"I don't believe you."
Mindy looks up from her desk, where she was totally working on researching whatever gross condition her newest patient has and not playing solitaire, to where Dr Shulman is apparently standing in her office now, like, knock much? If he weren't technically her boss, that would be super rude.
"I can't believe you would say that," she says, not bothering to hide her desktop. Like she hasn't caught him shopping for man girdles on Amazon when he was supposed to be organising their leave schedule. More than once. "It's a miracle product. I'm telling you, before I used it I almost had this one wrinkle, like, right here -" pointing to the corner of her mouth "- and now it's completely gone. Smooth as a baby's bottom. If that weren't kind of gross."
"What?" he asks, and then, "No, not that. I already bought some. I mean about you and Danny."
"You mean that we hired someone? Because you already saw -"
"That you two are friends. I don't believe it."
"What do you mean, you don't believe it? You can't just not believe people when they tell you things."
"Well, I don't."
"But ..." After a minute, Mindy settles for, "I don't know what you want me to do about that."
"I want you to make me believe it."
And then he just leaves, like, hello, this is real life, you can't just leave somebody's office without saying 'goodbye' or whatever. But he's gone either way, and Mindy's so confused she doesn't even want to play solitaire any more. Ugh, and she was winning, too. This is pretty much the worst.
"I need you to pretend to be my friend."
"You what?" Danny turns around, looking at her like she's crazy or something, which, come on, it's a simple request and she enunciated it perfectly clearly. "You need me to pretend to be what?"
"My friend," she says again, (barely) suppressing a sigh. Friends are supposed to be patient with each other, probably. "And don't look at me like that. You need me to pretend to be your friend, too."
"Okay," he says. "You're going to have to walk me back, like, six steps here. What is it you need me to do?"
"We," she says, emphasising the word, because no way is she going into this with Danny thinking she owes him a favour, "need to pretend to be friends. Dr Shulman doesn't believe that we really are." She pauses a second to think. "Do you think it was the part about us being down at the docks? I feel like we didn't sell that part particularly well."
"I don't think it was the docks," he says. "The part about the dual robbery might have been a bit of a giveaway, though. I mean, who would believe that I needed you to rescue me from a mugger?"
"Excuse me?" she asks. "Everybody would believe that. It's totally believable. Nobody would believe that I needed you to rescue me. I'm a modern, twenty-first century woman, and I don't need -"
"Okay," he says, holding up a hand. Mindy never gets why people do that, like, does he think he's physically stopping her or something? Like her words are just going to attack him and he can somehow hold them off with his one stupid hand? "I get it, I don't need a lecture on feminism from someone who wears high heels to a hospital -"
"Hey," she says, because one, her heels are fabulous, and two, they're actually super comfortable, once you get past the blisters. "You started it, I'm just saying -"
"Look, do you want me to help you or not?"
"No," she says. "I do not want you to help me. I want us to help each other."
Danny rolls his eyes, but Mindy waits, because he gets like this sometimes, but it's not like she has anything better to do (except paperwork, whatever), and he always gives up first. "Fine," he says. "I'll each lunch with you sometimes in your office. Whatever."
"That's not going to be good enough," she says, because for all she knows, her career could be riding on this. She really should have checked that first, but oh well. "But I have a plan."
It's a great plan. A really, really excellent plan. So she doesn't get why Danny will not stop complaining about the plan.
"Look," it's simple," she says, when he still will not shut up. "We just have to strategically pose ourselves around the office in places where Dr Shulman will see us and act like we're BFF."
"Don't say that," Danny says. Like she has time to spell out every single thing she wants to say over the course of a day.
"And then," she says, ignoring him, "he'll see how obviously BFF we are -" and yeah, okay, maybe she enjoys the way he winces, a little "- and he'll leave us alone."
"Except I don't want to pose around the office," he says. "Even saying it out loud sounds stupid."
"That's because you're saying it like it's stupid. You don't have to, like, Madonna strike a pose, just act like you don't hate me. Or is that really going to be too hard for you?"
"It's not too hard for me," he says, and she thinks, sometimes. "It just sounds a little fake."
"That's because it is fake," she says. "We're fake being friends, remember?"
"And you honestly think this is easier than just telling the truth."
"Duh. Of course it is. Now hurry up, he's going to be back from his coffee break any minute."
