Fullmetal Alchemist Fan Fiction ❯ Underneath it All ❯ Depth of Perception ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 06: Depth of Perception
Wherever Roy was, it was warm and sunny. He could hear peals of laughter and sounds of happiness all around.
He was rushing about like a kid and every time he stopped someone pulled on his arm and they were moving once again. `Where am I?' Roy thought. `Nothing's making any sense.' Just as that thought went through his mind, a Ferris wheel came into sight.
“Oh, I'm back at the fair in Hayden.”
When he got close to it he noticed that all the carts were labeled with the number five. He stopped and stared at this knowing something wasn't right but his arm was tugged on once again and he followed the person in front of him into the cart. One glimpse of blond hair and he knew who had been tugging on him.
“It's Ed! I'm back at the fair with Ed.”
They were singing and laughing as the ride took them in circles for what seemed like forever, but Roy didn't care how long the ride took, he was having a great time and so was Ed.
When they finally got off the ride they headed to the car and started back to Central. When they pulled into a neighborhood that Roy assumed to be the one Havoc lived in, something seemed off; he just couldn't place his fingers on it. They stopped in front of a house and when the porch light flipped on Edward said, “Goodnight, Jean. Thanks for the ride.” and hopped out of the car, headed for the house.
Confused as to why Ed called him by the wrong name he looked out the window at the house only to see none but his own face staring back at him. He watched confusedly as he saw himself open the door for the Lieutenant Colonel and with a grin, once Ed stepped over the threshold, he shut the door.
Roy Mustang woke with a start.
That was the forth time in as many weeks he had dreamed of Ed. He was starting to worry himself. Between the dreams and the events of last night, he was starting to think that he might be slightly attracted to the blond. He shook that thought from his head and reasoned that he was only dreaming about Ed because he spent so much time with the younger alchemist. At the same time, a small voice in the back of his mind said, `You spend so much time with him because of the attraction.' Roy's brow furrowed at this. He refused to seriously consider, let alone outright admit, being attracted to Ed.
“I need to get out of this house.” Roy said to no one, as he got out of bed and headed for the shower.
* * *
It was still fairly early on the same morning and the Major General figured he would do some shopping downtown at the local farmers' market. His mind was a lot clearer once he got out of the shower and he was still feeling a bit energetic from the good time he had with the others last night at Fidel's, so he decided to leave the car and walk. As Roy moved down Dale Avenue he thought about how thankful he was that none of them had really questioned his actions last night. Everyone just seemed to laugh it off and roll with it, and for that he was grateful. Even after a night's sleep he still had no clue as to why he did that. No clue as to why Ed did, either. It really seemed like one of those weird moments that just `happened.'
Twenty minutes into his walk he neared the street that led to the south side of town, and he was tempted to swing by Ed's to see if the younger man wanted to join him. Roy sighed to himself as he realized that his mind was once again on the subject of Edward. Frustrated at this he turned his back on the south side of town and marched purposefully in the direction of the market.
He was in sight of his destination when a familiar voice called his name. He turned around to see Maes Hughes walking in his direction. “What brings you out so early on a Saturday?” Maes asked.
“Just out to do a little shopping.” Roy replied as he waited for the man to catch up to him. When he did, the family man started looking all around as if he was missing something. Before Roy could ask him what he was looking for Maes asked, “Where's Ed?”
Roy glared at his friend and in a curt tone replied, “And exactly how would I know?”
“Ooh, hit a nerve did I?”
Roy made a conscious effort to relax the expression on his face and said, “I don't know what you're going on about.” Without giving the investigations officer a chance to reply, Roy resumed his march toward the market. When the other man walked up to the General he was quiet for a few awkward moments before he said, “You know Roy, it wouldn't kill you to ask him out.”
Roy stopped dead in his tracks and with fury that defied reason he all but screamed, “What the hell makes you think I'd want to do that?”
