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Bates Motel (2013)
Norma Bates/Alex Romero
Alex Romero, Norma Bates
Additional Tags:
Love, Sex, Romance, Drama, Comedy, Humor, Subways
Published: 2016-03-05 Words: 4793




When Sheriff Alex Romero proves too preoccupied with his work to visit Norma Bates as often as she'd prefer, she creates an elaborate ruse to capture his attention. [A Normero one-shot. Rated M for sexual content. For the BMSO Girls, w/ special thanks to Ali and Kristen, and apologies to Beth.]

Five Days BEFORE

I hadn't heard from Alex Romero in nearly nine days. A rarity in my world. Granted, one that I'd initially enjoyed—did he really need to stop by every morning on the way to work to make sure the guests were behaving themselves properly? Or was it all an elaborate ruse to fill his thermos with my coffee? "Coffee at the station is shit," he'd confirmed once, mid-pour—but ultimately begun to grow weary of. As irritating and full of bluster and dour moods as he could be, the occasional glimpse of a smile had, somehow, left a mark in my world.

For all the evenings I'd spent chiding him about taking care of minute tasks around the motel—tasks I was perfectly capable of tending to later on—I missed his dismissive eye roll, the sight of his broad shoulders and leather jacket disappearing around the corner when he walked my trash down to the dumpster, and his deep, easy laugh whenever I pestered him to sit down at the kitchen table and let me ply him with pie and coffee.

Occasionally, he'd even stay for dinner. But typically it was just his presence and his warmth and his ever-watchful gaze, and the bizarre, semi-affectionate détente we'd gradually established over the past year.

Okay, so, yes, he still called to check in. Brief, two minute conversations in which he was distracted and, while not exactly cold, so palpably preoccupied it was a tad insulting. I would've settled for an actual respond to my commentary instead of a series of monosyllabic grunts followed by a gruff, "alright, Norma, if everything's fine I'll let you go," as if I were the one rushing off the phone.

I'd grown accustomed to his presence, that was the problem. Somewhere along the time I'd adapted to having him in my space; his nearness and his warmth and his comforting solidity. To be deprived of that felt like a slap in the face, though we hadn't fought. In fact, things were the smoothest between us they'd ever been. We'd gone nearly two months without an argument or even a benign disagreement. Rather, it was a recent case that so thoroughly captured his attention.

I knew it was a case, because in the first thirty seconds of every "I'm just calling to make sure you're not dead" phone call, he began his greeting with the same "I'm sorry to call so early, Norma, but my hours aren't what they typically are, what with this case." Of course, he never bothered to tell me what "this case" was, and if I dared to ask, I was met with a stern "you know I can't share that information, Norma," as if I were mindlessly prying into his business as opposed to responding to the same damn line he'd whipped out every morning for nine days in a row.

I'd tried to be patient. It'd not like I expected the Sheriff of White Pine Day to come running at my every beck and call. I understood the magnitutude of his job, or at least I liked to think I did. But, lately, my days were just so … dull.

The motel never had more than a meager handful of guests at any given time, and with Dylan around more and more helping to take care of Norman, I was running alarmingly low on handy to-do list tasks. I suppose I'd never realized just how much of my time I'd devoted to Alex Romero. Without his glowering, sour-faced presence my life just wasn't the same.

I sort of hated him for it.

But, mostly, I just wanted him back.


The station was so busy by the time I decided to swing by there was no one to greet me in the waiting room. Typically I had to face-down some obnoxious twenty-something secretary with too much attitude and entirely too many contacts on Facebook. Or so I assumed, anyway, because when she wasn't busy irritating me with her obliviousness, or pointedly ignoring me, she was on her damned phone, laughing over things no one else in the room was privy to.

But today the room was empty. No obnoxious brunette behind the glass partition. No deputies wandering in and out to get coffee or a stack of paperwork. Just the loud but ultimately distant bustle and clamor of bodies roaming through rooms a few halls behind me, and the nigh constant ringing of a phone.

For a brief moment I thought about sitting down, waiting for Alex's assistant to come back to her station and, you know, do her damned job. Would be the polite option, no doubt.

Polite, but boring.

I decided against it.

"Who the Hell—" Alex's voice; loud, surprised, instantly angry. He was on his feet and stalking towards the door (I could hear the heavy fall of his boots on the carpet before I'd even fully turned the doorknob) before I'd even gotten the damn thing halfway open, prepared to rip some poor deputy a new one.

"Hi, Alex," I said when he ripped the door open.

"Norma?" He softened immediately, anger replaced by confusion, his brows knitting together. "Is something wrong?"

