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Tastefully Done

Posted on Mon May 4th, 2020 @ 4:46pm by Medical Officer Alex Garcia & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: Albatross
Timeline: After Mars....

It might have been the middle of night, Wulf didn't bother checking. He'd thought he'd squirreled a food packet under his bunk, but then as he woke up a bit more, he remembered he'd eaten that the previous night. Shipboard time, while they counted it properly and everything, tended to blur some when you were in between the gravity wells, running slow between destinations. And thoughts, they tended to wake you up from a restless sleep when you were running guns from a group that definitely wanted to kill you to who the hell knew who or what.

Nightmares made him hungry.

So Wulf pushed his feet into boots, pulled his Tross jacket over his vest and cargo trousers over his shorts and lurched towards the door, tousled haired and sleepy.

He didn't head to the galley though. Oh no. He recalled a definite promise of someone cooking for him. Well, kinda.... And by the time he reached the new medic's cabin and knocked loudly on the door Wulf remembered it had really been possibly more of a threat than an invitation. Too late to turn back now though.

At the sound of someone pounding on his door Alex jerked awake and nearly fell out of his bunk. Jumping to the floor, a little awkwardly with less than full gravity, he moved to the door and pressed the control to let it slide open, still half asleep, and dressed in nothing but his boxer briefs.

When the door slid to the side and he looked out he pulled his brows down in furrowed confusion. "Um... Hi?" he said, tilting his head to the side, completely at a loss as to why the comm tech would be visiting his cabin at such a late hour.

"Hey," Wulf gave a little upward nod in greeting, and as he brought his eye level back to meet Alex's own, the tech's brow furrowed deeply. "You said to let you know when I wanted to see you cook." He stated, as if this was such an obvious reason for a 3am wake-up.

Alex's facial expression grew a little more confused for a moment, and then he chuckled and shook his head. "Yeah, I did say that... Give me a second, let me get some clothes on," He said, waving his hand in invitation for the other man to come in and take a seat while he began to rummage around for some clean clothes.

He settled on a sleeveless undershirt, and a pair of BDU's he'd had set out for the next day, and then shoved his feet into his mag boots. "You ready to get your grub on?" he asked as he started for the door.

Wandering into the new guy's cabin, Wulf gave the place a quick check-over then focused his full attention back on the mostly naked muscle-tone of the resident medic. Whatever career decision Alex was hiding behind, the tech reckoned it was military of some description, but he didn't ask this time. He simply watched, impatiently as the man dressed, envied the muscle mass, and nodded. "Yup!" Wulf confirmed, patting his belly gently with his right palm. "Gotta be honest though," he admitted, as he followed Alex out. "I wasn't sure if you'd be up for it, or if you'd just punch me in the face."

Alex glanced back over his shoulder with a grin. "I wouldn't want to mess up a pretty face," he said teasingly.

"So, any idea what you might want to eat?" He asked, returning his attention to where he was headed.

Wulf stopped in his tracks for a moment and regarded Alex with overt suspicion and low level concern. "Very funny," he returned with a smile, if a little late. As he picked up the pace again, walking alongside the medic now, Wulf settled into a pensive expression of pure hope. "Steak and fries?" He dreamed out loud. "Roast chicken and vegetables? Pasta and meatballs?" Then he chuckled. "Yeah, maybe one day huh? I dunno, we usually just have kibble or sometimes lasagne. But I can dream. What's your speciality?"

If I've got the ingredients I can usually whip up damn near anything. We'll just have to take a look around the galley and see what we see. But I'm cooking for you, so it'll be your choice," Alex replied. Then, almost as if it was an afterthought, without even a glance backwards, he added, "And that wasn't a joke."

Wulf thought about that last sentence all the way to the galley, turned it over in his mind quietly until he took a seat upside the table and anchored himself to one of the chairs with a boot out of habit. Only then did he cast an intrigued look in Alex's direction and speak.

"So you're saying you're really gonna cook for me?" Wulf asked, sounding wary. The underlying thought process was still working its way around the whole concept of Alex possibly thinking he was pretty, but that was gonna take a little longer. "My choice?" This was new. "Awesome!"

