|solo (soloing) wrote in valarlogs,|
@ 2020-05-29 15:35:00
While Napoleon’s work had slowed significantly while his life went a little sideways in Orange County, he still had to keep a dab hand into things. Although he wasn’t willing to go too far from Orange County following Gaby’s incident with her friend's carnage and the fact that Illya had been pulled back to Russia.
He had no intention of leaving Gaby to fend for herself or deal with Orange County without some back up. Which meant limiting his ventures out of town, at least until he could feasibly talk Gaby into coming with him. He had no doubt that she’d enjoy Italy the next time he had to travel out there for anything.
But the job was complete, he was home and none the worse for wear, although significantly better off. The first port of call was home to clean up, change and feed the hell cat that was slowly starting to like him, just like Illya. And then he needed to head over to Gaby’s, just to drop in, make sure she was doing okay.
Picking up a bottle of wine, treats for the dogs, Napoleon made his way to Gaby’s home briskly.
The door was unlocked - which was unusual but since she knew that Napoleon was coming over she didn’t worry too much, plus Nora’s booming bark was off putting enough for people who didn’t know that Nora was, actually, a huge softie. Gaby was in the kitchen, putting the last touches to the meal that she’d been trying to make and pouring the custard-ish mix over the bread and raisins she had in a dish.
That would go in when she took the other food out.
She had some more clothes from her dreams come through, and though she would have normally just been wearing her comfortable jeans and a t-shirt, she’d been struck with the strangest urge to just try one of the dresses on, so - underneath her apron - she had on a fitted orange-and-white dress that ended just above her knees with shockingly pristine white ballet-style shoes.
It was something new. She felt apprehensive, like she wasn’t sure how Napoleon would react but Mindy and Nora started barking as someone approached the front door so it was too late to change now.
“It’s open!” she called, whistling for the dogs to come away from the door. Mindy’s tail was wagging so hard that her entire body was shaking, and Nora was huffing, stuffed rabbit in her mouth ready to present as a gift to the visitor.
If nothing else, Napoleon was sure that Gaby’s home would never be at risk of a burglary. He could hear Nora and Mindy from the walk to the door, likely they started when he crossed the window. It was also why it didn’t worry him too much that Gaby had left the door open for him, he had informed her that he was coming over, likely it was simply easiest.
“Ah, girls, it is lovely to see you both.” Even with Gaby calling them back, Nora was already at Napoleon’s knees as he shut the door behind him, “They’re as friendly as ever.” Clearly two days absence didn’t curb their enthusiasm for friends.
Affections giving for the dogs, Napoleon eventually managed to remove himself from the closed doorway to cross into Gaby’s kitchen, presenting the wine but cutting himself off as he noticed what she had on. Napoleon hadn’t not noticed Gaby’s impressive figure and lovely legs, he was just a tad more subtle about it than he would normally be.
“Well this is quite the ‘welcome home’, I must say.” He’d expected an evening like any other, casual and laid back, although his version of casual was still some people’s dressed up, hence the dress slacks and smart shirt as opposed to, say, jeans and a t-shirt. “Should I set up more two and three days business trips?”
An idle threat. He certainly wasn’t planning many.
“Is it that bad?” Gaby deadpanned with an arch of her eyebrow, her lips curled up slightly to try and allay her own strange feelings about wearing the dress in her kitchen. After all, it was very much out of her comfort zone. She smoothed her hand down it and pulled off her apron since the messy part of the cooking was done and turned on the spot. “But… no, I don’t think so.”
She turned away to take two wine glasses from the cabinet behind her, largely as a way of obscuring the brighter smile that had crept over her face at the way Napoleon had looked at her. It gave her a moment to fight the way she’d felt her cheeks being coloured with a pleased flush. He often took her by surprise, with a charming smile here or the brush of a hand there, but it wasn’t often that she did the same to him.
“Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes,” she added, glasses being placed on the counter in front of him. “How was the trip?”
“Definitely not bad.” Napoleon simply smirked, nothing too lecherous in it at all. There was little wrong with appreciating Gaby’s appearance, least of all when she purposely put in the effort. She was a decidedly attractive woman, in a dress or not, although the dress was certain not a common choice of attire. “Is there a special occasion I don’t know about?”
As Gaby turned to get the glasses, Nora made it known that she was aware there was something he’d clearly forgotten, Napoleon shedding his jacket and placing the wine down before he turned attention to Nora and Mindy, providing bone treats for the both of them and ample pets and adoration.
