Disclaimer and such: Do not own Party Animals, the talented Matt Smith or any of the other characters/ actors portrayed in this story.
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"Danny fancies you" the words burned in her skull as she stared across her desk at him. It had all started on saturday, she reflected and had wished she never knew.
Danny sat in his pjs at 8 45 pm, reading the latest book by Barack Obama, brought on by Jo's proclamations of "you never know where you'll be, familiarize yourself with everything, know as much as you can." She had said, as if she planned to pick up and resign, leave everything behind to nurse her marriage back into shape and start experiencing her son's life. Naturally, Danny had bought books on politics that he'd never read before and his saturday night consisted of finishing this book and starting the others. He skimmed his eyes over the page number before closing it and lying it down beside him to look up at Scott's outfit.
"What too much?" his brother asked.
"No it's fine."
"You should come" Scott ushered but Danny shook his head.
"I'm better here" he responded.
"It's not even 9 on a saturday, come on!" Scott pushed again but Danny could not be persuaded and an hour later, Danny was reading a new book and Scott was at the nearby pub, sighting a familiar but not entirely welcomed face.
"Hey" Kirsty called out, coming towards him and Scott had no chance of ducking away.
"Oh hello" he responded as she came closer.
"What you up to tonight" she asked, slurring her words. Drunk, he speculated immediately.
"Not too much" he responded, hoping she would wander off soon. She placed her drink in front of the chair next to him on the bar and plopped herself in the seat, leaning in too close to him just to speak.
"Wheres Danny?" she breathed tequila into his face and he shook his head.
"Home I think" he responded, not liking the turn of the conversation, but it was about to get worse.
"Maybe you should call him, I'll tell him what a jerk you are to women, should warn all these ones here!" she boasted, flapping her arms around, as if to illustrate all the women in the bar.
"Quite alright, think he's fine home" he answered
"See what I don't get!" she continued "is how you can be such a jerk to me and he's so nice, I mean it's not even genetics, you know?" she speculated and she observed, herself, that she wasn't really that drunk, but felt the pull of her words filling out of her, as if she was unable to control it, but she could, if she had wanted to. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind and show him that he owed her. She would've told Danny to spite Scott, she should have, she had wanted to.
"I should tell him, you know! He's a great guy" she breathed deep, steading herself against the bar "he should know"
"For god's sake, don't tell him, please" Scott responded, repeating it once again.
"Well why the hell not?" she mused, batting her eyelashes, trying to look him in the eye.
He was sick of this nonsense, he wanted to go home, he had had too many drinks already and this was just drawing on. So without really thinking, he spoke.
"Because he bloody well fancies you! A lot! You can't be that blind! There, I said it: Danny fancies you!" he breezed off into the crowd and began to think of what he had said, hoping she wouldn't remember on monday, let alone the next day.
He was terribly wrong, for all weekend, it was all she had thought about, reviewing every action Danny had ever done in her mind, trying to convince herself it wasn't true. It was easier to hate Scott, to think that he was a jerk, not to see him as protecting his brother. It was easier to ignore the way Danny looked at her, the ways she'd seen him react to her news of a date or simple 'no' to a offering of drinks. She tried to bury the words Scott had said all sunday, distracted herself with work and reading, but it was no use, the truth kept coming back to haunt her. In that moment that Scott had said it, the words had changed her, pulled her out of her stupid over acting drunkedness, pulled her out of the way she was acting, caused her to forget her drink and call a cab, muse and think about the words said. She had tried to continue her drink, to bustle around the bar and make conversations, as if they really affected her, but it was no use, the words kept coming back to her and she had gone home, in hopes that sleep would be the cure of all.
"What?" he asked and she shot back into reality to see Danny staring at her with an expression of confusion on his face.
"What?" she asked.
"You were staring at me" he responded.
"Zoned out, sorry" she responded and looked down at her papers instantly, shuffling them meaninglessly. She didn't have to look up to know a smile was playing at his lips. She felt like she knew his every thought, his every reaction to her words and it was already driving her insane, 10 am on monday morning.
"You seem to be acting strange" he reflected, flipping through one of her reports, highlighting the important parts and crossing off the others.
"You know the phrase ignorance is bliss?" she asked, staring up at him. "Well I just found out some news that I wish I hadn't" she was in awe of what she had just said and hoped he wouldn't inquire more, not knowing if she could honestly lie.
"Danny, can I see you" Jo called from the other room and he stood up, what seemed to be reluctantly and with a goofy smile tottered off to the other room. She breathed deeply and felt as if the whole morning had been a trial, that she had no rest. She had to get her thoughts straight, had to reflect if she could like him. It was no doubt exciting, but it was the truth she had always known on some level but never acknowledged and that scared her. She could ask him out for drinks and see where it went, but that seemed like a horrible idea as well. She couldn't stop thinking about Scott and how far he would've gone to protect his brother, how she had nearly ruined it and hurt the one person that properly liked her the most, just to spite a one night stand that was induced by cocaine and self esteem issues.
