It was easy to tell when Casey had talked to Lisa, at length, because he came to work unshaven on those nights, as if he'd been living rough in a per-night motel and couldn't afford to use a razor for fear of his whiskey-jittered hand nicking his jaw.
Dana leaned against the door of the dressing room and watched him grouse at Cammy from hair each time she tried adding gel to a stray lock. Finally, Cammy dropped the gel on the table and walked off. She shot Dana an apologetic glance as she left. "I'm sorry, he's just being--"
"It's fine," Dana said. "When he watches the rehearsal tape, he'll come back to you begging." She winked, and Cammy went in search of the more amenable guest anchor. Dana turned her attention back to Casey, who was staring at a spot on the mirror with the intense focus of total, fuming embarrassment. "Someday she'll quit," Dana mused aloud. "And then I'll have to kill you."
"I'll send her some flowers," Casey grumbled.
"Or you could just apologize for being a jackass," Dana responded.
He swiveled in his chair, his eyes dark. "Forgive me if I--"
"Wait." Dana held up a hand, then took a step into the room, shut the door behind her. "Continue."
Casey rolled his eyes. "Forgive me if I am less than gracious about something as trivial as whether the eighteen to thirty-five male demographic gives a damn about my disheveled hair."
"Casey," Dana said.
"Dana," he responded, standing in order to loom over her, as well as glower.
She leaned back against the door, smiling and not intimidated at all. "Your crappy day has nothing to do with Cammy, and it has nothing to do with work, and it has nothing to do with me."
His gaze flickered over her, and the corner of his mouth twitched. "Oh, it has a little something to do with you," he said.
Dana raised her eyebrows. "Do tell." Then she straightened, shook her head. "No, don't. Carol wants to review the Favre segment."
He rested his hand on the door, next to where her shoulder had been. "It can't wait for ten minutes?"
"Not even for five," Dana lied. She stepped around him, her hands in her pockets. "Now go, before you piss off the rest of the staff."
Casey sighed. "All the things I do for you, Dana Whitaker."
"Just think of all the things you don't," she riposted, and the glance he shot at her suggested half a dozen of them, at least.
Dana was doing her post-show crossword and drinking her post-show margarita when a glowing blue cocktail slid across the table, and Casey slid onto the bench across from her.
"What the hell is that?" she asked.
"It's blue and might catch on fire at any moment," Casey replied. "Does it matter?"
"No," Dana said. She took a sip from it, sneezed, then took a longer draught. "What's the occasion?"
Casey shrugged, his attention somewhere around her left shoulder. "I felt like it."
Dana looked back to her crossword. "If you're trying to pick me up--"
"What makes you think--"
"--you'll need a better line than that." Dana scratched the final word in, T-R-A-C-E. "Ha!"
Casey peered at the crossword, upside-down. "I don't think the president of France's name is Sarkoza," he pointed out.
"That's also a horrible line," Dana replied. "I'm not a sorority debutante prom queen with self-esteem issues."
"I don't even know what that means," Casey said. "But I was a jackass earlier, and also, you look amazing tonight."
Dana blinked. "Yes, you were." She alternated sips from her margarita and the glowing blue thing.
"So did it work?" Casey asked, his thumb rubbing against the rim of his glass of, Dana was sure, Jameson.
"The apology?" Dana considering just mixing her drinks together, then decided against it. "Yes, I forgive you."
"And the pick-up line?" Casey inquired.
Dana looked up at him, and he was watching her, his smile confident and terrifying.
"Buy me another drink," she asked, "and we'll see."
He offered her his arm as they left the bar, and she laughed at the courtly gesture. "What," he protested, "I can't be a gentleman?"
"No, you can." She was wearing his coat, and his arm was warm against her side. "It just seems, I don't know," she paused, "weird."
"Weird?" He looked down at her as the cold air hit them, and she pressed closer. He stopped walking, a block away from the bar.
Dana frowned. "Casey, what--"
"Weird," he muttered again, and then his hand was cupping her jaw and he muffled her exclamation with his lips. He tilted her face higher, his tongue darting against her bottom lip. Dana stood on her tiptoes until he spun them around, wrapping his arm around her waist and pressing her against the brick of a closed jewelry store.
Dana pulled back to gasp, "Yeah. Kind of."
He scowled at her, but his fingers skated down her throat and he pushed open the jacket, tugged at the collar of her blouse. He dipped his head to press a kiss against her collarbone, his teeth grazing enough to surprise a moan out of Dana. She buried her fingers in his hair and tugged him up until their lips met again. She shoved her hands inside his suit jacket, his heat warming her chilled fingers. He shivered at her touch, and she laughed into his mouth, her fingers bumping over his spine.
Casey clutched her hips, muttering curses or prayers into her hair. One of the words sounded like please, and then his teeth nipped at her earlobe, and he breathed hot against her throat. She arched against him, and thought, Maybe, maybe--
"Dana," Casey said, his chest heaving against hers. "I'm not drunk. Tell me you're not drunk."
"Says the man who bought me two drinks," she replied.
"Three," he corrected. "Because I'm an idiot."
"I'm not drunk," she answered, tucking her fingers between the placket of his shirt. "Hail a taxi and I'll show you how very not drunk I am."
He pulled away from her, his hair mussed and his eyes wide. "I'm being very serious, here."
"Three," Dana said. "Two--"
Casey spun away from her, one arm raised and frantic. "Taxi!" he shouted.
Dana laughed and tried not to hope.