2008-02-21: Enforced Relaxation 2: Return Of The Light Fantastic

Starring:

Joule_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Summary: Joule shows Mohinder a night out on the town. Mohinder goes along with this crazy idea.

Date It Happened: February 21, 2008

Enforced Relaxation 2: Return of the Light Fantastic


Various Locales in Manhattan

A stop at Joule's apartment, and then Mohinder's, allow them both a change of clothes. Joule stalks into his closet and tsks, tuts, and scoffs at his clothing. "You need better clothes to raise hell in, mate," she tells him, but finally picks out an outfit in all black. "Here you go. This will do nicely. A pair of shades. Oooh, and look at this!" A lovely shirt in red with a saucy print on it. Father's day gift from Molly perhaps? "This is going to be fun. I'll be out front having a cup of tea. Chop-chop!"

A night off? What is this strange concept? Mohinder allows himself to be led by Joule, and pretty much steamrolled into these shenanigans she has concocted. "What is wrong with the clothes I have?" They're functional and cover all necessary bits to keep one from being arrested in public. "I don't go out." He and Mira didn't have the world's worst pillow talk for nothing you know. "Just.. let me leave a note for Molly and Matt." After he changes, since it appears that Joule seems insistent upon that. Although he should just write on the note that he's working late. They'll never believe he's gone /out/. As in, out to someplace that isn't work or an errand.

"They're terribly functional," Joule assures him, calling through the door. "Terribly practical. As style goes, though? Sorry, Doctor. They're just terrible." She clucks approvingly, one brow raised as he emerges in the outfit she picked. "Oh, very nice. That will do very well. And you do know the all saying about all work and no play, hmm?" Besides which - if nobody will expect it, they're likely to have a night all to themselves because nobody will believe Mohinder Suresh is on the arm of the dynamo drummer from the video. "You do know how to dance, don't you?" she asks as she whistles shrilly for a cab with two fingers.

Mohinder changes clothes without further argument, leaves his note for the ward and the roommate. "That it makes one a very dull individual and I hate to disappoint you, but that's what I am. My best clothes are the suits I have for business and lectures." As for the rest, he doesn't need anything flashy. Down at the curb, waiting for a cab, he shakes his head. "I'm afraid I don't.. dance." The man doesn't even drink. A life, he needs one. Aside from what his life consists of thus far. "I haven't had much time for frivolity I'm afraid."

Joule listens to all of this with a disbelieving expression. "You don't dance. Well. That's easily remedied. You've seen people dance. You'll even see it tonight." Joule tosses her hair back and opens the door of the cab. She sits and swings her legs around. "The best way for the mind to face a problem is to not spend too much time facing it. Which means tonight, we distract you. And after a good night's sleep, you may find you've awakened with a fresh perspective, hmm?" Yes, she's a human steamroller, but she also has a point.

Mohinder is more or less a little stunned into going along with this. He lets Joule enter the cab first before sliding in alongside her. "I do learn by observation, although I'm a little rusty in taking time off. My previous relationship was with a like minded individual such as myself. You can imagine the conversations she and I had." He glances aside at Joule and says, "I'm certain you excel in providing distractions." Considering they're about to have a night out, take that comment as you will, even if he didn't mean it the way it could be construed.

"You have no idea," Joule says, face alight with mischievous pride. "You're lucky you're a beginner, or we'd be in a helicopter on the way up to Niagara Falls," she says, without batting an eye. At least he knows better than to try to resist her when she's in this mode, in this mood. She confers a moment with the cab driver through the partition, leaning forward to do so. The cab pulls away from the curb after the driver says, "I know just the place."

Mohinder finds himself laughing even as he's wondering why he let Joule steamroll him into this. He could have put up a fight against this, but perhaps deep down he wants a little more time with her. For some crazy reason. As he overanalyzes the situation, he goes quiet. There's more than the common thread they have between themselves, or perhaps she's right, he's overtired and needs some actual downtime.
GAME: Save complete.

Joule turns back to look at Mohinder as he laughs. "See, you're getting the hang of relaxing already." Dinner is at Bayamo — a strange Chinese-Cuban-Caribbean fusion restaurant with a giant, beautifully decorated Chinese dragon hanging over their heads. The place is full of bright, vibrant colors, has lively infectious music, and whatever's cooking smells delectable. "First a little bite to eat. I'm starved." A significant look which implies what she did for him earlier is the reason for her appetite. "And part of my duties are to make sure my boss eats." Followed by a saucy little wink. "I hear the conch fritters here are to die for."

"Sorry? Did you say something?" Mohinder breaks from his reverie as the cab halts at a restaurant. The only sit down meals he's had lately are the one's he's prepared. The rest? Done on the go. So he looks a little surprised and curious at seeing the rather unique restaurant. He should probably be slapped upside the head for letting his mind wander when in the presence of a woman like Joule.

Joule has already decided he's too much a gentleman, which is just as well because technically she's still got a boyfriend if he hasn't dropped off the face of the earth or died in a ditch, and she's trying not to think about that tonight. "I said I'm told the food here's great," she tells him above the lively music. It's late enough they've just missed the dinner rush, and so are seated and served promptly.

"Ah yes, sorry," Mohinder says, and rushes to pay the cabbie before Joule can hand over the cash. It helps that he well knows the rates, being sometime cabbie himself. He offers up assistance out of the cab and after that, his arm before going into the restaurant. There's something to be said for missing the rush, although NYC seems to never sleep or even slow down. "This is something different for a change. Normally, my downtime consists of a more domestic front. HElping with homework, finding Molly's pet in the kitchen, or hiding amongst my research."

Joule is delighted when Mohinder offers his arm, and takes it with the air of it being her just due. "Well, variety is the spice of life," she tells him. "You have me spouting homilies and cliches at you, but that makes them no less true, Doctor. All of this will have you looking at the world through new eyes in the morning. Guarantee it."

"Are you proposing that life changing of an event this evening?" Mohinder asks teasingly of his companion. Although, he's not terribly sure things will be that momentous. Not unless he's stricken with sudden inspiration, ditches Joule and rushes off to his lab to work. Which is highly likely of him to do.

"Are you offering me a challenge, Doctor?" Joule asks. "Because tonight's meant only to be fun. But if you want life-changing, I'm sure I can find a way to arrange that." Faking their way into somebody's penthouse, watching their big-screen TV? Club hopping? Starting a conga-line that goes for six blocks even in late February? The possibilities, the possibilities. "Don't test me."

"You're the one who suggested I would be seeing the world differently in the morning," Mohinder points out, even as he withdraws a chair for Joule to sit in. "Although I supposed much of everything about me is a challenge, particularly if you mean to pull me from my lab and research." Joule gets many points for dragging Mohinder away this far and for this long. "I'm not entirely certain that I should attempt to test you. Who knows what the results could be." Which would be part of the fun.

"You're learning, Doctor," Joule says, pleased, as he settles in his seat. "But hey, when was the last time you've had Chinese-Cuban-Caribbean cuisine, hmm? Showing you something new from the moment we step out of the cab."

"I can't say that I've ever had something this unique," Mohinder says, reaching for his menu, not knowing where to begin. After perusing the menu for several moments, he lowers it and looks across the table, "Joule? Do you make a habit of doing this often? Catering to your whims?" And dragging men into them too, but that goes unsaid.

Joule looks offended. "This?" She gestures around them. "This is not catering to my whims. This was just off-the-cuff planning, because if I'd let you stay in the lab, we'd have repeated that same scene over and over, and you'd have had to sponge me off your floor and send me home in your cab." That plus the better way of helping him burn off nervous energy is not viable just now. So dinner and dancing it is. "Catering to my whims is a lot more fast-paced." She orders the aforementioned fritters and a Cuban-seasoned mushu with beef and pork.

"I see." There is a difference to Joule's madness. Mohinder corrects his words then, "So, we stick to your off-the-cuff planning this evening." For a little while at least, until he gets itchy to return to his safety zone. He seems content to let Joule do the ordering, seeing as she's more adventurous than he is. "If I would have to sponge you off the floor, the least I could do would be to offer you space to sleep it off, rather than just shuffling you off to home."

"That's gentlemanly of you," Joule says, graciously. "But seriously. If you're having a terrible time, we can always go to Angelica and catch something cerebral and subtitled instead of going dancing." She picks something with chicken and black beans for Mohinder, heavy on the spices since she's had his cooking and knows he can handle it.

Mohinder shows his ignorance of certain cultural references by giving Joule a blank look, "Angelica?" The man's lucky to have seen as much of New York as he has since coming to the city. He could probably safely assume that Joule is referencing a theater. The only movies he can recall snippets of are of course, whatever Molly's been watching. As to what Joule orders, he seems to have no objections, except for when it comes to something to drink. Water will suit him fine this evening.

"Dear God, you are a babe in the woods!" Joule looks sympathetically at Mohinder. How did he drive a cab and not take anyone there. "It's a film house. It shows the less pow-bam-boom muscle movies and not chickflicks. Movies with substance, y'know." Joule doesn't press the issue of drinking anything more than water. Hydrating is important. She plans for them to sweat tonight afterward, after all.

On the dance floor.

"I warned you. I don't get out. My work is my life." It's possible Mohinder took customers to the place, he most likely didn't pay attention to what it was. "That sounds interesting and different." But perhaps another night. If he can be dragged from work kicking and screaming again. If he sounds as if he's having an awkward time with small talk, it's because he is.

"Yes, you did," Joule says, patiently. "But honestly, thank you for going along with it. It's been a rough week for me." Not as rough as a dear old friend who can throw buses threatening her, but still, a rough week. "So I needed this as much as I said you do." But she doesn't press him for small talk. Dinner arrives, and is quite tasty. Joule has several glasses of water.

Mohinder doesn't press Joule about her bad week. If she wants him to know what's bothering her, she'll tell him. Or at least, that's his rationalization. He eats his meal without complaint, as he finds the meal quite interesting with the fusion qualities. It's something he might try to duplicate for the 'family' at some point in the future. His almost reclusive lifestyle makes conversation a little difficult in public, because really, it's not a good idea to discuss a lot of his work in enclosed space like this.

And she hasn't. Not at dinner the other night, not tonight. She took the opportunity to be distracted that Mohinder's cooking and Molly's company provided. So from a certain standpoint she may very well be returning the favor. "Are you at least enjoying your dinner?" she asks, hopefully. That this might be a bad idea has in fact occurred to her. She's just not entertaining the thought.

"I am yes, this is quite different, but in a good way. It's not a style that I would have imagined, and surprisingly good." Mohinder is entertaining the notion that this is a bad idea. But only because someone could come out of nowhere for him and Joule will get caught up in the mess. One of these days he'll learn fully to not become complacent.

Oh, that's occurred to Joule too. Hence the crowded restaurant, and a crowded dancefloor next on the agenda. Plus, she knows her own ability, and knows that she could strike with a much more creative and crippling use of her ability than simply relaxing muscle tension out of a body. "Thrilled to hear it!" she assures him. "Some fusion cuisine is terrible, I admit, but this place comes highly recommended."

"Some fusion could be disastrous yes," Mohinder says, finishing off his meal. "There are things that should never be blended together." If you want to look at it from a more technical and scientific standpoint. Cooking could be considered a science even as much as it is an art form. Now that the meal is coming to a close, the fun part is approaching. Trying to snag Mohinder into more frivolity before he can get away.

Joule pays the bill this time, since Mohinder paid for the cab. Hah! She was prepared this time. She snags a chocolate covered strawberry off the dessert tray on the way back to the door, and hails another cab after eating it in such a manner that several men stare. Some stare at Mohinder with that wish-I-were-in-your-shoes-buddy envious hostility. Some women stare as well, with that what-a-shameless-hussy hostility of wishing they had that kind of self-confidence.

Mohinder is probably the only male not paying attention to how Joule is eating her strawberry. The oblivious nature is possibly adding more fuel to the fire of the envious hostility. Moving quickly, he opens the door of the cab for Joule. It's almost some sort of race tonight to get the check, the door, etc. Inside the cab, he actually checks the time. As if he has something more important to do!

The club Joule picked is a lively Latin club. The music is loud and throbbing, tribal almost, to the point of invoking that instinctive response to rhythm that binds humanity together. There's a line. This poses no obstacle to Joule, though, because she knows the doorman, and the people at the line know her. Some even recognize her from the video. She just hangs onto Mohinder's arm and dashes inside before the fact that they cut the line registers on the few who don't know her and do mind because they don't realize she's still on her thirteenth minute of fifteen minutes of fame.

It doesn't register to Mohinder that he's with a small celebrity. Nor that there is some sort of science involved in getting into a club. He keeps his expression neutral, even if he's experiencing an emotion not unlike 'Run Away!' This is very much out of his element here, as if he just stepped into a completely different culture.

The club is richly appointed in red and gold, to emphasize the romance and energy of the club. The music, however, is very fast tonight. Salsa night rather than tango night (either thankfully or more's the pity, depending on one's point of view). She takes Mohinder aside and shows him a couple of simple bossa nova steps. They're not much more complicated than the average waltz steps. Just faster and repeated in alternating patterns. "It's easy," she assures him. "Rather like remembering formulae. The mathematics of dance." It might be an awkward metaphor for anyone else, but she knows she's talking to a scientist. So best to put this in words he'll understand.

Mohinder tries to follow Joule's instructions, even as she explains things to him in a manner that's on his level. Still. He's not entirely comfortable in this setting, or with dancing. He would rather be behind a podium, lecturing to anyone who'll listen. That's his comfort zone. This? Not so much. "Easy for you perhaps," he retorts as he tries to duplicate the steps, and is only passable with them.

"Not bad for a beginner," Joule compliments him. And truly, if he were just out of practice, she'd tease him mercilessly. But since he's completely out of his element and knows it, she's quite pleased he's making the effort. They won't be the alpha couple the whole floor opens up for, but they'll burn off nervous energy, which was the goal all along.

Mohinder would be entirely self-conscious about this if he weren't good at standing up in front of people, and tuning things out. What does continue to play a distraction in his mind however, is the frightening notion of just how /normal/ this is. Normal for most people, yet incredibly foreign to him. It leaves him with an unsettling emotion that has him thrown off balance.

Joule, on the other hand, is completely in her element, and having a great time. Hips go this way, shoulders go that, and those long legs kick out at the appropriate points, with her murmuring cues to Mohinder so he knows to expect her in his arms, or twirling away. But yes, it is normal. There are dozens of other couples dancing the night away along with them, only one or two seeming like the fish out of water as Dr. Suresh himself is.

Mohinder feels almost like the child pretending to belong amongst his peers, yet knowing he doesn't fit in. That's weighing on his mind, plus the odd normalcy, and the sense of being on the outside looking in. Even as he shouldn't be thinking along those lines in the presence of a beautiful woman like Joule.

"Why Doctor, if I didn't know better," Joule says, twirling into his arms again, "I'd say you were having a good time. And starting to relax." As she promised. "And you didn't even need my more unusual help." Anyone listening will think she means drugs, and the music's so loud it won't carry beyond them anyway.

Mohinder is trying to relax, to enjoy himself. Even if none of this feels /real/. It's one of those emotional sensations that's hard to put into words, but you know something doesn't seem right. Beyond that, it's hard to really think about much in this atmosphere. All the same though, it's a mildly distracted response he gives, "I am trying to at least."

Joule tries not to roll her eyes and sigh. But at least he's trying. "Good." She is kind enough to let him sit out the more crazy and elaborate numbers. They have a table near the floor so they can watch the couples to whom this is second nature. Joule herself has kept the drinking to water, if only to keep her ability at the ready should anything requiring a quick flight suddenly crop up. "Good. Next time we do this, you'll be an old pro."

Mohinder is having water as well, which he chokes on just a little. Next time? There's a next time? "What would your gentleman friend say about you spending time off the clock with me?" Not that this is really a concern for Suresh as there is nothing going on. He just has enough on his plate without dealing with the possibility of a jealous boyfriend.

"Hm, what? Oh — you mean … Lee?" Joule was hoping not to have that conversation come up, but here they are anyway. "I've the feeling I've been shown the door where that's concerned," she said. "Haven't gotten a returned call from him since before Valentine's Day." She shrugs, though, refusing to let it put a gloom cloud over a nice evening, even if Mohinder is feeling awkward about it. She finishes the water and accepts a polite invite from another man for a quick spin around the floor so her eyes don't give her away. "Be right back, Doctor!"