She would watch Danny over the next few days and decide, if she liked him, she had to evaluate, of course she liked him, but if she fancied him, she should tell him, and if not she should tell him that too, so he could move on. It would just take time and maybe in that time his confidence would shoot up and he would ask her to drinks, taking all the uncertainty away. It was just a matter of time, but it was getting harder to wait without imagining visions of him and her as a couple or reviewing and analyzing his actions, those things that had seemed so sweet as a friend that could've only been because he liked her. It was driving her insane, but she had to wait it out and see how she felt and if she cared about him in any way, she could never breathe a word about what had happened with Scott.
He came back into the room and said something but her thoughts were playing at the party for Jo, hadn't Danny been about to ask her something? To say something to her? Before she'd gone off and tried to numb the pain with drugs.
"Kirsty?" his voice woke her from her memory and her eyes darted up to meet his.
"Quite alright?" his voice asked, concerned. She smiled and shook her head.
"Just tired" she lied
"Too much partying?" his voice was teasing, but she wondered if he was hoping for some revelation into her weekend, whether she had had a date or not, something of that nature.
"A bit" she reflected and he nodded, sitting down across from her.
"Heard you saw Scott at the pub" he continued, now typing on his computer, not giving her his full attention.
"Yeah I did" she responded, surprised that Scott would've mentioned it.
"OH MAN!" Scott announced when he came home "went to The King's Head and guess who was there, hows the book coming?"
"30 pages to go" Danny announced, not caring to look up from the couch "Let me guess, Sophie?"
"No, Kirsty" the book was out of Danny's hands in an instant and he met his brothers eyes
"what? she was? you're lying"
"don't lie to you brother" scott responded "she looked nice too, had a conversation, she asked where you were"
"she did?" Danny asked, trying not to let the excitement show. "maybe I should ask her to come on Friday, tell her I'll be there then" he reflected and Scott laughed.
"Maybe you should tell her how you feel" he interjected shouting from the other room, hoping Danny would make a move before she broke his heart into pieces.
"I'll ask her on friday, made up my mind" Danny shouted from the couch and picked the book back up, a smile on his face.
"Sooner then Friday" Scott shouted from the other room "the sooner she breaks your heart, the sooner you'll get over her"
"Shut up scott!" Danny hollered back and tried to read, but his thoughts just focused on her and after 5 minutes he gave up and got ready for bed.
"He say much else?" she asked and Danny shook his head.
"Nope, sorry I missed it, was at home reading" he wished he had something better, cooler, he wished she didn't make him so nervous.
She caught the nervousness in his voice and smiled.
"What was so captivating that you couldn't even come to the bar?" she teased
"Well it was Scott offering, had I known you'd be there.." his words disappeared into a whisper, his eyes darted quickly at her. She'd been looking at him and their eyes met. He looked back at his computer instantly and cleared his throat.
"We'll be there this saturday, I think, will have a lot of stress to blow off. You should join" the words sounded hopeful, he reflected, too hopeful and he wished he hadn't said them.
"Maybe" she responded and his heart sank instantly. She could see the visible reaction out of the corner of her eye and felt horrid, was this his idea of asking her out? So indirect? So casual? Couldn't he just ask her directly? If he did fancy her as much as Scott said he did.
"Well I've been dying to check out that new greek place" he said, his voice dropping in volume, he coughed to try to fix the nervousness in his voice, but it was no use. "What are you doing for dinner?" he asked, resisting the temptation to look at her, feeling that she could read his soul if he did. He fingered through the latest speech on education for youth while every moment seemed to pass in sheer agony waiting for her response.
"I've got plans" she responded and she cursed herself for saying it. She genuinely did, her friend from Ireland was visiting and what was she do to? Reschedule just because Danny just finally asked her out? It wasn't her fault he didn't have the courage to do it before.
"But perhaps friday?" she asked, regretting it the second she did.
"I'll see if that works" he responded, not taking his eyes off of his work, though he'd read the same sentence 7 times. He wanted to smile, wanted to jump up and hold her, but he stayed in his seat, kept his expression straight and focused on education for the youth, maybe sometime today he would advance to the next line.
She hoped friday wouldn't work out, almost, that she could avoid the nervousness, that she wouldn't have to see his complete attention, that she wouldn't be responsible for hurting him, but above all, she wished she had never accepted the truth about him fancying her.
"So wait, she asked you for friday and you said you'd check?"
"to see if it works" Danny confirmed
"are you out of your bleeding mind? Just take her out already! Women want confidence!" Scott urged as he bustled about the kitchen.