"Hurry up and what?" Danny asks, and she laughs, because she can hear someone just around the corner. And then smacks Danny, playfully in a 'haha, you're so funny way' but hard in a 'stop looking confused and actually say something funny for me to laugh at' way, but he just frowns and rubs at his arm like he doesn't get it.
So she has to actually say, "Danny, you're so funny," which is practically giving the game away, and then Danny does something with his face that - is maybe supposed to be a smile? Ugh, he is really terrible at this. Maybe she should make him take fake BFF lessons. Is there such a thing as that? There should be.
"No, you're funny," he says, which is a good start, but his posture's all stiff and he's talking way too loud, like he's on stage at a college theatre or something. But then Jeremy walks around the corner, not Dr Shulman, so who cares.
"Oh," she says. "Where's Dr Shulman?"
"How should I know?" Jeremy asks. "And why were you just laughing at Danny's joke? He has a terrible sense of humour."
"Thanks," Danny says. "It's not like I'm standing right here or anything."
"Weren't you just in the break room with him?"
"I was in the break room alone," Jeremy says. "And you're welcome."
Well, that's just great. She's been standing there with Danny for the past five minutes for absolutely nothing. But at least she got to practise her fake laugh.
"Does that mean I can go now?" Danny asks. "Some of us actually do work around here, you know."
"I'll have you know I work hard around here," she says. "Not that I'd expect you to understand."
"What wouldn't I understand?" he asks. "The intricacies of last-minute bidding on eBay?"
"It is really hard to compete with snipers," she shoots back. "You are so arrogant." Which is, of course, when Dr Shulman chooses to appear, finally. She immediately switches gears, pulling out her best fake laugh, but he's already disappearing around the fake corner. So much for that. Is it just her, or did he frown disapprovingly when she yelled at Danny? Ugh, this is the worst.
"Thanks a lot," she says. "That was really great fake-friend-being. Nice work."
"How are you blaming me for this?" Danny asks. "You're the one who yelled at me."
"Because you were the one who was being an insufferable jerk."
"Because you were the one making me participate in this stupid charade to begin with."
"Er," Jeremy says. "Have I missed something?"
Betsy leans over and whispers conspiratorially, "I think we're playing charades."
"You know what, I knew this was a bad idea," Danny says. "Can we please go back to ignoring each other now?"
"No," Mindy says, maybe a little more vehemently than she intended to. "It'll work, I promise. We just have to try again."
"One chance," he says. "I'm giving you one more chance to convince me this isn't a completely terrible idea."
"No problem," she says, and thinks maybe it's only a teeny tiny problem.
So, really, Danny complaining about it incessantly the next morning is kind of rude.
"What?" she asks as she slams her car door shut, and really, she's moving as fast as she can in heels, here. (Which, fine, is not very fast, but they're new, and she has to break them in somehow.)
"I've been waiting for you for twenty minutes."
"It's not my fault you got here early."
"We agreed to meet at eight-thirty."
"Right. And it's before nine."
"Exactly," he says. "You're late."
"Come on, Danny," she says. "Everyone knows eight-thirty doesn't actually mean eight-thirty. What do you, actually have an alarm clock or something?"
"Yes, I have an alarm clock," he says. "I'm an adult. Everyone over the age of eleven has a freaking alarm clock."
"All right," she says. "Calm down. I'm here now, aren't I?" Besides, technically she has one, except she bought it more because of how adorable it was than how well it worked. But seriously, who wouldn't want a fake fur alarm clock?
"Fine," he says. "Can we just get this over with?"
The next bit's a lot better, mostly because he isn't actually saying anything, just making random noises that she can agree with and pretend like she's interested in. She even throws in a fake laugh for good measure, and this time it totally kills.
"What's so funny?" Jeremy asks, and she could smack him. Dr Shulman is standing right beside him, though, looking at her like he's interested, too, so she doesn't.
"Stuff," she says. "That Danny was saying."
"Ooh," Betsy says. "What kind of stuff?"
Okay, wait. What's the key to a good lie? Be specific.
"He was telling me about his … knee surgery. That he had after playing baseball. Did you know he was almost a major league pitcher? The injury ruined his entire career."
"And that was funny to you?" Dr Shulman asks, and she thinks, crap. Would a friend have laughed at that?
"Inside joke," she says. "You really had to be there."
