behind my daisy

8

daisy johnson appreciation week | day one • season one
∟ “Usually one person doesn’t solve the solution, but 100 people with 1% of the solution? That will get it done. I think that’s beautiful, pieces solving a p u z z l e.”

day 5 - a tv show
time for pie, a pushing daisies inspired mix [listen]

01.Diane Young // vampire weekend
02.honey to the bee // owl city
03.wrapped up in books // belle & sebastian
04.looking for clues // katie melua
05.dreams // glee cast ft. kristin chenoweth
06.don’t look back // she & him
07.porcupine pie // neil diamond
08.I will follow you into the dark // death cab for cutie

YToM: Tastes Like Hope

This is a (late/early) joint birthday fic for @lala-kate and @thisisamadhouse. The former sent me a dialogue prompt (”I don’t know how to do this”) and the latter requested Your Table or Mine. I aim to please, ladies. Big thanks to @lillie-grey for reading this several times and being insightful and wonderful.

This fic picks up directly after the end of YToM (so you might want to read it first or refresh your memory) and is rated A for awkward and K for kissing. 

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three


Never have I ever had a blind date teeter on the precipice of anything akin to… hope. My nose wrinkles, lips twisting as I play with the word in my mouth, tongue swirling over the rounded letters, teeth chewing the stems of the others. Its edges are charred, as always, but a bright undercurrent, a quick zest of citrus or the smoky edge of baked pears grows alarmingly stronger under my attentions.

I swallow hard, and straighten my face to polite interest as I finish tallying my tip for Andrew and scrawl my name across the merchant receipt. Across the table, Robin signs his own credit card slip with a quick slash of the ballpoint he’d pulled from his coat pocket. He raises his brows, murmurs, Shall we? and then we’re standing outside in the coolness of a post-sunset evening, the easy fluidity of our conversations indoors stuttering, stalling in the crisp September breeze.

A faint, singed bitterness creeps up the back of my throat.

I don’t know how to do this anymore.

This, dating.

This, flirting with someone I don’t want to simply wine, dine, and leave behind.

This, standing outside a bar, juggling a daisy and a take away box housing a double chocolate fudge brownie for Henry, while I try to button my coat. I’m going to crush the flower or drop the box and Robin is watching me with a bemused little smile housed below his trimmed blonde scruff, and goddamn it, he’s not supposed to be able to affect me like this after one afternoon spent dawdling over drinks. This is… we were intentionally on a date awkwardness, not we both got stood up so let’s share a meal together awkwardness.

“May I?” Robin asks, pressing his fingers lightly to my wrist, nodding toward my parcels.

I exhale a brief smile and allow him to take them from me, now able to slip my coat buttons through the eyelets with deft, unencumbered fingers. “Thank you,” I manage, holding a hand out for my things.

He surrenders the box, but keeps hold of the daisy, twirling the bent stem between his fingers. “So, Shopgirl,” he says, a wicked grin blooming on his face. “Do I need to request your email address and send you witty, flirtatious messages about bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils for weeks before I ask you out on a proper date?”

I snort and shake my head, a snarky comment dancing on the tip of my tongue, but then he stretches his hand out and tucks the daisy behind my ear, fingers painting a tender line down to the corner of my jaw before retreating. My jest evaporates, fizzling on my lips as they part slightly. He waits for my answer, head cocked to the side like a puppy, a lopsided smile warming both his face and mine.

Two weeks from Saturday, I’ll say. That’s when I’m free next. I’ll reach for the corner of his jacket pocket and palm his phone, text myself a clever message from his device, and then hand it back with a coy smile and an accidentally-on-purpose brush of my fingers against his before bidding him adieu. Then I’m going to walk away with a flirty smile over my shoulder, dignity intact.

It’s a nice dream.

Until the words stick in my throat and I run.

I’m going to hurl. The expensive liquor, the fish and chips, minus one bite I spared for him, everything sloshes up the walls of my stomach, every step toward my car delivering a juddering strike to my insides.

Why are you doing this? You always do this.

Because Regina Mills is a big, fat ‘fraidy cat, that’s why. Truth is, I never go on these dates expecting anyone to stick around after the big three drop from my lips: single mother, small business owner, admitted workaholic. I stop a few inches from the passenger side door, worrying the seam on my key fob with my thumbnail. Robin might be different, though. Things other men shrank from seemed to inspire him, sparking questions and conversations that petered out and flared by turn as we navigated through the afternoon come evening. Natural. Comfortable. Terrifying.

When does this end, Regina? What’s standing in the way?

Nothing. There is literally nothing standing between me and that poor man I left outside the bar without so much as a thank you for the company. My reflection frowns at me in the window, and I scowl harder to see it. Unlocking the door, I nestle Henry’s dessert against the back of the seat. The flower tucked behind my ear shifts as I straighten, and with it, something inside me I’ve not felt in a long time. My fingers ghost over the same path his fingers traced earlier, and I nod once, mind set.

Second chances aren’t my forte. They slip through my fingers like flurries of dandelion seeds, and I allow it, mind, but this one is different. I click my key fob twice as I spin on my heel, the chirp chirp of the car alarm resetting shrill in my ear. Please, please let him still be there. Something about Robin settles the discordant humming in my veins, mellowing the dissonance, like the summer sun on my face after a winter of nights, and I find myself aching for the warmth of daylight.

I round the corner and my breath catches. He’s perched on a bench below a street light, legs sprawled wide, elbows resting on his knees as he speaks quietly into his phone. Do I interrupt or not? 

Habit screams: run away. A softer, newly insistent whisper cuts through habit’s noise: go forward.

My left heel catches the sidewalk seam as I push toward him, but I manage to catch myself before face planting. The scuff of my boot heels on the concrete attracts his attention, though, and he stands as I approach, ending his call with a Call you later, Will, shoving his phone into his pocket.

“Regina,” he says, distress crinkling lines across his forehead. “I apologize for my forwardness earlier. I shouldn’t have—”

No. No apologies. No more talking. I wrap my fingers around his lapels and tug him into an embarrassingly needy kiss. Right there on the sidewalk under the muted yellow halo of the street lamp.

It’s not elegant or sweet or fiery or any of those things a first kiss should be, but the stubble of his upper lip scratches the softness of mine and he tastes like whiskey and salt and something deep and cool, like I could fall into him and my toes would never touch bottom, and for once (twice) in my life that would be okay.

We break apart with a slight pop. Oh, god. What have I done? I gawp at him, pulse thready and nerves jangling, lips parted as my chest heaves, and, god help me, I can’t tell if he’s pissed or aroused as he does the same.

I croak out the beginning of my own apology, but he surges forward before I can muster the first syllable. Our lips crash together as his fingers sweep my hair back, knocking the daisy loose. It’s stolen by the wind, I think. Not really sure because his fingers are doing things to my scalp and the back of my neck, not to mention his other hand warm and solid on the small of my back. Definitely aroused, I think, smiling into the kiss, relief and spike of delicious heat flooding my system as he wraps me into his embrace.

Okay. This I know how to do.