Welcome To The Harem

An Evening At The Chez Pierre by Scifinerdgrl
Summary: Brad explains to Monica how he'd become corrupted, and tries to rekindle their relationship. FRR, Release post-ep.

From: scifinerdgrl
Date: 14 Oct 2002 06:54:55 -0700
Subject: [all-xf] NEW: An Evening at Chez Pierre (1/1)
Source: atxc

Title: An Evening at Chez Pierre
Author: Scifinerdgrl
Category: S/R
Rating: PG
Keywords: Follmer/Reyes Romance, Post-episode ("Release")
Summary: Brad explains to Monica how he'd become corrupted, and
tries to rekindle their relationship.
Archive: Please ask, please tell
Feedback: scifinerdgrl@hotmail.com or scifinerdgrl@mail.ev1.net

Pierre himself opened the door to greet Monica Reyes. He
escorted her toward the rear of the empty restaurant, saying
nothing as they approached the dark corner table.

The note had said only "Pierre's. Midnight. Confidential. No
wire. No partner!" It wasn't difficult keeping the secret from
John. He seemed to need to distance himself from her after she
had driven him to the ocean with his son's ashes. It should have
been a turning point. He should have realized then that she was
the love of his life. But instead he had turned away, even
refusing to look her in the eye when discussing a case. She
reminded herself that it had only been a few days, and she still
hoped that a relationship could blossom. After all, the way he
hugged her on the beach had seemed more than friendly. Not
sexual, of course. It was within sight of his ex-wife. But it
was as if they were connecting on a deeper level than ever
before. She was sure he felt it, and knowing John, it would have
scared him. She would give him time. After all, hadn't she
already given him a year? What was another few weeks?

She hadn't recognized the writing in the note, and her curiosity
was piqued. Maybe it was an informant. And maybe it was John.
She couldn't help hoping it would be. But when Pierre showed her
to her table she saw the one person she didn't want to see.

"Brad," she sighed. "What is this about?"

"Please, sit down, Monica," Brad stood and waved toward the chair
opposite his as Pierre pulled it out for her. "Thank you for
coming." He nodded toward Pierre then said, "And thank *you*
Pierre. That will be all." He slipped Pierre a bill then sat
down, reaching across the table for Monica's hands.

Monica put her hands in her lap and scowled at her former lover.
"Brad, what is this about?"

He sighed and withdrew his hands, then reached for the champagne
bottle chilling at his elbow. He poured champagne for both of
them, then held his glass out for a toast. Pretending not to
notice her refusal to cooperate, he raised his glass and toasted,
"To the most beautiful woman I've ever known." After taking a
sip and putting the glass down, Brad smiled, his eyes dancing in
the flickering candle light as he fixed his gaze on her face.
She fidgeted slightly as he stared into her angry eyes, his own
seeming to be at once penetrating into her soul yet also very,
very distant. "It's good to see you, Monica," he said, with more
feeling than she wanted to hear.

"Brad," she whispered. "What is going on?" If it had been John
saying those words and gazing into her eyes it would have been
the most romantic night of her life. Instead, it was quickly
becoming the creepiest.

Brad snapped to attention, then leaned back in his chair. Who
was he kidding? he thought. It's over for her, so completely
over. He sighed, mustering his strength for the speech he'd been
rehearsing for the past several hours.

"I wanted a chance to say good-bye," he started, his voice
cracking already. This isn't good, he thought. I'm not going to
be able to get through this. She reached a hand across the
table, a sympathetic, friendly gesture. It wasn't what he'd
hoped for, but it was part of why he loved her. She couldn't
stand to see anyone suffer. Even him.

"Good-bye?" she repeated, fearful that he was contemplating
something drastic. "Where are you going?" When he put his hand
into hers she felt a slight tremble, and she instinctively
tightened her grip. The trembling stopped, as it always had when
she reassured him. Even after three years apart, she'd never
lost sight of the little-boy weakness inside the harsh,
conniving, even smarmy exterior. It was part of why she loved
him. He could never let anyone see his inner doubts. Except
her.

"I'm turning State's Evidence, Monica," he said grimly. "I'm
going into the Witness Protection Program. You'll never see me
again after tonight." He let go of her hands and reached for his
champagne, hoping to distract her from his eyes, which were
closed tightly against a very un-manly assault of tears. When he
opened them he saw that she was blinking back a few tears of her
own.