Dr Shulman still looks confused, but Morgan says, "No, I can see it." So, he's getting a raise.
And then Jeremy ruins it. He's a ruiner, Mindy's decided; she can't even begin to think how many of her good intentions he's completely destroyed. "So, this career-ending injury happened in between Danny graduating college and immediately going to med school to become a doctor?"
"During college," Danny says, and she could kiss him. Or not. Whatever, it's a metaphor. "I played in college."
"Ah," Jeremy says, but it's not like they knew each other then, so he can't exactly argue. Score one for the plan.
"Well," Dr Shulman says. "It's nice to see you two getting along."
Make that two.
"Okay," Danny says, once she's dragged him into her office. "Good. So we can stop now."
"Stop?" she asks. "Are you kidding? We're ahead. Never quit while you're ahead."
"Always quit while you're ahead," he says, and seriously, does he have to argue with her about everything?
"Dr Shulman is totally buying it," she says. "Which means we're halfway there. But this isn't about convincing him that we can get along. It's about convincing him that we're best friends."
"Why is it about convincing him we're best friends?" he asks. "Why isn't getting along good enough?"
"Because we already told him we were best friends, Danny. Remember? And if we don't convince him, he'll think we lied, and I can't just have people go around thinking that I lie."
"You did lie," he says.
"Not the point," she says. "The point is that if I can convince him it was the truth, it's like I didn't lie at all."
"It's not like that," he says. "That's not how that works."
"I think it is."
"I think you're deluded."
"Then we'll just have to agree to disagree," she says. "Bottom line, now is the perfect time to step this up."
"I don't want to step it up," he says.
"Yeah, because this is all about what you want." Like, god, how selfish is he? "Now come on. We need to brainstorm here."
Danny's ideas, for the record, are all stupid. Go to a football game together? Gag. Besides, they all pretty much miss the point of pretending to be friends, which is that they're not actually friends.
"I'm not going anywhere with you," she says. "Besides, what would be the point? We'd just have to come back here and tell Dr Shulman about it, which we can do anyway."
"Fine," he says. "Then let's just tell him we went to a football game together."
"Yeah, like he'd believe that. What would I even wear to a football game?"
"Why does it matter? Like you said, we're not actually going to one."
Okay, she doesn't know why he's getting all sulky about this. "It matters because I'd have to talk about what I wore -"
"Because I always talk about what I wore. And if I didn't, he'd notice, and if I wore the wrong thing, he'd notice, and then it would all be over."
"I think you may be overestimating how much he actually cares about your fashion choices."
"And if I'm not? God, Danny, think."
"All right, fine. Where do you want us to pretend we went?"
"It was amazing," she says. "The things they can do with their bodies - I was blown away. I cried."
"Wow," Dr Shulman says. "Danny, I didn't know you were interested in ballet."
"Oh, yeah," he says, and Mindy's probably never heard a guy sound so unconvincing in her whole life, ever. Not even the guys who say they like to cuddle. "I really got into it back in college."
"You did a lot of things back in college, apparently," Jeremy says.
"Yeah," Danny says. "Well, you know, I used it to help with the baseball. You know, conditioning, and all that."
"Right," Jeremy says. "Of course."
"Well, I think it's wonderful," Dr Shulman says, "for a man to be so interested in the arts without it compromising his masculinity. I'm a bit of an arts buff myself."
"Really?" Danny asks.
"Oh, yes. In fact, there's a wonderful exhibition on at the moment about the Parisian avant-garde. I was planning on taking myself there this weekend."
"What a coincidence," Mindy says. "Danny and I were just talking about how we were going to go to that, too."
"Is that so?" Dr Shulman asks. "Well, maybe I'll see you two there."
"Maybe you will," Danny says, and kicks Mindy under the table.
"Ow," she says. They're in his office, this time; there's a patient waiting in hers. "What was that for? You didn't have to kick me."
"You won't go to a football game, but you tell Dr Shulman we're going to a freaking art gallery? What the hell is the Parisian avant-garde, anyway?"
"Who cares?" she asks. "It's not like we're actually going."
"Of course we're not. Do you really think I want to spend my entire weekend staring at a bunch of boring old pictures painted by a bunch of boring old dead guys? Of course not. I just want to be the kind of person who everyone thinks is into that crap."
"So what do we say if he goes and doesn't see us there?"
