A/N: My mother-in-law introduced us to the t.v. Show 'Leverage' just two weeks ago (and in those two weeks, we avidly watched all of First and Second seasons with an eye of purchasing our own copies soon). So, of course, I had to check out what fanfiction was out there – and what a wonderful selection there was, too! Here's a shout-out to all you writers out there = thanks for sharing! So, middle of the night, this popped into my head and I had to jot it down. It's not set in any particular season, it's Eliot-centric-ish – and just a 'could-have-been' conversation during one of their scams.

"Appetite"

Leverage

By : Maven Alysse

'Appetite'

The team had spent the last five hours on the road and most of them had retreated to their hotel rooms for some much needed rest. Eliot Spenser was too wired for sleep. Standing on the sidewalk, he noticed an all-night diner across the street. Cup of coffee was just what the doctor ordered.

A brief frown crossed his face; for nine o'clock on a Friday night, the place was pretty empty. In fact, other than a couple of waitresses, only one table was occupied. Boy, was it occupied. Papers were strewn across the surface, in a seeming haphazard manner. A laptop computer stood on one end of the table next to a binder and notebook. Several writing utensils lay amidst the mess. A lone cup of coffee occupied the only clear space on the table. A backpack leaned against one of the legs, but the seat was empty.

One of the waitresses waved. "Evening. Sit wherever. Be with you in just a sec," before disappearing into the kitchen.

Shrugging to himself, Eliot sat in the corner near the fire door, giving himself a clear view of all the exits and the rest of the restaurant.

Less than a minute passed before a young woman came from the direction of the restrooms. Perhaps late twenties, early thirties. Black slacks, black tennis shoes, and a deep purple long sleeved pull-over shirt highlighted a runner's build. Waist length reddish-blonde hair was pulled back with a clip. The glasses perched on her nose framed blue-green eyes. Back at her table, she picked up her cup, glanced around the room, shrugged and headed over to the waitress' station filling her cup with coffee. She caught his eye. "Want some coffee? Or water?"

He shot a look over at the kitchen door. She laughed. "They'll be awhile. It's the fourth quarter. They'll be glued to the radio for a bit." She shook the pot.

"I'll take a coffee, then, darlin'."

Filling a second mug, she brought the coffee to him. "Let me get you some cream and sugar, too." Suiting actions to words, soon the two were quietly sipping their drinks. Eliot found himself watching the young woman. She tapped a pen on the page she was reading, circled something, wrinkled her nose, jotted something in the margin, muttering to herself, then pulled over the binder and writing something before putting the paper into one of the numerous piles. Two more papers were gone over the same way before she sighed, stretching her arms and shoulder. "Done and done!" The piles were efficiently picked up and placed within the backpack, followed by the binder and laptop. Most of the pens and pencils were put away as well. Glancing around, she blinked as her eyes fell on Eliot, as if startled he was still there. "Tammy!"

One of the waitresses came out from the kitchen, eyes wide, and quickly moved over to Eliot's table. "I'm so sorry. Would you like to order anything?"

"Bacon mushroom burger with fries."

"You got it." She motioned at the mug. "Sorry about the wait. Coffee's on the house." She turned before he could argue, heading over to the other table. "How're you doin', teach? Ready for desert?"

"Yup."

"Oreo fudge sundae?"

The blonde grinned, "You know it." Pulling over the notebook, she pulled it open to a fresh page and started writing.

The only sound was the soft scratch of pen to paper, the easy listening music piped in, and the faint sounds of a radio playing in the kitchen.

Eliot leaned back in his chair, somewhat bemused as he watched the woman absently finish her drink, focused on whatever she was doing. A moment later, she glanced up, obviously wanting a refill. Seeing that the waitstaff were still huddled in the kitchen, the woman shot a wry grin at Eliot. Rising from her seat she grabbed the coffee pot and refilled both mugs again. "Sorry about that. It's like the entire town shuts down when there's a game. This place usually has really good service."

"Why don't you join me?" He smiled.

She grinned back, shrugged, and grabbed her things, sitting across from him. "Might as well, since I keep coming over here anyway." She held out her hand. "Jeanna."

He shook it. "Eliot." He cocked his head, "She called you teach?"

"English at the High School. I come here to grade papers since it's usually quieter than home. Definitely has less distractions. 'Course, since absolutely everyone who could get off is at the game tonight, the place is even quieter than usual."

"Why aren't you at the game?"

"Miss Rice isn't allowed to go to the games anymore." Tammy returned with a tray. She placed his burger in front of him, along with ketchup, and the sundae in front of Jeanna.

"What?"

Jeanna nodded solemnly, though there was a glint in her eyes. "My students asked me not to. Seems I'm a jinx."

"You are, Miss Rice." At Eliot's incredulous look, the waitress pouted, "Well, she is. Every time she goes to one of the games, we lose."

"Five years running," she nodded. "Even during homecoming last year. We were losing. So I left at half-time."

"And we won!" Tammy added, vindicated. "So, we told her she couldn't go to any football games anymore. We don't even let her listen to the game on the radio. Just in case." She flounced off.

"I don't mind, much," Jeanna added softly. "I don't care for large, loud crowds, anyway. And the kids always get such a kick out of describing the game to me Monday morning."

The two ate, enjoying each other's company. Eliot was startled to note that over an hour had passed while the two talked. Sudden cheering from the kitchen drew their attention. Jeanna chuckled. "Guess we won tonight."

Tammy came racing out. "We won! We won! We're in the Championships!" She hugged Jeanna before blushing furiously at Elliot.

"Guess that means my meal's free."

Tammy grinned. "Yup. Let me go tell Jason." She dashed off again.

At Eliot's raised brow, Jeanna rolled her eyes. "Since they won't let me go to the games, if they win, the football team pays for my dinner." She shrugged. "It makes them happy. And I only get coffee and a sundae on game nights, so I don't feel guilty." She pushed back her chair and scooped her backpack up. "It's getting late. I should head home," she grinned up at him, dimples appearing at the corner of her eyes. "Thank you so much for keeping me company."

They'd been gently flirting all evening and he liked the heat in her eyes, so he decided to go for broke. "I'd like to continue keeping you company. Join me in my hotel room?"

The smile widened. She brushed back a strand of hair with her left hand, the light glinting off the ring on her finger. How had he missed that? "As extremely tempting as that is, I'll have to decline." She rose to her feet, an impish grin on her face. "Though my husband will be extremely happy I met you, Eliot."

Eliot blinked, brain stuttering at the unexpected response. "He will? Why?"

She kissed his cheek. "He doesn't care where I get my appetite as long as I come home for dinner." She gave him a saucy wink, "And I am ravenous." With that, she walked off with a swish of her hips.

"Lucky man."

8888

8/8/2011

A/N 2: okay... the original story idea began with "it's getting late, I should head home" and ended with "lucky man", and was supposed to be this short, little, scene-thing. But once typed, it seemed too short. So, I started adding things. I originally thought it occurred in a more upper scale restaurant/bar type place, but when I started typing the venue changed and this is what came out.

I shamelessly put myself into the story (I hate Mary-Sue's but didn't think this counted since the character has absolutely nothing to do with their scams). My husband has used that particular line in the past. ::grin:: Sadly, the whole "I've been asked by my students not to come to the football games because each time I do we lose" is true, though they never offered to pay for my dinner if I didn't go to their game and they won (drat).

Hope you enjoyed.