❝ it feels like a perfect night
to fall in love with strangers ❞
plot: You and Jake recently met through Amy in the bar where the squad likes to hang out, and the detective and you hit it off so quickly it almost seemed incredible that the two of you had never crossed each other's path before. Now, Jake cannot stop talking about you, but nor can you stop thinking about him.
"Come on, you can do it!" Charles encouraged his best friend, rubbing his shoulders in a gesture that reflected both combativeness and comfort.
"Yes, we hit it off really well last time, so it'll be okay, right?" The other man breathed out, glancing at you as a plan of approach was forming in his mind. Although nervousness could not help but find a way around his uplifted state of mind at the thought of hanging out with you, Jake not willing to screw this up, he was most of all impatient to see you again.
"That's the spirit! And if it doesn't go well... 10 minutes-long best friend hug?" Boyle asked hopefully, letting the brunette free.
"What am I saying, it won't go wrong," the short detective urgently corrected his previous statement, waving his hand as to brush it off. "You're handsome Jakey, it'll go really well. If you need me, I'll be by the bar."
"Thanks, Boyle," the brunette nodded as his friend patted him on the back before turning around, heading for the back of the room. "Well, here goes nothing..." Jake whispered to himself, taking a decisive step forward to come and join you at your table. "Hi, I thought I saw someone familiar."
"Hello," you cocked your head up, your eyes landing on the face which you recognized without the shadow of a doubt. You had been hoping to see Jake again, but for it to be finally happening that night was an agreeable surprise — you had met once before, thanks to Amy, but the young woman had also since confided in you the way the detective had not stopped mentioning you whenever the occasion sprung up. "Jake Peralta!" You jovially greeted him.
"Y/n." Jake smiled at you brightly, some of his former stress progressively wearing off as you made him feel welcome. "Can I take a seat? Drink's on me."
"No, it's my turn to pay," you cut him off kindly. "You invited me last time, so it's only fair that I do it now. How have you been?" you asked as the young man sat down opposite of you after he ordered a drink.
"I've been great, good," Jake answered, trying not to let it slip on the second date that he had been thinking about you a little too much. "Just the usual stuff, arresting super badass bad guys, being an amazing detective." He added with a shrug, willing to impress you.
"I'm still amazed how the usual stuff for you is chasing perps and, basically, fighting crime," you chuckled, well aware of some of Amy's work stories. After your first date with Jake and from your police friend's sayings, you were also accustomed to the detective's exuberant sense of humour, which you actually were so fond of.
"What about you?" the brunette then asked, taking a sip from his drink as your gaze met. If Charles was still around, he would have definitely find a way to discern the softness in Jake's brown eyes.
"I've just been working, hanging out here. I'm glad we managed to see each other again, I was kind of on the verge of asking Amy for your number. Just to know if you wanted to hang out again sometime," you let him know, slightly flustered as you realized that it might have sounded too straight-forward. "But, you know, now I don't need to since we're here."
"Though I hope you don't mind if I ask you for your number?" The young man inquired, a tentative smile playing on his lips.
"No, of course not." You smiled, relieved that he, too, seemed to want to spend more time together. "Here." You gave it to him, watching as Jake registered it into his phone.
"Do you wanna eat something?" the brunette offered afterwards. "This one's on me, since you're paying for drinks."
"Fine," you gave in, overpowered by Jake's sweetness in addition to his sense of humour.
"How about a plate of chicken wings? We'll be able to share it. What kind of psychos don't like chicken wings, right?" But he suddenly froze, a panicked expression swiftly taking over his features. "You like chicken wings, don't you?"
"Yes, I do." You reassured him, laughing. "Don't worry, I'm not one of those psychos."
"Good, I got really scared for a second there," Jake grinned as a slight sigh left his lips, your eyes locked. In a corner of his mind, he could already imagine Charles going crazy at the sight of you two sharing food that you both enjoyed. "It feels like a perfect night for breakfast at midnight anyway."
"You eat chicken wings for breakfast?" you asked amusedly, although one other thing did unexpectedly catch your attention more importantly. "But first and foremost, did you just quote Taylor Swift?"
"You mean the lyrical genius of her generation who I'm definitely not not-allowed within 500 feet of?" The brunette spoke rapidly, biting his bottom lip as he awaited your reaction. If the two of you were to become something more, you had to take him with his love for Taylor Swift.
"Yes, obviously," you cheered, enthusiastic at the mention of a singer whom you enjoyed listening to. "You must be the only person I've met who also knows the exact lyrics to 22. Thank you," you added for the waiter who set your order on the table.
"Are you kidding? That song is amazing, it's the perfect balance between joyful and nostalgic!" Jake exclaimed as the two of you each took a piece of chicken wing, nonetheless pursuing the conversation. "I wish it was out when I was 22. It would've made that year a lot cooler."
"Now we can just pretend to be 22 again while listening to it," you comforted the detective, nodding empathetically even in spite of the light-heartedness of the mood. Jake being, as it appeared, a fervent fan of Taylor Swift was a discovery that lifted your spirits — both of you were starting to feel so comfortable around each other that none of you were ashamed of knowing every lyric to Red. "So what's your favourite Taylor Swift song?"
"You can't ask me that!" The young man protested, shaking his head negatively with a chuckle. "It's like asking a father who's their favourite baby. And I don't have a favourite, I love them all. They're all unique and different and valid." He declared, parting his arms as to assert that he was indeed unable to respond to that question. "What's yours?"
"Probably All Too Well," you gave him a sincere answer.
"Okay, now we're all sad," Jake joked to lighten up the atmosphere, both of you knowing how beautiful yet sad that song was.
"No, don't be, you gave me an honest response." The brown-haired police officer said softly. "Look, let's make this fun. I couldn't answer, so I'm having a shot." He rose an eyebrow, waiting for your approval of the game.
"Let's do this," you smiled, agreeing to participate.
Ordering more alcohol, you went on eating your chicken while coming up with new questions, giggles and mischief springing up throughout the rounds. Sitting there with Jake, you had forgotten all about your daily troubles or preoccupations, simply caught up in the moment and the bond that had started to grow between the two of you. The young man made you laugh with every joke, made your chest warm with every look and indication of shared complicity — in that moment, there was nowhere else that you would rather be but with him, and little did you know that he felt exactly the same way.
From the bar, Charles was glancing at Jake and you with great delight: seeing his best friend this giddy made him the happiest — he only hoped that it would last, but something was telling him that with you by side, he had nothing to worry about.