Alex leaned back, ankles crossed in front of him, and his arms folded across his chest. He gave the man across from him a slight quirk of the lips, more a smirk than a smile, and nodded once. "Yep, your choice. If we have the right stuff, I'll make it for you. So, what'll it be?" he asked. He was hoping this wasn't all going to blow up in his face. He was a good cook, and his mom had taught him everything she knew about being inventive in the kitchen, but something about the enthusiastic way Wulf had said what he had made him just ever so slightly nervous.

Spending a long moment in simply studying this new face on the ship, Wulf let his gaze track Alex's jawline then traced a slow visual line up to a dark pair of eyes whose depth held a definite glint. There was, as usual, more to this one that showed on the surface. He looked happy to be in a kitchen even an stupid o'clock in the morning. Wulf's grin was a swift flash of humour than broadened into optimistic happiness. "Pizza!" The tech declared. He paused, briefly pensive, then considered their stocks. "We definitely have some frozen bread dough. And there's some mushrooms left. Not sure about 'meat' though." The galley wasn't that big, Alex could figure out where the supplies were easily enough.

"So?" Wulf asked, back to Alex-watch now. "Were you a chef?"

Alex had definitely noticed the way Wulf was studying him. He'd caught it a couple times already, and he smiled inwardly. He listened as he decided what he wanted, and explained what ingredients he thought they had, and then began searching through the various cabinets. "No, not a chef, I just grew up with a mother who was very traditional. She liked to cook everything we ate from scratch. So I learned from the best," he replied, pulling various things out to start cooking.

Twenty minutes later, once he'd flash defrosted enough of the frozen dough, mixed up the freeze-dried tomato paste into something approximating pizza sauce, along with some dried herbs, and whipped up a batch of what could pass for cheese, he assembled the pizza, sprinkled some mushrooms over the top of the cheese and slid it into the oven. It wouldn't be as good as something you might get in a cafe, but he was proud of what he'd accomplished with what he had.

"So, tell me about yourself," he said, turning and leaning against the countertop again, looking at Wulf, giving him the same appraising look he'd received earlier in return. He had strong features and dark eyes that seemed to hold secrets. His clothing made it difficult to pin down his physique, but he looked athletic at least, skinnier, so nothing with heavy weights, but in shape.

That was a new concept for Wulf - well, two new ones in fact. Cooking everything from scratch and whatever the hell a 'traditional mother' was. The tech assumed Alex meant one who was around to do normal childhood/parent type stuff, the kind of things he'd seen in vids but never experienced in reality. He raised an eyebrow as the thought pattern slid swiftly through his head and his attention shifted happily to soak up every detail of the food prep.

"You wanna beer?" Wulf offered, handing Alex one whether he liked it or not once the man turned back from the oven. "Don't spill it," he added with a lopsided smile. "Stuff floats." As if the medic wouldn't know that.

At the friendly demand for his biography or part thereof, Wulf shrugged, sucked in a mouthful of amber liquid and considered which version of the beautiful lie to tell the newer new guy.

"I'm a tech, kinda always been a tech since I was a little kid," Wulf said. "Been on the Tross a couple years now. Travelled around a lot before that." He spoke a couple of lines in Russian, then switched to Spanish before grinning. "I'm good with languages, software, and eating. How about you?"

Alex nursed his beer, having always been more of a rum and coke guy he wasn't too particularly fond of the taste, and listened as the other man talked. He had a way with languages, that was for sure, and a cute accent when he was speaking them, but he definitely seemed guarded, and most of his answer was a non-answer, designed to give him just enough to make him move on from the question.

With a wry smile, he had to admit he didn't blame the guy. He was new here, very new, and none of them knew him at all. He didn't owe Alex a single bit more information than he was comfortable giving.

Sucking a bit more of the beer from the bottle he shrugged, "I'm not all that interesting, ex-MCRN, long story on that one, maybe I'll tell you about it sometimes. Other than that, I'm a gym rat, I love books, and music, I love to cook, which pairs well with someone being good at eating," he said, with a coy smile, "and I like to dance," he finished.

