So this has been in my askbox for…four months? At least. I have had the whole thing planned since April or May. But before you get too excited, I only have one part written. But I figured at the rate I’m going, posting in chunks is better than nothing. So …
5 Times Leslie and Ben Shared a Taxi
One - Last night of the Harvest Festival (season 3)
Ben wouldn’t even say he’s tipsy, but Ann is smashed and Leslie’s not exactly steady on her feet, and their inebriation seems to be contagious. It’s the only way he can explain the way he feels after just three beers (two and a half really—Andy finished the third when he wasn’t looking). Everyone else is too soused to notice how sober he is, and when Leslie tugs almost too hard on his tie and declares to no one in particular that Ben can share her cab, he can’t say no. So here is he, wedged in the back seat of a taxi with Leslie and her best friend, feeling drunk when he knows he’s not.
"Ann, Ann Ann," says Leslie, eyes glassy from exhilaration as much as the alcohol. Ann’s head lulls toward Leslie for a second; she smiles and then goes back to pressing her forehead against the glass window. Leslie laughs and drops her head against Ben’s arm. It’s alarming how in that second, his heart stops and his breath catches; he’s pretty sure that he hasn’t reacted that viscerally to a meaningless touch since high school.
Leslie lifts her head, still smiling, and shifts so she’s facing him. Her right hand falls onto the crook where his elbow bends, fingers pressing into his arm; her pinkie finger lands directly on the exposed skin of his arm below his rolled shirt-sleeve, and he has to remember to breathe.
"We did it," she says. She’s glowing, a warmth that radiates from some innate light inside of her, and once again, he gets the sense that as long as he’s near Leslie, he’s invincible. "Ben." Her hand tightens where it’s wrapped around his arm, and she practically bounces in her seat. "We did it."
Not for the first time, he imagines kissing her in a perfectly imperfect moment. When she’s so distractingly beautiful that he can’t remember his own name, and she’s drunk, and Ann’s elbow is digging into his side, and they’re wedged into the back seat of a taxi that smells faintly of stale cheese—just cupping her face with his hands and leaning in to kiss her simply because he wants to.
But instead he smiles, lets his fingers find hers, and squeezes gently for just a second.