|nishka//loki (nishka) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-02-12 16:11:00
|Entry tags:||freyr, loki|
I won’t let you down, so please don’t give me up
Who: Nish and Rafe
What: Nish cooks dinner for Rafe at her place.
Where: Nish’s apartment
When: February 9, 2017 at about 6pm
“...and the Prosecutor called, they want our productions by tomorrow at five o’clock,” Jess finished, adding the file to the pile on the corner of Nish’s desk. She was distracted, trying to do five things at once so she could leave early, but she acknowledged her with a nod.
“Okay, anything else?”
“It’s four o’clock,” Jess said with a smirk. Nish’s head shot up with alarm, her pen dropping from her hand.
“Shit, I gotta go,” she said, closing the file and standing up from her desk. “You sure you’re okay to handle the Johnsons when they come in?” The appointment was at four thirty; it was just a basic interview, but she thought Jess was ready for it. The girl chuckled softly.
“Yes, get out of here. Go!” she added when Nish hesitated. She grabbed her purse and left, throwing a hurried ‘see you tomorrow’ over her shoulder as she did.
She drove at the speed limit the whole way home, her thoughts already on all of the preparation she had to do. On autopilot, she parked, headed upstairs and unlocked her door, tossing her purse on the couch and heading immediately to the kitchen. Bear followed her in, leaping onto the counter as if to say ‘I dare you to move me.’ She narrowed her eyes at him. “What have I gotten myself into, bud?” she muttered. “I’m not a cook…”
But she got to work, putting the wine in the fridge, following her mother’s recipe to the letter and praying she wouldn’t screw it up, all the while studiously not thinking about what cooking for a man she was sleeping with could possibly mean or be perceived as by others. Or even by him. Bear, perched on top of his cat tree, watched her with narrowed eyes, as if he already knew what was going on, and was silently judging her for it.
At five minutes to six there was a knock at the door. Rafael stood just on the other side, needlessly adjusting the collar of his navy blue button-up. That done, he fussed with the sleeves rolled neatly up his forearms, refolding one cuff for at least the fourth time. Then he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, peering at the peephole as though he might will the door to open. He knocked again.
"Nish?" he called, so soft he might as well have said nothing at all.
Bear heard him. He lifted his head and looked at the door, eyes wide with interest, before jumping down from his perch with a thump. Nish was just pulling the fish from the oven when she saw him stalking towards the door and followed him. “What is it, bud?” she asked, watching him sit in the hall in front of the door expectantly. She heard a knock at the door and immediately opened it. And there was Rafe, looking as amazing as ever. She smiled happily.
“Hey,” she greeted, stepping aside for him. “Come on in...dinner's almost ready.”
He smiled as he strode inside, his fingers brushing lightly over her arm as he passed. "What do you need me to do?" he asked, already en route to the kitchen. "It smells wonderful." She let out a short self-deprecating laugh.
“Thanks.” She followed him into the kitchen and went back to her task. “Uhhm, you can open the wine,” she said, rummaging in a drawer for the bottle opener and handing it to him, her fingers lingering on his just slightly longer than necessary.
“I have a confession to make,” she said, turning back to the stove and stirring a sauce that was gently bubbling away. She paused and then glanced at him over her shoulder with a little smile. “I invited you over for dinner, but I don't actually know how to cook.”
Rafael was elbow-deep in the refrigerator; his laughter echoed out from inside. "I could teach you," he said. He straightened up, a bottle of chilled white wine in his hand. He moved closer to her, posting up against the counter to her side. "If you wanted. It isn't hard. And I was a chef for a while. A cook." He smiled sheepishly. "Depending on who you asked, I suppose."
He uncorked the wine with practiced ease, setting opener and cork aside, reaching for the pair of glasses she had laid out.