Then, with a final eye-widening look of fake surprised remembrance, he added one last thing. "Ah, y yo hablo español."

"Cocinar, bailar y ... dar largos paseos por la playa viendo una puesta de sol??" Wulf asked. He sounded curious, and sociably accommodating, if somewhat oblivious of the underlying message that Alex was conveying. Then, with a cant of his head, the tech added, in Thai. "Dūh̄emụ̄xn ẁā khuṇ kảlạng mxng h̄ā fæn h̄rụ̄x mị̀? Khuṇ rū̂ h̄ịm Allegra mā cāk dāw xạngkhār h̄emụ̄xn kạn... C̄hạn ẁā khuṇ s̄xng khn mī h̄emụ̄xn kạn."

He was being rude, or at least evasive, and Wulf felt a little bad about that. But Ken had reminded him earlier about the perils of trusting strangers, and despite that naive trust telling the younger man that Alex seemed perfectly okay, Wulf had a lot of faith in the Tross engineer's gut instinct. Sure, Ken could be super paranoid, but that was a survival trait out here, and a valuable one.

"I haven't danced properly in a long time," Wulf admitted with a pensive expression and a sheepish smile. "Unless you count drunken hula dancing on the tables in clubs." He let his gaze lock with Alex's again. "Pizza smells like it's done."

"Long walks on the beach are a specialty of mine," Alex replied, giving him a grin as he turned to pull the pizza out of the oven. "And if it's been a while since you've danced, well, let's just say the offer to cook for you can be extended to that as well..." he added, crouching down to get the pizza out without burning his fingers.

He'd finished slicing the pizza up and plating it, turning around to place Wulf's plate in front of him before he spoke again. "Now, I don't speak any of the Asian languages, but I can somewhat tell them apart. Was that Thai? And if so, what did it mean?"

Wulf nodded sagely, though he was still wrapped up in just the top level of this conversation. "Where I come from the beaches kinda take centre stage," he said, without thinking. The tech closed his eyes then, drinking in the scent of freshly baked dough, with the herbs and cheesey scent making his mouth water. He was all but openly drooling by the time the plate landed before him and, eyes open now, Wulf didn't hesitate to slide the first slice straight into his maw.

As he finished chewing the second mouthful of hot pizza. Wulf finally answered Alex's question. "Yeah," he said. "S'Thai." Then he repeated his previously spoken Thai sentence in English, but reeled that out in a lilting chocolaty Spanish accent. "Sounds like you're looking for a girlfriend? You know, Allegra's from Mars as well... I bet you two have a lot in common..."

Alex's face screwed up in a rather amusing mask of complete confusion. One eyebrow was drawn down, furrowing the spot atop the bridge of his nose, while the other arched up. Both eyes were slightly widened, and his lips were pursed and quirked ever so slightly to the side. "Um, yeah, not exactly my type..." he said. Could he have been giving completely mixed signals? Could this guy be totally clueless that he'd flirted with him multiple times? Several thoughts ran through his mind, but he was genuinely at a loss for what to even say beyond what he'd just uttered.

Pizza slice number two disappeared into the comm tech's mouth easily as swiftly as the first, and only then did Wulf pay Alex more visual attention. He was, however, in plenty of time to see that messed up, mixed up expression of conflicted emotion and internal questioning. The medic's thought pattern coloured his features so clearly that the emotional jigsaw finally fell into place in Wulf's stubborn mind. Clunk.

A broad, happy look that radiated mischief bounced into place on those olive features, an impish grin held in a pair of dark eyes. Ohhhhhhhh....

Wulf boldly took the few steps required to close the distance between himself and the Martian medic. He bounced across the galley floor, enthusiasm rather than lack of gravity propelling him forwards, and he reached up both hands to grab a gentle hold of Alex's face. Then, without warning or words, Wulf planted a brief but definite kiss on the man's cheek before taking a solid step back to regard the target of his friendly affection.