"We say we were on our way, but we stopped to have brunch at that great place uptown with the bagels. And it was such a nice day that we stopped at a bunch of antique stores along the way, because it's something we both love that we do together all the time. And then you got so wrapped up in trying to haggle down the price of this great turn of the century shaving kit - which you got a great price on, by the way - that by the time we were finished it was super late, so we decided to get some takeaway and watch a movie at your place instead, but we're definitely planning on going next weekend."
"Wow," Danny says. "You're actually really good at this."
"I know," she says.
"No," he says. "I mean, like, scary good at this. How often do you have to tell these huge, elaborate lies anyway?"
"Danny," she says. "I'm a single woman over thirty living in New York City. All the time."
After the ballet, and antiquing, and the exhibition, Mindy goes with Danny to the craft markets, to an outdoor production of Les Miserables, and even, reluctantly, to the football. It's actually the best her social life has looked in years.
It's almost a pity it's all fake.
She's even started feeling like maybe it wouldn't be so terrible if she and Danny were actually friends for real, when he goes and ruins the whole thing.
"Damn it," he says. "That new patient just double booked me for Friday night."
"That really terrible one?" Mindy asks, and he kind of glares at her, but he also doesn't actually say no. "Why don't you just reschedule her?"
"She won't do it," he says. "I don't even know how she got it onto the books in the first place, but she keeps saying she's coming in no matter what."
"Wow," she says. "That sucks for you."
And then he gives her this look, and she really, really doesn't like where this is going.
"Mindy," he says. "You have to cover for me." And then a little louder, glancing over her shoulder, "You don't mind doing a favour for your best friend, do you?"
She doesn't even have to look around to know that Dr Shulman is probably there, but she does anyway, just in case he's bluffing. Which he isn't. Damn it.
"Of course I don't," she says, gritting her teeth. He's so going to pay for this. "Buddy."
"Great," he says. "Thanks, pal."
He's going to pay big time.
"You can't just take somebody else's parking spot."
"There was a huge puddle on mine," she says. Completely reasonably. Danny's being so pig-headed about this. "I would have totally ruined my shoes. Besides, I didn't even think you had a car."
"That's not the point."
"Yeah, it kind of is. And anyway, you were just doing me a favour. Which you owed me after you ate my lunch last week."
"Which you owed me after you left early three days in a row and left me to deal with all your extra patients."
"Hey, three regular patients are totally worth one terrible patient."
"You didn't even treat her! You just told her to come back next week."
"Which you obviously couldn't manage by yourself, so I was doing you a favour. You're welcome, by the way."
"Is everything okay here?" Dr Shulman asks, and of course Danny was yelling loudly enough to bring him out of his office. Everybody else, too, by the look of it; doesn't anybody ever do any work around here?
"Absolutely," she says, trying to smile. "Danny was just thanking me for taking his patient the other week."
"Right," Danny says. "And Mindy was just thanking me for being such an inspiration to her as a doctor."
Ugh, gag her.
"Right," Jeremy says. "Well, since we're clearly all getting along so well, this seems like a fabulous time to invite you all to come play in my softball league this weekend. I wouldn't ask ordinarily, obviously, only, well, some of the girls on the team quit after an unfortunate incident -"
"After you slept with them," Mindy prompts.
"After an unfortunate incident I'd rather not talk about, and I didn't sleep with all of them."
Danny looks horrified. "I really can't -"
"- Possibly turn this down," Mindy continues for him. "Wow, Danny, I remember you telling me just last week how great your knee was feeling, and that you'd love to get back into playing again. Isn't this such an amazing coincidence?"
"Amazing," he says flatly. "You know, I don't really remember that conversation."
"Sure you do," she says, and pinches him. Okay, so maybe they're fighting, but Dr Shulman is right there, and besides, how is that any different from normal?
"Right," he says, glaring at her and rubbing at his arm. Baby. "It's coming back to me now. That must have been just before you told me how much you loved baseball players, and how you really wanted to see me play. I believe the words 'face paint' were used?"
"I never -"
"Great," Jeremy says, ignoring her. "I'll see you all Saturday, then."
Danny glowers at Mindy, who glowers back twice as hard. Just because he has stupid eyebrows, doesn't mean he can glower any better than she can.
"Excellent," Morgan says, breaking the silence. "Oh, wait, I have the best idea. Like, ever. Are you ready for it?"