"There is. And I really, really need to talk to you about it."

His hand on my arm, he practically pulled me into his office, directing me towards a chair. I ignored this, and perched myself on the edge of his desk while he closed the door. He frowned for a moment when he turned around and saw me, but seemed to shrug it off. Settled himself in his chair.

"I don't have a lot of time today, but if it's important—"

"It's very important."

"Did something happen with Norman?" he asked. And then, suddenly and significantly more serious, eyes dark and mouth set hard, he leaned forward, his voice low. "Is someone bothering you?"

"No, nothing like that." I crossed one leg over another, and his eyes flickered down to the exposed skin peeking out beneath my skirt. He looked tired, I realized, or maybe just stressed. I could still hear the bustling in the hallways beyond, and his face had a strangely ashen quality to it, as if he hadn't gotten enough water or sleep or both. Yet, no matter how exhausted, he stared at my thighs long enough that I had to clear my throat to regain his attention. "But I've been very sad lately."

"Sad?" His face was gentle when he made eye contact, though his mouth twisted in a distinct frown. "I don't understand, Norma. What's wrong?"

"It's just … I've grown accustomed to having private security around the motel."

"Private security?"

"And yet you haven't been by to visit in days."

"Wait," he said.

"I mean, do you have any idea how insulting that is? Honestly. You get a girl accustomed to having their own personal sheriff on the premise, and suddenly—"

"That's why you're here?"

"What, it's a crime to your favorite member of law enforcement?"

Of all the responses I'd expect upon essentially telling someone I missed them ("That's sweet," or "I missed you too," or maybe a simple "Thank you, Norma, I'm sorry I've been so busy."), I was not prepared for a severe frown and a harsh tone.

"Are you serious?"

"Alex," I said, a bit startled by the sudden and, if I were totally honest, somewhat frightening tension seeping into the room, "it's not a big deal."

"Not a big deal?" He stood so quickly I jumped, and reached to pull my skirt farther down my thighs. More a reflex than anything else. "Do you have any idea how busy I am? How busy we all are?"

"Well, no," I said, trying to choke down the irritating way my voice kept climbing an octave. Happened whenever I was nervous, and I hated it. "I have absolutely no idea how busy you are, because you haven't stopped by and when you call you don't bother to tell me anything about whatever the Hell it is that's so damn important."

"Because I can't, Norma. I can't share details of a case with civilians."

"And here I thought I was special."

"Don't be a smart ass."

"I'm not being a smart ass." I stood up, adjusted my skirt, and threw my purse back over my shoulder with as much dramatic flair as I could muster. "Jesus, Alex, I didn't realize I was such a nuisance."

We stared at one another, silent, unmoving, for what felt like minutes but was probably no more than twenty seconds. But then he shook his head, and sighed. A resigned sigh, though his eyes narrowed and he clenched his jaw so hard I could see the strain of it in his temples.

"Well," he said, voice clipped, "now you do."


"I'll call you when this is over. Don't come back here unless it's an emergency."


I wanted to yell, or scream, or call him every awful, horrible, insulting, no-good name I could think of.

But I didn't do any of that, because he practically shoved me out of his office and into the hall, offering no warning or apology. And then he shut the door in my face.

After ten or so minutes of staring at his closed door, trying, with the power of sheer will, to beam my displeasure into his obnoxious little brain, I gave up and left.

But not before leaving a note stuck beneath his SUV's windshield wipers:

You're an ass.


Norma B.



Four days later I couldn't take it anymore.

"Romero." He answered on the second ring.

"Alex? It's Norma."

A sigh. "Norma, I told you, unless it's—"

"Please," I whispered, voice wavering with the treat of tears, and he stopped speaking mid-sentence, nothing but his calm, even breathing. "It's an emergency."

"Norma," he said, softly. Gentle, concerned. "Tell me what's happening."

"Please," I whisper again. "I need you. Please come over."


The tears came easily enough. They sprang to the forefront the moment I saw the beige and brown uniform, the expanse of his shoulders as he sprinted up my steps. And then he came fully into view, and saw me, and his face was tender and open and, beneath that, barely visible, ran a thread of white-hot anger; protective anger. A blind anger, because he didn't know what was wrong but already I could tell he was mentally sorting who might be the cause, and what he might need to do to correct the situation.

He opened his mouth to speak but it was such a blissful, pure relief to see him, such a joy and an agony all at once, that I threw myself against his chest and his arms went around me, and I felt him swallow down a breath—shock or desire or concern, I couldn't tell which—and he leaned down to press his mouth against the top of my head. A gentle, brief kiss, one that felt more instinctual than anything else.

