What Makes Us
By Maquis Leader

Rated R

Author’s notes: This story is set in the Season 6: Reloaded universe. It stands alone and you don't need to read the other chapters before you read this one. Please see the note on the main page.


Previously On Third Watch

Some people look for love, not sex. They look for commitment, not one night stands. Maurice Boscorelli was never in it for love or commitment – ever. Or so he claimed. He boasted a list of conquests that would make most men green with envy. Never a night alone unless it was his choice. So why was he so lonely?

Some people look for a mental connection, not just a physical one. They look for meaning, not mindless sex. Grace Foster was never in it for the connection or the meaning – ever. Or so she claimed. She boasted a list of conquests that would make most women blush. Never a night alone unless it was her choice. So why was she so lonely?

Keep people at a distance and nobody will ever know the truth.

Sometimes, only sometimes, they wondered what makes them the way they are.

Episode 62: What Makes Us

“I’m looking for Grace Foster.”

“She’s not here.” Grace didn’t look up from her paperwork.

“Grace!” Holly exclaimed. “Lying brings bad karma!”

“Yeah, but it keeps the lawyers away. Look, whatever my brother’s done – “ Grace looked up at the man standing in the doorway. She froze as she spotted the badge clipped to his belt. “He – oh my God – he hasn’t done anything illegal has he?”

“I dunno.” Bosco shrugged. “I didn’t come here about your brother.”

“Oh…” She was relieved and frightened at the same time. “Then…”

Now that she was looking directly at him, Bosco recognized her. His memories of Mikey’s funeral and that day were jumbled and confused – but he remembered her eyes. Vivid and intense. “I’m Maurice Boscorelli, you helped my mother a few months ago – last year. You probably don’t remember, but – “

“No, I do. I did an emergency tracheotomy on her.” Something that had very nearly landed her in hot water, but he didn’t need to know that.

“You saved her life.” Bosco walked to the table and held his hand out to her. “Thank you.”

“Oh, that’s not – “Taking his hand, Grace squeezed it quickly before letting go. “That’s not necessary, it’s – “

“Yeah, I know.” He shrugged. “It’s the job. But still, it’s good to hear a thank you sometimes.”

“Why don’t you sit down?” Holly picked up the coffee pot and poured a cup of coffee for him. “There’s fresh coffee.”

“I’ve got to get to work.” He checked his watch.

“And DK made cinnamon rolls this morning.” She sat the cup of coffee on the table.

“I’ve got a few minutes.” Pulling out a chair, Bosco sat down. DK made the best cinnamon rolls in the world as far as Bosco was concerned. “Gimme a couple.”

“Since you asked so nicely.” Holly put two rolls on a plate and handed it to him.

“Thanks.” He bit into one of the rolls and sighed.

“I’m going to go make sure the bus is stocked.” Waggling her fingers at them, Holly left the kitchen.

“Umm…” The cinnamon roll was just as good as he remembered from the last time he’d had one. Bosco took another bite and sighed again.

Grace smiled. “I think I’m jealous.”

“You want one?” Bosco licked icing off his fingers. “There’s more, right?”

“I’ve already had one. A second one I might as well just rub right onto my hips.”

The man he’d been a year ago would have leered at her and offered to lick the icing off. But he wasn’t that man anymore. Instead, Bosco smiled and changed the subject. “Ma told me you came to visit her.”

“She did? I wouldn’t think that’d be important enough for her to even remember”

“I was trapped in a hospital room for months with her rattling on – “ Taking another bite of his roll, Bosco mad a yapping motion with his hand. “What didn’t she tell me is the big question.”

“She was really worried about you.” His mother had been great, the kind of mother she wished she had.

“I know.”

“Did she tell you I made her cry?” Why she said that, Grace wasn’t sure, it had just popped out.

His eyebrows went up. “No.”

“I didn’t mean to. I was just telling her how brave her son had been during the whole thing.” Her cheeks flushed. “I didn’t know that you were the one that was shot at the hospital. Not my best moment.”

“Hey, you’re new – were new.” The time thing kept screwing him up. For everybody else, it’d been nearly a year since Mikey had died, but for him it’d just been a few months. “And I wasn’t wearing a badge.”

“You looked nice though. A little banged up.” Grace smiled at him. “But very handsome all things considered.”

“My tie matched the car that drove inside.” Joking about it was easy, it helped make it seem less real. “When I got dressed that morning, I thought about what would look good at the scene of an accident.”

“You did a good job, then.” She laughed softly. “You looked as sexy as any man I’ve ever seen at an accident.”

Grace was pretty, and Bosco wished he was the man he used to be. He’d have thrown a few lines at her and tried to set up a date for later to see if he could get into her pants.

“I kinda kept track of you after that.” Grace admitted. “You know, even cops can get panicky when someone they love is hurt. You really were brave.”

“Nah.” Why the hell everybody kept telling him how brave he was, Bosco didn’t understand. “I just didn’t duck fast enough.”

“Well, I thought you were.” She smiled slightly and let her eyes move over him. “And I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Some days, so am I.”

“Just on some days?”

