Fandom: CSI: NY
Title: Questions and Pretensions (as requested by aries11 )
Summary: Pre-3x03, an alternative explanation for why Lindsay stood Danny up on that first date.
Word Count: 690, before my embellishments.
Questions and Pretensions
I like how the title almost-but-not-quite rhymes. This was “untitled DL fic” for ages until I wrote the line with “pretension” in it. Then I fretted for a while, unable to tell if you could make that into a plural noun…
She couldn’t decide what to wear. She had nothing in her closet. For the first time in her life, she had become the stereotypical woman. [One of those rare first paragraphs that stayed intact from the original draft.]
Speaking of firsts - first date. First dates were always awkward, particularly when you hadn’t been on one in a while. But this wasn’t any first date, two attractive people locking eyes one day and wanting to get to know each other. What did you wear to dinner with someone you’d already held onto as if you’d never let go?
She could have made time to go shopping last night, but had told herself it was ridiculous to buy a new outfit for something so minor. [I like to imagine Lindsay’s practical like that.] No time now, and yet nothing to wear. Pants weren’t dressy enough and her dresses were too elaborate [opera gown, anyone?]; little and black had always made her feel more diminutive when she was. Why did she not own any skirts?
If the show ever puts Lindsay in a little black dress, I will be sorely disappointed. It may be the classic date standby, but I tried to picture her in one and all I came up with was the “diminutive” line.
There, at the back. She did have one, admittedly black but etched with deep red roses. Lindsay snatched it so quickly the hanger spun [and by spun, I mean swung…not that I do this all the time or anything], put it on and surveyed herself in the mirror. Meant to hug the frame, the skirt clung more stubbornly than it should have to her hips, pinching at the waist. When had she had time to gain five pounds?
On second thought, it didn’t feel tight. It was entirely possible the ill fit was all in her head, as her disquieted nerves had begun to feel considerably more like an anxiety attack. Her pulse had been steadily picking up speed from the moment she opened the closet door.
A date carried expectations, a date meant polite little conversations; she wasn’t good at that and never had been. And then there was the elephant in the room. She fervently hoped he would ignore it, but at the same time that elephant was the catalyst, the reason he’d finally asked her out, so how could they avoid acknowledging it?
She’d never been impulsive, and tumbling into bed was not her style. [BWA HAH! Way to disillusion me there, Snow Day.] But after what they’ve been through, they’re long past the point of you-look-nice and what’s-your-favorite-movie. She can’t play the interview game; you can’t work with a person like that for over a year and not pick up enough scattered facts to compile a small biography. [I remember kicking at this paragraph for a long time, trying to figure out exactly how to phrase things after the first line] She envisions awkward silences and picking at her salad, while they pretend they have not been falling for each other over the last few months.
Because this date will be about pretension, about make believing that she doesn’t dream about his arms around her [LAME. My apologies – also, this sentence should be shorter], about concealing the truth that out of the whirl of confusion in that day, his embrace was the one thing etched in perfect detail on her memory. It will be about him trying to hide the heart on his sleeve while they feign an attempt at small talk with neither of them saying what they mean. [This sentence, however, I love. Remember when Danny’s emotional settings were all pointed in a swoon-worthy direction?]
She’s starting to lose control of her breathing. If she’s like this now, what will she be like once she’s there? Maybe she should wear something sleeveless. Or maybe she just shouldn’t go.
I am still annoyed with myself for not being able to choose past tense vs. where it blends into present tense halfway through. Paradoxically, I still cannot decide which I should have chosen. Present sounds so good where it is, but I almost never write in past tense – it sounds too authoritative, like I know for sure what happened, whereas with present I feel freer to pursue my own interpretation – and I wanted to try something different. Alas.
She grabs onto that thought like a lifeline, eyes darting up to meet their reflection in the mirror. Furrowed brows shrink hazel eyes, as the possibility of an exit sign glows from within.
I’m baffled as to how that line came about. It has such fantastic imagery; normally I have to fight with lines like that for ages, but this jumped from my brain to the page the second I sat down.
What’s the worst that could happen if she just stayed at home tonight? Things are stilted for a day, and then she’ll burn through it, maybe. They’ll go back to being friends and co-workers (were they ever the former?) and he’ll find someone else to fall in love with, someone who doesn’t come with baggage and neuroses and the fear of getting too close.
What Lindsay doesn’t know is that he totally will find someone else, even if he IS dating her. Poor woman. Should clearly never have reversed her position on not dating Danny. Sorry, is my Rikkigate Resentment showing? What I meant to say here is that I really think this is a decent rationalization.
She checks her cell, whose glowing display reads ten to seven. She has forty minutes to get there and seventy before she guesses he’ll walk away. The phone powers off before she sets it down again, erasing any potential for ringing reminders. Alliteration FTW!
It’s only 7:00. Plenty of hours until work, no need to sleep. With all those hours, she’ll think of something to say to him*. An elegant excuse, and a reason to keep him from asking her again.
*When I started writing this, that is exactly how I rationalized every class I skipped, every assignment I put off, every day I didn’t show up to work. It was only a short jump to applying it as a reason Lindsay might have stood him up.
Anything but the truth. [Why, exactly, I don’t know, but it sounded like a pretty good way to end.]