"Jesus, Norma. What's wrong? Tell me what's happening." Voice low, calm, but the tension coiled through each muscle told me he wanted to. Fought back the urge for my sake, I thought. Probably why he didn't already have his gun in his hand, too.

Crying so hard I couldn't take a deep breath, the words rushing out in one long heap of jumbled consonant sounds. He leaned down, ear closer to my mouth, trying to listen, until finally he gave up, cradled the back of my head, whispered soothing, nonsensical sounds until my sobs faded into a series of high-pitched hiccups.

"Norma, shh. It's okay. Calm down. Just tell me what's going on."



"There's," I began again, hiccups devolving to hitching breaths, devolving still to sniffles, "there's someone following me."

"Do you know who?" Alex leaned back to look at my face, smeared away the reside of tears with a flick of his thumb. "Did you recognized their face?" I shook my head. "How long as this been going on?"

"A week or so."

"A week? Why the Hell didn't you tell me sooner?"

"Because you got mad at me when I visited your office that day," I said, each word punctuated with a somber little sniffle. "And I hate it when you're mad at me."

"Christ, Norma." Eyes wide, mouth pursed in concern, he swiped a hand over his face. Groaned. Not annoyed; plainly horrified. "Christ," he said again. "Norma, had I known it was an emergency I wouldn't have—I mean, you didn't tell me—"

He looked so concerned, so upset, that torn between humor and guilt, I almost broke. Almost laughed.

Instead, I nestled in tighter against him, buried my face in the crook of his neck. "I wanted to wait and see what happened. I didn't want to jump to any conclusions."

"Alright. Alright, that's fine." He idly stroked my back, occasionally let his hand drift up to tangle in my hair. "I wish you would've said something sooner, but that's fine. I'll take care of it. You need to come into the station with me so we can—"

"No, not the station."

"Norma, we need to deal with this."

"I know, but not there. I don't want to go to the station."

"Norma," he said, and though his tone was still gentle it was very definitely laced with warning. "This isn't something to play with. Come into the station with me so I can take your statement and file a report. We need to document this, and then I'll assign a patrol to your house."

"But I know where he is."

"What? How?"

"I followed him one night."

"You followed him," he repeated, flatly.

"Uh huh."

"Why, for God's sake? And how?" Hands on my shoulders, he pushed me away from him, stared into my face. "Explain this to me, Norma. I need to know what's going on."

"He followed me home from the store one night," I said. Sniffled again, rubbed the tip of my nose. "I came inside to hide, but then I saw him in the yard. He just stayed there for ages. I didn't turn on any of the lights in the house, and I guess maybe he thought I was asleep or something, because he just left. So I tailed him."

"You tailed him."

"Yes, Alex. God." The tears were long dried, and I was starting to get a teensy bit annoyed with his flat tone and wary expression. "What else was I supposed to do?"

"Call me. Call the police."

"I didn't really feel like either of those were an option at the time," I said. And I tried to fight back the defensive tone, I truly did, but his shift from comforting to patronizing was starting to irritate me, and I didn't really appreciate his lecture in the middle of my "oh by the way I think I might have a stalker" speech. "God," I said again, "why did I even call you?"

"Norma, stop."

"No! I mean it." I was angry, yes, and I wiped at whatever damp remained on my cheeks. Glared at him as best—as fiercely—as I could. "You always want me to turn to you when there's a problem, but once I do you sit there and tell me how I totally didn't do the right thing at the right time and—"


"Don't you 'Norma' me! You're such a—"

"Jesus Christ, calm down. I'm here, aren't I? I haven't dragged you into the station by the hair, have I?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means calm down and tell me what you know."


"So I can deal with it. So you don't run off like a goddamn vigilante and try to follow a dangerous individual into God knows where and get yourself killed—"

I burst into tears the second he said it, and his voice died mid-sentence. He just stared at me for a long moment, until perhaps he realized the tears wouldn't stop any time soon, and he gathered me up to him again, making soft shushing sounds against my ear, trying to sooth me. And only when I was calmer—perhaps five or so minutes later—did he sigh into my hair and whisper:

"Christ, Norma, just tell me what you want me to do." He kissed my temple, the blade of my cheekbone. "But stop crying. Please."


No one had ever followed me, of course. If they had I probably would've screamed at the top of my lungs until they were too exhausted or too terrified to ever bother me again, or every cop in town zeroed in on our location within minutes.

And, anyway, if someone had followed me, I wasn't sure I'd ever bother following them in return. Alex was right—struck me as pointless and dangerous and somewhat idiotic.

