For the holiday. Just some fun fluff, but no kids this time. ;)


Disclaimer: I don't own Covert Affairs. If I did, things like this would happen.

"This place is a lot louder than Allen's," he says when they stride into a bar a few blocks over from DPD headquarters. He tightens his grasp on Annie's elbow ever so slightly. Just from the decibel level inside the bar, Auggie would guess that the average age of the new bar's patrons is early twenties.

"We can go someplace else," Annie offers, taking note of the added pressure he applies, "if you're uncomfortable."

"You said they had cheap tequila, right?"

"Yeah. Holiday special."

"Then all I need are a few shots. I'll feel right at home."

Annie laughs. "First round's on me then."

Auggie follows along beside her, bumping into people here and there, but no more than he would if he had his sight. Rowdy college kids that have come out early to celebrate the holiday—or those that are getting a head start on their Thirsty Thursday activities—are hard to navigate through without some touching going on.

Annie leads him quite a distance, making him think they've come to the back of the bar. She stops and takes his hand, then touches it to a wall so that he has some sort of bearing on his location.

"Wait here?" she asks. "We're outside the bathrooms. I don't want to lose you among all the co-eds. Seems like every undergrad from GMU heard about the cheap drinks."

"Sure sounds that way." He can barely hear her over the combination of chattering, laughing, and loud Latin music.

She turns away, then back again, laying a hand at the top of his chest. "If you have something on underneath that, I suggest showing it. We kinda stick out, and not in a good way."

The observation brings images—of two business professionals walking into a crowd of half-drunk college kids—into his head and laughter to his lips. "Lemme guess. Sexy college girls trying too hard to get guys' attention, when all the guys are interested in are boobs and drinks."

"Nail. Head. Hit," she responds. "Be right back."

Once Annie disappears into the ladies room, Auggie unbuttons his collared shirt, slips out of it, and drapes it over his arm, leaving him in a black wife-beater. He's glad he wore his dark jeans to work today—they can pass for office-wear or designer denim.

Because he's certain the bar is packed full of people, he decides to use his tried-and-true method of procuring a table. Taking out his pedestrian cane, he moves cautiously into the crowd. He doesn't have to go very far before a girl's breath fans hot air against the back of his neck.

"You lookin' for a seat?" she asks.

Works every time.

Five minutes later, Auggie is seated at a high table, two empty shot glasses sitting in front of him. The first shot he felt obligated to take because the girl had insisted. The second he needed in order to get through the awkward flirtatious comments the girl keeps making. He keeps his head pointed toward the bathrooms, waiting for Annie to come out so that he doesn't have to keep up conversation with the drunk girl who somehow made it into the bar even though Auggie thinks she's underage. He may be all for flirting, but the way she keeps "accidentally" brushing her hand over his crotch is making him immensely uncomfortable. Not to mention, he's never been into women who are too much younger than himself. He prefers women with a little more class, a little more intelligence—someone who is sexy without being overt about it.

Only a few women he's ever met fit into that category. And right now, only one is in his thoughts.

Where the heck is she? he thinks, considering ordering a third shot as he pushes the drunk girl's hand off his leg again.

Auggie's aware of the exact moment that Annie emerges from the bathroom. He doesn't hear the door open or her calling out for him. What he hears is the change in the room around him, how the baritone laughter of the frat boys and the high-pitched squealing of the sorority girls fades dramatically. It doesn't go completely silent, but there is a marked change.

Then he hears them—above the suddenly muted sounds of the bar-goers—kitten heels.

"There you are," she says, strutting up to the table and wrapping her arm around his shoulders in a possessive gesture. Annie always knows when he's receiving unwanted attention from a woman, or the occasional man, and how to make the problem go away quietly. Case in point: the overly flirtatious girl on his opposite side huffs in disappointment and leaves without any form of confrontation.

Annie's touch lingers for an extended moment, much to his delight. Auggie loves the softness of her body molded against him, the feel of her loose hair brushing along the skin of his collarbone and shoulder, and the familiar scent of Jo Malone. He's happiest when Allen's is crowded—a rare occasion now that football season is over—and he's "forced" to stand closer to her, but in this bar he doesn't have to hope for a crowd. It makes dealing with inebriated college students bearable.

With Annie, every small touch is like a shot of strong alcohol: intoxicating. The more he gets, the more he wants. He wants to touch her, to hold her, to drink her in and get lost. It's something he's indulged in on a few occasions, but he's afraid of becoming addicted to touching her, more addicted than he already is.

He's not sure when he started to feel this way about his best friend, but it's been a long while now. He's stopped trying to deny it to himself, but he's hesitated in asking her if they can take their friendship to a new, more intimate, level.

