Title: Table seats four and a couch seats three
Word Count: 1500+
AN: I have absolutely no idea why I wrote fic that's going to be Jossed in less than two days. Title from Joel Plaskett, just to switch it up with the Canadian band theme.
Table seats four and a couch seats three
Sam spends the morning alternating between feeling stupidly pleased and just straight-up stupid. (Only, when he runs into Brennan on his first shift all he gets is a “well played” and a pat on the back, so. Probably he isn’t going to die over this.) He works right up until lunch, shifting supplies (not product—legitimate supplies, chairs and tables and chesterfields, antiques for the front business; Brennan doesn’t quite trust him yet), then eats a sandwich in the back of the truck, hands twitching like he’s still touching her. Like he wants to grab at something, and cold cuts on rye really aren’t doing it for him.
Well. They really aren’t.
The nervous energy sticks until around three. Three-thirty, and his body starts to remember the one hour of sleep it got (one fucking hour, because they waited and waited until the last possible minute—Andy shoving herself down onto his cock, half-laughing, half-moaning, “God, Sam, I’m going to be so late”—and then after that they waited some more; kissing in the doorway, the way her mittens felt against his bare chest). By five, Sam’s yawning at every red light. Benny, the kid he’s riding with, offers to take the wheel. Which is saying something—Benny can’t drive.
So. Bottom line: Sam gets back to his crappy flat where the bed sheets are still messed up and everything smells like her, and he’s wondering, just a bit, why he went under in the first place.
(“I miss you,” she says, after Ernie the Zamboni driver but before dawn, head buried in his neck so he can’t see her face. “Not like, all the time, or anything. You just always made the best coffee.”
Sam rubs at the curve of her waist (unexpected; he always thought she was straight up-and-down, coat hanger hips like a runway model). “Tell Ollie I said to get you some.”
“Ha. He’d never.” She brings her head up and Jesus Christ, she may actually be pouting at him. Sam can’t tell if it’s put-on—if she’s mocking that kind of girl—or if she’s serious. (Dear god, but she’s young. Sam wants to feel bad about that.) A blink and she’s a copper again, that hard set of her mouth. “Anyways. I can get my own.”
This girl. Sam swears she’ll give him whiplash. “Right.”
A beat. “I like yours better though.”
“Right.” Then: “Miss you too.”)
Still, mostly he avoids thinking about it. Tries, anyway. (What he does do: collapse into bed face-first, sleep for the next ten hours.)
That’s the first day.
The second day, though, that’s his day off. (And there’s some trouble—idle hands, all that bullshit.) Sam wakes up feeling like he could run a 5k, no warm up; easy. Problem is, Sam doesn’t run.
He sits on the edge of the bed for a while, rolling the burn phone back and forth between his palms. Thinks about calling Boyd. Not to report the slip-up or anything, just—the way you’d call a sponsor (he needs some sense knocked into him, is the thing). Except Boyd hates McNally, would probably love to stir up shit for her, so. That’s out.
Eventually he stops by the grocery store, buys a bunch of fresh produce he doesn’t need for a truly ridiculous price (it’s Toronto, the middle of November; at least the clementines are cheap). There’s no reason to, it’s just that McNally got up around four in search of food and pronounced his jar of pickles and leftover takeout “sad”; Sam drops a head of lettuce into the crisper, figures it’s a marginal improvement. Besides which, better nutrition is never a bad idea. (Although, how furtive he feels picking out those avocadoes—Yeah.)
Come lunchtime, he’s out the door again.
By 1:15, he’s ducking into a public library, hood up and tuque pulled low, ancient dial-up connection creaking away. He brings up gmail; a tap of the keys and he’s zamboni_37; a tap of a couple more and he’s fired off an email. Just like that. Easy.
you make it back in time?
(He’s just—he’s been wondering. By the time they finally got her out the door and into a cab it was late—like, 5:20 late—McNally bouncing on her heels, “Sam, could you maybe lend me some cash?”, her mittens and her eyes and that stupid hat, the rush of cold air from the hall as she leaned back in to kiss him, and—well. He’ll be really amused if she wins the contest with $20.01, is all.)
He hangs around for a while, pacing between Personal Growth and the biography section. There’s absolutely no justification for it, but… there it is. He doesn’t really have time to feel stupid, thank god—she emails back almost immediately, long and rambling and full of typos. Some story about Epstein and one hundred-plus dollars in cash. And it’s not like—she’s working night shifts this week, he knows, Nash working days so she can be with her kid, so. Probably she was just bored.
