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might have looked the other way

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I've just seen a face
I can't forget the time or place
Where we just meet
She's just the girl for me
And want all the world to see
We've met

_________________________

The Meet Cute

It’s hot as balls in L.A. today and Kristen’s trekking it to the bus stop all because her car's in the shop and CJ can’t fucking wake up on time.

“I hate you,” she tells his voicemail. “We’re no longer friends and I’m definitely not getting the cute dude with spikey hair’s number for you now. Sucks to be you, bro.”

She hangs up and shifts her backpack to one arm before tossing both it and her ass on the bench near the bus stop. It arrives about five minutes later, so it could be worse given the heat. She tosses her hair up into a ponytail as she boards, and then immediately fishes out her ipod.

There are no seats to be had, so Kristen stands crammed up near some dude and tries to lose herself in some Ellie Goulding. Naturally someone is talking super loud across from her (okay maybe it’s also super quiet on the bus and so it sounds louder than it is, but she can still hear him over the music) and shifting between English and French at that, which couldn’t be more pretentious, honestly.

“It’ll be fine, I want to do this,” he’s saying. “I don’t need you to send me money, I’m fine.”

Kristen rolls her eyes and bobs her head to the music. He continues talking for a few minutes, mostly in French, and then hangs up, thank god.

She’s staring down at her feet, but looks up when she feels eyes on her. Faux French Dude is watching her, and Kristen gets a good look at him. He’s wearing plaid, which is an instant plus in her book, and truly a dying fashion trend. But it doesn’t automatically negate her first impression of him. He’s got a good face, though. Then he smiles at her. Or, like, tries to. It ends up looking pretty fucking forced and she’s glad CJ’s not here because he’d be saying they’re mfeo. Except if CJ were around, Kristen wouldn’t be here. She’d be in a comfortable car, blasting some music and bitching at CJ’s moral inability to drive faster than the speed limit.

He motions to her, which looks like ‘come sit on my lap’ and what.

What?” she asks, eyes narrowed, ripping one headphone out of her ear.

“Do you want to sit down?”

His mouth sort of quirks into a half-amused smile when he talks. Kristen doesn’t dig it at all.

“I’m fine, man,” she says, putting her headphone back in. Except he’s already gotten up and his seat gets stolen immediately, so now they’re standing a few feet apart and he’s looking down at her.

“I’m Johnny,” he says, and Kristen grinds her teeth. If there’s one thing she hates more than loud talkers on public transportation, it’s people trying to talk to her when she’s listening to her music.

She smiles up at him, sweetly. “Hi, Johnny. I’m not interested.”

She goes back to staring at her feet.

“Wow. Okay.” He mumbles the words, pissily, and she shrugs, still not looking at him.

She waits for it in three, two...

“You know, I was just being polite.”

She looks up at him, dubiously. “Uh-huh.”

He frowns, hard, his mouth working.

“Save it,” she says, trying to spare him any further humiliation. Up close he really is pretty hot, but whatever; there are loads of hot people in L.A.

He scoffs and walks to the other end of the bus. She watches him get off two stops later.
_________________________

The Casablanca Moment

Kristen’s spent all day outside as a stand-in for a teenager, because everyone says she still looks super young, and with her build and all, it’s pretty easy to pass. She sometimes resents it, but it does give her more employment options, and standing in pays a shit ton more than extra work, anyway. She showers, changes back into her tank and shorts, and waits for CJ to pick her up. He works security at the club next to the bar, and on nights when it's dead he'll skip out and just chill while she slips him free drinks.

He drops her off out front and she kisses his cheek before heading inside, because she can't stay mad at him for long. There’s a steady crowd right now and she greets a few of the regulars, tossing her bag in the back before slipping behind the bar.

“You’re getting fresh blood tonight,” Bill says and Kristen freezes.

“Seriously? I told you I can handle it.”

“Didn’t say you couldn’t,” he replies, “but business is picking up, and I want more hands on deck.”

Kristen groans and flips her baseball hat around so it’s backwards. She likes working the bar alone, or having random people just fill in. Another person permanently on the same shift schedule, essentially, just isn’t her ideal setting. But Bill’s been harping on it for a few weeks now.

“So? Who is it?"

“He should be here soon.”

Kristen’s taken three orders and is just setting a vodka cranberry down on the bar when Bill walks over with someone trailing behind.

“Kristen, this is Jonathan Toews,” he says, stepping aside.

Of course it’s Faux French Dude, because Kristen doesn’t just work on movies - her life apparently is one, as well.
_________________________

“So,” Johnny says as they’re standing, awkwardly, behind the bar.

“So,” Kristen replies, looking at him out of her peripheral. He’s still wearing the same outfit except now he’s also got on a backwards hat. “I like the right side, so how about you park yourself down there, buddy.”

Johnny shakes his head, incredulously. “You’re really something else, you know that? What’d I even do to you?” It’s obviously a rhetorical question, though, as he heads down to the other end immediately, which is fine by her. She asked him to, after all.

Halfway through the night he’s reaching over her for some rum when he pauses. “What are you doing?”

“Making a drink, asshole,” she says, tightly, his arm still all up in her business.

“You shouldn’t give doubles.”

Kristen scoffs and ducks under his arm. “You gotta give more to get more, bud.”

“How are you not fired yet?” Johnny wonders aloud, finally stepping back.

She claps him on the back before scooping up the drinks. “Because Bill loves me.”

“Obviously not enough, or I wouldn’t be here.”

