(This story picks up where The Night Is Still Young left off. So it's more Dan/Dana, rated R, set immediately after season 1.)
"You and Me and the City Makes Three"
Dana had a suspicion that she and Dan viewed New York very differently. Okay, so it was more than a suspicion. Okay, so maybe she'd needed to be hit over the head with it. She was a television producer, not some shamus in a trench coat. Or a private dick as Dan would no doubt have said, grinning and just daring her not to laugh. And then he'd whip out a fedora and it would be all over.
The thing that got her thinking was the movie he put on as they ate sandwiches from the place around the corner from his brownstone; the owner had delivered them personally and kissed his fingers at her while he and Dan haggled over whether or not money was owed for the delivery. She bolted half of hers before Dan even had the napkins out of the bag. She pounced once he did, stealing the bag and reaching for his sandwich. "Nuh-uh," he said, stealing it back. "That Dan is all mine."
"You know that makes no sense, right?" she said, lulling him into a false sense of security by taking a long pull of juice.
"This" - he gestured with the sandwich, now unwrapped and looking small in his hands - "is the 'Dan.'"
"Named after you?"
"Did you not see Nguyen, master of Cajun-Vietnamese fusion cooking, drop everything to make and deliver these two Dans to this Dan?"
"Nnnno," she said, truthfully, and made another grab.
Damn his superior reach and apparent unticklishness. "Dana. Crazy lady. We got the same sandwich. You still have half of yours left; you don't need mine."
Well, if he was going to be logical about it. "It's really named after you?"
"Either that or the backing band for They Might Be Giants. We're gonna thumb-wrestle for it one of these days - best of three." She laughed and he looked so pleased at her reaction that his smile lit up his face. She'd heard that phrase a lot before, but she'd never seen it actually happen. It was good.
"You'll need to rest up," she said solemnly once she got her face under control.
"I was thinking maybe a rare morning session of my New York film festival," he offered.
She had nowhere else to be and every intention of staying where she was. "I'll hold your sandwich while you put in the movie," she said, expecting a carefully-worded admonition against stealing instead of a firm press of his lips against hers.
"Deal," he said when he pulled back and then got up to pop in the movie.
He settled back on the floor next to her and made quick work of his sandwich; she ate the second half of hers contemplatively, smiling whenever she saw him move in her peripheral vision. She gathered evidence as she chewed and once the last bite was swallowed, she was ready to announce her findings. "I am the least crazy person in this room," she said offhandedly.
He hit pause and turned to face her. "Them's fightin' words. I've seen your Draft Day Dance. I know you have a secret passion for pairs figure skating. I have personally witnessed you playing air-violin, which might very well be the quickest route to a straightjacket you can take."
She laughed off each . . . slightly valid point and shouted "HA!" when he finished. "And yet, my little friend, I know that a fairy-tale movie set in a fictional demesne" - she nodded to acknowledge his word and he nodded back with mock solemnity - "does not belong in a New York film festival!"
"First of all," he started and pulled her back onto his lap; her body adjusted like it had finally found the most comfortable seat in the world.
"You are like the La-Z-Boy to end all La-Z-Boys," she murmured, settling in and winding her arms around his neck. His skin was warm and he smelled fantastic.
"My God, you are deteriorating rapidly," he said, getting rough fingertips up under the hem of the shirt she'd pulled from his dresser, a faded Dartmouth tee that was worn to a nearly silky smoothness. He dragged soft lines on the bare skin of her waist. "First of all, as I was saying, do I feel little to you?" One of his thighs pressed up a little, insinuating itself perfectly between her legs.
"Not 'little.' Perfectly . . . adequate, I should have said." He kissed her soundly and she capitulated, just a tiny bit. "Wonderful, even. Danny."
She snugged in closer. He swallowed and continued, "And second of all, this is absolutely a New York movie. There's no way Max and Valerie weren't beamed into Florin from a nice deli in Manhattan."
"What?" she asked, only to be met by his mouth again. "You can't kiss me when you're clearly wrong and when you might be right!"
"I can kiss you whenever I want," he said, and proved it.
Last night's kisses had been like drifting on a boat as the sun beat down, all warm and lazy and luxurious. Danny, she'd decided, was a phenomenal kisser. But these morning kisses, after they'd stayed up all night talking and touching and just becoming accustomed to sharing space, were on a whole new level. It had been longer than she cared to admit since she'd taken a chemistry class, but it definitely felt like he was energizing every electron in her body and making everything spin faster. He wasn't shy, but he was careful, and she was so done with waiting.
"Yeah," she said as his mouth detoured down her throat, "let's roll."
His eyes crinkled up in that way that was so him - she was sure she'd be able to pick him out in any photograph, no matter how old or faded, just by that puckish crinkle - and he said, "Yes, ma'am. Operation: Let's Get Laid is a go."
"This was a really good idea," she murmured as the t-shirt and sweatpants she'd borrowed from him disappeared as if by magic.
"Great minds," he said, lifting up so she could get his pants off.
It might have been her leg or his hand, or quite possibly a buttock of indeterminate origin, but something connected with the remote control as they rolled and The Princess Bride sprang back to life. She started at the noise and might have yelped just a little bit at seeing Andre the Giant when she'd expected to see Dan's face, which was verging on the ecstatic. "Nope, bedroom, now," she said with as much dignity as she could muster with him trailing a hand along her skin like he needed to learn the grain of it by touch alone.
The bed was in a puddle of sun that felt almost as good as he did. Morning sex was a luxury she hadn't indulged in for far too long a time, and it both grounded and amazed her to be able to touch, to taste, to tremble through rampaging sensation and still see Dan's familiar face, to know he was the one responding to her every move.
She kissed him again, just because their faces lined up perfectly and there was no point passing that up, and then she couldn't stop, wouldn't let him slip away, and he let his weight press her into the bed and let her have her way.
It took her until Monday morning - one sleep and two showers away from Dan - to realize they'd never discussed how they were going to handle the work situation. She had no interest in being petty; she wasn't with Dan to show up Casey or to follow any of Natalie's corkscrew-twisted strategies. Though she might well be a little petty and decree that Natalie's punishments could no longer include stealing Dan's pants, because those thighs were exclusively hers to ogle.
She got through the first rundown meeting by resolutely repressing all delicious memories of his face between her legs, his hands holding her open for his mouth; it took her stealing Natalie's diet cream soda to do it, but she managed.
"Hey," she heard when the meeting was over. She turned her head in acknowledgment but kept walking. "I'm taking you to the greatest deli in the world - the Max-and-Valerie deli - after the noon rundown." She wrinkled her nose, just to make him work for it, and he obliged. "You already like it. It's the place that I get that potato salad from."
"With the pickles and capers?" she asked, perking up. She wouldn't mind visiting a place where genius like that flourished; maybe she'd be inspired to reach new creative heights as well.
"Yes, and you can order your own instead of stealing mine."
"You should just get two things of potato salad if you're so bothered by it," she said.
"I do, it's just I'm concerned about the pattern I've observed." They turned a corner and Dan asked, not missing a beat, "Does she do it to you, Isaac, or is it just me?"
"Danny," Isaac greeted, a little slower than he would have been a month ago. "Which of Dana's foibles are we discussing now?" There were pauses for breath between some of the words, but his enunciation was fine.
"Hey!" she protested, just to watch him smile his old devilish smile.
"Rampant food thievery," Dan grossly exaggerated. Okay, so he probably hadn't finished a side cup of potato salad since he'd started going to that deli, but really, wasn't he basically taunting her with it by bringing it back to the office?
"Good way to lose a finger," Isaac observed sagely, as if he weren't a notorious cookie thief.
"I am on to you," she said, pointing at each of them in turn, and Dan reached out and caught her whole hand in his. It was so easy to be pulled into his arms that she forgot where they were until Isaac's dry laughter reminded her.
He held up a hand to forestall the explanations she wanted to offer. Not that she had them handy, which she really should have; it was called multi-tasking, and she was usually pretty good at it. "Good for you," was all Isaac said, until he caught Dan's eye and decided to sink down to the level of maturity represented by the on-air talent. "Still trying to sleep your way to the top, Danny?"
"Someday my flowers and poems will break down the barriers you've built, Isaac."
"You are both so ridiculous," she said, freeing herself from Dan's octopus arms and marching off victoriously, but not before she heard Isaac getting in the last word. She'd let him have that much, since he technically ran the place.
"Nice to see some smiling faces around here again."
"The view from my office is better," Dan said from her doorway.
"Your office is like Grand Central," she said. "Mine is a sanctuary."
"Where only the holiest are allowed admittance?"
"And you're not on the list. So sad."
"What's sad is that you're only hurting yourself here."
"Really, for I, my young friend, have in this bag an extra-large slice of the carrot cake from -"
"The place where they put pineapple in the cake and use real cream cheese for the frosting?"
He loosened his stance and relaxed against the doorframe. "I have to say, I'm a tiny bit concerned by how predatory your walk has become. Not to mention a little offended that I didn't get the starry-eyed look of love until I announced the prospect of sugar."
"How's this?" she asked, widening her eyes and fluttering her lashes.
"Much better," he said, tossing her a plastic fork. He sat on her desk and looked out her plate-glass window. "Look at that - all that energy, all those lights. We're in the greatest city in the world."
"With the greatest cake in the world," she prompted, waiting for him to hand over the bag. He didn't move for a moment and it clicked for her, what he was trying to say, what the potato salad and the cake signified. "Hey," she said, waiting for him to meet her eyes. She brought her hand up to his cheek. "You know what I'm like - I do my job, I live my job, and it doesn't matter where that is. It's what I've always done. And you did it too - you pulled it off in Dallas, doing Lone Star Sports." His face was so still. "But you wanted to be back in New York, because this is where you love to be."
"Yeah," he breathed, sad-eyed but hopeful.
"We're here, Danny. You've got the city and the show and me. You can show me everything there is to love about this place." She kissed him hard.
He kissed her back. "If I'd known you were gonna do that, I wouldn't have armed you first."
"That fork is edging into dangerous territory," he said, pulling the tines away from his thigh.
"But this is New York; anything can happen here."
"Truer words," he said, then handed her the cake.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.