Her eyes widened. “Ohh, shit are you serious? I'm fumbling around in my kitchen cooking for a chef?” she watched him pour the wine and took a glass from him. “To utter embarrassment,” she grinned, tapping her glass to his and taking a sip. He returned the toast with a sheepish smile and a very small nod.
She turned around to check on the sauce, noting that it had finally thickened up, and turned off the stove. “I hope you like it, it’s one of the only things I actually picked up how to cook from home,” she said, starting to plate the baked salmon, steamed vegetables and whole roasted mini potatoes. “My mom said my grandma and her grandma made this all the time,” she continued with a careless shrug, drizzling the dill and lemon butter sauce on top of the fish before handing him a plate. “It was either this or mac’n’cheese,” she finished with a little embarrassed grin, leading him to the dining room where the table was nicely set.
"I like both," he answered, cheerful as ever. "But this looks great. And it's certainly healthier." He followed her, plate carefully balanced in his hand, and took his seat where she bid. "Family recipes are always the best, anyway."
After settling into his seat, his napkin placed neatly in his lap, he took a small, sly look up at her. "I hope you didn't go to too much trouble for me." Nish smiled, glancing briefly down at her lap and noting with a hint of embarrassment that her cheeks had warmed up slightly.
“Maybe a little, but I wanted to,” she admitted. Just as she was about to say something else, Bear rose onto his hind legs and held onto her thigh with his paws, meowing impatiently. “Right,” she muttered, grateful for the distraction as she got up and cutting a small piece of fish off her plate, dropping it in his nearby food dish. She’d already fed him his dinner while she was waiting for theirs to cook, but if she didn’t do this now she’d never hear the end of it. “I can’t ever make fish without him getting his cut,” she grinned, sitting back down and taking another sip of wine. “My training as a cat slave is coming along nicely,” she added.
Rafael laughed. "Well he certainly seems pleased with your progress," he teased, cutting into his own piping-hot meal. He took a bite, and nodded approvingly. "I can see why," he said. He washed down the fish with another sip of white wine, and tossed her a playful wink. "I thought you said you couldn't cook. You had me thinking this was going to be worthy of 'Worst Cooks in America' or something. All burnt ramen and questionable casseroles..." She giggled happily and took a bite of her own dinner, nodding in approval.
“That’s why I chose this, it’s the one recipe my mother successfully drilled into me before I moved out.” She paused, about to sip her wine, her eyes slightly unfocused for a second as her smile faltered just slightly. Her mother had been planning to teach her more, had made it her mission to get her daughter to cook for herself, but she never got the chance. She put a smile back on her face again and sipped her wine.
“So I had an...interesting run-in the other day,” she said, though interesting wasn’t exactly the right word. “I was...accosted by a reporter from TMZ looking for a story...apparently she lives in the building.” She had an amused smile on her face, but the whole thing was slightly unsettling to her.
One dark brow arched sharply. He tried to conceal the laughter in his eyes, but acted much too late for that. "Did you?" he asked. "I met her earlier, unless there are two of them here. God, I hope not." He speared a bit of potato with his fork. "Brittany? Or BB, she might've called herself. What sort of story is she wanting from you?" She chuckled silently at his reaction. It must be the same girl.
“I never caught her name, but I didn’t really want to know,” she replied. She sighed a little and sat back in her chair with her wine. “She showed up at my office early this week asking about a case I’m on, though of course she tried to lie her way in with some bullshit sob story.” She’d actually had fun tearing her down on that one. It was good practice. “And yesterday she was following me around on my morning run, badgering about the same thing.” She caught his eyes, hers dancing with mirth. “I may have a stalker.” She didn’t share her other fear with him though, that she may find out about the two of them. She wasn’t sure what Rafe’s feelings were on paparazzi or people knowing what they were doing together, but as far as she was concerned it was nobody else’s business.
"I hope you don't," he said, "because she's very persistent. She recognized me in the lobby one day and I ended up doing an interview with her shortly after." He chuckled at the memory and paused for a moment, wondering precisely how much was too much to share.In the end he omitted the small detail of his providing her with an autograph. Nish’s eyebrows rose at that; for some reason that girl badgering him for an interview made a spike of anger rise in her throat.
"She must know you can't discuss active cases," he said. "Or that you shouldn't, at least." She smirked, some of the humour gone from her expression as she sat forward and put down her wine.
“Well, she does now,” she said, her voice slightly clipped. That girl really bothered her and she couldn’t put her finger on why. She’d been badgered for information before and dealt with it just fine. But something about her set her teeth on edge longer she was around her. Then she chuckled a little to herself. “I literally threw the law in her face,” she grinned. “I may have threatened to have her arrested.”
Rafael laughed softly, but he was nodding. It was no great stretch to imagine BB pushing someone to such lengths. She seemed to have done a fine job exhausting more than one of their neighbors at the meet and greet, from what Rafael had seen. "And how did that go over?"
She looked up at him with another little grin. “She backed down at first, but then kept on. So I told her I was representing a serial killer who stalks reporters,” she laughed. She had to admit there was a certain amount of enjoyment trading barbs with the girl, but there was also a fair amount of annoyance.
“So...did she get anything good out of you?” Part of her was dying to know what they talked about, and the other was pissed at the invasion of his privacy.
He finished his bite, and answered after another -- longer, and thankfully more bracing -- sip from his wine glass. "I guess that depends on what you think is good," he said. He considered for a moment, recalling her questions and the answers he had given. She had gotten personal at times, cutting and incisive when he had least expected it. But she was simply good at her job, as he was at his own; he could hardly fault her for that. "Just details about work, for the most part. Only a few questions I haven't fielded before, and nothing I couldn't address without too much trouble."
She listened to him, and then another thought occurred to her. “It’s funny,” she said, “we both have jobs we really can’t talk about.” She would never ask him about his work, his clients. And she was sure he wouldn’t ask her either. She might share an amusing anecdote without mentioning names, but most of her cases...well, they weren’t exactly dinner conversation. “Almost like talking to my brother,” she added, but after a moment realized that could be taken wrong. Quickly, she explained. “He’s a cop...he can’t talk about his work either. Except to badger me about what I do. He brings them in and I argue them free,” she said, playing idly with her wine glass. “He hates what I do.”
A wry smile curved his lips. He nodded. "You're two sides of the same coin, though," he said, ever eager to take the focus off himself. "It's all checks and balances. I know it doesn't seem like that to anyone heavily invested in either side, but…" He shrugged. "It isn't a perfect process by any means, but without both of you the system wouldn't work at all. You both do very necessary things."
She smiled wryly, watching the wine swirl in her glass. “Except he does it to ‘make a difference’,” she countered with a slight mocking tone. “I do it to get paid.” She wasn’t shy about admitting it, what she did was just business. She provides a service and they give her money.
She had a reputation for getting results no matter what, and so that meant that people who really didn’t want to go to jail came to her, and often times, they were the obviously guilty party. She’d been shocked the first time she managed to free someone who she strongly believed belonged in prison, but after a while, those cases became just another day at the office. She shook the thought out of her head and finished her wine, pouring herself another glass and topping up Rafe’s. He held up his glass to her, thanking her as she poured.
He shrugged. "Why do any of us do what we do," he said. "For every person lucky enough to have a job that 'makes a difference,' there's a hundred of us just making ends meet however we can." He smiled, a secretive little thing. "If we can make someone happy in doing so, so much the better, but… we take what we can get." She smiled widely at him, sure now they were no longer talking about her.
“Some of us are better at it than others,” she said, her eyes giving away her thoughts. Her body had responded to his presence the second he got in the door, but it wasn’t nearly as desperate as it had been the other night. It was more...excitement rather than fire. Pleasure, purely from his presence, although the craving for his touch was always there just underneath. “I’ve been looking forward to this all day,” she said with a sigh, happy and comfortable, with the hint of a playful grin. “I think my secretary suspects something.”