Maes took a step back out of the range of his best friend's wrath. He was a little stunned by the unexpected ferocity of Roy's reply, but it only took a moment before a wry grin spread across the photographer's face. “I don't know…let's see…oh yes, it might have something to do with that little dance the two of you shared last night at Fidel's, maybe.”
Roy rolled his eyes at the grinning man beside him, but at the same time his mind began to flash back to the events of prior evening.
The place was packed before the band even started the second set, so an overjoyed Fidel started sending rounds of drinks to the band and their group during intermission. A couple of drinks in, Al leaned over to Roy, Maes and Fuery and whispered, “You know how Brother rarely dances?” When they all nodded yes he continued on to say, “Watch what happens now that he's had a few drinks, all it will take is the right song on the jukebox and he'll be on the floor, guaranteed.”
A devious grin spread across Kain's face and he said, “I'd pay to see that. Can you name a song Al?” as he got to his feet and jingled the coins in his pocket.
“I could name several.” The guitarist said as he stood up as well and he and Fuery made their way over to the jukebox.
By the time they returned, the first song the crafty pair had played was midway through and a table away the four of them could see Ed steadily tapping his feet and swaying with the music. Al giggled at this and said, “See! I told you. He won't be able to stand it much longer.”
When the second song fired up Ed could be seen tugging on Jean's arm and the taller blond was steadily shaking his head no. Several tugs later he said, “No dice, Ed. I'm sorry, but I've got two left feet and there's no way in hell I'm going to embarrass myself in front of this many people.”
Ed rolled his eyes theatrically and looked over at Riza. She smiled at him and stuck her hand out. All right Edward, I'll go with you. I'm dying to dance as well.” Ed's face lit up as he accepted her offered hand and off they went. Two songs later they were still out there dancing. Shortly after that, Al and most of the gang soon followed. They all looked like they were having such a good time Maes and Roy finally looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders said `what the hell, we might as well join them.' Only Jean and Breda remained seated, shaking their heads in disbelief.
Roy couldn't really remember how he managed to end up dancing right next to Ed and Zac, but he did and he was having a damn good time. Most of the music that Kain and Al had played had been innocent little dance tunes but the next song that played was trance inducing to Roy's mind. The song had a hypnotic beat and not long after it got going, Roy looked at Ed and he looked at Roy- soon, before he even knew it, they were dancing.
The two of them dancing together was not a problem in and of itself. No, far from it. It was the way they ended up dancing before the song was over that created the problem. Roy could still hear some of the lyrics of the unknown song in his head now and that only made the memory more vivid than it had a right to be.
Where you are seems to be, as far as an eternity+
Outstretched arms, open hearts, if it never ends, then when do we start?
I'll never leave you behind, or treat you unkind
I know you understand
At first Roy was moving along with the music behind Ed. Everything was going along just fine until Ed started backing up. He eventually bumped into Roy and when he spun around to see who he walked into, their eyes met and that was…That was just it.
Dream away everyday, try so hard to disregard
The rhythm of the rain that drops
And coincides with the beating of my heart
Their eyes stayed locked together the entire time. As the song continued it was as if the rhythm possessed them. Because possession would be the only valid explanation for what happened next. Roy would like to blame the alcohol but neither one of them had had enough to use that excuse. As they drew closer and closer to each other they had failed to notice that quite a few people had stopped dancing to watch.
Pushing forward and arching back. Bring me closer to heart attack
Say goodbye and just fly away
When you've come back, I have some things to say, yeah
Roy grabbed Ed around the waist and pulled him against his body. Ed didn't fight it or seem shocked in the least, rather seeming to be savoring the moment. He hooked one arm around Roy's neck, leather clad hips pushed forward and he let Roy take the lead. Ed matched every dip and sway Roy made.
There must be someplace here that only you and I could go
So I can show you how I feel.
At some point in time their foreheads ended up pressed together, and he then felt Ed's fingers entwine in his hair and he wasn't even sure where his hands were and, and- he didn't care.
