2236-11-19 - Late Second Date

Van and Isolde have an imperfect second date a year and a half after they planned to.

Date: 2236-11-19

Location: Laundry Room, Deck 8, Battlestar //Galactica// and virtual tour of Hyperion, Picon.

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 885

Jump to End

Evening on Galactica, and Van Newton stops by the barracks where Isolde is berthed. He's very carefully not wearing a jacket or showing any insignia of rank, making sure that he doesn't disrupt anyone or anything in the berthing by requiring salutes. instead, he moves down the row to find Isolde's bunk, rapping lightly on it a moment and holding up his brand new holoband, "Do you mind if I bother you a moment, Asa? It's not really tech support, just an opinion call."

Isolde rolls over to peek down from her tip-top bunk at the J.G. standing there, looking quite ordinary and like he belongs here. It takes her a moment to realize that Van is standing there, and not just an apparition. "Oh, oh... yeah. Okay." She is loathing that word, and winces slightly as it leaves her lips. Whatever she is working on is shuffled aside, and she offers a small smile. She notes the new holoband now, and blinks. "Got yourself a new 'band?" She starts to shift, moving along the narrow bunk opening to the ladder where she crawls out and lands with socked feet on the ground.

Van returns the smile with a faint upward curl of the corners of his own lips, nodding and stepping aside so that she can clamber down, "Thanks. And yes, my Dad sent it on to me. I never replaced the one that I lost at Triton." Turning, he leads the way out of the berthing, then steps aside slightly to let her walk alongside him. His steps take them to the nearest stairwell, and down toward Deck 8, "I figured that the sooner I could return at least one of the 'bands that I borrowed, the better." As they head toward... the laundry?... he pulls a peer-to-peer cord out of one of the thigh pockets of his pants, plugging it into his own 'band, and then moving over to a pair of the plastic seats along one wall, settling down, and offering out the other end, "There shouldn't be any actual tech support to this, don't worry. Besides," his smile widens far enough to actually show teeth, "you owe me."

"Oh." Isolde nods slightly. "That's real nice of him. Personal 'bands are good to have now and then." Before they leave, she grabs her own holoband from her locker, and casts a dubious glance around before she catches up with him. She falls into quiet as they exit the berthings, and she walks alongside him with her hands deep in the pockets of her off-duty pants. She never did grab a pair of shoes, padding along in her socks. When she notes where they are going, her brows arch slightly. She doesn't comment about the rec room, or even the gym, or tech shop, but instead just follows along, past the washers and dryers, to the offered seats. She sits down, pulling out her holoband and connecting the peer-to-peer. She looks up at his reminder that she owes him, brows wrinkling with confusion and strain of memory. "You keep saying that, but I think you're confused..." She does put on her 'bands, and waits for him. "But, I'll take a look at what you got."

Van waits for Isolde to connect up her own holoband, giving her shoulder a gentle nudge with his own, then slips his 'band over his eyes, "Yes, you owe me a second date." And then he initiates the program stored within his holoband, and when Isolde turns her own own, they are seated on a maglev train racing through the Hyperion night, with the lights of the city spread all around them. The pilot is still wearing his Picon Naval uniform and has the longer hair, perhaps indicating that whatever time he has put into the program... none of it has been on his own avatar.

Isolde blinks in surprise at the reminder, and it causes her to quickly -- perhaps a bit too quickly -- join the program. Her own avatar is unchanged -- longer hair as well, dove-grey coveralls, and chunky boots. She actually looks a bit surprised at where the program picks up, and she looks over to Van with an arch of her brows. "Are you taking me out on a date in V-World?" She colors easily, the virtual reality catching the subtle way her cheeks pink with her shyness. "I would have coded a different outfit..."

"The actual locations are... otherwise occupied." Which is to say, occupied by Cylons and then destroyed. Van shakes that off, smiling over at Isolde, "And you described what you thought the second date would be, so it couldn't be anywhere else. And if I'd told you, it would have ruined the surprise." Leaning back a little in the bench seat, the pilot crosses his legs at the knee, pointing at the wall of windows across the empty train car, "Those are the Spinnakars," a series of islands in the dusk, one of which has only a few lights along walking trails while the others appear quite peopled. "The Ostend is beyond them, which is where the Academy and the Half Hitch are," he winces almost imperceptibly at the present tense, but sticks with it stubbornly, "Triton is across the water from the Academy, on Southsea Island. And I think the outfit suits just fine. I didn't do anything special either. I was going to take the time to code up something for each of us, but..." he trails off there, looking away from the view and down at his crossed knees, "...it was taking too long."

