He figured that the first time she came over to his apartment was a reaction to Sofia's statement. She couldn't stand that Sofia had been to his place and she hadn't, even though he tried to explain that Sofia had simply picked him up for work one day when his car was in the shop. He guessed that Sofia had one up on her in ways she couldn't control, and this was one she could. She showed up on his doorstep with breakfast burritos, and they hung out and watched a movie.
He was kind of surprised when she showed up a second time, and began to think that maybe it was more than her competitiveness that brought her there the first time. They had been getting closer, after all, their friendship growing the more they worked together, and with the shift split they worked together most of the time.
Sometime around her tenth visit, something shifted for him. A new detective - funky and spunky and hot as hell – asked him out. He was going to say yes, and was shocked when he heard himself say no, he was sorry but he was seeing someone. It wasn't true, not in the least. Their relationship was completely platonic, but the idea of going out with anyone else didn't feel right, and sure he'd been hung up on her for years, but he'd always known it was one-sided and it had never stopped him from dating before.
Her visits were random, and not once did she comment on the state of his apartment, yet he found himself cleaning up every morning when he got home from work, just in case she decided to drop by. They never discussed the time they spent together outside of work. He was afraid to mention it, afraid to ask her if she was coming by, afraid that she would stop coming if he made a big deal of it.
He smiled as he heard a knock on the door, glad he had cleaned. He opened the door with a grin, which transformed to a look of surprise by who was on the other side.
"Hey Greg," Nick said, brushing past him. Two leggy blondes followed him in, the trio making their way to Greg's living room.
"Come on in," he said under his breath, shutting the door.
"This is my girlfriend Jen," Nick said, putting his arm around one of the girls. So she was the one Nick had been going on about. "And this is her friend Shannon." Greg shook each of their hands respectively. "Get changed, we're going out for breakfast."
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" Greg asked, looking down at his jeans and Flaming Lips t-shirt. Then he shook his head. "It doesn't matter anyway, man, I can't."
"Come on, Greggo," Nick said, nodding toward Shannon with very little subtlety.
"Can't, I'm expecting someone."
"Oh yeah?" Nick asked, eyebrows raised. "Hot date?"
Greg shook his head again. "A friend."
It wasn't really a lie. Though he didn't know that she'd come today, he had a feeling she would. If she wasn't coming she'd usually say she'd see him next shift when they parted, and she hadn't. He wondered when he'd begun to pay attention to things like that, and when he'd begun to set his mornings aside for her, even though they made no plans.
"You sure, man?" Nick asked. Greg could tell Nick couldn't believe he'd pass up a woman like Shannon, but she was Nick's type, not his. Greg liked his women a little more down-to-earth and a little less… groomed. "Call your friend and tell him something came up, I'm sure he'd understand."
"It's not…" Greg's sentence was cut off by a knock at the door, and he was sure this time it must be her. He went to the door and let her in, feeling his heart beat a little faster when she smiled and handed him a DVD.
"I got Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle," she said, taking her jacket off and hanging it up in his closet. "I know you've seen it, but I haven't and you said you liked it, so…" She stopped talking as she walked into the living room and saw Nick and the girls standing there.
"Hey Sar," Nick said. Greg watched as he introduced Jen and Shannon, and he couldn't help but notice Sara's discomfort.
"I'm sorry," she said to Greg, "I didn't know you had company. I'll… I'll see you later."
"No, Sara," he said, following her to the door. "Don't go. Nick just stopped by, I didn't know he was coming or bringing these girls."
"You don't have to explain anything to me," she said with a smile, but he didn't buy it. She was clearly uncomfortable and embarrassed, and he was afraid that if she left, she wouldn't be coming back again.
"Sara, please," he said, touching her arm, "don't go."
She opened her mouth to say something, but Nick came out of the living room before she could.
"Why don't we all go to breakfast?" Nick asked, always the people pleaser. Sara began to shake her head, but then surprised them all by agreeing. Greg smiled at her, and thought he saw that competitive gleam in her eye.
Since Sara was as dressed down as Greg was, they decided to go to Jamie's, a diner around the corner from Greg's place instead of the more upscale restaurant Nick wanted to go to. In fact Nick's whole plan seemed to be a bit of bust, but Greg got the feeling he was too curious about what was going on between Greg and Sara to care. But whatever Nick had picked up on between them, Shannon had not and shamelessly flirted with Greg. She situated herself next to Greg, forcing Sara to sit at the end of the table. She kept touching his arm and laughing at everything he said.
Nick was fairly quiet, and Greg could feel his eyes on him.
"What?" he said, calling him on it.
"Nothing," Nick said with a grin. He glanced at Sara and back at Greg. She looked fairly miserable, picking at her food.
"You okay?" Greg asked quietly, leaning over toward her.
"I shouldn't have come," she said. "I really feel like a fifth wheel."
"You're not," he denied.
"Are you guys both on tonight?" Nick asked conversationally.
"I am," Sara said. "Greg's got the night off."
"Really?" Shannon asked gleefully. "You should come out with us! We're going out after Nick's shift."
"I don't think so," Greg said, glancing quickly at Sara.
"You should, Greg," said Jen. "It'll be fun."
"Yeah, Greg," Sara said. "You should go. You don't get out enough anymore." She looked down at her food, not meeting his eyes.
Greg was frustrated and he didn't know what to do. He cursed Nick for showing up at his door, forcing things with Sara before she was ready for it. He really thought that things would have progressed naturally, but now he wasn't so sure. Not that Nick could have known, but he was a good target for Greg's frustration. Greg scowled at him across the table, and he didn't like the amused look he got in return.
"I'm gonna go," Sara said, pushing her chair back. "It was a long shift and I want to get some sleep."
"What about the movie?" Greg asked.
"Bring it to work with you tomorrow night," she said, sinking his hopes that she'd come back the next morning.
Saying a quick goodbye to everyone, she began to walk away. Greg didn't know what to do, and even Shannon seemed to have caught on to the fact that something was going on.
"Greg," Nick said, leaning forward. "I don't know what's going on between the two of you, but if you don't go after her, she's going to shut you out. You know how she is."
It was all Greg needed to hear, and he bolted from the table.
"Sara," he called as he exited the diner. She was just opening the door to her car, and she stopped when she heard her name.
"I'm going home, Greg, I'm tired," she said, starting to get in the car. Greg grabbed her arm to stop her. She started to protest, but he pulled her to him and kissed her. His heart sank when she didn't respond, but then he felt her hand on the back of his neck, and she began to kiss him back.
Breathless, Greg finally pulled away. "Wow," he said.
Sara smiled at him. "Yeah, wow."
"You know, I was ready to kill Nick," Greg said, stroking her hair. "But now I think I should thank him."
"I guess we needed a little push," Sara said.
"So um," he said a little shyly, "do you want to go back to my place and watch the movie?"
Sara nodded, and playing with the front of his shirt said "Yeah. Or, you know, we could go back to your place and not watch the movie."
Greg beamed at her. "I think I like the sound of that."