"That's good," she said finally, with a slight nod as if to
convince herself of her words. "It's a good thing."

"I asked you here tonight because I want to explain things. When
I testify it's all going to come out, and I wanted you to hear it
from me first." Once back to his script, Brad felt stronger,
more confident, more in control of his emotions. "You're going
to be mentioned. It can't be helped."

"Me?" her eyes popped open as she heard this news. "Why me?
What do I have to do with anything?"

"Regali," Brad said significantly. "He knew about us. It's how
he reeled me in, how he kept me on his hooks." Brad let go of
his champagne glass and reached both hands across the table,
capturing hers easily. "It was all about you, from the very
start. It wasn't about the money. It was about you."

"I don't understand, Brad," Monica tried to pull her hands free,
but when he pulled back, it wasn't control she felt. It was
desperation, a need that she couldn't fathom and couldn't resist.
She wanted to understand, and she sensed that he *needed* her to
understand.

"He had pictures," Brad blurted out. "Pictures, videos, audio,
motel receipts. Everything."

"Of me?" she asked, not wanting to believe the obvious.

"Of us," Brad arched his eyebrows significantly. "Everywhere we
went together, we were being watched, at least for awhile. Long
enough for him to have plenty to show Freeh."

Monica sighed. Louis Freeh, the Director of the FBI. It was no
secret amongst the agents that he hated Bill Clinton, and was
disgusted by Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Until
tonight Monica assumed that was the reason they'd become more
secretive as their relationship went on, but she never imagined
this.

"Or anybody else who might be interested in humiliating the
Organized Crime Task Force in New York," Brad added,
unnecessarily of course.

A wave of nausea passed through Monica as she thought of the
kinds of pictures Regali might have taken, and her hands weakened
their grip on Brad's. It was now his turn to do the reassuring.
He stroked the back of one hand with his thumbs and tried to
smile.

"He only followed us long enough to get me on his hooks," he
said, lowering his voice. "But it's all still out there
somewhere, and it might come out during the trial."

Closing her eyes against the possibility, Monica sighed then
asked, "When?"

"It could be years," he said. "Or maybe my deposition will be
enough to prevent a trial. But I wanted you to know. Just in
case."

Monica mustered her resolve and said, "Thanks for the heads-up.
I appreciate you letting me know." She leaned as if to leave,
but Brad had her pinned down by the hands.

"There's something else," he said desperately.

"Brad, don't," she warned. All her mental powers echoed the
warning. Don't tell me you love me. Don't tell me where you're
going . Don't ask me to go with you! Because deep down, at some
level, she hoped he would, and after the way John had been
treating her lately she wasn't sure how she would respond.

"One last dance?" he asked hopefully.

"A dance?!?" she laughed. "You want to dance? Now?"

He nodded then stood up, still holding her hand, and led her to
an adjoining room. The tables and chairs had been pushed to the
sides, and a slightly battered boombox sat at one end of the
room, piles of CDs next to it. "Take your pick," he said,
showing her to the CDs.

She couldn't help smiling as she looked over the jewel boxes.
All her favorites, all *their* favorites, were there. And as
much as she pined for John, she had to admit she didn't expect
him to be half the dancer that Brad was. A sigh escaped her as
she relived their better days together. Brad was charming and
suave, a great dancer, and an incredible romantic. She
remembered now why she was willing to sneak around to be with
him. She picked a song, popped it in the player, then turned to
see Brad, relieved and smiling, holding his arms out to her.

She went to him, closing three years' of distance, bringing them
back to their happier times. Dancing in Barbados, the Poconos,
Las Vegas. She sighed as their bodies settled into each other,
finding the old rhythm, each piece of the puzzle falling into
place as the music played on. His hand on her waist. Her hand
on his shoulder. Her head on his shoulder. His mouth at her
ear... By the time the song ended, they were barely moving,
their bodies so attuned to each other that the slightest motion
felt like a tidal wave. In the silence between the tracks they
could hear each other's breathing, and each relived moments when
they'd watched the other sleep. The next track began, a slower
dance song with a sensuous melody that demanded sensuous
movements. Monica felt herself wishing Brad would kiss her, then
realized where she was, and when, and pulled away with a start.

