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Lunch Date

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“Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” You asked, looking up at your lunch date and friend, Sam Tyler, with a raised eyebrow.

The leather squeaked as he sat down in the booth across from you, adjusting his jacket.

You weren’t sure if you were going to get a response from him, but you hid your smile behind your cup of tea as he stared at you, trying to form a response. He opened his mouth as if he was going to reply, but then closed it.

Finally, he let out a little laugh, and said, “I don’t know. Both, probably.”

You could have sworn you saw a flash of red creep up his neck as he awkwardly ran a hand over it. He looked up at you, pursing his lips. “So, why are we here?”

You blinked at him. “Uh, to have lunch?”

Sam thanked the waitress as she arrived with his drink. As he took a sip of it, he narrowed his eyes at you and leaned forward in his seat. He knew you and wouldn’t judge you.

So why were you lying to him?

It was written all over his face – how he could see right through the act you were putting on, but he chose to say nothing. He simply nodded at your hands. “Is that why your hands are shaking?”

You glanced down at your trembling hands, taking them off the table without saying anything.

Instead, you looked over at the hostess stand, and your heart stopped. Your gaze trailed over the person that was leaning against it, their entire body pressed into it as they sorted through menus, flipping them over, setting them upright. They had their tongue stuck out in concentration and you nearly melted at the sight. Some part of you missed that tongue, but it wasn’t yours to miss. It hadn’t been for a while now.

You didn’t know if Sam was watching you, following your gaze, but you decided to play it off.

“I’m just happy to eat with you,” you said, meeting his eyes, your voice rising just enough at the end to make it obvious that you were lying.

Well, only a little bit. You loved Sam in your own way.

After you met him at a party at Gene Hunt’s place, Sam quickly became one of your best friends. It wasn’t exactly unusual for you to invite him out for lunch, but this place wasn’t your normal type of place to eat. It was rather upscale – normally too fancy for his and your taste. So, the question truly was, “Why are we here?”

In fact, you had even dressed up for the occasion, which was unlike you. You slipped into an outfit you never wore, dolling yourself up. When you arrived without Sam, you made the effort to smooth out your outfit, drawing attention to how well it clung to your body, shaping out the right places.

You hoped the person at the hostess stand would notice. After all, you bought it for a date with them, but they broke up with you before you could even pull the price tag off. You were certain they were going to regret it when you wandered in, asking for a table for two, subtly adding that your date was just coming in from work as a Detective Inspector.

If they cared, it never showed on their face. They simply looked you up and down as they grabbed a couple of menus, leading you to your table. In fact, when you sat down, they didn’t even bother with pleasantries. They simply shoved a menu into your hands and walked off without a word.

You wondered what they thought when Sam, beautiful Sam with his boyish face and hazel eyes, walked in, asking for you.

You didn’t want to admit this to Sam. It all sounded foolish anyway – your desire to prove to somebody that was already over you that you were over them. But at the same time, the hurt of seeing your ex show up at a football match with a new significant other only a week after you had broken up seared in your chest. You couldn’t even enjoy the match because you had to watch them from your own seat, alone – your heart sinking into your stomach.

Now, at this expensive restaurant, you suddenly felt like a bloody idiot. Little groups and couples sat all around you, scattered at various tables, their voices coming together in one big hum. They didn’t seem to be trudging through an awkward conversation like you and Sam were.

You looked across at the table at him as he fiddled with his straw wrapper, rolling it up into a little ball. You knew you were wasting his time when he had only been kind to you. When you asked him, he immediately agreed, slipping out of the station early to meet you. The guilt had to be showing on your face.

“Y/N,” Sam began, glancing up at you. He had a look of disappointment, his eyes full of something you couldn’t place. He threw the wrapper ball onto the table. “Again, why am I really here?”

Your eyes wandered over to the hostess stand. This time, Sam cleared his throat, and you knew his gaze had followed yours, all the way to the person who was standing there, now carefully folding napkins and utensils.

He nodded and pursed his lips, giving a sad chuckle. “Right.”

“Sam…” You started, trailing off when you realized there was no right way to explain it.

“Who are th—”

Before he could finish, the person at the hostess stand looked over at your table, as if on cue. Their face was unreadable, but their gaze lingered as they moved their hands over the cotton napkins, looking between you and Sam.

You looked at Sam, taking in a sharp breath. “Kiss me.”

Sam was in the middle of a sip, and he nearly choked on his drink. He swallowed hard. “What?

You didn’t even answer. Instead, you reached over the table and roughly grabbed him by the shirt, pressing your lips to his.

You nearly knocked the table over in the process. The glasses on your table clinked as you sent them tumbling, spilling Coke and tea all over the fancy tablecloth, the booth, and the floor.

If anybody wasn’t looking before, they had to be, now. Your body jolted at the sound of the crash, nearly pulling you away, but Sam moved his hand to your cheek, deepening the kiss.

You melted into it, as your lips moved with his, suddenly not caring about the person at the hostess stand. You didn’t care about the restaurant, or the couples around you eating their overpriced filet mignon.

You realized it right then and there. That person at the hostess stand wasn’t the right person for you. You didn’t need to prove that you were happy with anybody, because you were. You just didn’t realize the real reason until you were kissing him.

*

Sam was the one to pull away first. He smiled at you for a moment, brushing his thumb over your cheek. “I’ve been wanting to do that,” he said, softly, meeting your eyes.

You didn’t realize it, but you had been too. You didn’t even want to stop, but you awkwardly let go of his shirt as you both sat back down, smoothing out your clothes and fixing yourselves. You went from a blur of nobody but him to realizing you were, in fact, surrounded by a restaurant full of people.

Sam cleared his throat, rubbing a hand over the back of his neck. His face was flushed, nearly as red as a Manchester United kit.

He bit his lip, nodding over at the hostess stand. “They’re staring.”

You didn’t even bother looking over. You simply smiled at Sam, scooting yourself closer to him. You placed a hand on his cheek and kissed him again. His arms snaked around your waist this time, a hand resting on the small of your back, while the other ended up in your hair.

You pulled away for a moment, a smile curling on your lips. “I don’t care. They’re not the person who really matters.”