"Oh. I see, I'm sorry to have mentioned it," Mohinder trails off, realizing he put his foot in it. Particularly when Joule mentions Valentine's. It's not a day he ever really recognized or put much store into, but he does understand women in general do. As someone else spins Joule off to the dance floor, he nods. More than capable of entertaining himself, he pulls a pen from his pocket and starts working on an equation on a napkin. It's something to keep himself busy with, working on a bit of formula there at the table.

It's a short song, barely three minutes. "Can't leave you alone for a minute, can I?" Joule teases affectionately, particularly as she's just chased off a woman who was hoping to snag Mohinder for a dance. "This is supposed to be a night off!" She sighs, faux-dramatically. "But if you insist. Let's get you back to your native environment."

Mohinder didn't even notice that someone was en route to ask him for a dance. How's that for hopeless? When Joule announces her return, he gives her what could only be a sheepish expression and a smile. The latter being more for the 'native environment' crack. "Ah yes, well, 'E' for effort at the least?"

"I've done more embarrassing things in my life, than attempting to dance in a crowded club with a lovely lady." Mohinder says, then realizes what he has said. It's out there, it's running wild and can't be taken back. Clearing his throat somewhat, he assists Joule with her wrap at the coat check. "I could do that, but I wouldn't want to bore you with it."

Joule's smile turns warm and radiant again. He noticed. "That's ever so kind of you, Doctor," she tells him. Yes. She has been very careful. All night. Not to get too familiar with him, even though she insisted he was allowed to call her by her first name. "And it needn't be a lecture. Perhaps we could attend a fusion cooking class or something." She whistles for another cab.

Mohinder is oblivious, not blind. Of course he noticed. "I was merely stating the obvious, and it's Lee's loss for the evening." and Suresh's gain. Waiting with Joule for the cab, he glances her way, "That, or I'm fond of museums." Molly is as well, which gives him just a little time out of the lab and in public.

"Museum sounds perfect," Joule admits, getting into the cab as it pulls up. "This was fun. I do hope the dancing did burn off some more of that nervous energy." If not, she can always make sure he goes right to into an unworried sleep before she heads home herself.

"I think it helped." Although that remains to be seen upon going home. Mohinder might find himself burning the midnight oil with sudden inspiration. Sometimes the brain just will not turn off for a bit. "It wasn't my activity of choice, or in my element, but I did enjoy myself." Mostly because he was with a very lively person.

"No, but that was part of the point. New experiences are good for you," Joule tells him, mildly as the cab speeds them back toward Brooklyn. "Keeping the brain in the same box all the time can cause a person to get hidebound, set in their ways."

"Now what on earth do you mean by any of that?" Mohinder? Set in his ways? Never. He looks across at the woman sharing the backseat of the cab with him, smiling ever so slightly. "New experiences can backfire and get me into trouble."

"This is also true," Joule admits, gazing sidelong at Mohinder. "Which just means you have to pick your new experiences carefully. Or trust me." Since this one seems to have turned out mostly successfully.

"If I trust you, I might find myself on a plane to Niagra Falls." Or any other sort of remote destination. Mohinder doesn't sound as if he's complaining about this trait of Joule's.

"And that would be just terrible," Joule admits, playfully. "Whisked off to another adventure by your mad assistant. I did warn you I had a spontaneous streak. Besides, think of all the little souvenirs you can bring back for Molly."

Mohinder laughs at the suggestion, "You have a point. Molly does like the things I bring back for her." She adores the plush elephant he gave her several months back. The cab ride seems almost too short when it pulls up in front of his apartment. Enough cash to cover the fare thus far and then some to hopefully cover Joule's ride home is produced and handed to the cabbie. "I'll see you Monday?"

"Or sooner," Joule says, finally winding down herself and appearing a little dreamy-eyed as a result. "Rest well, Doctor. I'll look in on you before Monday, if only to see if I owe you a few of your hours back in exchange for waking without a new perspective."

Mohinder slides out of the seat and pokes his head back into the cab. "No. You don't owe me a few hours in exchange. Good night," he says before shutting the car door and retreating up to his apartment.

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