Disasters and Confessions
Elizabeth Scott was terrified. Utterly terrified. She had met him by chance at a little cafe
just off the Georgetown campus. She had been there to work on her
thesis paper and had caught him glancing her way from his corner table
and had, in turn, found herself watching him. He wasn’t the type of guy
she would have normally gone for, she didn’t think, with his rimmed
glasses and what had looked like a cardigan folded over the chair next
to him, but there was something about him that drew her in. After a few
awkward glances that just barely missed, she caught him looking at her
and they had both laughed.
Tom Keen. Elementary school teacher.
Originally from New York. Definitely not the type she normally would
have gone for, but there was something about his awkward smile, like he
had been caught with his hand half in a cookie jar, that made her own
lips tug upward. She hadn’t gotten anything else written on her thesis
that afternoon and the papers he had been grading were left untouched,
but they had chatted well into the evening.
Obviously he had been
more her type than she realized, because a month later she had trouble
imagining her life without him. He was sweet and thoughtful and everything
that the guys she had dated before weren’t. He had a normal job - the
kind that actually brought in money - and he cooked. Damn did he cook.
He had warned her the first time that he was a little new to it, but he
had been teaching himself. She was convinced it was all a ruse to make
her that much more impressed.
It was like the man did no wrong,
and, yes, Liz was a little terrified. Mr Perfects didn’t stick around
for girls like her, no matter how well adjusted she managed to act. He
would realize, eventually, that she didn’t match up and would scurry off
for the hills.
As she leaned against the counter that added a
little bit of a barrier between the kitchen and the rest of the studio
apartment, she hoped that that wasn’t true. She really liked him. She’d
even told Sam about him, and that was a big step. Immediately he had
bombarded her with questions as any good father would. When he’d said
that she should bring her new boyfriend for a visit Liz had jokingly
told him that she wasn’t sure she was ready to scare him off just yet.
Sam was protective. Tom… might not understand his gruff humour.
pulled in a deep breath in the form of a sigh, and along with the air
came a strange smell. She turned back to the oven, eyes growing wide at
the site of dark smoke building within it and she threw the door open.
The smoke poured out, choking her, and she grabbed an oven mitt from the
nail in the wall where she hung the rarely used glove, and grabbed for
the badly burnt bread. She moved too quickly, though, and the mitt
touched the burner, pulling a sharp cry from her as she threw it and the
bread to the floor. “Dammit!” she growled, trying to stomp at the
burning cloth as best as she could. This was a disaster. All she had
wanted to do was cook one meal for him and prove she wasn’t a complete
failure in the kitchen.
A knock came at the door and Liz growled in frustration. Well, at least there was one thing Tom was bad at. His timing sucked.
hadn’t been specific in how he wanted Elizabeth Scott protected, but
Tom was fairly certain that dating her probably hadn’t been what the
so-called Concierge of Crime had intended. It hadn’t been his intention
either, but he hadn’t expected her to be quite so observant. One thing
led to another and if he hadn’t asked her out but continued to pop up,
she would have likely grown suspicious.
A month later, he felt a
little sorry for the girl. She was sweet and she was head over heels.
Whatever Reddington was afraid of for her had him spooked enough not to
call Tom for getting too close to her, so he continued on. Sometimes
these ops took on a life of their own. At least the goal was protection
and not elimination.
He stopped at her door, shifting the grocery
bag with the wine so he could knock, and heard an irritated scream on
the other side of the door. Tom frowned and knocked. He heard shuffling
and was about ready to try the door when it was flung open and a very
dishevelled Elizabeth Scott was already running back over to the kitchen
where an uncomfortable amount of smoke was building. “The bread burned
and then the oven mitt caught on fire and- Dammit!” she swore
and it looked like she had left something on one of the stove burners
while trying to handle the mess that was the oven. Now smoke was coming
from the whole appliance and she was scurrying in every direction to
contain the chaos.
"Where’s your fire extinguisher?" Tom asked as
he set the bag down well out of the way of his frantic girlfriend. The
fire alarms really should be blaring by that point, he thought, and he
glanced up at them. As if on cue, the wailing began and the tiny
apartment was filling up with smoke.
"Closet!" she shouted over her shoulder.
jumped into action, grabbing the little thing from its hiding place -
buried beneath jackets and between boxes that she had apparently never
unpacked - and moved quickly back over to the burning food, the foam
coating it and the still smoldering oven mitt. By the time the small
fires were smothered, both he and Liz were choking and coughing on
everything in the air and he looked over at her, trying to blink through
thorough smudged glasses. “Window?” he managed and she tried to sigh,
only managing to send herself into a coughing fit before trudging to the
front window and pulling it open.
The alarm was still blaring
wildly and Tom cringed, glaring at it like that alone would shut it up.
It did not, so he flipped a switch to turn the fan on and watched it
sputter, barely turning. This was just not his day.
disappeared into the closet and reemerged with a small fan. She set it
on the counter and faced it towards the window, funneling the smoke in
that direction the best she could.
"It should be fine now," Tom said as he surveyed the damage.
"If we want to keep breathing that might be a good choice," he chuckled, coughing against it. "You want me to grab the wine?"
”Yes,” she answered, all the stress of the event resting in the one word.
grabbed the bag he had been carrying and followed her out to the small
balcony off the side of the tiny apartment. Liz was already leaning
against the railing, pulling in deep breaths of fresh air. He watched
her for a moment, feeling a bit funny himself. He didn’t think he had
breathed in quite that much smoke - heaven knew that his lungs were used
to it - but that was the only reason he could think of as to why his
chest tightened so suddenly.
She turned, cheeks tinged red. “So, I have a confession. I may have downplayed how bad of a cook I actually am.”
pulled a choked laugh from him and he bent to pull the wine bottle and
corkscrew from the bag. “Well,” he answered carefully and watched her,
unable to stop the second laugh that escaped. “Okay, I’ve got nothing to
argue that, Lizzy. Sorry.”
Finally her own lips tugged upward. “You can run now if you want. I won’t judge.”
he echoed, genuinely confused. "Because of this?" Her expression
confirmed it and he set everything down so that his hands were free. Tom
stepped closer, fingers brushing her cheek and he pulled her close. She
didn’t resist as he leaned in, their lips brushing, and Tom could feel
his chest tighten again. Damn smoke. "You haven’t scared me off yet,
Her lashes fluttered as her eyes opened slowly and caught his gaze. “I love you,” she whispered.
was beautiful, clever, and strong, and Tom knew she meant the words
with every ounce of her soul. “I love you too,” he answered and kissed
her again. The dangerous truth that he wasn’t willing to admit to
himself was that he meant the words too.
apparently something we learned on this past episode is that Tom/Jacob
really does smoke. Part of me thinks that’ll be interesting if she ever
catches him doing it, since Sam died of lung cancer. I feel like that
may get written this weekend….