“Most days.” Shrugging, he looked down at the half eaten cinnamon roll. “Isn’t that how it is for everybody?”

“I guess so.” There were days she didn’t want to get out of bed and face the world. “But what are you gonna do? Turn off the lights and hide in the dark?”

“I’m scared of the dark, so I just get up and go.” Bosco polished off the rest of the roll. “You know, if DK were a woman – I might marry him.”

“You’d have to get in line. He’s making lasagna tomorrow night.” She leaned forward and looked into his eyes. “And I love to eat Italian.”

It was right there on the tip of his tongue. I’m Italian. The old line and the ‘fuck me’ smile were something the man he used to be would have used. Instead, Bosco leaned closer and returned the intense look. “What do you think makes us like we are?”

“What?” The midnight blue eyes were devastating up close and Grace lost her train of thought. “What do you mean?”

“You’re coming on to me – and there was a time I woulda been happy to play the game.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Grace sat back, looking away in embarrassment.

“Sure you do.”

“So I flirted with a handsome guy – “ Her eyes shot back to his face, at the bandage on his cheek. Immediately she looked away again, not sure of what to say.

“If this was a year ago, I’d have been flirting right back at you.” Bosco grinned. “I’d have taken you to your place and screwed the hell out of you. Then got up and left in the morning.”

“I never take men home.” She looked back at him. “I don’t want them to know where I live.”

“Same reason I never took them home with me.” They were alike, he’d thought so. “You’re pretty enough, I’d have sprung for a room.”

“No, I like to get it over and done.” Her tone was challenging. “Your car would have been good enough.”

“Really? You don’t look like a girl who’d settle for the car.”

“Why not?” It was her turn to shrug. “That way I don’t have to try to sneak out while you’re asleep.”

“All right.” Bosco nodded. He’d done it that way enough to understand. “So we would be out in my car tearing off a piece.”

“Only, we’re not.”

“Nope. I’m not that man anymore.”

“What changed?”

“What makes us like this?” Ignoring her question, Bosco went back to where this odd conversation had started. “Why do we want the quick, cheap fuck?”

“Because love sucks.” That was the answer to a lot of problems as far as Grace was concerned.

“It hurts. Hurts like a bitch.” His own heart was barely holding together these days. “I like being in bed with a woman – or wherever – being close and real to somebody. But then – “

“I want to get away. I want to be close and then I can’t wait to be gone.” Grace felt tears burn her eyes. “God, we’re fucked up.”

“Yep.” Reaching across the table, he patted her hand. “But what the hell? What else are we going to do?”

“I’d say shut the lights off but you said you’re scared of the dark.” She bit her lip. “My mother never wanted to be my mother. Or anybody’s mother. She’s out there on the streets somewhere because she doesn’t want to be with us. And my dad, he never could get over her. I saw what love does to people.”

“My dad beat the hell out of my mom. He hated me – I don’t even know why.” Bosco pushed the plate away. “She loved him anyway. Wanted him back. He showed up at Mikey’s funeral and she was hanging on him like he was the only person who could help her.”

“Screw love.”

“Love screws you.” Bosco the philosopher. He smiled ruefully. “I guess that’s the answer then.”

“I guess.”

“Bosco!” A voice carried up the stairs. “Boscorelli, you up there?”

Bosco looked at his watch. “Crap! I’m late.” He shoved the chair back and got up from the table.

“I’m sorry. Are you in trouble?” Grace got up and followed him to the stairs.

“No more than usual.” He grinned at her.

“Bosco!” The voice bellowed again.

“I’m coming!” He shouted down the stairs. “Gimme a minute!”

“You got thirty seconds!”

“Wow, she’s a bitch.” Grace frowned. “Who does she think she is?”

“She thinks she’s my partner.” Reyes wasn’t and never would be. Bosco started down the stairs.

“Bosco, wait.” Grace followed him down the stairs. When he stopped in the doorway and looked back at her, she took a chance. “When you get off, would you like to get a cup of coffee or something.”

“Or something?”

“No, not ‘or something’.” Her face grew hot. “I mean like breakfast – that kind of something.”

“You mean a date?” He teased. “One without the quick fuck?”

“You forgot cheap.”

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had one of those.” It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her no. He’d been turning women down for a long time and he was getting good at it. A movement in the street caught his eye. Faith was walking with Miller. “Sure. You want me to pick you up here?”

“Yeah, that’d be good. I get off at eleven, Bosco.”

“Maurice.” He corrected her.

“Maurice.” Grace started to tell him how sexy his name sounded and caught herself. Something different was going on here and she didn’t want to screw it up yet. “I’ll see you later, Maurice.”

Holly walked up beside her as Bosco trotted out of the firehouse and to the unmarked sedan that was idling impatiently in the street. “Maurice, huh? It’s a nice name.”

“I’ve heard he’s a real jerk.” When Grace turned to look at her, the blonde quickly amended her statement. “Not that I judge.”

“That’s good. Otherwise Carlos would be sleeping alone.” Grace turned her back on Holly and went back upstairs. Her mind was on her date. What did people do on a date if they weren’t in it for sex?




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