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llaras (llaras)

anr (anr)

Stargate Atlantis

Joe Flanigan/Torri Higginson




Torri and Joe meet up at a party.

It's funny how you build up things in your mind until you almost expect them to happen the way you imagined they would. Torri laughs at herself and wipes her mouth with a tissue, then reapplies her lipstick. It's wine red, vampy against her pale skin, but it flatters her coloring and is just the right amount of bright against the black of her beaded evening gown. She was planning on making an impression that night, just not the way it actually happened.

"You okay in there?"

Torri takes a deep breath before answering. "I'm fine, I'll be out in a minute."

She can practically feel Joe worrying through the door. Part of her wishes he would just go and leave her alone to collect her wits. The other part wishes she could rewind the evening to about five minutes ago so that their reunion was a little less ridiculous.

She hasn't seen Joe in over a year. Which is crazy, because they still have the same circle of friends from Atlantis. But she found herself declining invitations left and right after Joe's divorce. A part of her had almost wished for it too long for her to feel comfortable being around him, right after. And now they'd been working in the same town for months and months, both of them back in Vancouver. They were on different shows, but it was a small town and she'd assumed she'd run into him sooner or later.

Rachel's kept her updated throughout: how the divorce went down and the custody arrangements, about the house Joe bought, what he's been doing on his new show, how he's been dating casually, but nothing serious. Torri'd considered showing up on his doorstep once or twice, thought about bringing him something like a houseplant, something innocuous, hoping that time and distance would leave them both in the right place to rekindle their friendship. Or something more.

She'd half expected to see him at this party, in fact. It was a fancy New Year's thing thrown by one of the bigger producers in town and she'd heard that Joe had stayed around over the holidays, that he was planning on going down to see his boys later before production started up again. However, she was not prepared to see him enter the room with a woman, a peroxided, beestung-lipped, tits-out-to-there woman on his arm.

Torri had promptly choked on the cracker/brie/apple chutney thing she'd been halfway through eating.

Which led them to this moment.

Joe knocks again, startling her out of her reverie. It's now or never. She tries to find a genuine smile as she opens the door. Joe gives her a concerned look, but he must believe her smile, because soon he's grinning back. "See? I'm fine," she says.

"Good!" His grin turns sheepish. "And it's good to see you."

She laughs out loud. She can't help it, she's missed him and just being around him now after so long is making her giddy. However. "It's good to see you, too. I'm really okay. You can go back to your date."

"Oh." He frowns at her. "My date?"

"The woman you came in with?" Torri stops herself from miming "tits-out-to-there".

Joe laughs and shakes his head. "She was standing outside alone. Asked if I could escort her in, that's all. It seemed like the gentlemanly thing to do."

"Ah, I see." Torri squashes the noise of triumph she desperately wants to make.

Joe goes serious. "And you? Are you here with someone?"

"I am now. Come have a drink with me. I promise no more choking."

Joe straightens up and formally offers her an arm. "Lead the way."

* * * * *

They're halfway through their second glasses of champagne and Torri has filled Joe in on her travels in Jordan and Turkey when the noise in the room starts to escalate. Joe glances at his watch. "About fifteen until midnight. Everyone's probably looking for their date so they can ring in the new year with a kiss."

Torri's not going to waste any wishes on what the night could bring. This is enough. For now. Just knowing that they can be themselves around each other, fall back into the easy pattern of an old and dear friendship. There will be time to try for more later.

This evening is going really well, despite the awkwardness of their initial reunion.

But apparently Joe's not on the same page. "So, I was thinking --" He bites his bottom lip and carefully takes her glass, puts it with his on the table next to the sofa they are sitting on. "I'm not really feeling the whole tradition thing right now."

"Oh?" Torri isn't quite sure where he's going with this, but she's getting the sinking feeling that she may not even get a peck on the cheek when midnight strikes. It makes her a little mad, a little bold, and she interrupts him before he can go further. "I kind of like traditions, myself. In fact, I always make a resolution for the new year, even if the one from the year before didn't work out."

Joe looks curious. "And what are you resolving for the coming year?"

Torri pointedly looks at his mouth for a long beat before raising her eyes to meet his. "To ask for what I want."

"Hmmm. You know, I think I have one too," Joe says after a moment of consideration. He reaches for her hand, holds it carefully in his own.

"Tell me?" Torri tries not to shake.

"To say yes." His lips are on hers before she can even react to his words, and she's so startled that she begins to draw back even while her brain is screaming at her to get closer.

Joe moves her hand so that her arm wraps around his torso before letting go and using both of his now free hands to pull her a few inches nearer. Torri tries desperately not to make any embarrassing noises because it's a really nice, warm, sweet kiss, and she knows if she gives in to her impulses she'll start giggling and he'll think she's a total idiot. But she can't help smiling which makes him let out a pleased little laugh, and that finally sets her off.

It takes them a minute to calm down. Joe looks at his watch again while Torri hunts through her purse for a tissue to wipe the tears from her eyes. "Anyway, as I was saying, I'm not really in the mood for tradition tonight, so --"

"Okay." Torri's game for anything at this point.

"What do you say we get out of here before the countdown starts? I'd like to show you my new place."

Torri laughs. "Sounds like a great idea to me."

Joe goes to bring his car around while Torri gets her coat. On her way out the door she nearly runs into the young woman she had earlier assumed to be Joe's date. On impulse she quickly hugs the other woman and grins, "Happy New Year!"


 Left By:
anr (anr)

2009-12-27 01:41:42

Wonderful story; thank you so much, Santa! I love how it's a little awkward to begin with, but then they settle easily back into their friendship/somethingmore. The little details throughout (his house buying, custody arrangements, etc) were great.Thank you!!