Smith is an eccentric genius when it comes to solving crime. Early draft.
Back in college, Smith took me along on the first case he ever solved – determining who was behind the bomb threats that had brought us together. At that time, Smith didn’t have the cooperation of the police department or access to its resources. He solved the case; it just took about a month longer than it would have otherwise.
To this day, I don’t fully understand why Smith allowed me into this life. What started as a newspaper profile, the only one he ever allowed actually, and a one-time partnership evolved into an awkward friendship and ultimately into a relationship.
I found Smith to be a bundle of frayed nervous energy; his condescending mannerisms led most people to believe he was an arrogant know-it-all. While that should have been a turn off, I found it strangely alluring. Unlike many of my peers, I was not drawn to athletes or fraternity members. I wanted someone who challenged me intellectually but was okay with the fact that I was a geek. Other guys found me to be childish or silly, yet Smith didn’t care, which appealed to me greatly. The girls I knew pretended to be interested in things like sports or action films in the name of dating, only revealing their true selves after engagements or marriages. I was free to be myself. I recognized that Smith was far smarter than I, and that didn’t bother me when I could watch genius in action.
Our first kiss happened quite by accident. About a week and a half before Smith solved the case, we spent yet another afternoon spying on our suspect. Our cover was nearly blown, and I saw Smith’s cool start to slip, panic moving in to take its place. I simply reacted.
Digging my fingers into his messy chocolate shag, I pulled Smith’s face to mine, kissing him roughly. I could feel shock shoot throughout Smith’s body, but before I could pull away, his lips softened and his tongue found mine. Even now, fourteen years later, butterflies danced through my stomach thinking about that kiss.
The kiss worked; our cover wasn’t blown. We continued following our quarry. More and more I began to enjoy our time together, especially the moments when we sat alone in my car watching for any evidence we could use. Sometimes, as we watched our suspect out on beer runs or other quick trips, Smith would reach over and grab my hand off the center console where it rested. The first time, I glanced at him, but his eyes never left the suspect. I could tell, though, that some of his attention was on me, and I had to turn away to hide the grin on my face.
Finally, Smith had the evidence he needed, which he turned over to campus police. I didn’t know what would happen between us next, since I couldn’t really tell what Smith thought of me. I hoped he would allow me to keep hanging around, because by then, I had developed quite the crush on him. So, when Smith invited me up to watch a movie later that evening, I jumped at the chance.
We lounged on the twin bed in Smith’s single room, keeping a causal distance. When the film began to play, I gasped. Smith had picked my favorite film, something I had not shared with anyone at school. I turned to him, knowing that he had intentionally picked it for me. “How did you know?”
With a wry smile, he said, “You’re named after Katharine Hepburn, and you have a poster of her with Cary Grant on the wall above your bed. You love to laugh, but you’re a romantic at heart. It was pretty easy to narrow it down to The Philadelphia Story.”
I didn’t care if I was that transparent. Tears gathered in my eyes. “I love how true love works out in the end once Tracy realizes the mistakes she made,” I whispered, my voice broken by emotion, my smile full of pride.
Smith reached out to wipe away a tear from my cheek. “I like seeing you smile. You’re beautiful, but when you smile, you’re perfect.”
Another tear broke free. “Thank you, Smith.”
He leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine. This time, there was no shock on his end. Instead, he gave me a tender kiss, his hand cupping my cheek. I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him close. Every ounce of his awkward genius was worth it whenever he showed me love, because that was the one time his awkwardness disappeared completely. I loved him no matter what.