Title: That Ain't My Truck
Characters: Tony, Ziva, Ray
Inspiration: That Ain't My Truck, Rhett Atkins
Time Period: Night following "Housewarming"
Summary: Set after Housewarming fades out, the bar scene between Tony and Ziva after her call with good ol' CI-Ray.
A/N: Feedback appreciated, I haven't written in a while so trying to get back into it. And the lyrics from this song are in no way incorporated with the fic, just used the theme as inspiration/
He sat in the dimly lit bar sipping on the whiskey he ordered over an hour ago. Every few minutes he glanced up, hoping it was her walking through the door. She knew he'd be there waiting for her, even though she said it was only a maybe. She'll be here, he told himself repeatedly, I heard it in her voice, she wants to be here with me. A part of him knew that it was a lie. A part of him knew she wanted to be with him. The other man. He clenched a fist and had to force himself to relax it gently on the bar top. He knew that this battle wasn't his. She was the one who always seemed to be stuck in-between the two of them.
He had been hesitant to ask her to see him, as badly as he may want it, he could always sense her reservations. He knew he didn't deserve the time for her to show up; hell, he hardly felt he deserved to be around her at all. Even though she had agreed to come, at least gave him a maybe, he couldn't help but wonder if she was somewhere else, with him. He glanced at his watch again. It was almost an hour past the time she said she would show up. Maybe, he kept having to remind himself. Always a maybe.
Across town sat another man, patiently waiting, but instead he nursed his bourbon gingerly.
"Hey Liz, another round?" He tipped his glass towards the red-head behind the bar and she shot him a smile in response. His wait came to a short end. "Took you long enough, did you get lost?" His face lit up when his partner approached him.
"I did not, thank you very much," she flipped her hair curtly, though she had a smile playing on her lips. "Besides, I was not gone for that long."
"Well you were gone long enough for me to order us another round, I didn't think you'd mind." And of course she didn't, instead quite the opposite, she smiled knowing there was another round's time to be spent with the man in front of her.
She sat on the bar stool next to him but turned her body so they were facing each other, her legs tucked in-between his. The drinks arrived and in her left she raised her glass, her right landed playfully on his leg to get his attention.
"And what shall we drink to?"
"Let's see… what haven't we drank to yet…? To the two most dysfunctional romantics we know," he paused, raised his glass a little higher and tossed her a smile and a wink, "us."
"To us; to no more maybes." Her smile faltered a little in apprehension at her own words. Their conversation earlier had been cut off prematurely, but tonight she risked going back to it. "To looking forward to our futures, no more maybes, and to someday." They kept eye contact as they drank, as if their sip solidified more than just their last toast of the night.
Just as their glasses hit the bar top her phone rang. She laughed and sighed at once, "excuse me, I won't get lost coming back this time," she said playfully.
"Oh," he tossed nonchalantly as she stepped away, "so you admit you got lost the first time?" In a rare truly open moment she turned back to him and gave him a look almost never seen; she stuck her tongue out at him. Caught completely off guard he almost choked on his laughter.
"Ah, Liz…" he started wistfully, getting the bartenders attention once more, "I'm feeling good tonight… I think this is good." He sipped the rest of his bourbon and she laughed in response. "No, really, I think this is a good step tonight."
"You say that every other time you two come in, darling," Liz responded, shaking her head.
"Tony," Ziva then walked back up to her seat at the bar, "That was Ray…"
He finally picked up the phone and called her. He told himself he could wait forever, but he only made it an hour and a half. Does that already say something about me? he thought as the phone rang. He almost thought she wouldn't answer.
"Ziva David," she answered and he could hear the trail end of a laugh and pictured her smiling. She must not have looked at the caller ID.
"Hey, it's me." Her laughter stopped and he could see her smile fade in his mind.
"Yeah… I thought you said you were going to come meet me?" She cleared her throat, obviously choosing her words carefully.
"I said maybe, Ray. I told you I already had plans."
"With Tony," he responded curtly. "He couldn't wait another night? He sees you everyday and I haven't heard from you in almost two months."
"Actually," he heard her tone get more stern, more serious, "it was more I waiting to hear from you, not the other way around. I tried to call you."
He shook his head, rubbing his forehead with his free hand, "I know, I'm sorry, I didn't mean…" he trailed off and sighed. "Look, I said earlier I was sorry. I was really looking forward to seeing you tonight."
"And I said I had plans, Ray… I don't know what you want me to say. You can't just not talk to me for two months and then expect me to show up at the drop of a dime."
"Drop of a hat." He said it almost out of reflex, but he sensed it hit a nerve.
"Whatever, do not correct me."
"So only Tony can?"
"What?" She shook her head almost violently, "Tony has nothing to do with this."
"He has everything to do with this, Ziva and you know it." He answered more tersely than he meant to so he took a deep breath to calm himself. "You can't have us both, Ziva. It's not fair."
And suddenly, in that moment, her jaw dropped slightly, and her own words came back to her. "I don't have time for maybes, Ray… I have to look forward to tomorrows, futures and not hold on to a maybe of a someday."
"Ziva, I don't understand-"
"You don't have to Ray. I can't…. I can't see you anymore. I'm sorry."
"Wait, what? Just like that? Ziva, I'm sorry, I got a little upset-"
"No, it's not just that. You are right. I can't keep doing this. To anyone. Especially myself."
"Please, Ziva, just-"
"I cannot, Ray. I'm sorry." She cut him off hoping to spare him pain, but her shortness hurt him more than anything. "Please, just… Accept this. I am done."
She walked back to the bar and saw Tony exchanging words with the bartender. In any other time she may have looked at his lopsided smile, his open body language and her reciprocation and she may have thought he was flirting. But she knew better, as soon as Tony saw her walking back he sat up a little straight, smiled a little brighter… She knew better now.
"Tony," she started softly, "That was Ray…" she watched his demeanor falter, he's waiting for me at another bar across town-"
"That's fine," he waved her words off, "I get it. We had fun while we were here, thanks for coming out for a while at least." He started to turn back to the spot where Liz had just recently vacated and then felt her roughly turn his chair back for him.
"I mean, that's what you meant right? You were going to try to politely excuse yourself and apologize and try to explain- but you don't have to. We said no more maybes right? We all have a choice to make." They stared at each other, his eyes a little darker than they just had been, and hers with a little more fire.
"You are right." She let the words flow out slowly. "We all have choices to make… And I'm glad to know that you are okay that I have already made mine." He dropped slightly his head for a second, staring at the nearly finished glass of bourbon, waiting for her to walk away from him. Instead, she grabbed her glass from the bar top and raised it to him, "to no more maybes." He looked up at her skeptically as his hand slowly raised his own glass to hers.
He cocked his head slightly and raised an eyebrow. "Wait, Ziva, I'm a little lost…" She chuckled slightly.
"I wasn't finished. To no more maybes and finally," she tipped her glass rim to tap his resounding with a soft ping!, "to us." With a grin spreading across both of their faces she sat down once more, a little closer this time.
"To us," he repeated. Eye contact never breaking, he called out once more, "Liz! Didn't I tell ya?" The bartender looked over at the two without taking a step, knowing what he was going to say next. "I told you tonight felt like a goodnight."
A/N: Hello, all! I hope that this fic is up to at least some semi-standard. I literally just threw on my headphones, hit play and started writing. This was un-beta'd so any and all mistakes are my own! I'm trying to get back into writing, mainly for a pastime to help my weird rotating fic is dedicated to one of my fellow Marines I went to high school with that is currently deployed overseas and needs a Tiva fix once in a while! (: