They're heading east on the I-90 in his car with the top down. He's driving; she's playing DJ; they feel twenty years old again.

"Next," he says when Alicia stops on a country song.

They're heading to a conference on their first hot weekend since summer started and he's taking his time getting to their destination, following the speed limit for once.

She chuckles when he keeps telling her to skip songs. "This is your iPod, Will."

"My sister had it in her possession for the past two weeks."

"Mhm," Alicia hums, not quite believing him.

"You don't even like country music." He shoots her an amused look. "Last I checked, anyway."

She smiles and it is nostalgic like candied apples and state fairs.

"What?" he asks.

"Remember those mixed tapes you used to make me?"

"Oh yeah." Now it's his turn to laugh. "You only had good taste in music because of me. Must be why you stick to NPR nowadays."

"Must be," she says and then adds, "If I recall, they also used to be themed."

"Oh god." Will groans, "Please don't judge me for my youth."

"'Alicia's Study Mix'," she quotes.

"No way," he replies, "I wouldn't be that lame. I think it was along the lines of 'Alicia's leave-me-the-fuck-alone Mix'."

She laughs. "I wish I had kept them."

"You probably wouldn't be able to play them," he says, "Where are you going to find a cassette player these days?"

"Still." She shrugs, a smile still on her face. "Memories, you know?"

Will knows all too well.

"Here," he says, plucking the iPod out of Alicia's hand and holding it at eye-level so he can simultaneously scroll through artists and watch the road. It's an album he has rarely played in the last fifteen years because it's been so closely connected to Alicia in his mind, but after last spring, it had somehow found its way back onto his playlist again.

He watches her reaction when the first track starts and it all comes to mind so clearly: second year law and his tiny apartment—

"Okay, Will—" her laugh is like summer sunshine, "can we get back to studying now?"

"That depends—" it's an addiction, the way she makes him feel, "are you going to be wearing that while we do it?"

She's in one of his ratty large t-shirts – the kind he wears on Sunday mornings when he's putzing around the house – with her curly hair mussed thanks to their earlier recreational activities.

"It was on your bed," she says, plopping down on the couch and tucking her bare legs underneath, "And you weren't wearing it."

"Oh, I have no problem with you borrowing my clothes," he says, smirking. "I just can't be responsible for what my hands do while you're in them."

She picks up her abandoned notes from earlier, tries to ignore the way his eyes caress her body, "Come on—" she hands him a stack of cue cards "—quiz me."

He kneels on the floor beside her, says suggestively, "Yeah, I'll quiz you, alright."

She gives him a look and he grins boyishly, plucking the cards from her fingers, "You're the hottest study buddy, like, ever. Ever and ever."

She still gives him that look sometimes. It's a look that tells him he's succeeded in lightening her day just a little bit, but nothing's as easy as it used to be—

"Alicia, you don't want to do this—" he's too weak to deny her anything, "I swear, it's a war you'll never win."

"You're all talk, Gardner—" she always gets mischievous when she's had one too many, "You can't take me."

Their friends are watching them, all by the pool during an organised vacation in Cancun after a crazy year. Internships are waiting for them when they get back home, but they're trying adamantly to relax.

"Alicia…" he warns as she continues to approach.

"Will…" she mimics.

He's not close enough to the edge for her to safely push him in. "Don't you want to take a little dip?"

"Nope," he says resolutely, though he has to admit that the glistening beads of water on her skin and dripping off the ends of her hair are enticing.

She can tell where his mind has gone and leans into him. "Aren't you feeling hot, Will?" The natural timbre of her voice is already sexy enough, but when she tries, it's practically obscene. "Tell you what," she murmurs, "You jump in with me and later I'll…"

His jaw goes slack as she whispers filthy things into his ear and before he realises what's happened, she's pushing and he's falling and everybody's laughing.

Later, walking barefoot on the beach, she apologises and kisses him. Their tongues tangle and she tastes like lemonade in the shade—

"That was a good year," she says.

and he wants to whisper how he's fallen for her in a hundred different ways.

"I miss you, Alicia," he says.


A/N: Originally for TGW February Ficathon over at LJ. Prompt was: Lady Antebellum's 'Friday Night'.