Date: May 29, 2010
The old I'm Going To Make You Ask Me Out Instead Of Actually Asking You Out And Risking Getting Rejected And Looking Like A Total Fool Or Getting Charged With Sexual Harassment trick!
From Food Court With Love
The lunch rush is over and the Food Court has hit that lull in the afternoon where the most anyone seems to come in for is a snack or soda. The dinner shift will start soon enough, but Claire is doing Kiki a favor — she still hasn't met the girl, actually, but got a phone call from the other cheerleader begging Claire to take her dinner shift so that Kiki could go on a date with some hottie.
"I don't usually date geniuses, but he's so hot, I figured I'd make an exception. I mean, he's in his fourth year at the community college, and everything," Kiki had said.
How could Claire say no to logic like that? So here she stands wiping up the non-dirty counter for something to do, as one shift winds down and another is ready to begin. "I feel overpaid to stand here and be bored," she mutters over her shoulder to the pair of the cooks, one of whom is amusing himself by concocting strange creations and daring the other cook to eat them.
"Then I'd suggest it's time to ask for a decrease in pay." That voice belongs to none other than Archie Wheeler, as he strolls in like he owns the place. He practically does, but that's beside the point. Right now, he's pulling his backpack off and sliding over to the counter so that he can hop over it. He's smiling as if he hasn't been missing recently and, after tossing his bag to the side, he gives a flick of his wrist and pulls his visor onto his head, straightening it up and looking over at Claire, so that he can offer her one of his patented charming geek smiles. "Missed me?"
"Archie!" Claire says, green eyes widening when the tall boy who hired her returns like the prodigal son. "I thought you bailed or something. No one knew where you went. I was…" she doesn't want to admit she was worried — having only met the guy, what, twice? The day he hired her and the day she went in for a uniform and schedule. Nor that she was going to maybe request her super-powered uncle start looking for him, if he didn't show up. It was all really a bit much for a stranger.
"Miss is a strong word," she says, tossing her pony-tailed hair back over her shoulder as she lifts her chin to survey him, looking perhaps for signs of injury. "But it'd be nice to talk to someone who knows Vegans can't eat veal and who doesn't think eating a cheeseburger shake," she glances at the cooks in the back, "is quality entertainment."
"Cheesburger Shake? Dude, that sounds awesome." Wheeler holds up a finger to Claire and turns around to the cooks. "Yo! Let me get one of those! Heavy bacon!" And then he's turning his attention back to the foxy blonde that he hired, leaning on the counter and continuing to look as suave and stylish as… a fast food geek can possibly look. Which, for the record, isn't that suave. But at least he's trying. Sort of. "I am sorry about the disappearance, though. Some family issues came up and I had to disappear for an extended period of time to make sure everything worked out." Shrugging slightly, Wheeler moved right for the Flirting Kill. "What I'm not sorry about is hiring you." He takes a step back to admire the uniform on the Claire. "You look simply ravishing, my dear!"
At the ordering of the shake, Claire hangs her head, defeated and surrounded by boys who think eating gross food is high comedy. "I give up," she says, holding her hands up in surrender.
But then there is the explanation that sounds oddly like the explanations she has given people in the past, after being kidnapped and harvested for blood. Her eyes narrow a little suspiciously though she smiles at the compliment, giving a little spin in the white and yellow tennis outfit. "Why, thank you," she says, cheeks coloring a touch as she surveys him again. "I hope everything's okay now," she says, a little more seriously.
Poor Wheeler has no idea that his lies are preaching to the choir. Granted, there was no harvesting of his blood, but he did end up with some really awkward looking shirt that he's going to have to explain at some point. If he ever wears it again, that is. Right about now, though, he's too focused on getting his flirt on with the co-worker that totally owes him one for getting her a job here in the first place. "Everything's solid, as far as I know. No worries. I don't plan on leaving you alone for awhile yet." Smirking, Wheeler makes it a point to look as creepy as he can. Rar!
Claire smiles at that. If everything's solid, than maybe it's nothing like her situations. He certainly seems more together than she was after being kidnapped and held captive — emotionally, anyway. "Good. Iron Chef Squared back there can use a new guinea pig for their experiments. I fell for it once — wasabi shake. Never, never again. First rule about Food Court is make your own food. If you want to live," Claire says, shaking a finger at him, as if she's the expert here rather than him.
As if on cue, the double bacon cheeseburger shake gets brought up by one of the two cooks who just grins as he holds out the cup to Wheeler. Claire shakes her head, covering her mouth. "That looks like something they'd drink on Fear Factor. You're not really going to —"
Wheeler shrugs a bit, reaching out to take the shake and even does this strange little handshake (The Food Court Twist) with the cook, before bringing the straw up to his lips and tasting the delicious goodness. It's thick as hell, trying to come through the straw, but the moment it smacks his tastebuds, Wheeler's smiling like there's no tomorrow. He licks his lips and sets it down on the counter. "Refreshing cholesterol. I can feel my arteries freezing and clogging up at the same time." He pushes it across the counter towards Claire. "Come on. Take a sip. Just a little sip. I swear, it's good." He holds up his hand, total Scout's Honor style.
Wide-eyed, Claire shakes her head, sending her ponytail swinging behind her. "Oh, no. I've heard that before. Remember, I have a little brother. And I've been to my share of sleepovers with Truth or Dare, with plenty of food dares beneath my belt. I'm not buying the 'I swear it's good,' no sirree-bub." She grins as she theatrically backs away from the shake. "You go ahead and drink all that up yourself, and I'll stick to my blase and trite chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. If I'm getting really daring, I'll do a Neopolitan and mix all three. Watch out, world!"
Wheeler laughs and reaches to snatch up his shake and take another sip of it. It takes a while, thanks to the incredible thickness, but he finally gets to savor the deliciousness once again. "Mmmm. Don't know what you're missin'!" But then his thoughts are distracted by what's going down in his mind in return to the words mentioned by Claire. "Truth or Dare, huh? So, if I were to invite you to a sleepover…" Oh dear. This could end up going in a bad direction!
The blonde smirks and shakes her head, choosing to take the little flirt a bit more innocently. "Me, I was the safe kid, you know? So I always did Truth, because my life was pretty boring." Or so she thought! Now, Truth is a bit risky, given the past few years and what she's been through. "Now, I'd probably be more likely to take on the Dares." It's not like anything would kill her, though it's possible she'd still have a lot of 'splaining to do. "Except when it comes to gross food. Sorry. Vomiting is never attractive, even in a tennis skirt."
Wheeler is too busy waving a hand, trying to make it look like he wasn't planning on getting all this handled right about now. Well, this wasn't planned. He's just been trying to get to know this particular blonde. He's finding things out, but slowly. He doesn't like slowly. "Dares? That's good. We usually have a Truth or Dare night, every month. I think maybe it's my turn to host." Wheeler smirks a bit, taking another sip. His breath is probably going to be bad. Quite bad. Or something. "You and I could have a couple of practice sessions. Y'know, just to see what you'd be willing to do…"
There is an arch of her brows at this announcement. "Food Court's version of the company picnic, huh? Truth or Dare nights?" she says, skeptically, but dimples showing in her cheeks as she watches him. "Practice makes perfect, of course. But it would give you an unfair advantage over anyone else, if you knew a particular player's strengths and weaknesses. How, Archibald Wheeler, is that fair?" she tosses back, before putting a little feeler out. "Do you 'practice' with anyone else?"
Wheeler holds his hands up, as if trying to make sure that it doesn't look like he's trying to pull a fast one, even though he is. All he ever does is try to pull fast ones. "Oh please. We work with April and Kiki. On a regular basis. I think /that's/ enough unfairness for a few practice sessions to even it out." Wheeler knows way too much about the girls here. "I mean, just thinking about them gives me a headache." He then offers a grin to Claire. "… I DARE you to make it all better." Oh dear.
"I'd say you should take some Tylenol but unfortunately, that particular headache might be Tylenol-proof. And Advil-proof. And Excedrine-proof. Morphine— Morphine might work, actually. They would probably make a lot more sense if you were doped up on morphine," Claire suggests, leaning against the counter as she tilts her head at him. "How do you propose I make it better?" she asks, brows rising as she studies him. Yes, he's a dork, but he's a fun dork and she doesn't have to be serious around him — and best of all, he has no idea how abnormal she is.
Wheeler blinks a little bit, tilting his head. Man, this Claire sure knows a lot of drugs. He hopes he didn't think actually hire a drug dealer on accident. Well, it might be cool if she was. He might could score some… nevermind. He'll worry about this later. "I'm sure we could head back to the Supply Closet and find… something. I mean, it's not like the Food Court's busy or anything." This has Wheeler's eyebrows waggling and everything. That should bring her around.
"The … supply closet?" Claire echoes, her attempt at being cool and quippy failing a little as her brows furrow and she gives him a look. What kind of girl does he think she is! A drug dealer, apparently. And one who makes out in supply closets that smell like french fries and Pine-Sol. Here she thought he might be asking her out, but it's been so long since she's been around normal people, apparently she's lost her touch or intuition, or both.
"I was thinking more like …" She shakes her head. "Never mind. I should, um, make sure we have enough change for the dinner crowd." Her eyes drop to the register, looking for something to distract her and save face as she punches the drawer-open button to count the cash.
