But he got there with a dozen minutes to spare, tired eyed and looking like hell. His jeans were wrinkled and a size too big, but they were the cleanest pair he'd been able to find. Dan's sweatshirt, the last hole-free holdover from his Dartmouth days, was a forest green hooded thing he didn't yet realize was inside out. Putting his faith in the wonderful women of hair and makeup, he splashed his face with cold water and flattened his hair underneath his backwards Orioles hat.
He kicked the stop from the door and let it whoosh close behind him.
"Didn't think you were coming in," Casey looked up and smirked at Dan's clothing choices, "…Slim Shady."
Danny cocked his head, "Four years out of date, but your pop culture references have finally broached the eighties."
"You go to O'Grady's last night?" Casey returned to his notes.
"Casey, you'll never believe what happened there."
"CHiPS marathon?" he looked up.
"What? No, Casey-" Dan folded a leg under him and sat down next to Casey on the couch.
"Fell in love with a girl?"
"No!" Danny sat up straight. "Actually, yes. How'd you know that?"
"It wasn't the first two."
"So, this girl, Casey …"
"You met her at the bar."
"Casey, this girl."
"Not a shrink?"
"Not a shrink, not married to a man I hate, not married at all, in fact, she's not any of the things that the women I tend to meet tend to be."
"Indeed. She's … she's awesome, Casey."
"So you guys hung out? Or … is this a thing where I should just assume it fades to black and the porn music starts?"
"We just talked - all night. I never thought I'd be one of those guys who says 'we just talked all night,' but - you'd like her, Casey."
"I don't doubt I would."
"I'm serious," Dan moved up onto his knees and turned to look out the window, "she's got something."
"As long as it's not communicable, I'm okay with it."
"So, tell me about this girl. Does she have a name, or did that not come up in your nocturnal kibitzing?"
"Don't use the Yiddish, Casey."
"But I like it."
"But you don't say any of it right, and then I think of my mom."
"So the girl."
"My mom would like this girl."
"Her name is Stef."
"The bar girl."
"Don't start that again."
Casey held his hands up and nodded for Danny to continue.
"She's a writer. She writes! She's like us, but - you know, with a byline instead of a … nationally broadcast television show."
"Just like us!" Casey astonishment was feigned.
"I know!" Danny was entirely honest in his.
"What does she write?"
"You ever read 'Critical Mask'?"
"In the Ledger?" Now Casey was genuinely taken aback. "No way."
"That's her column. That's her. But you can't say anything. In fact, I probably shouldn't have just told you that."
"Holy crap, Danny, you're gonna date Batman."
"…that's disturbing, Casey."
"You could have just as easily said Batgirl."
"I chose not to."
"You have to meet this girl."
Casey stood, "Later. Right now we've got a rundown, and the only girls you have to think about are Dana, Natalie, and the former ordering the latter to kick you in the shins with one of her new Cole Haans."
Dan stood abruptly.
"Let's avoid that."
He grabbed a notepad from his desk on the way out -- he could scribble on the way to the conference room, at least make it look like he'd done some work. Casey would cover his ass.
"So, I'm going to meet this girl, right?"
"Tonight after the show, you doing anything?"
"I was going to watch the CHiPS marathon."
Dan rested a hand on Casey's shoulder as they walked down the hall.
"Now you're coming out with me, Stef, and Sarah."
"Stef's friend. She's a publicity manager."
"Oh yeah?" Casey raised an eyebrow.
"For the Yankees."
"Oh holy god, Danny."
"I had a good night last night." He stopped and smiled, right outside the room where the rest of senior staff was waiting.
"You fell in love with a girl."
"You know, you said it once before, but it bears repeating."
"I know. That's why I repeated it."
The smile didn't fall from Dan's face as he patted Casey's arm.
"We still need to work on the pop culture references, my man."
© scrunchy 2004