Chapter 3
Willing To Try

"Andy, man, we did it!" Andre sat at his desk, still holding the telephone in his hand, beaming from ear to ear. As he slowly and deliberately placed the phone down, Andy's mouth dropped. "That was William Champion, we got it!" Andy couldn't believe his ears. The meeting had taken only thirty minutes and Champion had left stone-faced so neither Andy or Andre could tell whether or not he'd been impressed enough to give them the account. Though, due to the fact that Andre appeared to be doing some sort of victory dance that looked more like a demented flamingo on crack, Andy figured that he must've been at least a little happy with their ideas.

"Andre, Andre, Andre, My little Panamanian crack head, sit down and try to keep your wits about you, please." Andy said with a smirk, noticing that Christiane, the secretary Andre had hired only a week earlier, was giving her boss a very strange look through the window. Andre glanced in her direction and immediately sat back down at his desk, taking a few deep breaths to calm himself. The man made no secret of the fact that he had a bit of a thing for the French girl who'd recently moved to New York, but she'd yet to even give him a second glance. Looking at the clock, Andy smiled when he saw that it read one o'clock.

"Andre, do you mind if I go on to lunch?" He asked with a smile.

"Wait, why don't you and Chris and I go out for a lunch to celebrate, I'll pay." Andre answered.

"As appealing as that is, I kind of have a prior engagement. Hopefully." Andre cocked an eyebrow at Andy's response.

"Prior engagement? Do tell, Andy." Andy smiled sheepishly and winked at Andre.

"Later." He answered mysteriously, grabbing his coat and turning off his computer monitor. Just as he was standing up to leave, Andre spoke again.

"Oh no, you're not leaving until you tell me what you're being so secretive about." Andy sighed and narrowed his eyes at his friend, holding back a few colorful words.

"It's just a girl that I sort of ran into outside this morning. Literally. I kind of knocked her down and I was going to go see if I could get her to go for coffee or something. Ok?" Running a hand through his short brown hair, Andy waited for Andre to laugh at him just like he always did, but surprisingly enough, he didn't.

"Okay, see you in an hour." Was all he said. Shocked, Andy walked over and put a hand on his friend's forehead, a look of mock worry on his face.

"Passing up a chance to laugh at me? You ok, Dominguez?" Andy smirked and turned to leave.

"Just get out before I change my mind, McCoy." Saluting with fake seriousness, Andy turned and quickly left the office and walked briskly toward the elevators, giving Christiane a smile and a wave as he passed her desk. When he reached the lobby, Andy saw that the sky had clouded over and the wind appeared to be blowing harder. Bracing himself for the inevitable cold, he took a deep breath and stepped out onto the sidewalk. It was good he didn't have too far to go.

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Elizabeth's morning had started off bad and only gotten worse. Nikita had spent fifteen minutes lecturing her on something, during which she would abruptly begin speaking Russian. Seeing as Elizabeth, first of all, couldn't speak or understand Russian and, second of all, couldn't understand Nikita when she spoke fast because of the woman's accent, she didn't really get the jist of what she was being berated about, she just smiled and nodded, hoping the woman would calm down and get off the war path.

Soon after, she'd spilled a glass of orange juice on the freshly cleaned carpet and, after painstakingly cleaning up every bit of it possible, she'd opted to use her one allotted ten-minute break. She slipped into the same room behind the kitchen where she'd changed pants that morning and, luckily, Katharine had been back there as well. In the past year that Elizabeth had been working at the Café Rinaldi, she'd gotten fairly close to the nineteen-year-old photography student at NYU. They were very different, but had one thing in common. They were both natives of the southeastern United States, as Katharine was from Mississippi and Elizabeth was a native of Charleston, South Carolina. She missed living there, so it was nice to have someone around who felt as out of place as she did.

"Alright Liz, spill." Katharine commanded as soon as Elizabeth walked into the room. Katharine was the only person in the world besides her father and brother who called her Liz. To everyone else it was Elizabeth or Lizzie.

"Already did that." She answered, gesturing to the orange stained dishcloth in her hand. Katharine shook her head and smiled apologetically. Motioning with her head to the chair across the table from her, Katharine pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

"Ya' want one? You look like you could use it." She asked, holding the pack out for Elizabeth to take one.

"No thanks, Kat. I don't smoke, and you shouldn't either, it's horrible for you." She answered with a disapproving look. Elizabeth had been raised by very strict uptight parents and she'd learned in the past year that Katharine hadn't had that same experience, by any means.

"Listen, Liz, you be Caiti's mom, I'm got one already and it ain't you." Katharine warned, smiling slyly. The girl was always complaining that Elizabeth was mothering her even though she was barely three years older. What Katharine didn't realize was that Elizabeth had done a lot more living that she had but that was ok, if she didn't want to be mothered Elizabeth wouldn't push her. She knew how that felt and it wasn't pleasant. "Anyway," Katharine continued, "what I meant was what was up with you being all dreamy eyed this morning? Something happen on the way here?" The girl asked suspiciously, raising an eyebrow and giving Elizabeth a half smile.

"It was nothing." Elizabeth answered. She looked away from Katharine, knowing that she was terrible at lying and if she were to look right at Katharine the girl would be able to tell she wasn't diverging something.

"And again I say, liar." Katharine replied flatly. Elizabeth knew that Katharine was stubborn and would torment her until she figured out what was up, so Elizabeth decided to just cut her off at the pass.

"Fine." Elizabeth began. "Ya' remember this morning when I said some guy knocked me down on the sidewalk outside and I tore my pants?" Katharine nodded, suddenly interested upon hearing that the story involved a man. Elizabeth wasn't the type that talked or worried much about the male species, not these days at least. "Well, he asked me to coffee to apologize and I turned him down, and I've just kinda been worrying all morning if I shouldn't have." Elizabeth sighed and shrugged, realizing just how stupid her predicament sounded now that she'd said it aloud.

"Well, was he hot?" Katharine asked with a grin.

"He was handsome, I guess."

"Did he seem schizo or psychotic in any way?"

"Not really."

"Then what's your problem with him?" Katharine asked. "Why'd ya' turn him down, stupid?" Elizabeth thought for a minute but couldn't come up with a decent reason.

"I don't really know if you want the truth." Smart, Lizzie. She thought to herself. "Anyway, it doesn't matter. What's done is done and that's all there is to it." The story of my life. Just as Elizabeth was getting ready to change the subject, the door opened and in walked a short blonde girl who'd just started work at the restaurant, she was just out of high school and one of the ditziest people Elizabeth had ever met.

"Elizabeth, there's a man at the register looking for you. Got a new boyfriend we don't know about?" Elizabeth just chuckled and shook her head.

"It's probably Damon." She answered nonchalantly in Katharine's direction as the new girl had no idea who Damon was. Katharine, however, had met him several times. "See ya' later, Kat. If it is Damon he probably wants to go to lunch or something." She said, noticing that it was about that time. Elizabeth headed out the door and toward the front of the restaurant but, when she neared the counter, instead of seeing a tall, nearly bald African-American, she saw an equally tall brown haired man in a suit. She stepped up to the register, smiling at the girl behind it and, slightly confused, said

"They said someone up here was looking for me." The girl nodded and gave a light giggle before pointing to aforementioned man who was standing a foot or so away from Elizabeth.

"That would be him." The girl said, winking at Elizabeth. It was well known by those who worked at the restaurant that the only man that usually came looking for Elizabeth was Damon. Elizabeth turned slowly and, upon seeing the man's face finally, she realized who it was.

"Andy." She said in way of greeting. She didn't seem extremely happy or extremely upset to see him, at least she hoped not, and she even managed a small smile, despite the fact that she was highly confused as to why he was even there. "Um…not to be impolite, but why are you here?" She asked, may as well get that out there. Andy smiled and chuckled a little before answering.

"I um…just wanted to see if you might want to reconsider my invitation. If um…if you still don't want to go, I'll just clear on out, but if you want to I know a place with the best coffee, ever. Barring none." He said with a sheepish grin. He seemed to really want her to go, and in all honesty she kind of wanted to. She glanced around the room and saw Katharine standing at the door of the kitchen, it was unmistakably her because of the very red hair and Elizabeth saw that she was holding up two thumbs very noticeably, looking up Elizabeth saw that Andy had noticed her as well. "It appears that your friend approves." He commented, and Elizabeth nodded in assent.

"Ya' know what, I think I will go." She answered confidently. "Just let me go make sure my boss knows I'm leaving a few minutes early." Just as she turned to go find Nikita, the woman appeared out of what seemed like nowhere.

"Go on, Andrews. But be back in forty-five minutes or I will fire you so fast that it will make your head spin." She said, almost smiling, and Elizabeth decided to cash in on one of the woman's few moments of actually having a heart.

