They reached the top of the hill just as the helicopters were landing. He jumped out of the Hummer and snapped several pictures as if he was worried about missing the perfect shot. Pollard seemed disinterested in the process as he leaned against the back of the vehicle. Deeks pretended to look around for a better spot and moved so that he could keep him in his peripheral vision. He didn’t think Pollard was suspicious of him but again, why take chances when you’re standing near the edge of a steep cliff?
He could see Kensi standing down below in the same place as before but now she was looking up toward them. He was tempted to wave but decided against it since he was sure it would irritate Pollard even more.
The men were finally loading up the choppers and lifting off one by one as soon as they were filled. Deeks took dozens of photos of the operation and did his best to sell his cover as a photographer who knew what he was doing. He changed lenses and spent the entire half hour changing his location and trying to get interesting shots. Pollard never said a word during the airlift and Deeks tried not to gaze in his direction while he was pretending to be totally focused on his job.
As the choppers cleared the area he looked back down to see Callen impatiently motioning for him to come back down to his location.
“Great. Time to go back down and deal with ‘Colonel Prick’,” Deeks said as he walked back toward Pollard.
Pollard laughed and replied as he got back in the vehicle, “Well, at least you get to tell him what you think. I just have to take it and say ‘Yes Sir!’”
Deeks frowned as he closed the door and started putting his equipment back in the bag, “I would never make it in the military. I would’ve been dishonorably discharged after my first week. It’s just not in my nature to take crap off of people.”
“Mine either but here I am,” Pollard mumbled as they started back down the hill.
The choppers were all on their way to the training area, which was several miles out into the desert. The plan was for Kensi to follow the Marine Captain’s vehicle to the site with Callen and Sam in tow. As they stood waiting for Deeks and Pollard to come back down the hill, Callen was pacing and acting his part or so Kensi hoped. When the two officers moved away to get into their SUV, Kensi took the opportunity to say what was on her mind.
“I don’t know what is bothering you but I wish you would quit taking it out on Deeks,” she said quietly to Callen.
“What are you talking about? There’s nothing bothering me,” he answered with wide eyes.
Sam chimed in, “She’s right. You’ve been really hard on him lately. What’s up?”
“There’s nothing wrong!” he said emphatically. “I don’t….” Callen didn’t finish as Pollard drove up with Deeks. He turned toward the Hummer and snapped, “Make sure you keep up with us. I’d hate to find out you got lost in the desert.”
The three of them climbed into the vehicle and started the trip to the training site. Callen didn’t continue his comment and Kensi decided to leave it alone… for now.
“Does that guy think I’m stupid or something?” Pollard asked in an angry tone.
“I think he thinks everyone is stupid except him so don’t take it personally Jessie. Besides, I think he was talking to me.” Deeks couldn’t help but believe that Callen indeed thought he was incompetent.
“So when do you get out?” Deeks asked changing the subject.
“I’ve got three months and fourteen days then I’m done!” He said emphatically.
“Wow. It sounds like a prison sentence if you ask me. Are you allowed off the base since your… um, incident?”
“Yes but I have to get special permission. So far I’ve been allowed off once. Every other time I’ve been denied,” he said with obvious menace in his voice.
Deeks knew he wouldn’t be able to bond with him any further without some after-hours time. He hoped his next question would motivate Pollard to come up with a plan.
“The reason I asked is that I’m stuck here for a couple of days and was wondering where the best places were to party.”
“Around here?” Jessie snorted. “There’s not much but if you go a few miles down the road, there’s a great place where we like to hang out.”
“Do they allow ‘non-military, long haired, surfing photographers’ like me in there?”
“Sure! Who do you think we hustle when we play pool?” he said with a laugh. “Tell you what, why don’t I ask if me and a few of my buddies can leave the base tonight since I have a visitor to host? I’m sure they won’t deny it this time and I’ll show you how we party in the desert.”
Deeks smiled and replied, “Sounds great to me but I’m assuming there won’t be any ‘hood-surfing’ tonight?”
Pollard shook his head and said, “Nah, not on the main roads anyway!”
Deeks laughed and was about to ask another question when Pollard spoke first.
“As a matter of fact, why don’t you see if your little Marine hottie would like to join us?” he challenged.
Deeks’ mind was spinning fast. There was no way he wanted Kensi there to be hit on by the soldiers but if he didn’t accept the thinly veiled challenge, it would totally go against his bad boy image. He made a snap decision and hoped Kensi would forgive him.
“You’re on!” he replied but then thought of an alternative plan. “Hypothetically speaking, if she were to turn me down flat, are there plenty of other girls there to pick from?”
Pollard roared with laughter, “Are you hedging your bets on that one?”
“No, not really, but my motto is ‘be prepared’, just like the boy scouts,” he said with a smirk.
Pollard continued to smile and replied, “To answer your question, yes there are plenty of others to pick from. That’s why we go there, dumbass.”
“Awesome!” he replied ignoring the jab. He looked out the window at the drab scenery and thought of the predicament he was in. He only had two options and neither was ideal. If Kensi agreed to go then he would have to treat her like a ‘pick up’ to solidify his cover. If she chose not to go, he would actually have to try to pick up another girl and put on a good show for the guys. He knew Kensi wouldn’t go for that at all and he wasn’t too fond of the idea either since tensions from a previous Op had almost ruined their partnership.