They were still blissfully lost in their own little world until the music stopped. When it did, hips stilled and they both blinked for what was probably the first time in minutes. After they finally took note of their proximity to each other they backed away only to have a round of applause from the bar patrons really snap them out of their trance.
Roy groaned aloud as the memory drew to a close. When chuckling reached his ears he shot a heated glare at the man responsible for the noise. “Can it Maes!” Roy hissed as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. This was the last thing he needed right now. Last night was bad enough without this morning's dream added to it, and he certainly did not need Maes added to the mix.
“Hey, don't get huffy with me. It's not my fault you two all but molested each other on the dance floor last night.” Hughes said as he failed to contain his amusement.
“I did not take advantage of him.” Roy growled.
“I didn't say you did, all could see that he was a more than willing participant. Which is why I think you should ask him out.”
“In case you hadn't noticed, Maes, he's dating Jean.”
* * *
A wide and mischievous grin spread across Maes' face. He so loved it when he was right about things. Roy hadn't said he didn't want to ask Ed out, he simply gave a reason he felt he shouldn't. He felt a little sorry for Roy at the moment, but damn if it wasn't amusing to see Central's foremost lover boy in the midst of his own infatuation.
“Yes, I know he's been dating Jean. But, they haven't made it official or announced any type of serious commitment as of yet.” Maes pointed out as he dug around in his pockets.
“So, it's still perfectly all right for you to ask him out.”
“He's happy Maes, and I'm not going to interfere with that. What makes you think I'd want to ask or he'd be interested anyway?”
Maes was disconcerted to hear confusion and insecurity in Roy's voice. It wasn't often that Roy Mustang's confidence was shaken, and when it came to romance, Roy was probably the most self-assured person he knew in the field. He still had yet to hear his friend downright admit that he had a bit of a thing for the short blond alchemist. “Oh come on Roy, the only way anyone could have gotten a greater chemical reaction out of the two of you last night would have been to draw an array on the dance floor.”
Hughes watched as a variety of expressions crossed his friend's face. He was not going to let Roy deny this. Last night had been the final piece of evidence he needed to convince Riza and Gracia of his suspicion. He hadn't mentioned it to anyone else because he didn't want to get rumors started, God forbid, and as much as he loved them all when it came to gossip they were like a bunch of bored housewives.
Feeling he needed to drop the subject for a while, Colonel Maes Hughes started telling Roy about how Elysia was doing in school. The proud father was going on and on about her last play and how she was going to grow up to be a great actress when he noticed that Roy had tuned him out and was staring over his shoulder. Curious as to what his friend could find so interesting at the local market he turned around, and what he found should not have surprised Maes at all. There, on the other side of the marketplace, stood the Elric brothers and the older one of the pair was watching Roy as intently as Roy was watching him.
* * *
When Saturday morning came, Edward Elric had already been awake since before dawn staring at the ceiling of his bedroom. He could hardly believe his own actions last night and had spent quite a while trying to figure them out. The strings of thoughts had kept him awake for most of the night. Sure, he and Roy had played the whole thing off rather well and no one had made too big a deal out of it, but he could tell that they were all stunned. Shit. Here it was the next day and he still felt off kilter.
He was hard-pressed to describe what he and Roy had done last night as a mere dance. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't mind his “little sister” Elysia watching him dance. Would he have wanted her to see that spectacle last night? Hell no!
As if that wasn't enough, Jean kept looking at him funny and shooting daggers in Roy's direction the rest of the night. When it was time for the band to get back on stage and do their thing Ed had found it almost impossible to keep his eyes off Roy. He finally gave up center stage and sat back down behind his upright and proceeded to add piano parts to the songs. If his band noticed they said nothing and rolled with it. For that he was extremely grateful. At least from behind the piano he was not expected to look straight out into the audience. He should probably thank his lucky stars it didn't get any worse.
