The first real date in town finally happens... how will it go? Will Beach go through with the date? Will they be allowed to go out? Will CoverGirl change her mind? Will Williams stow away to interfere and get murdered out of hand finally?

Read on and find out. I do not own any rights to GI Joe and make no money from these writings.

This is set after Driving Miss Courtney and will be a few chapters.

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BeachHead strode down the hallways, barely noticing when Duke passed him. The crewcut blond stopped and called back to him though and he stopped to peer from under lowered brows. "Yeah?"

"Beach... you're dripping on the floor.. what happened?" Duke stepped just a little bit further away as the reek of the mud reached him. The Ranger looked down at his mud-smeared clothing and shrugged. "BeachHead, you're covered in muck."

"Yeah. I was stringing tripwires in the mudpits. Guess I got a little dirty." BeachHead shook his arm slightly and chunks of slimy mud flicked around the hallway. "I'll clean up in a while."

Duke sighed at him. "How about you clean up now.. so the maintenance crew doesn't gripe at me for an hour tomorrow about having to clean the trail of muck?"

"Fine." Beach turned to head for the showers and stopped to turn back to Duke. "I'm off duty in an hour.. and I got tomorrow off. Ain't gonna be no issue for me to go on into town this evening, right?" He was studiously looking at the bland walls like they contained secret messages. His flat tone said he couldn't care less if he was off-duty or on call. Duke, having heard the scuttlebutt being whispered around the Pit, wasn't fooled.

"No Beach. No issue," Duke said. He controlled the smile at the Ranger's posture perking up. "Have a good evening. But..." He paused. "Please.. don't get into any more trouble in town. Just.. a quiet evening.. then back."

"Planning on a quiet evening, Duke. Ain't like I'm planning on no trouble." Beach seemed just a little perturbed. He really didn't like being reminded of his escapades.

Duke shook his head. "I know.. but you weren't planning on any trouble the last time. If there's some sort of disturbance this time.."

"Ain't gonna be no trouble." Beach glowered at him, the muddy balaclava hiding most of his expression.

"Good. Have a good evening." Duke turned on his heel and walked off down the hallway.

Beach watched him go for a moment and then headed for his quarters to grab clothing. Anyone who passed him in the hallway pressed against the walls to avoid him or made faces at the stench. His glower told them he wasn't in the mood for snarky comments. Taking a long hot soapy shower made him feel a lot better. He scrubbed his hair a few times trying to get the sand and grit out.

Out of the shower, he dragged on a pair of pants and dried his hair with a towel before he gazed in the mirror at the unruly curls. "Alright." Pulling a comb through it repeatedly, he managed to get it tamed more or less. As he walked back to his quarters, he spotted a few sidelong glances at him and ducked his head down. He tried to glare at Shipwreck but the sailor just grinned back at him. "Whaddya lookin' at?"

"Nothing." Shipwreck held up his hands and backed down the hallway. "Not looking at anything, Drill." He twisted around and continued away, whistling loudly.

"Crazy sailor." Beach walked down to his quarters again, noting the muddy bootprints on the floor. As he was swiping his card through the scanner, a familiar voice made him turn.

"Hey Beach." Scarlett smiled at him. "I thought I'd drop by and see if you wanted a hand?"

He narrowed his gaze at her and opened his door. "Hand with what?" Even though he didn't exactly welcome her into his quarters, he left the door open for her to enter behind him. "I'm just.. uhh.. getting ready to..." He stalled out and pressed his lips together. "I'm ahhh..."

She rolled her eyes and shut the door behind her. "You're going on a 'date', Beach. It's an awfully short word, even you should be able to remember the term." She patted his arm as he tried to look outraged. "Don't worry. I thought you might want some help picking out something to wear."

"Shouldn't you be dressin' Snake or something?" He frowned slightly as he tossed the filthy clothing into his bin. "I'm perfectly capable of dressin' myself." Pulling open his lowest drawer, he looked at the neatly folded civilian clothing. Was it the dark blue with dark green... or light blue and dark green?

Scarlett leaned over his shoulder. "Well.. maybe you'd like to know what colors Courtney is wearing? Then you'll know what you'd like to wear?" He tilted his head towards her. "I do happen to know what she'll be wearing."

He shifted his shoulders uncomfortably. "Well, yeah I guess." Beach turned his face towards her. "Just you know.. so I'll know what to wear... is she gonna be real dressy?"

"Oh.. well.. sort of dressy. She has this really nice open back dress.. very full flowing skirt but it's only knee length." He blinked at her and she added, "It's deep blue."

"Sooo.. I should wear the dark blue?" Beach looked at the drawer. "Is it polo shirt dressy or button up shirt dressy?"

She smiled and rested a hand on his shoulder. "Beach... you understand there's a difference between the two levels of dressiness. I'm so proud of you."