Isolde settles in beside him on the train seat, turning to watch Hyperion's glow speed by. She catches the threats to his mood, and she slips her hand down to collect his gently in her warm, but small fingers. When he starts giving her some geography lessons, she turns her head to each new landmark. His comment on her coveralls draws a small smile to her lips, and she shakes her head. "I could code up something real fast... I have some wardrobe item stored." She squeezes his hand. "But if you're happy, I'm happy. Besides... your outfit is perfect." She dimples lightly at him.

Van glances down at her hand as she gathers up his, then laces his fingers up with hers and folds them closed around her hand, drawing in a breath before he looks up again. He's about to continue the geography lesson when he chuckles, "If you want to change, I can pause this for a second no problem." The smile is back as he turns toward her, "I promise I won't even look at the underlying code." Yes, he just made a dirty coding joke. Yes, he's a nerd.

Isolde squeezes their linked hands, and her smile is soft, warm, and still just a bit shy. She considers the offer to pause, and she chews slightly at her lower lip. "Well, you see... you would have picked me up in your Picon uniform, because that's who you are." She gives his hand one more squeeze. "I can do this without you needing to pause. I have skills, in case you didn't hear." She laughs lightly as she starts to stand, releasing his hand. She finds her balance on the train's rapid movement, and she turns away from him so he can get a clear view of her backside. In the real world, Isolde's hand reaches up, scrolls through some information in her personal menu, and selects the outfit change. In the virtual world, it goes down like this: Isolde ducks her head slightly, reaches up for the zipper of her coveralls, and unzips out of the layer of canvas to reveal the outfit beneath. With a simple shrug of her shoulders, she steps out of the coveralls and stands there in knee-high boots that offer about a good six inches of skin between their tops and the hem of her long-sleeve, tunic-style dress. The boots are a nice solid black, and the dress is a deep garnet red. The coveralls melt away into the code, and she steps back to resume her seat beside him.

Van releases her hand as she stands up, settling both hands into his lap, "I have indeed heard that you have skills. I've even seen a few of them." As Isolde turns away, Van starts to look out the window himself, and then stops, and glances back. He's just curious about the process, really. When she starts to step out of the coveralls, Van stands up, grasping hold of the grab-bar overhead, and nods, "You look wonderful, Isolde. Like you've had hours to prepare for a date." There's even a sense of... whimsy... to the pilot's tone, accompanying his faint smile. Offering out a hand to help her sit back down, he settles down again himself afterwards, "Let's see..." His right hand settles at her back, between her shoulder blades, and he points out past her with his left, "The city center is up that way. We'll get up there eventually, but the tour goes all through the city in time for dinner. And yes, you're allowed to think Hypatia looks nicer, even if you're wrong."

Isolde looks pleased at his compliment of her quick-change, and she starts to laugh at the latter comment. "Don't get too excited... I didn't really anticipate a V-World date." She settles in against him as he continues showing her the sights, the train perfectly aligned to showcase each highlight. She looks out at the city center, and nods slightly about a show. "Maybe next time." Then she starts to grin. "And Hypatia does look nicer... but a different sort of nice. Hyperion is definitely a Picon city..." She looks up at him. "Maybe I'll do this for you... Hypatia has some amazing architecture." She then returns to a previous detail. "Where are we going for dinner?"

"And yet you were prepared. One might even guess that you've done this before." Van shakes his head at her response about the architecture, "Up ahead is the River Isis and then the Gateshead Penninsula. The Apolline Tower over there is the first part of the City Center." It's a soaring art deco tower that reflects the brilliance of the downtown beyond, "You'll have to show me Hypatia some time, I'm sure it's nice, but I'm sure I'll still think Hyperion is nicer." mischief twinkles in his eye as he uses nearly her own words against her. The question about dinner causes his smile to spread a touch, "Well, ideally, Cosmo's. I couldn't have gotten a reservation in the real world, but they had a great walk-through... which no one had cached. So I had to improvise."

"I did spend a lot of my time in the V-World," Isolde protests lightly. "But, also... I'm a coder. I think I like coding up things than I like shopping for things. My coded wardrobe is more complex than my real one." She laughs at this confession, but it feels safe to confess it. "I won't deny that I didn't have a few V-World hook-ups." When he points out the river, she peeks over her shoulder to watch the water reflect the lights of the city. She snorts slightly at his comparison to Hypatia. "You're impossible." But her own smile is soft and comfortable. She then arches her brows at the mention of Cosmos. "Wow, I remember reading about Cosmo's... didn't their head chef win that Colonial cooking show? What was it's name..." Then she tilts her head, expression curious. "How did you improvise? You didn't try to code our own restaurant, did you?"