Frustrated, he kicked his blanket off and headed for the bathroom. He was hoping fervently that as early as it was, he could shower, dress and slip out of the house before Al got up.
Ten minutes later he was out the shower drying his wet hair. Five minutes after that he was fully clothed and headed down the steps and out the door. Just when he thought he was home free, a voice from his right stopped what he thought was his great escape.
“…Wanna talk about it Brother?”
Ed's shoulders slumped as he looked across the porch and spied Al sitting on a section of the railing with a glass of juice in his hand. “No coffee for you this morning?” Ed asked ignoring his brother's question.
“No, I figured if you smelled coffee brewing you would have known I was up and hid in your room all day.”
Ed scowled at his younger sibling and asked, “Why would I be hiding in my room?”
“For the same reasons you're trying to slip out of the house unnoticed. I'll ask again. You wanna talk about it?”
Ed sighed in defeat as he plopped down on the top step leading off the porch. He should have known Al would have noticed everything. He always did. Ed didn't really know where to start this awkward conversation and he said as much.
“Well, how about you let me ask a couple of questions that came to mind last night?”
“Sure,” Ed said as he put his back against the opposite railing so he could look at his brother, “ask away.”
“Okay, one: Where did you learn to dance like that? And two: How long have you had the hots for the General?”
Ed's face turned beet red as he shouted, “I DO NOT HAVE THE HOTS FOR ROY!”
Ed's shouting didn't faze his sibling in the slightest, and Al simply replied with, “You'd have a hard time convincing anyone at Fidel's last night of that one brother, but look at the bright side; it's obvious he has a thing for you too, so at least it's not one-sided.”
“Look Al, Roy and I are friends and whatever happened last night was just a fluke, end of story.”
“That's a hell of a fluke brother, I've seen people make out with more space in-between them than you and the General had between each other on that floor last night.”
Ed threw his arms up in the air and shouted, “That's it!” as he jumped to his feet and bounded down the steps. “This is exactly why I was trying to leave before you got up!”
Al was hot on his heels as Ed stomped through the yard and out onto the sidewalk. “Where are we going Brother?”
Ed didn't bother to look at him when he replied, “I am going to the market downtown, and you can stay home.”
“Don't be so touchy Brother; I was only stating the obvious. Besides, aren't you the least bit curious as to what the General's thinking about all of this?”
Ed didn't say it out loud but he was definitely curious about that. Why had Roy grabbed him and pulled him so close? And why hadn't he cared in the slightest? What had Ed all bent out of shape right now was the fact that whatever it was that happened between them had happened in front of an entire bar full of people and it was something he had not seen coming at all, so he felt completely blindsided by it. He was happy with Jean, wasn't he? If that was so, why did being that close to Roy not bother him in the least? Flustered by it all he repeated his earlier declaration in his head over and over. Just a fluke, just a fluke, just a fluke.
They walked in silence most of the way downtown but apparently his brother grew tired of this and started asking questions that Ed tuned out as he examined some of the fresh produce on display. He could tell Al was getting irritated with being ignored so he looked up at his brother, but when he did his eyes traveled across the marketplace and landed on Roy Mustang. Caught in the man's nearly obsidian gaze he did the only thing he could do. He stared. With his mouth slightly open, and an apple in one hand, Edward Elric was glued to the spot.
* * *
Roy could still hear Maes talking, but all possible comprehension went out the window once midnight blue met gold. Were the fates conspiring against him? What had he done to deserve running into Maes (who insisted on talking about Ed) then running into Ed himself? It was not that he didn't want to see him, no; it was just the circumstances surrounding the chance meeting that had Roy dreading it all.
Surprisingly it was the lack of sound coming from his best friend that got his attention. Roy peeled his eyes away from his current focal point and whipped his head around toward Maes to snap, “What!?”
“Uh…I didn't say anything, Roy.”
Roy let out a frustrated noise and looked back around to where Ed and Al were only to find the pair gone from where they once stood. A deep frown line creased his brow and Roy turned his now heated gazed back to Hughes.
