A/N: This has literally taken me months to finish. Long, rambling, slightly drunken, AU, Jordan-centric.
Disclaimer: I don't own Studio 60, although I am watching it on my overpriced DVDs right now.
"I threw the ball in a dumpster. Then I fell into the dumpster, it's a long story."
Jordan was extremely tipsy (bordering on drunk, although she didn't think she had officially crossed the line yet) and pretty pissed. Her winning high was crashing around her stiletto pumps, and the alcohol was making her slump farther down the depression scale than usual.
That ... man. God, what a ... jerk.
This is exactly what she needed. She had to do something fast, something to show solidarity for her new friend Harriet.
She didn't have many friends. She was not going to screw up a budding relationship over a baseball.
She'd never liked that sport anyway.
She needed to get rid of it; it felt like poison. She clutched the ball tighter, trying to channel those overly strong woman wrestlers with the crazy, fake-looking muscles. She half expected the thing to burst in her palm.
No such luck.
She realized then that she was making quite a strange face, holding an abnormally wishful pose, and that Alex and Dylan were still standing behind her.
Before she could stop herself, she turned around and asked. "What's the fastest way to get rid of this thing?"
From the look on her face, they knew not to ask why. Or maybe, they knew why already.
"Well ... we could sell it on EBay." Dylan offered.
"Or we could start a fire and burn it." Alex suggested.
"We could toss it off the roof."
"We could throw it in the dumpster."
"We could pay someone to eat it."
"We could put it through a wood chipper."
"We could smother it in steak sauce and let dogs attack it!"
"Yes! That's perfect, man, we could—"
Jordan seemed to weigh all of these carefully.
"Where's the dumpster?" She asked the two.
They looked severely disappointed. "Around back."
"Thanks, guys. It's been a pleasure."
She made her way through the crowd quickly, then gasped exuberantly and shoved the baseball in her bag when she saw Danny coming her way.
"Hello, Pumpkin. Dollface. Gumdrop."
"What?" She groaned. This could not be good.
"I just stuck it to your boss — he completely lost it, it was great — and it was all because of you and the thing with Trevor, and now I'm happy as a clam. So, thank you so very, very much," Danny swaggered.
"Right," she said, not exactly sure what he was talking about.
"You know, I'm a little bit in love with you right now," he offered, teasing her.
"They always are." She spouts off, and almost gets away without question.
"Where are you off to?"
"Uh ... nowhere. I'm not going anywhere." She sat down next to him, eyes wide.
"Are you okay? You look a little ... strange. I mean, stranger than usual."
"Okay." She accepted, and nodded spastically. "I'm … I'm a little drunk."
"You don't have to sit there, if you don't want to?" He looked uncomfortable now.
"No, it's not that I don't want to, I just—"
"I have to go see Matt, anyway..." He sped off.
Damn. Well, wasn't that awkward. And predictable.
She shrugged it off, pocketing the issue and jumping up to find the dumpster.
Shouldn't be too hard, right?
Wrong. Somehow she ended up completely turned around, passing the front door three times while trying to avoid the press.
God, if Martha got a load of this end of the story...
She then, thankfully, spotted Tom exiting the building, and rushed up to him. "Hello, Tom!"
"Hi, Jordan. I mean, Ms. McDeere." He looked nervous. "Word got around that you liked to be called that."
"Yeah, don't worry about it. Listen, do you know where our dumpsters are?"
He pointed across the street. "They're behind that building over there." He seemed to expect an explanation for her inquiry, but she didn't give him anything.
"We keep our dumpsters behind another building across the street?"
"Okay then." And she marched across the street and behind the corner, sighing in relief when she spotted the monster. She was just about to throw the baseball in when a stray photographer yelled, "JORDAN!" and started snapping pictures. She became disoriented in her intoxicated state and ended up grabbing the paparazzi for balance. The man, a greasy old bastard, didn't expect this, so he ended up propelling them both — and his camera full of potentially incriminating photos — into the dumpster.
"Shit!" The man yelled. "What the hell, lady?"
"Sorry," Jordan lied, finding his expression quite amusing, as she righted herself. She quickly fled, laughing her way back. She wanted to gloat. She spotted Matt as she returned to the party and made a bee line for him.
"Hello, Jordan." Matt actually looked pretty miserable, but … when did he not look miserable?
"I just pushed a photographer into a dumpster!"
The pure glee on her face was enough to scare him silly.
"I'm sorry. Are you trying to pitch me?" He looked confused.
Jordan snorted. "No, I'm serious! I actually did … sort of. It was fun. Hey, did you know that we keep our dumpsters behind a separate building across the street?"
"No. I did not know that."
"I find that odd."
"I find you odd. But I agree with you; our dumpsters should be more accessible." His sarcasm was intended to be biting, but she just laughed and grabbed another drink from a passing waiter.
Matt sighed into his own glass.
"What's wrong with you?" Jordan asked.
"Nothing … except Harriet's dating Darren Wells and Danny's trying to fix me up with three college dropouts from Whoresville"— At this point Jordan frowned — "my personal life is going to be displayed in Martha O' Dell's column. Simon doesn't think I'm black enough. And, I'm positive I'm going to have a hangover tomorrow, which just adds insult to idiocy."
He stared at her for a moment, shocked at himself for not following his usual pattern of whining only to Danny.
"Let's pretend I didn't just do that, okay?"
"Didn't just do what?" Danny walked in with a frown.
"Tell me something that he doesn't want me to tell my new friend Harriet."
"Oh, GOD. Don't tell Harriet. Don't tell Harriet that Danny subjected me to a really bad idea," He pleaded. His faced changed. "Wait."
"Maybe you should tell her…"
"Was it really that bad?" She asked, eyes flickering between the two of them.
"They didn't understand what he meant when he said he 'writes the show,'" Danny explained.
"One of their names was Trinket," Matt ranted.
Jordan couldn't contain herself this time. "That's terrible," she snickered. She turned to Danny. "Poor girl," she told him.
"Yeah," he said, like he didn't believe her pity. He was right of course — Jordan felt a strange sort of unwarranted animosity toward the girl. But she brushed that aside.
"So just how much trouble am I going to be in because you kicked Jack's ass?" She asked.
"You kicked Jack's ass?"
"It's a long story," He said to Matt. "None," He said to Jordan.
"Because he's not going to want to tell you, who's already kicked his ass, that he just got his balls handed to him by me. Also, he's way too drunk to remember anything that happened tonight."
"Wish I could say the same," She muttered.
"Why? What happened?" Danny was way too interested. She didn't care.
"Nothing. It was nothing. I mean, he's kind of a smarmy bastard, but…yeah." She seemed to have lost her train of thought.
"See! Another reason Harriet shouldn't date him. He's a smarmy bastard."
"Okay, Jordan. I'm taking you home, now." Danny signed himself up. He pretended to be put out by the task.
They were silent the whole way, but when they arrived she refused to get out of the car. He had her door open and was threatening to carry her in over his shoulder, but the look on her face was pitiful enough that he took a deep at asked her what's wrong.
"I screwed up."
"Come inside, Jordan."
"I don't understand how it could have been so stupid! I'm a smart person — I went to college!"
He tried very hard not to laugh, but she caught him and gave him a look. She stumbled out of the car and he put his arm around her, purely to help her balance, nothing more. Of course.
Suddenly they were on her front porch, and he was nervous, and she was nervous, and it was just like high school. Jordan wondered if he was going to kiss her; Danny wondered if he did, would it ruin everything.
So he said goodnight, got in his car and drove away, feeling her eyes on him as long after he went to sleep.