Summary: “If you can’t love him the way he should be loved, set him free”. Catherine sets Steve free because she thinks he’s happy. How are they coping? Does it work out for them?

Chap 5:

“Can I come in?”

Steve was hesitant, as he didn’t really want to invite Lynn inside, he needed time to revaluate whatever he and Lynn were doing. Eventually, he stepped aside to let Lynn inside, hoping she would say what she wanted and leave.

“How is your mother? How was the mission?”

“She is okay now. Thanks! I don’t really want to talk about it though.”

Realisation hit him. Hit him hard.

Even after everything, Catherine was still the only one who he could open up to. The only one he ever truly let in. Catherine didn’t even need to ask him questions, all she had to do was to look questioningly into his eyes, and all of a sudden, Steve found himself confiding everything to her, even his biggest issue – his mother. She made it so easy. He never shared those things with his team.


Or even with his younger sister. Mary McGarrett.

Clearly, he didn’t intend to let Lynn in either.

Steve was mad at himself for still feeling that way about Catherine. But it has never been clearer to him that no matter how hard he tried to move on, no matter how hard he pretended that casual sex would last, Lynn wasn’t the one that he could share his inner soul with. Steve realized that he’s tired of this “game”. Even though he kept telling himself that all he wanted at this stage was sex, deep down inside, he also wanted someone who could see through him, who could ground him.

He wanted a partner in life – someone like Catherine. Someone named Catherine Rollins.

Gone are the days when Catherine was the only stability in his unstable life. Ironically, at the moment, Catherine was the only unstable thing in his stable life.

For a moment, Steve was lost in his own train of thought. He didn’t hear what Lynn was saying, until she touched his arm.

“Can I borrow your phone? For just one second.”

Being confused, Steve frowned slightly. But he gave her his phone anyway, hoping it would make this talk end soon. He was too exhausted to argue.

Lynn pressed the Home button on his phone, her face showed a knowing look after seeing Steve’s lock-screen. A picture of USS ship.

“I suppose this was the place where you met her for the first time”, she shrugged.

“Excuse me?”, Steve looked up, he was surprised and a bit angry when Lynn made an effort to mention all the women he didn’t really want to talk about right now.


“The Navy.”

“Yes. But that isn’t really your business, right?”

“I like you, Steve.”

Steve wasn’t sure where this whole thing was leading to.

“I wish there was another way for us to work… I wish I could find a less painful way for me to do this.”

“Lynn, listen. About us, let’s talk about it another time. I don’t really want to think about any of this right now. I am so, very sorry.”

To Steve’s surprise, Lynn found her phone number and deleted it from Steve’s phone. She let Steve see the screen so that he knew what was going on.

“Hmmm. I’m not sure where this is going.”

“Steve, call me!”

Steve stared at Lynn in disbelief and suddenly, he understood what she was trying to do. He didn’t remember her phone number. When Ellie sent him Lynn’s number, he simply saved it to his contacts. Whenever he needed a booty call, he brought up her numbers and asked her to drop by. Or met somewhere half way in the beginning, because he felt he wasn’t ready to sleep with another woman than Catherine on his bed. If she was busy, he found a random girl in town, so that he didn’t have to be lonely at night, so that he could forbid the image of Catherine to linger in his mind.

Steve didn’t spend time learning Lynn’s number by heart. Her phone number never served as a special treatment – a cure to calm his mind down.

His heart ached thinking about that. Because he knew Catherine’s phone number could. That moment he deleted Catherine’s number ripped his heart out, way more than it should have. It felt like he finally cut the very last chord between them, but he knew his heart was too stubborn to just forget that important series of number. It was like a brutal flight between his mind and his heart.

“Steve, you don’t need to explain”, Lynn shook his head, “I already knew. I just want to… I just want YOU to realize where your heart lies.”

“I didn’t mean to stalk you or anything. I just happened to walk towards you when you were looking at a contact number. It was Catherine’s. I saw it. You deleted the number, at that time I was thrilled and happy for you and for us, but when you turned around, I was taken aback. I remember your eyes, I remember how lost you looked. We didn’t really know each other back then, but my heart ached for you. That moment, I promised myself that I would make you happier than she did, because a guy like you deserves much better. You tried to pretend that you’re enjoying your life, but I know that look. I saw that kind of look at work. A lot. I am always proud of my job, which is something I am really good at. I thought I could fix it. I thought I could… fix you.”

“But to be honest, I underestimated Catherine. I thought I could make you totally forget about her, I thought I could successfully make you fall in love again, with me.”

“When my phone number is deleted from your phone, I guess I will just vanish from your head. I don’t really exist here – in your heart”, Lynn put her right hand on his heart, resting her hand there for a moment, “Let’s face it, we don’t really know about each other, it’s always about sex. I don’t know about each scar on your body, you don’t know about each achievement on my career – you probably don’t even want to know. You used me to get over Catherine, and it was my fault to play along with you. I guess I was too competitive, I thought I could win this case, just like I won so many cases at work.”