And then he actually waits, until Jeremy says, "Yes, we're ready."
"Okay," Morgan says. "Great. We should have a practice game in the parking lot."
"That's a terrible idea."
"I don't think I can -"
"I really have a lot of patients this afternoon," Mindy says. And then, when Danny raises an eyebrow at her, "What? I have a very busy schedule."
"You don't have any patients this afternoon," Betsy says. Like she's actually being helpful, which is maybe the worst part.
"Whoops," Danny says. "Looks like you're free, after all. Too bad I actually do have patients to see."
"Not any more!" Betsy chirps, and wow, sometimes she actually is helpful. "I rescheduled them for you. You told me I should get better at doing that, remember?"
"I remember," he says. "You seriously did that in the two seconds we were talking just then?"
"No," she says. "I did it, like, three hours ago."
Danny takes a deep breath. "Thank you for telling me."
"You're welcome!" Betsy says.
"So," Mindy says. "I guess we're both free."
"I guess we are."
"But if you don't want to play with us, I totally understand. Maybe you're just a little rusty."
"I'm not rusty," he says, and looks her up and down. "I just didn't want you getting hurt. I know you're not very athletic."
"Hey!" she says. Bastard. "I'm plenty athletic, thank you very much. I just didn't want to embarrass you out there."
"Try not embarrassing yourself first."
"Fantastic," Morgan says. "That's a yes, right? I'll meet you guys out there in twenty. This is going to be so much fun. I can tell we're all really psyched about it."
"Morgan," Mindy says. "What the hell are you wearing?"
Seriously, she saw him, like, twenty minutes ago. Did he have all this crap just lying around?
"Isn't it great?" he asks, and she really hopes it's rhetorical. "This -" holding up one hand "- is my giant foam finger, and this -" holding up the other "- is my really, really giant foam finger. And this -" tipping his head forward, and Mindy definitely hears sloshing "- is my lucky beer helmet."
"And face paint," Danny says. Not nicely, either, though Morgan doesn't seem to notice. And, yeah, maybe she thinks he looks ridiculous too, but she can't just go around agreeing with Danny.
"I think he looks great," she says.
"Thanks, doc," Morgan says. "You know, I think I still have some face paint, if you want to borrow some."
"That's okay," she says, and then, because he actually looks hurt, "I have allergies."
"Oh," he says. "I thought Danny said -"
"I have special face paint at home," she says. "Non-allergenic. I can't wear the regular stuff."
"Gotcha," he says. "No face paint for you."
Okay, so maybe not all of her lies turn out well, but at least some of them still do.
"All right," Jeremy says. "Before we get started, let's sort out our positions for Saturday. I'm the pitcher, obviously -"
Danny snorts, but says nothing.
"- And Danny, you can be the shortstop," he says, emphasising 'short,' which means it's Mindy's turn to laugh. "Mindy, left field -"
"What?" she asks. "I'm not playing."
"But I invited you all to come play," Jeremy says. "I thought it was fairly self-explanatory."
"Yeah, but I didn't think you meant me."
"Mindy," Danny says. "Just go to left field. Trust me, you'll never even see the ball."
Yeah, she'd better not. What the hell is a shortstop, anyway? She'd bet it's something stupid.
"Morgan," Jeremy says, and glances over. "You're going to have to take those off,"
"Sorry, doc," Morgan says. "No can do. Team pride, and all."
"Right," Jeremy says, and sighs. "I suppose you'll be similarly attired on the weekend? Fine, keep them on. Just stay in right field."
"Gotcha," Morgan says. "I'm going to be your best right fielder ever, you'll be inviting me to every game."
"Doubtful," Jeremy mutters, but just smiles at Morgan, who beams like it's some kind of encouragement. "All right, let's get started. How about some batting practise?"
"Is this when I go to left field?" Mindy asks, and Danny rolls his eyes. Rude.
"No," he says. "This is not when you go to left field. This is when you practise hitting the ball. Left field is for when you're fielding."
"Well, how am I supposed to know?"
"It's right there in the name!"
"Well, excuse me for not knowing everything about baseball," she says, because, okay, maybe they don't actually need to be having this fight.
And then he ruins it by saying, "We're playing softball."
"Maybe you are," she says. "I'm playing hardball."
"What does that even mean?"
Ugh, like everything she says means something. "It's right there in the name."
