Ugh, Peggy groaned, even louder than she had the past few times.
That thunking just wouldn’t let up, would it? It had been happening intermittently for at least an hour now. But it wasn’t deafening music thunking or sex thunking or moving beds together thunking. She actually couldn’t even tell what exactly it was.
It was law school, that’s what it was. It was probably in her head. She’d already started worrying that she was losing her mind a couple of weeks ago - and it was only her second year.
And she needed to study, dammit.
It seemed like it was on this floor, so maybe if she looked up and down the hall she could get an idea what the racket was and tell the person who was making it to shut the fuck up.
Angie hasn’t noticed a thing since lunch, too occupied by her line studying and irrationally loud opera music that serves as her “focus” soundtrack, so Peggy doesn’t bother telling her that she’s going to the door.
Her investigation is remarkably short.
The culprit is the new guy.
No one had lived in apartment 111 for years, not since the most recent resident had been revealed to be a serial killer. Even the landlord was reluctant to go inside the place. And now, there’s a guy, a young guy, with a freaking crutch, moving in. What the hell was he thinking? About anything? Sure, Peggy wasn’t afraid to go into 111, and Angie had come with her when she’d been dared to, but really?
“Making too much noise, aren’t I?” he asks all of a sudden, before she’s even realized that he’s noticed her. He leans down and puts his crutch as well as the box he’s holding on the floor, and when the grimace from the effort leaves him, she blushes, because not only had she been planning on being a total bitch, to a guy who just about couldn't walk, he was also really attractive.
She’s not even allowed any recovery time to form a response to his realization, as he walks over towards her doorway as soon as he’s standing straight again. His gait is uneven, but he seems adjusted to it.
“Daniel Sousa,” he says with a surprising gentleness, and she thinks it a bit odd how far he stands from her door, because it seems less like he didn’t want to walk the extra couple steps and more like he’s waiting for boundaries to be set; the hand held out to her and his job-interview-worthy handshake are refreshing. Perhaps he’s older than she thought? He looked around her age, but most men her age were nowhere near that refined, even - or perhaps, especially - most of those in class with her.
“Peggy Carter,” she answers, trying to give a smile that was friendly rather than forced, and she hopes that her voice sounds sincere. “I’m sorry, I’ve just been trying to do some studying, so the, uh, thunking was a little disturbing.”
“Well, it’s not an excuse for disturbing your studies, but I will admit that I hadn’t even thought about it. Having to put things down, the chance of dropping them, all that. Packed all my boxes as heavy as I used to, but I’m not exactly…that strong anymore. This is the last one, though, so you’re home free from here on.”
His voice quickly becomes tentative, and his smile’s fading.
“Recent injury, then?” she asks as gingerly as she can manage, closing her door behind her in hopes of indicating she can handle a discussion. Daniel nods.
“Third tour in Afghanistan. Shrapnel.”
“I’m terribly sorry. I - know that doesn’t mean much, but really.”
“I can tell.”
“Your eyes, they’re sincere, like you’re talking about something personal. That’s how I can tell you mean it.”
Peggy straightens her back a bit more. They were so not going there.
“Impressive. You’d make a fine detective.”
“Hopefully I will, someday.”
“You’re at Georgetown,” she realizes.
“You would also make a fine detective.”
“Hopefully I will, someday.”
“So I’ll be seeing you around campus, then?”
“You...live next door to me,” she points out, curious.
“I know, but that seemed like a better segue to ask you out for a drink.”
“Well, I think either of those would have been successful. Besides, I’ll be around regardless. But, um, how does Saturday sound? Maybe knock around nine or so?”
He seems surprised by her reception of the informal invitation, but still, he speaks easily.
“That sounds great.”
“Good. It’s a date, then,” she declares, and reaches up behind her ear for her pen. She reaches for one of his hands and carefully writes out her number, consciously making sure that it's legible.
“Best of luck with your studying,” Daniel grins.
“Thanks. God knows I’ll need it,” replies Peggy, her tone jovial.
“Best of luck to you as well, particularly with the move.”
“Thank you, although I’m not sure I need it. I’ve had pretty spectacular luck with this move already.”
Peggy purses her lips, trying to keep from blushing, and is trying to put together a response when the door jumps open behind her to revealing an agitated Angie, who puts a hand on her heart at the sight of her roommate.
“Oh, thank God! Got worried, English. Didn’t know where you’d gone. Who are you?”
“Daniel Sousa, the new guy.”
Angie’s initial happiness at seeing Peggy dwindles.
“In 111?” she asks, surprised, and he nods easily, and oddly enough, Angie asks nothing more.
“Well, nice to meet you. I’m Angie Martinelli. Best friend extraordinaire and future Broadway star.”
Peggy rolls her eyes the littlest bit. Angie and her enthusiasm.
“Coming back in, English? I just started on some cheese toast.”
“Yeah, just a minute. And make sure you don’t burn anything.”
“Oh, I see how this is going down,” Angie realizes in a playful, over-observant fashion, and then leans in closer to Peggy, to whisper in her ear.
“Should I go get condoms or something?”
“Angie!” Peggy exclaims, turning her head around enough to mouth a stern ‘no’ at her. Angie raises her hands in defeat, biting her lip as she goes to retread the path to the kitchen.
“You know, even if she hadn’t mentioned Broadway, I would’ve guessed actress,” Daniel says lightheartedly, extending his hand again as Peggy reflexively giggles in response.
“I’ll...see you around,” she says.
“As I will you,” he replies.
“English!” comes a distressed call from back in the apartment.
“She burned something, didn’t she?”
“Probably,” Peggy nods, and gives a shrug of feigned aggravation. She follows with a small wave, and he responds in turn, and even though she knows she needs to address Angie’s situation, she leans back against the door happily when she closes it behind herself.