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WHO: Alijah and Jordan
WHAT: Dinner date/bonding
WHERE: Jordan's bungalow
WHEN: Friday night
WHY: To kindle their newfound interests
PROMPT: 138 - Dinner

Jordan paced in her kitchen, a little nervous. She'd been in the kitchen most of the afternoon, making a roast chicken and sauteed vegetables. There were also garlic mashed potatoes, homemade biscuits, and a bottle of white wine chilling in the fridge. Her personal point of pride was the chocolate raspberry torte with the fresh sweet whipped cream in the fridge.

Satisfied their dinner would stay warm, she went into her room and slipped into the simple blue sundress before going in the bathroom to take the curlers out of her hair. She put on a little bit of make-up and spritzed on an apple smelling perfume. The shape shifter opted to stay barefoot as she went back to check on dinner.

Glancing at the clock, she went through her list. Wine, check. Food, check. Table, check. Clothes, check. Everything was set and good. Now she just waited for her guest to arrive, playing with her hair a bit.

Alijah had been standing just outside Jordan's bungalow for nearly five minutes, breathing, trying to wrap his mind around his good sense. The longer he stalled, the harder it would be to finally move. Memories of the night before flashed through his head, giving him the strength he needed to make it to the door.

He hoped he looked okay. Isa had said he looked fine, but she could've been playing nice.

Balling his right hand into a tight fist, he knocked three times on her front door, and then stood back a few feet, hiding his arms behind his back.

Jordan had been fighting with the wine bottle when she heard the knock on the door. She jumped, a little startled by it, and the cork flew across the room. Swearing, she set the bottle on the counter and pulled the door open. The moment she saw Alijah, all her nerves were soothed and she smiled brightly at him. He looked so handsome. She really hoped he liked what she had made. "Hey. Come on in..."

The instant the door was opened, Alijah felt his nervousness melt away into a pleasant warmth. He smiled at her, moving inside on her invitation. "Hi," he greeted, standing just inside while taking her in. "You look incredible." It was said with obvious adoration. She looked great in a dress.

He acted on impulse and reached out to hug her.

She hugged him back, laughing a bit. "Thank you. You look very handsome yourself. I hope you're hungry..."

"I am," Alijah said, nodding when she pulled back. "I've saved myself for tonight."

Boy, that came out all wrong.

He smiled, hoping she wouldn't tease him for his vocal problems and wondered if the hair where Joaquin had grabbed him wasn't too obvious. He'd tried so hard to look nice.

Jordan raised and laughed. "Did you now? Well, I'm glad. Because I got a little carried away... Come come, sit. We have chicken, sauteed vegetables, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and of course, dessert. Would you like some wine?"

She gestured towards a small table in her kitchen - just big enough for a couple of people and picked up the bottle of wine.

"You really did go all out," Alijah commented, following her into the kitchen to sit down. He made himself comfortable and smiled up at her, glancing quickly at the bottle. He wasn't all too familiar with wine, but he was sure he'd love it anyway.

"Yes, please." He inhaled slowly, feeling his mouth water. "It smells like heaven in here."

Jordan blushed a little and smiled shyly. "I told you I like to cook..." She poured the wine and set the bottle back down. Everything was on the table and she settled herself in her chair. "I hope you like it. It's been a while since I've been able to cook for someone..."

Alijah reached for his glass, bumping it with his nails and catching it before anything embarrassing happened to it. He brought it up close and smelled it before taking a sip, swallowing it... and then set the glass far enough away from him to not be in immediate danger.

He felt like he'd die if he waited any longer, but didn't want to appear as hungry as he was. With a pleasant look up at Jordan's face, Alijah reached out for the dish with the sauteed vegetables, and picked it up. "I wish I had even a fraction of your ability to cook. This morning I didn't even bother with the oatmeal. I ate some bread and had a few glasses of cider to wash it down."

"I make amazing waffles and poached eggs," she winked and worked on her own wine, savoring the taste. It was a sweet dessert wine, but she'd served it anyway; he didn't strike her to be the kind to drink. "But trust me, you won't want to have any. Once you do, you'll be hooked forever." She dished up some potatoes and took a biscuit, nudging the chicken towards him. "Eat!"

Buttering the biscuit, Jordan took a bite and crossed her feet under the table.

Alijah looked up, wondering if that was some sort of vague invitation. Waffles and poached eggs... "I wouldn't be so sure about me not wanting any of that. It's only bad to be hooked if you're never going to enjoy it again."

He smirked and used the serving fork by the chicken, taking the piece nearest to his plate... so as to minimize the likelihood of him dropping it. He'd gathered veggies and chicken so far, and picked up a biscuit next. He remembered his early childhood, when his mother made all their meals from scratch.

Taking a bite of his biscuit, Alijah set it down and served himself some potatoes, his stomach aching.

Under the table, his right leg bounced absentmindedly.

"Well, then we'll have to see what can be done about that then," Jordan smiled and served herself some chicken and picked out some yellow squash from the vegetables. "Have you had a chance to meet anyone else here?"

She could feel his leg bouncing through the floor. The slight vibrations carried up her foot.

Alijah had just forked some chicken into his mouth when she'd asked him about meeting people. He chewed and nodded, motioning for her wait a moment for him to finish.

He swallowed and put his hand over his mouth a second, making sure it was all out of his mouth before speaking. "Yeah, actually... I've met Quinlan twice, a girl named Kaity earlier today, and Isa... and Joaquin." He smiled, recalling the conversation they'd had only about twenty minutes ago. "They all seem to like me pretty well, I think."

Jordan smiled as she watched him eat, glad he seemed to be enjoying himself. She nodded a little at the names. "Yeah, Quinlan is cool. He and I went on my first mission together. Kaity is an awesome girl, her babies are beautiful." Smiling, she ate some of her chicken.

"Isa's amazing. She's like my daughter."

Alijah pushed his vegetables around on his plate, too busy listening to Jordan to eat. "Quinlan seems quiet... guarded. He didn't warm up to me very well, and we've spoken twice." He shrugged, putting it aside. "Kaity created flowers in the sand... it was remarkable."

"I really enjoyed Isa's company. Her son is beautiful, and he was really beside himself with glee at my attention." He forked a piece of squash and ate it, chewing happily.

"Quinlan is a very reserved person," she agreed. "I've spent a good chunk of time with him. Never was able to get through to him. But he's a good man. And good to have on your side in a fight though."

Finishing her biscuit, Jordan shifted her legs, her foot accidentally brushing against his leg. Swallowing hard, she continued talking. "Joaquin is gorgeous. They're very special to me."

Alijah listened to her as she explained her thoughts on Quinlan, curious about him and yet unsettled all at once. He took another bite of chicken, chewing it thoughtfully just before something bumped his leg. He pieced together quickly that it had been her foot, and felt his heart skip.

He tried to act casual, as though he hadn't felt that surge of emotions pass through him.

"I can see how Isa and Joaquin would be special to you. She seems to think very highly of you. In fact, she warned me to be nice to you before I came here tonight." He smiled and picked out his next bite of vegetables.

She stared at him for a moment and her face scrunched up. "She did what? Oh, Alijah, I'm sorry... She's just overprotective..." Jordan silently cursed, hoping nothing was said to scare him away.

"So when was the last time someone made you supper?"

Alijah smiled and shook his head, his expression amused but relaxed. "Don't worry about it. She was just trying to take care of someone very important to her." He remembered the kind things Isa had said about her, and knew that they were all true.

"Oh, geez..." He tried to recall the last time he'd even really eaten with anyone. "Probably around five years ago, I think."

Right before Aara left him.

Something in his tone made Jordan frown and she reached out, placing a hand on top of his. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be so nosy. I just...feel like I've known you forever and then I remember I barely know you at all."

Alijah set his fork down and met her gaze, his hand warm beneath hers. He smiled at her and pushed back his memories, not wanting them to stand in the way of what should be a quiet evening for two.

"It's alright. I don't want to hide anything from you." He turned his hand over and cupped hers, stroking the side of her palm with his thumb. "I feel very much the same... like I've known you for years."

"If you want to know something about me, ask."

"Something I want to know..." She pondered that for a moment, picking at her plate with her fork. Most of what she wanted to know, she wanted to learn first hand. Like if he snored and how he took his coffee. Or what he'd look like sleeping in the moonlight. Or... Woah, Jordan, slow down girl.

"Alright. Are you an only child?"

Alijah hadn't realized he was holding his breath until she'd asked her question. He exhaled and leaned against the table a little.

"No, I'm the fourth son in my family. I have three brothers. Jakob, Samuel and Gabriel." He paused and smirked. "Jakob was the eldest, and least tolerant of me. Samuel did whatever Jakob told him to, and Gabriel spent time with me when the others weren't looking."

"Jakob, Samuel, Gabriel, and Alijah," she repeated. "Very close knit Jewish community. That's right... They sound, well, like brothers. Are you close with them?" Jordan's eyes were focused on his thumb and how it moved against her skin. The sensation sent a shiver down her spine.