"Hey, eating, drinking and dancing I can do," Wulf said. Then he just had to ask outright. "But are ya saying you really do find me pretty? Like prettier than Alliegator? Or Ken-dog?"

Two things happened at once, Alex felt himself blush, heavily, his face and chest going red and feeling hot and tingly, and his heart sped up in his chest, suddenly thumping much harder as he still felt the slight pressure of Wulf's kiss on his cheek. It was asinine, but the only thing he could manage to think clearly about was that he should have shaved, so he wouldn't have been all stubbly. Forget the fact he'd been awakened from a dead sleep in the middle of the night, that was no excuse to his mind.

It was only after a few moments that he caught what the other man had said, and blushed again before he could answer. Looking down he first nodded, and then finally cleared his throat and spoke. "I sorta thought I was being obvious, but yes, I do. Much more than either of them, actually..." he said, his eyes sparkling in the dim light of the galley as they roamed over Wulf's features, "Much more..."

There was still a smudge of tomato sauce on the medic's cheek as evidence of Wulf's dramatically impulsive move, but the tech wasn't fixated on that so much as the deep crimson colour Alex's face had turned.

"Oh," said the tech, his own cheeks reddening somewhat in sympathy as he backed up into the table and rested his hands against its upper surface. "Uh, sorry, dude, I was kinda fooling around." The awkwardness as Wulf put two and two together and realised Alex was serious, wasn't concern for his own welfare, but minor guilt for inadvertently messing with the medic's deeper emotions.

The scene's history played back in the tech's mind in full HD and Wulf had to admit, Alex was right. The medic had been pretty obvious, now he knew the motivations.

"I probably shouldn't have kissed ya, huh?" Wulf said, screwing up his face and stubbing the toe of his boot into the back of his other knee. He wrinkled his nose. "My bad. I didn't even think of that. I.... um..." He grabbed the beer and took a slow gulp then looked up to Alex and smiled. "I'm a dumbass," Wulf admitted, with a lazy chuckle. "Sorry dude." One more sip of beer, and he tilted his head as he added. "I have to disagree though, Allegra's way cuter than me, but Kol, now he's a great snuggler."

Alex felt his face fall, unable to stop it before his disappointment clearly showed. "Oh, um.. No, it's okay, you are far from a dumbass," he stammered. He'd been turned down by guys he was attracted to plenty of times. Wasn't his first, and probably wouldn't be his last. It was always awkward, but it was what it was.

"So, do you like the pizza?" he asked, attempting a very lame rescue of the situation.

Feeling uncomfortable at being the cause of That Look on the new guy's face, Wulf stepped forward and wrapped his left arm about Alex's shoulders. His right held a third slice of pizza, which the tech unceremoniously presented the medic with. "Pizza is fucking awesome," enthused Wulf, his tone and expression utterly genuine. "And hey, if I fancied you, you'd totally have stolen my heart. Maybe settle for stealing my stomach today, huh?" He asked, eyes searching Alex's own. "Y'know, most people would be pissed off at being woken up at 3am to cook?"

Alex tried to hide his broad smile, not wanting to be grinning with a mouth full of pizza. Taking a pull on his beer he swallowed and nodded, "I can do that. Settle for your stomach for today, that is," he said, and then chuckled, "And I was in the MCRN, getting woken up at random hours doesn't bother me in the slightest. And hey, you are the cutest wake-up call I've ever gotten, so there's that too."

Everything else ceased to matter when Wulf saw Alex grin, the tension in the Martian's broad shoulders easing up as that relaxed stance returned. It would be okay, the tech realised, nothing seemed to be irreparably damaged, egos included.

"Cool," Wulf agreed, ducking out of the way to grab a hold of his own beer which was floating at a rakish angle just above the table. He rubbed his belly with his free hand and gulped down most of the remaining amber liquid before nearly choking on the last mouthful as Alex upped his game one more time.

"Dude," the tech said as he regained oxygen input to his lungs. "You were in the Navy with all those hardcore Martian guys and girls and I'm your cutest wake-up? Damn." Wulf grinned. "That's kinda cool. So, whatcha cooking us tomorrow night?"

 

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