"Robert Skinner, yes. The Pride of Picon. Besides everything else from Picon. And no, I didn't try to code my own restaurant. I'm really quite bad with 3D graphics. You'll just have to see what I did manage to whip up, it's on a timer." And Van demonstrates that he is once again impossible. "Wait, you won't deny that you didn't have a few V-World hookups? Or you won't deny that you did?" His smile spreads all the wider at the question, coming close to an actual full expression rather than the little lip-quirks that usually do for the pilot. "And don't you know it's bad to bring up past hook-ups during a present date?"

Isolde narrows her eyes at him when he mentions the dinner being on a timer. She looks to be on the verge of protesting until he brings up the V-World hookups, and she gasps. "You brought it up!" Isolde protests, laughing as she does. "I'm just going to say that I'm not going to deny anything." She shakes her head, and makes an obvious effort to keep her mouth closed on the topic -- even doing the fake key-lock gesture at her lips. She leans against him now, legs crossed toward him as a show of belonging. She looks up at him after a moment, smiling. "So... sight-seeing, a mysterious dinner... anything else planned, or are you going to keep playing coy?"

"Oh no... I brought up dates. You brought up hook-ups." Van laughs, and he slides his hand along her back as she leans into him, slipping his arm around her shoulders, "Nothing else planned," almost-nothing-else-planned, his expression says. He is not a particularly good liar. "I didn't know how long you would be able to get away." And then he pauses, and circles back, "Wait, does that mean that you think this is a V-World hookup?"

Isolde blushes. "I don't know what you're talking about," she protests at first. As they snuggle in, she completely forgets the sight-seeing part of this date. She does catch the slight clue in his expression, and starts to smile. "I'm not on shift for several hours," she promises. The circle back to the previous topic causes her to laugh again, and she shakes her head. "Not yet." She grins wryly at him.

Van chuckles at her blushing protest, leaning in to press a light kiss to her heated cheek, "Well then we can talk and enjoy the evening." As the train proceeds further into the city center and begins to slow, Van leans forward a little point point out, "There's Waverunner Plaza, it's named after a Navy cutter that saved nearly fifty people after a shipwreck off the coast by where I grew up two hundred and fifty years ago. We have a Waverunner Plaza in Cape Bismark too, but it's a good deal smaller." Twisting in his seat presses Van's knees to Isolde's as he points between them, "Down there is GBP Schwartz's. The biggest toy store you could ever imagine. Dad took me there for my ninth birthday."

Isolde clicks back in with sight-seeing, and the pressure of his knee to hers draws a warm smile on her lips. Her hand settles on his thigh, providing a warm and steady pressure. She looks over toward Waverunner Plaza. "I heard about that... don't you guys have reenactments of that? Or is that somewhere else?" When he points out the toy store, she brightens. "Now, that would make a good third date." Beat pause. "If the second one goes well, of course." She doesn't let herself become Awkward Antelope this time, but does smile a bit shyly.

Van turns partially back to the sights, staying half-twisted so that he faces Isolde instead, "Oh no we absolutely do. There original Waverunner is still in service, and they keep it in working order so that every year they can reenact the rescue. Sailors fight over berths in the event, even as rescuees." His eyebrows loft at the mention of a third date. "I was going to say... see if you can still stand me after hearing me talk about how great Picon is for several hours." His fingers squeeze reassuringly at her far shoulder, the pilot still turned toward the techie, studying her features from a hand-span away.

"I was going to let you keep yammering on for at least a few more minutes, because I'm not going to last several hours," Isolde says, tone haughty and nonchalant. When he turns back to her, she offers him a softer smile that just gently warms her dark eyes. "Hi," she says softly. There's a small pause before she follows up with, "How are you?" The pleasant greeting and question seem to be entirely rhetorical as she leans across that hand-span distance and presses her lips to his. The feedback is perfect, sending a warmth through her at the touch.

The soft, light kiss stretches onward, and then he draws back just far enough to break the contact, then leans in again for a second kiss, his lips moving over hers this time as his left hand rises up to touch her cheek. Across the aisle from them, a table rezzes into frame silently, with a white tablecloth and plates covered by silver domes. The lighting of the table is subtly off from that of the tram, a brighter, bluer light coming from a different direction than the lights inside the car. When the second kiss draws to a slow, entirely pleasant close, he smiles again, "Hello. And I don't know, I'll let you know at the end of the date. You never want to judge a date too soon." There's a pause, and then he notes, "Dinner's here, by the way." He nods toward the table behind her, a slight gestures considering how close their heads are together.

The end of her kiss and start of his draws her into a warm, happy place. She just sinks into it, nestling closer as her lips move with his. Her hair brushes across his cheek lightly as she leans in closer still. When the second kiss closes, she folds her lips together as she starts to smile. "Okay, sounds good... don't leave me in suspense too long." When he notes that dinner is here, she half-turns to glance at the table and its dome-covered plates. She catches the subtle differences in lighting, but is gracious enough not to point it out. "I don't think that you normally eat on mag-lev trains..." But she seems content by the choice, and she starts to unwind from him.

Van nods slowly at her response, "Never polite to leave a lady in suspense." His fingers tighten at her far shoulder, then release to smooth across her back even as his left hand drops away from her cheek to her hip. His fingers curl there, as if to draw her closer still, and then they loose. With his heart thudding quickly in his ears, Van rises to his feet, his hands sliding down her arms to clasp her hands and draw her up to her up with him, smiling sheepishly, "Not unless it's a train with a dining car. Sadly, I only had access to the mag-lev tourist site, and it doesn't feature a train with a dining car. So, we get to enjoy Van's Catering instead of Cosmo's. Come on, you still have to tell me all about Tauron, because you won't be able to shut up my Picon talk with kisses all evening."

Each touch and caress sends a warmth through her that draws a bit of a blush to her cheek as she realizes her own needs. The grip to her hip definitely doesn't help! But, then they are two separate entities again, and Isolde catches her breath. When he pulls her to her feet, she smiles softly. "Oh, okay... but I might enjoy shutting you up with kisses." She steps alongside him, arm sweeping around his own. She leans her head against his shoulder slightly as they cross the distance along the train to the table.

"Well, if that's your preferred method, I don't think I'll complain," Van chuckles again, crooking an arm for her to slip hers through and then leading the way down the train car to the table. "I mean, it would be nice to learn more about you, but I'll take your alternative happily." The pilot glances down at the techy as she leans her head on his shoulder, letting a little smile settle into his lips. "If we were going to Cosmo's, we would exit here, cross a gorgeous marble lobby, take a nice long elevator ride up to the very top floor," they've reached the table by then, and he moves around to pull out one of the chairs for her, "and be seated by a maitre d' in a tie and tails."

"Oh no... you should learn more about me," Isolde laughs brightly. "I'm a really wonderful person." As they near the table, she starts to unwind from his arm so she can smooth out her dress and step in front of the chair as he pulls it out for her. She listens to his explanation about what they would be doing if the holoband program had allowed them into the restaurant -- or if they are been there themselves. She takes her napkin, smoothing it out across her lap. "A long elevator ride? You know what the best part of long elevator rides is..."

Van laughs at the first response, "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think so." He blinks at Isolde's giggling note, and he begins to blush himself, "If I could have figured out how to fit a nice long elevator ride into the trip, I would have. If it makes you feel any better, the train route is a loop, so that's sort of the same, right?" Out the window, the round the corner into the city central, cruising past the middle floors of towering skyscrapers, with the dimly-lit park sections of Southsea and the darkness of the bay beyond ahead of them. "So, at Cosmo's, everyone would be wearing black tie or dresses, and the servers are in tails."

"I definitely would have changed clothes then," Isolde announces as he describes the attire of the waitstaff. She crosses her arms in front of her, between her and the plate. "I would have not fit in very well with those coveralls and workboots." She flashes him a small smile that is only slightly sheepish. Then she looks across the window, taking in the details of the tourist loop. She looks back up to him with a tilt of her head. "And I suppose the long train route could make up for the lack of the elevator, but we're already seated at the table." She offers him a small quirk of a brow.

Van shakes his head at her admission, "In here, they wouldn't have noticed and I wouldn't have cared." He settles into his own seat across from her, studying her over the subtly wrong silver domes atop the table, "But dinner won't last forever, now will it?" Amusement tugs at the corners of his mouth, and he gestures toward the window as they circle out around the bay-front buildings, "I always liked being able to watch the Raptors and Vipers take off from Triton from downtown, especially from up high, and to see all of the Navy ships at the docks at Amphitrite."

"Well, it will actually, because we're in the V-World," Isolde notes with a nerdy tone. She doesn't reveal her food underneath, but instead remains focused on Van. When he speaks of the buildings, she turns her head to look at them. "I did that... in Hypatia. Dad would take us all to this building downtown, and we would all sit on the roof, and watch the ships fly overhead. He would then follow it up with a terse lecture of how he expected us to all become Marines like him, but he would be okay if one of us became a pilot. But only one." She cracks a soft smile. "We must have all waiting to see who was going to take that step, because none of us actually did." She then looks out the train window again. "We have buildings like this in Hypatia, but I never was much of a skyscraper girl. I liked the bits outside the cities... the mountains, and some of the farms. Dad would take us into the Tria Mountain Haven every winter, as long as he didn't have duties."