The glasses jostle as she whips her head around to glare at him. “That was majorly dickish,” she replies tightly, nearly shaking with anger.

He just shrugs and she’d love to punch him in the face.

Instead she delivers her drinks and flaunts all her tips, which are on average twice as much as he’s getting, in his face the rest of the evening.

Kristen’s still pissed as they’re wiping down the bar at closing, and is perhaps scrubbing the counter a bit too hard.

“Hey,” Johnny says, softly, beside her.

“Bite me.”

“Look, I’m sorry. That was shitty thing to say.”

“Yeah, it was.”

“I know. I’m sure you’re good at your job and all. We obviously got off on the wrong foot and... I’d like to be friends.”

She stops scrubbing and looks at him. His face is sincere, that’s for sure. And he’s even hotter when he’s letting some vulnerability show. He’s probably not such a bad dude, in actuality. He was decent with the customers, if totally awkward at times, and admittedly she wasn’t exactly in the greatest of moods this morning. She can be big enough to admit, at least silently, she probably made a mistake in judgment this once.

Nevertheless, she really should tell him to fuck off. It’d be better, in the long run. Being friends with someone you'd totally have ill-advised sex with pretty much sucks ass. If Kristen had any sense, she’d make his life miserable until he just has to quit but she knows she’d never be able to keep up the act.

Instead she shrugs and meets his eyes. “Okay.”

His lips quirk up. “Okay.”

“Kristen Stewart,” she says, holding out her hand.

He grips it, fingers firm as they enclose her own. “Johnny Toews.”

She’s not sure if she shivers from the contact or the stupid, unguarded smile he shoots her, but her thought is the same either way: I’m in trouble.

She grins back at him, though, their hands still clasped. “Should I go all Bogey and say I think this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?”

Johnny frowns. “I don’t get the reference.”

“Oh my god,” Kristen groans. “I take back my truce.”

He lets go of her hand only to hold his own up in front of him. “Kidding,” he laughs.

She punches his arm.

“Gone with the Wind, right?”

It takes her a second to get that he’s deadpanning, and then she hits him again.

He laughs, rubbing at his arm.

It just might be a great friendship at that. Go figure.
_________________________

"Just Friends"

People at the bar don’t really get Kristen and Johnny’s deal, because they’re both highly sarcastic, and to the outside eye it looks like they can’t stand each other. Sometimes they have to tone it down because they’re confusing the customers.

The first week Johnny’s there is a pretty entertaining time, though, and while he does still bitch at her for doubles and not collecting her tips right away and always leaving the lemon tub open, most of their arguments have no real heat behind them after their initial rocky start.

“So what do you do in the light of day, loser?” Kristen asks, sitting on the bar at closing and popping an olive in her mouth. They've already talked about where he's from, and how he graduated two years ago and was recently let go from his evening job at a record store because they're going out of business.

“Help out teaching hockey lessons to kids.”

The second olive nearly falls out of her mouth. “No shit?”

Johnny shrugs, looking a little uncomfortable. “Yeah, well, I went to school for education and I love hockey, so.”

“You want to be a teacher?” Kristen laughs, kicking at his stupidly thick thighs with her feet.

“Why’s that funny?” Johnny glares.

Kristen shoots him a dubious look. “You. Teach. You’ll have them fucking falling asleep mid-class.”

“Might not be so bad if I’m teaching elementary then, eh?” He quips.

“Your Canadian is showing, buddy, watch out.”

“Sure, buddy,” Johnny smirks.

Kristen makes a jerk-off motion with her hand. “Suck it, you don’t have a monopoly on the word.”

Johnny just grins at her, the two of them eye level when she sits on the bar like this. Kristen grins back and kicks at his leg some more.

“Stop.” His brow is furrowed, but the corners of his lips are totally still turned up.

Kristen does it again, smirking, and he grabs her foot. She clears her throat and shrugs out of his grasp, ignoring the tingling in her body.

“You want a ride home?” Kristen offers, since her car is now back in her possession. She jumps off the bar.

She looks at him over her shoulder and he’s shrugging, staring at where she was sitting. “I could get the bus.”

“Whatever,” Kristen says, walking into the back to grab her bag. “Offer’s open,” she adds as she returns.

“Alright,” Johnny says, and they wave to Bill and Ashley as they walk past, side by side. Ashley wolf whistles and Kristen rolls her eyes.

“Shut up,” Kristen mumbles, and doesn’t miss the way Johnny watches her as she turns to back toward the kitchen.

Once in her car, Johnny makes for her iPod and Kristen slaps his hand.

“My car, my music.”

He groans. “I know you've been listening to Lights on repeat but can you not tonight?”

She grins and flips through songs until pressing play. “How’s this?” she says as All of the Lights starts.

Johnny snorts. “You’re nothing if not consistent.”

“Damn straight.” She turns it up and nods along, singing. Johnny sits back in his seat, smirking at her every so often and telling her where to go.

“We’re both off tomorrow, huh?”

“Yeah,” Kristen says. “Bill and James are gonna handle it.”

“Cool. My place is the one on the end,” Johnny says, and Kristen pulls along the curb in front of the apartment building. “Wanna come out with some of my friends, then?”

Kristen puts the car park and turns to him. “You have friends?”

“Ha, ha,” Johnny says. “Look, do you wanna?”

Kristen pulls out a pack of cigarettes, offering him one. Johnny shakes his head.

“Sure,” she says, lighting it and rolling down the window.