"Okay, just let me get my coat." Two minutes later, the two were headed out the door and down the sidewalk. It wasn't long before Elizabeth started shivering, not being accustomed to the cold weather even after five years in New York. Just as she was ready to ask Andy how much farther they had to go, he smiled and said triumphantly

"Here we are." He opened the door for her and, glad to be out of the cold, she stepped quickly inside and smiled as she felt the warm air take her chill off. The two sat down and a waitress took their order. When the girl left, Andy leaned back in his chair and smiled at Elizabeth.

"So, what made you decide to change your mind?" He asked curiously. Elizabeth thought for a moment and shrugged.

"I don't know. Probably when my friend, the redhead you saw, called me stupid when I mentioned turning you down." She answered honestly.

"I see, talking about me already." Andy winked and raised an eyebrow.

"Just mentioned something about the dolt that sent me sprawling out on the sidewalk." She answered, quickly, momentarily knocking the cocky smile from his face.

"So, you're not from around here are you?" Andy asked, changing the subject entirely after a slight silence. Elizabeth cocked her head to the side and shook it slowly.

"No I'm not, how'd you know?" She asked.

"Well, you obviously can't stand the cold, you look scared to death crossing through traffic, and that cute little drawl of yours kind of cements the deal." Elizabeth laughed and realized that it must be more obvious than she thought that she hadn't lived in New York long. Just then, their waitress returned with their drinks. Elizabeth took hers and smiled before answering him.

"Hmph. Guess I don't hide it well, but you're right. I'm from South Carolina, Charleston to be exact. I moved up here five years ago when my um…daughter was born." Open mouth, insert foot, Liz. She hadn't planned on mentioning anything about Caitlin to him, but it had just sort of slipped out. He seemed a bit taken aback, but his smile remained.

"Daughter?" Elizabeth could see his eyes flash to her left hand then look back at her face when he saw neither a wedding band or diamond. "Divorced?" He asked, amazed that someone so young could have been married, had a child, and divorced already as Elizabeth looked younger than even himself.

"Never married. It's a long story." She answered, ending that strain of the conversation. Talking about Caitlin's father was not something she enjoyed at all, especially when it was with someone she had just met.

The two chatted on for a few more minutes about work, she learned that he owned an advertising agency with his friend and he learned that she worked two, on occasion three, jobs to support herself and her daughter, and managed to attend some classes at NYU as well. Though how she found time he wasn't sure. When Elizabeth saw that she was due back at the restaurant in fifteen minutes, she said she had to go, Andy paid for their drinks and out the door they went.

They arrived back at the café with several minutes to spare and were standing just inside the door while Elizabeth took her coat off. Andy was fidgeting around and not quite leaving, as if he wanted to say something.

"Elizabeth, could I call you sometime?" He asked, unsure as to what she would say. He didn't want to annoy her or anything but she was one of the first genuinely nice, non crazy girls he'd met in a while, what with his mother breathing down his neck trying to get him to go out with Camille. Elizabeth thought about it for a second and, after a little contemplation, nodded. She pulled a napkin and a pen from her pocket and quickly jotted down her phone number, handing it to him. Andy smiled and nodded appreciatively and Elizabeth turned to go.

"Bye Andy." She called as she headed to prove to Nikita that she was, in fact, on time.

"Bye Elizabeth." He said just as he stepped outside and closed the door behind him, folding the napkin up and sticking it in his jacket pocket, he lingered outside for just a moment before heading back to the office.


A/N: Allllright! So, I'm not so sure about this chapter so please let me know what you think. I know y'all probably think things are going fast if you don't then that's great but no worries. There are some surprises in store for Andy and Elizabeth. ;D Thank you sooooo much to all who reviewed!

SamMalone: Thanks so much, glad to know you liked it!

supergal: Haha, I guess I kind of picked a generic name for Liz's daughter but I wasn't very creative with any of the names in this one. Lol. And I appreciate that you don't mind my being a detail whore. :D

Christine: Good luck with that, hope you keep it up as I know how hard it is to finish things you've just started. Thanks for reviewing

Miss K Ree: Yay! I hope y'all will see a lot more aspects of all the characters' personalities throughout the story. At least I'm aiming for that.

Raven Black Tears: Thanks. I'm glad you like it. And, yes, I have put this up before, I think the title was Beautiful Distraction, or something like that. But I've changed the plot, though the first chapter is the same as the original. Thanks for reviewing!

Hope y'all like this chapter!

3 Piper