Van scoffs at the first point, "Only if we want it to. I suppose it's just up to me to make sure you don't want it to." He spreads out his napkin across his lap, chuckling softly at her story, and he lofts his brows, "No recognition cards? Wait... one of you was allowed to be a pilot? Do you have Marine Corps pilots on Tauron? Or was he actually admitting that having one child who was in the Navy -- and an officer -- would be allowable?" And then he pauses again, realizing, "Wait... two of his daughters ended up in the Navy, didn't they?" The mention of her preferences draws a slow nod, "An outdoorswoman then. Well, you'll have to get a gander at Cape Bismark then. It's south of here, so the weather is usually warmer, and my family has a little sloop that I used to take out when I was a teenager, just to get out on the water, and away from everyone else."

Isolde laughs as Van works through her life history. "Well, only as a last ditch choice... they weren't going to have a psychiatrist in the Marine corps, and my position was in place of, well, several long and unfortunate years in jail..." She shrugs a shoulder. She listens to him go back to Picon, and she laughs. "No, no..." She shakes her head, smiling at him. "You showed me Hyperion, I get to take you to the Tauron mountains for winter sports." She dimples lightly at him as she starts toying with the table cloth. "Then you can take me to Cape Bismark... one-for-one."

"Of course there are no psychiatrists in the Marine Corps, they all know that they're crazy." Her dimples draw out Van's own smile, and he nods, "Well, the mountains of Tauron are a bit more likely sometime soon anyhow, although I will be doing my very best to ensure that I don't actually touch the ground anywhere near our Area of Operations. I already asked if your family lived anywhere near Altay Province, so that's good. Have you had a chance to spend any time with your sister since she came on-board, or have you both been too busy?"

"Been too busy. We had a brief run-in, but nothing I would call a family reunion." She finally looks at the dome-covered plates, and her brows arch slightly. "I'm a bit worried about whether or not your coding is up to snuff when it comes to food. Or is there nothing really under the domes? I can't imagine you finding very good cached food choices." Then she leans back slightly, adding to the topic of touching the ground. "I'm not expected to ever leave the Galactica. I mean, I could... but it would take something dire to get me in a Raptor and to the ground." She hesitates. "I suppose if there's some leave time afterwards, we could go check out the mountains. My father shares a cabin property with the Dominas, and I bet we could spend a night up there." She sounds hopeful, but not overly so. Her plans really never map out the way she wants.

Her query about the food causes Van to chuckle a little ruefully, "I didn't particularly have a great deal of choice, but there is food there. I would have liked to be able to offer you lobster -- it's a local delicacy -- but I managed to scrounge up grilled fish in a citrus sauce and surf-and-turf. And there's an infused vodka and a Golden Harvest," his favorite, but he still adds, "Lady's choice, of course." His brows raise at her suggestion and he shifts in his seat a little, chuckling, "Spend a night up there?" He sounds hopeful, but not overly so. His plans may map out pretty well sometimes, but he hasn't made that sort of plan... since Triton.

"I've never had lobster," Isolde confesses, "I'll just have to wait for the real thing." Then she considers the offered drinks, looking over each in turn. She decides on the infused vodka, sliding the cocktail toward her. She reluctantly goes back to his question. "I don't know, Van... I like you. I hope I've been pretty obvious about that... I would like to make plans, and see what happens... I'd understand if you didn't, but... I thought about you off and on since Hyperion, and I dunno... Gods be, I think there's a good reason we're on the same boat together besides coincidence."

And then they're edging back into awkward antelope territory, and Van glances down at his hands a moment, then looks up again, drawing in a slow breath before he responds, "I... well, I was just trying to make comment on how that sounded like a naughty invitation." He rolls his shoulders slightly, shifting his weight as he idly pulls the pint glass toward him with one hand, "I wasn't trying to say that plans are bad or anything."

The reaction draws a wince from Isolde, and she looks down. "Right..." She offers him a tired, but understanding smile. She sinks into silence then, looking a bit like she did a few days ago in the rec room -- like she went too far and is not destructively overthinking it. She waits several moments before adding softly, "It has a lot of naughty promises. Cabins in the mountains usually go that route." Then she looks back out at the looped tour of Hyperion, trying to find something to recenter herself so she stops being an Awkward Antelope.

Van reaches across the table, looking to take one of her hands and give it a light squeeze, "I mean... I'm not saying we should be making hard and fast plans for six months down the road, but plans in general are good." He shrugs awkwardly again, "I mean, the cabin in the mountains sounds very nice. Beyond the naughty promises," he is quick to add, "which sound quite nice indeed." Looking for a way out of the awkward corners they've backed themselves in, Van gestures to the silver domes, "So... steak and shrimp or fish? And what do you think of the drink, I have to admit that I'm curious."

