The idea is to just drive to the lake. Ann packs a picnic basket and some wine and thinks they might need to sleep in the card if things get a little weepy and Leslie gets that kind of sad drunk she gets sometimes.
But then she's packing a suitcase and she's looking at rest stops and hotels and suddenly Ann wants to take Leslie to the beach. She wants to take her there right now.
And Leslie falls in behind her in perfect Leslie-form. She makes four CD mixes, three emergency mixes, in case Ann gets tired of Pink Floyd somewhere between Pawnee and the coast, four bags of candy and a cooler of those grape flavored waters they're both trying to learn how to love.
"Is this okay? Do you want to do this?" Leslie is deciding between mixes. She looks up at Ann, smile frozen and if Ann has ever seen someone smile miserably, this would be the worst of the lot.
"Uh, yes?" She laughs and pops in a CD. "Have you ever just stopped and listen to a Simon and Garfunkle song? It's like listening to a sunrise."
In a hotel in Kansas, Ann pours wine into paper cups for herself and lets Leslie have the bottle. They watch HGTV and Leslie doesn't cry and doesn't say anything about anything and when she falls asleep, snores until ten in the morning. They're not in a hurry to go anywhere, so Ann goes out before Leslie's awake and gets waffles to-go at a place down the street.
"Les? I got waffles." The shower is running, bathroom door locked. Ann pretends she can't hear Leslie's voice, murmuring into her phone, sad and awful. She goes outside and sits in the hall, waiting to hear the shower turn off before coming back. And then it's Leslie being Leslie, brushing her teeth and snatching waffles from Ann's hands, going through their mini cooler for the whip cream she stashed away.
"Always come prepared."
Ann thought she was prepared for this.
Leslie won't sleep in a bed by herself, so after the first night they just share one, and she wraps octopus arms around Ann's waist and breathes into her back.
"I asked Ben to come home." Ann stiffens. "I know I promised him, I know."
"You don't have to feel bad." Her shirt sticks to her back. Leslie sighs.
"I know. But I do."
Her voice is wrecked and Ann would be a terrible friend if she didn't play octopus along with her, curling her arms around Leslie's neck and thread her fingers through her hair.
"You don't ever have to feel bad about anything."
Maybe they make out in Utah.
Ann isn't a hundred percent sure. She knows there's a bar and she knows that Leslie has convinced a table of men that they're roommates and its both of their birthdays and suddenly there is a lot of tequila and the guys are asking them about tongues and spit and touching and then Leslie is kissing her and Ann is really, really enjoying it.
Maybe they make out after, too, because Leslie is touch-starved and lonely and Ann is very tired of watching her best friend be very sad.
If Leslie cries while they kiss, Ann convinces her it's because they've been drunk almost every night. That they haven't driven very far or very much at all. That sometimes Leslie is just a weepy drunk and all Ann can do to make it better is kiss her and comb her hair and watch Emeril Live and buy her waffles and ice cream.
Because what else is she supposed to do?
This was supposed to be a picnic and Ann's pretty sure at this point that she loves Leslie so much it's like a sun is collapsing in her chest and taking all her vital organs with her. Violent metaphore aside, Ann Perkins is totally, completely, and royally screwed.
"I need to go back home."
Ann looks up from her road map. Leslie sets the diet cokes from the vending machine in the cupholders and folds her hands in her lap.
"Like, you wanna turn back?"
"This...this was great. You're so good to me, Ann. All the time." Leslie curls her fingers over Ann's wrist. Her skin burns and Ann is trying to swallow very carefully, without choking on everything she wants to say. "But we're grown-ups. And we have to do things the way we're supposed to do them."
"I know." She feels like a child, now. Leslie does that, sometimes. She is suddenly overcome with wisdom and grace and it always makes Ann feel like she's just thrown a tantrum in the store and someone is explaining to her how to behave like a normal person. Like a good girl. "I just...wanted to make you happy."
"You always make me happy. You make me happier than anyone else."
And Ann thinks she really means that, long weepy makeout sessions aside.
"Okay. Then we'll go home." Ann folds up the map and puts the car in reverse. Leslie grins.
"I think this is the best driving-home mix. 'Homeward Bound' is the first track. And the fourth. And possibly the last, but I can't remember."
Ann pushes her sunglasses back on and rolls down the windows. There won't be any detours on the way back, but if she's driving five miles under the speed limit, Leslie doesn't notice -- she's singing along and playing with Ann's camera, taking angled shots of Ann driving and dogs hanging out of windows. "Homeward Bound" is the fourth track. And the ninth. And the last three. But Ann doesn't mind because Leslie is smiling, and it's a happy smile. It's a real smile. It's a Leslie-smile.