Sonny was watching TV and simultaneously wasting time on his phone. It was his day off and he didn’t really feel like doing anything. He was also sulking, because he was dead sure that Barba was absolutely indifferent to him. On many a drunken nights, while he would complain about the injustice to Amanda, she would try and insist that Barba was most definitely attracted to Sonny.
Suddenly he got a text from Amanda, with a link attached, saying If you don’t believe me, maybe this will change your mind.
The link took him to an article (on a ridiculous website) which claimed that there were 10 signs that would prove whether your crush liked you back. Despite finding it absolutely silly, Sonny still went through the list with a slightly elevated heart rate, his hopes rising.
10 signs your office crush likes you too
1. They smile bigger at you.
2. Their feet point towards you, even if their torso is pointed away.
3. They blink more while talking to you.
4. They “square” up: Stomach in, chest out. Guys often spread their legs when sitting facing you.
5. Hesitation; When alone they don’t know whether to stay and talk to you or to leave.
6. Preening: A man might straighten his collar, smoothen his clothing or fix his hair.
7. Mirroring: They may unconsciously copy your actions.
8. Teasing: They may tease you as a way of flirting.
9. Raised eyebrows: While talking to you, they may raise their eyebrows often.
10. Hands on hips: In order to make themselves look bigger, men may place their hands on their hips while near you, or talking to you.
He replied to Amanda, He’s not my crush, I’m not 12! Also, who comes up with such stuff?
Sonny still tried to go through the various interactions he’d had with Barba, he definitely teased him a lot.
“Booyah Fordham Law” and “Save it for night school”, were quips which had left him feeling chagrined but, as he tried to think of their recent conversations, he found that Barba hadn’t said anything particularly malicious to him in quite a while. Just harmless, teasing comments, like “Thank you, Dr. Carisi. Thinking of taking up medicine after you pass the bar?”.
Maybe he was just overthinking things, Barba was too sophisticated to like someone as brash and uncouth as him. Sonny tried though, he tried to think before speaking, he improved his appearance, but he still felt inadequate, by comparison.
He saved the article, hoping for the best.
They were in the middle of a trial, waiting for a witness to show up. “I’m not even sure putting this guy on the stand is a great idea,” said Barba. “What, you got a better one?” Sonny asked. Barba responded, “He's worse than all the others. And that's no easy task.”
Liv tried to interject, “Hey, Barba…” “Well, at least they admitted that they were there,” Barba said. Sonny, internally panicking, wondering where the hell the witness was, tried to calm Barba down, “Okay, well, we're here now, all right? And he was there that night. He's the only person close enough to see their faces, to see what they did to her.”
Unaffected, Barba went on, “And the jury believes him because…” “Because I went over his story backwards and forwards, all right? This guy never varied. He gave a spot-on description of each suspect. Now, maybe he's a coward, yeah, but he's credible,” Sonny tried again. “So good memory, no morality. Fantastic,” replied Barba. “When you prepped him, did you tell him what time to show up, since he's an hour late?” asked Liv. “He'll show,” Sonny insisted. “If you say so. If not, I'll just vamp,” exasperated Barba, as he quirked his eyebrows. Sonny’s heart skipped a beat, as his mind went back to the stupid article. He convinced himself, that it was nothing, just Barba being his usual sarcastic self. But, his traitorous mind kept replaying the scene in his head, as he lay in bed trying to fall asleep.
As they spoke to the Monsignor in Barba’s office, Sonny noticed how Barba sat with his body facing Sonny, despite speaking to the Monsignor sat across from him. He tried to focus back on what they were discussing, since he was so distraught at how the priests and the church had acted. But, it stayed in the back of his mind, one among the many interactions with Barba that were imprinted in his mind.
Sonny went over the stupid article often, analysing Barba’s actions in his mind. Barba had stood with his hands on his hips when Sonny had been telling the squad his theory about a suspect. Sonny had even tried to test if Barba would mirror his actions. He couldn’t think of a subtle enough movement so, he settled on just shifting his weight from one leg to the other, but then realised that Barba was leaning on his desk and couldn’t possibly mirror him.