Beach smiled smugly. "Yeah.. I been talkin' to a few folks about fashion and stuff." He paused. "I forget which one is more dressy though." He looked up at her sigh of disappointment. "It's the long sleeve shirt that's more dressy."

She nodded. "You just guessed, didn't you?"

"Hey.. I had a fifty-fifty shot. So which should I wear?" As he half expected, she reached past him to pull out clothing for him. Despite his protests that he had everything in hand, he was a little relieved that she'd shown up.

"Go with the light blue polo, and your nicer slacks. That should be nice without being too dressed up." She handed over the clothing then looked him over critically. "You are going to comb out your hair, right?"

He tossed the clothing onto his bunk. "I did comb it." He waved his hand at his head. "It just goes all over the place."

"Don't worry, I'll fix it for you." She raised an eyebrow. "It's the least I can do for Courtney. You will behave at dinner, right?"

"Yes.. I'll behave." He gave her a sly look. "I'll try not to manhandle the waiter too much and refrain from chewing on the table or using my combat knife to pick my teeth. That good enough fer you?"

"Smartass. Are you going to change, or back out of the date like a big wuss?" She was shooed away. "Oh come on.. you want me out to change? Dude.. I've seen you nearly naked before."

"Only because you wouldn't turn yer back, you hussy. Out out out!" He waved her towards the door. "Go on with ya.. give me five minutes to change, then I promise ya can comb my hair as much as ya wanna."

Scarlett protested as she was hustled out of the door. "But but.. how am I supposed to report to Courtney about your 'hidden assets' if I don't get a peek?"

"Good GAWD woman! Out!" Beach shut the door behind her and shook his head. He knew she was joking, he appreciated that she was his friend and thought enough to come give him a hand with the civie clothing and all that. But sometimes the absolutely shameless nature of the Joe's female troops astounded him. He didn't ever make comments about wanting to see them naked.

Just in case she was as impatient as always, he changed quickly, taking just a second to shrug his shoulders inside the unfamiliar short sleeved shirt. He checked his holster at the small of his back and the half dozen knives in various places. It did slightly annoy him that he couldn't hide things along his forearms with short sleeves. Popping the door back open, he waited for Scarlett to look him over, turning a circle when she twirled her hand at him. "Good?"

"Where's your black belt?" He protested and she scowled. "No, we do not wear tan belts with tan pants, that's an army thing. Put on the black one instead." She watched him think it over for a few seconds and give in without further protest. "Good boy. Sit down and I'll do your hair, Courtney will be waiting if you take much longer."

"She's waiting?" Beach started back up from the chair and was pushed back down. He reached up and scuffed his hair up so it stuck out in all directions. "There... now you can feel like you really did something." He winced when she yanked her comb through it roughly a few times. "Ow.. ow ow.."

"Don't be a baby. You messed it all up, your own fault." Despite the unruly nature of the hair, Scarlett had it neatly combed out in a few moments. "There. Darn half curly hair and cowlicks. One day we're going to strap you to a chair and let Jaye trim it for you." She grinned as Beach got up quickly. "Don't worry, Courtney's probably just waiting in the rec room."

"Yeah.. I don't wanna keep her waiting though.. what if she changes her mind?" Beach snatched up his ID and rarely used bank card. When he scooped up the small comm unit to tuck it into a pocket, Scarlett frowned at him. "What? I gotta carry it.. don't matter if'n I'm off duty, I'm still the Command Sergeant major here.. I gotta be able to be reached in an emergency."

"I guess so." She looked doubtful. "As long as no one decides it would be a great idea to bug you for fun."

He shrugged. "I doubt anyone would bother. What would the point be in that?" She sighed at him and he sighed right back at it in exact imitation. "I gotta carry it, it's regulations. No discussion."

"Fine." She waved towards the door. "Do you have everything you might need? You know..." She raised an eyebrow at him. "Just in case? Protection. You know.. have it on you?"

He thought it over, mentally going over everything he had on him.. knives, extra clip, gun, security clearance, ID... "Yeah.. I'm good. Got everything." He really should get two extra clips for his hideaway gun, but he didn't have many pockets in the slacks, so he guessed he was as well set as he could be. He wondered at the odd look on her face as she almost blushed asking him about it. "What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing.. not a thing. You better get headed out." Scarlett walked beside him as he strode down the hallways. "Try not to argue with her.. okay? Just.. tell her she looks nice and you know... ask her about things she likes to talk about."

He twisted his face a little. "So ask her about her car.. and stuff like that? And CoverGirl always looks nice, how come I gotta tell her that? Ain't like she ain't gotta mirror to look in if she thinks her hair might be mussed up." He was smacked in the arm and frowned at her. "What? Don't be beatin' on me."

