Awkward date time! Poor Patrick… Or I suppose I should say poor Angela! Keep in mind that Patrick is still young and raw- he's not the classy people-person we see on the show today. He isn't jaded or a famous clairvoyant or bureau of investigation-experienced yet.

We saw in 'Fugue in Red' how much of a player and a jerk he was- women meant little to him. We know there's something good within him, but in his concussed confused reality, he hadn't met Angela and the events that had shaped his life were erased, and he fell back on his conning and rude personality. That's where I'm deriving most of his teenage personality from.

Plus, we saw much of his childhood in 'Throwing Fire', when he got hit on the head and had flashbacks. In this, he's about two years older than he was then. A little more cunning, a little taller, a lot ganglier, a little curlier in the hair department.

Anyways… enjoy!

"Stop it," she said sharply, gritting her teeth and staring at the surface of the dressing table. "Go away. Please."

"Only if you'll go to the café with me tomorrow at 2," he said cheerfully.

"Fine. Sure. I'll meet you at my trailer. I'm sure you can use your psychic skills to find it," she said bitterly. She looked up quickly, just in time to see his face light up in a youthful, delighted grin, and then looked away again. She heard the tent swish shut as he departed.


When Patrick got back to his trailer, he went and stared in the mirror for a long time. This was how he attracted girls- acting like he was above them, putting them in their place one moment, then asking them on a date in the next. Making them come to him, but giving them opportunities to. Playing the lead role.

Angela (in his mind, he kept pronouncing it as angel-ah, rather than anj-el-ah like it was supposed to be) had reacted unexpectedly.

He'd dated his fair share of girls. They weren't long term relationships, only a few months at most. Never for more than 8 months. And, so far, his technique of cockiness and pride and detached interest had worked like a charm. But Angela hadn't swooned or batted her eyelashes or flirted back relentlessly. She had done the very opposite, seeming almost afraid of him.

No, no, she would take the bait. She was a girl, and that's how it worked.

He stared into his blue eyes, trying to decipher his true self in their reflections, but to no avail. He went to bed.


The next day, he showered and dressed and did the dishes and laundry before his father even woke up. Patrick hadn't gotten up until about ten (it was a Sunday, so the shows were few), but he still had time to do everything before his father got out of bed. When Patrick had returned the night before, at about eleven, his father hadn't returned from his 'card games'. He'd long since learned that the men played cards for a while, drinking steadily, until they were thoroughly inebriated and decided to stagger to the bar a quarter mile away and pick up girls. Luckily, they usually did their 'business' at the bar or at the unfortunate lady's place, so Patrick didn't have to deal with it in their small trailer.

That was actually how Patrick had been born- some woman had dropped him off at his father's trailer, threatening to take all his money and still stick him with the child if he protested. Alex Jane had taken in her genuine gold necklace, furious eyes, and black, business-like car, and agreed.

His father got up at about 1, when Patrick was headed for the shower. He noticed the nice shirt in his hand and the odd look in his eyes.

"You going on a date, boy?" Alex asked, scratching his stomach.

"Yes," Patrick admitted. I made French toast for breakfast, and there's some in the fridge that you can have. I'm not sure if I'll be back in time for supper, so I taped the Chinese take-out menu to the fridge."

"You aren't going out until-,"

"I've already done the laundry and dishes," Patrick said.

"Don't get smart with me. We're a team, remember? Don't be the leader here," Alex said, his voice persuasive rather than threatening. "Who're you going to see, anyways?"

"Angela Ruskin," he replied. Alex's eyebrows lifted almost to his hairline.

"Ruskin? You'd do good to catch her, the Ruskin family is practically carnival royalty. They've got one helluva show, and have money coming out their ears," his father said, impressed. "Don't let her get away. Put on that charm, show her you're the man. Charm her, impress her. You know what to do."

Patrick nodded, and headed for the shower.

He arrived at Angela's trailer at 2:05. Not accidentally- he was usually prompt for everything, but he needed to show her that she needed to work for him, that he wasn't an easy catch. She was sitting at the picnic table outside, dressed in a soft-looking lavender sweater scoop-neck and jeans with the knees ripped out. It was quite a change from the red leotard she'd worn yesterday for her costume.

"Let's go," he said, nodding in the direction of the street. She stood and walked beside him. He didn't have his license, and wasn't sure if she had hers or not. Something about her made her seem older than he was, though he was pretty certain that she was actually younger.

"So where did you roll in from?" she asked as they walked down the sidewalk. She still wasn't acting right- by now, she should be blushing and trying to seduce him, but she was talking to him like he was a friend.