Annie mumbles into his ear that she's going for drinks over the Latin music being pumped in through crackly speakers. Then she pulls away from him and heads to the bar. Auggie told her on the way over from the office that he'd get them a cab so they can enjoy the holiday and all the delicious libations associated with the Mexican celebration.

In just a few minutes, she returns with her drink and passes him another shot. Generally, he's good at holding his alcohol, but even he has to take tequila in smaller, more spaced out doses. Given that he hasn't eaten since lunch, three shots and he's starting to feel a little buzzed. He's more fluid, more loose.

"You started without me," she says and he imagines the slight pout of her lips. "I had to do a shot at the bar to catch up with you."

"You took too long dolling yourself up," he teases.

"I did not doll myself up."

"You sure did something," he insists. "Every guy in this place was undressing you with his eyes when you came out."

Annie swats him on his shoulder. "Stop it," she says in a playful voice.

"I only speak the truth."

"And you know this how?"

"Didn't you hear it when you walked out?" he asks.

"Hear what?" she responds. "I didn't hear anything."

"Exactly." He pauses, then adds, "You stunned a room full of horny college students to the point of speechlessness."

She coughs while sipping her drink, then clears her throat, and says, "I wasn't trying to stun them."

The way she says the last word. . .there's an added emphasis that he can't fully explain, but it peaks his interest.

Annie remains silent, as though she realizes that she's given something away too late and the only option left is quiet denial. He hears her margarita glass clink on the table and takes in the change in the weight of the sound. Her glass must be nearly empty.

"If not them, who was it you were trying to impress?" he asks.

She laughs, an open-mouthed laugh that resonates deep in the back of her throat and ends on an oh no.

"I'm gonna need to ingest a lot more tequila before I'll answer that question," she says.

"Why? I thought it was an innocent question," he says, knowing that he's trying to bait her into responding.

Her dismissive laughter apparently sounds like an open invitation to interrupt their conversation. Annie sobers quickly as a guy who smells strongly of Axe approaches and stops in front of their table, leaning his heavy elbows onto the surface and tilting the tabletop in his direction.

"The bartender's calling pairs for body shots," he says as his opening line. "You in, Blondie?

Auggie can hear the single exhalation of breath come from her slack-jawed response. He can picture her with a hiked eyebrow and a will-you-get-a-load-of-this-guy? expression.

Auggie plays his part like she did with the drunk college girl earlier. His hand reaches across the short space between their bar stools and rests on her thigh—a thigh he finds surprisingly bare and warm. Now he understands why the frat boys were at a loss for words when she came out of the bathroom. His quick retort to the Axe guy's request is nearly overpowered by the groan of awareness that threatens to come from his mouth instead.

Still, Auggie manages to control himself and the situation, claiming in an slightly aggressive tone: "The only guy doing shots from any part of her body will be me."

It's not exactly what he meant to say. The alcohol has made his tongue looser than he thought. Or maybe it's touching her smooth skin that's making him give bold proclamations.

"Whatever, man."

Annie giggles as the dismissed hopeful walks away, dreams broken. Her hand covers the one that he still hasn't removed from her thigh, squeezing slightly.

"You tell 'im," she says, then sighs dramatically. "Though, I wouldn't have minded doing a body shot. Been a long time."

"I'm sure you could go after him," Auggie tells her, removing his hand from her leg.

"Eh, not really into guys with pierced tongues."

"What kind of guys are you into?"

Tequila and curiosity are not a good combination when trying to ask questions covertly.

"Where's this coming from, Aug?"

His hand falls to her thigh again, and his fingers stroke upwards until they run into fabric. Annie's gasp is audible, but it's not a gasp of outrage at his forwardness. If anything, it's a gasp of approval.

He tilts his head to the side and hikes an eyebrow in her direction, still fingering the dangerously high hemline of her dress. "Who's the sexy outfit for?"

"You jealous of him?" she teases, but he takes her question to be sincere.

"Hell yes," he responds, then attempts to backtrack. "Maybe."

Annie doesn't say anything for a moment as his answer sinks in. God, he's really screwing this up. He's all but said that he's attracted to her, and it's made things awkward. This is the reason he's been keeping his feelings for her under wraps. He was afraid this would happen.

"I'm starving," she announces suddenly, standing. "How about one more drink, then we go back to your place and eat? It's getting rowdy in here anyway."

Annie walks away, her heels hitting the floor with a little less surety than before she started in on the tequila. He doesn't have the chance to answer her.

It takes a minute after she's gone to process her words fully. When it clicks, he's still a little confused.

"My place?"

Part two-body shots included-to follow soon.

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