The press of Dietre against his shoulder was reassuring, and with that comfort in mind, he looked over in the direction the younger man had indicated. A flash of red hair through him off guard for half a heartbeat, until he realized the shade was too loud to be Alice. He watched as she came closer, picking out her scent among all the other people, against the backdrop of grease and tomato sauce.
Aleksi was a little taken aback at the amount of words that spilled out of the woman's mouth as soon as she'd settled in at the other side of the table. He waited for a moment to see if anything more was going to be forthcoming, leaving an awkward pause that he felt lingering in the air. "No, we have not ordered yet," he started with the easiest thing. She seemed to have answered her own second question, so rather than address it, he offered, "It is short for Aleksandr."
Under the table, he reached out, seeking Dietre’s fingers. Aleksi curled his own around them, careful to be gentle with the slender digits. Just that small touch was enough to be grounding, and he took a deep breath to further steady himself before offering his other hand for Pippin to shake, saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”