But I missed Alex in my life. Enough that, at a certain point, it had become intolerable. Enough that it interfered with my days and my moods, my thoughts constantly circling back to him, over and over again, and though I didn't necessarily know what to do with that awareness, I knew we needed to share the same space and air and just be together in the way that two companionable adults so often are.

Tears came easily and frequently over everything and nothing, and though normally I loathed it, now and again I found it useful.

Such as when I trying to lure a particular sort of man—the sort who craved being needed, and visibly melted whenever I teared up or put my hands on him or pleaded for his help—into a faux stakeout in an attempt to catch a non-existent stalker.

And, to be fair, I felt guilty for misleading him. Horrible, even.

But underneath all that I missed him—the way he smiled when he thought I wasn't looking and the way he always smelled like leather and coffee and how arm and strong and sure his arms were—enough to overwhelm both my morality and my better judgment.


The Day OF: 7 p.m.

He picked me up the next evening around seven. Not the SUV this time, but a plain black sedan. Borrowed, he said, from a friend in Portland who worked a lot of undercover cases. But Alex was still in his uniform, albeit with a large black parka thrown over his shirt so that no badge or telltale colors were visible.

He frowned when he saw me. Watched me, silent and semi-glowering, when I crawled into the seat beside him.

"You're wearing that?"

I cast a glance down to my dress-blue paisley, low-cut neckline, a-line skirt—and patent leather heels. Seemed pretty enough to me.

"What's wrong with it?"

"And are you wearing lipstick?" Pause, his eyes narrowing. "And perfume?"


"This is a stakeout, Norma. You're dressed like it's a—" He didn't finish his sentence, but the word date hung between us, unspoken, ripe on the air as any fruit on the vine. Until, finally, discomfort made him turn away, and he started the engine. Pulled out of my driveway, turned us onto the road.

We were nearly halfway to our destination before he spoke again:

"You look pretty."

"Thank you."

"But for Christ's sake, Norma, this is a stakeout."


The Day OF: 9 p.m.

Two hours later, we were stationed in a secluded spot overlooking an alley downtown. This, I'd said, was where I'd followed the man bothering me. Where I was sure he had some sort of connection—drugs or maybe underground crime or an ex-girlfriend ("those are pretty dramatic leaps, Norma,")—something that we could use to bring that bastard to justice.

Shame that bastard didn't exist.

More a shame that Alex wouldn't let me turn on the radio or hum a song or turn on the overhead lights and make shadowpuppets across the dashboard.

In fact, for having gone to all this trouble just to get him alone for a few hours, he was being a rather unreasonable companion. Didn't want to talk or gossip or tell jokes. Grunted his vague acknowledgments at my attempts to initiate conversation. Sighed whenever I started rapping my nails or swinging my foot to the beat playing in my head.

But by nine o'clock I was hungry and bored and beginning to regret this whole shtick, because what the Hell was the point of luring a man on a fake stakeout if he was just going to sit in the front seat and glare at non-existent offenders?

"Alex?" I ventured, peeking at him through the curtain of my hair. He hadn't been sociable, exactly, but neither had he devolved into clipped jabs.


"I'm hungry."

For the first time in what must've been thirty minutes he took his eyes of the alley and turned me. Took in my face, though his eyes flickered down to my breasts and thighs now and again, in spite of himself and his earlier protestations over my choice of stakeout-gear.

"Oh, uh, I think there's a couple of bottles of water and some jerky in the back."

"I don't want jerky."

"I didn't bring anything, Norma. Sorry. Didn't think about it."

"We could go to Subway."

"What?" He broke away from staring at the alley again, this time turning to look at me with such open bewilderment I nearly burst out laughing.

"Subway. It's, like, one street over."


"So," I said, an impatient sigh laced through each word, "I'm hungry, and there is a Subway one street over."

"Can't you wait?" he asked, a frown turning the corners of his mouth downward. "We need to stay here. We need to be quiet and wait for—"

"But I'm hungry."

"For Christ's sake, I took a night off work to come out here with you and you just—"

"I want Subway," I repeated, not unaware that I sounded like something of a churlish child.

"I hate Subway."

"Nobody hates Subway."

"I do."

"Have you ever been to Subway?"


The Day OF: 9:45 p.m.

He complained like no other, but he did indeed drive me over to Subway to get a turkey club with a bottle of apple juice and a white chocolate chip cookie.

He even paid.


The Day OF: 11:29 p.m.

"This is pointless."

"We just need to wait longer."

"We've been out here for hours, Norma."

"It hasn't been that long."

"Feels like a goddamned eternity."

"Well, if you'd lighten up a little bit, maybe we could have some fun."

"Fun? I came out here, despite my better judgment, because you just wouldn't let it go."

