Relief washes over David when Stevie agrees to dance with him at his mother’s not-so-surprise barn birthday party. He’d thought he’d done the right thing putting an end to the “benefits” part of their friendship, until Stevie began to ice him out. Luckily, she seems to have decided their friendship is worth keeping too.
At one point, he surprises her with a twirl, and he notices something. When they’re face to face again, he slips his fingers under her hair and up the back of her neck.
“Wait, what are you doing?” she says, pulling away quickly. He holds his hands up.
“Nothing, sorry, your tag is just sticking out of your dress.”
She looks at him warily, then reaches back feeling around for the tag. David steps closer again, cautiously.
“Here, if you just turn around and move your hair…”
She does, and he’s able to tuck the tag back into her white, floral dress.
“There, all done,” he says quickly, holding his hands close to his body. She turns to face him again, and to his surprise, she doesn’t put any space between them. In fact, like him, she looks like maybe she’s considering sneaking out behind the barn to make out one last time.
Once Patrick is settled in his apartment, movie nights with David and Stevie become a pretty regular thing, the three of them squeezed together on the small sofa, watch something on Patrick’s laptop, propped up on a stack of books. This week is Stevie’s pick, and they’re watching Thelma & Louise.
Since David is sitting in the middle, he’s the keeper of the popcorn bowl. At some point, Stevie takes a handful, and out of the corner of his eye, David notices a piece fall from her hand. He looks over to find that it has fallen onto her plaid button-up, resting on the edge of the shirt’s pocket. She hasn’t noticed, so David reaches over, plucks it off, and eats it. Stevie gives him a surprised look.
“What, were you saving that?” he asks. For good measure, he brushes at her shirt, as if one stray piece of popcorn would have left a mess. “Honestly, can’t take you anywhere.”
“Oh, were you saving this for later?” she asks, reaching up and dropping the remaining few pieces of popcorn in her hand onto his head.
“Oh my god, don’t!” David stands to get away and brush the popcorn from his hair, knocking the whole bowl out of his lap and onto the floor.
Stevie gasps and laughs. “Look what you did.”
“Look what you did!” David shoots back.
“Honestly, can’t take either of you anywhere,” Patrick says, amused, setting his beer on the coffee table and getting up to pop some more popcorn.
“I don’t understand why you didn’t just let me come shopping with you if you wanted my opinion!”
David is sitting on Stevie’s bed while she changes in the bathroom. The Rosebud Group has just secured a meeting in New York about possible expansion, and Stevie had wanted a proper suit for the occasion.
“Because we would have been there forever, you would have driven me up the wall, and I would have left with nothing at all or something I hated!” she calls back.
“So why do you want my opinion now?”
“Do you want to see or not?”
“Yes, okay, yes, sorry!”
The bathroom door opens and Stevie steps into the bedroom. The suit is simple, the jacket and pants a charcoal gray, with a white button-up underneath. But the fit is impeccable. He can tell Stevie can feel it, because she’s standing straighter, looking at David like she knows it looks good, but wants to hear that she’s right. David stands and goes to her.
“You look… hot.”
Stevie laughs in surprise. “Easy, tiger. Don’t make me call Patrick.”
“Can you turn?” David asks. She gives him a spin, and David is forced to admit to himself that she really hadn’t needed his help to pick the perfect outfit.
“You look great,” he says. “You’re gonna knock ‘em dead in New York.”
“I think that’s up to the proposal, not my outfit,” Stevie says. “But thank you. It was a little out of my price range, so I’ll have to tuck the tags in and take it back after the meeting, but it was too good to pass up.”
David’s eyes fall to her wrist, where the jacket’s price tag is poking out. He takes her wrist and pulls the tag the rest of the way out so he can see it, estimating the cost of the pants and the shirt on top of that in his head. Then, he tugs sharply, snapping the tag fastener and removing the tag.
“David!” Stevie gasps, pushing at his shoulder. “What did I just say?!”
“You need to have this suit,” he says. “I need you to have this suit.”
“Okay, are you gonna pay for it then?”
“No. But I will pay for dinner and drinks whenever we go out, either until this suit is paid off, or until the Rosebud Group makes its expansion deal and you can afford it yourself.” He grins. “My money’s on the latter.”
Stevie’s shoulders relax, and eventually, she smiles again.
“Technically, your money’s on either outcome,” she says. “Can I get that first part in writing, by the way?”
“Just go change so I can take you to dinner,” he says, going into her kitchen to throw away the price tag.