Giving him a sad smile, Lynn continued.

“I thought I could make it work, make us work. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. The moment she showed up at your front door that day, I knew I lost. That wasn’t even a competition. I knew it from the very beginning. You said her name when you came, not only once. You had “The Notebook” and I know it’s not your style, plus it’s in the drawer, next to the ring box, so I put two and two together and I guess that’s her favourite movie. I tried to let everything slide, because I enjoyed having sex with you a little too much, which is embarrassing to admit, and I was too confident about myself, about me being able to “fix” you. But now, I know I was wrong. You might have deleted her number from your phone, but she still exists here”, Lynn pointed at his chest, laying her head there. This probably would be the very last time she could touch his body.

“I don’t know what had happened between you and Catherine, but I was under the impression that she is the bad guy in that relationship. You look too broken to be the one who put that relationship into an end. I assume it was her fault. To be honest, telling her about the proposal wasn’t an accident. I did it on purpose”, Lynn stepped away from Steve, finally admitted.

“No, Lynn. Stop talking! Don’t mention Catherine!”

“Steve, there is no way to move on if you don’t face reality. Whether you like it or not, you don’t hate her. I know that you think if you convince yourself to hate her, it will be easier to move on and you won’t feel so guilty, but the truth is that you still love her. This whole world can tell. You stop loving someone because you fall out of love with them, not because they hurt you badly. I was taught to fight for the things I love, fight for the things I believe in. You should do the same, Steve. You should have fought for her to made her stay. I thought Catherine abandoned you, so I kind of wanted to test her reaction about the proposal. She seemed broken, and I’ve gotta say I admire the hell out of her for holding her own, considering the situation. I read people, I know she was, I not only saw it in her eyes, I could hear it in her voice, too.”

“She was surprised, but she didn’t look too shaken that night.”

“Steve, are you trying to convince yourself she’s the bad guy so that you can be the victim here?”, Lynn raised her voice a bit, which surprised herself, she probably had too much alcohol earlier tonight, “What do you expect her to do then? Cry, blame you for moving on, start a fight with me? If she really loves you, talking nicely to your date was the least she could do. And that’s exactly what she did. She thought you were happy in this “relationship”. I told her you’re my boyfriend, so maybe she… Yes, I admit I did that on purpose, too.”

“You know what we have isn’t serious, right? What the hell were you thinking?”, the muscle in Steve’s jaw was moving, indicating he was sincerely angry. Now, everything made sense. Catherine saying she was happy doing what she was doing. Catherine giving him her blessing. Everything. Chin was right after all, maybe Catherine said she was happy because she thought he was settling down with Lynn and therefore, she didn’t want to step back into his life. Steve didn’t dare imagine how hurt Catherine must’ve felt for the past few days.

“I was thinking I was doing you both a favour. If she knew about the proposal and still walked away, then she didn’t deserve you. If she knew and she came back, you two have a second chance. Judging how you look right now… things seem to be not good”, Lynn silently shook her head, turning her back away from Steve, “but I’m tired, too. I’m done pretending like I can fix it. I’m done being a replacement. I guess… I deserve better. You, too, Steve.”

“Lynn, thank you. Like…”, Steve hesitated, he was struggling to find the right words to say, but he couldn’t, “Really. Thank you!”. He really appreciated what Lynn was trying to do for him and Catherine, and for herself. Maybe this would be the perfect ending for this “relationship”.

“Did she mention about the proposal? Or about me? Being a jealous girlfriend?”

“She would have said “Yes”. She said you seem to be a nice girl, she hoped things work out between you and me, she said I deserve to be happy.”

“And how do you feel about that?”

“It’s complicated”, Steve shrugged. He clearly still didn’t want to share more with this girl.

“Okay, I guess this is the end for us. I guess you can see how much Catherine still loves you, you are just too stubborn to admit it. You want some advice?”

“What’s that?”

“Figure the problem out and fix it. If it’s because of the job, try to think from her perspective. You are smart, Steve, if you love her enough and still want her back, you will know what to do.”

Steve didn’t know what to do, so he stepped closer and gave Lynn a hug. For the first time, he thought highly of this woman when sex wasn’t involved. It turned out she wasn’t as naive and shallow as he thought.

Steve treated Lynn much better than Catherine, because he didn’t want to be left behind again. But to his own surprise, watching Lynn leave the house, Steve actually felt relieved. He had always known it was wrong of him to make use of Lynn for sex. Whatever he was feeling was totally different from the other times when Catherine walked away from his life.

He went back to his bedroom, started to think of ways he could to reach Catherine. Eventually, everybody was right. Chin, Danny and Lynn. He needed to step up, he needed to fight for what he loved. He needed to fight for his Catherine.


At this point, Steve was willing to trade anything to have her back, even his current stable life. An unstable life with Catherine being the only stability sounded so much better than having a stable life without Catherine.

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