After forty-five minutes of riding in the uncomfortable vehicle, they finally arrived at the training site. He jumped out as soon as the Hummer stopped and jogged up to where Kensi was standing. Callen had moved up ahead to talk to the training supervisor and Deeks took the opportunity for Jimmy to talk to Kacey.
“Ummm, Kacey, right?” he asked knowing Pollard was listening. “I was just wondering if you would like to meet me at ‘The Club’ later tonight?” Jessie had told him that the name was a bit unoriginal but the booze and company made up for it.
Kensi gave him one of her dazzling smiles then looked toward Pollard. “Is he invited also?” she asked with a frown.
Deeks looked over at Jessie and winked, “Yes, he is and he’s bringing some of his friends.”
Kensi looked back at Deeks and took a step closer. “Yes, I’ll meet you there on one condition,” she said with a flirtatious smile.
Deeks swallowed hard and looked into her eyes hoping she understood his unspoken apology. “And what condition would that be?” he asked.
“You take me for a ride on that bike I heard about this morning,” she said with a wink.
Deeks grinned widely and said just loud enough for Pollard to hear, “I would be more than willing to take you for a ride.”
He started to back away toward Pollard then asked, “Eight o’clock?”
“See you there,” she said with a wink as she moved to the front of the vehicle with Sam.
Deeks went to stand beside Pollard to wait for Callen’s summons.
“You dog!” Jessie whispered.
“We’ll see. Who knows, I might find something I like better after I get there,” he said as he cringed at the words coming out of his mouth.
“Trust me Dude, you’re not going to find anything better than her!”
He grinned and thought to himself, ‘You got that right’.
Deeks continued to take pictures of the training exercise and to make snarky comments about military procedures to Pollard who had plenty of his own to add to the mix. After a short break for lunch in the makeshift mess hall, the trainees were back at it and he had to follow them closely to get the shots ‘Colonel Jaeger’ had asked him to take. They worked until dusk and then reversed the process back to the original spot where they had started earlier in the day. The choppers were long gone by the time the small motorcade arrived and Deeks was ready for a long hot shower. The desert had never been one of his favorite places and he felt as if he was coated in sand. At least when he was at the beach he could control where the sand ended up.
“When can I see what you have taken so far Satterlee?” Callen asked as soon as he stepped out of the vehicle.
Deeks sighed and replied, “As I mentioned before, when we finish all of this up tomorrow, I will take them back to my photo lab to color correct and then show you the best shots on my laptop. I should have them ready within twenty four hours after we wrap it up.”
“Good,” Callen said as he pointed at Kensi and started walking to the car. “Get me back to the base immediately,” he demanded without another word to Deeks or Pollard.
Deeks looked at Kensi with a knowing smirk and mouthed, “See you at eight,” then watched as they drove off in another cloud of dust.
“What was he thinking?” Callen growled when Kensi told him about meeting Deeks at ‘The Club’. They had returned to the base and she was reporting in after a brief phone call from Deeks.
“He was doing his job!” Kensi growled back. “Pollard told him to invite me so what was he supposed to do, break character and tell him no?” When Callen didn’t respond, Kensi continued her tirade, “If Sam had done this you wouldn’t have thought twice about it!”
“Sam has nothing to do with this,” he said angrily as he walked toward the window in his quarters.
“Then what does it have to do with Callen? Because you’re certainly not being the professional agent that I know you are. Whatever is eating at you is hindering this mission and I hope you can get past it soon,” she spat as she stomped out to go to her own room.
Callen stared out the window but his eyes were focused on nothing as he thought about Kensi’s accusations. She was right and deep down he knew it.
Pollard had dropped Deeks off at the motor pool to pick up his bike. After stopping at his motel room to shower, grab a snack and get ready for the evening he was now the first to arrive at the already crowded club. Not long after his entrance he spotted Jessie and several of his buddies walk through the door like they owned the place. Deeks immediately wondered if any of these men were also involved with Pollard’s scheme.
“Jimmy!” Pollard shouted above the music. “These are my friends: Chris, Javier and Colton. Guys, this is Jimmy, the photographer.” They all shared greetings and shook hands then Pollard asked, “Where’s the girl?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t seen her yet. She’s probably here somewhere,” Deeks answered looking around.
“From what Jessie told us about her,” Colton commented with a leer, “If she was here everyone would know it.” Before Deeks could respond he looked up just as Kensi walked through the door. She was wearing tight jeans with a black tank top and her hair was down around her shoulders. He was proud of the way all the men turned and stared at her but he was irritated at the same time.
“Damn!” Javier exclaimed then whistled.
“Whoa there fellas,” Deeks said with a wide smile. “I already have dibs on that lovely creature for this evening.” Before any of them could argue his point he slowly made his way through the crowd to meet her. He wrapped his arm around her waist and leaned in close.
“Hey, Kacey,” he said loudly as he pulled her closer to him and led them toward the bar. “Can I buy you a drink?” he asked. He glanced toward Pollard and his friends and observed them ogling her. Kensi could feel the tension in his body and decided to let Pollard and his buddies know that she was very unavailable to anyone but Deeks. She stopped right in front of them then turned around and reached her hands around the back of his neck. She planted a searing kiss to his lips that left little to the imagination about her intentions for the evening. A stunned Deeks just stood there amidst the catcalls and grinned as she answered, “I think I’ll take that drink now.”
Karen S. is a contributor at wikiDeeks.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @KDHS01
You can find Kadiedid’s fanfics on: