Amy settled deeper into the couch, her neighbour’s dog Fred curled up into her side twitching as he ran in his sleep. She had the day off and had spent nearly all of it playing with or walking the dog – looking after him while her neighbour went away with her boyfriend for the weekend. Looking at the clock she saw it was around dinner time and decided to get up and raid the kitchen.
There was a knock at the door. “Santiago – open up”
She groaned inwardly and glanced nervously at the dog to make sure he hadn’t decided to investigate the noise. Thankfully he seemed too tired although his eyes were now open and his ears pricked up listening intently. Amy walked over to the door and after looking through the spy hole stepped back to let him in.
Peralta stood in the doorway holding a bag of food which she hoped was for her. “Hungry?”
“Sure come on in” He moved past her into her cluttered apartment and cast a disapproving look around the place as usual. “How are you today Granny? I hope you didn’t stay up too late last night” She didn’t know why they all kept criticising her apartment she didn’t think her taste was that bad – she just liked it homey.
Not justifying his comment with a response she took the bag off him and walked through into the kitchen, Fred now eagerly at her feet.
“Cute dog!” said Peralta immediately distracted and tried to scratch his head. Fred however was having none of it and moved closer to Amy who was still carrying the food. “Jerk”.
Amy laughed and started pulling the cartons out of the bag before grabbing some plates. She pointed to the draw he was leaning against and told him to get some cutlery.
“You mean you’re not going to use the chopsticks – I brought them especially for you” he said jokingly.
“Too hungry – I actually want to get the food in my mouth instead of playing with it” Amy said. It irritated her that Jake could use chopsticks and she couldn’t, her competitive nature kicking in.
They moved through to the couch and set the food on the coffee table and started to eat, Fred occasionally whining and Jake, being such a softy, kept feeding him scraps of his food.
“Was it busy at the station today?” She asked, trying to fill the silence. There was no point putting the TV on they rarely agreed on what to watch.
“Not really, Charles kept irritating Rosa and Terry ate yogurt. Oh and I think Holt smiled at me – or was angry. I can’t really tell. Who does the dog belong to?”
“My neighbour Lauren. She’s gone away this weekend, first trip away with her boyfriend – I’m about the only person Fred doesn’t bark at so she asked me to watch him”
“Yeah her dog” she answered pointing at Fred who was now laid at Jake’s feet giving him the most pathetic expression.
“Oh for a minute there I thought you were talking about her boyfriend” he said a wide grin on his mouth. “He seems to like me”
“I think it’s your food he really likes” she replied and watched Jake feed him a bit of chicken before sticking his tongue out at her and making her laugh.
This was probably the most comfortable she’d felt with him in a while, after their date which went surprisingly well and made her question everything she had ever thought about her relationship with him. She had always thought of him as her annoying partner, but slowly she was starting to acknowledge she might be starting to develop some non-platonic feelings too. She looked away and started to concentrate on eating her food again, wondering if it was a Charles recommendation.
They ate in comfortable silence after that and once they finished Fred returned to the couch and fell asleep next to her. Jake cleared his throat.
“Erm Amy” he said to get her attention – it did, he hardly ever called her by her first name. He grinned at her expression before continuing. “Look I wanted to ask you something and I want you to keep an open mind about it”.
Jake took a deep breath and rethought about what he had planned to say to her when he was in the car outside of her building. He was increasingly finding himself planning his conversations with her like some nervous teenage boy with a crush on a high school cheerleader. It had now been over a month since their ‘date’, a date he had planned to make the worst night of her life but actually ended up being one of the best he’d ever had. He now found himself trying to put together another scheme to get her to go out with him again. But during the last week after they worked a long case together and spent nearly every waking moment in each other’s company he realised he didn’t want another bet or to keep on crashing her dates – he just wanted to try, try and have a real relationship for once in his life with a woman he actually cared about.
“Amy – I know we haven’t always gotten along…”
She cut in and said very sarcastically “Oh I don’t know what you’re talking about. What with your pranks and frequent jokes about my house, family and dates…”
He flinched thinking about two weeks ago when he found out she was going on some date with a guy who actually checked out and seemed kinda sorta alright. (Well that was underselling it, he was a stockbroker who actually owned a Ferrari – and that wasn’t the only thing he found himself jealous of)
“…not to mention you actually trying to plan the worst night of my life. No I don’t know what you mean – we get along great” she concluded.
“Hey – I didn’t crash your last date. Bet you missed me” he said wiggling his eyebrows at her and watching her grimace. He hoped because she actually had wanted him to show up and ruin the date.
“You didn’t have to be there to ruin it – Gina beat you to it”
“What?” Jake asked, momentarily sidelined, hoping to hear the gory details of how her date was absolutely ruined.
“Me and Mark were eating at the restaurant when Gina walked past the window, saw us and decided she wanted to join us”
Jake tried to suppress a grin but completely failed.
“Don’t laugh. Anyway I don’t know where she came from but she was really drunk and you know how she gets – she pulled up a chair and within two minutes was hitting on Mark and asking us over to her place for a threesome” Amy put her hand to her head and brushed back a stray piece of hair that had escaped her ponytail. “Thankfully I was able to convince a waiter that I had no idea who she was and he escorted her out” she finished grinning.
“So I guess Mike wasn’t happy”
“What did I say?”
“He was fine about it” she said giving him her classic Santiago look to put him back in his place. “We’re going out day after tomorrow in fact”
A strange feeling gripped Jake in the stomach, a feeling that felt worse than just jealousy. He felt rejected.
“Anyway, I don’t know – he seems kinda nice. He’s from a big family like me and seems just as competitive” she said with a slight smile. Jake wasn’t listening his ears seemed to be ringing.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?” he heard Amy say and watched her lean back into the couch while stroking Fred’s head.
What could he say now? It sounded like she really liked this guy. “Oh, err, well I guess wanted to suggest” he paused for a moment before completely wussing out. “You might have to partner up with Charles this week – me and Diaz started a case today and it feels like it may take a while to wrap up”. Jake cringed internally and hoped Diaz would back him up – maybe if he claimed one thousand push ups…
Amy felt a sinking feeling of disappointment. She didn’t know why but she felt and hoped that he was going to say something else. “Oh, okay”
“Anyway I should get going – good luck with the dog” Jake said nervously, grabbing his jacket and moving towards the door.
“Night – Jake” he heard her call out after him as he walked out of the door without looking back. It wasn’t until he was in the stairwell thinking how awfully that went when he realised she called him Jake.