It's a line. It makes no pretences about what it is, and neither does Lamb, even if there's a hint of truth behind it. Maybe that's why it works.
"You look like someone I used to know," he'll say, and they'll look at him. Some with surprise, or interest; others with curiosity, or scepticism, or a healthy dose of self-awareness that this is a line. He's never yet met a girl who'll stand and walk away, and when they say "really?" he'll lean in and smile.
"It's raining," she says, and she cups her breasts as she say it, which Lamb doesn't mind at all. He grins, and waits until he catches her eye.
"Can I buy you a drink?" he asks, and she pouts as she pulls her wet hair back from her face.
"Vodka," she says, and he orders two, watching the way her lips part as she raises the glass. She isn't Lilly Kane - there's nothing calculated in her pose, or in the way she smiles at him afterwards - but it's close enough for government work.
"I'm so fired," she says with a sigh. "I didn't even know it was going to rain."
He wonders at that, for a moment - the forecast has been all over the news for a week - but he shakes his head. "What do you do?"
She frowns. "I'm a weathergirl."
It isn't hard to buy her another drink, after that, and he tries to focus on her lips rather than on the words coming out of them. It's easy enough, and he doesn't think he's missing much.
After her third drink, he offers to show her around the station, and she smiles as if she's being let in on some secret. He slides an arm around her waist as he unlocks the door, and kisses her as he presses her back against his desk.
The next day, he has to flick through a couple dozen stations before he gets to hers, and he really doesn't care if he gets caught in the rain on his way to work.
She looks like Kendall Casablancas with her diamonds stripped off, and Lamb thinks that might be even more dangerous.
She glances away when he asks her if he can buy her a drink, and he follows her gaze to where a couple of men are sitting at a nearby table. They're quickly forgotten a minute later as she orders for both of them, and he raises his glass to her appreciatively.
She doesn't ask what he does, and he returns the favour. After a few stilted attempts at small talk, her smile gets friendlier, and he doesn't really mind the guarded look in her eyes as long as she leans forward to touch his arm.
The whiskey's starting to get to him as they stumble out, and she shakes her head when he offers to take her back to his hotel. Instead, she leads him to a house that wouldn't look out of place in the 90909 zip, except for the way it's obviously abandoned and is starting to crumble a little around the edges.
There's absolutely no metaphor there.
He opens his mouth to ask her what they're doing, because he's not seventeen any more and haunted houses don't really get him hot, but she kisses him, her lips sliding warm and slick against his, and he decides to play along.
He bangs his shin as he climbs in the window, and lets out an involuntary yelp of pain. He turns around to find her gone, he thinks maybe this wasn't such a good idea. He thinks he can hear voices coming from inside the house, and tells himself that's the only noise he can hear. He takes a step forward in the dark, and he could swear he hears the word 'bait' a second before he's knocked unconscious.
The girl who steps up to the bar to order a drink looks familiar, and Lamb studies her for a moment before she turns to look at him. He manages a smile, because it isn't Gia Goodman he's looking at, and after a minute, she smiles back.
"I'm Don," he says, doing his best to recover.
"Lucy," she says, and when her drink comes, she sits down beside him. She's from Connecticut, she says, on a road trip with her friend, and he's about to ask for her number (or maybe just her room number) when another girl approaches them.
"Are you ready?" she asks, and Lucy nods, shooting an apologetic look at Lamb. He shrugs, and finishes his drink as she leaves.
Later, he shines his flashlight around as he steps through the door to the mayor's office. There are a dozen reasons why somebody might have broken in, and he doesn't think he wants to deal with any of them.
He stops short as he recognises the girl from the bar, and she freezes, a stack of paper in her hands.
"I can explain," she says, and he waits for it. "You see, Olivia's an artist, and she's doing this exhibition on context and power and -"
He stops her there, because he really isn't interested. But she isn't Veronica Mars or a Fitzpatrick, so maybe his night's looking a little better.
"You realise you're breaking and entering on county property?" he asks. Lucy looks pale, but her friend steps forward.
"You know," she says, looking at Lamb but addressing Lucy, "he's kinda cute."
Scratch that. His night's looking a lot better.
The East Coast isn't really his thing, but sometimes anything's better than being stuck in Neptune. Some things are inescapable, though, and he blinks as he recognises Carrie Bishop, half expecting Madison to materialise beside her.
She isn't Carrie, though, and it's clear enough when she glances him, then back at the bartender as if he isn't even there. He shifts on his stool, and slides a bill onto the table when her drink comes.
"Thanks," she says, as if it really makes no difference to her who pays. He smiles, and her face remains impassive until she turns around to glance at a guy behind her. She moves closer, and Lamb doesn't really care why.
It's clear enough that she doesn't want to take him home, and he doesn't bother to offer his cheap hotel. Instead, he follows her to what is recognisably a school; probably her school, and he doesn't think about that too much.
In the darkness, her hair might as well be blonde, and he runs his hands through it as she drops to her knees. He comes with a groan, and she pushes him off as he tries to press her back against the wall. She tells him she's busy tomorrow, and he does his best not to hear I have class.
She's nothing like Veronica Mars, and Lamb tells himself that's a good thing as he offers to buy her a drink. She smiles, almost childlike except for the look in her eyes, and orders something with fruit and umbrellas (which, when it comes down to it, he's not even sure is alcoholic) while he sticks to beer.
"I'm Elle," she says, and he smiles as if her name matters. She doesn't ask for his, and he doesn't give it, because he's pretty sure Veronica Mars would never say his name. The hairs stand up on his arm as she touches him, and he feels the shock of static electricity on his skin. Her smile widens, and her fingers trace his shoulder intimately.
"Wanna come back to my room?" she asks, and he grins. The door barely has time to shut behind them before his shirt is unbuttoned, and her hand brushes lightly against the skin on his chest.
When he comes to, he feels as if he's been electrocuted. He wants to ask what the hell happened, but she's smiling as she stands over him, and he decides maybe it's best not to.
"Now," she says, leaning down to help him to his feet. "Where were we?"