Isolde looks down at their joined hands briefly, and then she nods a mute, but uncertain nod. The quick addition to his statement draws a faint smile to her lips, and she nods, though she doesn't look completely sure of herself. These things take time. He's good about distracting her, however, as he mentions the food and then the drinks. "Oh, um... steak and shrimp," she says. Then she looks at her cocktail, balancing her grip nicely on the stem of the fancy glass. She sips, then her eyes widen a bit. "Did you up the strength on these drinks, Newton?"

Van gives her hand another squeeze before drawing away to lift up the domes and peek, "If I remember right..." His faint smile blossoms, and he sets the covers aside with a soft clatter on the nearest tram bench (where they look really, really out of place with their different lighting), revealing that the right dish is already in front of the right person. And then she accuses him of tinkering with the drinks, and his eyes pop open, "No... of course not!" The protestation comes out quickly enough to be real, without the too-quick eruption of feigned indignation. And then he stops, tilting his head to one side as he asks, "Should I have?" Leaving her to answer that question, he starts to poke at the rice pilaf alongside his grilled fish.

"Tried to guess what I would prefer, huh?" Isolde comments when he reveals the dishes. Her amusement doubles when he reacts so suddenly to her accusation, and she takes another sip of the cocktail. "Mm, yes... because if this is the V-World, extra strong is extra good." She grins over her glass at him, taking a third sip before she sets the drink down. "Tasty though... which doesn't surprise me." She looks down at the plates, and then the assorted silverware. She doesn't seem terribly sure on how to begin, so she chooses the outermost fork -- the salad fork -- and starts her careful division of food by color. That isn't hard with a steak, but she carefully sets the shrimp aside, and starts sorting the roasted vegetables. "You mentioned your mom is a mayor... what does your dad do again?"

"I figured there were two options with the surf and turf that could appeal to you. I suppose I was playing the odds." Which isn't nearly as attractive as him knowing her well enough to guess her preferred dish, which he seems to realize a moment later, and ducks his head to look back at his meal. Van pauses in his own eating as she starts to disassemble her meal, studying the process with near-rapt attention. "Hrm? Oh, yes. He's retired. He was a Navy Systems Analyst. Mostly he plays host for Mother's events now, although he picked up golf too."

Isolde doesn't notice his focused attention on her obsessive behavior as she carefully makes a pile of roasted mushrooms, which are apart from the roasted tomatoes, which are apart from the roasted carrots, which are apart from the onions. Only then does she look up to find him staring at her, and she blinks, fork posed just above the carrots. "Oh... uh... sorry... just something... I do..." She clears her throat, looking back down at her food. She begins the careful process of eating, taking a bit from every pile. She tries not to draw attention to her eating habits, or at least doesn't look up again to see if he's watching her.

Van shakes his head, "Oh no, don't mind me. I'm just... watching." And he is watching, looking up from time to time even as he picks at his food, "Well, only as long as we're here, I think. Usually they're just fighting three minutes at a time." Eventually, however, he looks away from her food, only eating a little bit of his own before looking up again, "So, let me try the drink if it's so good. You can try mine too, Golden Harvest is one of the best things out of Picon, and that's saying something."

Van shakes his head, "Oh no, don't mind me. I'm just... watching." And he is watching, looking up from time to time even as he picks at his food. Eventually, however, he looks away from her food, only eating a little bit of his own before looking up again, "So, let me try the drink, since you say it's so good. You can try mine too, Golden Harvest is one of the best things out of Picon, and that's saying something."

Isolde looks up with a wry smile at his comment, but then she is back to eating. When he asks after her drink, she offers a faint shrug of a shoulder and then offers him the infused cocktail. "Infused is definitely a Picon thing." When he offers up his own lager, she reaches for it. She takes a sip, and then smacks her lips afterwards, and grins. "I think I'll keep this," she teases, and even sets the lager in front of her meaningfully. It helps take her away from the awkward antelope moment just a bit before.

Van nods his agreement with the first point, taking a sip of the drink and giving a little grimace, "I think that's one Picon love affair that I just can't get behind. I'll stick with..." the lager that she just claimed. The glass is set down, and he narrows his eyes teasingly, "Oh no. If you want my lager, you'll have to pay for it. There are rules about this sort of thing in civilized society."

"Oh yeah?" Isolde teases, leaning forward on her elbows while her hands remain protectively around the pint glass. "What you want for it?" She grins broadly across the table at him. From under the table, her boot toe gently touches his shin.

Van leans forward himself, turning his head around to tap one finger against his cheek. The touch to his shin causes him to start a little, and then laugh at his own surprise. Whether that move emboldens him or whether it was his plan all along, the pilot's finger shifts over from his cheek to his lips, tapping there instead.