“Cool." He shoots her a small smile. “I’ll text you tomorrow. Thanks for the ride.”

“No problem. Later,” Kristen replies, taking a long drag before exhaling slowly, watching his ass as he gets out of the car.

She’s seen worse views, that’s for sure.
_________________________

They end up going bowling, and Kristen’s just enough of a lamer that she happens to love bowling. Johnny totally sucks at it, and even starts rolling the ball between his legs halfway through the game, which makes everyone taunt the shit outta him. His friends are pretty cool – all different ages as most are from his pick-up hockey league or the center he works at.

“Toes here didn’t tell us he was seeing someone new,” the dude Johnny calls Sharpy says to her while they’re sitting back, swigging beers and laughing at Johnny’s pathetic display.

Kristen waves him off. “We’re just friends, man.”

Sharpy raises his eyebrows. It just makes him even more attractive. “Really?” he laughs. “Don’t see Tazer with many girls that are just friends.”

Kristen lifts her feet onto the seat and rests her head on her knees. “How many names you have for him, dude?”

Sharpy grins. “A few.”

“Well, seriously, we’re just friends,” she says as she watches Johnny’s ass as he bends over. Whatever, she can look. It doesn't mean anything.

“That’ll make Kaner happy.” He nods, and she doesn’t get it until she’s suddenly bombarded by a dude with blonde hair and a pretty nice smile. She was introduced earlier but he was mostly talking to Johnny. Now he’s all up in her business, and Kristen nearly has to laugh at what horrible game he has. Johnny, for his part, starts poking Kaner in the ribs when he notices.

“Can I get you another beer?” he asks Kristen after telling her all about his sisters.

“Sure, dude,” Kristen shrugs.

Johnny rolls his eyes at Kaner's retreating back. “Sorry for his everything. He never knows when to quit.”

There’s weight behind that statement that’s almost intriguing. “It’s really okay, man,” she replies, easily.

Johnny studies her for a moment. “Okay. Sorry.”

She frowns at his clipped tone but doesn’t get a chance to say anything, because Kaner’s back with her beer and slipping into the seat between them.

Johnny moves away after that, talking to a dude he calls Seabs and just generally looking a little pissy. She chalks it up to the fact that he’s in last place. Kristen chats some more with Kaner, who is sort of a sweetheart beneath his douche exterior. He reads a lot, as well, so they end up trading some bestseller recs. Towards the end of the night, Kristen begins wondering if Johnny backed off because he felt he was cockblocking or something, but a) she has no interest in Kaner and b) you usually don’t cockblock your friends, so.

“This was fun, man,” she says when they’re outside and Johnny’s finally smiling again.

“Yeah,” Johnny replies, slapping his friend Duncs on the back as he heads past them to his car. There are way too many nicknames amongst his group, but Kristen figures she’ll just have to embrace it.

There’s a chorus of goodbyes around them, and Kaner gives her a hug – which in turn makes Johnny mock gag over her shoulder, even though his face looks kind of tight.

“You need a ride?” Kristen asks.

Johnny shakes his head. “This loser here will take me,” he says, giving Kaner a noogie.

“How many times do I have to say ‘not the hair’, you dick?”

Kristen laughs and fistbumps Johnny. “Goodnight, boys.”

“How’d you meet someone that cool?” she hears Kaner ask as she’s walking to her car.

“Because I wasn’t hanging around you,” Johnny responds, and Kristen finds herself grinning at his dumb, deadpan voice.
_________________________

Sexual Tension

Kristen figures turnabout is fair play, so on their next night off together, she invites Johnny to chill with her group and go swimming. He’s already met Ashley, Suzie, and Kassie at the bar. Scout still lives with her parents while she tries to get this freelance photography thing off the ground, but they’re rich and constantly away, so more often than not they hang there.

Kristen's getting changed in the cabana, having left Johnny to his own devices. She smirks as she hears Alannah say, “Better watch out, man, CJ here has a thing for Canadians,” while CJ retorts, “Why don’t you go drool over Scout a little more?” Her friends are the most mature.

Kristen walks out in her bikini and pointedly ignores looking at Johnny’s chest. And legs. And everything.

“You look hot, girl,” Ashley says, and Kristen shrugs. Johnny’s looking at Ashley, definitely not at her face. Kristen feels a wave of – something, but shakes it off.

Johnny turns to Kristen then and gives her an obvious once over. It happens way too fast for her to even formulate more than thinking, huh? before he says, “Eh, she’s far too dry,” and then he pushes her in the pool.

The water is warm as Kristen hits it. She sputters upward and rubs at her eyes, glaring. “Fuck you!” she says, while everyone is clapping and laughing. Johnny just smirks like the asshole he is and does a cannonball into the pool, splashing her in the process.

“Ugh, you dick," she says when he rises to the surface, and proceeds to dunk him again.

Everyone else jumps in, which distracts Kristen until Johnny’s trying to grab at her to push her under again, and then they’re off, racing to the end of the pool. She breaks away from his hands grabbing at legs and makes it to the side before he boxes her in against it.

“I win,” she says, smirking up at him.

“Whatever,” he mumbles. His face and hair are wet and their faces are way too close. Their eyes lock, the water a blue glow around them. Kristen watches Johnny worry his bottom lip, her breath catching a little. And then someone jumps in, splashing them both in the process. They chuckle, Kristen feeling a little unsteady, and Johnny removes his arms from either side of her.

“Race you to the other end?” he asks.

“You’re on.”

Later, they’re both lounging on rafts with beers while her friends play a stoned game of marco polo around them.

“So, would I have seen you in anything?” Johnny asks.

“Hmm?”

“Movies.”

“Oh,” Kristen replies, taking a swig of Corona. “Well I played ‘Hot Girl at Party’ in the last Emma Stone pic?”

Johnny nods, before saying, dryly, “Right, I remember you. You were hot.”

She splashes water at him with her hand. “Fuck off.”

He smirks. “Any speaking roles?”

“Not yet.”

Johnny frowns. “That’s stupid.”

Kristen shrugs. “Not really. I guess I have the aesthetics in my favor, but for as skin deep as Hollywood really is, it still helps to have connections and sometimes just get lucky breaks.”

“And have talent,” Johnny adds.

Kristen flashes her teeth at him. “Well I’m dripping with that, baby.”

Johnny’s head falls back as he laughs, and Kristen’s smile widens even further.

They float around, staring up at the stars and talking quietly until everyone gets out to make s’mores.

They're sitting around the spitfire grill, Kristen with a towel wrapped over her shoulders. She's finishing chewing when Johnny says, “You’ve got–”

“Huh?” she asks, looking up.

He gestures to his own face. “Chocolate.”

“Oh,” she says, wiping at her mouth with her fingers.

“Gone?”

“No, just,” he reaches out and swipes at the corner of her lips with his thumb.

Kristen stomach flips, eyes trained on Johnny’s hand that’s now moving away to scratch at the back of his neck.

“Thanks,” she says, softly.

“Sure,” Johnny replies, sounding uncomfortable and not meeting her eyes.

Then Scout bumps her with her hip and starts talking about a photo shoot she wants to set up, and Kristen stops thinking about how soft Johnny’s hand was.
_________________________

Musical Interlude

Kristen’s favorite night at the bar is karaoke night, hands down. Everyone knows too, which is why she’s put in charge of promoting it each week on twitter and facebook. Johnny, on the other hand, despises karaoke night because Johnny hates joy.

“I’m gonna do one tonight,” she says, tossing back a shot away from Bill’s watchful gaze.

Johnny groans. “Do you have to?”

“Yes, I have to, asshole. Ain’t nothin’ gonna hold me down,” she says, and walks towards the small stage area where sometimes they have local bands.

“You’re supposed to be working!” Johnny calls out.

“Deal with it for five minutes!" she yells without turning around.

She does Total Eclipse of the Heart because it’s the best karaoke song ever, and towards the end of it Johnny is definitely paying attention. She flips him off, smiling smugly and he just leans back against the bar, crossing his way too muscular arms over his chest. Why he even wears shirts that cling to his biceps like that is beyond her. He must be doing it on purpose. For some reason it makes her flash on seeing him shirtless that night by the pool and, yeah, not a good thing to be thinking about when she’s looking right at him while singing, ‘And I need you now tonight.’

Johnny’s doing the slow clap as she sprints back to the bar and she bows once again, just for him.

“Not bad,” he says, mildly.

“Fuck you, I killed it.”

“You were okay,” he allows, and it’s such bullshit; he can barely keep the smirk off his face.

“You have the worst poker face ever, anyone tell you that? Besides, I’d like to see you try it.”

Johnny scoffs. “Not in a million years.”

“Bet you would if you’re drunk enough.”

“I’d do a lot of things if I were drunk enough,” he replies, and it probably comes out a lot dirty than he intends because his eyes widen immediately.

“Oh really?” Kristen teases, waggling her eyebrows.

He’s full-on blushing now and it’s the best thing ever.

“Knock it off,” he says, bumping her playfully before helping a customer.

“One day I’ll get you wasted,” she promises.
_________________________

Hookups

Kristen doesn’t really realize just how much she and Johnny have been hanging out these past few months until she’s working on a new movie and there are some night shoots. And even then the only reason she truly realizes it is because Rob comes out of the kitchen at the end of the night and gives Johnny a high-five, saying, “Heard about Ashley, man. Right on.”

Kristen turns her head, blinking, but Johnny’s just looking down. “Uh, yeah,” he mumbles before casting a furtive glance at Kristen.

Kristen’s mind is reeling, wondering just what exactly happened when she wasn’t here.

Rob lowers his voice to ask, “How was she?” and Kristen no longer needs to wonder what happened.

“Stop being such a pig, Rob,” she says, voice more steady than she feels.

“The lady has spoken,” he smirks and Kristen flips him off before he returns to the kitchen.

Johnny’s been staring down at the counter like he’s trying to set it on fire. Kristen starts cleaning up, wanting something to do with her hands.

“So,” Johnny finally says.

“So,” Kristen replies, flashing back to that first night behind the bar together – except this is light years more awkward.

“This is weird,” mumbles Johnny.

“Why?” Kristen asks. She knows it’s weird on her end, but that’s her own fault. They’re friends and she shouldn’t feel as though she’s been kicked in the stomach. But she does, and she supposes maybe, just maybe, this is more than a dumb crush.

“I dunno, we never talk about this stuff.”

Which is true; they’ve never talked about sex or exes or anything like that. She’s not sure if it’s just outside the parameters of their friendship or if they hadn’t gotten around to it. She hasn’t exactly cared, either way.

“We can," she replies, and it sounds like someone else talking. “We’re buddies, right? It’s cool.”

“Okay,” he says slowly, and doesn’t sound overly thrilled.

“Gonna see her again?" Kristen asks, keeping it light and teasing, nudging him.

Johnny doesn't smile though. If anything he frowns harder. "Probably not. Think it was just a one time thing.”

That shouldn’t make her happy, but it does. And then Kristen feels like an ass and hopes Ashley doesn’t actually like him, cause that’d suck for her and she’s a friend.

“I don’t know how anyone knew.”

Kristen looks out to where Nikki is wiping down some tables. She knows how. “Word spreads ‘round here.”

Johnny looks vaguely annoyed. “Guess so. Hey, I’m gonna split.”

“Need a ride?”

Johnny shakes his head. “I’m fine.”

His whole demeanor seems off as he leaves, and Kristen’s a little thrown herself. She sighs and finishes cleaning up when Ashley comes over.

“Hey girl,” she says.

“Hey,” Kristen replies, biting her lip. “Uh, so. Heard about you and Johnny.”

Ashley groans, popping an olive in her mouth before Kristen covers them up. “I only told Nikki.”

Kristen watches Nikki come out of the back with her bag, waving a general bye before walking out the door.

“Well, that’s your problem.”

Nikki told Rob about Kristen’s hookup with a rando while she’d been confused about their relationship. They’re at least on speaking terms now and things are pretty okay but Kristen doesn’t hang with Nikki anymore. She’d been trying to figure out the right time to tell him herself and having that taken out of her hands was pretty shitty.

“So, like, this a thing then?” Kristen asks, trying to sound casual.

“Nah, doubt it. He’s apparently hung up on someone else. Doesn’t usually do the whole one night stand thing. Says he likes to go on dates first, if you can believe that.” Ashley laughs and Kristen feels something release inside her.

She can believe it, honestly; Johnny loves to always formally ask her to do shit even though it’s sort of given that they’ll be spending their free time together either with her friends or his, or sometimes just chillin’ by themselves.

“Why you so interested?” Ashley asks, bumping her shoulder.

“No reason.”

“Mmm-hmm,” she replies, knowingly, and leans in to whisper in her ear. “The sex was hot, you know. You should try it.”

Kristen flushes furiously, and inches away. “Yeah, no thanks. We’re just friends, man.”

Ashley studies her for a moment before shrugging. “Whatever you say.”
_________________________

Kristen gets in a total funk about it the next few days, more so the Johnny being into someone thing. She feels fucking ridiculous and it's literally the only reason why she finds herself at CJ’s club with Rob after work on a rare night that she and Johnny aren’t on shift together. She gets pretty wasted and Rob offers her a ride home. They end up making out in his car and when his mouth is on her neck, giving her what’s sure to be a gigantic hickey, she pulls away.

“Yeah, no, we’re not doing this.”

Rob shrugs like it’s no big deal and Kristen supposes that’s fair.

“Sorry,” she mumbles, just in case.

“It’s fine. Thought it was too weird to be happening, anyway.”

Kristen laughs and runs her hands through her hair, unsteadily.

“You okay?” he asks, eyes narrowed.

“Yeah, I’m good.” She kisses his cheek. “I’ll see ya.”

The next night at the bar one of the first things Johnny says is, “Good night?”

“Huh?”

He gestures to her neck.

“Oh, uh. Yeah. Had fun,” she says, feeling a little numb.

“Cool,” he says, looking away. “That’s, uh, cool.” Then he has a customer, and so does she. It's Saturday and pretty packed, so they don’t have much time to talk.

He gets a ride home with Ashley that night, though, and Kristen officially hates everything; so much for a one time thing.
_________________________

The ill-advised sex

Kristen has a couple of night shoots over the next few days, which is just fine by her. The make-up people aren't necessarily thrilled at having to cover up her hickey but, hey, it is their job.

When she gets back to the bar, Johnny is all smiles.

“Missed you,” he says, halfway through their shift.

She pauses midpour and looks at him. “Oh yeah?”

He shrugs. “Sure. Who else is gonna make fun of my jokes?”

“Not James, that’s for sure.”

“Damn right.”

“Also, what jokes?” she smirks and he ruffles her hair.

It feels all – brotherly, and she sighs internally.

She drives Johnny home that night, and he asks if she wants to go to a movie.

“Sure, why not?” she says. They haven’t done that yet. Usually if they go out alone they just chill at a diner and eat pancakes and talk all night until even the waitresses can’t hide their annoyance at them still sitting there.

“Wasn’t sure you’d want to, you know, being on movie sets and all.”

Kristen laughs. “If I didn’t like movies, I wouldn’t wanna work on them, idiot.”

“Shut up,” he replies. “Anyway, I’d uh, pick you up if I had a car.”

Kristen rolls her eyes. “Like I care?”

Johnny frowns. “Okay.”

She really can’t read his moods lately, so just shrugs it off and says she’ll text him tomorrow.
_________________________

It’s been awhile since Kristen's sat in a movie theater with someone she'd like to bone (and okay, also wake up next to, like, a lot), so maybe she lets their legs bump occasionally and is completely zeroed in on the sensation of his thigh against her own. Johnny doesn’t move away, which is awesome, but he also doesn’t like, put his hand on her leg or anything. It’s not like she was expecting it but it’s still a letdown.

“I could’ve played that role,” Kristen says as they’re parked in front of Johnny’s building.

“No doubt,” he says, voice completely sincere.

She smiles and finishes her cigarette.

“You wanna come in for a drink?” he asks.

Kristen looks at him. “Yeah, why not.”

They watch some terrible MTV reality show and pound some beers. Johnny’s definitely drunk while Kristen just has a nice buzz going, pacing herself as she needs to drive.

“I should go,” she says about an hour later when they’re just leaning all over each other, laughing at how horrible these people on TV are while simultaneously horrified over their fame.

“‘Kay,” Johnny says, and walks her to the door.

“Bye,” says Kristen, looking up at him. He looks good tonight, freshly shaved and hair recently cut. He’s wearing a black t-shirt that (surprise) clings to his biceps and beige shorts. He’s not wearing socks with his sandals, either, which she’s seen before and teased him about mercilessly, so that’s a plus.

“Bye,” Johnny replies, and then leans in and hugs her. It’s their first time doing this, actually, and Kristen nearly gasps at the feel of his arms around her. They’re as strong as they look and she leans into the embrace immediately, pushing her face against his chest.

They just stand there, holding each other and it feels so ridiculously good she may never move again. Then his lips graze her neck, just barely, but she jerks in his arms anyway, letting out a soft sound.

Johnny's mouth skims up behind her ear, his hands easing her hair back to gain more access. Kristen’s eyes flutter shut and she mouths at his upper arm, over the fabric of his shirt.

“What are we doing?” It’s completely rhetorical. Fact of the matter is, she doesn’t care what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, she just – wants it. Now.

He pulls back and frames her face with his hands. “Can I kiss you?”

Kristen looks up at him, taking in his glassy eyes, how much looser his face looks when he’s drunk, and nods, trembling a little, not trusting her voice.

Johnny bends down, slowly, and Kristen's breath catches in her throat. Her eyes fall shut as their lips meet. It’s gentle, closed-mouthed, just learning the feel of one another. His lips are a little rough, chapped, maybe from the ice rink.

Johnny parts his lips, pulling her lower one between his teeth, and Kristen gasps immediately, inching her tongue out. He groans and pulls her closer, claiming her mouth in a deep kiss that leaves her almost breathless outright.

Johnny’s hands slide down her ass and over the backs of her thighs before lifting her. Kristen moans and wraps her legs around his waist.

“Fuck, I want you,” he pants, biting at her mouth.

“Yeah,” she breathes, dragging her nails through his short hair and deepening in the kiss.

They make out like that until Kristen feels like she’s starting to slip, and suddenly he’s carrying her, bridal style, to what she hopes is the bedroom. She’d be complaining over how utterly ridiculous he is if she weren’t so fucking turned on.

Johnny sets her on the bed and lies down next to her, before kissing every inch of exposed skin. He lifts her shirt and kisses down her chest, mouthing her breasts above her bra before dragging his tongue down further. Her stomach quivers beneath his touch, his breath hot against her. Kristen bites her lip and stares up at the ceiling as his fingers make quick work of her jeans while his mouth keeps kissing along her torso before following down where her waistband just was.

She toes off her shoes before kicking down her jeans; Johnny slides in between her legs and helps get them the rest of the way down, then pulls off her underwear. He wastes no time after that, just spreads her with one hand and licks firmly. Kristen’s fingers grip the sheets, her heart beating rapidly. His tongue feels like it’s everywhere, licking inside her, up her, over her clit. She moves her hands to his hair, bending her knees as he smoothes up and down the inside her thighs.

After a few moments of gasping and feeling his answering moans vibrate against her, Kristen pulls his head upward. Johnny goes easily, kissing the skin of her belly before hovering over her, just looking. His lips are slick and Kristen groans, pulling him in for a hard kiss and tasting herself.

Kristen lifts his shirt up and they break the kiss to pull it off. Johnny strips her of her own as well before she pushes him onto his back and straddles his legs, undoing his shorts and taking his dick out of his boxers. Johnny moans as she gets her hand on it, jacking him a little. He’s rock hard, thick and long. She runs her thumb down the underside then teases his balls through his boxers, watching as he bites his lip. She lowers her mouth and swirls her tongue around the head, tasting the moisture there. Kristen takes him, teasingly, halfway before pulling off and then sucking him back down.

His hands rest on her head, not pushing but curling in her hair, gently. Kristen listens to his breathing increase and the low moans slip from his lips as she sucks him harder, faster.

"I want to – do you want –" he's gasping, almost incoherent, but Kristen gets it. She pulls off, leaving his dick slick with saliva, and shifts to get the rest of his clothes off.

“Take your bra off,” Johnny says, voice thick with need.

Kristen does so, climbing back on top of him. His hands immediately go to her tits, squeezing. She groans, biting her lip, eyes drifting shut before opening to stare down at him. “Gimme a condom.”

He reaches immediately for the drawer near his bed and Kristen tries not to think about Ashley being here.

“Wanna ride you,” she says, plucking it from his hand. Johnny inhales sharply, his head dipping back further and his eyes closing. His hands run greedily up her thighs, curving around her ass, as she rolls the condom on and guides him in, sinking down.

They both moan loudly as he presses inside, and Kristen's thighs begin to shake when he’s in to the hilt.

Kristen catches Johnny’s hands and laces them with her own as she begins to move, slowly. They lock eyes and she feels like all the air has been sucked out of the room. Kristen circles her hips as their hands come to rest on the sheets, still intertwined and squeezing.

She leans over him and then they're kissing, hard and frantic as Johnny's hips drive upward.

"Jesus fuck, you’re hot," he says, roughly, mumbled against her lips. Kristen sits back and rides him harder, the bed thumping against the wall.

She grins. "Your neighbors gonna complain?"