"That's not – you're not making any sense."
"You're not making any sense," she shoots back, which, whatever, it's been a long day and she's tired, okay, she just does not have the energy to come up with good comebacks at the moment.
"Are we doing this or what?" Jeremy asks, and Mindy sighs. There'd better be a lot of really cute guys in really tight shorts there on Saturday. "All right, so I'll bat first –"
"I think Danny should go first," she interrupts. "Since he's nearly a professional, and all."
Jeremy pouts, but he says, "Okay, fine. Why don't you show us all how it's done, then?"
Which is Danny's cue to glare at her, apparently, and she can't help smiling. If it turns out he actually sucks at this, she is never, ever going to let him live it down.
Except she never gets to find out, because Morgan - who finally took off one of his giant foam fingers - hit him with the ball instead. And not just a little bit, either – right in the head, and Danny drops to the ground, hard, clutching his head and groaning. She'd call him a baby, except, okay, that actually looked like it really hurt.
Not that she's worried about him, or anything. Just -
"Danny," she says, and it's not like she rushes over to him, but she's a doctor, okay, and it's like - instinct, or whatever. "Get up. You're fine."
He's fine. (Right?)
"Thanks for the sympathy," Danny says, groaning as he sits up. Or tries to, anyway. "Has anyone ever told you your bedside manner kind of sucks?"
"No," she says, because it's none of his business.
"Well, I'm honoured to be the first," he says, and if he's making fun of her, he's probably fine. Still, she should probably check him out. He may be a huge jerk, but she's pretty sure she doesn't actually want him to die.
"Shut your mouth and get up," she says. "We need to get you looked at."
"I take it back," he says. "Your bedside manner is fantastic."
"Yeah, whatever. Come on, you probably have a concussion."
"I don't have a concussion."
"Danny, you just got hit in the head with a baseball -"
"Aurgh! Why do you have to be so impossible all the time? Just get your ass inside so I can make sure you're not going to die, okay?"
"I'm not going to die," he says, and god, he's so stubborn she just wants to - slap him.
"You are if you don't come with me right now," she says, and, okay, maybe death threats are a teeny tiny bit overkill, but it gets him to shut up, so.
"Bossy," he says, but he gets up before she has to tell him again, and doesn't say anything else.
(Until they get inside, but that takes, like, a whole thirty seconds, so she's counting it as a win.)
"This is really unnecessary," he says. "I know how to deal with a concussion."
"Do you know it starts with not getting hit in the head with a baseball?" she asks, and then, when he opens his mouth again, "I know, it's a softball. God, can you go five seconds without criticising me for once?"
"What are you talking about? I don't criticise you."
"You criticise me all the time," she says, because what alternate universe is he living in, seriously? "You criticised me ten minutes ago when I didn't know stupid baseball terms -"
Danny's mouth opens and closes, but he says nothing. Luckily; she's this close to hitting him with her tiny flashlight.
"- You criticised me this morning just for parking my car -"
"In my spot!"
"See? You're doing it again. Now sit still," she says, and shines the pen light in his eyes.
"Ow," he says, pulling back. "A little warning next time?"
"I'm sorry," she says, "are you criticising me?"
"Wouldn't dream of it."
"Good. What's your name?"
"Nope," she says. "Try again."
He sighs, and says, "Danny Castellano."
"Where do you work?"
Another sigh. "Right here."
"Who's you best friend?"
A beat. At first, Mindy thinks he's given up on playing along, but then she sees his face, and -
"Danny," she says. "You have a best friend, right?"
"Of course I have a best friend," he says. "I have lots of friends."
"Like Jimbo," he says. "Steve. Big John. Little John."
"Little John's from Robin Hood."
"So? I'm just saying, I have a ton of friends."
"You do not."
"Do not," she says. "I bet I'm your best friend."
"No you're not," he says, only his voice sounds all weird all of a sudden, and he can't stop staring at her. So either his concussion is worse than she thought, or he's totally lying. "I can't believe you would even say something like that."
"No way," she says. "Admit it, you were serious. I really am your best friend."
"Yeah," he says. "In Mindy Lahiri make believe land. That was just pretend, remember?"
"Yeah, for me, maybe. I bet I was so good at being your fake friend that you really fell for me."
"What?" he asks, and now his voice is really weird. "I did not fall for you."