Alijah frowned slightly, shaking his head a few times. "We were close until my mother died. Our grief tore us apart. Jakob married and left the state, Samuel picked up some bad habits and sort of... faded away. Gabriel left to put himself through college. He and I spoke a few times after he left the farm, but it's always been strained."

He shifted, his chest tightened with remorse. He knew deep down that he'd caused the rift.

Jordan squeezed his hand before getting up from the table. She moved behind him and hugged him. "I'm sorry, hon. I am so sorry..." She wished she could fix things for him, give him the family she had at the Agency.

Alijah watched Jordan get up, thinking for a brief moment that she was leaving... and closed his eyes as her arms encircled him. He could feel the warmth of her touch and the tenderness in her actions. There was an ache in his heart that had nothing to do with sadness.

He turned his face and kissed her arm, bringing his hands up to rest on hers.

She kissed the top of his head before resting her forehead against it. Her arm tingled from where he'd kissed it and she was so tempted to skip the rest of dinner to snuggle him. Lord knew Micah would wolf down the leftovers. No, she was sending the leftovers home with Alijah. Along with specific reheating instructions.

Alijah sighed, feeling so at ease he'd forgotten they were still at the dinner table, hovering over half-eaten food and barely touched wine glasses.

He didn't want to say anything, fearing the moment would be lost. Her kiss on his hair sent shivers through his body.

It was a little scary how right it felt with her arms around him. She inhaled deeply, and her eyes slid shut. "There's so much sadness in you," Jordan whispered. "So much sadness in your life. I wish...I wish I could take the pain away. I wish I could make things better for you."

It was amazing how easy it was to say that, especially when she could hide behind him when she did.

"Just being around you helps me forget," Alijah whispered, leaning into her arms.

He ran a finger along her left arm, tracing gentle lines up and down her muscle, trying to provide some comfort. She was so concerned for him, which made him sorry to have spoken at all. He didn't want to see her hurt... it was the last thing he wanted.

"Well..." Jordan sighed quietly. "Then I guess you'll just have to spend more time with me." She finally broke the embrace, returning to her chair. "Now. Eat more. There's still dessert to look forward to..."

Alijah followed her with his eyes, watching her even after she told him to eat. He picked up his fork obediently and picked at his food, his thoughts still on her. He could still feel her arms around him, holding him close.

"We wouldn't want to miss dessert," he said, trying to lighten the mood. He was glad she didn't ask anymore about his family... not now, anyway. There would be time for that later.

He tried to resume his meal, but found himself feeling scattered. He took a bite of his chicken, quiet for the moment.

"So. Tell me, Alijah," she grinned at him. "What are some of your favorite things?" That song rattled through her head and so she clarified, somewhat glad she didn't have to worry about him breaking out in song. "Color, food, movie, song, place...?"

"In that order?" Alijah asked with a smirk. "Or do you want me to improvise?" He took another sip of his wine, growing accustomed to the taste.

"Whatever you feel comfortable doing..." She worked on some of her chicken, hoping to distract him from his dark memories with her questions.

Alijah loved the way she always managed to surprise him.

"Let's see... under the spotlight, here." He shifted in his chair and crossed his legs at the ankle. "Blue, chicken with sauteed vegetables..." He paused to wink at her over the table. "I don't really watch a lot of movies. I've only really seen a handful. I'd rather be outside in the grass, or spending quality time with someone I care about. I love a lot of acoustic music... none of that noisy stuff, really. Mostly because it's what I was raised on." He licked his lips and took a bite of his mashed potatoes. "I learned guitar early on, and the picked up the ukulele and harmonica as an after-thought. I'll have to play for you..."

"Suck up," she teased him. "You're just saying that about the food so I'll cook for you again." She licked mashed potatoes off her spoon. "The ukulele, huh."

"So what if I am?" he asked, amused by her playful attitude. "It doesn't mean I'm lying about it, though... How's this? I love asparagus and brussel sprouts." Alijah put another bite of potatoes in his mouth and took his sweet time in finishing it. "Don't make fun of the ukulele until you've heard someone play it. You'd be surprised."

"I love asparagus," she grinned. "It's very tasty. How're the potatoes? You do realize that now you'll have to play it for me."

Alijah wasn't sure what to say first. She'd jumped topics almost too quickly to catch up. "The potatoes are delicious. You did a great job with everything. I couldn't have asked for better than this." He picked up his glass and saluted her with it before taking another small sip. His face sure felt warm.

"I'll play for you anytime you want. I'll go get it now if you say so." He smiled at her from across the table, wishing they weren't so far apart.

"Well, I tell you what," she smiled back. "When you're done eatin', you can get your ukulele while I clean up."

Alijah grinned. She was going to let him play for her?

He tried to think of something she'd really enjoy... maybe something sort of slow, low-key.

