervous and excited at the same time. Hands grapple with buttons and zippers. Her shirt is undone and hanging around her elbows. There's a tear somewhere. He bites her shoulder, hot mouth against her neck, all primal, no cerebral.

Definitely not Goren. He'd talk about it first - they'd talk about it. He'd explain the attraction away with a post-modern, psychoanalytical, philosophical theory or he'd find some other p-word to describe it (he's a renaissance man, knows something about everything) and then he'd leave because not even their imaginary discussions result in a mutual decision to get hot and heavy on the couch. Some things are imaginatively impossible. And she really wants something imaginative.

She tries for a second scenario: they're in her kitchen. She's making coffee, reaching for the filter papers on the second shelf. He moves to help her, instinctively jumping to her aid without realising he's in her body space. She turns and he's right there, cornering her against the kitchen sink.

It happens there. He lifts her onto the counter, bunching her skirt around her thighs (she's wearing a skirt. She never wears a skirt) fingers pushing her panties aside. She tries to decide whether she's wearing hose and then she's thinking about which shoes she'd be wearing with this imaginary skirt and whether Goren would notice if she started wearing a skirt to work (of course he would).

Goren's philosophical but she's practical and pragmatic and apparently just as capable of bringing the p-words. There's no hope for them. Not even in her fantasy life.


"We should make them an offer," he says, as he rounds the car to the passenger seat. Her turn to drive (not that they take turns but she once noticed he took the steering wheel whenever he could and it's a thing with her now).

"We're not authorised to buy a house."

He half nods. "An offer would keep the Grinbergs in negotiations for weeks. We'd have access to their financial and legal representatives and we'd know just how desperate they are to sell."

"Sure." She puts the key in the ignition. "And then what if they accepted the offer?"

"We'd argue that deceit was necessary to further the purpose of justice." He says it offhand, watching the house out the window as they pull away. But it's impressive, really, that he can make an argument like that without thinking. If she didn't know him she'd be surprised.

A renaissance man and a cop. All things to all people.


It's not like she wants a house, a husband, garage, a dog and two point five children. She'd like some space, room to breathe and grow, somewhere she can she can hang a print above the fireplace and a rug on the floor and it would look comfortable and calm.

She's not sure she wants a lover either and she thinks that maybe she just wants Goren look up into her eyes some time trying to figure out if she can be honest with him.

It probably doesn't mean anything that she fantasises about him and it comes and goes with the cycles of the moon. When she's not craving him she's craving chocolate so it's difficult to attach any weight to the feeling. Maybe it's natural to experience a thrill now and then from someone you spend more time with than your pillow? Maybe it's natural because he's there and she's there and their pheromones are constantly performing a pas de deux in the air around them.


Her thoughts return to the case. "We should check her out," she says, thinking of the real estate agent.

He gives a half wave of his hand, a dismissive gesture. "She doesn't know them."

"What makes you say that?"

"She was apologetic when I asked her about the previous owners. If they'd instructed her to keep their names out of the sale you would expect her to be defensive, or diversionary."

"We'll check her out anyway."

He "hmms" and continues to look out the window.

He'll be right, of course, but they'll do it anyway. There has to be one time when he's wrong and she wants to make sure she's got his back.


One last fantasy: This time he walks her to her door, sees her inside. There's an awkward moment where she goes to say goodbye and he goes to say goodbye and instead they find themselves kissing in the hallway, almost by accident. She puts her hands to his head, not letting go, not pulling away, leans back against the wall pulling him with her. He has a hand in her hair and another on her waist trailing down her thigh and cupping her arse.

Inevitably he stops, catches her eye and lets go. He puts his hands in his pockets and starts to speak.

But it's her fantasy, after all, and this time she stops him. She puts two fingers to his lips, silencing him before the words get out. "Don't talk," she whispers. "Just - don't talk."

And she kisses him again. And he lets her.


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