Rafael smiled, more pleased with this response than he wanted to give away. "Oh?" His gaze darted downward, toward his plate, but only for an instant. Then his attention was on her once more, all bright eyes and thick, dark lashes and a question he could not suppress. "And would that be so bad?"
She met his eyes with mock seriousness, pausing as if considering whether it would be or not, making him think she might not want people to know about them. And then her lips melted into a hint of a smirk. “Wouldn’t want her as competition, would I?” she said, sipping her wine again. It was going down a little too good tonight, and she could already feel herself craving more of it. With a bit of a struggle, she put the glass down, picking up her fork to eat the last bite of her dinner. The last thing she wanted was him thinking she was a drunk, no matter how right that might be. Somewhere inside, the voice narrowed its eyes at her. ’Since when do you care?’ it wondered.
Grinning still, Rafael shook his head. The disappointment that had come with her delay quickly dissipated when she spoke; his relief over her answer was difficult to hide, even if some part of him still harbored doubts it was sincere. "I wouldn't worry about that," he said, pushing around the last bite of his meal before putting his fork down. Where she hesitated, he raised his own glass, nearly finishing off his wine.
"This was really nice, Nish," he said. "Thank you for this." She met his eyes with a soft smile.
“I’m glad the chef approves,” she joked, but then a hint of seriousness showed in her features. “I wanted to do something for you, to thank you for the other night.” She didn’t feel that she owed him, she didn’t do it because she wanted something from him; she had genuinely wanted to make him happy. There was a first time for everything.
With a sigh, she stood to collect their plates and bring them to the kitchen, and on pure reflex, she picked up her wine and downed the last of it, belatedly realizing what she’d done and mentally sighing in futility. ’No reason to waste good wine,’ the voice mocked, sounding almost victorious. ’Shut. Up,’ she commanded, though she could swear she heard laughter.
"I'd say you thanked me already," Rafael teased. "Very well, in my opinion." Before following her into the kitchen, he bent slightly down, feeding Bear a small portion of fish he had swiped from the plate before Nish had taken it. The cat seemed to approve; Bear purred loudly and bumped his head against Rafe’s hand. Pleased with himself, he moved on to stand behind her, glancing around the kitchen for something to busy his hands. In the meantime, he poured them each another glass of wine -- slightly less than before, having noted her earlier hesitation.
"How can I help?" He held out one glass to her, smiling over its rim. "You worked hard enough. Let me clean up."
’You can drink that for me before I do,’ she thought, but took the glass from him with a slight smile. “I don’t want to ruin the evening with dishes,” she said with a careless wave to the kitchen. There weren’t many, and she used the chore as time to think. She slipped her hand in his, setting her wine down on the counter with a subtlety she hoped wouldn’t draw attention to it, and tipped her head back to kiss him. It was soft and warm, but not needy, though she felt heat pooling in her belly at the touch. She pulled away.
“We could watch a movie,” she suggested, “Thursday nights are usually just me and Bear and Netflix, but it may be more fun with another human.” ’Lame, Nish, really lame,’ the voice chided.
"Everything is," Rafael said. He slipped his arm around her, one hand still on the cool stem of his wine glass. He led her out, away from the piled up dishes, and into the living room. "That sounds perfect. What kind of movie?" He glanced down to her, smiling with obvious self consciousness. His fingers trailed over her skin, counting out the seconds he pondered his preferences, insofar as he had them at all. "Something funny might be nice, if you have it."
She shivered under his touch, following him out into the livingroom. It was cozy, with an IKEA futon for a couch with a plush cover to protect it from kitty claws and fur. Pillows and a few throw blankets were arranged haphazardly on it and she moved the blankets out of the way so they could sit. “Please tell me you’re not a rom-com guy,” she chuckled, sitting close to him on the couch with her legs crossed, turning on the tv and bringing Netflix up on the screen. She found ‘comedy’ and started cycling through the various suggestions until he found one he liked.
