It’s a sunny Saturday morning in Brooklyn when she’s woken up by honking and a faint “SANTIAGO!” coming through her window. It’s the honking accompanied by the obnoxious ringing of Jake Peralta’s personal ringtone - she doesn’t know how it happened, just that one day he called her and her phone started blaring “Sexy and I Know It”, (she ignores the fact that she never changed it) - that finally gets her up.
"What?" she growls into the phone. It’s her first Saturday off in what feels like forever, and she had intended to wake up at 9:30 AM, go for a jog, make herself an omelet, then have lunch with friends.
"Morning sunshine," Jake’s perky voice announces. "Let’s go."
"Go where?" she mutters, finally making her way to the window, and peeking through the curtains. And sure enough, Jake’s sitting on the hood of the car, sunglasses on, cargo shorts on, and he’s waving at her. She resists the urge to wave a finger at him, and closes the curtain.
"I’m going to teach you how to drive stick today!"
"No," is her short response as she makes her way to the kitchen - she’s going to need some sustenance if she’s going to continue this conversation.
"Yes." And then there’s the knock on her door that she ignores, but she can’t ignore the second or the third because it’s accompanied by, "Come and knock on our doooooooooor, we’ve been waiting for youuuuuuuuuu, where the kisses are hers and hers and his, three’s company tooooooooooooooo".
She opens the door to find Jake slumped against her door frame, sunglasses pushed to the top of his hair, and his signature grin covering about half his stupid face.
"Nice outfit," he says, as he pushes in past her and makes himself comfortable on her couch.
She looks down and tries to tug down her oversized t-shirt and her short shorts. “Of all the things,” she mutters as she makes her way to the couch and sort of has to step back because he’s got enough personality to fill Manhattan, much less her tiny apartment, so his presence is everywhere. He’s got his legs propped up on her table and he’s holding up a doily and a knitted coaster in the air, right next to his face.
"I gotta say, Santiago, this new doily goes really well with this knitted coaster.”
She snatches it out of his hand and places them back where he plucked them. “Why are you here?”
"Told you. I was in the neighborhood, and I thought, you know what, Santiago needs to learn how to drive stick."
"You are also surprisingly perky for," she checks the clock, "9:00 AM."
"Oh, that’s because I haven’t slept. Like at all. I didn’t get off work until like, 30 minutes ago, I’m exhausted." She eyes his bright eyes, his stupid grin, and his relaxed demeanor.
"You don’t look exhausted."
"Well, I’m on this major caffeine rush that I’m going to come down from, in about 15 minutes, so let’s go, let’s go, let’s go."
"Did it ever occur to you that I would have plans?"
"Let me guess: you were going to jog, then perhaps make yourself a healthy brunch, then have a healthy lunch with friends to talk about how handsome your partner is." She rolls her eyes at the last one, but tries to ignore how spot on he is, and she just chalks it up to her being super predictable.
"I’m just going to stay here until you change. Or you can drive like that, it really doesn’t matter," he glances the briefest of glances at her thighs, and she tries to fight the blush, and turns to her room.
"Fine," she grumbles, making her way back to her room to change into something presentable. She decides that he’s not worth her looking great, so she changes into jeans and a t-shirt, but she changes her mind when she’s got one foot out her bedroom door. She rushes to brush her hair, and put on a little eyeliner and blush, and well, it’s only just in case she runs into somebody cute. Really.
"Alright, Santiago!" he pops off the couch the second she leaves her room and tosses her the keys. Thanks to her reflexes, she catches them, and god, they’re surprisingly heavy.
"What kind of keychains do you have on here, Peralta?” she asks as she eyes the numerous keychains attached to the two keys he has. There’s a pair of dice, a pony, Lady Liberty, a basketball, and a sheriff badge.
They’ve got nothing in common, and yet, they all scream Jake Peralta. (She has no idea what the pony has anything to do with him, but it’s random enough that it fits.)
They make their way across the street to the car, and she has that rushed panic that she gets when she’s forced to do something she hasn’t done or practiced about a thousand times, which is why her first kiss almost ended up with her throwing up out of pure anxiety.
He looks at her from across the hood, fighting a little grin.
"You’ll be okay, Santiago. Breathe." He ducks into the car, and Amy takes one, two, three, deep breaths and says a little prayer to God, hoping to not die, apologizes for never going to church and hopefully she gets into heaven and Holt says something really nice about her at her funeral. "I’ll take you to an empty street, and we’ll practice."
She steps inside the car, and doesn’t stifle the scream when she leans back against the seat and it folds all the way back so she’s horizontal.
"What the fuck, Peralta?" She asks, struggling to get up and pull the seat back up.
He yanks on her arm to get her up and hits the seat twice in a certain spot, “You just gotta give it love,” he says, and it springs back into position.
"Oh my God, I really am going to die today," she mutters under her breath as she reaches to put her seatbelt on… and is met with a rope.
"Mother of God, Jake, is this a jump rope?" She looks over at him in disbelief, and he looks a little sheepish.
"Yeah, but it’s fine. You won’t die, it’s okay."
He drives them to a nearby empty side street, and nods at the door. “You can bounce if you want to.” He says it like a dare, but deep down, she knows that it’s also his way of giving her an easy out.