"Beach! You tell her she looks nice or so help me god I'll kick you in the head when hand-to-hand comes up." Scarlett put a finger up to his face. "You better not screw this up or do anything mean to her!"

"I ain't!" Beach held up a hand in protest. "I'll tell her she's lovely.. I ain't gonna go doin' nothin' mean to her!" He glanced up as Flint passed them in the hall. "Hey Flint, I'll be off base in twenty minutes."

Flint nodded in a distracted manner, absorbed in the file he was checking in his hands. Then he stopped dead in the hall and turned to look at him. "BeachHead?"

The Ranger stopped and looked at him. "Yeah?"

Flint looked him over, from neatly creased slacks to his combed hair. "BeachHead? Holy crap." He blinked. "You look good. Have a good evening." He turned away, shaking his head in disbelief. After a few steps, he turned to call over his shoulder. "I'll try to make sure no one calls you on the comm. Unless there's some major emergency, I'll take care of stuff."

Beach thought that over for a few seconds, trying to figure out if there was some sort of hidden snark or disparaging remark in it. "Uhh.. thanks."

"No problem!" Flint turned a corner and Scarlett tugged at Beach's arm.

He let himself be pushed back towards the rec room area. "That was.. odd." He looked down at Scarlett. "Ya'll didn't tell him nothin' right? I mean.. I don't think no one needs to know we're goin' out on a date or nothin'."

Scarlett laughed softly. "Beach, seriously. Everyone knows. Every-one." They emerged into the rec room and Beach blinked slightly at the number of Joes lounging around or gathered up at one end where he could barely spot CoverGirl's blond hair through the people. "See?"

Shipwreck whistled softly. "Wow.. BeachHead can clean himself up." Before Beach could retort, he got mobbed and crouched slightly in a startled reaction. It seemed people just wanted to fuss over him in civilian clothing though and he relaxed after a minute.

Dusty gave his sleeve a tug. "Snazzy threads Beach. I didn't know you owned anything but fatigues and battle armor."

He twitched away. "Yeah.. well, there's a lotta stuff you don't know." He jumped slightly when Jaye wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him. "Hey.. hands off.. come on.."

She grinned at him and turned loose. "I knew you'd look good dressed out. Nice duds, Sergeant major." She patted his arms. "Showing off the big guns!" He blushed and she reached up to pat his cheek before he could duck away. "Look at you, going out on a date like a big boy and everything."

"Oh get away from me." He pushed her with his elbow and she laughed again. "CoverGirl, if'n we're goin' out.. we need... to... need..." He blinked at her. Something about finishing a sentence vaguely occurred to his brain but he disregarded it.

She smiled and reached with one hand to twitch nervously at the skirt of her dress. "Hey Beach.. " Her dress was all sorts of silky and draped over her curves and exposed a heck of a lot of skin with the plunging neckline and no sleeves and that skirt didn't look knee-length to him at all.. he was pretty sure that was a bit of thigh he was looking at... oh and she was talking to him and he had best listen. "Do I look okay?"

He blinked and before he could figure out how to use the english language stored somewhere in the back of his head, Dusty piped up.

"If he doesn't want to take you out, I'd love to! You're gorgeous!" Dusty grinned until he turned to BeachHead. The glower made him jump aside and hold up his hands. "Sorry! I was just... you know.. I know... you're taking her out, not me, don't rip out my eyeballs!"

"Yeah well, ya ain't gotta be goin' and makin' comments." Beach's glare went around the room and every male there averted their eyes in hopes of keeping them. The instant his gaze passed, they went right back to admiring the ex-model who didn't seem so much 'ex' as 'model' right then. The burly Ranger walked across the room and cleared his throat. "You look real nice, very.. umm.. beautiful." She smiled shyly and there was a soft echo of 'awwww' in the room and he twisted to glare. "Ya'll shut it. Dang smartasses.."

"Oh it's fine Beach.. leave them alone." CoverGirl's hand settled on his forearm and he quieted. "You look great." He sniffed slightly in dismissal. "No, really. I like the polo."

He smiled just a little bit, forgetting the rest of the room in favor of looking at her. "Yeah? Thanks." He offered an arm to her and she rested one hand lightly on it. "If you're ready, we should head out, a'fore the rest of these guys get some smart idea to cause trouble." His eyes flicked around the room and everyone protested. "Yeah.. ya'll just keep yer yaps shut. We're just goin' to eat dinner!"

CoverGirl laughed softly at his annoyance and tugged slightly to lead him out of the room. "Come on Beach, you don't need to eviscerate anyone tonight, not before dinner." Her sly smile returned to her face. "Maybe after dinner.. but not before."

He snorted. "This's that 'manners' thing again, ain't it? No disemboweling folks before eating?"

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end chapter

Yes, I know, it's taken a long time to get them to the "going out on a real date". If you're glad to finally see it, please feel free to review! How do you think the date will go?