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I'll Move on, Baby, Just Like You

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She saunters up to him like she’s just come back from Vegas and she beat the House.  He waits.  Because, yeah, maybe he likes to annoy her just a bit.  See the flush of her cheeks when she gets frustrated.  But she doesn’t.  Get frustrated.  Instead she orders two shots of whiskey and hops on the stool next to his.

 

The Penny is sparse for a Tuesday night, but he hasn’t really seen her all day because of the horse training thing so when she texted him to meet up with her he said yes.  If he got there ten minutes early he tells himself it was to secure good seats.  Not because he was thinking about the Peckstein happenings of the day he wanted to tell her about.  No, he is not a gossip.  Only…McNally makes him want to talk about things.

 

When their shots are delivered she finally turns to him.  He wants to ask what they’re celebrating, but he picks up the thick glass filled with amber liquid instead.  Looks at her and waits.

  

She’s got a gleam in her eye.  Something like victory dances in her smile.  “To me.”  And his eyebrow lifts slightly.  “And being so over it.”

 

She knocks back the whiskey and he follows suit, still slightly confused.  But he’s used to this.  The way she speaks in half sentences and double meanings.  It’s like McNally code and he feels like he's finally getting it.

  

The burn slides down his throat, settling in his stomach, as he asks, “You wanna explain in a little more detail for the rest of the class, McNally?”

 

“I got asked out today.  By the horse training guy.”  She’s blunt.  Matter of fact.  And, if he’s reading her correctly, ecstatic about it.  She orders a beer and he takes a sip of his own to wash down the panic that rode back up with the whiskey he’d just swallowed.

 

“Really?  And you’re happy because…you said yes?”  And he tells himself he’s not praying to a deity he doesn’t believe in for her to say no.  But when she shakes her head in the negative as she sips her beer, he feels his entire body relax like he’s just finished running a marathon.  Feels his heart race with the adrenaline running through his veins.  Because, dammit, he’s been waiting hasn’t he?  Patiently, even, for her to be over it.

 

 “No.  I said no.  But, Sam!  God, I’m happy because when he asked me out I didn’t think of Luke at all.  I didn’t think of endings and betrayal and sadness.”  She's talking with her hands and he slides the beer she just ordered away from the edge.  She’s smiling like she’s just been told her fatal cancer was a mistake and she’s got a whole new lease on life.

 

He doesn’t really know what to say.  Except he does.  He does.  And it’s asking her on a date, or maybe it’s just making sure she doesn’t pay for her drinks tonight and then kissing her in the parking lot.  He’s always said more without words anyway.  She gets that. 

  

But he doesn’t say anything until she looks like she wants him to say something and then he  settles on, “Well, congratulations, McNally.”  And toasts her with his beer.

 

She’s still smiling when she brings her beer back to her and faces the bar again.  And he’s trying to think of everything that went on today with Dov and Peck and the Chinese gang thing that he was planning on telling her, but she’s moved closer without his realizing it and her shoulder is brushing against his just the slightest bit when she breathes and he can’t help the way it burns like fire under his shirt.

 

“Go out with me.”  It slips out while he’s exhaling and even he’s a little shocked.  He doesn’t face her, doesn’t want to see her eyes tell him no, as he’s trying to find a way to backtrack.  Play it off as a joke or something.  But her hand is on his arm.

 

“Sam.”  Her voice is soft, controlled.  A contrast to the way her fingers have clutched  his skin.  Dug in.  Not letting go.  And he looks at her.  “Are you serious?”  He tries to find the incredulous tone in her voice but hears only hope.

  

And he’s about to say no.  Say he was being stupid/funny/inappropriate and how it would never work and how she’s still not his type.  But, he can’t.  He is serious and he does want to take her out on proper date to a restaurant where he has to wear a tie and she has to wear a dress and heels and he wants to kiss her good night at her door and not go in because this, this is real.  They can be real and they can be good.

  

“Yeah, McNally…Andy.  I’m serious.  Go out with me.”  And the victory that danced on her lips earlier is nothing compared to the brilliance and joy in her eyes as she nods her head yes.

 

He does pay for her drinks that night, but he doesn’t kiss her in the parking lot.  He waits.  Because she just got asked out today, by two guys, and he wants to be the only one she thinks about when he finally kisses her properly.  So he waits until Friday night when he’ll take her to a nice steak house that serves good wine and has cloth napkins on the tables.  Some place with low lights and candles and a hushed atmosphere so he has to get in close to talk to her.

 

Three days is nothing compared to the year plus he’s waited for her already.