"Let 'em," Johnny says breathlessly, managing a smirk.

She feels sweat roll down her neck, gathering under her tits, and cries out as he hits just the right spot.

"Christ. Want you to come."

"Touch my clit,” she whispers and he doesn’t need to be told twice, pressing the pad of his thumb up against her, firmly, her body so wet.

Kristen comes moments later, crying out wordlessly and shaking with it. She vaguely hears Johnny cursing and then he's sitting up and circling his hips in fast, short thrusts until he lets out a long, low groan and tenses in her arms.

Kristen strokes the back of his head, now damp with sweat, and exhales loudly.

They fall back onto the bed together and just sort of... well, for lack of better word, cuddle for a few moments, until Kristen rolls onto her back beside him as he takes care of the condom.

They're both still breathing hard, Johnny turned somewhat onto his side and pressing along her body, fingertips trailing over her arm.

"You good?"

"Mmm. Wish I had my cigs on me."

"Can't help you there," he laughs.

They lay in silence, his fingers tracing patterns on her arm, coming down from it all.

"Can’t believe we did that," he drawls, sounding sated, almost awed.

"Yeah," Kristen replies on a breath. Yeah she repeats to herself as her brain begins to clear and it hits her that he's into someone else, and that he's one of her best friends and that he apparently doesn't 'do this' yet he seems to be ‘doing this’ a lot lately.

" I should go," she says, mind reeling as she sits up and reaches for her scattered clothes.

"You – okay?" He sounds confused, and when she looks at him, he's frowning.

Kristen pulls her shirt over her head. "Gotta get back for my dogs and all that. This was fun, you know?"

"Yeah," Johnny says, but his brow is still furrowed. "Fun," he repeats, like it’s a dirty word.

"You alright?" She asks.

"Fine," he says, shaking his head like its been rattled. "Let me, uh." He slings his legs off the bed and reaches for his boxers as she dresses.

They walk to the door together for the second time that evening, except now her legs feel like jelly.

“We’re uh, we’re cool, right?” Johnny says, standing in the open doorway.

“Sure,” Kristen replies, forcing herself to meet his eyes. He looks a little – sad and regretful and yeah, no, she’s got to leave. “I’ll see ya,” she says, standing on her tiptoes to reach his cheek, but mostly getting his jaw.

“Bye,” he says, softly behind her.

Kristen doesn’t really feel like she breathes until she’s down the multiple flights of stairs and standing on his front lawn. She looks behind her just in time to see what she assumes is his light going out.

“Fuck,” she mutters, making her way to the car and immediately pulling out her cigarettes from between her visor. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she says, tightly, hitting her steering wheel.

Ashley wasn’t wrong; the sex was fucking incredible. But she’s not sure it was worth it.
_________________________

The Grand Gesture

The next week at work is basically awkward as shit. There’s a tension between them that’s clearly visible to everyone; they’re not avoiding each other or anything but they’re definitely not acting the same. When Johnny leans over her for a bottle, Kristen immediately tenses and then his face goes pinched and it’s just – shitty all around. CJ comes into the bar a few times when it’s slow at the club and notices right away. He raises his eyebrows at Kristen and then looks pointedly at Johnny who is reaching for some glasses. She just shakes her head.

“You slept with him, didn’t you,” CJ says when Johnny’s on a break.

Kristen winces and then nods. He's always seen right through her.

“Sweetie, it’s the fastest way to ruin a friendship. Didn’t 90s sitcoms teach you anything?”

She shoves a white russian at him. “Shut up and drink.”

The worst part is that they don’t invite each other out on their days off, anymore. Kristen doesn’t because she’s waiting for Johnny to, and then Johnny doesn’t, which makes her feel far too vulnerable to cave and do it herself. It’s a vicious cycle and basically everything sucks and she wishes she didn’t have these stupid fucking feelings, because otherwise they’d be in some awesome friends with benefits situation and life would be stellar. Except for the part where he's into someone else.

Instead, weeks pass, and it’s nearly a month since the Thing They Don't Speak Of. Johnny’s schedule has changed a bit, as his league has started up again, so they’re not always on shift together. Kristen’s basically done with night shoots and is trying to pick up as many hours as she can. She definitely doesn’t see Johnny and Ashley hooking up again, so that’s something, but she’s constantly wondering who the person Johnny’s crushing on is. Maybe a cute single mom of one of the kids he coaches, and they talk about hockey and go out for ice cream and fuck while the kid is asleep.

“I’m insane,” Kristen says one night, lounging on Suzie’s couch while Suzie paints her toenails for her.

“Why are you insane?”

“Because I’m jealous as all hell and I don’t even know who I’m jealous of.”

Suzie smirks. “This about Johnny?”

Kristen narrows her eyes. “How’d you know?”

“Please, everyone knows. You used to be subtle, once upon a time.”

“Whatever,” she mutters. “Maybe that’s a good thing, for acting, you know? That my face and mannerisms are easily read.”

“Hmmm. Well, then, in theory he should know too, right?”

Kristen frowns and takes a long pull of her beer. The implications of that are just – depressing, so she decides to ignore them.

They’re both working the next day, and it’s karaoke night. She gets a text from Kaner around 10pm.

Johnnys really pissy lately. Even more so than usual

Kristen looks up at Johnny, who’s talking to one of the regulars. He looks pretty normal.

Oh yeah? she replies.

Yeah. You should come out with us tomorrow, going bowling

He hasn’t asked me she types back.

Still, probably wants you there.