"Brad, we can't," she said, turning toward the door.

He pulled her back and whispered, "I know. But thank you."

His eyes were on hers, and she felt herself melting under the
heat of his desire. But it was the sincerity of his gratitude
and his willingness to let her go that made her lose her resolve.
How could she hate him? she wondered. After all they'd been
through together? After what he was willing to do to redeem
himself? After that last dance? "Well," she conceded, more to
herself than to him, "Just one more dance." She fell into his
arms and hugged him tightly as she realized the significance of
the moment. Brad would be going away. Leaving. Leaving
forever. She would never see him again. Never see the love in
his eyes, and no matter how unwelcome it had been in the past
year, she would miss that look. Later, in therapy, she would
admit to herself that unavailability was the greatest turn-on for
her, and examining this moment would force her to that insight.
But for now all she knew was that Brad never been more handsome,
more romantic, more sexy... She pulled back and looked into his
eyes, and when he leaned in to kiss her she didn't fight him.

At first his lips were tentative, as if afraid that her eyes had
been lying, but when she returned the kiss she erased all his
doubts. Brad wrapped his arms more tightly around her, then
pulled his hands upward along her back until they became
entangled in her hair. She massaged his back, hitting all his
sensitive spots as if their last kiss had been only yesterday.
When she pulled away to take a breath, she saw his smiling eyes,
and without thinking, said, "I'm going to miss you."

"We still have tonight," he offered. "I go in at 8 a.m."

The music was still playing, still enticing their bodies to move
together. "I don't know, Brad," she said. "We shouldn't." But
despite her protests, she was pulling closer to him.

"You're right. And I won't cause you any more trouble," he
assured her. "I promise." He half-heartedly let go of her and
moved toward the boombox.

She stood, alone, in the middle of the room, her heart throbbing
and her legs a bit weak, as she watched him turn off the CD
player. She noticed his back. Not muscular like John's, but
sexy in its way. And his butt, she reflected. It was tight.
Much tighter than you'd expect from such a lanky man. And that
birthmark, right above his .... She shook the thought out of her
head. Get hold of yourself, Monica, she mentally shouted. This
is *BRAD!* But when he turned around, his blue eyes reflected
the dim light from the wall sconces, and she felt her resolve
melting again. And his lips. Had she just been kissing them?
Or was she dreaming? He walked toward her, looming larger and
larger in her consciousness, blocking out the rest of the room,
and the rest of her doubts. He smiled, a sad sweet smile that
told her he would accede to any of her wishes. And suddenly she
wished he wouldn't go away.

"Pierre can take you home," he offered. "I need to get back to my
hotel. I have to check in with my handler."

Of course, she realized. As soon as he'd struck his deal to
enter the witness protection program his freedom from jail time
was a relative freedom. His words brought her back to reality,
and she realized he was right. This should be the end for them.
"Thank you," she said, reaching for his hands then shaking them
nervously. "Thank you for explaining, and for saying good-bye."

"I should be the one thanking you," he said gently. "For coming
here tonight. For listening. For giving me this chance to say
good-bye." And although he knew it was hopeless, seeing even
this remnant of love in her eyes, and he was sure he saw it,
would give him something to take with him into his next life.
"And thank you for this," he added, leaning in for a kiss.

He could feel her shoulders shake as they continued their kiss,
then he reluctantly pulled away. With each thumb he wiped away
the tears under her eyes. "You were right to break it off," he
said. "You deserve better. I hope you find it." He flashed his
best stiff-upper-lip smile then left the room before he could
change his mind.

Monica stared at the door, not sure whether to run after him,
until she saw Pierre arrive. "He's gone," Pierre announced.
"I'll take you home."

As Monica buckled herself into rear seat of the limo, she stared
out of the tinted window, unaware that she was hoping to catch a
glimpse of Brad. She was dimly aware that the engine had
started, and only heard Pierre's voice after he'd repeated his
question three times. "Which way, Mademoiselle?" he asked again.

She sighed, then smiled at her inattention. "I'm sorry, Pierre,"
she answered. "Take me to Falls Church."

END