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Ann’s not much for faces, and she’s even worse when she’s a few drinks in, but she knows she should recognize the girl behind the bar from somewhere. The more she tries to force it, the harder it is to try and place her. Maybe it’s someone from the yoga class she tried for a couple of weeks, or maybe she stitched her up once at the hospital. Maybe the fact that the Snake Hole’s had Ignition on repeat for the last two hours isn’t helping because all Ann’s brain can process at this point is R. Kelly lyrics.

Ann doesn’t exactly consider can I get a toot toot the height of witty repartee.

She orders another round for her and Leslie, and tries to do the thing where she looks off into the distance like she’s cool but is secretly just trying to avoid any awkward conversation in which the bartender knows exactly who she is, but she’s still struggling and has to stall and avoid any use of names (it’s the bank or some election event or maybe she’s one of the volunteers at the pound who secretly judges her when she comes in to just hold a puppy for a little bit). Ann gives her a little nod when the girl gives her back her change, and hopes if she leaves a five that will be the end of it. She’s making her way around the bar stools, focusing intently on not spilling the beers, when it hits. She knows who this is.

It’s Tom’s old girlfriend. And now it’s just a whole new level of awkward since she’s his ex too.

And oh god, now she probably looks like the biggest asshole for not saying something, even if she’s been nothing but polite, even if it is in increasingly drunken amounts, but still.

She turns back and puts the beers back on the bar.

“Hey, I just wanted to say, sorry I didn’t like, acknowledge you earlier. It wasn’t intentional.”

“Don’t worry about it. I know it’s got to be weird to run into your boyfriend’s ex.”

“We broke up actually. Well, we broke up a couple of times but this one stuck.”

“Sorry.”

“No, it’s fine. And I mean, we don’t have to talk about this. It’s got to be incredibly fucked up for you to talk to the latest ex-girlfriend of Tom Haverford.”

“The more fucked up thing is the phrase ‘the latest ex-girlfriend of Tom Haverford,’ to be honest.”

They laugh a little more than they probably should, but it’s true, so.

The girl holds out her hand. “Potential friendship do-over? I’m Lucy.”

She shakes. “Ann. And it’s nice to re-meet you.”

“Likewise.”

Lucy turns and pulls down a bottle that she knows all too well. Two glasses are filled with an amount that she defines as unsettling.

“On the house.”

“You know that this is more, well—punishment, than a solidarity thing?”

“It gets the job done though. To new beginnings.”

It’s hard to argue with logic like that, so she drinks.

Lucy takes her shot of Snakejuice like a pro. It’s impressive.

“Don’t tell anyone. We don’t usually drink this stuff when we’re working. It’s a little too efficient.” Lucy writes something down on a napkin, which when it’s finally turned right side up to her, she sees is a phone number.

“We’ll go out, trade war stories about dating Tom. It will probably be weird, but we can make it work.”

“Yeah, totally. Let’s do it.”

They high-five, and she’s happy that it’s really not at all awkward, so there is hope that maybe she could have a new friend that isn’t Leslie or the grudging tolerance she gets from April and the few times that Donna notices she’s a person who exists. She might be a little hard-up for friends actually.

(If there’s a thought process somewhere in the back of her brain that Lucy is like, ridiculously pretty, well, she just ignores it.)

 

“Did you just get her number?” Leslie asks, beaming in a way that makes her think she might end up the Marshal of the First Annual Pawnee Pride Parade.

“Not like that. Don’t get any ideas.”

“There is an alarming lack of resources in Pawnee for those questioning their sexual orientation, Ann. We should fix that. Think about it. You could be a pioneer in this town.”

“I thought the penguins got there first. And, you know, that entire gay bar that we have. You know, the one that worships you as the next messiah? The Bulge?”

“But think of the lesbians, Ann,” Leslie said, “the beautiful lesbians, such as yourself. And the girl behind the bar. You would be incredibly attractive while making out.”

“This is weird.”

“Lesbians aren’t weird, Ann. They’re a natural part of life.”

“I’m not a lesbian, if you haven’t noticed. And she’s not a lesbian. She’s Tom’s ex-girlfriend, remember? Lucy?”

Leslie’s facial expressions always change more slowly when she’s drunk, so watching her face go from excited to concerned is actually sort of fascinating. Her eyebrows go first, then her mouth, and then her eyes all in a cartoonish slow motion. “We can’t tell Tom the two of you are lesbians together. He’d explode. Or want to join. Either way, it’s bad.”

It’s time to make an executive decision. “We’re going home.”

“Together?”

“Yes, Leslie, together. Prepare to have your world rocked.”

“But—Ben.”

“Leslie, we’re going to call Ben, he’s going to come pick us up, and then he will drop me off at my house, and I will go inside alone, and then he will drive you back to your house, and he will probably come inside with you and this is as far as I am taking this train of thought before I get uncomfortable.”

“Oh, ok. He could give Lucy a ride home too. Or a ride to your house. I could go ask her for you. I can be a wing-lady for you, Ann Perkins. You deserve the best.”

“You just stay here and call Ben. I’ll go settle the tab.”

Leslie calls out as she turns her back and starts heading back up to the bar, “Tell Lucy that Ben is a very responsible driver. He obeys speed limits.”

Ann’s just glad Leslie forgot that they don’t even have a tab.

 

Lucy’s waiting for her up at the bar. “I think speed limits are very important. Safety first.”

“How much of that did you hear?”

Lucy smiles. “It’s a slow night. Good acoustics in this place too.”

“Leslie’s heart is in the right place. The execution is sometimes lacking.”

“I don’t usually take advantage of our more inebriated patrons. It’s sort of a rule.”

“A rule,” Ann repeats, trying not to sound as stupid as she feels.

“Yeah, a rule.” Lucy looks past her for a moment. “I don’t think your friend really knows how to make obscene gestures, by the way.”

“I don’t want to turn around, do I?”

“Probably not.” Lucy smiles, and gives Leslie a thumbs up. “Give me a call. I mean—no pressure.”

“No, no, I totally will.”

“Good.”

There’s the very start of an awkward pause, and then Leslie shouts, “NEVER DOUBT MY WING-LADY SKILLS, ANN PERKINS.”

So. Just another exciting night at the Snake Hole Lounge.