When they interviewed Gary Bell, about his having recorded his friend duping women and sleeping with them, Barba sat on the table and once again, had his body and feet towards Sonny while speaking to someone else. Sonny felt that he was obsessing about the article, even Amanda severely regretted sending it to him. He had been cooking for Jesse and Amanda, trying to figure out if he was imagining all the signs, when Amanda had exclaimed, “Sonny, enough! You’re overthinking it. Just ask the guy out! What’s the worst that could happen?” Sonny had spluttered, “What’s the worst that could happen?? I could embarrass myself in front of him and when he says no, I’ll have to switch precincts.” Amanda had laughed, “Yeah, right. Have you seen how he gravitates towards you? Whenever we have a briefing, he always stands right next to you. He’s even started agreeing with you. There’s no way he’ll say no to you.”
After the entire, “Obfusate? Yummy!” incident, Amanda had given Sonny an ultimatum, he either ask Barba out or he was not allowed to speak about him ever again.
Some days later, when the squad was out celebrating the closing of a recent case, Sonny saw Barba, leaning against the bar, speaking to Olivia. He got up from the booth, asking Amanda and Fin, “Anyone want anything? I’m going to get another beer.” Both of them held up their still unfinished drinks and replied in the negative. As he walked towards the bar, he saw Barba notice him and straighten himself up. Sonny lightly shook his head, he had to stop reading into each and every action of Barba’s. He suddenly lost his courage and veered off towards the loo. Washing his hands, he looked in the mirror and tried to pep himself up. He pulled up the article on his phone, as encouragement. He had previously ticked off all 10 signs as something Barba had definitely done while talking to him.
Taking a deep breath, he ventured towards the bar again. Barba now sat alone, scrolling through his phone. Liv had returned to the booth and was in deep conversation with Fin. Amanda looked up at Sonny and then nodded towards Barba, with a mock warning expression. Sonny sat down next to Barba and ordered a boilermaker for some liquid courage. He quickly downed the whiskey shot. “You’re going hard tonight,” teased Barba, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you have anything other than a beer on a weekday.” “Keeping an eye on my drinking habits, counsellor?”, smiled Sonny. Barba fought off a smile and smirked, “Working with detectives, I’ve become more observant.”
The others stumbled towards them to take their leave, and Sonny prayed that Barba wouldn’t leave with them. He knew that Barba didn’t have any pending cases, so he didn’t have any urgent work. But he needn’t have worried, Barba just bade them goodbye and ordered another drink. “Now or never,” thought Sonny. “So counsellor, I was wondering, and feel free to say no,” floundered Sonny. He could feel himself turning red, but Barba just sat there, looking at him with a curious but open expression. Emboldened, Sonny continued, “Would you maybe like to go for dinner with me sometime?” “Like a date?” Barba clarified. Sonny thought that Barba was going to start laughing any second and he quickly looked away, “No, no it’s ok. You don’t have to.” Barba simply held onto Sonny’s arm and turned him towards himself. He asked again, “Did you mean a date?” “Yes, Barba. God, I’m sorry I asked, you don’t have to make fun of me,” Sonny said looking down at the ground. Barba tugged at his arm again, forcing Sonny to meet his eyes, “I’m not making fun of you. I’m just confirming because I’m only interested if it’s a date,” Barba smiled at him. Sonny could hear his heartbeat reverberating in his ears, it took a while for his brain to register what Barba had said. Sonny couldn’t stop smiling, “Well, would you like to go on a date with me, this Friday?" “Text me a time and place, and I’ll be there,” replied Barba. Sonny was too antsy to sit and make small talk so he got up and said, “I’m gonna hold you to that, but I need to go. I have an early shift tomorrow.” Barba raised his glass to Sonny and said, “Goodnight, detective. See you later.”
Sonny could not stop beaming all the way home. When he was about to go to bed, he noticed a text from Amanda, Well….? Sonny replied, I guess I can keep talking to you about him.