Isolde laughs at his silent request, and she bites softly at the corner of her lip as she starts to smile. She leans forward, arching up out of her seat just enough to cross the table to meet him. She hesitates just a heartbeat a breath away from his lips, and then she leans fully in to press a simmering kiss to his lips. She is not shy about it, moving her lips easily against his with a flash of tongue and hint of teeth.

Van actually leans back from her lean, shaking his head, "Oh, no... sorry about that. Looks like you'll have to come over here." He does not look sorry in the slightest, half-turning in his seat to offer out his lap should she choose to take that option.

Isolde blinks when he leans back from her, and she narrows her eyes slightly at his teasing words. "Your requested payment is steep," she says, though she offers a quirk of a smile. She slowly begins to slip from her chair, slipping the hem of her dress down with a gentle smoothing of her hands. She steps around the table, casting a glance toward where the waiter will be coming from, and then forgets the idea of dinner entirely. She sweeps down into his lap, sitting perpendicular along his thighs. She starts to slide her arms around his shoulders. This allows her to slow down the kiss, and when she leans in to press her lips with his, it has far more heat than a simple simmer.

Van offers her a hand down onto his lap when it becomes clear that she's going to sit down, and then slides his hands around her waist as she settles in. His head tilts as he meets her kiss, and he makes a soft sound of pleasure as the heat begins to build. Outside, the lights of City Center fall behind as the mag-lev train rushes down Southsea Island, parkland all around them and PNAB Triton dead ahead, but his is attention fully on the woman in his lap as his arms wrap tighter around her. He draws back just far enough to turn his head in the other direction, and then falls readily into her lips once more.

Isolde does not notice the food, or the flashing of the city in the mag-lev windows. She is completely transfixed on the pilot, his soft lips, his warm arms, and the way her heart starts to speed up. She moves her fingers into his longer hair -- a sensation that is different from that moment in the workroom. She can actually tease his hair, feeling it slip through her fingers with a bit of give. She closes her eyes completely, focusing on the delight of the kisses she shares with Van. The moment seems to stretch on forever, and she stops to catch her breath. "We're bad at this," she says, voice husky. "Because I'm about to ask if we can skip dinner... and that will be twice in a row..."

The light pull at Van's scalp as she toys with his hair draws another pleased sound from the pilot, and he draws in a slow, slightly-shaky breath through his nose. That... might be reason enough to grow it out again. "I think I would rather be good at kissing than dating. As long as the person that I'm kissing is the same." His fingers stroke at her hip, playing with the material of her tunic dress. "The good thing about that is that this time we weren't counting on the food to actually fill us up." He leans in to press a kiss to the corner of her jaw, and then pauses, drawing back a little, "I really hope you got room service, by the way... that first night."

"As long as we know we're bad at this, I guess that's okay," Isolde says, her laughter soft and a bit secretively. His touch sends a wonderful shiver through her, and she nestles in against him so that her warm breath is felt easily against the skin of his cheek. She takes the kiss to her jaw, and the drawn back words draw a laugh from her. "I did... once I figured out you stole my sliders." She smiles lightly to him, and then she bites at her lip. "If we pretend that we finished dinner, and whatever dessert we decided to share, now... what's next?"

Van nods his approval for her course of action a year and a half ago in a hotel that is now rubble. "Well," his voice stays quiet, a soft summer song, "If I remember your description of the second date we never had," yes, he's apparently basing all of this off of her description, "I'm supposed to walk you back to your hotel, where you'll let me come up, but probably not get laid." His fingers have reached the hem of her skirt, teasing with the fabric and the skin alongside it alike, and the scents of the fish, steak, and shrimp waft up from the table, reproduced faithfully even if they're being utterly ignored now. A slightly-shrinking bashfulness touches his lips, "Uuunfortunately... I don't have access to a hotel, so I'm afraid that we have a walk to the next car, which is as close as I can get. Or we stay right here, and I make the table go away."

"I was really hasty with that assertion," Isolde says, tone matter-of-fact. She shivers slightly as his hands play along the line of her skin, and she looks up slowly to meet his eyes. Her mouth twitches with the hints of a smile. "I think walking to the next car at least will help with the illusion. I've always wanted to take a train somewhere, where I needed sleeping car." She sinks forward, lips touching the skin of his cheek, and then jaw, and then ear. She nuzzles into the lobe before offering a soft nip.

Van's eyebrows lift in an 'is that so' sort of look at her matter-of-fact statement. As their eyes meet, he starts forward, but is a moment behind her, stilled for a heartbeat too long by the sudden connection. And so she tastes his skin instead of the other way around, the pilot's head rolling to one side to open his face and neck to her. "Mmmm..." The tension drains out of him as she takes the difficulties in stride, one hand slowly sliding up her arm, the other still toying with the hem of her dress. "But I'm not in so much of a hurry to move anywhere right now... is there some incentive for me to do it?"

