Unwritten Rules
Aouda Fogg

Every office has unwritten rules. A coffee cup that sits in the communal cupboard but that only one person uses, default seats during staff meetings, things like that. We have those, too, but our department has something else. Something that goes beyond coffee cups, but that is so much a part of us, it´s ingrained.

Of course, not only is it unwritten, it´s pretty much unsaid. And anything that is said? It´s said away from the office. Far away from the office. This lets me exist in a nice little grey area between knowing, yet not knowing, you know? Plausible deniability should the Powers That Be ever wonder what´s going on. Plausible deniability is my friend.

But then, tonight, the two of them made the grey areas of my life a little bigger. Not enough that they´ve probably given me more grey hairs than my own kid. Although, really, I don´t think tonight was deliberate -- and they certainly didn´t *say* anything. It was just some little things adding up to one big thing.

It was their turn to host poker night. I got there a few minutes early, just as they were setting out the cards, chips -- both kinds -- and Blair was putting the finishing touches on his famous mango margaritas. I was skeptical the first time he tried to get me to drink one, but I´ve got to say, the kid makes mean margarita. But I digress.

As Blair put the finishing touches on the food and beverages, Jim ducked into the over-sized closet that is his partner´s room to get the pictures from our most recent fishing trip. He closed the door on the way back out, but not before I caught sight of Sandburg´s futon. A futon that was in its “I´m a couch’ position and that seemed to be being used as a staging area for some sort of project involving various pieces of wood, sandpaper, glue, and various and sundry nails. I didn´t think too much of it -- I´ve done enough quick clean-ups as they guests come over to know things end up in odd places.

That is until I looked up a while later (not wanting anyone to see me gloating over my hand), and there, on the railing along Jim´s bed, was a lamp. A lamp I´d never seen before. Nice one, brass and wood, adjustable arm. And I got to wondering, what does a Sentinel need with a lamp over his bed? I´ve seen Jim read topo maps by firelight and even starlight.

Then the two observations clicked: a change in a bed upstairs, a change in a bed downstairs. I lost that hand. I was too distracted with this latest revelation and trying to figure out if I was imagining things.

But then I saw the way they looked at each other, when they thought none of us were looking, over a bag of pretzels. Jim was holding the bowl Blair was pouring the pretzels into, and their look should´ve made the salt sizzle off those things. Yep. They were partners in ways not defined in the official Cascade P.D. handbook.

Ah, well, at least I can claim the grey hair makes me look distinguished. I guess I can live with more unwritten rules.

Send feedback to Aouda Fogg

Go to Home Page