She knows something may be up. But then, fitting around the dynamics of the PRT is something that you talk about with the other 'guests' (Except for Brian Williams, but then Brian is kind of an entity on to himself). Flirting with Rachel is an entirely different thing to being her friend and being her friend is entirely a different thing to the process of flirting with Rachel. Ana-Marie thinks though, that theirs might be the flirtation conducted through twitter and cocktail recipes. Also, if you send Rachel infrastructure policy news, good things will happen.
(If only there was a way to package up Richard Engel and send him over, complete with whiteboard).
She courts Rachel with foreign policy articles, funny stories about ice-cream, teabaggers. Dorky stories about science, sent to a Google Reader. Serious stories about science. Once, she started recommending guests to Rachel, who did it right back to her. That's when Stephen starts to notice. Well he starts to drop hints to Rachel, apparently. Rachel forwards her the emails that Anderson forwarded to her.
She laughs, but it stings because she's being proposed to be the date for a relationship she both wants and does not want.
Rachel is Rachel and that means all the faults as well. That means Ana wants her, but not on the terms of Rachels friends. She doesn't want this as a result of a blind date and capslocky emails. She wants it to be about them, about infrastructure, about policy teasing, about the in-jokes of guest hosting and learning the intricacies of drink mixing in between politics and talk of animals. Ana wants to teach Rachel something about gardening and look at their shoes, all mixed up.
Converses, sneakers, heels, flats, boots. All jumbled together and they would have created the jumble themselves and this flirtation was self created, rather than something set up. Truthfully, she doesn't know if she wants to tell Rachel at first – but she's glad she did, after the first email. She kisses Rachel first though, long and lingering and Rachel twists fingers in her hair and maps the skin that is visible with her other hand, in a way that promises more.
But she's getting ahead of herself. That isn't entirely how that story started. First she'd thought about calling Keith and yelling at him (though how that would help, was a question and a half. Keith defending Rachels honour was both magnificent and completely unmagnificent). Then she'd thought about maybe calling Jon or Stephen, except she barely knew either of them except as friends of Rachel at this point. She had talked with them, laughed with them and shared a drink but they weren't friends yet or at least not in the way that would be enough for her to call and do some berating.
When she gets the email from Stephen, she is definitely somewhere between anger, laughter and a kind of 'awww' reaction because really, you can't help being swept up in Stephen – his enthusiasm, the capslock, the geeking out and the essential decency of him. She likes him better for his honesty and for the capslock, flailing way he'd gone about setting up his friend than she thought she would. So she doesn't trash the email or write back and scream but she doesn't say, 'yes of course' either. She just emails him a Rick Roll back. This may have been a mistake, since he starts sending her macros and funny or die videos, but they settle in to a groove. Eventually, they start grabbing coffee together and start trading books and Stephen? Stephen flails in capslock when he is actually talking in the physical world, Ana-Marie swears this is true and he tells her stories of his kids and funny tales from The Show and is a surprisingly good listener. Or maybe she shouldn't be surprised.
Jon's email is not as unexpected, but it makes her raise her eyebrows and laugh in a different way to Stephen. Both of them can have humour with a razors edge to be sure but Jon, Jon is exuberant in a different way to Stephen and it suits them both. He makes remarks about 'my greatest apologies for Stephen being exuberantly Stephen" in a way that seems to say "I am ridiculously proud of how Stephen can be Stephen" and thus, Ana-Marie finds herself writing back in the same way. How it ends up in her appearing on his show and then a joke about how damn, Jon Stewart is a lucky man being married to both Tracey and Stephen, she'll never know. It may have been the tequila afterwards. Or possibly Stephen who Ana-Marie is fairly sure naturally inclines people towards such declarations. Of course Stephen is a very lucky person as well.
And Evie Colbert looks very nice in heels.
She doesn't email Keith so much as Keith starts following her on twitter. And in his usual way, he gets to the direct heart of the matter (after following around it a bit with some mutual geek jokes) and then kind of stomps on it. In a way that makes it clear he is just trying to defend Rachels honour. Really, that's all he's trying to do and she doesn't mind it, except when she does. There was a lot of "he means well" repetition going on that night. And several following nights but hey, he agrees with her that Rachel should totally be allowed to decide and find company for herself and Ana-Marie feels this is an improvement.
Even when he does start to call her AMC and wants to be let in on the "foil Jon and Stephen conspiracy" that he is sure exists. Ana just diverts him into thinking about the ways he might get in to that, because well, there is a conspiracy. It just isn't the one he thinks it is.
When she gets a Mysterious Message, she smiles and goes to the opposite bar than the one she was directed to and Rachel, Rachel is there. This is Rachel of the sneakers and the glasses, who is directing the bartender in his drink mixing. Unapologetically Rachel as they experiment with cocktails and different kinds of beer.
And that's when she gets back to kissing Rachel, fingers tangled in her hair and bodies twinned around each other and it turns out, talking about Richard Engels whiteboard worked really well after all.
Ana-Marie emails Anderson a thank you note, for him to read once he returns to the country.