Isolde laughs against his ear lightly, and she leans back to smile at the pilot. "Well... it's a surefire way to at least get the classic invite into the hotel room... or in this case, the next train car." She wrinkles her nose slightly. "And isn't that ultimately what we were both hoping for in the end?"

Van's fingers tighten at her thigh a moment at the wash of laughter over his ear, and he flashes just a hint of teeth in the midst of the smile that greets her lean back, "Well, I suppose that will have to be enough... since the conversation is so good." He leans forward to lay a slow, light kiss at the side of her neck, and then straightens up once more, "You've convinced me." And his left hand comes up to offer her a hand up off his lap.

Isolde cannot hide her amusement as Van comments on the conversation. She murmurs lightly at the warm kiss to her neck, and her smile doubles as he is convinced. The hand-up is taken, and she eases out of his lap, carefully brushing her dress hem back into place. She turns slightly toward him, head tilted a bit. "I thought I might..."

His eyes caught by the ripple of the jewel-toned cloth as it falls about her legs, Van is a moment later in rising, his napkin carefully set back down alongside his plate before he is fully to his feet. The helpful hand settles down at her far hip, drawing her alongside him as he starts to walk slowly back up the length of the train car, "You're very persuasive, Isolde." They don't get far, however, as when they reach one of the grab-poles spaced along the sides of the passageway, Van turns his back to it, aiming to draw her close so that he can engage in a slow, luxurious kiss that builds upon the heat of their last press of lips, stoking it hotter.

"Only under the right circumstances," Isolde points out, slightly self-deprecatingly. As he draws her in, she snugs in close against his side, arm drawn behind him. She is all dedicated to their destination until Van decides to make a pitstop. The turn the pilot makes, and the quick draw against him causes her to gasp in surprise. She stumbles just slightly, but then sinks easily against him as he captures her in that slow kiss. In satisfaction, she murmurs, and in desire, she returns the kiss. Her arms slide off his shoulders and around his back, beneath his uniform jacket.

Van draws one hand up her arm to the back of her shoulder, fingers tightening a moment at her elbow to brace against the stumble, holding her close for a long, delightful eternity. When he lifts his head again, brushing his nose against hers, he notes, "That was the elevator."

Isolde bites softly at her lower lip as the kiss ends, and his note draws a soft laugh from her. "Oh, is that it?" She lifts her dark eyes to meet his, and her dimples are in full force. "I must have a room on one of the lower levels." Now it is her turn to tease him. Then she starts to step back, drawing her hand down to collect his fingers. She tugs him along, walking backwards toward the door to the next car.

Van rolls his shoulders against the pole behind him to push off after her, chuckling at her teasing, "Oh..." he follows after her, led easily by the hand until he stops and tugs her back towards him again, "...were you expecting the penthouse? I'm sorry, the Picon government isn't that generous, even when they're trying to show off." As they reach the end of this car and the door to the next, Van lifts his eyebrows, "So... it's been a wonderful date, but I think this is your room..."

"What? I'm totally worth the penthouse," Isolde objects playfully, giggling a bit as they go. Then when he falls into the role play, she clears her throat and takes on a serious face. She nods slightly. "It has, but... um..." She shifts a bit. "Do you want to come in?" Her brows lift high over her eyes, hands clasped together behind her back now that she's released his hand.

Van steps close to the giggling woman, suddenly awkward about where to put his hands now that they've been freed to their own devices. He's not sure why he's nervous, given that they just spoke about him coming into her 'room' not thirty feet ago, but his nerves are certainly jangling, and he has to lick his lips before he responds, "I'd love to, Isolde. Just to continue the conversation, of course."

Isolde embraces the nerves, and she smiles shyly up at him. "Right... it was a very good conversation..." She then reaches for the control panel so she can activate the door with a hiss of hydraulics. "Do you want to know an inconsistency with the Real World me and the V-World me?" She lets one single heartbeat pass between them before she shares, "My panties and bra match in the V-world..." And if that wasn't a well baited trap, nothing is.

Van steps forward after her, his hands finally finding something to do as they rise up to cup her face, one thumb brushing over the soft curves of her smile. He starts to lean down toward her lips, and then stops as she mentions the inconsistency, his head rising again as his brows lift in curiosity. For a moment, he is stalled by the statement. So many ways he could respond to that, but what he goes with is the challenging direct triggering of the trap, "I don't believe you. You might have to prove it."

OOC: Fade to Virtual Black.


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