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Timing

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It's always been this way, unfortunately. At least since fourth or fifth grade, when boys suddenly began the transition from (possibly cootie-ridden) playground playmates to hand-holding objects of affection.

It was always an onslaught. She'd go from perfectly fine and oblivious one day, and then a trigger. Maybe the middle-school cafeteria grapevine suddenly hinted that Kevin liked her. Maybe she randomly had a dream about Brian. Maybe David did something nice for her out of the blue. Or even just her own mind finally allowed her to admit things to herself.

No matter how it came about, when Lucy developed feelings for someone, they hit HARD.

Say, like when an otherwise strictly professional colleague just happens to pull her in for a kiss under the auspices of securing their cover story such that a pair of notorious 1930's criminals wouldn't figure out that they weren't who they said they were.

Yeah, it was that kind of situation that could really throw Lucy for a loop.

And since that kiss, nearly every waking thought that wasn't occupied by the pressing issues of work, Flynn, Mason Industries, and Rittenhouse, was now occupied by butterfly-inducing musings about Wyatt. And some non-waking moments too, if she was being honest with herself.

Of course she'd known since meeting him that he was good-looking; there was no point in denying that. (She's always had a weakness for blue eyes like that, probably because she'd always been so bored with her own brown ones as little girl.) But he was also a bit of a jerk. And since then, everything related to this time travel gig had had to take precedence over whatever her feelings might have been for anyone, Wyatt or otherwise. She'd come to trust him implicitly, of course, even with her life; all three of them on the team had grown closer by default, but it was still work. So even if she'd had the slightest inclination to being interested in him, it was tamped down and buried immediately, everything restricted to mission-based and colleague-level interactions. Purely professional.

But that had all been blown out of the water the split second she'd felt his lips on hers. The floodgates were open and she was falling - or maybe already had completely fallen, only now able to admit feelings to herself - for Wyatt.

Not that it could ever be anything but one-sided. Wasn't half his motivation for even being there, for even having met her in the first place, his wife? Lucy knew that Jessica's death weighed heavily on Wyatt's mind, and he certainly showed no indication of be ready to move on, or even wanting to be ready to move on. He'd definitely made it a point to emphasize that the kiss meant nothing. Purely for show, purely to convince Bonnie and Clyde.

If nothing else, at least the last few trips to the past were nerve-wracking enough that she'd had enough to deal with that she wasn't spending a ton of time dwelling on thoughts of Wyatt. Of course, she'd be lying if she didn't relish finally seeing him come out of that death vault in Chicago, and the bear hug that had gone along with it. And for better or worse, since then, there had been nothing quite so dramatic on their missions.

Lucy shook her head after pulling her modern shirt over her head. This was the hard part, the being back in the present. It's not like she could slip right back into her regular life and teaching position. (Honestly, wasn't even sure where she stood at the university anymore. It had certainly sounded like tenure was off the table even before this fiasco began anyway, and beyond that, all she knew was that Homeland Security had dealt with the department and getting her courses covered.) So as she'd be as soon as she finished changing, she'd often been left to her own devices between missions, puttering around while simultaneously trying to figure out getting Amy back and avoiding her mother's scrutiny. And avoiding Noah, when they ended up in a timeline in which he was around, which wasn't always. But sitting in the locker room at Mason was just delaying that inevitable.

So she smoothed out her shirt, letting out a soft chuckle as she inspected it. Sometimes they arrived back to exactly the timeline they'd left, sometimes there were changes. Amy, obviously the worst, her mother's lack of illness the best. The amusing, innocuous ones were like this, when she ended up in clothes she'd never seen before.

At least this version of herself had good taste, she mused.

Once she was dressed and feeling presentable, she rifled around in the locker she'd been provided, seeking out her phone, wallet, and keys. But while she was able to retrieve the first two items, she came up empty-handed as far as her house keys or her car keys. That was a first.

"What the...?" she mumbled, while stretching to reach further back on the locker shelf, patting around in hopes that they'd just been pushed further back accidentally. Her hand didn't hit the keys, but did encounter other cool metal objects. She grasped them and pulled them out for inspection.

An engagement ring. Not entirely surprising anymore, considering that when they did arrive back to a timeline with Noah in it, more often than not, they were engaged. However, the second piece was a bit more disconcerting to Lucy.

A wedding band. That was definitely a first.

A knock at her door startled her out of the shocked stupor that had set in upon seeing the ring. She hurriedly shoved them both on her finger, grabbed her other things, and yanked the door open.

"Rufus! Hi," she chirped, her eyes simultaneously darting around behind him for someone she could ask about her current timeline.

"It's still early," Rufus replied, "and that week-old corn mush didn't do it for me. Figured we could go get dinner? I'll check with Wyatt too."

But Lucy had spotted Agent Christopher across the warehouse, only half hearing Rufus' suggestion.

Which he noticed. "You ok, Lucy?" he inquired.

That brought Lucy back to the conversation. "Uh, sort of," she whispered. "Apparently I'm married? And I can't find my keys." She nodded down to where she held out her hand, rings glittering.

Rufus' eyebrows shot up. "Hoo, boy. Noah?"

"Yeah, I mean, it's always him otherwise," Lucy said with a weak shrug. "I should ask about that. But yeah," she added, "I could use real food."

Rufus nodded, and the two of them made their way over to Christopher.

But halfway across the room, they could see Wyatt reach her first.

Lucy hurried her steps, now curious if something had changed for him. She knew he came back every time with the hope that Jessica would be here waiting for him. But she stopped short when she got within a few feet and could make out her car keys dangling from Wyatt's hand.

"Why do you have my keys?" she blurted out.

His gaze darted in her direction, his brow furrowed in confusion. "They were in my locker..." he explained, "with this."

Lucy inched closer to where he held out his open palm. A wedding ring.

She gasped softly. Jessica. Well, maybe she could use that to finally put an end to the feelings that had been bubbling up since their kiss.

Agent Christopher was the next to speak, her voice tinged with confusion. "I don't see the problem. Does it matter who has the keys?"

"Well, they're mine," Lucy hedged, wary of the Agent's confusion.

"And why do I have a wedding ring here?" croaked Wyatt. "Is Jessic... Is she..."

Agent Christopher crossed her arms in front of her chest, still clearly confused, but also clearly impatient with the conversation. "I don't know who this Jessica is, you always leave your rings before going on a mission, and yes, Lucy, fine, they're your keys. Sometimes you bring his keys instead. I still don't see the problem here."

By that point, Lucy's head was spinning. No Jessica. Rings plural when Wyatt had only mentioned his band. Interchangeable keys?

She only half-heard Wyatt's protests, angry inquiries about the lack of Jessica in his file. A whisper of an idea was curling in the corners of her brain. It couldn't...

Lucy hurriedly tugged off the rings she'd just put on. She sucked in a quick breath. The engagement ring was different. It wasn't the one she always got with Noah. Looking closer at the wedding band, she squinted at the small loopy cursive inscription inside.

No...

"Rufus..." she whispered, just as he stammered his own "Umm..." as he was clearly putting his own mental puzzle pieces together just behind her.

"Wyatt," she managed to croak out softly. But he didn't hear, still busy interrogating Christopher about Jessica's whereabouts. "Wyatt!" she hissed, louder. He finally paused and turned to look at her.

She held out her own open palm, two rings sparkling.

Next to Wyatt, realization dawned on Agent Christopher's face. "I take it you two aren't married in the timeline you started in?"

TBC...