"Well Ill tell her today, that it works" Danny reassured. It was Thursday morning and he was already dressed to go to work, hoping she hadn't forgotten. Their conversations had been trivial, short spoken and of a political nature for the most part since monday. He'd asked about her plans, they had been good, a friend had been visiting, but he hoped that he could catch a break and that he could take her to dinner.
"What if I'm too intense, I mean I have fancied her for a while." Danny reflected
"Worry about that when you actually get a date" Scott countered "Well I'm off, have a great day at work, text me the details, especially the dirty ones"
"Scott-" Danny began but he was already out the door.
She looked damn good today, he reflected and tried to focus on his work, but her perfume penetrated his senses, her laugh seemed to replay and he hated himself for not being the one to make her smile. She was corresponding with a local news host on the phone and mentioning new details about the speech, somehow the topic had strayed to the weather, some joke about the scottish and back to education. Danny let himself take in her appearance one quick time before forcing himself to look back at his work. He brushed the hair behind his ears and pretended not to notice the click of the phone as she finished her call.
She had the revelation last night, it was along the lines of, why the hell not. He was sweet, not bad looking and a good guy. He deserved a chance and she liked him well enough. There was nothing arguing against her, nothing to hold her back except her own silly reasons that all were stopping her. "He's not my type, he's a bit dorky, I'm not looking for anything right now" she couldn't go on this insufferable agony of watching him watch her, observe the effect she had on him. So she decided to put a bit of effort into her outfit that day. She wore black tights and a black skirt. Her top was a light lilac color but made her skin shine and a spray of her new perfume would top it all off. He would have to bring up tomorrow's dinner plans, she just hoped it would be sooner than later. Ever since she had made up her mind, he became fascinating, she wanted to impress him, to see him smile, his reactions to her outfit, her perfume. She liked that he cared, that he noticed and she knew that somewhere in her heart, he deserved her, and that she deserved to be treated right.
So what if they would stay in on saturday nights fighting about politics or unable to take their eyes or hands off one another while Jo was out of the office, the truth was she didn't care what happened, she just wanted something to start, to see where it went. If it didn't work out, if they ended up hurting each other, perhaps they would grow from it. It's not as if they had some great friendship they would ruin, so why the hell not, she had mused and she could feel his gaze on her as she played with the telephone cord, talking to the news reporter.
The problem was, he could barely concentrate or think today, she looked so damn good, smelled so damn good, almost as if she knew and she was tempting him. He wanted to make her laugh, to make her smile, to be able to impress her. He could feel his voice caught in his throat, reread the same line again and again on the report and could have memorized her laugh already. She tossed her brown hair over her shoulder and started flipping through the pile of papers that littered her desk.
"You still up for the greek place?" the words came out finally, he had repeated them in his mind a near dozen times in the last minute and resisted the urge to look at her, knowing she was staring at him.
"Tomorrow work?" she asked looking back from him, concealing a smile as she looked to the computer.
"Tonight would be better" he heard himself say, vaguely aware of it.
"Sounds good" she responded, feeling the tension in the room lift. She glanced up, hoping to meet his gaze, but he seemed intent on avoiding hers. She wanted to wonder why, but had to put tonight's plans out of her mind and think about work, not him.
When 6 hit they were both relieved and he waited for her while she put on her jacket and took her bag for her as they walked towards the elevator. The silence was unbearable and she felt the awkwardness rising, she hoped that the whole evening wouldn't pass this way and that he didn't resent her for making him carry her bag.
The elevator doors shut and she took her bag back.
"Thanks" she whispered softly, feeling a tingle up her spine as their hands brushed. She blushed, looking down. "glad you finally asked" she spoke, looking up to meet his gaze.
"You knew?" his shocked eyes met hers but before he could say anything else, she pressed her lips against his. Her lips were soft against hers and he pushed the surprise from his thoughts right away and pulled her closer. The kiss deepened and he pulled her into his arms, holding her tight. His hands travelled through her hair, pulling her deeper into his embrace. Her hands rested on his neck, entwining with his hair to push his lips against hers in their hot fury. He could hardly believe this was happening and wanted to hold on forever. He didn't even feel the fool as she'd known all along. She couldn't believe she'd been missing this the whole time, she exclaimed softly as they explored each other. She wanted to pin him against the wall and kiss him for eternity.
She pulled away, breathing heavy. When they finally parted the doors to the elevator clicked open on the ground floor. He took her bag back from her and took her hand in his. A smile engulfed her face as she stared into his eyes.
"French seems more appropriate" he interjected
"Hmm more romantic" she responded.
"Perfect" he replied, his face growing into a wide smile. He pulled her back into his embrace and kissed her lightly. They held hands as they disappeared into the busy street, instantly striking a conversation as she teased him and neither could believe how lucky they were.