He's just wrapped up a case, more or less. It's officially cold, but as far as the sheriff is concerned it's closed. He's got the local veterinarian to thank for that, along with—and he'll never get used to this—Stiles and his friends.
John is packing the files into a box and labeling it for storage when Parrish knocks.
"Do you have a minute?" The deputy lowers his voice, as though he doesn't want those in the office behind him to hear.
John puts the lid on the box and slides out from behind his desk. "Sure. Come on in and close the door."
Parrish lets out a breath and hides a smile as he pushes the door shut behind him. "Thanks, Sheriff."
John leans against his desk. "So what's up?" His heart is beating faster than it should. He likes Parrish, likes that he seems to take most of the weirdness in stride, that he doesn't ask too many questions John can't answer. He doesn't want to lose him. "I hope you're happy here, but if you're not, I want to know about it."
"I am." Parrish white-knuckles the back of the visitors chair. "This isn't about work."
"Good." John relaxes for a moment, but his relief is short-lived. Maybe there's questions coming he can't answer. "Spit it out, then. What's the problem?"
Parrish's head jerks up. "No problem. I was wondering if you wanted to go for a drink after work."
The sheriff blinks. It's not something he does. After Claudia died, he got into the habit of being home for Stiles as much as possible.
Stiles isn't a child anymore. He's way past the age he needs his dad to be home every night. Half the time, Stiles isn't home himself. "There's a place on 4th we used to go, but it's been years," John says. "We could ask the others, make a night of it."
"Actually," Parrish says, and his cheeks are pink. "I was hoping it would just be the two of us. Somewhere quiet."
John stares as he processes Parrish's words. "This is a date. You're asking me on a date?"
Parrish swallows hard. "Am I fired?"
"What? No, of course not." Pictures flick through his thoughts, scenes that place Parrish beside him in a bar, in his house, laughing with Stiles. An image sears itself into his mind, one of Parrish in his bed. His face warms. "It's been a long time since anyone's asked me out."
Parrish presses his teeth into his lower lip and says nothing.
"Okay," John says. "Yeah. I'd like that."
Parrish grins. "Great." He drops his head, looks down at his uniform. "I guess straight after work wouldn't be appropriate, but I was thinking—"
"Give me an hour to go home and get cleaned up. There's a place on the other side of town." He remembers going to the scene of a break-in a few months back. "Quiet. Serves imported beer in fancy bottles and much better food than the bar on 4th."
Parrish nods and smiles. He turns to leave.
Parrish stops, his hand on the door handle. "Yeah, Sheriff?"
"Do you like older men? Is that what this is about?"
A wide smile spreads over Parrish's face and he shakes his head. "I like you."