But she doesn’t get out, because well, she does need to learn how to drive stick. It’s a useful life lesson, really, she tells herself. They switch sides, and Amy puts her seatbelt on, and if she does a little sign of the cross, Jake doesn’t say anything about it.
"So, step one: three pedals. Far left is clutch, middle is brake, right is gas."
"Got it," she says, making a move to turn the key.
"NO, not yet," he says, smacking her hand lightly from the ignition. "That’s bad. Don’t do that." She looks at him, surprised. "You gotta press the clutch," she does, "move the gear to neutral", she does, "Now, start the car."
She does, and nothing bad happens, as far as she can tell. “Yay,” she says, grinning to herself. She’s like halfway there, right? “What’s next?” She looks over at him, and he’s just grinning at her, like he’s got a secret.
"Nothing, just you… nothing. Kay, we’re going to practice. Move to first gear." He takes her right hand and places it on the gear, moving it to the upper left. She ignores that jolt of electricity she feels at his touch, because there’s gotta be something in this deathtrap of a vehicle that’s causing static electricity. Balloons, probably.
"This is second gear," and there goes that static electricity again. "Third." Again. "Fourth." Again. "Fifth." Where is that balloon?! "Reverse." If she gets out alive, she’s cleaning his car out.
"Okay, now put it back in first," and thankfully, he lets go of her hand, placing it on the dashboard instead. "Now release the clutch pedal - I MEANT TO SAY SLOWLY." The car stalls, and she looks sort of guilty.
"Let’s try again." He directs her back to the beginning, and when she gets into first gear, she doesn’t stall, and she wants to do a happy dance in the car, but she reminds herself that she has to wait until they both make it out alive.
"Alright, now that we’re moving, at a neckbreaking 10 miles per hour, go a little faster please, yes, better, okay. Now, press the clutch and switch to second."
"Second?!" she asks, mentally trying to find out where that was while still keeping her eye on the road.
"Here." He takes her hand and moves it to second, and if she takes a shallow breath, neither of them say anything about it. "Second. Let the clutch back up, and use the gas pedal."
She does it fairly successfully, in her opinion, and the rest of the ride down the block is (mostly) smooth sailing. She would hate to admit it out loud, but Jake was a pretty good teacher. (Of course, she’s a better student, but…)
She makes it back to her apartment building (all in one piece) and parks successfully.
"You did it!" Jake looks at her, holding out his fist for her to bump. She sighs, but bumps it anyway, and Jake makes an exploding sound with his mouth. "Boom. You, Amy Santiago, just drove stick."
And it is probably because it’s a beautiful day, she made it a whole hour without wanting to strangle Jake with the jump rope, and she just drove stick in Jake Peralta’s car and she didn’t die, that the next words come out of her mouth.
"You’re a good teacher, Jake. I’m glad I did this."
She makes eye contact with him and gives him this shy little smile, and he holds her gaze with this soft little look and a smile that she’s never seen before.
"Why, Amy, was that a compliment I heard come out of your mouth?" He sticks his head out the window. "IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE, NEW YORK."
"… And the moment’s over."
She looks at the clock and looks back at him in time to see him stifle a yawn beneath his hand.
"You should get some sleep."
"I will." He looks out the window at the diner across the street from her place. "Do you think this place has good hash browns?"
Amy makes a face, recalling the only time she made a trip to the diner. “They’re terrible. Their fries are and burgers are super greasy, too.” She shudders to emphasize the idea.
"God, it’s like you don’t even speak my language. Greasy is better. Come on. I’ll treat. And if you end up with food poisoning tonight, I’ll make you a super healthy candy omelet on Monday."
She glances at him, eyebrow raised. “I’m afraid to ask, but what’s in a candy omelet?”
"It’s specifically a lemon flavored fruit roll up, with m&ms, skittles, and - "
"That sounds disgusting."
"It’s so disgusting, it’s delicious."
"Well, I hope the burger is better than that."
"So, you’re coming?" He hops out of the car, eager as hell, and Amy wants to liken him to a puppy with the way his eyes are big and shiny, and she swears she can almost see his tongue hanging out his mouth.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s get something to eat."
Amy’s no longer surprised that she’s having a good time with Jake, either that or her tolerance level for Jake’s personality is getting larger, but she’s pretty sure it’s the first one. He actually makes her laugh on more than one occasion without her rolling her eyes at him in exasperation, and he actually listens to all her stories and asks questions to show that he’s listening, which, well, impresses the hell out of her.
She tries to remember that as she throws up later that night.
On her desk Monday morning is a plate with a delicious (and healthy) looking omelet, with a note right next to it.
"Sorry about the puking :("
She tucks the note in the deepest of her drawers and files, where Jake would never look or find it and digs into the omelet. It’s actually really good, and she’s pretty sure that he bought it from a restaurant and gave it to her, but it’s the thought that counts.
Later that day, Jake goes out on a case with Rosa, and Amy’s computer starts to freeze when she’s doing something very important, so she switches over to Jake’s computer to finish typing up her assignment.
"How to Make an Omelet" is the first thing that shows when she opens up a browser.