"Farther south. It's too cold here," he said. "And I miss being so close to the beach. I can't surf here unless I take a bus for two hours." Girls loved that he surfed. It always worked.

"I don't know anything about surfing," she confessed. "But I imagine it's a lot like snowboarding."

"Did you snowboard? In New England?"

"Yes, all the time. In the winter, we travel north so we can do it. We go every year for two weeks," she said, smiling at the memory.

I want her to smile like that all the time, Patrick thought. Then he wondered where the hell that came from. Just another girl. A mark, he told himself.

"Snow is for Canadians. I'll stick to the beach, thanks," he snorted.

"Everyone loves the beach," she said, rolling her eyes. "Just because you've never been in snow, and I mean a lot of snow-,"

"I've been in the snow before. Everything was wet and cold."

"I bet you've never seen more than four inches of the stuff."

"It's slippery out, and everyone's slipping everywhere and falling down. It's dangerous."

"Only if you're a snow amateur," she retorted. "Sand has mites and sunburn and it sticks to you and gets everywhere. Snow is clean and melts off. Someday, we'll go snowboarding together. Or skiing, so you won't fall as much," she teased, winking at him. He grinned.

"I'll hold you to that."

"And we'll have a snowball fight, and I'll win. I can see it now," she said with relish, "you throwing up your hands, hair and face covered in snow, surrendering."

He snorted, and she peered up at him.

"Don't tell me you don't know what a snowball fight is," she gasped.

"Of course I know what it is," he said confidently.

"Yeah, right. Enlighten me, then."

"It's when you fight with snow. Throw it at each other and hit each other with it," he improvised pompously. He had a sudden vision of a baseball bat covered in snow, and two people hitting each other with it.

"Oh," she muttered, looking at her feet. She wasn't flirting back, wasn't laughing and saying Oh, Patrick, you're so smart. I'm sooo sorry I ever doubted you.

They walked the last half a block to the café in silence. Patrick wondered why she wasn't responding normally. Maybe she was jaded. Or she saw through his act. Or she wasn't interested in guys. A little voice nagged at the back of his head, wondering if it wasn't her that was doing things wrong, but him. He ignored it, and pulled out a chair. She sat in the other one.

"Ahem," he coughed. She looked at him in confusion, still holding the back of the chair.

"What?" she asked, puzzled.

"You're, um, supposed to sit here. See, the gentleman pulls out the chair and the lady sits in it," he said, thrown off but managing to maintain his confident, higher-than-thou act.

"Oh! Sorry," she said, blushing with embarrassment. Which wasn't what the other girls Patrick had dated had done. She got up and sat in the chair, grinning apologetically up at him as he pushed it in gently. Then he sat in the other chair. They both quickly scanned their menus in silence.

A waiter in his early twenties came over, wearing a green apron. "How can I help you guys?" he asked.

"I'd like the salami club and a cup of earl grey. Bring the hot water and bag separate, I'd like to steep it myself," Patrick said without looking away from Angela. She fought back a grin at something, and looked up at the waiter.

"Um… I'd like the Lennon wrap with no mushrooms and an English toffee cappuccino, please," she requested. The waiter nodded, jotting things down, smiled at Patrick, and departed.

"You smiled, a moment ago. At what?" he asked, feigning a vaguely disinterested tone.

"I didn't figure you'd be a tea person, let alone an OCD tea person," she laughed. Then she glanced around to check if the waiter was gone. "He kept staring at you," Angela whispered. Patrick shrugged.

"He's gay," he said as if it were common knowledge. She blinked.

"Oh. Damn, that explains a lot," she sighed. "I come here all the time, and he never gave me a second glance, no matter what I wore."

That was an opening for some real work. Not quite a flirt, but close enough. He leaned forward on his elbows, raising an eyebrow.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he said in a low purr. She blushed furiously.

"Oh, shut up," she said, giggling. "Nothing scandalous, if that's what you're thinking. Get your mind out of the gutter, you fink."

"Takes one to know one, Angela." That always worked, saying something clever followed by adding the girl's name.

She stuck out her tongue, but he saw anxiety in her eyes. Two very negative things.

"Did you ever come here in your costume?" he asked, laughter in his voice.

"Yeah, right. I hate that thing, it's so obscene," she snorted. "And it actually is pretty unrevealing." He had to agree- it was skin-tight, but didn't bare any flesh.

"Poor guy, trying to fend off a crazy carnie girl trying to seduce him," Patrick said with a smirk.

Her gaze became angry. "I'm not like that," she snapped.

"Like what?" he replied, confused.

"Seductive and flirty and easy." She shifted in her seat- he saw from her poise that she was going to leave. Uh-oh.