The first time Joan kicks off what are evidently four-inch heels on the welcome mat in the entrance corridor of Marcus’s apartment, his first thought is, whoa, I’m taller?
His second thought is, We just chased that perp down three blocks before taking him down, is she a monster?
What he says is, “Hey, you want something to drink? It’s like, heatstroke weather out there.”
Joan gives him a smile that lights up the room (figuratively— at least, Marcus is pretty sure it’s figuratively, he’s well aware of the way rooms seem to just brighten up when Joan’s in them in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with their actual light level).
"That would be amazing," she answers, settling down at the table he points her to, "if I’m not interrupting anything important."
"It’s back to the grind after this. Trust me, you’re doing me a favor." Marcus doesn’t turn to look at her, busy picking two glasses out of a high cabinet, then filling both with ice. He asks her as he ducks into the fridge, "Apple juice? Orange? I’ve got some protein shakes too, if you skipped lunch."
Joan checks her watch, her feet shifting uncomfortably (Marcus would be more surprised if they weren’t in some kind of pain, with the morning they’d had). “Orange juice,” she answers decisively, “and then I have to take off again. Staking out an apartment in Staten Island. The Mancini case.”
"So you’re saying you didn’t eat lunch," Marcus says, voice flat.
"I’ll grab something on the way."
"Look, I know Holmes has been gone for a while, but you’re not gonna make it any easier on yourself by turning into the guy."
Joan frowns, her expression severe. Marcus sets the orange juice on the table, then raises both hands, palm out. “I don’t mean to get into your business or tell you what to do, ‘cause you’ve been closing cases left and right. I ain’t complaining. I’m just saying.”
Her expression softens, but Joan’s eyes narrow. “What about you, Marcus?” Her question already sets him on edge, but Joan looks pointedly at his fridge as she takes a sip of orange juice. “You don’t have any fresh produce in your fridge, your freezer’s stocked with frozen meals and Hot Pockets from Costco, I’m not sure that I’m the one who should be taking it easy.”
Marcus slaps a hand over his heart, wincing in mock pain.
Her head tilts, quickly as a bird’s, eyes bright and mischievous. “Don’t you think?”
"Forget I said anything," he concedes, laughing. "But let me drop you off in Staten Island, yeah? I’ve gotta case a crime scene out there anyway, and your car’s in the shop, last I heard. The commute is torture."
"Sure," Joan agrees as she finishes off the last of her juice, just barely resisting the urge to chase down an ice cube, "let me buy you lunch in return."
She stands up, follows Marcus to the door and quickly slides her pumps back on, suddenly eye-level with him again. Marcus grabs his jacket and keys off the rack, holding the door open. “Well,” he says, “then you gotta let me treat you to dinner.”
Looking at Marcus over her shoulder, Joan flashes him a warm smile, then faces forward again, leading the way out of his apartment.