She doesn’t sound like herself, in writing.
(Tucked away near the end, beside some anecdote about Ollie making bank on Dov’s victory: i had a really great time not winning.)
That’s the second day.
The third day—a Sunday; Irish thugs and their inconvenient refusal to push drugs after church—Sam wakes up to another email from her.
can i see you again?
It’s time-stamped from five a.m.; she must have sent it just after shift ended. Sam blows on his hands, glances around the empty library. There’s a kid staring at him from Self Help, but if Sam starts taking signs from the universe now, Andy’s never going to stop laughing.
(So. Three days.
her head dropping back, messy hair and those long long legs, her skinny knees and the way she got a little selfish, a little insistent, the second time he tried going down on her
—Sam’s not all that surprised.)
They meet at some tiny lakeshore park, forty-five minutes up the 401. McNally brings shitty coffee; Sam brings Timbits (he remembers the way she used to inhale them on late-night patrols, one by one until she reached the sugar quota required for functionality). It’s far enough away that it takes her three buses and a cab to get there; Sam has time to psych himself out twice. He’s leaning against his car, hands in his pockets, when she finally walks up.
The thing about McNally: she has a really killer smile.
“Hi,” she says. She’s a little breathless, sweating inside her puffy jacket, like she maybe ran the last hundred meters. Sam stops thinking about calling this off.
“I backtracked, like, three times, so.” She gestures behind her, as if to say, see; no stalkers. “We should be good.”
Sam rubs a hand over his eyes. Her grin is wide, infectious, like this is some great trick they’re pulling off, them against the universe. It’s not exactly an unattractive thing to pretend. “So Epstein beat you out, huh?”
She laughs. “Everyone beat me out, Sam; I had a twenty.” She comes closer. “Would you have bet on me?”
“Sure.” He gets a finger through her belt loops, pulls her the rest of the way in. “And been out fifty bucks.”
“Hey!” She shoves at his shoulders. Her hair’s in a messy braid down her neck; Sam wants to ask if she’s slept since her shift ended, but he also wants to put her up against the side of the truck, so. “I could’ve won.”
“Not playing pool like that.” It’s freezing out here; McNally’s all chapped lips and cold nose, shivering under her layers. Sam tugs her closer, rubs quick and brisk up the sides of her coat (he’s mostly aiming for warmth; still, she shudders, just a bit, when his palm slides over the edge of a breast).
Right before he kisses her, Sam thinks: this is a bad idea.
He doesn’t stop.
She hasn’t slept since shift ended, as it turns out.
Sam gets her in a bed (a motel; he’s stupid, sure, but there are limits), gets her warm and naked, and she immediately starts yawning. So. He spends the better part of the morning watching daytime tv with the volume on low, McNally out cold—“just for five minutes, Sam, seriously”—beside him. She sleeps messily, outflung arms and legs and an alarming amount of twitching. Sam watches the Mythbusters prove you can’t dodge a bullet and keeps his hands to himself.
(He dozes off twice: 'Sammie-boy, you are one dumb fuck,' Jamie Hyneman says in Oliver's voice, beret titled crazily sideways—
Later, he looks on as she constructs lunch out of a truly odd combination of vending machine snacks (he tells her she’s disgusting and she shows him her tongue, half-chewed Skittles and a Cheeto, and Christ, she has the maturity level of a five-year-old, there is no earthy reason for him to be so—but he is, apparently, he really is, because he kisses her maybe two minutes after that; she tastes like cheese and sugar), and feels stupidly lucky for no reason at all.
(“Last time,” he tells her, hand on her waist. “Andy, sweetheart, this is the last time—”
“What?” She’s got her eyes shut tight, concentrating (she slides the rest of the way onto him and they open again; ta-dah). “No, yeah, totally. Last time.”)
so I lied, the email starts, two days later. This time around the library’s completely deserted, no kids watching from Self Help; yesterday on the job, Benny said ‘fucking Christ, J.D., what’re you smiling at?’ and nearly dropped an armoire on Sam’s foot.
The universe has a plan. Sure, McNally. Okay.
(They’re idiots, they’re idiots, this is the stupidest thing Sam’s ever—)
He cracks his knuckles, starts to type up a reply.