AN: Well, this is my 100th fic! Yay! New Year's Resolution fulfilled {for once}. This has two potential endings; the second chapter works with where the next episode goes, the third isn't cannon. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Set: After 2x19: Bigger Fish To Fry

Spoilers: For "Bigger Fish to Fry"

Pair: Amanda & Simon

Disclaimer: If I owned them, the world as we know it would be a different {*cough*Better*cough* :P } place.


...Dalliance...

As Amanda McKay slunk out of the Kato & Pitman legal offices, the reality of what she'd almost done began to wrap around her like a wet, sandy towel. The overwhelming feeling was of dirt. Gritty, cold dirt. Richard, for god's sake!

Alright, she didn't hate him like Happy did, but he was certainly the enemy – and not in a Romeo and Juliet way. On top of that, less than twenty-four hours ago he'd knowingly abused her {and her company} by using a private comment she'd made to him against her. Needless to say, he was entirely not the kind of man she intended to be jumping into bed with. Or onto a couch with, as had been the case tonight.

She was Caitlin all over again, she suddenly realised. This had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with Richard making some kind of 'up-yours' at MDA. Probably at Happy, specifically.

Oh, god, why had she even gone? And why had she taken Happy's advice to drink as much of K&P's Grange as she could? She had probably managed to polish off the nine hundred dollars she'd lost to Richard in mediation that day in booze...

Alright, that was a slight exaggeration, and she knew exactly why she'd gone: Because Simon hadn't given her a reason not to.

Yes, it was a sad truth. The kind of man she should have been jumping into bed – or onto a couch with – was not the kind of man who would, on a whim, or to prove a point, jump onto a couch or bed or any other type of furniture with her. What was worse was that the specific man she wanted to be jumping onto insert-piece-of-furniture-preferably-bed-but-also-acceptably-Eames-chair with was not ready to be jumping anywhere with anyone.

But it didn't have to be that specific, did it? All it would've taken was a "Feel like a movie?" Or... Or dinner. Or a drink. Or frigging Scrabble or any of those normal Simon and Amanda are hanging out as nothing more than friends activities in which they regularly partook and in which she damn well wanted to partake tonight.

Okay. So she shouldn't have relied on him so much. It was a test, and testing someone when they didn't know they were being tested was never a good idea. All she wanted was to see how he reacted – or if he reacted, which he hadn't. Outwardly. He was Simon, though, and who knew what was going on in that brain of his? She certainly couldn't work it out most of the time. The corner of her mouth pulled up a little and her chest got that funny 'I like when you think about Simon' warm feeling. She was such a mess. The worst part about it was that she went to Simon with her problems, but right now she felt like he was one of her problems. All she wanted of him, though – and it really didn't seem like too much to ask – was some indication that he cared what she did.

...Then again, he did ask what her decision was when she hadn't brought it up, and hadn't there been something more in the inquiry? Or was she just being wishful? Finally she managed to hail a taxi, and as she slid into it she found herself reciting her friend's address instead of her own. Once she'd realised her mistake she didn't correct herself. She was, after all, drunk and liable to call on her best friend for comfort.

Amanda leant back into the seat of the Ford taxi and attempted to process the narrowly-avoided-disaster-encounter by letting her mind wander over it.

She remembered saying to him: "You're a lot of things, Richard; but you're not psychic." Her lips, once again, curled. How could Richard Savage, plaintiff solicitor extraordinaire and part-time-bastard, possibly have guessed that the reason she'd done such a sudden about face before they were almost past the point of no return was because a particular conversation with her best friend had popped into her head? He simply couldn't.

It was actually her voice that came to her, rather than Simon's. "You know that little voice that says 'Maybe, this time, not?'" And she did know it, and so did he. And the slight glimmer of proud affection in his eyes after she'd said it definitely didn't sway her decision at all. And of course there was a ripple effect caused by this one small memory – him saying, not without some disappointment, "I guess a drink isn't always just a drink" the morning after she'd spent a regrettable night with Nathan, the way he'd metaphorically picked her up off the floor after she realised her mistake, Simon asleep on the couch after she'd picked him up from the hospital, innocent and beautiful and so vulnerable it frightened her. Simon. Three months worth of memories of life with a best friend named Simon Lloyd. The inexplicable comparisons between both Simon and Richard and Simon and Nathan sprung forth in her mind. He was another Nathan. Another mistake. Another impulsive attempt at escaping her own mind. Not someone she could love. Not the man she did love. Beyond that, even if she wasn't well and truly emotionally attached to someone else, he was the wrong kind of man, and if she wasn't learning from her previous mistakes then she wasn't as smart as her law degree suggested.

She'd left Richard's office, and she was glad. She didn't see lights or hear music, but she certainly would still like herself in the morning this way, which wasn't something she could guarantee if she had've slept with him. The cab stopped in front of Simon's block of flats and when she glanced out the window, she smiled. Maybe seeing him was all the reward she needed.


AN2: If you want her to get out of the taxi, pick chapter 3; if you want her to go home, pick chapter 2.