"I am not," he said, waving a hand to encourage her to skim past the cheesiest of the suggestions. She laughed, happily obliging. "I don't really like the frat boy kind of humor, either." His arm moved around her shoulders; he pulled her close and she leaned against him as she flipped through the choices. "Any Monty Python on here? Life of Brian is always good. Or Mel Brooks… oh." He snapped his fingers when Mascots scrolled past. "I love Christopher Guest." Her eyebrows rose.
“I've never heard of it, what's it about?” she asked, shifting a little closer to him so her back leant against his chest, enjoying the feeling of his arm around her a little too well. ’Would you get to the sex, already?’ the voice whined, ’I'm getting bored.’ She ignored it and turned her head, focusing on Rafe instead.
"He does fake documentaries about really strange people," he said. "There's a lot of secondhand embarrassment, but it's so, so funny. To me," he added, careful to add that small disclaimer. "If you don't like it we can absolutely pick something else." With smiling lips he pressed a kiss to her temple, holding back a little laugh. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the touch, chuckling softly at his description.
"This one's about people trying to be professional mascots, for sports teams or companies or whatever. He uses a lot of the same actors in all his films. They work really well together, and a lot of it is improv, which is always pretty impressive to me."
’Bo-ring,’ the voice protested loudly.
“That sounds like fun,” she said instead, not just to spite the thing inside her, but because it actually did sound amusing to her. She hit ‘play’ and tossed the remote beside her on the couch, shifting a little against him and getting comfortable while the movie started.
Rafael was silent only for a time, content to hold her and listen to the believably awkward conversations and monologues with which the film began. His laugh was as quiet and soft as nearly everything else about him, and more than once he snuck small glances at his partner as though to reassure himself she was, in fact, having a good time. But in a lull in the action -- if indeed it could be called action at all -- he leaned into her a little more strongly. "I'm not sure if this is Bear's speed," he teased, glancing briefly at the cat.
She laughed softly, eyes still glued to the movie, but tearing them away to look first at him, then at her cat stretched out on the floor a distance away, fast asleep. “Ahh, that cat just doesn’t know good comedy,” she said, laughing as yet another amusing antic happened on screen. She reached for his hand and pulled his arm closer around her, their entwined fingers coming to rest on her stomach. “Don’t take it personally, he doesn’t like what I usually watch either.”
"Well what do you usually watch?" Rafael asked. His fingers slid over her belly, moving idly in a motion that was part touch, part tickle. So close to her now, and so comfortable, he could not help but tease. "Are you a fan of rom-coms? I'd bet you only asked me that to throw me off…"
She chuckled softly, heat pooling gently in her belly as he toyed with her skin. “Ohh god no, she laughed. “I'm rewatching Game of Thrones right now, though he finds it supremely boring without any hot lady cats to look at.” She slid a little further down on the couch, lying flush against him and resting her head comfortably on his chest.
He rolled his shoulders, sinking deeper into the cushions at his back. With both his arms around her, she was cradled gently against him; it was more comfortable than he dared to focus on too long, lest this small joy disappear. "Such a sad show," he said. "Grim. Grimdark. Isn't that what they call it? I can't watch too much of it in one go."
She smiled, nodding. “That's me,” she said. “It's what I understand. It's much closer to the way people really behave, at least in my experience. With what I do during the day, picking apart other people's lies and deceits and trickery, it's refreshing to watch it scripted, as a story where it has to make sense.” She shrugged, and smiled a little. “The eye-candy doesn't hurt either,” she added with a soft chuckle.
"It certainly doesn't," Rafael laughed. He gave no hint as to which cast members particularly caught his eye; like as not there would be time enough for that. "We should watch the season premier together," he offered. "I'm really hoping the Jon-and-Dany theory is right." She sat up just enough to look him in the eye.