“Boy, you've got it bad.” Was all the photographer had time to say before Roy spun around and stomped off back in the direction he had come from.
“I thought we were shopping?” Maes asked, somewhat confused, as he trailed along behind Roy.
“Feel free to do whatever you please Maes, I'm going home.”
Roy looked at the man as though he was seriously insane. He figured someone, whose job happened to be reading people and uncovering things, would have been more observant. As it stood, Roy was wondering if the faith he had in Maes and his abilities of perception all these years was misplaced. As they left the inner circle of the open market Roy felt like a complete ass. Here he was, the great Flame Alchemist and Major General of the Amestrian army, running away from what was essentially nothing. So what if he had danced with Ed last night and it had gotten a little frisky. Was it really that big a deal? No, it wasn't. But if that was true, why did he want to pull his hair out and scream?
Roy stopped his frantic fleeing of the marketplace and sighed dejectedly.
“You look like you could use a cup of coffee.” Maes said after hearing his friend sigh.
Roy jumped slightly because he was so caught up in his own internal musings that he had forgotten that Maes was trailing along behind him. When he got himself together enough to acknowledge his friend's statement he nodded.
“Let's grab a bite to eat too; I left the house without eating breakfast.” Roy mumbled, his voice barely above a whisper.
Maes nodded in agreement and the two of them decided on Sandy's Pastry Shop. Not only did it have some of the best coffee in Central, Sandy's had a variety of pastries and sandwiches that was well known to both of them.
Once they entered the shop a bright faced young woman came up to them almost as soon as they had seated themselves in a quiet corner and asked them what they would be having. When they put in their orders she gave them a warm smile and disappeared behind the counter only to reappear shortly with two steaming mugs of coffee.
“Will you fella's be needin' anything else?” she asked.
“No, no- I think we're good.” Maes answered once he noticed that Roy wasn't going to bother.
As soon as she was around the corner and out of earshot Maes said, “All right, spill it Roy. Something about this whole situation is eating at you and I won't leave it alone until you come clean, so out with it.”
Roy knew what the other man was saying so lightly was nothing more than the truth with a sugar coating. Maes may have said it in a joking manner but he'd known the man long enough to know Hughes would indeed pester him relentlessly until he heard what he wanted to hear. Still, Roy really didn't want to talk about this to anyone until he had it somewhat figured out for himself. So he decided to try and dodge the man's questions by changing the subject.
“Is Gracia still thinking of giving cooking classes?”
“Of course! As a matter of fact my darling wife already has her first unofficial student.”
Roy's eyebrows went up at this and he asked if her student was anyone they knew.
“As a matter of fact it is.” Maes answered as that sly grin from earlier returned.
Now leery of the man in front of him, Roy asked, “Well, who is it?”
“Ed.” Maes replied as he dumped another spoonful of cream into his coffee.
“You've got to be kidding me?!” Roy said aloud before he could stop himself.
“Nope, and from the stories he tells while they cook you two have become rather chummy.”
Roy glared across the table at the smirking man. He was just not going to be able to avoid talking about the blond; but Roy was not one to give up easily and he was going to fight this until the bitter end.
“I suppose we have.” Roy replied while trying to come across as if that was nothing remarkable.
“So you don't deny it then?”
“We are friends, Maes. There's nothing to deny.”
“So when are you going to ask him out?”
Roy was so frustrated he could have spit. Why was Maes being so insistent about him asking Ed out in the first place? He knew Maes had a nosy streak in him a mile wide and often thrived on the latest drama, but this was extreme even for him. It was almost as if the other man needed Roy to ask Ed out.
Tired of being on the receiving end of uncomfortable questions, and rather a bit curious about Maes' reasons, Roy decided to start asking questions of his own. “Why do you want me to ask him out so badly? He's going out with Jean; haven't he and I had enough trouble over this sort of thing?”