Pausing is a good thing that happens at this moment. Wheeler has to actually consider his next statement. He doesn't want to get in trouble or fired or anything like that. Especially, well, considering the fact that this could be taken so many wrong ways. He doesn't need any more trouble. "No no. Wait. What were you thinking?" The shake gets set back down on the counter and Wheeler slides his way over to where Claire is. "I'm pretty sure it's along the same lines as what I'm thinking."
Claire lifts a finger in a 'waitaminute' gesture as she finishes counting the twenties, a little OCD about making sure all the faces align the same way, before sliding them in the drawer and keying in the total on a calculator. Her cheeks just a touch flushed she glances down, then up at him. "I meant more like… you know. A … meal that doesn't consist of soft serve mixed with burger, or anything Food Court prepared for that manner, and possibly a movie or something," she says a little shyly, cheeks flushing a little more as she turns back to pick up the tens.
Wheeler realizes that there's something happening here. He can't believe that this is happening. Well, he kind of does believe it. But not really. It's not natural for hot blonde babes to actually be talking to him about going out to places that don't involve the Food Court. "Okay. How did this switch from me asking you out to you asking me out and me about to say yes?" Wheeler keeps a smile planted on his face as he works on trying to keep the flirting up as much as possible.
Counting the tens goes quickly, and Claire keys in the total on the calculator before turning to look at the goofy smile on Wheeler's face and blushing all the more at his words. "I… I don't know," she admits. "I thought you were going to but then I thought you were just being … and not going to, after all, and … hey, yeah, that's not fair, how'd that happen!" she says, brows knitting together in mock anger. "You tricked me, somehow, clearly!" she accuses.
That's not a bad idea. Making sure that he's the one that can take credit for this assignment. He's all about making himself look better than he normally does. "Okay, you got me. I learned some reverse psychology during my very short-lived time at the Community College. I must apologize. It's just that you look so good in that uniform I couldn't help myself." He's forgotten all about his shake at this point. "You see, by getting you to ask me out, I just cleared myself from any sexual harassment charges." Beam!
"Pretty sneaky, Archie," Claire says, her brow rising as she looks up at him. "We won't get in trouble for some … anti-fraternization policy or anything, will we? I mean… it's not like we're police officers or something. I don't remember reading anything like that in my welcome paperwork, but then I kinda just signed on the dotted line. I probably promised to give Mitch my first-born child for ritual sacrifice or something, but hopefully not."
"Nah, only to let him get the first crack at the donuts every morning." Wheeler says this with all the serious he can muster up on such short notice. Because, well, they all had to sign that paperwork. Which, to be perfectly honest, none of them actually read. "But! Yes. I happen to be very sneaky. It's because I'm a spy, you know." Wheeler's smile should help to prove that he's just kidding and all that. "So. Since we're kind of asking each other out at this point, who's going to pick up who?"
"Is that all? PFft. he can have the doughnuts," Claire says with a wave of her hand and a smirk as she picks up the fives. "I… don't have a car. So I can't really pick you up anywhere, but I can meet you somewhere and we can subway or cab it together. Unless you drive and want to pick me up, which is fine." She quickly counts the fives and tabs in that total on the calculator. The little task she's assigned herself was totally unnecessary, just a way to get out of the awkward situation, but now she's going to see it through, by God.
"I can pick you up, if you promise I don't have to worry about Meeting The Parents too early. They might not be able to handle my true epic demeanor." Wheeler may be playing this up too much. Which, for the record, is probably going to make him end up not living up to his own hype. So long as no crazy spy stuff actually happens, he should be good to go. "We should talk to Big Mitch about getting you a key to The Wilson. Everybody should have a car in this city."
"No meeting the parents too early, I promise. My mom's cool, and my dad is away on business." Chronically. And then there's the other dad, who's pretending to be dead. "The Wilson? What's The Wilson, and why would I get a key to it? And really? I thought most people don't have a car in this city, on account of it being ridiculously hard to find a parking space. It's not like back in Texas where everyone has a car. I even had a car. Once. It got stolen. Cars and me, we uh, don't have a good history. But I'm a good passenger." There's also the car she purposely crashed. But she's not going to tell him about that.
"The Wilson? Nobody introduced you to The Wilson while I was gone? Oh, man. Looks like we'll be using that for our first date vehicle. I can't tell you what it is. You'll just have to trust me that it's only the sweetest, tackiest ride known to man." Grinning, Wheeler just kind of keeps himself leaning on the counter to make sure that his flirting continues going on hard. "Well, don't worry too much about it. If our first date goes well, which I'm sure it will, you won't really need a car. You'll just be able to call me up any time and I'll be there!"
"I'm officially scared now," Claire says with a laugh at the decriptors given of the car, shaking her head. She can't help but grin a little at his flirting, glancing down shyly as she finally pulls out the ones — there are more of those of anything else, of course. Just then the door opens and a few people traipse in, announcing the official start of the dinner crowd. Claire closes the register to await their arrival at the counter so she can serve them.