Auggie Anderson was not often caught up in wardrobe decisions, but tonight was different. Tonight was the big show.

He'd waited for this night for what felt like forever, but never imagined that his primary hangup would be choosing between the solid and the stripes. His watch declared it seven thirty when he heard the roar of an engine outside his window. It sounded like a very familiar roar, but he elected to ignore it. Until the knock at his door.

"Who is it?" he called. He wasn't just going to open the door shirtless. He'd learned his lesson.

"Nosy neighbor."

He slid the door open, lesson be damned. "Annie Walker. Don't you own a watch?"

"August Anderson. Don't you own a shirt?" Annie blew past him like she owned the place. "I'm sorry, I wanted to get here early."

"Well, you nailed it," he grinned. "What are you doing here? I thought we were meeting at the restaurant."

"Okay, you ready? Hold out your hand."

Auggie obliged with a groan. His fingers closed around a very familiar set of keys.

"Walker, what's this about?"

"Well, I wanted tonight to be special. For you, too," she licked her lips, choosing her words. "So, instead of meeting up, I thought we could go for a drive. Together."

Auggie's words were repressed by a lump in his throat. He just managed a smile before she snatched the keys back out of his hand.

"Get a shirt on, Anderson. This isn't Geeks Gone Wild."

Auggie retreated to his bedroom and Annie put on some Coltrane. Perfect selection for the evening. It wasn't until he was alone that he allowed himself to process what a touching gesture it was. She knew him. She knew that if it were up to him, he would have picked her up in the convertible with the top down and taken her somewhere great and been obscenely chivalrous all night. His giving her the convertible had been a small way of saying he was giving up. Her picking him up was a small way of saying she just wouldn't let him.

"Tell me something about yourself that I don't already know," Annie said, leaning forward. They were settled in the back corner of a decently quiet restaurant, in one of those booths that only seats two, holding hands across the table.

"Okay. When I was at Fort Bragg, I kind of picked up this subconscious Carolina accent," he felt himself blushing. "My mom hated it so much that she gave me twenty bucks not to talk to anyone at Thanksgiving dinner."

"No way that's a true story."

"Scout's Honor," Auggie laughed. "She's never really grasped the concept of picking one's battles."

"Do it," Annie dared. "I wanna hear it."

"Hell no," Auggie took a sip of his beer. "Your turn."

"You know everything about me!" Annie insisted.

"You started this game, Walker, you've gotta play it."

"I dyed my hair red when I was fifteen."

Auggie winced. "Yikes. That wouldn't suit you at all."

Annie grinned. "How do you know? You don't even know what I look like."

"I dunno, Walker. I've figured a pretty good picture."

Her tone was playful. She leaned in closer. "I'd love to hear it."

Auggie chose his words carefully. "Well, you're a blonde."


"About 5'6 in flats."

"Yeah. And my eyes?"

"Your eyes are warm, and honest, and piercing."

Annie's hand grew warmer, indicating a first-class blush, but Auggie wasn't stopping. He'd been wanting to tell her this cheesy crap for three years.

"Your mouth is wide and soft and packed with teeth you think are too big but I think are proportionate to the size of your smile, which is enormous and bright, bigger when you laugh. Your nose is smooth. It doesn't get in the way of a kiss. I'm a fan-"

Before Auggie could finish his thought, Annie was proving just how non-intrusive her nose could be. She kissed him across the table, taking his face in her hands. When she pulled away, she only went so far that their foreheads were touching.

"So, how'd I do?" he asked, smile widening to the point where his cheeks ached slightly.

Annie laughed. "I'll let you know once I've heard that accent."