"I meant as a friend," she says, because duh.
"Oh my god, you really fell for me."
"You're being ridiculous."
"No," she says, because usually, yeah, but not right now. "You're totally, completely in love with me."
"I am not in love with you," he says, and tries this laughing thing that is just about the worst fake laughter Mindy's ever heard. She told him he needed to practise that. "Maybe you're the one who needs to get your head checked out."
"Maybe you're the one who's totally in love with me."
"Danny loves Mindy," she chants, because this may be just about the best news she's ever got. She can use this against him forever. "Danny loves Mindy."
"Would you shut up?"
"Make me," she says, and here's the thing -
She's watched a lot of romantic comedies. Like, pretty much all of them. And if she were Kate Hudson or Meg Ryan, she'd totally be expecting Tom Hanks or Matthew McConaughey to kiss her right now, because that's just what happens in these sorts of situations.
She doesn't expect Danny to kiss her.
Except he's surprisingly not terrible at it. He's actually pretty damn great, kissing like he actually means it, one hand around the back of her neck, pulling her closer, not so hard she couldn't get away.
If she wanted to.
She swears she doesn't mean to kiss him back, but maybe it's instinct or whatever, because the next thing she knows practically climbing onto his chair, her thigh sliding long the outside of his, biting back a gasp as he dips his head to kiss her neck. She has no idea who taught him to kiss like this - she's barely seen him go on a date all year - but she might have to write them a thank you note.
"I told you," she says, a little huskier than she means it to come out.
"Mindy," he says, and maybe she shouldn't have said anything, because that means he's stopped what he was doing. Which is, inexplicably, a bad thing. "Shut up."
Right. Shutting up.
By the time they're interrupted - and of course they're interrupted, she's practically read this script - Danny has her up against the wall, one knee between her legs pinning her in place, his hands on her waist where her shirt is riding up. They both look over at the same time, her lipgloss smeared pretty much evenly over both their faces, to see Morgan standing in the doorway.
That could have been worse.
"Afternoon quickie," he says, and Mindy pretty much wants to die of shame. "I dig it. You guys need condoms?"
"We're good," Danny says flatly. She doesn't know how he can sound so calm when she's still practically riding his thigh, but then, if she understood Danny at all, they probably wouldn't be here.
"Excellent," Morgan says. "Good work. Always be prepared, right?"
"Morgan," she says. "Go away."
"Right," he says. "Roger that. I'll just leave you to it." And then, as he's leaving - and she really should have expected it - "Have good sex!"
Yeah, so that's not going to happen.
As far as mood killers go, that's a pretty effective one, and Mindy's about to slide away when Danny stops her with one hand beside her head. He leans in closer - not quite trapping her, but almost, and honestly, it kind of makes up for a lot of what Morgan ruined.
"Where do you think you're going?" he asks, and his voice is raw, hoarse. She's a little proud of that.
"Everyone else is just outside," she says, and she has no idea when she became the sensible one in this ... whatever. Honestly, it's kind of freaking her out a little. "Do you want to get caught?"
He leans in even closer, practically whispers in her ear. "Do you?"
And, okay, yeah. Mood: Fully resurrected.
Except then he steps back, damn him, and she almost follows him before she stops herself. Right. Getting caught. Would be bad.
"So," he says. "This thing -"
And before she can think too much about it - or before he can - Mindy says, "You know, you got hit pretty hard with that ball. We should probably take you to the hospital."
"I told you, I don't need to go to the hospital."
"No," she says, because seriously, how is he not getting this? She can't be that rusty. "To the hospital."
And she really cannot believe she's actually proposing to have sex with Danny, but whatever. If - when - it turns out to be a completely terrible idea, she can claim he was hit hard enough on the head for both of them.
"Oh," he says. "Oh. The hospital. Right. Yeah, we should probably ... yeah, we should do that. Go there. Now."
Except he keeps getting closer as he's talking, and by the time he's finished, he's practically pinning her to the wall again, his lips already brushing hers, his hands gripping her waist.
Oh, hell. Maybe they'll make it out of there afterwards.
For the record:
They don't make it to the game on Saturday.
They do make it back to her place. (A lot.)
It's definitely a terrible idea. But she's never let that stop her before, so why start now?
She totally gets him to admit - in a rare moment of weakness - that she's his best friend.
Dr Shulman still doesn't believe them.