Maes simply snorted but Roy remembered all too well how things ended in what will forever be referred to as The Susan Situation.
Roy had been sent to East City temporarily due to the death of Brigadier General Roland Yeats. So Führer Oswyn Cross had ordered him to oversee that office until a suitable replacement was found to take the deceased Brigadier's position. Roy ended up staying in East City for a little more than two months.
On the night of his return to Central Roy's train pulled in three hours late, which left the Major General hungry but too tired and in no mood to cook. He quickly went over his mental list of eateries trying to think of one that would still be open but he drew a blank. Just as he had resigned himself to a bowl of ramen when he got home, one of the travelers he had spoken with on the ride back to Central passed by. When he asked them if they knew where he could possibly get a bite to eat at the current hour they suggested a little hole-in-the-wall off of 3rd street called The Sub and Pub.
When he got there the place was still open, but due to close in less than an hour. When he sat down in a booth the most charming young woman by the name of Susan waited on him. The place was empty so she spent a lot of time chatting with him while his food was being prepared.
They hit it off pretty well; by the time Roy finished his food her shift was over and the diner was closing its doors. Roy offered to walk her home, she accepted, and they had talked all the way.
Before they parted he asked her if she was available to go out sometime. She said she had been seeing someone on and off for the past four months but he didn't really seem to be her type. She said he was a bit to secretive for her liking. Roy's only thought on her statement was, `Someone's loss, my gain.' After they made plans for her to meet him outside of headquarters on Thursday at four he kissed her hand goodnight and went on his merry way.
When he walked into the office the following morning everyone was happy to have him back and things were moving along as per usual. Shortly after lunch the phone on Lt. Havoc's desk rang. It was a short conversation but everyone could tell that whatever was said had taken the wind out his sails. It took the remainder of the day for Breda to get the blond to tell him what was wrong.
Jean Havoc had been dumped yet again.
Two more days passed into Thursday and a smile had yet to grace the First Lieutenant's face. Normally Roy would have shared the fact that he had date with the office but considering Jean's misfortune he kept it to himself. Work was slow that day and he was ready to get on with his evening so when the four o'clock hour neared he told everyone to go ahead and head out. He didn't have to tell them twice as everyone, except Riza, tidied their desk and headed for the door.
Once they were gone Riza shot Roy a look and asked, “Alright Roy, what's got you in such a good mood? You look like the cat that ate the canary.”
Roy smiled and said, “I have a date tonight.”
“I figured as much.” She said as she smiled back and stood to leave.
The two of them walked out of the office together. When they stepped out of the double doors the pair was surprised to see everyone still standing out front. They all seemed to be watching something. When Riza and Roy followed their line of sight they saw Jean speaking rather animatedly with a striking raven haired woman. Upon closer inspection Roy realized that woman was his date Susan.
Curious as to how Havoc knew her Roy started to ask this when Kain said, “Wonder why she showed up here after giving him the boot?”
“Maybe she changed her mind and wants him back.” Falman whispered.
“Doubtful,” Breda said, “I think she said she something about having a date.”
Roy hadn't meant to gasp out loud but he did. All heads turned to face him and in a matter of seconds Breda had it put together. The First Lieutenant looked over at Jean then back at Roy and shook his head in disbelief. “This is unbelievable … what are the chances?”
“Chances of what?” Kain asked with his face scrunched in confusion.
Riza winced in realization and set out to confirm their suspicions. She pointed to the tall brunette speaking to Jean and said, “That's your date over there isn't it Roy?”
Roy nodded dumbly as the full implications of the situation washed over him. They all watched intently as the dark haired lady closed her conversation with Lieutenant Havoc.
“This is waaay too much drama for me,” Ed announced, “I'm gone.” The younger alchemist stated as he turned to leave and Falman was right behind him.
The others were still there watching the situation unfold as the tall blond came marching toward them with a furious face. When he got close to his officemates he looked at Roy, eyes blazing, his face weighted with contempt.