"I get dessert, too, right?" He was teasing, really only speaking so that she'd respond.

"I dunno," she teased back. "I was thinking of eating it myself. It's a chocolate raspberry torte, by the way. And delicious."

"You would eat something so delicious without me to help you?" he said, mock-pouting at her. His plate was pretty much empty aside from a few bits of vegetables.

"I might," she nodded seriously and sipped her wine. "Depends on how nice I'm feeling..."

Alijah laughed, sort of almost giggling as he reached for his wine glass again. Somehow he'd managed to avoid making any sort of mess at all.

"Should I go and fetch my uke, then?"

"Sure," she smiled, getting up from the table. Jordan leaned down, pulling dishes from the table. She lingered next to him for a moment, trying to find an excuse to touch him.

Alijah stood up, pushing his chair in without hesitation. He looked up to find her standing beside him, her hands holding their dishes. She seemed to be thinking, waiting.

"I'll be back in a few minutes," he said, leaning in to brush her hair over her shoulder, moving in on instinct to kiss her cheek before turning to leave.

"I'll be waiting," she smiled, inhaling deeply. Jordan bit her lower lip, watching as he left. She made herself busy, cleaning up the kitchen and getting dessert set up. On impulse, she lit a couple of good smelling candles.

Alijah left in a hurry, trying not to appear too eager as he made a bee-line for his bungalow. It was starting to get dark out, and he smiled, pleased to be so welcome in Jordan's home.

His place was unlocked, which made life easier on him. He didn't like to carry keys if he didn't have to. The ukulele was right where he'd left it, sitting on the floor beside his guitar and spare repair parts. He picked it up and strummed it once, checking the strings. It was good.

Wasting no time, he hurried back out, barely closing his front door all the way before returning to Jordan. He was gone about ten minutes in all, and appeared on the front porch feeling nervous about playing for her. He knew he could handle the instrument, but hadn't played for anyone in a long time. What if she didn't like it?

"I'm back," he called through the door, not really wanting to barge in.

"Come on in," Jordan called back. In the ten minutes he'd been gone, she had gotten all the dishes put away and the leftover dinner boxed up to send home with him.

She'd been able to keep herself from pacing and grinned widely at him when Alijah came back. She saw him with the instrument and bounced a little, excited. "So I never did ask what kind of music you like to play."

"No, you didn't," he said while pulling the door open. He let it close behind him and smiled at her. "Pretty much anything, so long as it sounds good to my ears. I write a lot of my own music, too, so..." He shrugged, trying not to make it into a big deal.

"Really?" She looked very intruiged by that and walked over to look over the ukulele. "Like what? Oh, I'm so curious now." Jordan picked up her wine and made her way into the living room.

There was a comfortable dark green sofa with a matching chair, all paired up with a set of black tables. She had a tv set up in the corner and shelves of movies and video games. On the walls there was a set of paintings that if she was prodded enough, she'd admit that she'd painted them. Moving the silver and green pillows next to the couch, Jordan waited to see where he was going to sit.

Alijah smiled and looked around, picking up on her subtle desire to sit. He chose one end of the couch, furthest from the door and sat down, getting comfortable on the cushion.

"My mother taught me a lot of songs in Hebrew that I translated to guitar, so there's a lot of family... sort of traditional music I can perform, too. Mostly I like to write new things as I go..."

He shifted, hoping what he had in mind would go over well.

Jordan settled on the other end of the couch, tucking her feet underneath her. The hem of her dress pulled up against her calves and got a little bunched up between her and the couch. She had her wine glass in a hand as she watched him. "I'm sure it's beautiful..."

Settling the ukulele where it was comfortable, he picked at the strings one more time, being sure it was properly tuned. He looked up at her and started to play, watching her face as he recalled and played the song he'd written the previous night, the notes small and fragile for a while, lifting from the strings only loud enough for them to hear. As he continued the notes became louder, creating a gentle mood... the song - he hoped - displayed a feeling of comfort, filling the room with what he was feeling inside. There were no words to sing; he didn't feel he needed any.

She settled back against the couch and relaxed visibly. Jordan smiled, her mind starting to wander. "It's...amazing..." she whispered. The only thing that would make it better would be if she'd been able to snuggle next to him. A happy smile spread on her face. She'd get to that eventually though. Right now she was satisfied just listening.

After about three minutes, Alijah brought the song to a drawn-out close, his brow low as he hit the notes he wanted, displaying a bit of advanced techniques to show her the extent of the instrument's abilities. He stopped and blinked twice, looking up at her silently for approval.

He felt a light sweat on his forehead as he waited.


(fade out here)