A/N: Let me start off by saying I am an OC writer at heart. I've created multiple OCs for multiple fandoms and once I get hooked onto a new series my imagination tends to run away with me. What resulted was the creation of a character alongside my comrade-in-arms Pyreo. The following is a test run. I repeat, this is only a test. If by some miracle this is actually received positively, we might go on to write stories that actually develop her character and involve her with the rest of the cast.
Spot the Frasier reference, win a cookie.
They'd ordered Chinese food earlier that evening, from a small, family-owned shop in the inner city that was open until two in the morning. Take-out box of Shanghai noodles sitting up on her stomach, she reclined on the office couch across from him, going over last-minute adjustments to promos and future charity advertisements and how the middle drawer of the filing cabinet in the far corner of the room wouldn't open anymore.
"I mean, know I'm the only one who gets any use out of it, but it'd be nice if you could send Joe over sometime to..." She cut herself off upon hearing him snickering. "What?"
"I'm sorry, I..."
"What is it, sir?"
He thrust his arms out to point at her. "I‒I‒I can't take you seriously when you look like a walrus."
His arms fell back into his lap.
She looked up at him from behind thin reading glasses, and suddenly became aware of the chopsticks between her teeth (she held them there for safekeeping as she scribbled notes down on her clipboard). His smile faded; he cleared his throat and waited for her to remind him of the time, to give him an impatient look, to tell him to focus.
Instead, she tilted her head back to settle on the armrest, tapping her pen against her chin.
"I was going for sabre-toothed tiger, but okay."
He had a chuckle at that, and he's not sure why he sounded so relieved.
The remaining workload was covered within the next few hours. During their final minutes, the intern swept in and out of the room, filing away last-minute paperwork, tossing out trash, straightening out the desks (all disproving Dave's theory about them ever having a nightly janitor). It was a rare, but comfortable routine. She only ever stayed this far into the evening near the end of the week, where deadlines wrapped up and new projects poured in.
He only ever stayed when Lisa was too agitated to leave early alongside him.
The intern grabbed her coat off the rack by his office entrance, strapping her purse around her shoulder and leaving the door open for him on the way out.
He did a double-take back up at her, and held out his arm as if it'd keep her from advancing.
"Hey, um...did you...did you maybe wanna swing by my place, have coffee?"
Dave knew where that line brought him before (hell, anyone could predict where that line would bring him), but the words poured out of him beyond his control. Twirling in place to face him, she lingered in his doorway, bundle of take-home files clutched to her chest.
It took a few seconds after her modestly cheerful nod for what he'd asked of her to really settle in.
For Dave, small-talk usually consisted of work‒ongoings at the office, past employment experiences, educational background. Sometimes politics, if he was feeling particularly adventurous.
The strangest thing about their conversation during the drive back to his place was that, looking back on it, he couldn't really remember what it was they even talked about, only that a) he was sure it consisted of none of the above, and b) her English accent was much more endearing when she spoke about things that weren't consisted of any of the above.
As he pulled into his parking garage with her in the passenger's seat, she hadn't once remarked on his poor taste in music while fiddling with his car radio to change the station or the cassette tapes.
As he opened the car door for her, there were no traces of irritation or heated debates or scathing, backhanded remarks over the smallest, most insignificant things.
As they idled in the elevator, he wasn't charged to the point of wanting to shut her up using his own mouth pressed to hers, needing to tear clothing from her until his frustration was finally spent on something temporarily worthwhile.
He lead her into his apartment, a sizeable dwelling with a few stray unpacked boxes scattered about, and as he slid her coat from her shoulders, she commented on his small design choices. The furniture. The view from the window. How spotless everything was kept. An offhand comment about being on-hand if he ever needed help unpacking. A laugh.
(If he'd brought Lisa here, they'd be stumbling on their way to his bedroom by now.)
She caught his gaze and smiled, turning around fully to help him loosen his tie in a way that was completely contrary to how his tie usually came off at the hands of a woman.
(He was so caught up staring at her, he'd been pawing at the knot by his neck uselessly for the past thirty seconds.)
They were simple pleasantries, but he'd forgotten how he'd missed them.
"What are these?"
He glanced out from his kitchen space, nearly tripping over himself on the way.
"Oh‒oh, those?" As dismissive as he sounded, he rushed over to get her away from his television. "Those aren't...those aren't anything."
She tilted her head to the side, examining the library. "They're videotapes."
"Yes, they are!" He walked up to her. "You know, you've got really good eyesight, maybe you don't need those glasses of yours after all."
"'Green Acres'?" she read aloud, squinting.
"I don't..." he sneered. He rested his hands on her arms. Further efforts to guide her away proved futile. "I don't watch Green Acres, okay."
"But...there's at least forty tapes here..."
"My mother sent them, they were a Hanukkah gift."
"...all labelled 'Recorded by Dave Nelson, DO NOT TOUCH'."
She glanced over her shoulders and their eyes met once more, only this time, she was hunched over his pirated VHS collection while he held her in his arms.
(They were barely touching.)
She blinked. A slight smirk curled the edge of her lip. "I've never seen it before."
The offer lingered in the air between them.
His chuckle was nervous, and breathy.
A respectful distance separated them on his living room couch, far enough to acknowledge personal space but close enough for him to put his arm around her if he tried.
(Not that he was considering it, of course.)
They each had a steaming white porcelain mug in their hands. The time bled from late night into early morning; hours flew by with laughter, a bowl of popcorn, and a delightful sort of mutual commentary, each of them cracking jokes at a grainy, glitching screen, pointing out things which attached new memories to scenes and would change every future rewatch of them, forever.
Eventually, her head bumped against his shoulder, and he was slightly ashamed of how hard his hopes were dashed when he realized it was just because she'd dozed off.
Sighing, he slid the now-room temperature cup of liquid from her fingers before it spilled over with her tilt, setting it to rest on the table beside his own empty mug.
At first, he tried waking her with whispered encouragements and small, discreet nudges of her body. When that effort failed miserably, he made several motions to remove himself from the couch altogether, but each attempt saddled him with an odd guilt for trying to move her in the first place.
Another full episode on the third sequential tape finished, and by now he was pouting with awkward uncertainty.
He looked around himself, and spotted a fleece throw folded over the back of the couch. It took a significant stretch of his arm to reach out and grab it without shifting her too much‒he figured he could wrap it around her and the newfound warmth would let him slip out unnoticed.
But it was a rather large blanket.
And the newfound warmth was comfortable.
Going against his better judgement, he laid himself back fully, and she ended up resting on his clothed chest, humming every so often in content against his unbuttoned suit jacket.
He bit the inside of his lip.
He couldn't explain why he felt so unsure of himself within this moment; going out and making conversation and having fun and leading to sex were never a problem before, but this simple, shared contact between them was making him feel like an uneasy teenager again. Quite frankly, the unwanted surprise frustrated him enough to wrap his arms around her just to prove to himself that he could.
And when he stole a moment to bury his nose in her poofy, dark hair, the taste of coffee on his tongue while Eddie Albert went about his own shenanigans out the corner of his eye‒well. That was all just for show.
He holds her against his chest the same way she holds her folders, clinging, possessive, assured; he falls asleep somewhere between the delicate scent of lavender, peach, and vanilla, coupled with the lingering realization that she didn't even like coffee.