“Havoc, I sincerely apologize; I really had no idea, I just…” Roy started.
“Don't worry about it, chief.” Havoc sneered and the amount of scorn behind the word `chief' was enough to make everyone present flinch. “Maybe when you're done with her you'll be kind enough to toss her back my way.”
Riza's eyes narrowed before she said, “Watch you tone Lieutenant. You are…”
Roy placed a calming hand on the Major's shoulder to silence her.
“Easy there Jean,” Breda said as he approached Havoc, “There's no way Mustang could have known who she was. He was out of town for months and I think I was the only one you introduced her to.”
Kain was nodding when he said, “Until today most of us had no idea what she even looked like.”
“That was kind of the point.” Jean growled out low as he cut those angry blue eyes over at Roy again.
Between Jean's statement and the look he gave, Roy gathered that he was the reason Jean had never brought the young woman around or mentioned her. Roy felt extremely guilty about all this even though the woman had said it wasn't working out with the person she was dating. He had just never fathomed that that person was Havoc.
“I just need to accept the fact that most women would rather have a one night stand with him than a relationship with me.”
At that Riza and Kain looked absolutely furious at what Jean was implying about Roy's ethics and behavior. Riza opened her mouth to say something but Jean cut in and said, “Save it Major, I'm bowing out and going home.”
And with a curt bow to Roy as well as a flippant salute that's exactly what Jean did.
Once he left Susan walked over to the group and apologized for all of the trouble she felt she had caused. Roy told her it wasn't her fault and said that due to the circumstances he wouldn't feel right going out with her. She said she understood, apologized once again and left.
When she was out of earshot Heymans Breda said, “That was bad. I think I'll give Jean some time to cool off before I try to talk to him.”
That whole situation happened over a year ago and it took months before the tension between Roy and Havoc dissipated. During that time Kain and Breda informed him of just how often things like that occurred. Roy truly had no idea that some of the women he asked out were showing interest in the First Lieutenant until he came along. When he asked Fuery why no one ever said anything, his reply was, “It was none of our business, General. Besides it's really up to ladies you ask out. They have a right to decide who they want to see, don't they sir?” When Roy nodded the younger man pushed his glasses back up on his nose and continued working on his disassembled radio.
Roy has made it a point since to try not to `steal' any of Jean's dates. He was in no way looking for a repeat of The Susan Situation.
During Roy's reflection on past events Maes' eyes had grown dark; when he spoke his expression was serious and his pitch flat. “You do realize that Ed and Al are like sons to me?”
Stunned by the sudden seriousness of his friend's tone Roy looked the man in the eye and nodded. He was too confused to trust his words. Outside of work Maes was seldom serious. The man acted so lighthearted and carefree most of the time Roy often wondered about his stern side.
“Well if you understand that then it should go without saying that I only want what's best for both of them.”
“I'm glad you think so highly of me Maes, but might I ask what's wrong with the First Lieutenant.”
“Nothing I can expressly put my finger on Roy, it just seems like he's always…too guarded.”
“You ever consider Jean might just be a very private person?”
Maes peered over his cup of coffee and gave Roy a look that said he had just asked the dumbest question of the year.
“Fine Maes, think what you want.”
“I'm glad I have your permission because I was going to do just that.”
The waitress showed up then with their food in one hand and coffee in the other. After she placed their food in front of them and refilled their coffee she disappeared back behind the counter. The two men ate in comfortable silence until Maes asked Roy if he'd like to come over to his place for dinner tonight. Not having any plans for the evening he agreed to. It had been a while since he'd had dinner with them all. Roy was just relieved that Hughes had let the Ed subject drop for the time being.
As they finished off their plates and stood to leave, Maes told Roy to be over at his place at six o'clock sharp. With that settled the two said their goodbyes and went their separate ways.
+ Song lyrics belong to Maroon 5 the song title is “Sweetest Good-bye” off of their album Songs about Jane.