“Ohh my god, we should,” she said with excitement. “Jon and Dany could be cute, though I’m still holding a torch for Khal Drogo,” she smirked. All toned muscle and mysterious and exotic features. And the hottest sex scenes she’d seen on that show. “You know, you could maybe pass for his brother…” she teased, letting her fingers play with the buttons on his shirt, shifting so she could press a soft kiss to his lips before pulling away and laying back down on his shoulder.
He laughed, one hand moving to stroke her hair. He had played at far worse things; he could not resist at least offering now. "If you really wanted…" He kissed her forehead, snuggling down into the cushions and closer against her. "I could always grow my beard out. No-one really ever minds that." She laughed low in her throat, tipping her head back against his arm to look up at him, her hand moving to stroke the short hair on his chin.
“That could be kinda hot,” she murmured, “I've never been with a guy with a beard before.” She was kind of curious, and flattered that he wanted to do that for her. She twined her leg with his, shifting and stifling a yawn and glancing briefly at the clock on the wall before snuggling closer to him. She didn't want to move; she was warm and happy and comfortable right where she was.
"It feels pretty good, if you want the truth," he said, before he could think better of it. Then he laughed, suddenly self conscious. "I'll grow it out, then, and you can tell me what you think." He twined a thick lock of dark hair around his fingers. He felt his eyes growing heavy, sleep encroaching like fog at the edges of his mind. He kissed the crown of her head. "If you hate it I'll just shave. A little Valentine's gift for you." She smiled widely against his chest, her eyes slipping closed, enjoying the feeling of him playing in her hair.
“I would have settled for chocolate,” she murmured, “wine, dinner, roses…all that cheesy love-day shit.” Her voice was low, heavy with fatigue, but she struggled to stay awake. If they fell asleep, the night would be over, and right now she wanted to live in this moment, at least for a little while longer.
"Then you can have that, too," he said. His smile faded by slow degrees. "Um… I won't be able to stop by on Valentine's Day proper, but the next night? Or the weekend, if that works better for you. I'm sorry. I should've said something earlier." Her eyes opened, and a sudden, strange feeling unsettled her stomach, almost like the bottom had suddenly dropped out from under her.
’And you thought the two of you could be happy together,’ the voice mocked her, a low cruel laugh filling her head. ’I told you so…’
“It’s okay,” she said instead, not looking at him, struggling to keep her voice even and alarmed that those few words from him had been enough to shake her so much. Too deep...she was already falling too far and too fast. Exactly what she swore to herself she would never do. “The day doesn’t matter anyway,” she said, as if trying to convince herself, or the thing that lived inside her. “I should have assumed you’d have to work.”
"I'm sorry," he said again. "It's been scheduled for several months. I can't cancel." He kissed her again, and bundled her up in his arms, pulling her closer. "How can I make it up to you?" She let him pull her close, kissed him back, softly, lazily.
“You can stay with me tonight,” she murmured against his lips. “So I can pretend I'm the only woman in the world for you, at least for a few hours.” She did her best to make it sound light and playful, but she was tired, and the slightest hint of sadness might have made it through.
Rafael hid his frown against her lips. He nodded, and kissed her again, gathering her up against him as he rose from the couch. She smiled sleepily, leaning on his shoulder and enjoying the feeling of being momentarily weightless. The movie played on behind them, forgotten.
He carried her to her room, for once not taking no for an answer. Her bed, wide and warm, waited for them both. This was a kind of comfort he knew well how to provide; he trusted himself with it far more than with mere words. He kissed her softly as he set her down on the corner of the bed.
"You need rest," he said, his hands already moving to unbutton his shirt. "Let's lie down, okay? I'm not going anywhere tonight." She shifted, getting undressed and pulling on her nightshirt that was crumpled on the bed beside her, slipping under the covers next to him and pillowing her cheek on his shoulder.
“Goodnight, my Khal,” she whispered, pressing a kiss to his chest.