She doesn’t know what Johnny’s told Kaner, if anything, but him not asking is just a reminder of how much sex fucked everything up.

"Got plans tomorrow? she asks, nonchalantly, after pocketing her phone and moving into his area.

Johnny shrugs, shaking the alcohol for the Martini he’s making. She avoids the way his muscles are straining. "Bowling, I think."

Kristen waits for the invite, but it doesn't come, and she’s suddenly furious.

She takes a shot of whiskey and says, “I’m gonna sing," because it’s karaoke night, dammit.

“Okay,” Johnny mumbles and it infuriates her even more because there’s no teasing, nothing. And then she’s flashing on the last karaoke night she sang at, how he said there were a lot of things he’d do when drunk, and, well – he did Kristen when drunk so what the fuck does that say about her?

She stalks to the mic like a woman on a mission, and picks probably the most obvious, overly dramatic choice in ‘You Oughta Know.' She’d feel totally stupid about it and roll her eyes over how it’s not even totally appropriate if she weren’t so pissed.

Johnny’s making drinks but he looks up when she starts singing and doesn't miss the way Kristen’s staring at him. When Kristen’s absolutely sure she has his attention, she puts all her anger, all her frustration into the words. Johnny doesn’t even blink, just stares, mouth a little open.

When she gets off stage, she’s thrumming with adrenaline. Johnny's gaping at her with a deer in headlights expression when she returns, but Kristen ignores him and instead makes a Long Island Iced Tea for spikey haired dude.

When Kristen turns around, she sees Johnny doing a shot with his back to the patrons. Kristen’s surprised since he never drinks while on duty and is about to ask ‘what’ when he’s stepping out from behind the bar.

“Where are you going?”

“Singing,” he mutters and heads to the stage.

"Wait, what?" She calls after him but he just waves her off.

“Uh, I’m gonna suck at this, just so you know,” he tells the crowd and people laugh while one dude yells, “Everyone does!"

“Well, uh, not so much the girl that was just up here,” says Johnny and Kristen flushes. It's the first truly nice thing he's said about her in a while.

It takes him a little while to choose. When he does, it’s I've Just Seen a Face but the Across the Universe version, which is just way too fast for him. Johnny’s not a fast talker, he takes his time and plans out his words. Kristen, on the other hand, rambles like crazy and can tell the same story as Johnny in half the time. So, yeah, the whole thing is...awkward. Until she realizes his eyes haven’t left her face.

Kristen stares out at him, blinking, and stops making drinks while her patrons begin to get pissed. She's not about to announce ‘I think one of my closest friends is trying to tell me he's into me as well’, so she keeps her mouth shut and continues watching. He's fucking terrible, and if there were dogs in the vicinity, they'd be howling up a storm. It doesn't matter though; she's completely captivated, her stomach flipping with nervous energy.

“Kristen, what the hell?” Bill says as he rushes up and starts taking some orders. “Get it together.”

“Huh?” she says, vaguely, as Johnny keeps saying he's ‘falling, yes he is falling’. She sees Bill shake his head out of her peripheral, and then the song has ended and Johnny's getting some standard jeers, but the only thing really registering is the pounding of her heart.

Kristen steps out behind the bar and starts walking until they meet in the middle of the floor. He looks like he's about to puke.

“That was fucking awful,” she says, staring up at him with what she's sure are large eyes.

Johnny nods. “I know. I tried,” he deadpans.

Her bottom lip trembles. “Seriously?”

“Seriously I tried to be terrible or seriously over the song?”

“That second one.”

“Yeah, seriously,” Johnny says quietly, staring into her eyes. “Since I first saw you on that damn bus and you hated my guts.”

“You were a pretentious douchebag.”

“I gave up my seat!”

“I never asked you to,” Kristen says, solemnly, until she can’t keep it up and has to laugh.

Johnny rolls his eyes and presses their foreheads together, inhaling deeply. "Thought you regretted it happening so I, uh, was trying to keep my distance. To get over you."

"Oh yeah?" Kristen whispers. "How'd that work out for ya?"

"Pretty shitty," he admits, wryly, his thumb stroking her cheek.

“Kiss him!” Ashley yells and Kristen blushes.

She looks up at Johnny, who smiles down at her softly before leaning in for a deep, lazy kiss. She moans as Johnny’s arms wrap around her. Hollering rings out and Kristen breaks away, groaning. “We’re gonna get so much shit for this.”

“Yeah,” Johnny laughs. “I don’t care.”

“Me neither,” Kristen says, and pulls him in again for a deep but swift kiss. “But we should get back before Bill fires our asses.”

Johnny looks like he'd be fine with just that, but they still walk hand in hand back to the bar. It's totally sappy but whatever.

They toss hot, secretive looks at one another the rest of the evening, and at the end of the night Bill pulls them aside to say he's cool with it, as long as it doesn't interfere with work and there aren't any more public spectacles. Then they leave together and make out in her car until Kristen remembers they're parked in front of her house and there's a perfectly good bed to use.

They let the dogs jump on them for a bit before Kristen tugs on Johnny's hand and leads him to her bedroom, where they spend what feels like forever just making out with all their clothes on, learning all the things one another likes before finally fucking, slow and lazy.

The next night at bowling, which they literally had to drag themselves out of bed for, Kristen doesn’t even realize she’d thrown Johnny’s plaid shirt on over her tank top, rather than her own, until Kaner is begrudgingly forking over fifty dollars while Sharpy grins like a fool.

END