"And I appreciate that, Sheriff."

"We're heading back."

"What? No! I think we should stay here and—"

"Nothing's happening here, Norma. He's not coming. Or, if he does, it'll be hours from now. I'm tired and, like I said, this is pointless. I can get a lot more done tomorrow if you'll just come to the station and make a statement. Let me handle it like I wanted to in the first place."

"Alex, no." Panic rose the second he started the car, and I reached over to the grab the wheel, though we were still in park, and he clamped a hand on my wrist. Stared at me like I'd gone insane. "Please."

"The Hell is wrong with you…?"

"I don't want to leave."

"Why the Hell not? You can't honestly think we're getting anywhere—"

"God, Alex," I said. I felt tears sting the back of my eyes, but I didn't want to give into them. Not here, not now. Earlier, when I was just trying to get him out here, sure. But those had been play; a bit of devious fun. I didn't really fancy the idea of bursting into tears in the middle of nowhere in the Sheriff's SUV. "Please, I just don't want to go, okay? We don't have to do anything, I just—"

"Give me a reason, Norma."

"The fact that I'm asking you isn't good enough?"

"I came out here for you," he whispered, voice just on the edge of dangerous. And when he leaned in towards me, his face a mere inch from mine, I wanted to back away but couldn't bring myself to. "I should be at home, asleep. We both should. You should've made a statement, and I would've filed a report, and then I could deal with this the proper way. Like a cop. Not like some rookie P.I. following a bad tip in the middle of a shitty neighborhood at midnight."

"It's not midnight yet."

"That's not my point, Norma. My point is: I did this shit for you. I ignored procedure, and my own instinct, because you were upset, and scared, and you needed me, and I can't stand to see you cry—"

My mouth swallowed the end of his sentence, and I watched his eyes go wide, his body stiff and still and unsure for a moment until I gently nipped his bottom lip, and then he relaxed. Leaned into it, into me, eyes drifting shut. A sound, low and in the back of his throat, before his hand came up to cradle the back of my head.

Though I initiated he deepened, took control. What started with our mouths meeting and his palm cupping my head evolved into his fingers tracing my jawline and the curve of my chin; the flick of his tongue over my bottom lip, testing and teasing; and when I moaned softly in response his hands sliding up my thighs, under the dress that just earlier he'd complained about, until I was pinned against the passenger's side door with his weight resting atop me and his voice against my ear when he bent down to kiss his way along the line of my neck:

"You really do look beautiful."


Difficult to tell when we broke the kiss. Thirty seconds, five minutes, an hour? Time lost its hold on my awareness of the shape of things, my scope of reality.

For a long while meaning and sensation were one: his palms, rough from years of weapons training and combat and too stakeouts in which the offenders were all too real, snaking over my thighs, curling around the flesh, stroking my hips. He traced his fingers over the curve of my calms, hooked his hands under the backs of my knees, pulled my legs tight around his waist.

We stayed like that for some time. Enjoying one another, feeling one another out. He moaned against my mouth whenever my thighs squeezed around him, and he made no move to hinder my exploration of his chest under the parka.

But, eventually, the position and the heat of it grew uncomfortable, and somewhere in the fray he managed to strip off the parka and his uniform shirt, slip off my shoes ("I want you to be comfortable," he murmured when I giggled, and that giggle quickly turned to a heart-fluttering sigh when he kissed the top of my foot, up my shin, and over the curve of my kneecap) and push my dress up around my hips.

He slipped into the backseat—much more room—and when he reached out for me I nestled happily into his arms, letting him hoist my weight and pull me back over the divide into the back with him.

My thighs spread for him of their own accord, and I reached down to pull my panties to one side, allow easier access. And it was only when he lowered himself atop me, crooking his hip against mine, adjusting an arm here or a leg there—each time looking to me, whispering softly, making sure that I was comfortable, happy, secure—that he looked at me, really looked at me, and that old Alex, my Alex, returned.

Present, and calm, utterly with me, as if nothing and no one else existed in the private trap we had each cultivated for ourselves. Drowning, almost, in the most blissful way one could allow themselves to slip under the tide without fear: together.




"Mm?" His armed tightened around me, and his voice was thick with the remnants of sleep. Sun just beginning to crest over the buildings, we'd slept for perhaps five hours in the back of the sedan.

"Nobody was following me."


"I made it up."

"Why, for God's sake?"

"Because I missed you. You told me not to bother you unless it was an emergency. And I really wanted to spend time with you."




"Alex, please. Don't be mad."


"Alex, please."

"Christ," he said, finally. "I can't believe I bought you Subway."

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