“Tedious,” which it really was. He disliked the routine, and feeling like he could sleepwalk through a job was not in the least bit challenging. Although it was mostly just to keep his talents sharp, Napoleon still missed the odd challenge. “Far too much time around stuffy old men when I could’ve been enjoying your sparkling company.”
Gaby shrugged. “No special occasion, per se. But I received a number of these and they’ve been hanging in my wardrobe, neglected. I thought I should at least try them.”
She watched him fussing the dogs and smiled, it was a nice sight to see and they adored him, tails thumping against anything in the way as they snuffled at his hands. Nora almost went in for a lick but changed her mind.
“I am not sure my company qualifies as sparkling,” she told him, “can you set the table, please? - but if it’s an incentive to bring you home more quickly after a job, my wardrobe is filled with dresses like these.”
He had to admit this whole ‘dream gift’ thing really did have certain benefits. Although he wasn’t sure he believed that age-old spy technology was all that useful, Gaby’s very vintage dresses could certainly sway opinion. “Perhaps we’ll just have to arrange an evening where you can wear one of them out.”
It was all well and good having a night in, and Napoleon did enjoy them, but a night out could help settle any kind of wandering feeling. Even just two days out of town was enough to throw him a tiny bit. At least until Gaby was willing to come on a few jobs. She’d have to learn what he honestly did eventually.
Getting up to lay out the tableware, Napoleon scoffed slightly at Gaby’s suggestion that she wasn’t absolutely delightful company. “Now if that isn't an incentive to barely leave, I don’t know what is. Your company is absolutely the highlight of my day.” And maybe he was laying it on a little thick, but it didn’t make it any less true.
Gaby rolled her eyes at his flattery, shaking her head a little as she moved to the table, placing the glasses down. Nora and Mindy trailed hopefully behind Napoleon, Mindy staying by his heels even as Nora padded over to nose at Gaby’s hip.
“Yes, yes, I’ll feed you both in a minute.”
She lifted her shoulder. “I would not be averse to a night out,” she admitted. It had been a long time since she’d done anything that constituted letting her hair down and even under those terms, it was probably less ‘letting her hair down’ and more ‘visiting a coffee shop and glaring at people for a few hours’. Out had never been her thing. Though a part of her was a little apprehensive, not that she said anything, about having to take a cab home after Napoleon got stolen away by a pretty woman. “Somewhere that is not a pub would be a nice change of pace.”
There was one thing for sure, the dogs weren’t about to let Gaby forget that they were here for dinner too. It wasn’t terribly surprising, the only times that Lily really bothered to find Napoleon at home was when she was preparing to demand food. Rather loudly.
“How about a nice dinner out?” Although both of them were decent enough cooks, and Gaby seemed to be enjoying it, there was something to a nice evening when you didn’t need to worry about food preparation. “I know a lovely little place we can go after for some drinks too. Not a pub.”
A little more upper class than a pub, more like the bar he’d first met Gaby at. Which just made him smile fondly at the memory. Felt like a lifetime ago now.
Gaby nodded, “That sounds like a lovely idea,” she agreed, gesturing for him to sit down as she moved away from the table and instead moved to dish out the food, placing the desert in the oven to slowly cook while they were eating. She’d worked all the timings out already, or at least, she hoped that she had. If not, she knew Napoleon would hardly hold it against her. “Dinner and drinks. Next week, perhaps?”
With their plates on the table, she quickly ducked away to put the food down for the dogs and then sat opposite him.
“Bon appetit,” she offered, her slight German accent throwing the french words off ever so slightly but she wasn’t bothered. “It would be nice to go out and not have to worry about one of us cooking.” Not that Napoleon was a terrible cook, far from it. But no effort was even better than minimal effort.
It’d been a while since he’d gone out too, at least just for the sake of it, just to enjoy someone’s company. And Gaby’s company was always enjoyable. “Dinner and drinks, next week.” He could do with making sure Gaby got to relax too.
Staying in was just as nice, nothing to worry about, and with the dogs now, it all felt a little domestic in ways. It wasn’t bad in any way, but at the same time, it was a little bit of a reminder that Illya wasn’t with them.
Going out would be a change of pace, and Gaby deserved a night out, nothing wrong with pampering her a little either. “Wear one of your dresses, we’ll have a proper night of it.” He was seconds away from declaring it a date, but pulled back, giving Gaby a quick smile.
Maybe it was just feeling too domestic lately, but he wasn’t sure basically taking Gaby on a date would change that at all.